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Thread: "Swimming is not a team sport," or is it?

  1. #21
    Very Active Member aquaFeisty's Avatar
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    Re: "Swimming is not a team sport," or is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Big AL View Post
    The teaming ability, to help others succeed by physically helping them out or taking up their slack, is non-existent (like tackling the foe in the other lane who is winning so your guy can win.)
    Now how fun and entertaining would THAT make meets? I can hear Mark Gill now: "And it looks like both swimmers might finish under the old world recor... WHOA! There came 3 members of Team TYR diving into lane 4!!!! She didn't stand a chance..."

  2. #22
    Tough like cottage cheese
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    Re: "Swimming is not a team sport," or is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Big AL View Post
    The teaming ability, to help others succeed by physically helping them out or taking up their slack, is non-existent (like tackling the foe in the other lane who is winning so your guy can win.)
    Then it's water polo

  3. #23
    Very Active Member quicksilver's Avatar
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    Re: "Swimming is not a team sport," or is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by mikedilv View Post
    Your opinion=

    (University research project. Your opinion is greatly appreciated )

    Obviously the definition of team sport can vary.

    I would define a team sport any activity which involves more than one "player" and includes a ball, puck, or birdie.
    In swimming we don't send one of the aforementioned objects through a hoop, net or goal post for scoring points.

    Swimming was always an individual thing. I raced other kids, and raced the clock.
    Only until high school, and college did the team aspect really come into play. Relays in particular.

    Otherwise, swimming at the end of the day is primarily a solo sport, but one which involves camaraderie from other members of the club.
    Sure a team may rack up big points at a meet, but the swimmer with the fastest time earns their first place and recognition all on their own.

  4. #24
    sprint diva The Fortress's Avatar
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    Re: "Swimming is not a team sport," or is it?

    All true. Individual.

    So why is the subject of team/club scoring so contentious?

  5. #25
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    Re: "Swimming is not a team sport," or is it?

    Swimming is not a team sport..imho. Maybe alot of swim teams, but that doesn`t make it a team sport. As said before Relays are about as close as it gets.

  6. #26
    Very Active Member Mary1912's Avatar
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    Re: "Swimming is not a team sport," or is it?

    Depends on how you define "team sport".

    I think it's primarily an individual sport with some team elements (relays, points, etc).

  7. #27
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    Re: "Swimming is not a team sport," or is it?

    I don't agree that relays are the sum of individual performances. I go much faster on relays (even when you account for the relay start advantage).

    As for the original question question-
    Having been part of a club team, a highschool team, and now swimming alone, I can definitely say that swimming is a team sport, albeit a different kind of team sport depending how you do it.

    For college/highschool/summerleague it's like any other team sport (with the addition of a personal aspect like improving your times). The ultimate goal is for your team to win the meet. I've found that, on my highschool team, the swimmers that also swam year round were the ones that cared mostly about their times and very little about the team's performance, if at all.

    As for club swimming, I would say it's also a team sport albeit on a different level. Swimming for club and swimming alone are both geared towards the idea of bettering your times, making faster meets etc. It is a thousand times easier to push yourself when you have teammates doing the same thing. For example, by myself I'll do 50s fast around 35 seconds. When I swim with friends, I'll do 50s fast around 30-31 seconds.


    In summary, swimming is always a team sport, just in a different way depending on what, if any, team you're on. I would be surprised if anyone who says swimming is an individual sport could perform at the same level without a team.

  8. #28
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    Re: "Swimming is not a team sport," or is it?

    I hear high school and collegiate swimmers say that the interpersonal relationships with their team members are so close that it feels like "family." I have heard it explained that together they experience the pleasures and discomforts of training. They say that really push one another as well. They say that they do all of these things at least 6 days a week, and for at least two training sessions per day. They give up a tremendous amount of free time and potential friendships and spend that time and energy amongst one another with a common vision of winning.

