CS&PF annual report re: 'The Emergence of the Ego Swimmer'

2»

Comments

  • sylmarinosylmarino San FranciscoMember
    edited October 2015

    There is a reason "secret swims" are happening more and more... people specifically NOT telling anyone about their swims for fear of being seen as "one of THOSE people".

    Yes, the people who give you the gag reflex. The people who have a good job yet without blinking an eye ask you for money to fund their swim (not for charity but to pay for their boat, family to travel, etc.). ** The people who talk to the media like they are the only people in the world who swim. They never speak of their peers (what? peers? I'm-so-awesome-I-have-no-peers) or others in the sport.** These are often the same people who rarely, if ever, volunteer to help others unless they get promotion out of it.

    Swim and shut the f*ck up.

    I'm all for people posting their SPOT tracker on Facebook and what have you. As a community, I love cheering that little dot across and sending all the good vibes possible to a swimmer, sometimes a person I've never met but know through forums, groups and the like. I see this as different, perhaps other people don't.

    evmosuziedodsSwimmersuzdavid_barramalinakadpm50AnthonyMcCarleyTheo
  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member

    I'm too new at distance swimming to be able to afford ego. And browsing this forum protects me against whatever egotism I might be tempted to develop. So does my masters swim practice--frequently!

  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    edited October 2015

    One of the most egregious recent example I've seen, and also feeds into the long running fundraising thread, is this SwimToAfrica site on four wetsuits swimmers for Gibraltar, who are running some kind of bullshit swim coaching motivational business (or "wellness" which is such a made-up marketing term), while at the same time asking for charity to fund their swim. meanwhile using the .org domain, which is usually used by non-profit organisations (like this forum) and charities. Ironically, when the page loads the very first element to appear is the Donate Now button.

    Here is the core of their bullshit:

    "Help us make the Swim to Africa a success. By donating, you'll be helping our team spread the vision of sustainable wellness for all.
    A portion of funds raised will go directly to aid Children's Medical Center Foundation, to assist our littlest adventurers in reaching wellness.
    To ensure that the next generation of bold swimmers and explorers can enjoy this big, beautiful world, we're also giving back with a donation of money raised from our event to the renowned non-profit, 1% For the Planet, an alliance of businesses that pledge to support non-profits that are focused on issues of sustainability."

    You can parse for yourselves the obvious open questions from that.

    I made my choice years ago, and continue to have to made it anew each year. I don't have the finances for more swims, but I will not ask others to fund any swims for me.

    OnceaRunnersuziedodssylmarino

    loneswimmer.com

  • NoelFigartNoelFigart Lebanon, NHSenior Member

    Well, the custom for begging for money for things is certainly annoyingly widespread on the Internet and does muddy the line between general charity and brand marketing and claiming of brand over such things as a damn color in a certain month (I'm looking at you Komen foundation!)

    Though wrygrin I do think it does take a certain amount of... ego to look at a big ole stretch of water in all its danger, critters and changableness and say, "Hey, Immagonna swim across that!"

  • suziedodssuziedods Mem​ber
    edited October 2015

    RANT AHEAD

    You want to swim? Pay for it your own dan self. You want a movie? Pay for it your own dan self. Self promoters sicken me. It's JUST SWIMMING! It's not as if we're saving the world.
    I have accepted money three times and it still puts a sick taste in my mouth. My only excuse it I didn't know any better.

    When I said I was going to try Tahoe, my boss bet me $100 that I couldn't. ( maybe his way of saying I'm going to piss you off so you DO make it), I did a swim for a charity and they reimbursed my flight, and recently the Dolphin Club set up a fund for various events and I got $250 reimbursed of an entry fee.

    I plan to give it back.
    We are a privileged few, there is absolutely no need to go asking for money for your swim and if you do it for a charity, then ALL funds to the charity. If you do it for self glorification... or to pad your "motivational speaking' career... well, I have no words fit to print in a family blog. It disgusts me.

