Ask a Swimmer

It's your turn folks.  The Michael Phelps hysteria is near its climax.  If you don't know who the guy or don't give a crap about swimming, you can skim this post.  Basically I'm offering my services up to anyone who has any questions about swimming.  I've been a competitiive swimmer since the age of seven so I'm pretty well versed in the topic.  No question is too lame, but I shall provide some examples.

Why do they shave their bodies before a race?  How does one do an eggbeater kick?  Is butterfly as hard as it seems?  When do they exhale?  Why are they such a fidgety bunch before a race starts?  Is the smell of chlorine an aphrodisiac?  Do they like movies about gladiators?  How do they avoid swim burnout? 

I'm here for you.  I taught swimming lessons from a very early age because that's what everyone in my family did.  It wasn't my most favorite job, it was just my first job.  I did learn a lot teaching kids how to swim.  I'm also not too shabby of a swimmer in my own right.   I continue to swim as part of my triathlon training and my overall fitness.  I'd be glad to offer swimming tips, answer any swimming questions, or pose in my Speedo.  So don't hesitate to ask.  I'm here for you and I won't even ask for any money.


About lessinges

Seattle native, discovering life! I like ice cream, cold cereal, and The Amazing Race.
This entry was posted in Current Affairs, Don't Quit Your Day Job, Science, Speedo™sphere, Sports. Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Ask a Swimmer

  1. brookem says:

    ha, good one. maybe i should do the female version of this post?
    i know all the answers to your questions. but, does melvin?

  2. Sicilian Mama says:

    I love swimming and I love watching the swimming during the Olympics. It’s very exciting.
    Here is my question (questions?):
    Why do women drool over Michael Phelp’s body? Am I the only one who does not find him drool-worthy? Sure, he’s exciting to watch swim (the boy can move in the water…it’s amazing to watch), but I’m not sure he’s drool-worthy in my book.

  3. Sicilian Mama says:

    Did you add the pose in your speedo part? BEcause I swear I didn’t see that option when I first read this post.

  4. Sicilian Mama says:

    Also, I have to add that the butterfly is the only stroke that I have never been able to master. It was the reason I wasn’t part of the swim team in my community growing up – we had to be able to do all the strokes and do them well to be part of the team. I’m still kind of bitter about that because my crawl & breaststroke were off the hook, but the coach didn’t care. Boo.

  5. kelwhy says:

    he is completely hot! swimmers bodies are pretty damn hot – the shape they are in, simply amazing!
    thanks for sharing your expertise egan! you’re a keeper! 😉
    IS chlorine an aphrodisiac? hmmmm…

  6. tori says:

    I LOVE the smell of chlorine. I love how even after you (I’m speaking the general kind of you, not you in particular) shower, you can still sort of smell it.

  7. Golden or NTKTOK says:

    Hey! You need to actually ANSWER those questions in your post! I wanna know!! I have another question as well.. Do they shave EVERY where???
    And let me tell you.. pictures of Anna blow me away…but the real thing? Her in person? AMMMAAAAZZAAZZING! She looks a lot like you E..

  8. brandy says:

    As a new swimmer, my question is this- what’s the best way to protect your hair (other than wearing a cap)? And secondly, on a scale of 1-10, how big of a nerd am I if I think I want one of those nose plugs next time I go swimming in the ocean because the salt water hurts when I start drowning and water goes up my nose? Honesty is appreciated but I don’t mind if you lie if it’s a better answer.

  9. brookem says:

    see, you might need the girl’s version to help answer brandy’s question at least. i mean, the HOH? i know.

  10. meno says:

    I used to be a competitive swimmer too, but i was a lousy one.
    I think the swimmers’s bodies are beautiful. In those new-fangled suits the men and the women are indistinguishable.

