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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Political Incorrectness In The Open Water

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The triathletes and road runners have the Clydesdale and Filly divisions in their sports. These terms refer to athletes in the triathlon or road running communities who weigh a certain amount that can vary from event to event.

The divisions were created for individuals who are larger than average and are not meant to be an out-of-weight, out-of-shape classification.

The male Clydesdales generally refer to athletes who weigh 200 pounds (90.7 kg) or more while Fillies or Athenas refers to female athletes who weigh at least 140 lbs (63.5 kg), although the weight minimum can vary from race to race.

Admittedly politically incorrect, a few large and over-sized, but experienced and self-confident, athletes in the open water swimming community have privately used equivalent terms among their workout buddies: Beluga, whale girth, and buoyancy training (or carbo bloating).

Beluga is a slang term describing an athlete in the open water swimming community who weights 200 pounds (90.7 kilograms) or more.

Whale girth is a slang term for abdominal obesity, also known as belly fat or love handles. It refers to the fatty bulges along the sides of the body at the waist or, in general, excessive abdominal fat around the stomach and abdomen that can occur in humans of any age or gender.

Buoyancy training is a slang term for eating too much, especially around the holidays and if no other physical training is being performed.

Carbo bloating is a slang term for eating too much, especially around the holidays and if no other physical exercise is performed. According to the Urban Dictionary, it is also the resultant feeling of unease from ingesting too many carbohydrates in the days leading up to a marathon.

But while pounding on the pavement and the impact of running often leads to foot, leg, shin, ankle and knee problems or injuries among joggers, runners and triathletes, open water swimmers are buoyant in the water and fortunately have much fewer joint problems. Depending on how you measure density of the human body, swimmers can seem much lighter in the water - the equivalent of 10-20% of their body weight on land.

Copyright © 2012 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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