    I believe most would agree that a team sport is typically one in which the level of success of the team depends upon the level of contribution and individual skill level of each person on the team. Though swimming is certainly rewarded on a individual level, I have been under the impression that one's success on a swim team (including USMS) would be tremendously influenced by the the experiences mentioned in the paragraph above in addition to personal skill level. Have there been swimmers who performed exceptionally well on one team, moved, joined another team, only to not perform as well because "it just wasn't the same?" Is there anyone out there who says "My success was tremendously due to so and so. He/she was always there to pick me up when life challenged me. He/she was always full of enthusiasm and cared about our performance just as much as his/hers. And it wasn't just about so and so. Our team had that spirit of 'we are in this together, let's do this thing!'" Is not a "team sport's" success really the sum of individual success? Corporations LOVE to see graduates who have participated in team sports. They see their companies as a team. However, at the end of the day, does not each employee earn their own paycheck? Yet the corporation insists on seeing team effort in the workplace. Would this not be synonymous to a swim "team?" (The point behind my research- Shouldn't collegiate swim team experience be considered not only a team experience but one deserving of a high esteem for the workplace.)

    If I was a CEO, I would love to hear a potential new-hire speak of the experiences listed in the first paragraph vs other traditional team experiences. I have talked to non-swimming athletes on campus and it sounds like none of them put in anywhere near the number of hours each day and each week that swimmers do. That is a tremendous sacrifice for a common vision! That is impressive! Top that off with the fact that they did it for a win and not a financial reward e.g go pro for millions of dollars. They simply had a vision and wanted it!

    (I apologize for my ignorance on the topic. I am in swim training class at the University of Utah + swim training off campus, but have never been on a team. I strive to train 3hrs wet and 1 dry per day x6/wk so that I may eventually compete on some level and experience what it truly is like to be on a swim team. I really appreciate the input thus far!)
    Last edited by mikedilv; September 25th, 2008 at 04:03 PM.

  9. #29
    Very Active Member quicksilver's Avatar
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    Re: "Swimming is not a team sport," or is it?

    I think you have it very well described.
    Learning how to manage time, and staying self disciplined and self motivated are a couple of other personality traits.


    But back to the solo aspect, sure, cheering and support from one's team mates offer a tremendous boost.
    But I would still say that the desire to push oneself outside of the comfort zone is entirely independent.

    It takes character and understanding to learn from mistakes and the self awareness to not make them again. Along with drive and determination, that's the foundation for success. Not necessarily a pat on the back, with a "better luck next time" from a sympathetic team mate.
    Excellence Is Never An Accident.

  10. #30
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    Re: "Swimming is not a team sport," or is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by quicksilver View Post
    and staying self disciplined and self motivated are a couple of other personality traits." "the desire to push oneself outside of the comfort zone" "It takes character and understanding to learn from mistakes and the self awareness to not make them again. Along with drive and determination, that's the foundation for success."
    Very Rich! Thank you! I think it is interesting to note that swimmers seem to deserve additional credit in the observation that they do not have the aide of peer pressure. They have peer encouragement, but not pressure (I am assuming.)

    A traditional "team" player most certainly often exercises self discipline, self motivation, pushes himself outside the comfort zone, learns from his mistakes, and experiences drive and determination, but they are fortunate to have the peer pressure of making that catch or throw "or else." But let's admit it, though corporations want a "team" structure, the aide of peer pressure isn't a common aspect in a corporate team. Often your performance does not affect my paycheck How will a traditional "team" player function without that aide in a corporate environment? Possibly quite well! How will a swimmer perform? Odds are we can look at his or her history as a swimmer and say "When this person has a vision, this person will get it. Period. No motivational aides necessary- Just a vision!" That is a tremendous asset! Of course the CEO response would be, "yes, but how well does he or she work with others especially on group projects?" Which causes me to wonder how they ascertain how a traditional athletic team player works with others based solely on "team" experience.
    Last edited by mikedilv; September 25th, 2008 at 07:54 PM.

  11. #31
    Very Active Member aquageek's Avatar
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    Re: "Swimming is not a team sport," or is it?

    You really have to loosen the term "team" to include swimming as a team sport. It's a team in terms of community, time together, goals, etc. But, it's not even remotely close to sports where multiple people from the same team must work closely together at all times to win, or lose. Swimming will always be predominantly an individual sport with elements of team.

