This week we had the chance to sit down with one of our SwimEars™ ambassadors here in Malmö, Anna Eriksmo. Anna is an accomplished triathlete, running, climbing, cycling, swimming and winning the half Ironman this summer. She took some time to talk to us about how she got into triathlons, how SwimEars™'s have affected her performance and just what swimming means to her.
SE: Anna, tell us, when did you first begin swimming as a sport?
AE: I've always been active: track and field, boxing during my 20's and now endurance and adventure sports like running cycling climbing. I swam on and off since the age of 13. I started open water swimming two years ago.
SE: What attracted you to swimming?
AE: I was attracted to it for several reasons, I live by the ocean, for one thing and I was also tempted to go in the cold water to challenge myself and was attracted by going in more rough sea. I started surfing at the same time so there was a general interest in water sports.
I really enjoy being outdoors! I don't go to the gym unless I really really have to. I love the feeling when I can push my body to do something beyond my limits. I prefer running in the mountains because I can go further than if I am just hiking.
SE: Interesting and what got you into triathlons?
AE: It's funny, because I just started with triathlons this year. I've been running all my life and I swim, but I don't really consider myself a triathlete. People started suggesting triathlons and I had all these excuses, but then I decided to give it a try and it went really well! I did the half Ironman distance this summer and everyone asks if I will do the full Ironman. Honestly what attracts me more is going for the Olympic distance now. It is more of a challenge, I know I could do a full Ironman but I would rather be competitive at the olympic distance so I am aiming for the Swedish Cup as an elite athlete.
SE: Wow! That's really inspiring!
What problems do you face as a swimmer?
AE: I like the cold but I have a problem with endurance in cold water.
One of my swimming coaches told me if I can't last in the cold water I must not be swimming fast enough. I can handle the fact that the water is painful when it's cold but the difficulty is that, eventually it puts a damper on your movement.
I also have a minor hearing disorder since childhood and I'm a bit cautious with my ears, I really want to protect them. When I do triathlons it's a risk to get water in your ears because it affects your balance and you can't deal with that on a bike or running.
SE: How have SwimEars™ affected your experience as an athlete?
AE: Prior to SwimEars™ I wasn't really using ear plugs because I couldn't find any I liked. I don't like when my senses are dulled. Now that I use SwimEars™ I honestly cannot imagine going into the water without them. They fit super well and I hear clearly! Actually all my friends want them now and they are super excited to order them.
SE: How does swimming make you feel or impact your life?
AE: I can train and be active with my body...I love cycling but swimming and climbing are so different. When I do those sports I feel that I'm really in my element. If I could no longer be in the water element, it would really cut off my whole life experience. I mean I can do indoor swimming to train but open water... it's an experience. For me, it's like food, it's nourishment. I long for it and it would creep under my skin if I was without it.
You can learn more about Anna and follow her personal blog here.