Nick Adams on 'The Emergence of the Ego Swimmer'

evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
edited March 2014 in General Discussion
The CS&PF do a great job with their annual report; I consider it required reading for anyone interested in the sport:

http://cspf.co.uk/article/76/2013-cspf-annual-report-pdf

One or two sections of President Nick Adams' report struck me as particularly interesting and worthy of discussion. Here's one:


The Emergence of the 'Ego Swimmer'

We all swim for different reasons. Personally I swim because I love swimming, love being part of an amazing community and believe some form of exercise at the core of one’s life is a good thing. What I am about to write probably won't be too popular, but this is my report, so it's going in!!

My observations of the majority of Channel Swimmers in times gone past, were that they were noble and modest people doing extraordinary things. However, more recently I have seen the emergence of more and more 'high profile' swimmers doing all that they do in the social media spotlight. Yes, this does help the charitable side of their activities, but I feel it is all too often a stretch for the limelight and celebrity status. Frankly I am very bored of the growing number of swimmers trying to find world records, however obscure, to break and sell themselves on.

Swim to swim. Don't swim to shine.

Help others when you have the tools to do so, don't just help yourself.

These are the foundations that this great sport is built upon; utter selflessness. You just have to be humbled by the 'Beach Crew' and their selflessness to get an understanding of the spirit of the sport.

Yes, Webb and Ederle were 'media whores', but they can be forgiven as they really were special!!

Apart from 'Ego Swimmers' changing the feel/nature of the sport, I feel that it will lead to people biting off more than they can chew more often, leading to more problems in our sport. This isn't just happening in Channel Swimming, but in ultra-distance triathlons, Ice Swimming and many other 'extreme' sports
malinakaTheonabilradJellyfishwhispererJustSwim
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Comments

  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member
    edited March 2014
    I'm on board with Mr. Adams' assessment.

    Partly because he describes how (I think) I've conducted myself throughout my swimming career along with many of my contemporaries, which is in contrast to his current observations.

    Social media and the internet have made it very easy for us in society to use these tools for global promotion of our views, beliefs, businesses, successes, and selfies. Not necessarily a bad thing, however, opportunities for abuse and/or over-exposure are plentiful. In the past all we had was a paper delivered on our front lawns destined to be blankets for fish or lining a bird cage. Even this website has links to dozens of personal blogs; many of which I'm guessing Mr. Adams would use as evidence in support of his opinion.

    Chris
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited June 23
    Mr. Adams' editorial raises some interesting issues.

    For example: What is an "ego swimmer", exactly?

    Someone who engages in self-promotion, or cultivates media exposure? Or just self-promotion and/or media exposure which crosses a certain unspoken, undefined line? Why is "media whore"-ing OK for Ederle and Webb, but not for anyone else?

    It feels good to bash self-promoters, but marathon swimming has always (always, always) had more than its share of them. It's the nature of solo adventure sports.

    There is no "emergence" of self-promoters in marathon swimming. The only thing that has changed is that when Mr. Adams started in this sport, nobody was paying attention. Now... a few people are paying attention.

    Perhaps an ego swimmer is just someone who swims for themselves? Which I'd imagine describes quite a lot of us, at some level.

    Mr. Adams says, "We all swim for different reasons," but then says his reason for swimming (he loves to swim) is privileged above others. Does this imply swimmers who self-promote don't love to swim? Or that swimmers who swim for-the-love-of-swimming aren't also swimming for themselves?

    Does it imply that Mr. Adams has insight into the true, underlying reasons people swim?

    The appropriate targets of our condemnation aren't the self-promoters and "media whores."

    It's those who make deceptive statements about their swims. Those who think they're "above" the authentication process. Those who lack personal integrity. As Sarah so eloquently wrote here on the Forum, and as Donal so eloquently wrote on his blog: Our sport is fundamentally about integrity.

    As usual, Diana Nyad is an instructive case. The problem with Diana's recent swim goes far deeper than mere self-promotion.

    If I had a penny for every prominent leader/administrator in our sport who believes DN to be a liar but then doesn't say a word publicly....

    Lies are best fought with reason and truth, not silence.

    There are different styles of participating in this great sport of ours. Some go about their business relatively anonymously. Others choose to participate while being engaged with others - and the internet and social media have enabled this tremendously. Some might call such people shameless self-promoters. Others might find them inspiring.

    Likewise, there are different styles of self-promotion in marathon swimming. Some cultivate media exposure. Some seek out sponsorships. Some start blogs. Some participate in online forums (and we're glad to have them!).

    Others become leaders of prominent governing bodies.

