Laura Val is simply one of the best Masters swimmers in the world. Beyond holding records in almost every category, she's been voted by Swimming World magazine as one of the top swimmers in the world for over a decade and recently broke the World Record in the 200, 400, and 800 meter freestyles on her way to the World Record in the 1500 at a meet at the San Francisco Olympic Club. Read on to learn more about her achievements, how she stays fit, and how P2Life helps her reach peak performance every time. You'll definitely be inspired by her story!
Laura, you’ve definitely had a long and illustrious career. Tell us how you got your start in swimming.
I started as a kid at a local team. When I was about 10 years old, my mom got my 4 sisters and me into swimming. I instantly fell in love with it and was pretty successful from the start. I just loved it – everything about it!
When I was in school, Title IX didn’t exist and colleges and universities didn’t put money towards women’s scholarships for sports. Unfortunately, many women stopped swimming and quit at age 18. So at age 21, I started my career as a nurse and started my family. I look back on it now and think it’s great for women and girls to have these opportunities.
Then when I was about 33, a friend told me about masters swimming and asked if I wanted to join her swim team. At the time, my oldest child was 2 and my youngest was 9 months and I thought it would be good to have this opportunity again. I joined the team in 1984 and went to my first nationals in 1987 and broke 5 national records. Now Masters swimming is such a big part of my life. I’ve been swimming ever since and never looked back.
Wow! That’s quite impressive. Tell us about your fitness routine and how you stay so competitive.
Well I just picked up where I left off. I love to train, but I don’t do any exercise other than swim. Right now I swim before work, but maybe when I retire, I may do a gym routine. And I do whatever my coach tells me to do!
My philosophy is this: Every workout can be a bad workout or a good workout depending on what you put into it. You’re going to get something out of every workout. It’s hard to get up in morning sometimes, but after I finish, I never regret it. I’m reminded why I love swimming.
You’ve had a successful career and are still at the top of your game. Do you have any advice for managing race-day stress?
I think that if you go into a race and you know you’re prepared, it definitely helps. Embrace nervousness and use it to your advantage. The adrenaline that comes from stress is a legal drug and sometimes a little bit of nerves is a good thing.
Great advice! What records or accomplishments are you most proud of?
About 5 years ago, I broke six world records in one race. That was kind of fun. And just yesterday, Swimming World magazine sent me an email saying that I made the list of the 12 best swimmers in the world for 2015. I’ve made this list for 10 years in a row and luckily made it again. I was surprised since I’m now at the top of my age group. I’ve also been inducted into both the International and Masters International Swimming Hall of Fame.
Amazing! Let’s talk about your nutrition plan. Tell us what you do to stay so successful.
I try to eat as healthy as I can, staying away from fats and eating fruits and vegetables. I have a P2Life shake every single day. I drink one in the morning and sometimes have one at night, and always after a race. I’ve found that the joint supplements are good for my joints, and I use the Adaptogens, too.
Awesome! How did you originally learn about the P2Life products?
I was at a swimming meet in Mission Viejo and tasted a sample and really enjoyed it and liked the taste. I started drinking the shakes after a race and I would feel energized. My recovery was faster and I liked the feeling. This was important because I had a lot of races that were back to back.
At this point in my life, I’m concerned about my immune system. I take supplements like vitamin C and the Antioxidants from P2Life. Whatever helps you boost your immunity is a great idea.
I agree; our health is very important. So do you have any parting words for our readers?
Don’t stop exercising and swimming - keep doing what you’re doing. Swimming has been a wonderful thing to have in my life. I thank my mom for giving me this gift and putting me in swimming.
I think that swimming is my passion and it’s fun for me. I try to take this attitude to work, too. I try to make work as much fun as possible for my employees. We spend so much of the day and week at work and I don’t want them to dread it. It’s the same with swimming; make it as fun as you can. Coaches have to bring their passion so that swimmers feel the same.
And as a parent, my advice to parents is that if your children don’t have a passion for swimming, don't force it. It may or may not come. My kids were summer league swimmers and became lifeguards and instructors but didn’t get forced into the hard core competition when they were kids. I made sure they were having a good time and they ended up doing soccer and lacrosse instead. Now they love swimming masters, probably because they enjoyed it as kids. Swimming is a great environment, but don’t force your kids to do it if it’s your passion.