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an article i wrote some time ago about my sport ...

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Finswimming - The "Formula One" of Swimming

Anyone who was ever witness to a finswimmer sprint 50 meters gets why finswimming is dubbed the "Formula One" of swimming. The speed is undeniably impressive! But it's not only that. Just like in the Formula One of motor sports, where elegance of race cars fascinates both fans and spectators just as much as speed, the elegance of a finswimmer using a monofin is unrivaled. Like a dolphin, he undulates through the water and it's easy to imagine him breach like the sea mammal. He carves out a wake behind him like no other swimmer. His whole body becomes one dynamic wave that slinks through the water like an orca. Beauty and speed, just like in Formula One.

Though monofins are also employed by free-divers to maximize and streamline their power while conserving energy, the real beauty of using these fins - which resemble a dolphin's powerful tail in form and function - is exemplified in the speed of finswimming. A finswimmer in top form can reach more than 11 km/h (6.8 mph) in the water, which is almost 3 km/h (1.9 mph) faster than the speed of a top freestyle swimmer. Nonetheless, just like the swimmer the finswimmer uses only his own body power to propell himself forward.

But reaching these speeds takes time and plenty of hard training. A Formula One driver goes through years of rigorous training in several classes of the motor sport before he might be allowed to join the "king class". Likewise a finswimmer also needs years to develop and reach his full potential. His body has to memorize the dolphin-like movement until it is second nature and he can do it in his sleep. Small mistakes costing mere hundredths of a second can make or break a race, just like in the top class of motor sports - split seconds count.

The excitement of a 50 meter sprint race with two or three finswimmers hitting the wall at almost the same time is like no other in water sports. But finswimming events are raced in various disciplines at distances ranging from 25 meters (usually for younger athletes) to marathon distance races of up to 25,000 meters in open ocean or lakes. Each venue and race has its own particular flavor and excitement. Sometimes in long distance races, a breakout finswimmer can gain and keep the lead position for the bulk of the race only to get overtaken in the final 20 meters by a competitor who better learned to preserve his strength throughout the race and finish strong.

For all its excitement, finswimming is still not a well-known sport. Popularity is low in part because the fins, especially the extremely fast hyperfins, are mainly hand-crafted and thus expensive; and partly because media coverage of finswimming events is thin. Finswimming rules and disciplines have been approved by the International Olympic Committee in 1986 but still the sport is far from any participation in these prestigious sport games. To be considered for participation the sport has to first garner more popularity, as only "widely practiced sports" are allowed to enter into the "mother of all sporting events". A lot of behind-the-scenes work will have to be done to make this goal come true.

The internet is one medium that already sports finswimming content. Plenty of websites exist where both enthusiasts and the curious can mine for information about the "Formula One" of swimming. Finswimming clubs or swimming & scuba diving clubs with finswimming departments have their own homepages and most monofin manufacturers nowadays offer their equipment via their own internet presence. There even are social communities where finswimmers and everyone interested in the sport can find and meet like-minded people the world over and exchange information. Finswimming Wikis, Events Calendars, Link Directories, Forums and, to make the sport more visual, Photo Albums can be found all over the WWW.

With the help of these dedicated websites and with the promotion of the sport in other medias such as television, finswimming has a much better chance of finally becoming an Olympic sport. By contrast, some finswimming enthusiasts believe that it is undesirable to go "Olympic", maintaining that finswimming should go the way of golf or Formula One which are not Olympic sports yet remain extremely popular. Whatever the personal opinion, the sport has great potential to become at least on par with its slower and more famous cousin, classical swimming - if not even more so. And let us not forget that the elegance and speed of a finswimmer evokes one eternal dream of mankind: to move like a mermaid or merman through the water is now one step closer to being realized.

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finswimming is a fascinating and exiting sport ... if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask! ...

#jgfinswimming #finswimming
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