By L. Behar
For many people swimming as a sport is a boring and demanding athletic activity. To some the mere thought of swimming laps is mostly daunting, unappealing and terrifying. It is one of those after school activities your mom forces you to do, which you despise with all your conviction. To small children the hot water is exciting, but for others, not so much; the single thought of having to wash your soaked chlorine hair, to be completely submerged in extremely hot water which is probably contaminated, by people who do not bother to use the bathroom because it is too far away, is the exact opposite of fun.
Despite all of this prejudice and bad experience you may have had, swimming in fact is an enticing, thrilling and heart-stopping sport, filled with great athletes, legends and growing opportunities. The exhilaration of watching a tied race, where the odds can be simply determined by the touch of a hand in a single millisecond is unparalleled.
A demanding individual sport, which uses the entire body to move through water, consists mainly on four strokes being, freestyle (crawl), backstroke, butterfly and breaststroke. As an influential sport swimming dates back to 2000 BC and is referenced throughout the Iliad and the Odyssey. It was only later in the 19th century where competitive swimming was born, with individuals who attempted to reduce resistance and increase maximum speed, possibly attempting to push and defy the laws of physics. The sport has progressed over time with new discoveries such as the dolphin kick discovered in 1990s by David Berkoff, which revolutionised the competitive swimming world. Open water swimming was recently introduced in 2005 to the Olympics due to its growing popularity among the events of 5km, 10km and 25km.
Do not take it lightly, Swimming is a hard and demanding sport, which if taken to a competitive level bring you often to exceed the levels of exhaustion. In fact, many professional and Olympic athletes such as Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky and Mark Spitz who have repeatedly forged new records, expectations creating one of the most popular Olympic sports, train twice a day, six days a week for 2-3 hours sessions.
Although swimming doesn’t nearly receive the same media coverage compared to football and basketball, it has become an essential sport for many. From the necessary ability of swimming in order to survive any circumstance, to good aerobic exercise, which provides a decreasing probability of coronary heart disease, improving lung and heart strength significantly, and as a benefit, may help mental health.