Meet the Athlete: Nancy Pearson
Curling to triathlons
Nancy Pearson competed in and won four U.S. women’s curling championships in her twenties. Those victories qualified her team for competition in the World Women’s Curling Championships in 1979, 1981, 1983 and 1988. Years later, when she felt like her exercise routine had fallen by the wayside, Nancy joined the WAC. She made fast friends in the Tri/Cycle Club and took up triathlon swimming.
Q. Tell us about your early athletic career.
A. I started curling when I was 19. I joined a Seattle-based women’s team and we made it to the first-ever World Women’s Curling Championships in 1979. Curling wasn’t an Olympic sport yet, so the world championship was the only venue for success at that level. We placed fifth in the world that year, our best showing.
Q. Now you’re a swimmer. Why did you tackle that endeavor?
A. To swim in the Seafair Triathlon relay. I took swim lessons at the WAC, attended Aqua Boot Camp, and found fellow swimmers in the Tri/Cycle Club who generously mentored and encouraged me. I also worked with an open-water swim coach. When I decided to swim Seafair as part of a relay team I was just about to turn 60. Training and competing again before my birthday was a great gift to myself.
Q. What’s your current training routine like?
A. I attend group classes three times a week for strength, balance and flexibility. I do Aqua Boot Camp on Fridays for an awesome workout in the pool. I also run on the treadmill two times a week and occasionally swim laps in the pool. With warmer weather, I add outdoor runs and weekly swims in Lake Washington.
Q. How has the WAC helped you?
A. I’ve made friends who have enriched my life through new athletic endeavors and social activities. We’ve celebrated successes together and supported each other during challenging times.
Q. When was the last time you curled?
A. In 1997, at the U.S. Olympic Trials. Although we didn’t make it to the Olympics, it was exciting to participate and to know curling would be part of the Olympics. Since then, I’ve hung up my curling broom.
As published in the 2018 July/August issue of WAC Magazine.
Shortly after my story was first posted in July 2018, I swam in the Seafair Triathlon on a WAC relay team and had my best time ever for the half-mile swim, completing it in 16 minutes, which crushed my previous best time of 22 minutes. That was great fun, and a true confirmation that my WAC (and other training) made a huge improvement in my endurance and strength.
Since then, I’ve continued to enjoy swimming, running, and exercise classes at the WAC. I’ve also turned to WAC physical therapists to treat a couple of injuries. But, wow, how things changed since the pandemic hit Seattle, with the WAC and so much more shutting down. I miss the opportunities the WAC provides me to stay fit, as well as to socialize. It’s been a challenging adjustment to find new ways to exercise and stay as active as I like to be. The last time I swam was at the WAC pool in mid-March. So my current goals are very modest—like just getting back into the water to swim and regain my endurance, and continuing to find new ways to get cardio and strength exercise. I’m hoping to get in some open water swims in Lake Washington this summer after the weather warms a bit more, and have turned to online WAC videos and Zoom classes for help with cardio, strength and yoga.
—Updated June 11, 2020