Top 5 Ways to Improve Swimming
It’s impossible for a typical viewer to look at swimming and suggest improvements. They watch swimming once every four years. They know of only one swimmer…Michael Phelps.
But you — the collective swimnerds out there — know exactly what needs to be done.
If the decisions were left up to me, this is what I would immediately change to improve swimming. What do you think?
#1 Gender Equality
Why do woman still swim the 800 instead of the 1500 at the Olympics?
Why do woman still play the best of 3 sets instead of the best of 5 sets, like men, in tennis? Last year John Leicester wrote a column for the AP stating, “Not having women play best-of-five-set matches, like men, at major tournaments is core to tennis’ equality problem, because it hardwires gender inequality into the sport.”
#2 Add 50’s of Stroke
The 50 Free has long been the most popular event for obvious reasons. Short, fast swimming is exciting. How many more kids would be apt to stay in the sport if they could swim 50’s of stroke? That guy or gal that can only swim breaststroke would now have 3 solid events. Older professional swimmer’s would have expanded options to continue to train.
FINA is not to blame for this one. They’ve actually been begging the IOC for years to add the 50’s of stroke.
#3 Improved Graphics & Statistics on TV
Wouldn’t it make logical sense to let the audience in on WHO is swimming and WHAT their times are?
According to Rowdy Gaines, the media outlets have no say in this. This is a FINA decision.
Name one other sport in which you have to PAY to view results. Results shouldn’t be monetized. This is completely and utterly a detriment. This is hurting swimming. The goal is to improve swimming.
#5 History & Superstars
The history of swimming and the lack of marketing our superstars has been neglected forever — and I’m not even talking about outside of the sport — I’m referring to inside our sport. The vast majority of USA club swimmers have no clue who Tracy Caulkins is. Or Matt Biondi. Or Jenny Thompson. Or Jeff Rouse.
I’ve told this story many times but I used to go to swim practice with a framed picture of the greatest sprinter of all time. I offered $100 to any kid that could name the swimmer in the frame. Sadly, I never paid out because nobody knew who Alexander Popov was.
This isn’t an easy hole to dig out of and is certainly not as simple as the above four. But, in the social media world that we live in, it’s far easier now than ever before.