    (Oh, and I think I've done all of these! But I own it.)
    TheotortugajkormanikGvanderbylnabilradRobertPalmeseneenElainemauprieto
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    I think we all have our own line that when crossed causes a gag reflex. Nicks report may have created terminology... But I understand where he is coming from.

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member
    edited March 2014
    evmo said:

    Mr. Adams' editorial raises some interesting issues.

    For example: What is an "ego swimmer", exactly?

    The appropriate targets of our condemnation aren't the self-promoters and "media whores."

    It's those who make deceptive statements about their swims. Those who think they're "above" the authentication process. Those who lack personal integrity...

    Evan,
    An excellent post! One of the best I've read!

    RobertPalmese
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    edited March 2014

    Even this website has links to dozens of personal blogs; many of which I'm guessing Mr. Adams would use as evidence in support of his opinion.

    When someone expresses an interest in marathon swimming, one of the first pieces of advice I give them is: read as many blogs as you can, and ask a lot of questions. There is a wide range of experience out ther in virtual world, and a blog can be an effective tool to help others on their journey.
    Elaine

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member
    edited March 2014

    When someone expresses an interest in marathon swimming, one of the first pieces of advice I give them is: read as many blogs as you can, and ask a lot of questions. There is a wide range of experience out ther in virtual world, and a blog can be an effective tool to help others on their journey.

    Of course, however, there are some out there (along with Facebook posts) that are nothing more than personal advertisements for how awesome they are. This may be the sort of thing Mr. Adams is referring to.
  • jgaljgal Member
    Maybe it was our shared love of the color pink, but when I aspired to swim the EC, Nick 'took me under his wing', responding to every email I sent, organizing trips for me to train in Dover, helping me connect with others, crewing for me, etc. Nick was crucial to my success. I think his annual report serves as a reminder that this sport is about community and what should be our collective desire for others to succeed. I would reckon that most of the members of this forum get that, but being both a successful swimmer and president of the CSPF, I imagine Nick sees a lot of his time and hospitality drained by people who don't. I'm also sure the leaders of this board see this, too.

    I don't fault people for training for their swim, getting help along the way, completing their goal, giving thanks for the help, and moving on. We all set challenges for different reasons, and some of us will not be lifelong contributors to the marathon swimming community. I think it's more about those who come onto the scene, take a lot of advice/help/time/support from people, successfully complete the swim, and then disappear back into society with a chip on their shoulder and a belief that they were 100% the reason for their personal success. I'm not sure if there's a solution to that issue, and personally, I feel that those people miss out on a wonderful opportunity to create lifelong friendships and memories that make this sport so truly special. But that's just me and my hormonal 8.5 months pregnant opinion. ;)

    -jgal
  • NedNed Charter Member
    edited March 2014
    I echo Julianne's comments.

    I would place Nick in the top 0.1% of folks in the sort who PAY BACK and PAY FORWARD....he has mentored hundreds and the Channel Google Group he runs educated thousands of us.

    He goes on my open water hero list (but please somebody tell him to lose the pick togs).

    I attended the CS&PF dinner on Saturday night. Nick, as President, sat through the AGM > while the rugby games were playing in the pub (talk about sacrifice!). Then before the dinner, he and his lovely wife Sakura stood by the door and personally greeted every attendee (except me...who was the first to the bar!). One of his "innovations" as President was to write to every swimmer (days after the swim) to congratulate in some cases and in others...offer words of future encouragement. THIS is what I mean by COMMUNITY !!! Then he offered a President's Address...which is a new thing (I think)...he has turned a previously ceremonial office into something meaningful.

    So...what has he said in the President's Address which was upsetting ?

    1. Nick pointed out that the channel has more and more folks "having a lash". It is a genuine issue (for discussion) that some organisations are block booking channel slots for relays. Some are swimming for great reasons.....but some make me cringe. It is a topic that is worth discussion...and Nick has started that discussion. In 5 years if 75% of the English Channel boat slots are taken up by relay wetsuiters - this will change the sport.

    For the better ?

    For the worse ?

    This is a forum for informal discussions....so voice your opinions.

    I could argue both sides. But that might stifle you all...so have a comment or two.

    More importantly that the MSF...I want the CS&PF Committee to worry, discuss and agonize about this issue. I probably bought the last 10 year membership (rule change voted in) and missed the rugby (did I mention that Ireland we playing and won the 6 Nations Championship in PARIS!!!) to go to the AGM. I voted for new committee members and want Nick "Address" to get them the think !

    I wrote something for Donal's blog a few years ago about the DEBT. I think every EC swimmer owes the sport in excess of 50 day volunteer time (and supplied a calculation/formula to help folks calculate their own debt).

