By Sharon Robb
July 4, 2016—Mariann Catalasan is breathing easy since she took up swimming four years ago at South Florida Aquatic Club.
Her doctor suggested she start swimming to help with her severe asthma that had her frequently visiting the hospital emergency room.
Catalasan, 10, a member of the Asteroids, has improved her lung capacity and breathing which has led to her improvement in swimming.
The Franklin Academy fifth grader got her first Junior Olympic cut in the 100 breaststroke at the Jesse Vassallo Invite in Pompano Beach.
“I was really happy because I got into the Junior Olympics so now I can compete,” Catalasan said.
Since the Jesse Vassallo meet, Catalasan got her second JO cut in the 50 breaststroke with a best time.
Catalasan is also seconds away from getting her cut in the backstroke which she hopes to swim at the July 9-10 Area 3 Championships in Islamorada, a last chance meet for swimmers trying to get cuts before the July 15-17 FGC Junior Olympics.
“I’m glad I started swimming,” Catalasan said. “My doctor recommended it because I got sick a lot. He said it was good for my lungs. I haven’t been in the hospital for three years.”
No one is happier about that than her mother, Grace, who has watched her daughter’s health and swimming improve at the same time.
“We wanted her to learn how to swim to be safe,” Grace Catalasan said. “When her asthma started in the fall the physician told us not to stop swimming, that it would help her asthma.
“At first she was just swimming for her health. Her lungs got better. We haven’t been to the hospital for three years. For us it’s the greatest thing. If she was not a swimmer I think her asthma would be worse. Now that she is breathing, she is trying to get better. I love being a swim mom and seeing her healthy.”
Swimming is a healthy form of aerobic exercise for people with asthma, especially for those whose symptoms are triggered by outdoor allergies or cold temperatures.
The advantages of water-based exercise for people with asthma include breathing warm, humid air. Research suggests that swimming regularly may improve lung function in people with asthma.
Catalasan credits her coaches for her improvement in the pool. After watching this past week’s U.S. Olympic Trials on television, she is more motivated than ever.
“I like being in the water and making friends,” she said. “I liked watching all the other swimmers try for the Olympics. I want to keep getting better so I can swim in high school, college and Olympics.”
The TYR Swimmer of the Month award, chosen by the SOFLO coaching staff, is awarded each month to the swimmer who excels at both swim meets and practice sessions. Each TYR Swimmer of the Month receives a free TYR mini backpack.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org