Courtesy of Claire Forrest
Has a stranger ever approached you and said, “Let me guess…you’re a swimmer?” Swimmers might be surprised each time this happens, but we really shouldn’t be. There are so many physical traits that are telltale giveaways we spend most of our time in a swimming pool.
10) Your hair is always at least a little bit wet.
Making it to school or work on time after morning practice is always iffy, so drying your hair all the way through is very hit or miss- if you choose to do anything with your hair at all. And let’s face it: if you swim doubles, your hair will still be damp from your morning practice when you jump in the pool at night.
9) You eat whatever you want and take epic naps.
No shame. You got up before the sun and swam thousands of yards. Reap the benefits with a glorious Swimmer Nap and eat all the carbs you can handle.
8) Your internal clock has the ability to wake up at a time when most people are still in REM sleep.
A co-worker or peer complains about their alarm clock not going off again and all the swimmers of the world just roll their eyes.
7) None of your clothes fit correctly in the shoulder areas.
Jackets that are purely fashionable do not exist in a swimmer’s wardrobe. Even jackets that have the functionality of keeping you warm can’t properly accommodate your swimmer shoulders. And don’t even get female swimmers started on dresses that zip up in the back. It’s not happening! However, swimmers rock t-shirts and tank tops like nobody’s business thanks to their amazing biceps.
6) You have super dry skin.
Sure, winter is hard on everyone’s skin. But you’ve never experienced dry skin until you’ve spent hours a day submerged in chlorine. You can put lotion on three times a day and your skin still rivals the Sahara Desert.
People brag about running four miles, but you swam that many before they even got out of bed. Plus, you have amazing lung capacity, so any cardio activity outside of swimming is a piece of cake. Challenge any gym rat to a set of pull-ups or push-ups and leave them in the dust.
4) You always smell like chlorine.
Sure, you can complete the run in gym class no problem, but the minute you start sweating, people ask, “Why does it smell like a pool in here?” Whoops. I swear I showered. Promise.
3) You look great in a Speedo or a one-piece swimsuit.
How many people can actually say that? You look great. And a tan-line from a one-piece swimsuit is a thing of pride.
2) You have chronic Chlorine Cough.
You try to take a deep breath, but your lungs never really feel full, and you end up hacking away. This is thanks to breathing in the air of a poorly ventilated pool for many hours a day. No, I don’t have bronchitis. Yes, I’m sure.
1) You have an amazing body.
And the best part? You earned your swimmer’s body. It’s hard work, but it’s work that you love and makes you feel and look amazing. Enjoy it. You woke up like this….at 5:15 A.M, but still!
Claire Forrest is a recent graduate of Grinnell College with a degree in English. She is currently based in Minneapolis, Minnesota as a freelance writer. The only competitive swimmer in her family, Claire went to her first swim meet at the age of eleven on a whim without even knowing what a swim cap was. She fell in love with the sport and never looked back. A S6 classified disabled swimmer for US Paralympics, Claire specialized in mid-distance freestyle and backstroke and made national and world rankings throughout her career. She was a 2008 and 2012 Paralympic Trials participant. Claire is passionate about integrating disability swimming into the larger swim community, having swam for able-bodied club teams and her college’s DIII team. She enjoyed both Paralympic and prominent integrated able-bodied meets equally for the many commonalities they share. Over 13 years after her first meet, she’s happy to report she now owns more swim caps than she can count.