Okay, every competitive swimmer wants to swim faster, but do we really want to go faster through technology or through technique, stamina, power, strategy, and psychology?
Records used to be meaningful. Then, they became laughable (at least to most outside the sport and confusing to those inside the sport who were breaking or attempting to break them) as attributed to technologically advanced equipment. They were broken too fast, too often, and by too many. Hey, tether me to a jet ski and even I’ll smash every world record.
Now here we go again. (See my last post.)
Agree with me or not, but please join me in taking a look at the direction we’re going and thinking about the future of the sport. (Better yet, do something about it).
What will it mean to swimming (read: “assisted swimming”), if we continue to produce speed with more and better equipment? At what point will swimming no longer be swimming, but be more like speed boat racing, in which the “swimmer” will no longer be swimming (“SWIM intransitive verb
1 a : to propel oneself in water by natural means [as movements of the limbs, fins, or tail]”), but driving the boat, so to speak.
Yes, records can be exciting (except perhaps those set in the period before the sort of ban on tech suits). But long-standing records created much excitement as well. And, we’ve seen many great, fast, exciting competitions that set no records.
What if the human race reverses the trend and people start getting shorter and weaker? Do we really want, even then, to get people going through the water faster while riding in boats instead of them propelling themselves through the water by natural means, just so they can go (notice I said go, not swim) faster and [pretend to] break records?