    I swim to swim, for the joy of letting my body do what it can do, to see the world and to meet people. Nothing more, nothing less.

    sylmarinoevmoswimmer25kChickenOSeaSydneDKatieBunSuirThing

    Looking for the next big thing.. ... @suzieswimcoach
    www.suziedodsswimcoaching.com

  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member
    edited October 2015

    suziedods said:

    You want to swim? Pay for it your own dan self. You want a movie? Pay for it your own dan self.

    100% on board with you. All I ever received as a pseudo-pro was free swimsuits from the Victor and a few boxes of Powerbars. IMHO, trying to score money from the public for a hobby is somewhat lame.

    In addition, I find it laughable to read or hear about a big swim only for it to go bust for any multitude of reasons; like the string on my suit broke, or the dog ate my homework. Even more ridiculous is the follow-up on-line group hug and "attaboy" for hanging tough for a whole hour into the swim you forgot to train for.

    suziedodsevmoChickenOSeadavid_barrarosemarymint
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    edited October 2015

    suziedods said:
    RANT AHEAD

    You want to swim? Pay for it your own dan self. You want a movie? Pay for it your own dan self. Self promoters sicken me. It's JUST SWIMMING! It's not as if we're saving the world.
    I have accepted money three times and it still puts a sick taste in my mouth. My only excuse it I didn't know any better.

    When I said I was going to try Tahoe, my boss bet me $100 that I couldn't. ( maybe his way of saying I'm going to piss you off so you DO make it), I did a swim for a charity and they reimbursed my flight, and recently the Dolphin Club set up a fund for various events and I got $250 reimbursed of an entry fee.

    I plan to give it back.
    We are a privileged few, there is absolutely no need to go asking for money for your swim and if you do it for a charity, then ALL funds to the charity. If you do it for self glorification... or to pad your "motivational speaking' career... well, I have no words fit to print in a family blog. It disgusts me.

    I swim to swim, for the joy of letting my body do what it can do, to see the world and to meet people. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Oooh a wager is a great idea though!!!!! Very honourable way to extract $$ (well I'm Australian), and with the added thrill of the possibility of losing :)

    suziedodsrosemarymintAnthonyMcCarley
  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member

    Ok I'm of two minds on charity fundraising: On the hand (coming from my running background), I get skeptical of organizations like Team in Training--how much of the money raised actually goes to leukemia and lymphoma research?

    Yet a friend of mine who was diagnosed with lymphoma volunteers as a coach and participates in Ironman events himself. I respect his efforts and commitment.

    On another occasion, I myself was called upon to join in a half-marathon for the Chron's and Colitis Foundation--normally, I wouldn't have, but as a family member is dealing with the condition and has celiac, I decided to go ahead with the half marathon fundraising effort, even though it cut some of the training I was doing for a longish swim. I have no regrets. Again, this is not something I'd do normally but b/c it involved a family member, I didn't want to say no. Also, at the time (not sure what the situation is now), a larger percentage of the money raised went to CCFA than in the case of Leukemia and lymphoma Foundation/TnT. I chose to pay my own transportation to the race, rather than raise the larger amt of money for having my airfare covered.

    Finally, the Great South Bay Swim asks participants to raise $500 for the charity it supports. This does not cover the entry fee, nor does it cover travel to the swim. The money raised goes to the charity. I always try to contribute as much of my own money as possible to the effort, but because it's a worthwhile charity, I do call on people to contribute--and if they can only contribute a few dollars, fine. I cover as much as I can--some years more than others. I also value the swim itself--it's a great community effort and the organizers do everything possible to ensure safety for all who participate. Besides, it's in a body of water that I grew up with, learned to swim in, and so the race has personal significance to me.

    Overall, I think there can be a value in charity fundraising, as long as it's largely for the charity, not just "I'm raising x amount of money for x organization but really it's all about me."

