I swam competitively from around 1987-1991 on the Brentwood Dolphins (age 9-1). I definitely was not the fastest swimmer in the pool, but it was a fund sport to participate in. I made a lot of friends on the team and learned how to properly swim, which has become a valuable, life long lesson.
When I was on the swim team, I did not know that I had CF. I often wonder if my diagnosed was prolonged because of my time spent in the water. I stopped swimming when I entered into high school. It was during high school that I really started to show symptoms of CF. I was also not active in any physical sports during high school. I didn't even participate in P.E. because of my back condition.
In 2000, I lost 20% of my lung function. It was at the same time I started working full time. It was at this point in my life that I joined a gym. About 6 months later, I decided to incorporate swimming back into my life. I did not want to swim competitively again, so I just found a pool with open lap swimming and made up my own work out. Within 2 months, my lung function improved by 10%! This is when I really learned that exercise would be the key to staying healthy and ahead of this disease.
I am so grateful that I learned how to swim. Swimming is GREAT for the lungs. The whole sport revolves around breathing patterns; when to breath and how to breath. While swimming I am 80% focused on my breath. And I know my breathing is deeper and harder while swimming. It is very stimulating for mucus clearance and waking up the lungs.
Since I started water aerobics, I don't lap swim too often. As great as swimming is for my lungs, water aerobics provides a better work out for my back. And to accommodate my schedule, I have to pick one or the other. I should try to alternate between the two because they both provide great benefit for both my lungs and back.