New year, new goals! One of our Instagram followers is a true believer of setting goals and crushing them. Meet Patty Deters (@pattysfitnessjourney), a former college swimmer, who recently got back into the sport after a little encouragement from her coach. Patty is an active user of our waterproof iPod Shuffle and uses her Underwater Audio gear to beat the lap swimming blues and train for her upcoming races. Recently, she travelled to St. George in Utah to compete in the Huntsman World Senior Games and she qualified for Nationals! If you’d like to know more about her fitness and swimming journey, read on!
You recently got back into swimming for the first time since college. Can you tell us more about that?
After college, I went away to seminary school, got married, had three kids and put on weight. I stayed away from the pool because of my size. I struck gold in January of 2016 when a trainer offered to help me lose weight. He taught me how to eat and when he learned I had a swimming background; he encouraged me to get back in the pool. “If you love swimming, you should swim” -- no matter your size.
So I did -- all 275 pounds of me. It was difficult - very difficult. But the sweet memories of my love for water kept me going. I was 54 and thought competing was a thing of the past. I found an app called MySwimPro and their marketing person asked me what my competition goals were. I said “competition goals?” But she got my wheels turning.
I had loved the 400 IM in the past and I am up for lofty goals, so I made a goal of sometime in the future competing in the 400 IM. In August of 2018 I saw an ad for the Huntsman World Senior Games. It was a woman my age talking about swimming and competing at the Games. I said, “If she can do it, I can do it.” The meet was 7 weeks away, but I signed up and started training diligently to compete.
Can you describe your current training regimen?
My current training regimen is to swim 4 days a week for about 1 hour each time. I use training plans from MySwimPro that go directly to my Apple Watch. And I listen to my favorite music with my UnderWater Audio iPod shuffle.
What is your favorite swimming stroke?
My favorite stroke is breaststroke. I loved breaststroke as a child and in college. I went to a relatively small college (comparatively) in Northern California. Our team went to UC Irvine to compete in a relay meet and we girls won the 400 breaststroke relay. That was a highlight of my college career. At the Huntsman World Senior Games, I realized that I was competitive with the other swimmers with my breaststroke and that was a sweet realization.
How did it feel to earn a position on the podium after all the work that you had put into your training?
When I think back to 2016 and before, I honestly did not believe that I would live to see 55. My weight was out of control and I did not know how to fix that. I could exercise until I was blue in the face with no results. But that trainer taught me about food and that changed my life. In the years that followed, I got off all blood pressure medicine; I no longer had inflammation from Rheumatoid Arthritis, and my Thyroid medicine dose had been greatly reduced. So when you say to describe that feeling I felt when I completed that 400 IM at 57 years old and one day -- it is an indescribable feeling of joy. I went and found the woman who was in that promotion video for the Games and I told her how watching her on the video had inspired me to sign up and how I had just completed the 400 IM AND qualified for Nationals -- I broke into tears of joy when I was telling her. It’s a great feeling of being “alive.”
Do you have any goals for Nationals?
I would love to “place” in all my events and I would love to swim faster than I did in October 2018 at the Huntsman games.
Do you have any future fitness or athletic goals?
I am continuing to work on myself to keep my body strong. This year I am working on “paying it forward.” I have a small group of ten women that I am “coaching” -- similar to a wellness coach. I am also taking a year long mentorship on learning to be a wellness coach. I want people to see that we absolutely can change our lives -- in our 50s, in our 60s, in our 70s -- we just need the knowledge and the willpower to follow through on that knowledge.
How much do you think your waterproof iPod Shuffle contributed to your success while training?
My iPod shuffle is what “kept” me in the water those early days of getting back in the pool. I started swimming more in 2016 after I hurt my knee. I had been having such great weight loss success and then I got hurt. Thankfully swimming was an option. But swimming was very difficult. I could swim about 75 yards and then have to stop (and I used to race the mile in college.) And swimming was lonely -- no one else in my workout group was a swimmer.
I would get angry that I couldn’t be working out with my friends. When I found Underwater Audio and added music to my workouts, my entire mood changed for the duration of that workout. Music is so good for the soul and it worked it’s magic on me. It actually turned my entire attitude to where I couldn’t wait to get in the water so that I could listen to MY music -- the music that I enjoyed.
When I swam as a kid and in college, we didn’t even compete with goggles. So to be able to swim with music is the coolest thing ever. I love jamming out to Queen as I swim. When I am at the wall for rest, it is not uncommon to see me beating the drums (the water) as I wait. Listening to the music makes the workout go so much quicker AND it always brings a smile to my face.
What is your favorite song to swim to?
Don't Stop Me Now - by Queen
Do you have any advice for people looking to achieve similar goals, be it weight loss or an athletic competition?
Just get started. Start moving, start swimming. I started with walking to my mailbox and back. Be in it for the long game. I didn't get in the pool the first time with plans to swim in a meet. I stayed faithful to swimming and to the weight loss and the payoff has been beyond my wildest dreams. I used to feel my best days were behind me. I now feel my best days are in front of me. The best is yet to come.
Do you have any fitness goals for the upcoming year? Let us know in the comments section down below.