Inspiration | 4 Myths About Swimming
4 Myths About Swimming
By Natalia Kaczor, Swimming World College Intern.
“What sport do you play?”
“Oh that’s fun; I swim in my pool all the time!”
We have all been in a similar situation before. The frustration that builds up when hearing this is evident on our faces. Should we be offended, or just laugh it off?
Swimming is an undeniably brutal sport. Sure, it cannot be compared to contact sports such as football and lacrosse, but it has its own degree of difficulty.
First off, we exercise with limited breathing. Our heart rate is constantly high in practice and while racing. We use muscles that are not usually used in other sports. The way they are used differs, too. We also deal with drag and resistance with every stroke we take. Everything seems to work against us in the pool, but we still push our bodies past their limits.
So, why is such a physically and mentally taxing sport so frequently overlooked? Here are four myths about our sport:
1. Only Olympic swimming matters
Swimming only grabs the spotlight every four years – in an Olympic year. Still then, only the superstars take the media’s stage: Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Katie Ledecky, Missy Franklin, etc. How about the rest of the successful swimmers out in the world? Swimmers are a fascinating breed with incredible stories. Maybe eventually the world will realize there’s more than one big meet every four years to follow!
2. Swimming is boring
There is a myth out there, that swimming is an easy sport; that swimming cannot be considered tough. Others also claim that it is boring to watch – that there is no action, no excitement. All swimmers know this to be false! Come-from-behind wins, relays, and swim offs all send a thrill through the crowd of spectators.
3. No revenue from swimming means it is pointless
Another reason why swimming is overlooked is a simple one – money. There is no professional league in swimming, no scouting process, and no contracts with teams. Only the top elite swimmers are able to make a living off of swimming by claiming prize money at big meets or by signing contracts with private companies. Therefore, investing time and energy into swimming seems to serve no purpose for many. But those who labor toward an end-of-season goal and then accomplish it know there’s no paycheck quite as satisfying.
4. Swimming only benefits you physically
Besides the physical benefits that the sport yields — muscle tone, endurance, agility, and a healthy heart — swimming also builds character. Swimmers learn to set goals, be leaders, overcome adversity, and perform under pressure. All of these qualities can be used in the future, whether it is on the job or at school. Outsiders to swimming may not think that all these life skills can sprout from a single sport.
Next time someone questions why you swim, or tries to convince you that swimming is not a sport, take a step back. Realize that unless you are a swimmer, you will not fully understand the nature and beauty of the sport.
Is swimming underrated? Absolutely. But this should not stop you from dedicating yourself to it. In a close-knit swim community, every single swimmer fits in and belongs. That’s what makes the sport so great: we’re all in this together.