TLFT*: Michael Phelps

Watching some recent olympic track and field events still sitting on TiVo, I’m finally starting to understand how amazing it was for Michael Phelps to swim 17 races and win 8 medals and break multiple records over the span of just a few short days. For some reason I wasn’t really that impressed by the announcers constantly repeating it. It’s just swimming in water right? You don’t even sweat while doing it!

Watching the track events and seeing the people that do multiple events have to go through heats (like Phelps did in the water), I’m completely and totally amazed by some track stars doing three different events over the span of a couple days. I guess it’s because I ran cross-country and longer track events at one time in my life, and that I can see they are totally exhausted at the end of each heat, but I am amazed at the insanity of running full bore several times a day over the course of a couple days.

Then I realize Phelps did about three times as many heats/races in a similar timespan, and that the few times I’ve been in an olympic-sized pool exhausted me almost instantly, and I have a new appreciation for the insane amount of sheer exertion that kid put himself through.

* too long for twitter

3 Comments

  • Hello from Japan.
    This is the first time to comment, but I’ve been reading or watching your site from time to time (not always) for some years. I love your photos and writings very much.
    >You don’t even sweat while doing it!
    Yes, you do sweat while you’re swimming hard.

  • “You don’t sweat while swimming.”
    This is a myth. I swim 3 miles a day 5 times a week and I lose 3 to 4 pounds during each swim. You absolutely sweat, you just don’t notice it.
    Your body heat doesn’t remaining elevated afterwards like land-based exercise, because the water (which is ideally between 80 and 83 degrees) regulates your body temperature; I think that’s why most people don’t think people sweat during swimming. But you make up for this by burning 4x more calories than you would running an equivalent distance.

  • Oh yeah, sorry. I threw that in there as a subtle joke I have with my wife, who is a swimmer. I used to mock her marathon swims compared to my marathon running and say it was no big deal, because you don’t even sweat — the joke being that I was such a terrible swimmer and it was ridiculous for me to discount her exercise when swimming a mile or so in a session.

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