One Stride at a Time
Dawn Sprengel always loved to swim, but never considered herself a swimmer. That began to change last year when the C.W. Avery Family YMCA challenged members to “Swim to Chicago” (or 38.5 miles) in 90 days. Despite some initial hesitation, Dawn decided to give it a shot.
“I was scared to do the challenge because I didn’t think I could,” she said. “I kept putting it off and ended up starting late. I was thinking, ’Will I be able to do this?’”
She soon found out the answer was yes. No-doubt-about-it, 100-percent yes.
Dawn ended up finishing the challenge with weeks to spare, and lost several pounds along the way. Her photo was later included in a local Weight Watchers publication because of it. (In the photo, Dawn sports a big smile and an “I Swam to Chicago” t-shirt).
As it turns out, Dawn has a knack for challenges—especially when it involves swimming. Since January of this year, Dawn has been taking on the Y’s latest challenge: To swim 100 miles before the year ends.
So far, she hasn’t lost her stride one bit. On average, Dawn swims up to two miles per visit—the equivalent of 132 lengths of the pool.
As of today, she is halfway to the 100-mile mark and about 12 pounds lighter than when she started. At this pace, she’s on target to complete the challenge by June.
This summer, Dawn says, she will explore some other options to keep her busy. Right now she’s considering training for a triathlon or joining the Y’s Masters Swimming program.
“I love the Y because it’s home,” she said. “It just fits into so many different parts of my life. You feel like you belong there no matter what. It’s my rock.”
Dawn and her husband have two boys, ages four and six, who have taken YMCA swimming lessons since they each were six-months-old.
“It’s funny because [my family] never went to the Y growing up. But I really have a strong connection to the Y,” she said. “I want my kids to grow up being YMCA kids.”