My Uncle and my Dad were swim coaches and lifeguards when they were younger men. All of us swim and my siblings have been or still are lifeguards. Swimming is just part of the family.
I surfed a lot when I was psychotic. I used to stick my head in the waves and just let the water slosh my head around. Plus paddling out far away from shore, no car horns, no people in groups walking behind me, no street noise… it gave me a bit of a break and I could catch my breath. I did it as long as I could keep my balance. I lost it for a bit, but it started coming back when I gave up drugs and drinking. I still have to work at it, but it’s getting easier every time.
Swimming was the same way. The only thing you hear is the light hum of the pool filters some times and the only thing you see is blue space with the black T line down the center of the lane. Blue space, black line, no noise… I needed to keep swimming when I wasn’t doing well. I would go for long distance because the voices somehow faded in the water. Plus I felt safe in the water. I never wanted to get out.