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Oh, I definitely think that there can be pressure to "look" a certain way for swimmers. I just think that the pressure is more from within oneself than it is from teammates and coaches. This didn't happen at my daughter's studio, but the word on the street was that some of the studios required periodic weigh-ins for the KIDS! Swimmers can be awesomely fast and not be "skinny," but dancers are pressured by their teachers to look a certain way. Realistically, gaining 5 lbs. probably won't affect your swim times much; however, it can be devastating for a dancer. Also, when you're dancing, you're always on display. When you're swimming, you're protected in the water and not so exposed. And those mirrors on the bottom of the pool ARE NOT skinny mirrors, LOL! I think the water reflects on them in the most unflattering way. And you're supposed to be looking at your stroke, not your thighs! ;-) ;-)
So much of body type is genetic. Certain body types tend to perform better in certain sports, and have different strengths within those sports. Intellectually it's easy to understand, but it's very difficult to internalize.
Interestingly enough I am far happier in a two-piece suit than a one-piece... for some reason I "feel thinner" in a 2 piece suit, and they're fun to wear. Particularly at championship meets when everyone around you is in boring, black or blue fastskins :D maybe I just like to stand out (it's probably more, I don't like to look like everyone else). Or maybe it's a confidence thing, I *feel* good in a 2 piece.
On the body image topic: I went to put on my grubby jeans to do yard work today, they are also my fat jeans: I couldn't even get them buttoned; that's bad. Oh, well. I vascillated between freaking out and thinking about this thread and feeling OK.
I am racing the OC Duathlon this weekend and I am going to respect my body as a machine, an engine, that lets me do all of these amazing physical challenges! That is what we need to focus on.
When I was a child, my parents had a rusty old car with a powerful engine. People might laugh at the car, but the next thing they'd see was the car's fumes.
The first time I wore spandex bike shorts on a solo training ride, I felt a bit self-conscious, but as I passed all the recreational cyclists as if they were standing still, I realized that like my parents' car, the exterior didn't matter as much as the engine.
And, when I was soundly beaten in a race by a woman who was larger than I was (and would have been soundly beaten by another woman who was larger than I was, had she not been taking it easy because the race was a warm-up for a race she was doing the following week), I realized that when it came to triathlon, Yoda was right: "Size matters not."
When I'm not training, I wear clothes that compliment my size 14 figure and I don't worry about how large I am.
"Real winners aren't content with yesterday's victories"
I have some important advice for all you ladies... get tested for the HPV virus when you have your next annual exam. If it comes back positive for one of the strains that cause cancer, get a colposcopy. They may tell you your insurance won't cover it, but do it anyway. Three years ago I tested positive for one of the cancer causing strains and they monitored me with frequent paps. That's not enough... my most recent pap came back completely normal, but a biopsy (colposcopy) discovered the cancer. Only reason I was tested was because I switched doctors. If I had an annual colposcopy I would be looking at a minor procedure to remove pre-cancerous cells.
The beatings will continue until morale improves