Culver City Observer -

Twenty Things Non-Swimmers Should Know About Us


February 2, 2017

Editor’s note: Alan Tapley is the parent of two female swimmers, ages 12 and 14. Over the past eight years he has been with them at hundreds of meets and practices. He has had countless conversations with swimmers about what they would like the public to know about their pursuit of this grueling sport.

1) Yes, we want to go to the Olympics someday. Yes, we know that the odds are a million to one. But swimmers are goal oriented.

2) At big meets we wear a special suit called a technical suit that is five sizes too small, cost over $300, and lasts for only two or three meets if it doesn’t tear.

3) We will wear that $300 suit, travel to a fast pool in a different state, shave our body hair, and sleep in hotel lobbies all for the opportunity to drop a tenth of a second.

4) Yes, we can basically eat anything we want. And you could too if you worked out six days a week, two hours each, for 11 straight months.

5) Two or three times a week we jump in the pool at 5 am, go to class all day then return to the pool for another workout that evening. And yes, it is as bad as it sounds.

6) We believe that naps are the greatest things ever invented, followed closely by the taper.

7) We actually prefer a pool that’s a little too cold rather than a pool that’s too warm.

8) Most of us prefer short course to long because it’s 10% shorter, but the fact that long course is in the summertime, and we can nap makes it pretty close.

9) Basically, only two individuals in each event make the Olympics. The odds of making the Olympic swim team are .00014% and that doesn’t even take into consideration whether Missy Franklin, Katie Ledecky or Michael Phelps swims your event.

10) In swimming, half a second is a lot.

11) We feel immensely guilty if we miss a practice, but if it’s canceled that’s another story.

12) We are a little self-conscious about how our shoulders and thighs look, but not our abs. They rock.

13) Swimming six days a week sometimes leads to injuries. When that occurs the coach throws you a kick board and puts you in another lane until you get better. But you still show up six days a week.

14) We all have more than one technical suit, plenty of practice suits, and tons of swim caps. But that’s nothing compared to the amount of swim related t-shirts we’ve collected over the years.

15) Our strong build and abdominal muscles make up for our green hair and dry skin.

16) If you haven’t torn a suit, broken your swim goggles, or ripped a swim cap just seconds before your race, you haven’t been swimming long enough.

17) We get a break when the short course season turns into long course season….if it falls on a Sunday.

18) Prelims/Finals meets are really fun. You eat, swim, eat, nap, eat, swim, eat, and then sleep…for three straight days.

19) Ironically, despite the countless hours and millions of miles we swim in the pool each year, a lifeguard needs to be present at every practice.

20) Swimmers are great at time management because after all that practice, all those meets, and all that sleeping…we need to be.


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