More silly comparisons

Just read this article in a German paper where the advertisements a Formula 1 driver can wear on his suit is compared to the fact that swimmers are not allowed to wear advertisements.

That is really the height of illogical arguments.

Compare the amount of space to advertise on from a F1 driver, who is actually covered in fabric, to that of a male swimmer, who wears a tiny bit of cloth around the loin.

How much advertising can go on such a trunk?

I think the swimming and commercialisation debate needs to find a useful consensus and not wildly speculate on the worst comparisons.

The article in Frankfurter Allgemeine compares a swimmer to an ice dancer. Again a useless comparison as an ice dancer can be seen for a prolonged period of time by a large amount of viewers. I remember having spent hours on a Saturday afternoon to watch the ice dance competitions, but swimming is not on for that amount of time and would not attract the same viewers, just like tennis, football or boxing.

I spend a large amount of time near the London Aquatic Centre, located right next to the West Ham stadium. The thousands of people going past the LAC to a football games, compares to a tiny number of people who come to visit a swimming competition.

There is little commercial viability in sponsoring swimmers as much as footballers.

Swimmers spend the most time, they are on-screen, under water. The only time they are able to carry advertisement on them, would be for most of them on the coat or dressing gown they wear prior to the swim or on their cap.

As even Adam Peaty rightly remarked, swimming doesn’t have such a large viewing audience that would make the advertising very viable for companies to pay large amounts for.

Of course some athletes do get sponsorship from companies, which is largely not visible but then there is little point in making it known other than by the sponsors themselves. There are swimmers who get free cars or other perks, which is not widely known.

Katinka Hosszu is one of the most quoted athletes causing grief to FINA over the inability to make money from performance swimming. Yet Katinka has a very viable company in her country, with a commercial website, has an enormous status and sells her own branded merchandise.

I am not sure about Michael Phelp’s reaction to the debate but he is another great example to show how the swimming can create a successful world-wide brand, that sells swimming equipment.

This sparring with FINA is not helping the sport, a sport that relies largely on voluntary involvement to make it happen in the first place.

How many free volunteers swimmers think they can get if the swimmers all earn money from the swims but the volunteers have to work for free?


Can’t swim but volunteer

volunteer award
Well done Madison with Jeremy and Jo

Tonight at the Hackney Aquatics Awards evening, Madison won the Jeremy Tobias-Tarsh volunteers award for providing more than 115 volunteer hours helping other swimmers in the club and the coaches.


If you love the sport of swimming and remember those times when you were in the development squads, then you know how it feels to get that extra special bit of attention that a pool side helper with great stroke knowledge can bring.

Hackney Aquatics has a great young volunteers program, helping young persons into an aquatics career.

The THH and HAC partnership

arena1Overall the location has solved a problem for swimmers and it worked out well. All those swimmers who left Bethnal Green Sharks to continue their careers at Hackney Aquatics have made an excellent choice.

Swimmers always just want to get the best training they can and it was a choice of the committed swimmers from Bethnal Green to move to Hackney.

The Advanced Coaching scheme provides training set to national standards and it proved a treat for swimmers who will compete at the Winter Nationals next week.

Madison is sorry to have missed the Arena league competition final but the team did very well. What a rise from bottom league to Premier League in the space of 2 years. The Arena League is a superb competition concept as it allows the whole team, across the ages and squads to come together as a team and seal the club spirit and set the tone for the season.

For many the friendship and team spirit make the choice to become swimmers easy.


The gender gap

You need to read the whole article to come to the conclusion.

If you think, men will always outdo women on strength simply because what their hormones do. They have better bone density, stronger muscles, bigger hands, bigger feet.

Even gender swaps are unfair to born females because a women changing into a man, doesn’t get the same attributes that a man would have had, but a man changing into a woman brings all the male attributes to the new person.

bigger hands

bigger feed

bigger body

That works the same in each sport where there are gender re-assignments competing. Leaving a male female classification is not improving the sport, it simply improves the methods people use to get better results within that classification.

to relate this to swimming, I think a simply body length classification would improve the sport because that is what it is all about.

It is not about who is the fastest over a distance regardless of their size. It does not improve the sport to measure in that way. It is about improving the sport, human agility and strength and speed and that can only be achieved if the sport participants are classified in categories of athletes who have the same attributes.

If you classify swimmers into body length then we may get a 6 foot male swimming against a 6 foot woman but that is really better than having a 6 foot male swimming against a 5 foot male or a 6 foot woman swimming against a 5 foot woman.

OK it does make a difference how big your hands or your feet are because the kicking and shuffling of water during strokes makes also a big difference.

Yet simple gender classification doesn’t distinguish those differences any longer because of gender re-assignments.

Maybe swimming should adopt a measuring classification that is more sophisticated. After all even the post office measures parcels 4-dimensional, e.g.

height, length, depth, weight.

Yet swimming has only gotten to 2 dimensions and these 2 dimensions do not properly represent the swimmers in the pool.

How about height, hand size and foot size as 3 measuring points? That is not sexist at all and simply looks at facts.

sport stuck in the past

including and especially swimming.

The only part of being stuck in the past, that I agree with Adam Peaty is the fact that I think swimming results are measured in an unsophisticated way, with the exception of para swimming, where they measure speed by the para classification and then compute the winner via Fina points.

Especially now with the declassification of sexes, and more athletes declaring that they are a gender and classic gender classification becomes rapidly out of fashion, sports need to find a fast way to change the way results are computed.

They are very simply computed by

  • the fastest
  • the furthest
  • the highest
  • the most

Apparently boxing has found quite acceptable ways of measuring success by dividing match participants into weight classes.

In boxing they would never fight anybody just anybody like they do in swimming. In boxing the boxers need to fit into a weight class.

No such thing in swimming. In swimming it is just the fastest. If you would use that rule in boxing, you would just get all the biggest and tallest boxers smash-up the little ones.

To measure successful swimming, they should compute the body length in relation to the pool length, e.g. distance swam.

A smaller swimmer may get a better result in comparison to a tall swimmer simply because of the amounts of body length they do per distance for their class of body length.

Look at basket ball, you see a lot of tall giants throw a ball around and into a high up net. This does not increase the virtuosity of the ball skills, it just improves the amount of tall ball players on a field.

So far FINA rules forbid men swimming against women in a sexist classification but I see that this is going to be challenged and the challenger is going to win the argument; simply because of the way human evolution works at the moment.

Swimming could just classify by body length/height and measure how long it takes a person of a certain height classification to do the distance rather than let anybody do the distance regardless how tall they are.

I think it is very unsophisticated to run sports so simply as just to measure an outcome without distinctions of participants, but that is just a result of general unsophistication that is around these days.