“There is no other exercise that gives what you receive from a swim workout.”

An interview with Masters swimmer Deb Jayne

How have you stayed fit during the pandemic?

It’s more difficult to keep in shape without the option to swim in the pool as a team. I really miss my swimming buddies. I miss the incentive to get up early and to exercise in the early part of the day. That routine helps me to be more efficient during the course of the day.

I have been doing long hikes and walks mostly behind my house in the woods to Boston Lot Lake with my sons; a few friends, at times; and almost always with my son’s dawg, Rosie. I have been doing some yoga, road biking, and a little gravel-road biking.

When did you join Masters?

I have been in Masters swimming with Barbara since before UVAC opened 11 years ago, when she was the coach at CCBA’s Witherell Recreaton Center in Lebanon. I used to take my small boys to the friendly kid-sitting area there while I exercised. At that time, I was doing triathlons. I believe it’s important to work different muscle groups as a way of preventing injury.

What is your swimming background?

My background was swimming in abandoned granite quarry holes in Minnesota with my sibs. We used to dive for bottlecaps. In the bottom of one of the quarries was a cave, so it was adventurous and fun. We also dove off (or jumped off of, in my case) a cliff we named “Thirteen” (feet). My sister was brave enough to dive from some highly perched tree limbs. When I got to H.S., and took swimming, I didn’t understand why the coach wanted us to swim certain strokes—not after having had all of that freedom!

Your favorite stroke, though?

My favorite stroke is the back stroke because I see it as a form of rest!

Debra brings spinach for her teammates on St. Patrick’s Day. Photo credit: Barbara Hummel


How do you feel about being part of the UVRays?  

It’s a great privilege to be a part of the UVRays and that feeling has become magnified during the time of this Covid-19 pandemic. I love the camaraderie, honesty, exchange of ideas, and banter that happens in the locker room after a swim. Barbara Hummel is the best coach one could ask for. She’s an awesome role model.  I feel like I have achieved a fairly efficient free-style stroke and my backstroke isn’t bad, either!

Debra (far right) celebrates finishing Triple Crown. Photo credit: Barbara Hummel

Do you think life in the pool relates to life on the outside in any way?

Definitely. If you have the discipline to get out of bed and hit the water in the morning, it carries over into your life. There is no other exercise that gives what you receive from a swim workout. It’s a particular feeling of refreshment, relaxation, and overall wellness. I think it’s because you have gotten full-body exercise without pounding your joints.

Debra and John Jayne get ready to swim. Photo credit: Barbara Hummel

What do you do professionally?

I have been a nurse in the past, having worked primarily in hospitals in acute-care areas, such as ICU, CCU, cardiac rehab, cath lab, diabetic teaching, and some home-health care. After I retired from nursing, I went back to school at the School of the Museum of Fine Art at Tufts and received my masters in printmaking and painting in 2014. I primarily work with architectural abstractions, geometry and color. I’m currently working on a painting related to Salvator Mundi, a painting allegedly done by Leonardo Davinci that has gone missing from the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

South Essex on the Sea by Deb Jayne
JFK by Deb Jayne
Diamond Marks the Spot by Deb Jayne
After the Walker by Deb Jayne

[See Deb’s website to learn more about her paintings – Liz]

How long have you been in the Upper Valley?

My husband John and I have been in the Upper Valley since 1991. We moved away for a few years but came back because we like the area so much and John was given the opportunity to work at DHMC. Another important incentive was the good public school system.

I have three wonderful grown-up sons. As an aside, it’s really great watching your kids grow up because what you think they might do compared to what they actually do in life may surprise you; it’s interesting to see how it all plays out. I have had my son’s dawg Rosie and his fiancée’s dawg, Emmie, at our house recently.

Anything else you’d like to add about yourself or any thoughts you’d like to share?

Be determined to hang in there until we get through this difficult public health crisis together. Many thanks to workers at hospitals, nursing homes, grocery stores and other places facing this crisis head on.


Interview by Masters swimmer Liz Kelsey

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