    Maybe swimming a marathon should be a commercial transaction? You pay the pilot, the association (who provides an observer), your coach, a few $ to everyone who's blog you read, everyone who advised you, every volunteer at every event you swam. Today it is not this way. Do we want that ?

    I personally do not take money because it changes the relationship...I like the relationships I have which are based on giving.

    2. Nick made the point that organisations like the CS&PF (and another 10+ marathon organizations) have 40+ years of experience in setting rules for their swims. At no point did Nick or the CS&PF have a negative comment about the rules proposed by Donal and Evan (it may have been a larger group - so I may not have described the process correctly - sorry).

    I helped drive acceptance of these rules in the Sandycove Island Swim Club > where we do not have the same kind of history. But at the same time I respect the history of Cook Straits, Manhattan, CSA, CS&PF, etc. to have their own rules. I voted on changes to CS&PF rules at the AGM....in a democratically run meeting of members announced in advance.

    It may be in 5+ years that all of these organizations meet annually to discuss and agree a unified set of rules. Maybe there will be some kind of global committee...I have no idea...but it is probably the only way to unify (which may or may not be a good idea......there are aggressive sharks in Cook....but not so many in EC)

    If this is important to the members of the MSF...then lobby your marathon associations, submit motions, get elected to lobby for such a thing.

    I applaud Nick for many things before 2012 and after that for running for President of CS&PF, I applaud him for making a difference and I applaud him for making an address and challenging US OF ALL to think about issues that may be important.

    Don't throw brick at the messenger....but for sure debate the questions he raises and the future process of unified rules (or not)
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited September 2015
    Good to hear from you, Ned! But I don't think anybody is questioning anybody's service to the sport.

    Either way, I'm glad we're discussing these issues out in the open. I would assume neither Nick nor the CS&PF have a problem with that, since they included it in their (public) annual report?
  • swimchica623swimchica623 Member
    edited March 2014
    I think of promoting my marathon swimming as how I talk about vegetarianism. Usually a quieter approach to my uhh "alternative lifestyle" has a greater effect than telling everyone about it. When I made the decision to stop eating meat, I decided that I didn't want to be annoying and political about it, which actually made me get used to being humble (something I admit I sometimes had a problem with as an age grouper and even in college swimming sometimes...). I understood that I was doing something pretty awesome, but I hated those vegetarians that talked about the horribly treated chickens that were slaughtered for KFC.
    So marathon swimming is the same way. USUSALLY, I can wait until someone approaches me about it. Yeah, I post my epic workouts on facebook and finishes in races, but that is far from being a publicity seeker.
    Then I've found through my "quiet self-promotion" (best way to describe it) I have had lots of friends and family come to me to say that I have inspired them to get back in shape, start swimming again...even my former swim coach who is doing the Key West swim this year! He was diagnosed with MS, but has used swimming as therapy and has gotten into marathon swimming now.
    I just share how much swimming (and EATING healthy!!) makes me happy,and then if people join ship, great! It makes me extra happy! If they don't, whatever. So I guess that is really my driving purpose in my quiet self-promition...but it is my nature as a teacher, too...and pretty similar to how I teach (hey kids...I'm not gonna MAKE you read..but look how much FUN I'm having!!!!)
    Elaine
  • KarenTKarenT Charter Member
    I think this is a really good discussion to have and it speaks to all kinds of questions of motivation and how the sport is represented to others. But can I suggest that we move away from the term "media whore". I know it was used in Nick's original post and is being mirrored as such in this thread; it is also a very common phrase in everyday talk. But even if not intended as such, it is a derogatorily gendered term that makes me very uncomfortable, and I don't think we should be calling anyone any kind of 'whore'. How about: publicity seeker or self-publicist...
  • I agree and even edited my post. :) Just trying to use the original lingo...(as you also mentioned!)
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited March 2014
    Agree with Karen on the language issue of course, and I'm glad she brought it up.

    @swimchica623's phrase "quiet self-promotion" is an interesting phrase, and I think gets to the heart of my point. Self-promotion is pervasive in marathon swimming - and it always has been. As I said before, it's probably just in the nature of solo adventure sports.

    And people have all different ways of promoting themselves. "Quiet" vs. "loud" self-promotion is one way to think about it, but it's more complex than that.

    Some people seem better able to pull-off "loud" self-promotion - not sure exactly why, possibly through personal charisma, better self-awareness, because it's combined with self-deprecation or humility, or some combination of the above. We accept these people's self-promotion, and don't find it annoying.

    On the other side of the spectrum, there's what I'll call the quiet-but-sneaky style of self-promotion. It's quiet, behind-the-scenes self-promotion, that enables the self-promoter to pretend he's not self-promoting. Can you think of a few people like this? I bet you can.

