The Bear Necessities: Out of Hibernation

img_4491Hi everyone! My name is James Ford, and I’m a third-year from San Francisco, CA. From swimming to intermurals to eating healthy on College Hill, The Bear Necessities is here to give you insights on balancing work with play during your time at Brown!

Welcome to Bear Necessities! This blog has been in hibernation since May 2015, and I could not be more excited to bring it back for the spring semester. A little about me: I’m a third year student studying political science, and I transferred into Brown in fall 2016, so this is my first full year on College Hill. I’m an avid hiker, swimmer, and mountain biker, and I’ll be leading an outdoor orientation trip for sophomores at Brown in the White Mountains of New Hampshire this summer.

Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been around the water. I grew up twenty minutes away from a beach and learned to swim when I was four. Later on, in high school, I swam three years on the varsity swim team and played water polo for two. So when I heard that Brown had an amazing olympic-sized pool, I knew I had to check it out. Membership to the pool is included with Brown tuition: the facilities fee gives students access to all gyms on campus, as well as basketball courts, squash courts, a track, and, of course, all swimming facilities. Brown actually has three separate pools in the facility: a heated warm-up pool, the primary competition/practice pool, and a diving well at the end of the building. The pool has really convenient hours and opens at 5:30 (!) most mornings.

I walked up to one of the lanes and hopped in. Most of the people in the pool were sharing lanes, and I was no exception. I was surprised at just how wide the lanes are- there’s definitely more than enough room to share with a friend. Around the pool were kick boards, buoys, and fins that swimmers could borrow for specialized workouts on particular areas. While I’m sentimental for the frigid waters of the SF Bay Area, I’m happy to say that Brown’s pool is much, much warmer than the water I’m used to, which makes it a great place for either a quick workout or a longer set. After my set, I climbed out of the pool, rinsed off in the showers in the locker room, and grabbed my gear. Brown’s pool is a great option for switching up a normal workout routine in a gym, or, if you’re like me and trip over your own two feet when you run, an excellent resource for a frequent workout spot.

Depending on where you live on campus, getting to the pool may be a bit of a trek, but for me, jumping in the water and swimming a few laps is a great way to relax after a long week and get some exercise in at the same time.

Thanks for checking out this week’s installment of The Bear Necessities. Have any questions or comments? Send me an email at


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