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Saturday, March 31, 2012

If Swimmers Were Neurons

Thinking way outside the box...
if open water swimmers were seen as the equivalent of the 100 million neurons that are estimated to exist in the human brain, then the Internet and its websites, blogs, online social networks and video-sharing services are helping tie together these neurons to make swimmers more intelligent, creative and inspirational beings.

As a baby is born in this world, the boundaries and connections between these individual neurons gradually begin to develop a remarkably dynamic neural network that enables the child to know the touch of its mother and the sound of her voice. As the child grows, the neural connections continue to fire up and enable the small human to crawl, walk and talk, to complain and request, first through cries and later through reasoning, persuasion and guile.

Similarly, a venture into the Interwet allows swimmers and triathletes to learn what others do, to become inspired by other’s training methodologies and witness incredible accomplishments. The online connections enable the swimmer to learn where others swim, how they do it, and what others use as equipment. The boundaries between what is possible and what currently exists become closer.

Swimming in water under 20°C seems reasonable if others are swimming in water near 15°C. And if others are swimming in water under 10°C, then 5°C seems a little more doable. Swimming one mile may seem daunting to some individuals until they see and read about swimmers like Craig Dietz and Philippe Croizon venturing beyond the shorelines.

For seeing what is possible in the open water world is a powerful elixir to firing up the imagination. The sport of triathlon has introduced, invited and inspired many land-oriented athletes to take up the open water. Their strengths on land are not always transferred easily to the aquatic environment. The balance on a bicycle is not the same as a balanced swimming stroke. The endurance of a runner is not exactly the same as the stamina exhibited by a swimmer in a channel. The pain of marathon is not somehow different than the discomfort experienced in rough seas on an upset stomach.

But listening to the stories on blogs, observing others on YouTube, and reading the advice of those who have gone before are precisely how the neurons of triathletes and open water swimmers around the world are being more and more connected, more and more collectively intelligent, and more and more bold and creative in the global open water swimming world.

So instead of looking at swimmers as another cog in the wheel, we are more like neurons in the brain: intelligent and creative…and becoming more so over time.

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source

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