    When people bash self-promoters, publicity-seekers, or "ego swimmers," what they seem to be saying is that they prefer one style of self-promotion over others. But here's my question: Is one style really, morally speaking, better than the other? How is the sneaky self-promoter better than the loud self-promoter, if the end-goal (promoting themselves) is the same?

    It's also easier to bash self-promoters when you occupy a position that promotes itself.

    I also disagree with the notion that we can infer people's motivations from their style of self-promotion. @Ned echoed this when he said:
    Some are swimming for great reasons.....but some make me cringe.
    How do we know why people swim? Aren't those reasons known only to them? I don't get it.
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    edited March 2014
    evmo said:

    @swimchica623's phrase "quiet self-promotion" is an interesting phrase, and I think gets to the heart of my point. Self-promotion is pervasive in marathon swimming - and it always has been. As I said before, it's probably just in the nature of solo adventure sports.

    And people have all different ways of promoting themselves. "Quiet" vs. "loud" self-promotion is one way to think about it, but it's more complex than that.

    Some people seem better able to pull-off "loud" self-promotion - not sure exactly why, possibly through personal charisma, better self-awareness, because it's combined with self-deprecation or humility, or some combination of the above. We accept these people's self-promotion, and don't find it annoying.

    On the other side of the spectrum, there's what I'll call the quiet-but-sneaky style of self-promotion. It's quiet, behind-the-scenes self-promotion, that enables the self-promoter to pretend he's not self-promoting. Can you think of a few people like this? I bet you can.

    When people bash self-promoters, publicity-seekers, or "ego swimmers," what they seem to be saying is that they prefer one style of self-promotion over others. But here's my question: Is one style really, morally speaking, better than the other? How is the sneaky self-promoter better than the loud self-promoter, if the end-goal (promoting themselves) is the same?

    It's also easier to bash self-promoters when you occupy a position that promotes itself.

    I also disagree with the notion that we can infer people's motivations from their style of self-promotion. @Ned echoed this when he said:

    Some are swimming for great reasons.....but some make me cringe.
    How do we know why people swim? Aren't those reasons known only to them? I don't get it.
    Interesting and thoughtful post @evmo

    Personally speaking, it is neither the volume nor frequency that a swim or swimmer is promoted (either by self or by proxy) that makes me cringe (credit @Ned) but the “why” is a question I think a lot of us struggle to answer.

    When the message is too grandiose (how much grandiosity is too much?)... swimming to cure disease... swimming for world peace, etc. I lose interest. Admittedly, I am somewhat sour on the whole fundraising thing as it seems to encourage this sort of thing. I also have little interest in supernatural inspiration.

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • suziedodssuziedods Charter Member
    Self-promotion is pervasive in marathon swimming - and it always has been. As I said before, it's probably just in the nature of solo adventure sports

    ** Huh? It is NOT pervasive and in the 28 years that I have been OWS I can say w some degree of knowledge that it has NOT always been so.
    I find it rather offputting when people say " I am going to ..... you name it" blast it every where and then don't actually finish. It again, gives the sport a bad name. Talk about it all you want WHEN you have actually done the swim but don't say you ARE going to do something... you aspire to achieving success but it is as we all know never a guarantee.

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

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited March 2014

    ** Huh? It is NOT pervasive and in the 28 years that I have been OWS I can say w some degree of knowledge that it has NOT always been so.

    Which kind? The loud or the sneaky?

    I do think social media has made it more pervasive, but it's not as if human nature suddenly changed in 2005.
  • gregocgregoc Charter Member
    edited March 2014
    @evmo, I think you got to the heart of the discussion on your last line. "How do we know why people swim?" Simply put, we don't know. One can make assumptions that a person is an "ego swimmer". Personally I don't care what some one's motivation is for doing an open-water swim just as long as they are informed and properly prepared to make the swim as safe as possible .
    dpm50Leadhyena
  • suziedodssuziedods Charter Member
    I find it offputting. it's my feeling and opinion.
    yes, we all think our own way is the preferred way of doing things. You've just come full circle....Again.. I am just expressing MY opinion.

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

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited September 2015
    You won't find me trumpeting my swims before I do them, but I do think it takes a certain kind of courage to put oneself out there, publicly, in the face of potential failure. And it can generate public excitement that benefits the sport.

    Like anything else, it can be taken too far. If the swim has no reasonable chance of succeeding in the first place, then I'd say it crosses the line into deceptiveness. Trying to bring this back around to the original topic: The problem is the deceptiveness, not the publicity-seeking.

