Why Do They Have Lifeguards At Olympic Swimming Events?
The Olympic swimming pool has lifeguards, just in case a swimmer needs to be rescued from drowning or relieved from injuries and cramps.
In a pool full of the world’s most elite swimmers, you wouldn’t think lifeguards are necessary. And yet, at the last Olympics in Rio, a team of 75 guards was standing watch over all the Olympic pool has lifeguards – in case a swimmer needs to be saved from drowning or relieved from injuries and cramps.
In a pool filled with some of the world’s most elite swimmers, you’d think lifeguards wouldn’t be needed. And yet at the last Olympic Games in Rio, a team of 75 security guards stood guard at all aquatic events.
Even the guards themselves know that their services will probably not be needed.
Although no athlete has yet died in an Olympic pool, some water sports competitions can be dangerous: Divers can hit the water, synchronized athletes have suffered concussions, and water polo is a tough contact sport. An observant lifeguard also told the Times that athletes risk heart attack, debilitating cramps, and crashing headfirst into the pool walls.
Swimmers and divers at the 2016 Olympics are, by definition, the best in the world. They have spent thousands of hours in the water, and there is no other group of people who feel more comfortable in the pool than they do.
One would think that a “swim at your own risk” sign would be warning enough for these elite athletes. But not according to the Brazilian government.
Swimming pools of a certain size in Brazil are required to have lifeguards. So pay attention, swimmers: No running on the pool deck.
“It’s a Brazilian law that any public pool of a certain size must have lifeguards,” Ricardo Prado, sports manager for aquatic sports, told Reuters. “We wish we didn’t have them (at the Games), but they have to have them.”
Lifeguards in the Olympic pool are equipped with whistles and swimming aids.
Funny enough, not a single Olympic swimmer in the history of the competition has ever needed rescuing in Aquatics events.
Will There Be Lifeguards At The 2020 Tokyo Swimming Events?
Swimming is the second largest sport at the Olympic Games. There will be a record number of competitions in Tokyo 2020 (35). More medals can be obtained only in athletics.
Swimming will feature a total of 35 events (17 each for men and women and 1 mixed event) in the pool. This is an increase from the 32 events contested in the previous Olympic Games at Rio.
All swimming events (excluding marathon swimming) will take place at the brand new Tokyo Aquatics Centre.
The state-of-the-art facility, which was opened by Rikako Ikee, is located in the Tatsumi-no-Mori Seaside Park with a 15,000-fan capacity.
There shall be at least one certified lifeguard on duty for every swimmer in the water, keeping their eyes on deck for these elite swimmers.
Swimmers compete to achieve the fastest time over a given distance with a specific stroke (freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, or butterfly). Although no specific stroke is prescribed for freestyle events, all swimmers currently use the crawl, which is the fastest stroke.
In Rio 2016, there were 32 men’s and women’s events in the pool, including individual swims and relays. There will be 35 events in Tokyo 2020, with three new events added: 800m freestyle (men), 1,500m freestyle (women), and the 4×100m medley relay (mixed).
The FINA was created during the 1908 London Olympics when the pool was used for the first time in Olympic competition and the rules were standardized.
Techniques And Tactics
The world’s best freestyle swimmers can swim 50 meters in about 21 seconds, developing extraordinary speed and strength.
In backstroke, swimmers lie on their backs and use their arms to glide across the surface of the water. In butterfly, the swimmers’ arms move symmetrically, accompanied by coordinated leg strokes that resemble the flight of a butterfly.
In breaststroke, the only swimming discipline in which swimmers move their arms forward in the water after a stroke, the aim is to create maximum thrust and minimum resistance.
Olympic athletes must hone every detail of their technique, including the beginning of the dive, the timing of strokes and turns, and the angles at which they move their arms.
Elite swimmers must also pay attention to tempo tactics. For example, a swimmer may reach the finals by swimming quickly through the first half of the preliminary heat to establish a dominant time.
In the finals, the same swimmer may hold the pace in the first half of the swim in order to add speed later on. These tactics are integral to the sport’s appeal.
In individual medley events, one swimmer competes using all four strokes in the following order: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle.
Since each swimmer has certain rows in which he or she excels, the relative position of the swimmers in the leaderboard sometimes changes as the rowing changes. These swims are exciting and fun to watch.
Medley relays differ from individual relays in that they use the following rowing order: backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, freestyle.
Teams are usually made up of the athletes with the best results in each event, allowing them to create “star” pairs.
In the mixed relay 4×100 m (mixed relay), a new type of competition, teams consisting of two men and two women can choose who swims each stroke.
Men and women can swim against each other at the same time, which adds to the excitement.
In team relays, it is important to shorten the transition time – the time from one swimmer touching the wall to the next swimmer’s feet breaking away from the starting platform.
A poorly executed transition can result in a team losing its position in the race or even disqualification if the outgoing swimmer starts too early.