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Aug 4, 2012 8:22 PM by Siera Santos, ssantos@koaa.com

Swimming benefits asthmatic athletes from beginners to Olympians

As the Olympic swimming events came to an end on Saturday, the excitement at the pool continued stateside.

Both young and old have been inspired to get into the water this summer because of the success of gold medal winners Michael Phelps and Colorado-native Missy Franklin.

At the YMCA aquatic facilities, there's plenty of "buzz around the deck" according to Augie Mendoza, Senior Executive for Program Development for YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region.

But there's more to pool time than recreation and competition, swimming is the chosen sport of those suffering from asthma. Because of the combination of heat and humidity, the conditions are idea for asthmatic athletes.

"The air surface of the water is more humid so it's actually better for their lung capacity," says Mendoza.

"Actually according to the Asthma Foundation, they really feel that swimming is one of the best activities that a person or child can exercise in."

Notable asthmatic swimmers include Peter Vanderkaay, who swam alongside Michael Pelps and took home gold in 2004 and 2008. Vanderkaay medaled again in London, taking home the bronze this year. The Olympian is a big advocate of asthma awareness.

The list also boasts Amy Vandyken from Englewood who won six Olympic gold medals during her career. She originally got involved in swimming as a recommendation from her doctor to strengthen her lungs.

The breathing techniques used in swimming are beneficial, especially for asthmatic children.

 

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