Friday, August 12, 2011

Why Swimmers are a good way

200? Great Alaska Open
Championship men's team,
I mean look at those suits!
I joke around a lot about the general goofy nature of swimmers.  I remind my swimmers often, tongue in cheek, about how "special" they are.  But the truth is, swimmers really are special.  They are special by virtue of the fact that they work so hard, endure hours of practice, and most of all because of the environment they choose to aquatic environment.

I was just reading an article in Scientific American entitled "Why is Swimming the Most Deadly Leg of a Triathlon?"  SA reports that, while rare, the majority deaths that do occur in triathlons, do so during the swimming portion of the event.  Most of these deaths are heart related, and due to the delay in treatment caused by getting them out of the water, they are most likely to pass during the swimming leg of the race than the bike and run, where help is more immediate.

These unfortunate deaths are a actually a reminder of just how challenging an environment swimmers embrace every day.  The simple fact of the matter is that humans are land animals.  We are best suited for land, and frankly, water is an inherently dangerous place for humans.  The fact that swimmers embrace the sport of swimming says a lot about their personalities and mental/physical toughness.  For those of us that coach swimming, I think that we enjoy surrounding ourselves with these special human beings.  It is the unique traits of the swimming athlete that, among other things, draws us to the sport.

Just something to think about at you next practice as you poke, prod, cajole, yell, etc for your swimmers to get in the water.

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