    If the person's interest is to raise money and awareness for a specific charity and s/he chooses to do it through an activity, such as swimming or running, as the Biblical saying goes, "by their fruits, you will know them." If there is genuine interest in supporting the charity and the person is respectful of the marathon swimming community, I can see supporting whatever charity the person champions. If it's "gimme money so I can swim x distance and get the freebies I need to do it," that pretty much shows up soon enough.

  • pavlicovpavlicov NYC USASenior Member

    Just on a philosophical note, I fail to see a difference between people asking for money and stuff to support their swim (those 'scumbags'!) and people asking for money and stuff to support their wedding/marriage (oh, how lovely bridal shower) or their new baby (oh so cute baby shower). Just saying.

    NoelFigarttortugadavid_barrasuziedods
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    edited October 2015

    pavlicov said:
    Just on a philosophical note, I fail to see a difference between people asking for money and stuff to support their swim (those 'scumbags'!) and people asking for money and stuff to support their wedding/marriage (oh, how lovely bridal shower) or their new baby (oh so cute baby shower). Just saying.

    Not sure if this post is suggesting a more honest evaluation of the loveliness of brides and the cuteness of babies.... Or perhaps that such tactful "observations" should qualify as an exemption from monetary outlay... or something else entirely.
    But I did laugh the laugh of concurrence. ( which was more of a snort of sorts)

    pavlicovsuziedods

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • sylmarinosylmarino San FranciscoMember

    Someone once bought me a beer after I swam. That was cool. I will swim for beer.

    suziedodsNoelFigartdpm50malinakadc_in_sfgregocJenAChrisgreenerosemarymintmjstaplesand 6 others.
  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member
    edited October 2015

    sylmarino said:
    Someone once bought me a beer after I swam. That was cool. I will swim for beer.

    I shotgunned a beer handed to me by Wayne Snellgrove who was kayaking for me in Key West 1999. I thought it would be cool to start the party early. Being as dehydrated as I was; I became instantly hammered. My world was spinning. I had huge vertigo for the last mile, and then dry-heaved from the finish buoy up to Smathers Beach. Don't know by I wasted your time with this little ditty, but I did anyway.

    Later.

    IronMikeDeemaJenA
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member

    @swimmer25k Actually it's nice to hear a different story about a swim finishing on Smathers Beach than the usual one...!

    swimmer25k

    loneswimmer.com

  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member

    loneswimmer said:
    @swimmer25k Actually it's nice to hear a different story about a swim finishing on Smathers Beach than the usual one...!

    Dare to be stupid....er, I mean different.

  • I fully subscribe to Nic's comments . It is what he didn't write that is most elucidating!

    I assisted a chap in Sydney train for the Freedom Swim(Robben Island-Blouberg 2 years ago. He is a doctor and raised awareness for some cause in Sydney. He comes to CT , swims the Freedom Swim IN A WETSUIT! I call him out on this . His reply : No-one will know I swam in a wetsuit...... I made sure everyone did , as you can imagine. The fault lies with the organisers of this event who have put profit and PR above endeavour. Turning to ice swimming : I swam the 1st ice mile in 3c in Fraserburg in 2010 with 5 others. Never again - probably the most stupid thing I have ever done. The difficulty now comes in that the 'ice swim association' is promoting this to the degree that there will be serious accidents BUT part of their promotion is egging folk on. This is dangerous in the extreme. Talk about ego.....

    The era of 'ticking boxes' is amongst us. We need to be very wary of this.......

    loneswimmerDanSimonelli
  • Ned: Your point regarding wetsuits: My view: It is cheating , plain and simple. What we do is probably the final unassisted human endeavour left on our planet. Lets not denigrate it by allowing wetsuits which : make the swimmer buoyant ; remove the cold (90% of the challenge) completely ; AND make the swimmer faster - approximately 1m per km for swimmers who average 15m/km. Its disgusting to even think of open water marathon swimmers contemplating wetsuits as an option!

