Pools Are Boring

If basketball can do this, why not swimming?

Playing a basketball game on an aircraft carrier would be cool if it was a bunch of d3 swimming scrubs, but elite players makes it even cooler. College basketball isn’t the first sport to do it either. Recently, Notre Dame played Army at Wrigley Field and several hockey teams have played at football stadiums (outdoors). It’s hard to argue that any of these sports need more attention, but they go for it anyway.

Why isn’t swimming doing this? Will it just be looked at as a gimmick if we do? Why would it be different?

I suppose the problem is where… Where could swimmers swim outside of a pool? A lake? Yeah, a lake would be cool. The ocean? Yeah, that’d be cool. I’m not talking about open water swimming either. I’m talking strokes and short events, but no walls, just point A to point B. The advantage of this would be that swimming is so time oriented and record oriented that once you move people away from those spots, you can get people focused on racing and not times.

What about a lazy river? Maybe a wave pool? I don’t know. Maybe these are crazy and either 25 yards, 25 meters or 50 meters are the only way to go. I think it’d be fun to try something new though. Any better ideas? Like some of my ideas? Hate my ideas? Post it below.

2 thoughts on “Pools Are Boring”

  1. I think that to some extent we’re seeing this already. In the past decade open water swimming has boomed in popularity. Athens saw the first Olympic triathlon (which included an open water swim) and Beijing’s games in 2008 hosted the first 10k open water swim . Since then the sport has been trickling down through USA Swimming and I know some swimmers have found a nice fit in these long distance endurance races. But obviously, its not really a spectator event. I mean, how many of us sprinters and middle D swimmers actually paid attention during the mile or 1000?

    I would say the recent popularity of hosting unique sporting events at places like Wrigley and Yankee Stadium is part of a different trend. I think that in the major professional sports’ fan base there is a growing nostalgia for a less commercialized–and quite often entirely fictive–version of these sports as is believed to existed in years past. In other words, for a moment or two it may be much nicer to watch a football game played at Yankee Stadium rather than the ugly monstrosity of a building such as Jerry Jone’s Cowboys Palace in Arlington, Texas–the epitome of overzealous spending in professional sport at a time when most people are keeping tighter checkbooks. In this case, just for a game its not about the money; its about history and the purity of the game and sport in general.

    Swimming is doing really well as a sport right now–as indicated in part by the growth of open water swimming–and I’m sure that the popular press will begin to pick up coverage as we get closer to London in 2012. Would it be nice to watch a swim meet in the Coliseum in Los Angeles? Sure. But I don’t think that our sport is having the same identity crisis that the major professional sports are dealing with–which I said is why they have begin to pursue these “unique” venues to begin with.

  2. Interesting points. I can’t argue with a single one. I never really thought about it that way.

    However, since the first olympics wasn’t swum in a traditional pool, maybe there could be some nostalgia in swimming it the same way they did?

    I just worry that the current attention to swimming is from Phelps and that after he retires (or when he fails to win 8 golds or break more than 1-2 records) the sport’s popularity will die back down.


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