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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Age-man Always Looking Out For Each Other

下げマン (age-man) and さげまん (sage-man) are slang words occasionally used in Japan. Age-man refers to a woman who helps her husband succeed and is a positive influence on his destiny. Sage-man is the opposite and refers to a woman who brings her husband down and is a negative influence on his life.

While these phrases have their own particular connotations in the Japanese culture, we can see that "age-men" abound in the open water swimming world with a gender-free meaning. Open water swimmers - both men and women alike- are the ultimate of age-men in the sports world.

Aquatic age-men unselfishly help each other at workouts in the pool and open water. They push and pace each other on long training swims. They serve as paddlers, kayakers and support crew. They emotionally comfort and support their teammates and swim buddies in times of need. They readily and expertly mix hydration drinks and hand over bananas and gel packs. They apply lanolin and Vaseline. They assist in logistics and make introductions to friends. They tweet updates and upload YouTube videos. They help as volunteers in races and donate for charity swims. They lend swim caps and zip up wetsuits when necessary.

Because the sport pits humans versus nature in such a raw and dynamic manner, teammates and swim buddies interact and support each other on myriad practical and profound levels.

Such is the camaraderie and collegiality among open water swimmers…aquatic age-men who are always looking out for each other.

Photo shows Nacho Grignaschi, the age-man and husband of professional marathon swimmer Noelia Petti of Argentina.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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