    AnthonyMcCarleyNoelFigartChrisgreeneloneswimmerDanSimonelli
  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member
    edited December 2015

    suziedods said:
    RANT AHEAD

    You want to swim? Pay for it your own dan self. You want a movie? Pay for it your own dan self. Self promoters sicken me. It's JUST SWIMMING! It's not as if we're saving the world.
    I have accepted money three times and it still puts a sick taste in my mouth. My only excuse it I didn't know any better.

    When I said I was going to try Tahoe, my boss bet me $100 that I couldn't. ( maybe his way of saying I'm going to piss you off so you DO make it), I did a swim for a charity and they reimbursed my flight, and recently the Dolphin Club set up a fund for various events and I got $250 reimbursed of an entry fee.

    I plan to give it back.
    We are a privileged few, there is absolutely no need to go asking for money for your swim and if you do it for a charity, then ALL funds to the charity. If you do it for self glorification... or to pad your "motivational speaking' career... well, I have no words fit to print in a family blog. It disgusts me.

    I swim to swim, for the joy of letting my body do what it can do, to see the world and to meet people. Nothing more, nothing less.


    I'm so pleased I'm not the only one who doesn't believe people should crowdfund their "ground breaking " swims. Agree with you 100%, Suzie. If you want to take on a huge swim, by all means find a sponsor, if somebody's willing, but don't ask the rest of us to pay for you making money out of your future "glory". I'm not an outspoken person but this really gets my goat. steps down from soapbox

    suziedodsSydneD
  • msathletemsathlete Victoria, British Colubia, CanadaGuest

    One of the things I love about swimming is that it is easily accessible to most people. All you need is a swimsuit, goggles, cap and water. It can be a no or low cost venture. Kind of like soccer and basketball.

    What I have found to be a bit of a challenge with marathon swimming however is keeping it economically accessible to everyone, particularly with swims such as the English Channel, Catalina, Manhattan Island etc.

    I know of several people who would love to do one of these swims but simply can't afford it.

    IronMikeKatieBunChrisgreeneswimrn62DanSimonellitortuga
  • Its been a great education for me reading all of your comments. Mahalo a nui loa!

  • NoelFigartNoelFigart Lebanon, NHSenior Member

    msathlete said:
    One of the things I love about swimming is that it is easily accessible to most people. All you need is a swimsuit, goggles, cap and water. It can be a no or low cost venture. Kind of like soccer and basketball.

    What I have found to be a bit of a challenge with marathon swimming however is keeping it economically accessible to everyone, particularly with swims such as the English Channel, Catalina, Manhattan Island etc.

    I know of several people who would love to do one of these swims but simply can't afford it.

    Hmm, not sure the way I am doing it is really a low-cost venture. Gym fees,* swim entry fees, bathing suits and equipment will cost me a bit over a grand for the 2016 season and that isn't even counting travel costs. (Hotels in SF shudder)

    The 2015 season was more than that, but I got some private lessons and a kayak.

    Not that I am anywhere near ready for the big, impressive swims. Then those prices are going to go up like a rocket.

    • Though amusingly, the price I paid for fuel oil last year (oil water heater) was almost exactly offset by my gym fees. I almost never shower at home, after all!
    JenA
  • @NoelFigart , don' t pay for hotels.. ping me. Or.. as @molly1205 did, the hostel in Ft Mason or Hotel San Remo on Mason St...
    We aim to please.. :)

    Looking for the next big thing.. ... @suzieswimcoach
    www.suziedodsswimcoaching.com

  • It's just swimming. It's just a community of people that enjoy the same thing. An accomplishment is a personal thing. Let people treat it however they want to. If you're outta line, karma will get you; if you come from the heart, it's all good inside. Quit judging.

    KNicholasneenssthomasdpm50unclejonny
  • sharkbaitzasharkbaitza LondonMember
    edited January 2016

    suziedods said:
    RANT AHEAD

    You want to swim? Pay for it your own dan self. You want a movie? Pay for it your own dan self. Self promoters sicken me. It's JUST SWIMMING! It's not as if we're saving the world.
    I have accepted money three times and it still puts a sick taste in my mouth. My only excuse it I didn't know any better.

