4 Myths About Swimming

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Photo Courtesy: Taylor Brien

By Natalia Kaczor, Swimming World College Intern.

“What sport do you play?”

“I swim.”

“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.

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Photo Courtesy: USA TODAY Sports-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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.

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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.

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Photo Courtesy: Sheila Himes

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.

20 comments

  1. Eva Applebee

    Absolutely right! My swimmers are some of the hardest working kids I know. And they perform well academically too. They are dedicated and well mannered and beautiful young people who will be able to handle adversity when they are challenged. And all of this because of the sport they passionately pursue❤️.

  2. Kathy Neville Lemay

    I often find myself saying that my daughter is a “competitive swimmer”, not just “a swimmer”, like it somehow needs that extra validation.

    • Liza Nelson

      I do the same. When I started saying “competitive swimmer” I got a lot less confused responses. The most common previous response “oh, you mean swim lessons?” No…swim team! ?

  3. Iana Louise

    Azra Avdic it’s your back

    • Azra Avdic

      omg I’m famous

    • Azra Avdic

      mama I made it Gladys Avdic

    • Azra Avdic

      Omg I remember this, it was the 200 IM when t hey messed up the start and told us we had to go after the last heat

  4. avatar
    Prasad

    Hmm! Swimming what wonderful activity for life, it’s something that we did in our mother’s womb and water the gift of life ??✌

  5. Irene Hisham

    Edwina Ed….Sis Zabrina….Stanley George….

    • Sis Zabrina

      Love this! Thanks Coach!?

    • Edwina Ed

      Good read ma , so relatable 😀

  6. Birgit Saatkamp

    “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.” – so true!
    Half of my youth I spent in the water – and yes, I have definitely learned to perform under pressure! Good article ??

  7. Janet Mickelburg

    I knew a young man that played football in High School and was also on the swim team. He said swimming was much more rigorous than football.

    • Maksymilian Pawłowski

      Przeczytałem i obawiam się ze tylko pływacy mogą to zrozumieć ?

  8. Kok Mei Hui

    i love swimming

  9. Cindy Sater

    An amazing sport!! All 3 of my kids were competitive swimmers…And, Birgit Saatkamp, you are absolutely correct!!!! 🙂

  10. avatar
    Angie Holmes

    Great article, Natalia!