10 Telltale Signs You Have a Swimmer’s Body

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.

5) You are unimpressed with anyone’s workout regiment unless they are a fellow swimmer.

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 ForrestClaire 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.

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4 months ago

As for number 7, I don’t think swimming works biceps, but it definitely works triceps. Someone please correct me if I am wrong.

Last edited 4 months ago by Nicklaus
3 years ago

I’ve had little kids say I look like Tarzan

2 Cents
3 years ago

You can get a “beer gut” or belly and still easily hide it under a t shirt because your shoulders and chest muscles help your tshirt hide it.

Or another one, you can always fool the carnival weight guess person because they never know exactly how dense you really are.

4 years ago

There is no better justification of being a competitive female swimmer for 15plus years then when you have babies. The strength developed from all the years of staring at that black line on the bottom of the pool makes the muscles in and around your uterus capable of recovering and healing 50% faster. Labor and delivery will be a breeze because the grit that the sport demands is easy in comparison to contractions. There is no better kegal exercise than swimming. Being a breaststroker I had two boys, both with 10min of contractions they finally told me I could start pushing and all it took was one push. I had my boys four years apart and it was the fastest… Read more »

5 years ago

I was a kid backstroke swimmer till I stopped training at age 14.Now I’m 50,a bit plump and though I don’t workout anymore, my arm biceps are still toned and I have no belly fat!

Auntie M
6 years ago

And it stays with you for life xxx

TC from arena
6 years ago

I thought this was going to be a serious piece about the signs to look for in kids bodies, and maybe more importantly athletes who want to compete later in life. Wonder what that looks like. Can’t be alone.

H20 Bruin
6 years ago

Swimming certainly helps build shoulders and burn calories. There is a thing called the Adonis ratio where if you have shoulders that are 1.618 of your waist circumference, that is considered a sign of attractiveness, virility, etc. It is biological and evolutionary signal that humans have been programmed into thinking that it is a sign of health. In nature it is called the golden ratio. Things that are proportioned and have a ratio of 1.618 are considered beautiful. There are many ratios that characterized this observation like width of your eyes vs the gap between your eyes.

Reply to  H20 Bruin
6 years ago

Annette Kellerman was judged to have the exact proportions of Venus. Annette in her 1912 home spun knee length was simply a stunning Edwatdian beauty who also shocked London by swimming 6 miles down the Thames .
The only f swimmer th at I have noticed for beauty is Efimova . There may be some others but you’ve got to be a bit contraversial also . Thats the secret -.

The synchronised girls have the best bods hands down .The Russians are so far above the rest it is nauseous how beautiful they are . Annette devised a set of physical exercises in water to achieve a similar look although the Russians are also trained by the Bolshoi.

I… Read more »

Reply to  H20 Bruin
3 years ago

Most boxes on store shelves follow this ratio of height to width as it is the “most pleasing shape” to the eyes based on focus groups.