The temperature in the water recently has prompted a debate on about whether people should be allowed to wear wetsuits or should be forced to swim ‘newd’.

One commentator on the blog spot wasn’t keen on encouraging gear snobs bragging about their ‘bling equipment’ – he said: ‘One of the things I love most about ocean swimming is being able to turn up every week in $50 worth of kit (togs and goggles) and not be disadvantaged by anything other than my irregular style and profuse circumareolo-pecto-sternal hair’.  Eh?

Well, just so you know, that’s the chest hair pattern displayed in Figure 2 below (estimated age of subject: 25) as opposed to that in Fig 1 – circumareolo-pectoral; Fig 3– circumareolo-pecto-infraclavicular or Fig 4 – circumareolo-pecto-sterno-infraclavicular.

Apparently though, most competitive swimmers make it a habit to shave before a race.  Except for seven gold medal winning 1972 Olympian, Mark Spitz that is, who credited his moustache with deflecting water away from his mouth.  The following year, all the Russian swimmers-the men, that is- had moustaches.  Perhaps I should do Movember and the Can Too swim together next year?

That got me thinking about the ideal body shape for swimming and whether I might resort to plastic surgery.  Perhaps a bigger hooter might streamline my profile and I could have my hands and feet webbed with some skin grafts like the Man from Atlantis?  Grow bigger feet like Thorpie or longer arms?  I’ve read a few articles about the fluid dynamics of swimmers and they mostly tell me to make like a barracuda or a penguin.

I’ve tried to make like Happy Feet, but am forced to admit that I can probably only contemplate, rather than cultivate, the perfect body shape for swimming.  I read an article in the Times that said that you should do the right exercise for your body shape.  Men are apparently ectomorphs (skinny), mesomorphs (ripped) or endomorphs (ordinary).  Swimming wasn’t mentioned as good for any of them.  Anyway, I think my body shape is more tony hart morph.

© December 2011

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