    It really annoys me when people put swimmers ahead of other athletes because we might train more than them. That is totally irrelevant, you train for your sport in that sport's fashion. Personally, I would much rather swim 4 hours a day in college than get hit by a 6'4" 265 pound lineback for 2 seconds. How would swimmers like having a meet every single weekend where at this meet you were going to get severely beaten by large angry men. Each sport has it's deal, no one is harder or easier, except curling.

  12. #32
    Very Active Member Kurt Dickson's Avatar
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    Re: "Swimming is not a team sport," or is it?

    I certainly think it is the minority that is putting swimming ahead of other athletes. It is generally swimmers that get no respect. I agree that we each have a different kind of pain. I never appreciated getting kicked out of the cafeteria so the football players could have a banquet, but this only goes to show that the majority revere the football players (at least where I went to school).

  13. #33
    Very Active Member Kurt Dickson's Avatar
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    Re: "Swimming is not a team sport," or is it?

    In Colorado, the best swimmer in the state (much to my sadness) was John Keppler. He swam alone in the mountains--no team (still has some age group world records).

    George DiCarlo on my team in Colo. went to UofA. The story goes that the coach Dick Jochums made him and their other distance guy (a teammate) do battle daily, until DiCarlo broke him (and went on to win the gold in the 1500 in 84). One of our other Colo. teammates Scott Brackett when down to ASU, and one motivation was to get more opportunities to beat his former teammate and nemesis (Scott has the oldest still standing record at ASU--set in early 80s--8:50 1000).

    Teammates breathe through their nose and turn slightly away after a difficult set so that nobody knows just how hard they are working; they start doing backstroke in the middle of sets just to show all of their teammates that the interval isn't that hard--one goal is to break all around you. I do not believe that sort of "team work" occurs in true team sports.

  14. #34
    Very Active Member aquageek's Avatar
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    Re: "Swimming is not a team sport," or is it?

    Kurt - at least you didn't use all caps, that would have been even more annoying and less subtle.

  15. #35
    Very Active Member Kurt Dickson's Avatar
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    Re: "Swimming is not a team sport," or is it?

    thanks man--annoying is what i do.

  16. #36
    Very Active Member aquageek's Avatar
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    Re: "Swimming is not a team sport," or is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt Dickson View Post
    Thanks man--annoying is what I do.
    you're welcome

  17. #37
    Very Active Member Kurt Dickson's Avatar
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    Re: "Swimming is not a team sport," or is it?

    I just want to know how this gets counted for "university research."

    "In my double-blind placebo-controlled study, I set out to discover the burning question on everybody's lips; that is, whether swimming is an individual or a team sport. On the blathering USMS forums, ex-swimmers seem to be divided on this topic....and in a surprising development Michael Phelps has decided to share some of his gold and money with his "teammate in spirit" good pal Kurt..."

    ...Fascinating--good luck with your project Mike. It might be easier, however, to research something you can measure like how many University of Utah football players it takes to screw in a light bulb. Please say "hi" to all my homies up in SLC (and disregard all previous smack talk).

  18. #38
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    Re: "Swimming is not a team sport," or is it?

    It's actually a university WRTG 2010 topic research project, so nothing too crazy. I have to admit that I am blown away by the division of opinions. I love it! It ought to spice up the paper At this very moment, I am typing away on a rhetorical analysis paper on the introduction in Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point. :/

  19. #39
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    Re: "Swimming is not a team sport," or is it?

    "Ex-swimmers"? Speak for yourself, Kurt!

    PS, I don't know why there's a fish there. I really wanted to use a smiley, but none of them fit. At least the fish is swimming.

  20. #40
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    Re: "Swimming is not a team sport," or is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by quicksilver View Post
    I would define a team sport any activity which involves more than one "player" and includes a ball, puck, or birdie.
    In swimming we don't send one of the aforementioned objects through a hoop, net or goal post for scoring points.
    That's certainly an overly-restrictive definition. Ultimate frisbee isn't a team sport because it doesn't use a ball, puck, or birdie?

    Crew isn't a team sport? In rowing an 8, if those 8 rowers don't work together, they're screwed.

    Bobsled? Same thing.

    Cycling? If you've watched the Tour de France, you know there's a team aspect that goes far beyond just adding up individual performances. (And then there's the team time trial!)

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