The Shorkey Sisters Learn to Swim... in our Thirties

The Shorkey Sisters Learn to Swim... in our Thirties

(Guest post by Sarah Shorkey, my little, big sis aka “The Lowly Vegetarian“)

As some of you may already know, my last post was all about needing a hip replacement at the tender age of 39. And in said post, I had mentioned that finding exercises I can actually do has proven to be rather difficult.

Throughout this painful and frustrating process, all experts I’ve dealt with have ALL asked the same question: “have you tried swimming?”

Truth is, I actually love swimming. I just haven’t done it in about 20 YEARS! And any “swimming” I have done has mostly been treading water or floating on my back during family vacations. And well, that doesn’t exactly burn calories and get the heart pumpin’ like a Sam Shorkey ass kicking – I mean “workout.

I figured if this was going to be my only version of exercise, then I’d better learn how to do it like an Olympian. Technically, I can swim. I’ve just never really mastered the whole breathing underwater thing. I then wondered if adults can even take swimming lessons. I guess I had this vision of my sorry ass surrounded by eight-year-olds.

As luck would have it, when I mentioned my plan to Sam, her response was that she’d take swimming lessons with me! Apparently due to the severe nose bleeds she suffered from as a kid, she had always been uncomfortable putting her face underwater. But of course, Sam is always up for a challenge and I figured she’d be a good motivator, so I signed us up.

I sure wasn’t anticipating what would happen at our first lesson at all.

Picture this: Sam aka Miss “Hot-Shit-Fitness” sauntering into the public pool rocking a bikini, her six-pack abs, “Jacked on the Beanstalk” gun show and rock-hard, bulbous ass.

sam shorkey vegan bikini pro

Fast forward 10 minutes later? She’s literally panic-stricken, red-faced and looking like a friggin’ drowning victim!

Now, apparently, when my little sister said she’s “uncomfortable” underwater, she actually meant “terrified.” I’ve known Sam for 33 years, and yet, somehow this was news to me!

That first lesson was “humbling” to say the least (mostly for Sam…) We were even demoted to the shallow end of the pool while we watched our classmates float on over to the “experienced” side of the pool.

What’s even worse (and hilarious) is that “Lesson #1” also ended with a half-paralyzed (and very angry) Sam. Yes, all of her anxiety had also caused her to tense her neck so badly that it aggravated an old bodybuilding injury and left her requiring an emergency massage.

I (being the incredibly supportive and compassionate sister) told her to be sure to mention that she injured her neck blowing bubbles in the shallow end of a pool.

how embarrassing

As much as Sam was not looking forward to the next lesson, we actually did really well and were even dubbed “fast learners” by our young instructor (insert pat on back here). We also may have been a little too proud of ourselves–giving each other high-fives and fist pumps–like we were Rocky conquering the steps. 🙂

rocky steps

Fast forward 10 weeks later and we are almost done our swimming lessons. During these few weeks, we have conquered fears, learned new skills and discovered that Sam is terrible at diving (though an expert at “belly flopping.”)

And as much as I have taken this opportunity to make fun of Sam, I am very proud of her. She faced her fears and that takes a lot of guts!

As for me? Well, it has given me hope that there is an exercise out there that I can still do and it just happens to be something that I actually LOVE doing!

My words of wisdom for this month? Whether it is fear, injury, or pride – don’t let anything stand in your way of trying new challenges.

Sometimes I think it’s good for ALL of us to put ourselves in situations where we may look a little stupid. We can’t be the best at everything. And there is something to be said for being a successful adult AND being able to look at the person next to you and sort of nod your head in agreement that “hey, we suck. And that’s okay!” 🙂

the shorkey sisters learn to swim

-Sarah Shorkey

More Posts


  • Sam: December 05, 2015

    BAHAHAHAHAHA oh how I love this idea. Sarah can be the runner once she gets her hip replacement. I’ll do the swimming. And you’re on the cycling stretch. Hahahaha oh man… Alina, if you lived closer, I would sooooo be turning this into a real team and filming our attempt at a triathlon.

  • Sarah Shorkey: December 04, 2015

    I totally agree with Sam, Kiki. You should definitely sign up for some lessons! And I guarantee no one will laugh at you because they will all suck just as badly as you do (hahaha)!

  • Sarah Shorkey: December 04, 2015

    HAHAHAHAHA, Alina! Do you think they have a triathlon for idiots?

  • Alina @VeganRunnerEats: December 04, 2015

    That’s how I am with bicycles… I only learned to ride a bike at 25, have always been terrified as heck of that activity, and haven’t done it in the past 2 or 3 years, which has only made matters worse, I’m sure. Hey, the three of us can make a terrible triathlon team, let’s do it!

  • Sam: December 04, 2015

    Haha glad you liked it, Kiki :) I can’t believe how many peeps have come forth and admitted that they TOO never learned to swim!! My sister and I thought we were the only ones!! Seriously, should totally register for some adult swim classes. I’m pretty sure if I keep them up, I could be an Olympian in no time. I definitely have the swimmer arms already. Just wish my giant, muscley ass didn’t weigh me down so much ;)

  • Kiki Empey: December 04, 2015

    Oh man, I’m kind of happy to read this (while kind of cringing on Sam’s behalf a bit). I’m 30 and can’t swim, because as a child I was given the choice between swimming lessons and my own fishing rod, which is a weird choice for a girl who would grow up to become a pretty hardcore vegan. I tried letting my husband help me swim when we lived by a lake this summer, but he laughed at me when I almost drowned (teeny exaggeration) and I swore off swimming forever.

  • Sarah Shorkey: December 04, 2015

    Aww, thanks, Kim! Yes, there certainly have been many hilarious (and embarrassing) moments. Yesterday, we finished our “evaluation” giggling like idiots!

  • Kim Azulay: December 04, 2015

    You two are so courageous and determined, wow you motivate me. I would love to be a fly on the wall , watching and listening to your silly selves…this made me laugh out loud, awesome stuff…..and Sarah’s impression of Jake in the pic is pretty cool. BRAVO

  • victoriashklanko: May 27, 2016

    Totally agree with sam. I would sooooo be turning this into a real team.

Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing