All The Answers To The Swimming Questions You're Too Afraid To Ask

So, why are there lifeguards at Olympic pools? 🏊

If you’ve been watching the Rio Olympic swimming events, chances are you have some questions that you may be too afraid to ask. That’s why we’ve dug up the answers to some of your top swimming questions:

1. Why do Olympic divers use small towels?

Olympic gold medalist Laura Wilkinson explains that the name of these little towels are called shammys. The shammy, made out of rayon or poly-vinyl, can hold a lot of water and dry quickly, the former U.S. diver reveals.

Divers use shammys in between dives to dry off. Shammys come in handy in between dives because it helps keep your hands and legs dry, and prevents the diver from losing grip when competing. 

“It becomes a habit that you do before every dive. It’s kind of like our safety blanket,” Wilkinson says. 

2. Why do Olympic divers get into the hot tub after competing?

During the summer 2012 Olympics, The Washington Post’s Jennifer LaRue Huget asked former diver and sports psychology professor David Feigley why some Olympic divers dip in the hot tub after diving. It’s simply because the water in the diving pool is chilly (which divers don’t like) and the hot tub allows them to warm up, relax and focus, he explains.

3. Why are there lifeguards at Olympic pools? 

You may think there is zero chance of Olympic swimmers needing lifeguards. But it’s necessary, according to a New York Times interview with Danielle Martelote, the lifeguard supervisor at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium. She mentions potential situations they would be needed in, such as if swimmers have debilitating cramps, heart attacks and head-crunching collisions into the wall.

Additionally, a Brazilian law requires lifeguards to be on-site at any swimming pool larger than 20 feet by 20 feet.  

“It’s a one-in-a-million type of event, but we’re prepared,” Anderson Fertes, one of the lifeguards, told The New York Times.  

4. What are the red circles on swimmers’ bodies?

Read our article on this here.   

5. Why do Olympic swimmers splash water on themselves before they swim?

You may have noticed that some Olympic divers splash water onto themselves before competing.  American swimmer Breeja Larson tweeted “Your mouth feels parched before races a lot of the time. That’s why we splash,” according a New York Times article published during the London 2012 Olympics. Splashing water can also help swimmers acclimatize to the cold water.  

6. Why do swimmers wear two caps? 

The first reason is that the two caps ensure your goggles will stay secure. The second isn’t as obvious. Read more here

For more Olympics coverage:



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