Let me start by sharing the definition of a sport, “An activity involving the exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” Swimming is one of the most underrated sports right now. Nobody realizes how much actually goes into swimming, how draining mentally and physically it can be, the soreness that swimmers have to deal with all the time, and all the early morning practices before school. Swimming is most definitely one of the hardest sports that exists, if not the hardest, and it is not fair to all the swimmers to have people continuously say that it is not a sport.
In the swimming portion of a swim practice swimmers are able to burn as much as 3000 calories, maybe even more depending on the practice that day, that is only the swimming part which lasts normally two hours, some days longer. Then there is the drylands portion of practice which a swimmer can burn many calories as well, since they are doing high intensity cardio, bodyweight exercises, and normal weights, the drylands portion of practice lasts usually one hour. During the drylands program swimmers can lose 500-800+ calories, again depending on the workout that day. On most days swim teams have double practices, one at five in the morning before school starts and then one at night, both being equally hard and challenging. Also, swimmers have no “off season”, we get no break throughout the year, we are lucky if we get a week off at all, even a few days. No swimmer wants to take that time off though since if you miss just one practice you don’t feel as good the next day and you regret skipping that one day for the next week or two. These statistics compared to basketball which everyone says is a sport have a major difference, basketball players are said to burn around 750 calories a practice, there is a major difference. A sport that is similar to swimming is track, they both have the same type of set-up as well as many other similarities. Track runners are always talking about how many miles they ran, even some soccer players talk about how many miles they had to run at practice the other day. In one practice swimmers swim anywhere between 5-7+ miles a practice, one swimming mile is equivalent to four miles running, not saying that running a few miles isn’t difficult, swimmers need to run a few miles at drylands every day as well, but swimming a mile is also very difficult and actually considered more. The famous quote that every swimmer has seen at least one hundred times is “Swimmers do more kicks than a soccer player, more flips than a cheerleader, more sets than a volleyball player, and more yards than a football player, STILL EASY?”, this quote is very true. So many swimmers do so much at every practice and yet everybody still considers it “easy”. Swimmers have a tendency to have bad hand-eye coordination, but even with that being a factor, most serious competitive swimmers would not have a problem jumping into another sports practice. Yes, not all the skills would be there, the endurance would be and most people would be surprised at how strong we are. Just because we swim does not mean that we are weak, every single practice we work muscles that most people don’t even know exist, swimmers are sore in places they didn’t even know they worked during practice because you work so many different things and you get tired everywhere you don’t realize you have a muscle there till the next day when you can’t move. Once I was in one of my gym classes in the weight room, two of my friends (one does track and one is a very good soccer player) they were both doing the leg press and had it on a high weight, when i got on after them they made a comment that “It’s okay if I have to move it down, their sports use legs a lot”, so I got on and then ended up being able to use more weight than both of them. They looked at eachother then looked at me and said “But all you do is swim”, all i could do was laugh a little because of the fact they thought so little of swimming. Swimming is the most physically demanding sport considering all that swimmers do.
When there is a swim meet swimmers compete individually, and for their team. During the meets at the beginning of a season swimmers swim events to try and get better times, they are swimming against people on their own team and other teams at the meet. At these meets you aren’t getting points for your team, you are swimming for yourself and trying to get yourself better times so that you can qualify for the big meets. Once it gets a little later in the season the big qualifying meets come up, these meets are the shaved and taper meets. Yes, shaved, swimmers will go months without shaving their legs and then the night before the big meet we will shave everything, even the guys have to shave. For these meets swimmers get tech suits, these are suits that make you feel and go faster in the water, but they can get expensive. These meets are where the times you swim can count for points towards your team and there is one team at the end that comes out on top. Swim meets like these show who the dedicated swimmers are, they do everything for these meets. Meets like these are really team bonding and bring everyone together more than normal meets. These are similar to basketball, soccer, and football games it’s just that not everyone is swimming a race together, but there are relays and you are racing together for the relays. Swimming has competitions similar to every other sport so why do people still saying it isn’t?
Swimming has been becoming more and more popular through the years, it is the most popular part of the summer olympics, and it is still extremely underrated. I understand that maybe not everyone understands fully what swimming is, but if they don’t know what it is don’t say it isn’t a sport, everyone just assumes that we splash around and play games in the pool every day, sorry but no that’s not what swimming is. Going back to the definition of what a sport is, swimming qualifies for every single part of it, therefore it is a sport, and more people should become aware of it, they may fall in love with the sport like many people do.
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