Aqua Jogging Promises Good Times

North Bennett

In a fitness world dominated by sleek, high-tech equipment and a focus on athletic performance, nothing stands out like a group of aqua joggers bobbing across the pool in foam floaty belts. Starting after spring break, Aqua Jogging Club, Whitman’s newest ASWC-funded activity, will provide a fun, inclusive and social environment for student exercise. The club will meet on Tuesdays at 8:00pm in Baker Ferguson Fitness Center’s Harvey Pool. All students are welcome to join, and twenty aqua jogging belts will be available on a first-come, first serve basis.

Prior to the advent of the Aqua Jogging Club, aqua jogging was a niche sport on Whitman’s campus. Only two belts—thick pieces of foam that buckle around a person’s waist to keep them afloat—were available to students at the Harvey Pool, making aqua joggers a rare sight. The club’s co-founders, sophomores Anna Brown and Julie Kitzerow, hope to expand campus participation in the sport so that everyone can realize its transcendent benefits.

“[Aqua jogging] makes great cross training, especially for runners, since you use the same muscles as you would running, but there’s no impact. It’s also great for injured athletes, as well as people with disabilities,” Kitzerow said.

In addition to being a fantastic workout, aqua jogging provides a novel opportunity for people of varying levels of fitness and physical ability to exercise together.

“Something that’s really unique about the sport…is that it’s accessible for people regardless of physical ability…everyone can participate in it and participate alongside [other] people,” Kitzerow said. “Everyone’s going the same exact speed, and you’re above water the whole time, and so it’s a really social sport and it’s a great space to hang out and talk, and you just kind of happen to be exercising.”

ASWC Vice President Arthur Shemitz, who gave an impassioned speech in favor of the club’s ratification on the senate floor, believes the new Aqua Jogging club fills an important gap in Whitman’s fitness landscape.

“I know there are a lot of people who feel intimidated to go to the gym because it can be…an environment where people show off, it can be an environment where people posture, it can be an environment where people feel judged, and Julie and Anna really presented Aqua Jogging Club as something that was kind of whimsical, something that was a sport that didn’t take itself seriously, and I saw that as something that was really valuable and really needed at Whitman,” Shemitz said.

Brown and Kitzerow have already garnered immense community interest in their nascent club. The club’s listserv reaches well over sixty people, and many campus groups have already asked for special group aqua jogging lessons.

“We have had several groups on campus approach us—a [resident hall] staff, sororities, ASWC—and ask us if we could give them an instructional sessions and teach them how to aqua jog as kind of a bonding thing…And so we’re hoping to continue those to expose more people to our club and to the sport of aqua jogging to bring in a more diverse group to our open pool sessions,” Kitzerow said.

To emphasize the untapped possibilities of this regularly pool-bound sport, Brown and Kitzerow are planning to lead the club on two outdoor aqua jogging excursions later this spring.

“When it’s warmer, towards the end of the semester…we want to do one overnight and then one day trip. We know that Moses Lake is a pretty nice place to go for a day trip, so we are gonna go there…and our overnight [trip] will be jogging in a body of water so that we have scenic places to look, and you can also swim if you want, and then just like hanging out and camping,” Brown said.

In Kitzerow’s view, the trips will serve several important purposes for the club.

“It’s just to generate excitement about Aqua Jogging club, and it’s an opportunity for club bonding, and also to revolutionize the sport of Aqua Jogging. As far as we’re aware, it has never been taken outside of the pool…So we’re hoping to provide an accessible outdoor experience, as well as expand what Aqua Jogging is, and make it a really exciting sport,” Kitzerow said.

Students seeking more information about the sport should stay alert for an upcoming informational aqua jogging video produced by the club.

For Brown, Aqua Jogging represents a goldmine of unrealized potential, and she hopes the new club will be a hotbed of groundbreaking innovation for the sport.

“Who knows what aqua jogging games could be created…The possibilities are endless,” Brown said. “There are no boundaries, there are no limits.”