History books record Benjamin Franklin’s contributions in science, economics and law. Students studying American literature and history have read Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac.
But, how many of today’s swimmers know that the American swim fin, used today as a training aid by competitive swimmers and coaches, was designed by Franklin, one of America’s Founders?
Like Franklin, today’s swimmers continue to search for ways to swim faster. Advances in training methods, refinement of stroke technique, and the development of training aids have allowed swimmers to continue to set new time standards.
Now, the high-tech racing suit worn by many of the Olympians in Beijing is under review by the national swimming community. In fact, recently, the United States Swimming Association banned the high-tech racing suit for swimmers 12 and under.
The suit is made from ultra-sonically-bonded seams which fit the racer like a second skin layer. Delegates to the USSA convention expressed concern, according to a statement from USSA officials, that the costs of the high-tech suit ranging as high as $500 would discourage swimmers from participating in the sport.
The College Swimming Coaches Association’s board of directors voted in favor of the NCAA extending the 2008 ban on the high-tech suit, citing the costs associated with the suit for athletic departments while also contending that the suit aids in flotation-enhancing performance, a violation of NCAA rules.
Nevertheless, the NCAA voted to lift the 2008 ban.
Olympian seeks research support
Olympian Ryan Lochte of the U.S. swimming team and a winner of four medals, met with congressional representatives from Illinois urging support for reauthorization of legislation to fund research of muscular dystrophy, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Actually, he donated a portion of his endorsement earnings to a nonprofit organization serving individuals affected by muscular dystrophy.
Switzer begins 18th season
Alan Switzer, who coached men’s swimming at UMaine for 19 years, winning two New England championships, begins his 18th year at Plymouth State as women’s coach.
Switzer’s Plymouth teams are 89-75 during his tenure and compete in the Division III New England Championships.
Swimming is for everyone
If the cooler temperatures, the decrease in daylight and the approaching winter have you searching for a physical activity to replace bike rides, walks through the neighborhood and paddling on Maine’s rivers and lakes, consider swimming.
In the article, “Fitness Basics — Swimming Is For Everyone,” by Barbara Russell Samataro, University of New Mexico exercise physiologist Robert Robergs claims, “Swimming is a good, whole-body exercise that has low impact for people with arthritis, musculo-skeletel or weight limitations.”
Tay Stratton of the Little Rock Athletic Club points in the article to the complete body exercise offered by swimming. “Swimming recruits all the major muscle groups, including shoulders, back, abdominals, legs and glutes. Because water affords 12 times the resistance as air in every direction, it really helps build strength. It’s cardiovascular and strengthening at the same time, and not many workouts have that.”
So, pack a towel, a non-high-tech suit, a pair of goggles and a set of fins and begin a swimming routine at a local pool.