The real reasons swimmers are … smarter?

December 13, 2012

The other day this article made its way around the world explaining why swimmers are smart. Good article. Factual… but not practical. Want to know the real reason swimmers are smarter? Here they are.

1. We can count. We count by 25’s, 50’s, 100’s. When coach says 10 X {5 X 200) we know exactly what that means, we know how many lengths and how many yards. We know how to count by 2’s. We know how to count for 2-3 hours straight. We can even count to 100.

2. We can calculate. When coach calls out 10 X {5 X 100) on 1:45 with aย  ceiling of 1:30 descending byย  per set, we know precisely what that means.

This is a pace clock. We live by this.


We know what “on the top” and “on the bottom” mean. We can pace a 50 on a ceiling of 37 seconds + 5 and leave on that interval.

3. We smell great. Who do you want next to you on a crowded subway? The stinky basketball player? Or the freshly showered swimmer who smells of a mixture of chlorine and plumeria. At least you know we are clean.

4. We are economical. We wear suits until the fall off of us. We don’t care if you can see through them. If you can we just wear two. helps with drag anyways. Have a hole in one? No big deal, put on two and tie the ends of the holes together.

5. NO hairstyles. Swim caps negate the need for ponytails, braids and ribbons and all that stuff. Pop on your cap and that’s it. You are just like everyone else.

6. We can share: The folks in lap swimming are terrified of us, but we are the ones that you want to share a lane with. We know where you are at all times in the pool, we know your stroke and we play games with you (you just don’t know it).

7. We are simple. These days swimming is a lot more expensive than it used to be but we are still a simple bunch. All we need is water, a suit, cap and goggles.

8. We can sleep anywhere. Ever see a swimmer after a morning practice in school or at work? Head on desk. 20 minute power nap. We have spent our lives sleeping on gym floors at swim meets waiting to swim.

9. We will out eat you. Sunday morning 10K practices. Stay OUT OF THE WAY of any swimmer in the next three hours. A swimmer can consume theirs, yours and your spouse’s body weight in calories in one sitting at that point. Get out of the way.

10. We are the best at thinking about nothing. A true swimmer won’t wear music in the pool and will tell you they think about nothing when swimming. When we are scolded in school for daydreaming…. it’s not that we are daydreaming… it’s that we are staring out the window. Thinking about nothing.



  1. I was a swimmer my whole life, and a math major in college. Number 1 (counting) is my speciality, but number 10 (think about nothing when I swim), I can’t do. Even when I swim, I count everything. strokes, breaths, kicks off wall, tiles on ceiling, underwater kicks of person in lane next to me. My head screams with numbers. Sometimes its a bit much ๐Ÿ™‚ but after 40+ years I’m used to it. My biggest pet peeve is pools that have digital pace clocks – I only want analog. And I want one on each side of the pool, both ends of the pool. Its not that much to ask, is it?

    happy swimming ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. 10. We are best at being present. Love your list Mary!!

  3. Hi Mary – recent stalker, former Rochesterian, first time commenter here. ๐Ÿ™‚

    As someone who was a swimmer first, a runner second, and am still working on the cycling part – I found this list pretty hilarious. I would argue, though, for the inclusion of

    #11: Our Q-tip budget is approximately $0, and our ears are still squeaky clean.

  4. […] The real reasons swimmers are … smarter? (ironmomma.com) […]

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