It is so redemptive for me. I always said there were only two physical things that I was coordinated enough to do well: swimming and sex. Primitive things. I am a water lizard. I dance to the heart rhythm. Ocean water was once our blood, you know.

Skimming, suspended, I leave the rest behind. Fast, fast, yes, I wish I could run like this. I blow bubbles of laughter, and hear them break on the surface, echoing.

The wonderful thing about swimming, is that for anyone who ever did it competitively, no matter how long ago it was, you will always generally feel athletically superior to most everyone else in a public pool. Swimming involves a technique that is far, far more important to doing it well, than most other forms of exercise. The technique goes a lot farther than strength, or even endurance.

It's always nice to feel like you're good at something.

A form of athletic activity that involves propelling one's body through water with only the use of arms and legs.


Swimming is one of the best exercises because you not only get a good work out, but there is a spiritual release there that you find in few other activities (except maybe Yoga.) When you are floating on top of a pool, letting the bottom slowly float by underneath, you can truly feel free. You have escaped from the bonds of gravity and moved into your own world where nothing is pulling you down. No one can talk to you because sound does not travel well through water. So you are by yourself to contemplate your thoughts and see what has been disturbing you and your life. Swimming not only allows you to think about your troubles and stress, it also gives you a chance to release them by using the power of your own body. It is truly an amazing experience.

Most children under six months of age swim reflexively. When placed face-down in a pool of water (only do this with your infant if you are very brave and willing to risk the wrath of your spouse), babies will hold their breath and paddle and kick in a swimming motion.

Some children retain the swimming reflex for a longer period of time. Many parents, frantically following a wandering toddler who goes directly towards the pool, have been relieved to find their child happily swimming away after falling in. Keep in mind, however, that this is a relatively small percentage of children and you should still watch them like a hawk when they're around water.

There has been a proliferation recently of neonatal swimming 'classes' that take advantage of this very reflex to teach children how to swim at very young ages.

Like coffy, swimming is one of the few activities that I am able to do and do well. (My proficiency at sex I will leave to the judgment of others). And, I agree with Wedge.net that technique is vital to the enjoyment of this sport and I have also in the past felt like a champion amongst the crowds. There are a few points, however, that I would like to highlight about this sport. Looking at these points carefully, I am certain that you will agree that swimming is simply the best activity you can commit to on a regular basis and as I will prove, an almost bearable alternate to sex.

First and foremost, as pictureUsee mentioned, swimming is damn good exercise. It is one of the best cardiovascular workouts you can give your body and one of two forms of exercise that utilize the all the major muscle groups (cross-country skiing is the other). If you compare your resting heart rate to that of a regular swimmer, especially one of the formerly competitive variety, you might be in for a shock. The average resting heart rate is 75-80 beats per minute. Your swimmer friend’s heart rate might be as low as 40! Lastly, swimmers have hot bods. I’m serious, swimmers as a whole, are an incredibly sexy bunch because of the nature of the sport which works out all the muscles and does not overdevelop any one part of the body. Take for example, speed skaters, whose lower bodies are generally much more muscular and bulky than their upper bodies.

Male swimmers look good in Speedos.

Swimming is, in my experience, much akin to meditation. The breathing is very controlled and regulated and the movements are repetitive. This enables the swimmer to develop incredible concentration. A friend once mentioned that the reason he found running so relaxing was because he didn’t think about anything other than the motion of his body. In the same way, a swimmer can focus on the body and on the body alone, leaving behind various worries of the dry world behind. The enforced repetition of movements stabilizes concentration. Furthermore, unlike land sports of any kind, the swimmer has the advantage of being un-interuptable. All the chaotic sounds of world are deafened by the flow of the water and there is little to distract the senses in the average swimming pool. Other than other swimmers, there is usually little to look at.

One can utilize the above arguments for many other forms of physical activity, but there is one feature, one bonus that swimming provides that no other sport can lay claim to: continuous full body massage. I first discovered this fact while snorkeling topless. The sensation of the warm water of the Andaman sea, gently caressing my breasts as I slowly swam about was overwhelming. Since I had never before allowed them such a freedom as to have direct contact with water, the feeling was completely foreign and new and wonderful. When I returned to Canada, and to the public pool where such lascivious behaviour is not permitted, I was shocked to realize how much this experience had changed my relationship to swimming. Previously, I had always concentrated on my breathing, on reaching further, on propelling my body a little faster. Now, I focused my attention on my body as a whole, on the sensation of the water on my skin and wow wee, it felt great!

Try this the next you are swimming. Swim a couple of laps the way you normally would and concentrate on your technique. Then try to focus on your arm or your leg or any other limb. Just feel the water on that part of your body. Eventually, move your thoughts to your entire body and try not to think about the actions or the motions. Just think skin…how does it feel? Think of the water as a giant masseuse You will be amazed at how incredible the sensations are, and, dare I say, almost orgasmic?

