Northern Virginia is like no other place I've been when it comes to swimming. The summer brings warmth to our region and as the school year ends, hundreds of pools are active with competitors from pre-K to young adult stroking their way through practices, preparing for Saturday competitions in one of the 18 divisions in the Northern Virginia Swim League. For Zachary, the competition is greater than a race for ribbons and medals. Every stroke and every lap means extra lung capacity to keep the immunities up and the oxygen levels high in his blood stream. The awards that he will get this summer and the summers to come with our team, the Division 1 Tuckahoe Tigers, really is just icing on the cake.
The benefits of swimming are palpable and obvious. Since 2009, we have had a barometer with which to measure the progress. Every week, we head to our oasis in Bethesda, the Institute for Asthma and Allergy to visit our friends and get a booster shot against airborne allergens. Before every shot, Zach blows into a peak-flow meter to check his lung capacity. Prior to joining the swim team, 120 liters per minute was a high end reading. After daily swim practices began, Zachary popped up to a 175 l/min and has been 150+ ever since.