Teleology of Swimming

So maybe what you want to say (about swimming) doesn't quite fit into one of our other categories. This is the place for you.

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Re: Teleology of Swimming

Postby ScotsFan » Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:04 am

Colbybr wrote:I can just barely remember a time when I had to wait for Swimming World Magazine to publish Top 16 times to get a decent look at what was going on in the rest of the country. Now its easier and easier for swimmers/coaches to know where they stand. Less people can rest on their local reputation.


Indeed. When I was in high school in Ohio the state Athletic Ass'n would publish the Top 10 high school times in the state every week. I don't know how times were reported to the Ass'n, but I remember our coach would tape the mimeographed page to his office window as soon as he got it (times reported to the tenth-of-a second). There was never any assurance that the list was accurate (someone typed it) or complete (e.g., I don't know if everyone was required to report). So I agree that our sport can attribute some of its growth and success to the much-improved communication afforded by the internet.
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Re: Teleology of Swimming

Postby Royce » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:45 am

The concept of individual restrictions was something that was mentioned around the Olympic games with usain secure and what his best 100m could have been had he not bogged down up beginning. If i keep in mind properly, he's already defeated some of the expected periods for how quick a individual can run.
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Re: Teleology of Swimming

Postby Captain Insano » Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:15 pm

I was reflecting on this topic after Dressel's phenomenal swims at SECs in the IM and breast and wanted to resurrect this thread 5 yrs later.

Rowdy Gaines went out on a limb on twitter, calling Dressel the greatest sc swimmer of all time, and this is the kind of hyperbolic comment we all have come to expect from Rowdy. Caleb Dressel will probably not be the greatest SC swimmer of all time, keeping in mind that a guy like him comes along once or twice a decade. But 5 transpired years since I first pondered this collective conscious bs on the forum, and we are still seeing records fall, often by huge margins. It makes me think there are still many generations of athletes who will continue to approach a yet undefined limit in each event, asymptotically. I am just amazed that the limits are as undefined now as they were in 2013.

I still think that the zeitgeist is responsible and I know I'm a new age weirdo for even suggesting it. But I want to draw special attention to one shining example: Anthony Ervin. Dude goes 21.98 (I think) for the gold in 2000, when many considered early 20's to be ripe for swimming. (I don't recall seeing elite swimmers compete past their late 20's until Dara Torres and Lezak showed everyone that you can maintain your peak performance in certain events). How does Ervin go 21.40 after a decade plus at 35? Do you attribute that improvement to training methods? Diet? I'm not going to dissect the man himself at 19 and 35. It's pointless - he's not even the same collection of atoms. But he makes a comeback after hibernating for a decade and wins gold again, this time as what I would consider a "2016 recalibration" of his 2000 self. I really don't think that training methods and diet have improved that dramatically since 2000. But I anticipate that someone (possibly Ervin himself) would disagree and I welcome the debate.

Ervin also witnessed the evolution of the 50 free during his extended sabbatical. He saw Freddy and Cielo destroy 19 sec barrier and the long course records fall too. But is merely seeing the progression enough? To me, there is something more important happening than textbook sports psychology and training methods.

I would also like to find out if thoughtful posts like this will get a response in 2018. If a tree falls in the forest..
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Re: Teleology of Swimming

Postby purpleandwhite » Tue Feb 20, 2018 2:52 pm

No Dressel is not the "most versatile" SCY of all time. I would submit there is quite a gap between him and two ladies namely Tracy Caulkins (AR in all four strokes) and Natalie Coughlin (AR in 50/100/200 and 100/200 fly and back). Caulkins also had 3 individual world records and would have had more except for a dink named Carter.

The secret to Ervin's performance? Cigarettes and diet coke while swimming masters. Don't try this at home, kids.
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Re: Teleology of Swimming

Postby polarbear » Tue Feb 20, 2018 4:24 pm

Dressel is the most versatile today. Of all time? Not sure. Athletes must be measured in relation to their eras -- Bob Cousy was an epic basketball player in the '50's but I am guessing he would get destroyed today. So far how ahead of everyone else is Dressel and how does that compare to Phelps (I know, he didnt swim much in yards) or Lochte or Coughlin or Caulkins or Mary T?

I believe Ervin got back into swimming as a way to quit smoking
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Re: Teleology of Swimming

Postby raz2002 » Fri Mar 09, 2018 3:45 am

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Re: Teleology of Swimming

Postby Nicky Morgan » Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:30 am

Colbybr wrote:I want to posit a theory.

I think the internet has been amazing for swimming. Purely from the vantage point of disseminating information about how other people are doing. How many 19. high school 50 freestyles did we see this year? I do think that seeing others do it made subsequent swims more likely to happen. Being able to watch race videos online has been huge too.

I can just barely remember a time when I had to wait for Swimming World Magazine to publish Top 16 times to get a decent look at what was going on in the rest of the country. Now its easier and easier for swimmers/coaches to know where they stand. Less people can rest on their local reputation.

Well said. Every swim lover have to admit that internet makes easier to get information and enjoy watching real time sports from anywhere.
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