The Power Of A Swim Woman


There are things that only a woman who swims understands.

Early in the morning. In the mirror a reflection of you. Dark circles confused between the halo of melted mascara and the goggle marks on your forehead.

The chlorine smell is still there, between the sheets and swimsuit to wash and backpack to fix.

The water is already part of a daily rhythm that is always the same, but is always different.


Many swimmers say: “the pool is my second home”. I have often seen my lane as my unique home.

When the walls built of brick and cement didn’t seem to embrace you, the other walls, those of water and blue tiles always did. You have found comfort and comparison, you lost yourself in the smiles of children waiting in line on the benches. The only place where you were not afraid, even if half naked. The weaknesses in the water are not used against you, to destroy you, but to strengthen you, to let you express that strength and wonder that you have.

We are the ones who have felt hair and eyebrows burning by chlorine.

We would buy the “miracle cream” that in one application erases a year of ill-treatment. Each time, however, we look in the mirror and smile at the elastic that wraps chlorinated hair in a cloudy tail.

We train with the boys, but our times will always be higher.

Numerically, we will always be different from them. We are our own universe in the universe.

We wear colors and brighten up the lane. We give tips and remedies.

We embrace strength.

We have forgotten what is to wear bracelets or earrings during the week and look forward to the weekend to make us irresistible. We play with make-up to paint red lips and dissolve hair at last, of those shoulders shaped by strokes.


We love the technical suit. It hides cellulite. It’s so tight that seems to pulls together the broken pieces that reunite us only when we go on the block.

Behind the goggles we hide mascara dissolved by water and tears.

We are able to swim with fevers, hoping that the water could cure us. We swim in the days when our body is on different rhythms, reminding us that our being women is there and we can’t escape it.

In water we found a world beyond our world, the power over our weaknesses. We treated a broken heart with chlorine. To revive it, we took it back to the limit, until it could resume its beat.

Other people told us that we practice a sport for males, that we have broad shoulders, but we smile every time, because we love this ‘male’ sport, and our shoulders, which have become so broad just to rest the heads of those who need it.

It’s time to zero gravity, to lighten the weights, to prove to ourselves that the pain doesn’t exist, that tiredness will pass, that the legs that know how to walk on soles raised twelve centimeters from the ground, wrapped in black stockings, can push water and grind kilometers. Our arms, delicate and soft pillows, can become thrust engines, cutting water and seconds, one aspiring to recognition: ours.

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Just Keep Swimming
3 years ago

No one has ever told me swimming is a “male” sport. Usually there are way more females than males at meets.

Reply to  Just Keep Swimming
3 years ago

Was about to comment that, never heard Ur before either but okay whatever

Reply to  Just Keep Swimming
3 years ago

Swimming never was formally a “male” sport only. But from the very beginning of the history of this sport they were treated differently by officials and fans. Women competed in different set of events and for a long while the competition in women’s event was weakly developed. It was viewed like a women soccer or WNBA. But with the coming of great leaders in women competitive swimming especially in 21th century the situation has changed dramatically. The competition in women’s swimming became tough exciting and fun to watch. It demonstrated much more progress than the male’s one and that drew much more fans’ attention.

Reply to  Just Keep Swimming
3 years ago

Yeah…..why is it again women aren’t allowed to swim the 1500 at the Olympics?

Reply to  Apso
3 years ago

they are at Tokyo 2020 Olympics they added 800 and 1500 events for Womren

Reply to  Just Keep Swimming
3 years ago

Ask any of the women who swam before Title IX about their experiences. My mom had to stop swimming in college because there were almost no collegiate women’s teams. I work with a coach whose father had to sue their local YMCA so that she could join the team. The Y claimed women couldn’t swim with them because they trained naked. Ask any of the female coaches who work with elite athletes today whether theirs is a male dominated profession.

Maybe no one ever “told” you because you never bothered to ask.

3 years ago

A cool article. Well done.

Trinette Terry
3 years ago

Yes! Only a swimmer will understand what you said. When I first started swimming I used to wear the suits with the little flounce to hide the stomach. I wouldn’t dream of wearing one of the suits today. I used to spend a couple of hours doing my hair 2 or 3 times a week. LOL. No matter now bad I may feel, I always feel better after swimming. There is love and life in the water. That feeling of being hugged by the water last for hours after leaving the pool….and yes, I only swim for me. I love my broad shoulders, too. I love the water and the water loves me. I’m always safe in the water. That’s… Read more »

About Giusy Cisale

Giusy Cisale

 GIUSY  CISALE Giusy Cisale ha frequentato il Liceo Classico "T.L. Caro" dove era impegnata nella redazione della rivista scolastica. Nel 2002 è tra le più giovani laureate in Giurisprudenza dell'Università Federico II di Napoli (ITA). Inizia il percorso di Avvocato Civilista, conseguendo nel 2006 l'abilitazione all'esercizio della professione di avvocato. Si avvicina al nuoto …

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