Swim the Distance: How the Y Swim Challenge Pushes Limits

Jaycee Robinson (pictured above on the right, with her daughter) of J.M. Tull-Gwinnett Family YMCA is participating in Swim the Distance for the third year in a row.

Swim the Distance (100-Mile Swim Club) is a YMCA swim challenge that pushes participants to the limit in the water. From Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, swimmers can go at their own pace for as many days as needed to reach 100, 200 or 300 miles.

In 2018, Jaycee, now 56, signed up to swim 100 miles just to see if she could do it.

“I could barely swim 400 meters at first,” says Jaycee. Although she could swim, Jaycee considered herself more of a runner than a swimmer.

“I would rather run six or seven miles than swim even half a mile,” says Jaycee. But she wanted to challenge herself, so she made a goal to improve one to two percent each time. With the help of her daughter, a competitive swimmer, and YMCA swim coaches, Jaycee picked up tips and techniques for swimming longer.

“Don’t be afraid to ask various coaches for tips,” she says.

She completed the challenge by November, despite being out for two months with pneumonia.

The next year, Jaycee challenged herself to do 300 miles. She decided to cut back on running and spent more time swimming. She reached her goal by Dec. 21.

While she’s hoping to swim 300 miles again this year, it will come with a new challenge. Jaycee will be getting a procedure done later in the year and won’t be able to walk, but she’s hoping that the doctor will approve her for swimming. Despite this obstacle, she’s confident that she’ll complete the challenge.

“Challenge yourself to do something you’ve never done. I’m not fast and not the best in the pool, but I did it for myself,” says Jaycee.

Up for the challenge? Join more than 150 Y members who have already signed up! Here are the steps to get started:

1. Speak with the Aquatics Director at your branch to join the challenge.

2. Download the Y app from the App Store or Google Play.

3. Sign up for the Wellness Challenge on the Y App.

4. Start to keep track of your distance on the app.

5. You have until Dec. 31 to swim 100 miles.