    Here's a fun quote from Wind, Waves, & Sunburn, regarding Abou-Heif (pp. 184):
    A loud mouth, boisterousness, and publicity seeking were his trademarks.
  • In no area of my life have I ever been personally comfortable with the "crusader" type personality. It is so not me. At the same time, I can objectively accept that we NEED these types as well to drive awareness of the sport, different charities, etc. etc. I trust that the "yuck" feeling that I sometimes get to what looks like self-promotion or a desire for attention will either be just me, or will be verified by others also feeling put off. I can compare it to the "yuck" feeling I get from a slimy salesperson, versus the awe I feel seeing a gifted honest salesperson make a sale.

    I can accept and be comfortable with a variety of ways that swimmers do or do not promote themselves and their swims. Like others here, though, my comfort with self promotion increases markedly when I see the proper training and hopefully a love of the swim for the sake of swimming itself. Cause there are way easier ways to raise money or get attention, if that is really what folks are after!

  • Here's the thing: when you swim for hours every day, people notice. If you could do this and completely fly under the radar, great! But when I come to work on Monday with salt/sunburn despite copious amount of sunscreen, goggle, cap, and suit tans, and eat twice as much for lunch as everyone while losing weight and looking GREAT...people notice!!!! So...when they ask, I tell them the truth.
    I'm happy when, months later, people come back and say I was a source of inspiration. It is "quiet self-promotion" but is it really bad to inspire people to get in shape and find a passion?
    I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing if it weren't for my cousin's quiet self promotion of her running. It was
  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member

    When the message is too grandiose (how much grandiosity is too much?)... swimming to cure disease... swimming for world peace, etc. I lose interest. Admittedly, I am somewhat sour on the whole fundraising thing as it seems to encourage this sort of thing. I also have little interest in supernatural inspiration.

    I can see how some saturation of fundraising can "sour" your view, but I think that's a small factor to deal with when most fundraising is for worthy causes making a positive difference in the world.

    Addressing this in relation to this discussion thread, when is doing a swim event to raise money for a cause become more about ego/self-promotion rather than an altruistic act of true giving back?

    I've come around to thinking that there could/should be 'more' events with this purpose.
    And perhaps swimming for one's own private enjoyment, narcissistic pursuit, more so leads to the potential for the "ego" driven self-promotion that commonly puts us off.

    Using an uncommon event (spectacle) to sponsor and promote a worthy cause attracts people and draws them in, and allows them to give (of their time or money, etc), and the swimmer (in this case) is simply the conduit for this social exchange and charity.

    I've had this experience a few times now and it's made me realize, for myself, that swimming just for myself is all fun and good, but it's very limiting in terms of benefitting others and being of value, which I strive to do in all things.
    So why not leverage the massive effort we put forth in this spectacle of a sport and make it meaningful and purposeful beyond ourselves?

    And perhaps when this is more the norm, then most people will view the egomaniacal promoter-of-self as the social outcast to be ignored rather than being seen as the outlier to be adorned with an audience as they dance with the stars! ;-)
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    edited March 2014



    I can see how some saturation of fundraising can "sour" your view, but I think that's a small factor to deal with when most fundraising is for worthy causes making a positive difference in the world.

    Addressing this in relation to this discussion thread, when is doing a swim event to raise money for a cause become more about ego/self-promotion rather than an altruistic act of true giving back?

    I've come around to thinking that there could/should be 'more' events with this purpose.
    And perhaps swimming for one's own private enjoyment, narcissistic pursuit, more so leads to the potential for the "ego" driven self-promotion that commonly puts us off.


    I certainly don't mean to speak in absolute terms, as I do indeed know of examples where persons were convinced to participate in an event by the charitable connection; but I will go on record here with my belief that for most the charity connection rises from the view that adventure for adventures sake is selfish, egotistical and ignoble. This is rather sad. Why should a channel swim be considered selfish? Is a trip to Disney world selfish? Is a fancy bicycle (or half a dozen telecasters) selfish
    The charities I support are carefully chosen and I don't need to scream it to the world... Nor do I want to ask my friends and acquaintances to dig into their pockets every few weeks... The obligatory reciprocal purchasing of girls scout cookies would not only blow my budget, but also send me to an early grave in a plus-sized coffin.

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member
    Ego-swimmers, schmego-swimmers. Who cares. I'd rather Mr Adams talk about the evils of wearing wetsuits or those idiot actors who practice for a week and then (try to) swim Windermere.
    grappledunk
  • JBirrrdJBirrrd MarylandSenior Member
    edited March 2014
    @suziedods said:

    I find it rather offputting when people say " I am going to ..... you name it" blast it every where and then don't actually finish. It again, gives the sport a bad name. Talk about it all you want WHEN you have actually done the swim but don't say you ARE going to do something... you aspire to achieving success but it is as we all know never a guarantee.

