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Waterwoman, Pan Am Champion and Mother: Erika Erndl

 Name: Erika Erndl
Mother to fourteen month old son, Asher, from Naples, Florida.  Two Time US National Team member, Pan American Games Gold Medalist, attempting fifth Olympic Team Trials in 2016, swam at The University of North Carolina where she met her husband who also swam for the university. Former First Grade Teacher and coach.  Swimmer, cat lover
Instagram: @erikaerndl
What keeps you motivated to be active and healthy?
Being active and healthy just feels good! I love being strong and I always feel better when I eat well and exercise.  It makes me a better wife and mom, and a good workout always clears my head. Especially swimming…there’s something about being submerged in water that makes it unlike any other workout.   


Pan Am Champion Erika Erndl



What is your favorite dryland workout?
The type of strength training that I do is designed to be done with great form, while moving moderate weight at a higher velocity as opposed to heavier weight at slower velocity.  Here’s an example of a strength warm up that I like:
(3 times the following)
50 jump ropes with at least 5 double unders
8 burpees
8 med ball push ups
10 med ball V Ups
8 med ball Plyometric push ups (side to side)
10 squats plus 10 squat jumps
2 x 6 Bosu Ball push ups (round side down, feet on a bench)
10 wall ball squat and throws


Pan Am Champion Erika Erndl


What is your favorite water workout:
Swimming! There’s something about being submerged in the water that makes swimming unique.  I love the way I feel after I swim, the endorphins I get from it, the way the water feels and how it sounds in my ears.  It’s peaceful, yet intense.  It’s relaxing, yet invigorating.  To me there’s no other sport that engages the entire body like swimming.  And it’s something I’ll be able to do forever. 
One of my favorite things to do is active rest in the pool. The idea here is to start off pretty fast and as the rest interval increases slightly to increase speed. I like how by the end you feel like you are finishing the end of a 100 in a race. Here’s an example of a set I like doing:
4 X {100 (1:30) + 50 fast * (1:00)}
4 X 100 (1:35) + 50 faster ** (1:00)}
4 X 100 (1:40) + 50 faster *** (1:00)}


What activities do you do in JOLYN:
Anything in or around the water. I swim, take my son to parent/tot swimming classes, go boating, or scuba diving, or just hang out at the beach or pool.


What's your favorite JOLYN color:
That’s a tough one…there are so many! I love bright colors Hot Pink or Hawaii Blue.
Pan Am Champion Erika Erndl


What's your favorite JOLYN style and why:
I love the European Bottoms and the Luke Tops. The Luke can be wrapped around and tied in the front which is a great option when you want to minimize drag.  I wear this combo for afternoon power workouts…they stay put even with speed and minimize tan lines.  I also love the new Sonny onesie’s, and my old faithful is the Jordy Tie Back onesie!

If you were 60 years old, what would you tell your children? 
Never give up.  Never say never.  Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something if you believe you can.  Your mind is a superpower.  If there’s something you want, make it happen.


What nail polish color are you? Blue Rhapsody
What motivates you? Improving to the best of my ability.  Being a competitive athlete not only at my age but also being a mother is a challenge.  Just getting to the pool every day I plan to is difficult and getting in all my workouts sometimes just doesn’t happen.  I’m okay with just doing the best I can every day now.  I used to be more narrowly focused on swimming and had the time to train as much and whenever my coach saw fit.  Now Asher is my number one.  With that being said, I am motivated to swim fast regardless of the fact that I’m an older athlete and I have a baby.  When I’m training or racing, I become an athlete again.  I’m very fortunate to be able to attempt this journey to my fifth Olympic Trials.  Just thinking about racing in the pool in Omaha on that stage with my baby and my family there to support me gives me chills. I’m doing this because I can, and I’m challenged to do things that most people wouldn’t attempt.  The everyday struggle to get it done fuels me to keep going.


Pan Am Champion Erika Erndl


What's the most inspiring race you've ever seen?  
The men’s Gold Medal 4 x 100 Freestyle Relay in Beijing at the 2008 Olympic Games.  Jason Lezak’s anchor leg was the most inspiring race I have ever seen, and it proves how powerful the mind is. 


What is your signature dish in the kitchen?
I’m not much of a chef.  Fortunately my husband loves to cook and it works out well that way.  My signature dish right now would have to be cheesy eggs for my fourteen month old son.  He loves eggs!


What is the hardest thing you've ever experienced? 
The first three months of my son’s life were both the most difficult and the most wonderful at the same time.  It was so much harder than I anticipated and I couldn’t even imagine leaving the house at first.  I wondered how anyone functioned like a normal person after giving birth and caring for such a tiny being with the crying, the breastfeeding and sleepless nights.  Through it all I was able to start swimming again when Asher was only four weeks old with the okay from my doctor (he knew I was anxious to get back in).  It wasn’t easy and was only possible with the help of my family, and I quickly realized that having that balance and time to myself made me a better mother and wife.


Pan Am Champion Erika Erndl holding her baby


What is your favorite holiday destination?
I love staying home in Naples! I live in such a beautiful place that I really don’t like to leave, especially when it’s so cold elsewhere! When you live somewhere so beautiful your family likes to come visit you! I don’t miss the cold weather very much even during the holidays. 


What is the most important part of a sandwich?


Tell us a little more about yourself and your journey:
I have been a swimmer as long as I can remember and I enjoy being in shape.  When I got pregnant, my body adjusted quickly and I gained weight fast.  It was difficult for me because I was not in control of my body anymore but for the best reason possible.  I was committed to taking care of my little boy at all costs.  He was already my top priority. I was able to keep swimming for longer than I thought I could.  I may have scared a few kids with my belly but I could wear Jolyn two pieces no matter how big I got (I gained 63 pounds!).   No matter what, I was comfortable! Looking back, It was really fun for me to keep swimming into the third trimester.  There were days that I was so tired that I couldn’t even swim for a few minutes, but at least I could try.  And after I delivered Asher, when he was four weeks old, I set out on my mission to get back to my fighting weight. 
The journey to get back in shape hasn’t been easy.  I wouldn’t even be able to attempt this challenge without the unwavering support from my family. I would not put in the hours in the pool and in the weight room if I wasn’t confident that Asher was well taken care of. Swimmming is something that is important to me, but my son is everything.  No matter what happens during training or racing, I get to come home to my family.  The thought of that is better than anything I can imagine. 


Pan Am Champion Erika Erndl with her baby

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