I always said I would quit smoking when I noticed a difference in swimming laps. Well - guess what? The change was so subtle, I never noticed, and I smoked for so long, I forgot what normal WAS!
Before I quit smoking, the maximum number of consecutive freestyle laps I could swim was ONE. I have not been able to swim for almost four years because of various health problems, and have only been back in the pool for a month and a half. I have been quit smoking now for 300+ days and today I swam 2 1/2 consecutive freestyle laps with no stopping (to the uninitiated - that's five lengths of a pool)!
To Those Newly Quit Folks - it feels so wonderful to not be out of breath, to feel like you can swim laps FOREVER and not be winded. It is AMAZING. Stay with it - it is SO worth it!
My goal now is 10 consecutive freestyle laps, and I bet I'll make it by the end of the summer! I usually swim laps, alternating with freesyle, backstroke and breaststroke (the last two are kinda "resting" laps!) The sky IS the limit when we stop poisoning ourselves!