I feel that since most of the above writeups are focused on the relaxation one can feel while swimming, I have to expand on Wedge.net's writeup. Competitive swimming can be anything but relaxing.


It was the winter of my senior year of high school. I had joined the swim team the previous year for many reasons. There were the speedos, the exercise, and the fact that all of my friends were on the swim team, and it gave us a place to hang out. Practice was a lot of fun, and a great release for some of the pent-up tension from the daily frustrations of high school. Since I'd only been swimming for a year, I still wasn't very good at it, but it was fun nonetheless.

And then there were the competitions. I really hated the competitions. My heart would beat ten times faster as I entered the pool area, aware that my performance that day would affect my team's success. They didn't really expect much of me, but they needed me just to be there and complete the events to get a few spare points. That much I could do. So time after time I would come in last place in the 50 free, the 200 free relay, and the 400 free relay. I was always put into sprinting events for some reason, and I always did badly.

Then finally the day came that I was put in the 500 free, the distance event in high school. I wasn't sure if I could swim 500 yards, but the coach thought I could, so I tried. I still came in last place, but the anxiety wasn't nearly as bad. There's something about waiting for ten minutes all for a race that's over in thirty seconds. Your anxiety builds, and builds, and then you unleash it all very suddenly, and then the race is over. The 500 was a very different race. My anxiety would disappear as soon as I hit the water, and I was free to swim like I did in practice. It felt much better, and I wasn't as far off as I was in the sprinting events.

Before long I trimmed a few minutes off of my time until I was down in the 7-8 minutes range, which to be honest was pretty good for someone with my experience. I had gotten good enough that I could actually stand a chance while competing for something other than last place. One day, I got the chance to prove myself.

It was the week of Valentine's Day, and my boyfriend at the time came to cheer me on. My friends, too, were there of course. There was a good deal of pressure on me, because it was a fairly close match so far. There were only three people racing that day, because some teams just don't have enough swimmers to put them in these events. One of the other people racing was John, one of my teammates. He was very fast, so I knew he would get first place. It was all a matter of who would be getting second place. I wanted very much for it to be me.

As soon as we hit the water, John left us in the dust. Gradually, I saw the other guy getting further and further ahead of me. A 500 is 20 laps, so that gave him plenty of time to creep away from me. The entire time I was pushing myself just to keep up with him, not to let him get so far away that I didn't stand a chance to catch up. John finished minutes before us, so we were left racing as the crowd cheered. He was half a pool length ahead of me going into the final lap, but he seemed to be tiring. I heard my friends cheering for me and saw them as I did my turn. I saw my boyfriend too. They all were cheering for me, and they all had confidence in me. I wanted to impress my boyfriend so bad. I wanted to win.

I don't know how it happened. By all laws of nature and physics, I should have been so tired that I could barely have finished the race at all. I reached deep down inside though, to a place I never knew existed. I liberated this part of me, this part of pure instinct and pure determination. I shot off the wall like a bat out of hell, and decided right then and there that I would not lose that race.

My blood was pure adrenaline as my arms propelled me forward, as if they were independent from the rest of my body. I lost all of my usual focus on going stroke by stroke; I knew the form, and so did my body. I let my body worry about the details, and just unleashed a torrent of energy that sped me through the water. The guy was getting closer, and closer. It was obvious that he was worn out. My body tore its way through the water, blasting right past the other guy in the last five yards, claiming a great personal victory. I don't even know if my victory then had any impact on my team's victory, but it doesn't matter. It meant a lot to me, personally. I went back to my boyfriend and we smiled at each other, and I put my head on his shoulder and felt my body coming to terms with the effort I had just put forth.

To me, swimming is not about relaxing anymore. I've experienced the feeling of relaxation that people talk about, but it really has nothing on the feeling I felt that day. Somehow, now, I can call on that feeling at will while I swim. My body surges with strange energy that I didn't know I had, and I push myself beyond what I think is physically possible. It is a new and altogether different kind of freedom than the experience of weightlessness. I don't think I have ever been as free or as happy in my entire life as I was that day, the first day I felt that deep, ancient connection to my body.

Swim"ming (?), a.

1.

That swims; capable of swimming; adapted to, or used in, swimming; as, a swimming bird; a swimming motion.

2.

Suffused with moisture; as, swimming eyes.

Swimming bell Zool., a nectocalyx. See Illust. under Siphonophora. -- Swimming crab Zool., any one of numerous species of marine crabs, as those of the family Protunidae, which have some of the joints of one or more pairs of legs flattened so as to serve as fins.

 

© Webster 1913.


Swim"ming, n.

The act of one who swims.

 

© Webster 1913.


Swim"ming, a. [From Swim to be dizzy.]

Being in a state of vertigo or dizziness; as, a swimming brain.

 

© Webster 1913.


Swim"ming, n.

Vertigo; dizziness; as, a swimming in the head.

Dryden.

 

© Webster 1913.

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