The two biggest, most recognized voices in swimming both seem to have a problem with adding the 50’s of stroke to the Olympic Games. 

“I’ve never been real crazy about the 50’s. Maybe I’m old school a little bit. I’m not saying there’s not a skill set, and the swimmers train hard, but I think the true test of of strength and endurance and skill really come in the 100s and up.” – Rowdy Gaines

 

“It’s just like what we had in 2009, after world championships, having those high-tech suits. It’s not swimming anymore. We’ve had this event schedule for so long, and now we’re just going to pick and choose what events we want? I could go into more detail, but I’m really not going to. It’s a touchy subject. I hope swimming takes the turn for the right direction, and we continue to grow.” – Michael Phelps

These are the two most influential voices in swimming and water safety — voices that speak on behalf of us, the swimming world. It’s frustrating, disappointing, and a little bit shocking. Why are they on the other side of the table? They must know that non-swimmers would rather watch a 25 second race rather than a 930 second race…right?

After doing an unofficial poll on Facebook, non-swimmers undoubtedly want to watch a 25 second race.

Adding the 50’s of stroke is nothing like FINA allowing tech suits. There were only four LCM records still standing after the tech suit era: the Men’s 400 and 1500 Free and the Women’s 100 Breast and 100 Fly. Adding the 50’s of stroke have zero chance of doing what the tech suits did. This is the worst analogy ever. 

“It’s not swimming anymore.”

Actually it is swimming. It’s really fast swimming. The type of swimming that normal people want to see. The type of swimming that we all grew up doing in summer league. The type of swimming that is searched out for (and paid handsomely for) in college swimming. The type of swimming that makes swimming about racing.

If we want to continue to grow, we need to embrace our racing roots. It’ll help grow swimming on every level.

I wonder what Thomas Rupprath, Liam Tancock, Randall Bal, Nina Zhivanevskaya, Mai Nakamura, Leila Vaziri, Hayley McGregory, Zhao Jing, Anthony Robinson, Cameron van der Burgh, Adam Peaty, Jade Edmistone, Amanda Reason, Geoff Huegill, Matt Welsh, Ian Crocker, Roland Schoeman, Rafael Munoz, Inge de Bruijn, Anna-Karin Kammerling, Therese Alshammar, and Sarah Sjostrom think about this.

Sprinters are people, too.