Wild Swimming Injuries: Inspired by True Stories

Athletic injury

Wild Swimming Injuries: Inspired by True Stories

By Josie Wise, Swimming World Intern

People are familiar with sore shoulders and faulty knees as common and serious swimming injuries. However, there can be more unusual, maybe a little bit embarrassing swimming injuries as well. These injuries may not be fun for the athlete at first but tend to make some pretty good stories in the future. 

1. Finger Jam

People stub their fingers and toes every day, possibly swear a little, and walk it off. There’s also the rare occasion that you clumsily run into something and end up breaking a bone. In swimming, I’ve heard of several people slipping on a start or getting out of the pool and hurting an ankle or wrist.

You can also jam your finger when you’re least expecting it. A number of pools have bulkheads in them, and typically a bulkhead will have slits for the water to channel through. Alas, these gaps have the regrettable feature of being just the right size for a finger to fit through. When you barrel into a wall at top speed, it just takes one wrong move on a turn to end up sitting in a doctor’s office waiting for a finger brace instead of racing at finals.

2. Getting Hit in the Head With a Bucket

Buckets are a form of resistance training for swimmers. It’s not a particularly complicated drill: you tie a belt around your waist that the bucket is attached to, push off the wall, and do whatever stroke you want with the bucket dragging behind you. For most swimmers, this is difficult, but not considered to be very dangerous. For some swimmers, getting hit in the head with a teammate’s bucket is a very real memory. Thankfully, the swimmer is fully recovered and provides a good example of what not to do and a word of caution every time the buckets make their way onto the pool deck.

3. Land Games

The classic games of Sharks and Minnows or Water Polo are what many swimmers pride themselves on being skilled at. However, if you were to transfer swimmers onto land and ask them to play a game, there might be consequences. It’s a classic scenario to see a swimmer in physical therapy for a knee injury. You would probably assume that the injury came from something like a wobbly breaststroke kick. Beware, that knee injury could also have resulted from a Spikeball game. Swimmers should just stick to diving off blocks. Diving for a ball could prove to be much riskier.

4. Goggle Gash


Photo Courtesy: Josie Wise

There are a few ways to go about sharing a lane with your teammates: circle swimming, splitting the lane, and waiting for someone to finish before pushing off. Usually, all goes well and no one is harmed during a practice. On occasion, though, swimmers accidentally get kicked or punched by a lane mate as they pass by.

Every year when April first comes around, it’s a day where everyone might be a little on edge waiting for a prank to come their way. Then, when you finally think you’re safe during a freestyle set in the middle of practice, a teammate comes out of nowhere, their head crashes into yours, and your goggles dig into the back of your head. This circumstance happened to my brother this past April Fool’s day. He had to receive a row of stitches and walked around campus with a black eye for a week afterward.

It seems swimming is more of a contact sport than one might think.

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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Happy Slappy
Happy Slappy
2 years ago

Finger jam…wild…we really have a tame sport.

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