  11. egan says:

    Brookem – you know all the answers? I forgot about your prowess in the pool. Um, somebody in the house wants to sell Melvin.
    Sicilian Mama – I will admit he’s not remotely hot, but he is very cut. I think his talent makes the guy a helluva lot more attractive. Every four years swimming is fun to watch.
    Sicilian Mama – you’re correct. I did make a last minute addition, allowing me to tell me who read my blog via Google Reader, this is all part of my master plan to dominate the world.
    Sicilian Mama – butterfly is easily the toughest stroke in swimming. It requires heaps of upper body strength. It was my weakest stroke until I become the muscle bound man I am today. Shame on them for not allowing to join the team because you couldn’t do butterly. Lame.
    Kelwhy – you’re welcome. Phelps has a good body. The sprinter guys are enormous because they’re built for speed. Kind of like the sprinters on a track & field team. Yes, believe it. Chlorine is the stuff of erotic dreams.
    Tori – I maintain the fact I had zero dates in high school is because of this very thing though. I reeked of chlorine night and day. I’d sweat and then the odor of chlorine would ooze out my body. Ooze, ooze, ooze. I did that Ooze thing for Brookem’s benefit.
    Golden – ha, the shaving question. Let me answer this from personal experience. When I shaved, I shaved everything north and south of the border. I made sure the border was nice and clean, but yeah… there you have it. Let me take one question from the top: exhaling. Most swimmers exhale underwater which is why you see all the bubbles when they use the underwater cams during the Olympics. Obviously you inhale when you breathe and exhale underwater. You also have to be okay with swallowing poolwater because it’s going to happen no matter what.
    You did get to see Baby Singe in person didn’t you? Everyone says she looks a lot like me. Maybe someday she’ll look more like her mom than me. Right now it seems she’s all daddy.
    Brandy – now these are some great questions. Hair! If you’re really concerned about your hair, swimming isn’t the sport for you. Chlorine is a bitch and will do all sorts of stuff to it. The caps do help, but they don’t breath so well. I never wore them during practice, but wear them during competitions like swim meets and triathlons. Conditioner became my best friend at an early age.
    Nose plug. Wow, this is a tough one for me because I’m fairly opposed to nose plugs. I think it’s so important to exhale through your nose while swimming. That being said I noticed one of the sprinters using one during the Olympics. So I personally would say 7/10. Nose plugs are cute if you’re a synchronized swimmer, but not so cute if you’re swimming for exercise. They do serve a purpose though.
    Brookem – I suppose a woman’s perspective could be useful. I’m not really sure there’s anything a woman can do to protect her locks with swimming. I know there’s stuff you can put in your hair prior to entering the pool that negatates the chlorine damage. I’m not sure how effective it is. I considered discolored hair as a right of passage for swimmers.
    Meno – that’s so true. For the most part you don’t see too many guys wearing the full body swimsuits. They wear the bottom down suits which are pretty slick. Yep, those men and women have some impressive physiques.

  12. Sicilian Mama says:

    I agree – hella lame that I couldn’t be on the team. Oh well. I”ll get over it someday.
    And I agree with you about your nose plug opinion. Very important to be able to exhale through the nose. (And I noticed that swimmer with the nose plug in the Olympics, too!! In fact, I told my husband how odd it was they were wearing one…was that a backcrawl sprint that they were wearing one? I can’t remember…probably doesn’t matter…I must stop rambling now…)
    You rock at the swimming stuff, yo!

  13. egan says:

    Sicilian Mama – it’s never too late to learn butterfly though. Nose plugs just seem wrong for swimming, but maybe some swimmers have more problems with water pressure or inner ear aches than others. Did you say backcrawl sprint? Okay, we need to fix that right here and now. The four strokes are: butterfly, backstroke (not backcrawl), breaststroke, and freestyle. Crawlstroke sounds so cheesy and backcrawl is like nails on the chalkboard. … but, but, but someone has to ramble other than me.

  14. Cléa says:

    Do they get, um, fitted out for their Speedos?

  15. egan says:

    Cléa – yes, you better believe they get fitted for their Speedo. That’s a job someone has to have to ensure a quality fit. Interested? The job is hard work, but someone has to do it.

