5 Turkey Day Takeaways

By David Rieder.

On Thanksgiving, millions of Americans give thanks for family, friends, their jobs and a day of sitting around watching football and eating turkey. But before the feasting begins, time for a quick ode to the sport which has given me and all of us here at Swimming World so much. Here’s five reasons I’m thankful for relating to the sport of swimming.

1. Swimming. Yes, just swimming. lt’s awesome.

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Feeling down or stressed out? Go swim. You’ll feel better.

Need to get in better shape? Go swim. You’ll feel better.

Hot and sweaty? Go swim. You’ll feel better.

Doesn’t matter how fast or slow you are, and you can’t get too old to swim. You can’t fall and break an arm when you’re swimming. All you need is a pool (and a lifeguard—don’t hop the fence!), and you’re good.

And if you ever swim or swam on a team (I have been on about seven different teams at one point or another), chances are, you’ll meet some pretty awesome people and lifelong friends. Really a no-lose situation.

2. The compelling stories.

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Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Remember the four straight events with American and U.S. Open records during the last night of the men’s NCAA championships? How about the tight team race at the women’s meet? Or all of the elation and disappointment that resulted from a few hundredths of a second at the U.S. Olympic Trials?

And then of course, there was the Olympics. Michael Phelps reclaimed the gold medal that mattered mostKatie Ledecky made history—and then cried. Simone Manuel tied and made historyMaya DiRado stunned the world. Kazakhstan, Spain and Belgium each had their shining moments—all on the same night.

It’s an exciting time to be a swimming fan.

3. Skylar Lea Grevers

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Photo Courtesy: Annie Grevers

Yes, the newborn daughter of Olympic gold medalist Matt Grevers and Swimming World writer Annie Grevers. That baby is barely two weeks old, and yet I owe her so much.

You see, Annie was to be one of Swimming World’s two credentialed reporters for the Rio Olympics. But when she learned of her pregnancy, she realized that the threat of Zika made travel to Brazil too risky.

And so I got the credential. It’s hard to forget spending my last college class ever researching the visa requirements for travel to Brazil, and certainly I will never forget my first Olympic Games, the best opportunity of my career in journalism. It would never have happened without Skylar Lea Grevers, so for her existence I’m extremely thankful.

4. Swimmers rock.

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The day before Olympic Trials began, NBC’s announcing crew held a press conference at the CenturyLink Center, and I asked reporter Michele Tafoya (typically an NFL reporter) what surprised her the most about covering swimming.

“How accessible the swimmers are and the coaches, really. It’s a far cry from professional sports, and that’s not to slap anybody in professional sports; they’ve got a schedule, they have their things, but I think what these swimmers understand is they get a limited amount of time to tell their story, to promote their sport and to talk about this, so they are great about just being accessible and talking to you as much as you want,” Tafoya said.

She’s right. Even though we see plenty more of the Olympic Team and other top swimmers than mainstream media, they still make plenty of time whenever we ask for it. Almost all are open and honest in interviews—even in extraordinarily tough moments, like after finishing third at Olympic Trials or fourth at an Olympics—and usually extremely personable and friendly. They make our jobs smoother and more fun.

5. All of you

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Photo Courtesy: Swimming World

All of the news posts, commentaries, analyses and even our shows, none of that would happen without you, the loyal readers. This past week, I have been blown away by all the positive feedback for the debut of Off Deck (which will return the week of Dec. 5!). I speak for everyone in the company in saying how thankful we are for your interest in swimming and that you read and watch our content here at Swimming World.

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Author: David Rieder

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David Rieder is a staff writer for Swimming World. He has contributed to the magazine and website since 2009, and he has covered the NCAA Championships, U.S. Nationals, Olympic Trials as well as the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and the 2017 World Championships in Budapest. He is a native of Charleston, S.C., and a 2016 graduate of Duke University.

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