Teamwork in Swimming?
Just some thoughts about swim team.
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Think of the top three sports that come to mind when you think of teamwork and you most likely will not even consider including swimming. This is often because it seems like such a solitary sport. You’re in water, you can’t talk to anyone, and you can’t rely on anyone else to help you in a race besides yourself. So how is swimming still a team sport if the swimmer does not need anyone else for success?
Well if in some ways it is the most individual of sports, it does not lack any of the teamwork aspects that other sports such as soccer have. The format of competition is what makes swimming seem like a solitary sport. The goal of competitive swimming as a team is scoring the most points in order to win the swim meet that your team is attending. But this goal often disappears with the focus on each individual’s race. Winning a race has so much more excitement and fulfillment than winning the meet and an individual’s races are certainly more interesting than the amount of points scored by your team. And the emphasis on individual part of races is increased at the Olympics where sports networks focus on prominent individuals and not on any team function that swimmers have.
Now, the problem here is that the swim team has a different purpose than that of a soccer team and the difference is about the role of the individual. And that difference is that in order to play soccer, you have to have a specific amount of players or the game cannot be played. However, in swimming, the there does not have to be a team in order to win, or compete, such as in soccer. A swim team is not based on forming a machine out of parts but of forming a larger machine out of smaller ones.
A swim team is a group of swimmers decide to train together under a single coach and want to have friendly advice and competition. It is a support network that is built to mutually help each member of the team to better themselves and to maintain enthusiasm about the sport. This social network of teammates is strengthened through shared workouts and the many hours spent together at swim meets talking between events. And this type of team is key for a sport like swimming where one spends most the time swimming back and forth and boredom can easily kill ones enthusiasm for the sport. The support of a team in swimming is what makes swimming unique as a team sport.