PHOENIX, Arizona, February 13. WE continue our trip through the video vaults of the International Swimming Hall of Fame on today's edition of The Morning Swim Show, with a look inside the Tomb of Hunting and Fishing.
ISHOF CEO Bruce Wigo talks about this artifact that contains very early paintings of civilizations that is believed to be the oldest representation of an aquatic athlete in the Western world. This artifact was found in Italy in the region formerly inhabited by the Etruscans. Be sure to visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.
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Peter Busch: This is The Morning Swim Show for Monday, February 13th 2012. I'm your host Peter Busch. In the FINIS monitor today we're talking once again with Bruce Wigo, the CEO of the International Swimming Hall of Fame. The past few days we've featured some of the new videos in their archives and each one highlights a fascinating part of swimming history as Bruce articulates so well. Bruce joins us right now in the FINIS monitor from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Bruce welcome back to the show. How are you doing?
Bruce Wigo: Doing great, Peter, thanks for having me.
Peter Busch: Okay, today we're talking about the Tomb of Hunting and Fishing.
Bruce Wigo: Yes, this is the oldest representation of an aquatic athlete or a swimmer if you will in Western art and it's actually from an Etruscan Tomb up in Tarquinia, Italy which was the capital of the Etruscans actually in Rome in the time of 5th century BC was a vassal state of the Etruscans. And it's really one of the great tourist areas of Rome, particularly for someone that has an interest in swimming. You can walk down these caves that are almost 3000 years old and see that artwork that the Etruscans did that captured the scene and it's really a remarkable experience to go out there. If you want to go on a vacation and see something that relates to your sport this is another great area to go, there's a magnificent beach that's here, and the artwork's just fantastic and the significance of it for us swimmers 3000 years later is that swimming has just been part of mankind from the earliest days.
Peter Busch: All right, let's check out the video.
Peter Busch: Bruce the diorama in the video — that seemed pretty interesting.
Bruce Wigo: Yes, that was really a lot of fun. After we travelled there Winnie, my wife, came back and created that. It probably took a year and a half to get it all done because you have to get the molds and you have to wear the water but it was a lot of fun to put that together and watch that progress. But really one of the most amazing things about the Swimming Hall of Fame is that we have a collection of greatest artwork related to swimming from around the world, the originals hang in some of the greatest museums in the world from Tokyo to Italy to China and even some of these like a cave drawing, like you have that we just saw on the Tomb of Hunting and Fishing. We especially recreated that, I believe it's the only authentic reproduction of that that I've ever seen and they certainly don't have one like what we have in Tarquinia. You can travel and spend millions of dollars travelling all over the world to find the great artworks related to swimming or you can come to the Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale and see them hanging in our museum here.
Peter Busch: Well it kind of goes to a point that you made last week when we were highlighting another video about the ancient Greek baths. Swimming's more than a sport, it's been a part of cultures for centuries and centuries or thousands of years I should say.
Bruce Wigo: Yes, and the way it's impacted world history. For example if the Greeks didn't know how to swim when the Greek and the Persian fleets were both sunk and wrecked during the Battle of Salamis it was the Greeks who could swim ashore and caught another day where all the Persians drowned. Or if you take a look at how it's affected world history, without guys that could swim who would have done the reconnaissance on the beaches of D-Day? Would President Kennedy have ever been president or would he have drowned when his PT boat sank? And there are just so many ways that – for example in Europe the Fall of the Roman Empire it was the baths that were blamed by the Christian Church for the decline in the morality of the Roman public so the Europeans lost the art of swimming for about a thousand years and they didn't bathe either. So then the Africans and the Indians were the great swimmers and now end up cultural, these cultural influences, the segregation of women and men from bathing, so for hundreds of years men never swam with women, women didn't swim at all. One way that they tested if you were a witch or not was if they threw you in the water and you didn't sink that proved you were a witch. The role of swimming in history is just phenomenal, it's just unbelievable and it's influenced our culture and history in ways that people can't even imagine today so it's not just getting in the Olympics, it's being healthy, it's being happy, it's being able to participate in activities really, water environment just covers two-thirds of the planet.
Peter Busch: Bruce thanks again for joining us and shedding some light on the history, an amazing piece of history of swimming.
Bruce Wigo: It sure is.
Peter Busch: All right, that's Bruce Wigo joining us once again from the International Swimming Hall of Fame. I really appreciate all of their help with this series. I'm Peter Busch reminding you to keep your head down at the finish.
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