    I personally like it when swimmers talk about what they are training for on social media, have a website or write a blog. I have followed many a swimmer on a crossing via tracker and would only have known to do so from their announcement. Additionally, I’ve connected with others around the world and exchanged training notes. It matters not to me whether they succeed or fail. “The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat….” It humanizes the experience and our sport in general.


    @swimdaily said:

    …I can objectively accept that we NEED these types as well to drive awareness of the sport, different charities, etc….

    Like it or not, it was Diana Nyad* and her promotional machine who I first noticed when I began open water swimming. Pretty sure she was one of the first marathon swimmers I had ever even heard of which led me to dig deeper. Yes, I initially found her message inspirational (which is probably why now after all that has happened I feel particularly yucked out by her self promotion.) But swimdaily is correct, IMO, that we NEED swimmers like this to put themselves out there. We live in a media driven world, the vast majority of the public only knows what is spoon-fed to them via mainstream media. Personally, I see no harm. If it’s not your thing, ignore them. (The DN* issue, however, is more than simply her having a big ego and should not be ignored.) It’s similar to television. Lots of programming available… exercise your power to choose and change the channel if you find something crosses your line.

    Face it, OW swimming is not a spectator sport and is boring to watch for the most part. Why not inject a little hype and excitement into the sport? Call them ego-swimmers, whatever. Every sport has them. I personally find many of these athletes inspirational.
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    IronMike said:

    I'd rather Mr Adams talk about the evils of wearing wetsuits or those idiot actors who practice for a week and then (try to) swim Windermere.

    Why? It's probably safe to assume his opinion would align pretty much with the very public and readily available rules for conduct and attire of the CS&PF regarding the former, and it would be a small leap to assign the title of "ego-whatever" to the latter.

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • firebahfirebah Charter Member
    I think the issue of fund raising has soured many of us after a discussion on the topic here on MSF. I was and still shocked to have read that many of those who fund raise pay for their own expenses from the collected money before one cent of it goes to the charity.

    I can think of a MSF discussion that supports Suzie's point of view about those who publically announce via media publications their intentions to do this great feat of swimming across a body of water and stating the rules they would be following, etc. In the end the reality is the person who was the topic of discussion 'completed' the swim having worn two wetsuits and fins but continues to tell the world via media publications she swam the English Channel and neglecting to state the part about the two wetsuits and fins. And then of course when called out on it defended herself as having done it for charity so the 'how' it was done does not matter.

    Oh yes "sneaky self promoters" we all know one glaring example of this! Although Diana stands out as the leader of self promotion I find the "sneaky self promoters" to be far more loathsome.

    When it comes to self promotions some people never change - Sports Illustrated September 24, 1979: By taking on the Channel, Counsilman also hoped to help plot a truer course for a sport that he feels is being exploited by "phony-baloney promoters". He cites the example of Diana Nyad. "a very mediocre swimmer with a very good publicist. Most of her swims have been failures. For instance, she has attempted to swim the English Channel three times and has never finished. Still, when she gets into the tide off the Bahamas and rides it to Florida, a swim that truly great marathoners like John Kinsella could do with one arm tied behind their backs, she gets all of the attention. The result is that more deserving marathoners like Loreen Pass-field, the current women's world champion, go begging."

    Some things or should I say people never change. However there seems to be many more 'mini me' Diana Nyads out there today than in the past.

    Nick put it simply and the best: "Swim to swim. Don't swim to shine."
    AnthonyMcCarley
  • suziedodssuziedods Charter Member

    BUMP

    JenAevmo

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

  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member

    Why the bump @suziedods? Did smthg happen? Just wondering if I missed something.

  • JenAJenA Charter Member

    I think it's a relevant topic. We are living in an age of story arcs.

    IronMikesuziedods
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited September 2015

    I just want to say, for those reading back to the beginning, that I have come to appreciate Nick's perspective more since i originally posted this thread. At the same time I feel that the "interesting issues" I described are still ... "Interesting."

    suziedodsTheo
  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member
    edited September 2015

    I think stating an intention publicly is a way of committing to it. But I don't regard such statements as requirements to complete a given swim when health and safety are compromised.

    If after doing one's best, s/he can't complete a planned swim, I don't think it's fair to say that her/his stated intention was an empty promise or hype or whatever. And sometimes the lessons one can learn/share from a swim that hasn't gone according to plan can help others undertaking similar swims.

    Just my $.02.

    suziedods" said:I find it rather offputting when people say " I am going to ..... you name it" blast it every where and then don't actually finish. It again, gives the sport a bad name.

    DanSimonelli
  • suziedodssuziedods Charter Member

    Why the bump? I just feel it is relevant and had some downtime at work. It's good to revisit past topics and thoughtful discussion is never bad.

