Be Proud of Your Build

Photo Courtesy: Annie Grevers

Be Proud of Your Build

By Maggie Lasto, Swimming World College Intern.

If you’re a female swimmer, chances are you aren’t as lean as Kendall Jenner or as short as Ariana Grande. In fact, you probably don’t look like most girls who come across your Instagram feed or your TV screen. It’s hard for you to go shopping, because clothes rarely fit right. You’re always getting your pants hemmed because while your thighs are too large, your waist is too tiny and your shirts don’t fit right because either your back is too wide or your arms are too toned. So many young swimmers grow up dealing with these frustrations, but there are also many reasons why they should be proud of their “swimmer’s body.” Here are seven reasons why you should be proud of your build.

1. No body looks the same


Photo Courtesy: Mike Krajewski

One thing you come to realize as a swimmer is that your body is built differently than other athletes. Maybe it’s your characteristically broad shoulders, your V-shaped torso, or your large thighs that allow you to constantly be identified as one. However, while swimmers may have a unique body type and can be picked out of a lineup among other athletes, every swimmer’s body is built completely differently.

You may notice a butterflyer by their cut abs, a breaststroker by their powerful thighs, or a freestyler by their exceptionally toned arms. Since each stroke emphasizes the use of certain muscle groups over others, specialization in a specific stroke will begin to shape the body in a different way. You can take a look at the different muscles activated in each stroke here. The repeated emphasis on some muscle groups but not others is often what creates each swimmer’s unique build.

However, it is unrealistic to assume that every butterflyer would look like Michael Phelps and every breaststroker like Lily King. Our bodies are constantly changing and are impacted in all sorts of ways. Height, food consumption and genetics are just a few variables that have major impacts on our bodies. It is important to realize that no body looks the same, no matter if you’re a swimmer or not.

2. Others wish they had it


Photo Courtesy: Instagram, @tyrsport

One of the reasons why swimmers are identified so easily is because people are envious of them. Their ripped muscles and toned physique are something many people strive for. Swimmers even have the terms “swimmer’s shoulders” and “swimmer’s body” coined after them because their distinct look is something many find attractive.

3. It shows dedication

melanie-wright-2015 (1)

Photo Courtesy: Swimming Australia

The reason your body looks the way it does is because you’ve worked hard for it. All the hours spent training in the water and the weight room – all the sweat and tears you’ve lost – have a purpose. Others aren’t willing to dedicate so much of their lives to making themselves stronger. Gold medalist Melanie Wright prepared for the Olympics by training 35 hours a week while completing multiple dryland and swim sessions. Your body is a representation of your dedication. Be proud of that. Working hard isn’t easy.

4. It’s healthy


Photo Courtesy: Pexels

Swimmers are among the healthiest people out there. Swimming is known as one of best forms of exercise, because it works the entire body inside and out while putting less stress on the joints. Checking heart rates and working to strengthen lung capacities are two key components at swim practice. Swimmers are proof that you can push your body past its expected limits. Here are 12 reasons why engaging in the act of swimming is beneficial to the body.

5. You can eat a ton


Photo Courtesy: pexels

No one can eat more than a swimmer. The amount of calories they burn requires them to eat a lot in order to replenish and refuel their bodies. The average Olympic swimmer burns between 3,000 to 10,000 calories a day. Phelps and Ryan Lochte are reported to consume between 7 to 8,000 calories a day, which is more than four times the average man’s diet. Other than swimmers, who else do you know who can eat three breakfasts and still be hungry?

6. Strong is beautiful


Photo Courtesy: Instagram, @adidas_swim

Strong is beautiful. There is something special about being able to squat 200 pounds or bench over 100. Being strong on the outside translates to strength on the inside and is something to be proud of. The U.S. Women’s swim team is known for supporting each other and body image in the swimming community.

7. Size doesn’t matter

Studies show that 51.7% of female collegiate swimmers feel weight pressure within the swimming community. However, swimming is a unique sport in which size doesn’t make or break you. In the 2016 Olympic games in Rio, the shortest female to make the finals was only 5’1.5”, while the average female finalist height was 5’9.1”. Being tall may have its advantages, but it also has its downfalls. In USA Today, Missy Franklin recalls struggles she faced at catholic school while trying to find clothes that fell an inch above her knee. Her teachers would say, “Missy, it needs to be longer.” Franklin would be so frustrated and say,”You guys don’t understand.” Eventually she realized that her long legs had an advantage when her mom said, “Missy, you wouldn’t be able to do this without your body. Love it and appreciate it; you’re exactly the way you’re supposed to be.”

When it comes to swimming, your body is your best tool. No matter what it looks like, it will help you succeed. Try not to compare yourself to others, because you are built exactly right for you. Keep working to get stronger and be proud of your swimmer’s body.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

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Chris Groy Butler
5 years ago

Great article. So true. Clothes never fit me. I was a butterflyer. Imagine trying on wedding dresses. Yeah. That was so hard. Spent a fortune on alterations

Kristie Gaskin Garrett

Just sent this to my 13 year old daughter. Love this.

Jennifer Church Schafer

This ??

Lori Plank Camillo
5 years ago

Kelsi Brown

Pamela Mock Kosic
5 years ago

Abby Kosic

Shaheen Alghofari
5 years ago

Ben Taylor-Walsh Joe Stott

Lee Lasto
Lee Lasto
5 years ago

Way to go Maggie, another fantastic article. You must no this form experience. Very proud of my girl!

Kimberlee Williams Eckhardt

Rachel Elizabeth you are amongst the finest!!

Mary Martino
Mary Martino
5 years ago

So sad to hear your internship is almost over! Who are they going to replace you with? I do not think they will ever be able to replace you. Maggie you are truly a gifted writer!

Maureen Fahey
Maureen Fahey
5 years ago

Love it Maggie and so tell! Love what you’ve been given and work it to your advantage!! So so proud of you!!! Coach

April D-Dawn Coco
5 years ago

Allie Hanson

Traci Lyn Schachle
5 years ago

Victoria Schachle

Trenise Washington
5 years ago

I have a 14 yr old who was told she was manly as a swimmer this will help her know she is just fine.

Cameron Post Smith
5 years ago

Trenise Washington ugh tell her that strong is beautiful! We don’t have to be small and weak Because society says so!

Oline Stehr
5 years ago

Evonne Stehr??

Claus Kragh
5 years ago

Ana Rosa Kragh ?

Helen Griffin
Helen Griffin
5 years ago

Thank you for writing this! It is such an important message that needs to be shared.

Dorothy Kapitan Metcalf

Maggie Metcalf

Mary Ahola
5 years ago

Rachel. Rachel Ahola Tyler show Chloe.

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