Sunday, July 26, 2009

The fifty minute mile:

I swam one mile in 50 minutes today. 49'50" to be more exact. This is a personal best for me, and I'm proud of it, although I must admit, it compares poorly with the world mile swimming record, which is probably about 16 minutes.

I swim with no mechanical aids! It's my body, handled as efficiently as I can manage, against the drag of the water in the 25 yard pool. No fins, no gloves, and especially, no high tech Speedo swimsuit that requires 45 minutes to put on.

I am glad that those high-tech swimsuits will no longer be used in world racing. (They've just been disallowed.) I think that in swimming, the challenge is simply to use one's body as best as possible. Shave your hair short, toss on enough swimsuit to be decent, use your body perfectly and race. Swimsuits add a level of technology that is wholly out of place.

But there's an even better reason the high tech suits should be disallowed. If they take 45 minutes to put on, and some time to take off, then a swimmer who regularly practices with them will spend over 400 hours a year doing nothing but dressing, just to be competitive. Think of all the things you can do in 300 hours a year! What a waste, to spend it all in dressing.

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