    IronMikesharkbaitza

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

  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    edited September 2015

    suziedods said: Why the bump? I just feel it is relevant and had some downtime at work. It's good to revisit past topics and thoughtful discussion is never bad.

    Phew. I wondered if my recent dip in Memphremagog inspired you.

    gregocrosemarymintsuziedodsssthomas
  • gregocgregoc Charter Member

    ChickenOSea said:

    suziedods said: Why the bump? I just feel it is relevant and had some downtime at work. It's good to revisit past topics and thoughtful discussion is never bad.

    Phew. I wondered if my recent dip in Memphremagog inspired you.

    @ChickenOSea, were you worried that Suzie was upset by your huge ego or the fact that you announced to everyone that you were swimming Memphre? ;).

    JenAsuziedodsChickenOSea
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member

    The ego. I'm a huge diva in the water.

    gregocdc_in_sfJenAsuziedodsIronMikewendyv34ssthomasdavid_barraLeadhyenaJustSwim
  • msathletemsathlete Victoria, British Colubia, CanadaGuest

    I think it is important to separate self-promotion or promotion in general from the ego-swimmer.

    Sometimes the message is not about or for the self but rather something far greater. I am someone who actively engages media in my swims. I do so not to say "hey, look at me, I'm great." I do so to spread a message and that is that in my case swimming has "cured" my disease (sorry @david_barra, sometimes it does). Before I started swimming 10 years ago I had difficulty walking. Today, I am gainfully employed, independent and healthy. Had I listened to the medical industry I would likely be in a wheelchair. I was told not to exercise as have been many others with Multiple Sclerosis. I promote my swims with the hope that others with MS will jump in the water with me.

    You may also want to consider that it isn't always easy being that person in the media. Imagine being a women (or man for that matter) with more "junk-in-your-trunk" than you know what to do with: fat hanging out here, there and everywhere. All your lady bits sagging. And yes, the local media puts a photo of you and all of your glorious self in a bathing suit in the paper. Your hair is disheveled, you have great big circles under your eyes from your goggles and and there's a big ol bugger hanging from your nose. On top of that you have failed in your attempted swim. Then imagine what its like going to work in an environment where everyone wears suits, has nicely coiffed hair and manicured nails after everyone has seen you in that state.

    I also think it is important not to judge as you often don't know what is really going on with that person or what they are like. You also don't know what they said to the media vs what the media wrote. Bashing others for being in the media doesn't really help our sport.

    So called "ego-swimmers" exists both in and out of the media. You see many "spreading their feathers" on the deck or beach and hear many people boasting about their achievements at work, in the gym, at parties and in many other places - many of whom have never been in the media. Who are we to judge them? Maybe their swim was the greatest achievement in their life, and it is something they are incredibly proud of. Shouldn't we support that by acknowledging their triumph. By criticizing them and suppressing their achievement are we really helping the sport?

    dpm50loneswimmerJSwimheartneen
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member

    I think you missed the point I was trying to make.........

    ChickenOSea

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • tortugatortuga Senior Member

    A-If you don't think OW swimmers have been self promoting for decades, read "The Great Swim" about some lady's in the 1920s swimming the EC back when OWS was in it's hayday.
    B- The more media attention OWS gets the more kids will get into it, the more the sport will grow and flourish. I think these are good things stemming from self promoters. C- Personally, the ONLY reason I swim is for the chicks. Groupies galore. Love it. D- WTF do I know? I'm a triathlete turned marathon swimmer, ultra runner and not very good at any of it.

    dpm50msathleteIronMikesuziedodsneen
  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member

    I share my swims--the struggles as well as the triumphs on social media and here--because as with any passion, any interest, anything that energizes, that makes the heart beat faster, that captures the imagination, I delight in the conversation. Is it self-promotion? I hardly have the credentials to promote myself as a distance swimmer (or runner either), but I don't expect glory--just a chance to converse with others who have the same passion and delight in this sport and who might have expert advice to share. I love to hear about others' swim adventures, whether channel swims or their first attempts at open water. I want to learn as much as I can about the sport so that I can improve, and at the same time, I also want to hear the stories--because any great adventure whether it's a first open water swim or SCAR or EC or whatever comes with a story. And since people first gathered around firesides at night, stories have driven more adventures, more discoveries, more chances not only to learn from the stories themselves but to go out and live one's own story.

    I come to this site to find not only information but stories--and aspirations. What do you hope to do? What went right ... or wrong?

    I don't think there's a human being alive, aside from monks and mystics, who hasn't some ego involvement with her/his favorite sport/interest. The ego--like any other human attribute--I don't think is bad in itself... just depends on how it's used. We are driven to accomplish by the lure of feeling happy with what we've done. Sometimes this is bent and twisted and people want credit for something they'd like to have done but have not done.