    When I said I was going to try Tahoe, my boss bet me $100 that I couldn't. ( maybe his way of saying I'm going to piss you off so you DO make it), I did a swim for a charity and they reimbursed my flight, and recently the Dolphin Club set up a fund for various events and I got $250 reimbursed of an entry fee.

    I plan to give it back.
    We are a privileged few, there is absolutely no need to go asking for money for your swim and if you do it for a charity, then ALL funds to the charity. If you do it for self glorification... or to pad your "motivational speaking' career... well, I have no words fit to print in a family blog. It disgusts me.

    I swim to swim, for the joy of letting my body do what it can do, to see the world and to meet people. Nothing more, nothing less.

    I do think I disagree slightly here Suzie. I did an EC Relay and did it for charity. Had the charity not had the process in place, paid for the boats, organised practices in Dover and the rest, it is highly unlikely I would’ve ever done it. On the way, I discovered how amazing swimming, in particular, cold water swimming, was. I have done many swims since then, raising funds for the initial charity and many others. I have introduced a few friends to swimming and they have also done remarkable swims and raised money for charity. None of this would have occurred if the charity hadn’t had that process in place.
    I don’t think this is a black and white issue. There’s a lot of grey area. There are thousands of potential swimmers out there that don’t have the means to do what some of us are privileged enough to be able to do. If there is a way to include these people without compromising the integrity of the sport, shouldn’t we be doing everything within our power to help?

    DanSimonelliIronMikeChrisgreenedpm50
  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member

    @sharkbaitza
    I agree wholeheartedly.

    However, I think Suzie's point was about self-aggrandizement without any commensurate giving back, and asking others to pay for that.
    (Correct me if I'm off base, Suzie :)

    I think a lot of good can be done by leveraging the spectacle that our sport is to the general (i.e., 99.9%!) population.

    So, like any sound fundraising venture with integrity, keeping expenses low while raising funds or other support for a cause one is passionate about helping will make our world a better place.
    :)

    ~
    " Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

    • Howard Thurman
    sharkbaitzasuziedodsChrisgreenedpm50
  • Howard13Howard13 Member
    edited May 2017

    wow im responding to a 3 year old post.....
    In 2016 i started to think exactly the same as what Nick posted here in 2014.
    I started open water long distance because i was looking for lets call it a way out/a different enviroment/growing up....
    There were swimmers out there thst chose to swim the E/C more than once...This i could not fathom ...Why i asked...
    After my crossing in back in 09 like alot there becomes a void that needs filling...For me swimming helped and still helps fill that void...So here i swim to swim.
    Five years later and still only a few Marathons in my Speedos bought 2016...
    I wanted to go Early because i needed that void again to be filled , I wanted to fill it by achieving something i thought was acheivable but out of the box...Low key with very limited social media im still swimming to swim...
    I actually considered and spoke to my Buddy Martin J Cullen about when i had reached french shores and was able to see sand i would refuse to finish the swim...I would know id made it and my crew would know ...
    They would have to respect my decision, This way i coukd slip out as easy as i slipped in...still swimming to swim...
    Martin listened .His reply was "why would you do that"
    "you know you would have only had 25 maybe 200 meters left to finish however by the time you get back to Dover it would be 3 miles and you were pulled , In 6 months it would be 3 hrs and you were pulled
    So after that conversation I am now "Swimming to Shine"
    I wanted to achieve and i wanted people to know...
    Late mmmh ...not really sure .The Training that followed early was mixed ..Why? Do I Need To? Can I afford? Is it Fair on my wife ?
    2016 was a massive year in Open water and i certainly fell victim to social media and status However i do believe although partially going late was " Swimming to Shine" deep down i was still "swimming to swim"
    I enjoy nothing more than Swimming in Seas and Oceans.It fills thst void and yes it needs filling a few times.
    I like many have a job to hold down and a mortgage to pay , So like Rocky picking his fights i pick my swims..Maybe ill pick another" Swim to Shine" but in the meantime im "Swimming to Swim".
    Back to Nicks post its spot on and i could notagree more with it albeit i fell victim to falling out of its remit.
    Nick is certainly a Swimmer i respect along with others..

