Have you ever watched a sport on TV or in person and thought “this is the most boring sport ever?”
Well if you’ve ever had the above experience, chances are you were at a swim meet. Swimming is not one of those sports like football or hockey that people will pay a bunch of money to see. It is not somewhere people go to for entertainment. It is one of those sports that people go to because they have to; that is the image that swim meets have always been given anyway. Although sometimes true, this image is not the only way swim meets can be seen.
For as long as I can remember, I have been watching swim meets, participating in swim meets, working at swim meets, and anything else you can imagine doing at swim meets. Almost every single swim meet I’ve been to has fit into this stereotype of being boring. There have been a select few, however, that have been some of the most exciting sporting events that I have ever been to.
Here are 7 reasons swimming can be exciting to watch:
- Come from behind wins. Swimming is one of those sports where anything can happen. You can dive in the water a bod length behind and still come out on the top of the podium. The best example of this would have to be this relay from the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic games: Men’s 400 Freestyle Relay.
- Iconic athletes. In the history of the Olympics, the two athletes who have won the most gold medals at one Olympics have both been swimmers. Mark Spits won 7 gold medals in 1972 making him the second most decorated Olympic swimmer, and Michael Phelps won 8 gold medals in 2008 making him the most decorated Olympic swimmer of all time.
- Nail biters. Swimming has had some of the most exciting finishes in sports history. They can sometimes come down to .01 of a second. The most famous example of this would be Michael Phelps in the 100 yard butterfly at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.
- Women matter too. In the sport of swimming, women’s races can be just as exciting as men’s races. In fact, Colorado’s own Missy Franklin is one of the best Olympic swimmers, men or women, in recent history. This makes it different from sports like football and baseball where men are the only ones who play.
- Title of the fastest human in the pool. The 50 meter freestyle is the shortest race in swimming. It lasts a little under 20 seconds, and is the most exciting race to watch. It has had the most ties in the history of the sport, and takes a special type of swimmer to be able to do really well. Sprinters are a rare breed, but they are the fastest in the sport.
- Dedication shines bright. Swimming requires a lot of dedication. When you see a really good race, you can see that specific swimmer embodying that dedication with everything they do. From their start, to their finish, and everything in between, they are dedicated to being the best they can be. For those athletes, each race means more to them than anything they will ever do in their lives.
- Olympic moments. Swimming is the most popular sport to watch at the summer Olympic Games. The Olympic Games can transform a nobody in to a somebody with just one race. Swimming has had more of those Olympic moments in recent history than only other sport. Olympic moments make role models for America’s youth. It is swimming’s biggest stage, and it’s most exciting.
Call to Action
These are only seven reasons swimming can be exciting. There are so many examples of races and athletes in Olympic history that make this point further. If you have never been to a swim meet, I encourage you to go. If you have been to a swim meet, I encourage you to continue to go to bigger and bigger meets; the bigger the stage the more exciting the races. You never know when a race will make history, and you could have a front row to that history. Don’t give up on swimming just because it is boring, because as I just proved, one meet can be filled with some of the best moments in sports history.
For more on my experience as a swimmer, please read my last post, Advice From the Head of a Division 1 Swimmer.
Image Credit: photo by Gainline.us on Google Images