    Bottom line, though--I don't see how silencing the sea of stories can help. Tell the stories--make movies, poems, novels, biographies. The stories breathe life into others' desires, inspire people to take those steps beyond what they thought they could do.

    I may, of course, be missing the point, but just a take on this subject, such as it is.

    molly1205tortugaDanSimonellineen
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member

    ChickenOSea said: The ego. I'm a huge diva in the water.

    Now to follow through with: A new chicken of the sea logo.... With merchandise available. (Pay pal preferred) A campaign to end teen pregnancy by swimming non-stop in THAT blue lagoon. A 5 continent inspirational speaking tour with video illustrating how the flight patterns of the Canadian finches warned you about the dangerous creatures beneathe the surface. Jingoism... Optional.

    JenAdpm50evmorosemarymintsuziedods

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • JenAJenA Charter Member

    ... Oh, and a ghost-writer to pen your motivational autobiography which clearly paints you as a selfless, self-sacrificing martyr. :)

    dpm50david_barraevmorosemarymintsuziedods
  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member
    edited September 2015

    You should definitely go ahead with this vital project. Merchandise should include craft beer with your logo. And if the creators of Jaws can use a mechanical shark, surely you can come up with something even more ferocious. Or if you prefer, you can probably rent out the shark for a very reasonable price...just that sharks are so clichéd! Better to go with a new, improved dangerous creature.

    ChickenOSea said: The ego. I'm a huge diva in the water.

  • The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member

    david_barra said:

    ChickenOSea said: The ego. I'm a huge diva in the water.

    Now to follow through with: A new chicken of the sea logo.... With merchandise available. (Pay pal preferred) A campaign to end teen pregnancy by swimming non-stop in THAT blue lagoon. A 5 continent inspirational speaking tour with video illustrating how the flight patterns of the Canadian finches warned you about the dangerous creatures beneathe the surface. Jingoism... Optional.

    The latest round of self-promotion is going great. Speedo, Victoria's Secret, Lean Cuisine, and Chicken of the Sea (TM) are now paying me NOT to use their products. That's how it's meant to go, right. Thanks for the Blue Lagoon flashback. Swoon image

    rosemarymintdavid_barradpm50JenAgregoc
  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member
    edited September 2015

    LOL! I want to hire your agent! I'm thinking there could be a bidding war... have Speedo pay me to use Tyr products, while Tyr ups the ante and offers me even more to use Speedo products. I'll not use the highest bidder's products. ;)

    But unfortunately, the guy in the pic seems to have been paid not to use ANY swim-related products. I'm not sure I'm prepared to go that far. ;)

    ChickenOSea said: The latest round of self-promotion is going great. Speedo, Victoria's Secret, Lean Cuisine, and Chicken of the Sea (TM) are now paying me NOT to use their products. That's how it's meant to go, right. Thanks for the Blue Lagoon flashback. Swoon

  • JenAJenA Charter Member
    edited September 2015

    @dpm50 said: ...just that sharks are so clichéd! Better to go with a new, improved dangerous creature.

    I'm pretty sure if you can get a picture of yourself with the kraken, the day-time talk show circuit is guaranteed! ;-) But you've already got an agent to book you with Maury**, or a viral campaign that will get you there, right?

    **The Maury Povich Show is still on the air. I checked. ;-)

    dpm50
  • suziedodssuziedods Charter Member

    Why do we need a "Social section"? :-* . This is hysterical. I can not erase the "Blue Lagoon" image, as much as i would like to..

    dpm50JenAtortuga

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

  • suziedodssuziedods Charter Member

    I think we need to laud the mothers who swim, while working full time jobs, volunteering as board members for several non-profits. Or the men who swim while being single parents and CEO's of their own company. Or the young adults who swim , funding their own swims by teaching swim lessons to under-privlieged children. Or the swimmers who train while holding down a full time job and caring for aging and dying parents. THOSE are the swimmers w NO egos. They swim to survive life, not for accolades or money or ego.

    evmogregocsylmarinokiparizSwimmersuzjendutdavid_barramalinakarosemarymintJustSwimunclejonny

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

  • gregocgregoc Charter Member

    suziedods said: I think we need to laud the mothers who swim, while working full time jobs, volunteering as board members for several non-profits. Or the men who swim while being single parents and CEO's of their own company. Or the young adults who swim , funding their own swims by teaching swim lessons to under-privlieged children. Or the swimmers who train while holding down a full time job and caring for aging and dying parents. THOSE are the swimmers w NO egos. They swim to survive life, not for accolades or money or ego.

    At one time or another, isn't this all of us?

    suziedodsdpm50SydneD
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