Thursday, September 8, 2011

The almost viral topic of swimming with/without wetsuits

Which style of preaching do you prefer?  Hellfire and damnation,
or standing firm on your standards and beliefs (but in a less-emotional way)
Yesterday I noticed a Facebook status from Anne Cleveland that included a link to this article by Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association President, Scott Zornig.  I read the whole thing and enjoyed it thoroughly.

Very early this morning before my swim, I noticed that it caught Steven Munatones' attention and he posted about it in the Daily News of Open Water Swimming.

Then this morning I noticed that Freshwater Swimmer Evan posted his thoughts on the subject.

The only thing I'd like "naked" OW Swimmers to avoid, is too much soapboxing.  I don't like the name calling and overly aggressive "defending" of OW Swimming in its pure form.  You can't really build up the sport by putting others down who choose to swim with wetsuits.  I don't think we need to get caught up with the overblown media attention given to those who swim with wetsuits.  I'd totally prefer the media to give attention to someone who is swimming with a wetsuit, than none at all!

Even though I understand the difference between swimming with/without a wetsuit, I don't really care nor most of the general public, whether the person who did a superhuman swimming feat did so with or without a wetsuit (or for that case, fins, hand paddles, snorkel, in a shark cage).  I guess a part of me does care enough to want the details so I know how valid the accomplishment was, but still it's something to the person who did it.  No need to attack them for it.

Bottom line,  is it worth coming across to all except the truly converted that you're self righteous?  You should stand up for what you believe in, but don't need to be antagonistic about it.


Josh said...

I was just in the middle of writing my own thoughts about this debate when I read your post.

If you want your swim to be recognized by a governing body or organization, then you need to play by their rules.

I choose not to wear a wetsuit for my own reasons. If someone else chooses to wear one, that's their decision and it's not my job to look down on them because they choose something different. In the end, if wearing a wetsuit will get more people to try open water swimming, I am all for it.

Evan said...

Hey Gords - love the cartoon :) I'm copying this from my response to your comment on my site:

I certainly agree that a friendly & welcoming attitude is more effective than self-righteousness in converting newcomers to the joys of “skin” swimming. In fact I’m all in favor of offering wetsuit divisions in shorter, mass-participation OW races (separate divisions being the key).

I hope my post didn’t seem overly vitriolic, but to the extent it did (and to the extent Scott’s letter did), the vitriol was directed not at beginners, newcomers, and wetsuited OW swimmers generally… but rather at marathon swimmers who know better. How would you feel if someone came along and broke one of your GSL world records – in a wetsuit – and then went to the media and claimed to have done so? Such things have actually happened, and that’s where the anger comes from.

Anonymous said...

Nicely put.

Anonymous said...

By the way, here's my 2 cents on the subject.