  16. kirk says:

    is that new fandangled suit really make people that much faster?

  17. egan says:

    Kirk – there has been much debate about the new swimsuits. It’s really hard to say if it’s the suits or the overall fitness of the swimmers. Records do get faster over the years no matter what. It’s no surprise none of Mark Sptitz’s records lasted very long. From my perspective they must help a bit and when it comes to swimming, hundredths of a second matter. They increase the buoyancy just a bit making a swimmer ride closer to the surface of the water, less resistence. I heard NPR did an entire bit on the new swimsuits. I love the thought of NPR discussing Speedo swimsuits.

  18. Golden or NTKTOK says:

    I think you should shave Melvin and put him in a Speedo.

  19. Cléa says:

    Put me down for it! I think I would meet the job requirements. Good eye for detail. Good judgement. And prior experience in appraisals.
    Does the job pay well?

  20. Pants says:

    Swim burnout, as in swimming like three laps, getting bored and giving up? Cause that’s me. I like swimming in open water, Lake Tahoe is my favorite! But I get bored swimming laps and melt quick.

  21. Candace says:

    Can you please demonstrate both the eggbeater kick and butterfly stroke? Thank you. I never could do a butterfly stroke. Possibly because I simply tried to emulate people I saw doing it on TV and have no grasp of the actual mechanics.
    You’re saying that chlorine is NOT an aphrodisiac? That doesn’t seem right, because I was at the pool only yesterday and it certainly seemed to work its magic on me. Maybe it only affects certain people. Like beets. A lot of people will admit that beets taste like dirt (or if they’re being posh, they call it “earthy”) but no one but me seems to be able to tell that they taste like mildew. Maybe you can.

  22. Candace says:

    PS how would I go about getting a job as a competition Speedo fitter? I bet the guys always smell like chlorine. *swoon*

  23. Sicilian Mama says:

    My bad. I know it’s the backstroke not the backcrawl. And I know the frontcrawl is technically called the freestyle. But when you teach little kids (at least around here), you call it the frontcrawl and backcrawl. I don’t know why…easier for them to know what we’re talking about? Anyway, I haven’t really swam in an adult environment in a long time to call them their proper names. Please forgive me!
    I have another question for you. Why are the commentators at the Olymics total tools? I can’t stand half the shit they say while they are talking about the events. They talk out of their ass and then make assumptions that they can’t back up. Like when the USA won the relay a few days ago – the one guy was like, “France will win…I don’t see how they won’t win” and then USA totally beat France’s ass…and the one guy last night while Phelps was doing the semifinal for the IM, the guy kept going on and on about how he highly doubts that Phelps will win another gold and blah blah blah. It’s so annoying! And then they are all surprised and make stupid comments when a US competitor is courteous to the another competitor from a different country. Why do they do that shit??
    I hate sports announcers almost as much as I hate DJ’s.

  24. sizzle says:

    I just had to get that off my chest.
    I’m fascinated by their pre-swim ticks.

  25. ms chica says:

    If you aren’t looking for money, then exactly what are you motives? Hmmmm?

  26. egan says:

    Golden – you’re assuming Melvin has a torso right? Well you’d be wrong. Melvin is only a head and shoulders. He’s sort of like an alien, but not quite the same. I can control him with batteries.
    Cléa – the job doesn’t pay well because many would offer to do the fittings for free. Are you still interested? Your prior experience is a perk.
    Pants – there’s something so liberating about swimming in lakes. Pools can get boring if you’re not training. My burnout was from swimming twice a day for about eight years. It got to be too much for a 9th grader.
    Candace – interesting, I had a dream last night I was teaching someone how to do butterfly. It was a really weird dream. Somehow Jason Robards appeared in the dream and had a room Anna and I could share. It was like an apocolyptic dream minus the presence of Clive Owen.
    Nope, I’m saying chlorine is an aphrodisiac. I know I loved the way I smelled and couldn’t get enough of it. Let’s not even mention the girls in high school who oozed chlorine scent. I love your “earthy” comment, so perfect.
    Candace – you must apply and have prior hands on experience.
    Sicilian Mama – yes, you’re forgiven. About commentary though. I happen to like the swim guy because he’s pretty knowledgeable about the sport. He’s got some great insight. I think he was being honest during the relay. The French guys were heavily favored and the commentator was just doing the math. I think it makes the US win in that event all the more incredible. I do think they talk a bit too much, but then again the Olympics are only on every four years. People really only see swimming on tv for a week every four years. They have to appeal to the lowest common denominator.
    Sizzle – the pre-swim ticks are such a part of the sport. I remember doing similar antics. Mainly because I got so paranoid about my goggles fitting right.
    Ms. Chica – I’m looking for fame, duh.

