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SWIMMER Editorials

  1. Vote for Swimming! (November-December 2016)

    by , November 1st, 2016 at 01:00 AM (SWIMMER Editorials)
    In this election year, I vote for swimming.

    Swimming gives back more than what you put into it, an ROI that should appeal to fiscal conservatives. Consider the benefits of tweaking your off-the-wall technique, as described in “Ask the Coach” on page 8: Just a small investment in your streamlines pays big dividends at your next meet.

    In this issue we meet USMS members who have invested in swimming and received big health gains, including Kim Leigh (“Kicking Cancer,” page 6) and four swimmers who overcame significant obstacles to make it to Summer Nationals in Oregon (page 36). Voting to make swimming part of your life is indeed one of the best healthcare decisions you’ll ever make.

    Swimming also provides an important social support structure, in which the rising-tide-lifts-all-boats viewpoint flourishes. In the Healthy Swimmer department (“Be True to Your Team,” page 14) Jim Thornton takes a look at scientific research that supports what we already know: Our swim friends are keeping us healthy and happy, and everyone deserves a hug, even if they cannot afford one.

    Swimming has its mesh bag of problem peeps, to be sure. There are kickboard bullies, paddle pushers, and finners who never repent. Worse, the drill demagogue two lanes over who always complains that the interval is rigged. But with issues of pool overcrowding, rehabilitation is a better way to create harmony and ensure that everyone receives equal attention from the coach. Remember, someone might just need a hug.

    Debate topics in swimming don’t need to go any further than pool versus open water, briefs versus jammers, or Waffle House versus IHOP for post-practice noshing. Granted, these topics can inflame the passions of their respective advocates, but it’s unlikely that anyone will be unfriended on Facebook over it. (Although partisan bickering between sprinters and distance swimmers has caused some coaches to erect a wall, or at least a bulkhead, between lanes.)

    Thankfully, USMS elections are quite civilized. The House of Delegates votes on the officers and at-large members of the Board of Directors in alternating years. You can read about our new at-large directors, who were elected or reelected at the 2016 USMS annual meeting in Atlanta, in “Inside USMS,” on page 41.

    Of course, the shenanigans from long-ago races will remain shrouded in mystery, as Managing Editor Elaine K. Howley discovered while researching the origins of the Peaks to Portland Swim, an event that spiked public interest in swimming in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Nowadays, stats are fact-checked in real time and races recorded electronically, making miscounts very rare.

    So, when you go to the polls this November at usms.org/reg (registration opens November 1), please vote to renew your USMS membership, and help us make 2017 another great year!
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