Among many things that swimmers tend to be known for, our shoulders are definitely near the top of the list. This broad shoulder, narrow waist combo, that kind of makes us look like a slice of pizza tbh, is common amongst swimmers. Our awesome shoulders are what help us succeed in the pool, but with great power comes great responsibility. Here are a few interesting complications that come with having such awesome shoulders:
You ever sat in a 15-passenger van three to a bench seat? It is kind of tight to start, but if the three people on that seat are all swimmers, well you are in for an interesting ride. You probably would have a little wiggle room in the actual seat part, but all three of your shoulders will be knocking together. I feel bad for the person stuck in the middle. Hopefully you’re just riding to a day trip dual meet, not all the way to South Florida for a training trip this way.
Finding clothes: Don’t get me wrong, I love that my shoulders gave me best times and put me through 14 years of swimming without an issue, but clothes are tricky. Don’t even think about putting on a shirt that has no stretch across the shoulders. You do not want to feel restricted the moment you lift your arms up from your side. I’ve never met a sweatshirt that let me down though.
Suit straps: This isn’t something guys really have to worry about, but ladies, you know the pain of wearing a suit to practice that doesn’t quite have enough give in the straps. You could still have red lines on your shoulders for an hour after practice is over. Ouchie. This has actually gotten a lot better in the recent years, shoutout to Jolyn with those adjustable straps. Tech suit straps have a tendency to do this too, and I was so happy the day Speedo rolled out those comfort straps. That was *chef’s kiss*.
Air Travel: Similar to the van issue, airplane seats can be a little bit narrow. Bumping shoulders is assured if the person next to you is a teammate, and it is likely to happen with a random person too. If you are in the middle seat, well I give you permission to claim both armrests and hope for the best.
Mobility: Swimmer shoulders are not only strong, they are incredibly mobile. Can confirm that after years of freestyle, my shoulders are the most mobile in my entire class at PT school. Because of this, I would recommend taking the extra few minutes to properly warm-up your shoulders before practice as well as strengthening them. I’m sure you know a swimmer that has had some shoulder problems, and you don’t want that to be you if at all possible.
Our shoulders are strong. We may have to deal with some goofy problems, but it is totally worth it. Our shoulders get us through laps and laps in the pool, they get us up on the podium at meets, and they are quite literally always there for us. So, give your swimmer shoulders a little love, because they are truly the best.