Gary: This one’s been done and overdone but it always seems to cajole message board responses from swim nerds who want to show off their encyclopedic knowledge of the sports less than relevant details or instigate a heated exchange of what standards to factor into consideration when assembling the fabled greatest swimmer of all-time list.
This topic also encourages reader input. We need some less scathing commentary on Dave & Gary comments.
Dave, why don’t you start this. Who are the greatest swimmers of all time? Your name(s) and reasoning. Go.
David: Sorry, real quick: do you realize that using sentences with 20 words or less is a good rule of thumb for keeping audiences captivated? That first sentence: are you bitter or just incompetent by the way?
David: Anyway, we don’t have time. Coming in at number five: Shirley Babashoff. Queen Shali Baba was as good as they come, and one of the few people I can think of where saying “she went postal” means she went on to have a great job with benefits.
If anybody hasn’t seen the documentary on the East German Team that robbed her of gold, please do so.* It’s on right in between Bob Ross reruns, but before the Ken Burns Jazz series.
Gary: Yeah. Who else?
David: I’ll go with the Magii of magii: Merlin Stewart.
Gary: You realize that by including Mel, you’re still not getting the wage or benefits of a postal worker.
David: I’m not saying this because I want a raise. I’m saying it because I have watched this video over and over again, and I just can’t get enough of it. Any excuse I get to put it in a column, I will do so.
Gary: And to think people thunk I was confident! How’s about the accomplished, yet forgotten swimmer from the distant past? You want to show off your swim nerdness by wheeling out a waterlogged corpse?
David: David Berkoff. Great fly-fisherman. Pretty good swimmer too: kids, research why you can only go fifteen meters underwater sometime.
Gary: I like David Berkoff. David Cromwell, you are as funny as childhood obesity.
David: Gary, just to clarify, do you mean Davi…
Gary: Stop talk, poopy pants. I’ve got something to say. “Greatest swimmer” is too broad a category.
Questions come to mind like what’s more important in the scoring system, world records or Olympic gold medals?Should marketing contributions or general fame be considered? What about yards times? Should “breaststrokers” be considered “swimmers”? etc.
It makes my head hurt, like behind my eyes. We can’t even identify the greatest swimmer of today. Phelps or Lochte?
David: No, breaststrokers are not swimmers. Next question.
Gary: So let’s narrow the field. What about pecs? What swimmer has the best pecs today? The frenchman, Freddie Biscuit?
David: That dude didn’t even have the best pecs in France, are you kidding me?
Gary: Laure Manaudou has some popular pecs. French pubescents have watched her almost as many times as you’ve watched that Gold Money Mel video that you love so much.
David: What about funniest? I will once again throw out Davis Tarwater.
Any man that spills fried chicken grease on himself is alright with me. But, really, the one man that never gets much airtime in these discussions is Aaron Peirsol.
Gary: Funny, Aaron owes me money!
David: Me too. Hm.
Anyway, folks, I challenge you to find an Olympian more willing to lay it all on the line, and be stupid.
I mean, come on! Gary, you just went out hooking for money during your swimming career. Aaron was out trying to make a difference.
Gary: I like Aaron Piersol. Another backstroker. I don’t like that word, “hooking.” I consider myself a professional, with a dark secret. The secret being that I moonlight as a blogger on the Dave & Gary column. I AM GARY! And I also happen to be the funniest swimmer ever.
Remember that time I said you was as funny as childhood obesity? Classic! No, wait. Childhood obesity is not funny.
David: Dude! We left off Scott Goldblatt! The Golden Blatt’er. America’s first swim site broker-dealer. The guy was before his time. And what about Neil Walker? The New Kid on the Blawker?
Gary: I know you swam at Texas, for like a summer camp. An Olympian isn’t the best or the funniest just because you know them. Those guys probably don’t even remember you.
AND those two guys aren’t funny by the way. Really great guys, but not funny. One time Neil Walker talked about fly-fishing on an international flight for 13 hours straight. Tying flies? I was considering the emergency exit.
David: Gary, come on.
Gary: I am trying. Sincerely. It’s not my fault I’ve got the (increasing) weight of David Cromwell around my neck.
What about Tae Hwan Park and that video he put out? You don’t need a translator to understand that hilarity.
David: I have to go.
Gary: Yeah, me too. I’ve got a plane to London to catch.
*In a later made-up interview, Babashoff was reported as saying “and they’re always after me Lucky Charms™ too!”