    (excuse spelling and punctuation errors...written on my phone)

    IronMike
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member

    BUMP

    evmossthomasSydneD

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited July 4

    In the 6 years since Nick wrote about this, I've come to think the defining feature of the Ego Swimmer is less about self-promotion (though self-promotion is a common side-effect), and more about behaving as if you are bigger than the sport itself. Standards which apply to everyone else, the Ego Swimmer thinks don't apply to him/her. Naked, narrow self-interest at the expense of the community's interests.

    david_barraIronMikeJacqueCopelj26
  • curlycurly Issaquah, WAMember

    I'm fascinated that a solitary, individual sport such as swimming also has the best team spirit and support. That's probably one of the reasons the ego swimmer stands out. They don't quite get it.

    david_barraMvGIronMikeJacque
  • MvGMvG Islamabad, PakistanCharter Member

    @curly said:
    I'm fascinated that a solitary, individual sport such as swimming also has the best team spirit and support.

    Well said. Quite a paradox. But the longer I'm in this sport, the more I find that what makes it special for me, even more than the satisfaction of athletic achievement, is the people and the sincere and worldwide camaraderie.

    rlmIronMikeJacqueKatieBun
  • JacqueJacque Karlsruhe (Germany)Member

    @curly said:
    I'm fascinated that a solitary, individual sport such as swimming also has the best team spirit and support. That's probably one of the reasons the ego swimmer stands out. They don't quite get it.

    Absolutely. The water drew me into long distance swimming, the people and the community made me stay. I especially love that there is a sport with hardly any competitiveness among each other, at least if you just swim the crossings outside the 10-25k competitions. It doesn't really matter how long it takes you - we can admire a speedy crossing, but we also respectfully bow in front of the really long swims because we just know how much it takes physically and mentally to stay in for hours more than others. For me it is exactly that sense of uncalled for competitiveness those ego swimmers bring into the sport that repels me, but also the unfairness of taking and not giving back and the fact, that talking about something seems more important than doing it.

    Lynne
  • curlycurly Issaquah, WAMember

    @Jacque said:
    ... I especially love that there is a sport with hardly any competitiveness among each other, at least if you just swim the crossings outside the 10-25k competitions. It doesn't really matter how long it takes you - we can admire a speedy crossing, but we also respectfully bow in front of the really long swims because we just know how much it takes physically and mentally...

    I was reflecting on your comment and I think I have to respectfully disagree. I think many of us are extremely competitive, whether we are racing someone else, racing the clock or just trying to push ourselves to a new limit. However, we are also sportsmen in the true sense of the word. (And of course I'm including our fabulous female swimmers with the term "sportsmen" just because I don't know another word.)

    Remember the incredible 100 meter fly final in the last Olympics. Three of the fiercest competitors raced to a three way tie for second, while a new face burst on the scene and won. Phelps, Cseh and Le Clos were long time rivals and all of them were going for the gold. But the end scene was a hand holding show of unity as they stepped up to the podium to receive their silver medal. And then, an honest display of happiness and respect for the young gold medal winner Joseph Schooling when he received his medal.

    Yes, I think we all try to do our best and defeat whatever challenge we put in front of ourselves, but when it's all said and done, we realize that we are all in this together. We know how hard it is to do a solid workout, day after day. We know the work we have to put in. And we know we have all done it together even if we do it alone.

    https://cdn.newsapi.com.au/image/v1/cecc76ccb38552245455970a2a1d1673?width=650

    flystormsIronMike
Sign In or Register to comment.