  27. Candace says:

    Who is Jason Robards? Now I have to Google him, dammit. I’d share a room with Clive Owen any day. Jason Isaacs would be invited, too. When are you going to teach me the butterfly? No info was forthcoming on technique or anything. Don’t make me resort to YouTube.

  28. Candace says:

    Who is Jason Robards? Now I have to Google him, dammit. I’d share a room with Clive Owen any day. Jason Isaacs would be invited, too. When are you going to teach me the butterfly? No info was forthcoming on technique or anything. Don’t make me resort to YouTube.

  29. Candace says:

    It’s annoying when that happens.

  30. egan says:

    Candace – Jason Robards is an actor who died about five years ago. You’ll probably recognize him after you complete your Google search.
    You want technique tips on butterfly for real? The most important part of butterfly is what’s commonly referred to as a two beat kick. One kick to lift the upper body out of the water and a second kick to propel the body forward. When the hands enter and exit the water the palms should be facing outwards. Master the kick, it’s hugely important for butterfly success.
    Candace – see above.
    Candace – yes, but these things happen to the best of us.

  31. Tod says:

    Hey Egan, What’s the answer to the question about if swimmers like movies about gladiators? Also, do swimmers like it when Scraps holds on to their legs and rubs up and down? Just remember, my momma didn’t raise no dummies, I duck yo’ rap.

  32. Cléa says:

    Of course! Of course! Prior experience is everything. And if they let me take photos, woohoo! And if they don’t, I have a photographic memory than can write about it.

  33. JLee says:

    That guy is a swimming machine! My question would be about nose plugs. I have trouble keeping water out of my nose unless I’m breathing out and I noticed some Olympic swimmers had nose plugs. Are there some good ones out there that won’t come off? And more importantly, will people make fun of me for wearing them?

  34. churlita says:

    My brother was a swimmer, so I not only have my questions answered, I was frequently slapped with a wet towel for asking them.

  35. Emmavita says:

    I was on the swim team when I was 11 and 12 and I hated the butterfly, mostly because it was the super hard one I could barely do. But I still love the smell of chlorine. Are you serious about the picture? That would probably be one of my highlights of the summer. You and the creepy monkey-gorilla can take it together!

  36. egan says:

    Tod – well isn’t it nice to hear from you. I think you know the answers to those questions. Don’t play coy with me sir. I know you’re doing charity work on an island, but I know how your mind works young man. I want to name a kid Scraps for fun. Peace out amigo!
    Cléa – I also have photographic memory, or so this is what I tell myself. I think it’s what makes acquiring foreign languages all the easier. I could be pulling shit out of my arse though. You’re hired!
    JLee – well, I can’t say you won’t get made fun of. Nose plugs just look funny. If you’ve watched any of the synchronized swimming, you’ll know what I mean.
    Churlita – oh yes, the wet towel snappings. Man, I remember getting some nasty marks on my legs from towel whippings. Imagine having four other brothers. They can be rather ruthless. Come to think of it, my sister was the most ruthless.
    Emmavita – butterfly is a bitch. There’s no way around it. It’s a very tough stroke to master. I’ve noticed as I become more muscle bound, a joke… sort of, it’s easier. Upper body strength really does help. I’m glad you like the gorilla photo, I will be sure to take a shot with Melvin.

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