#Swimming and Johnny Weissmuller

This post is outside the usual scope of topics I discuss but it concerns other passion of mine, swimming. For those who know me well, they have seen my occasional obsessiveness over the sport of swimming. I will be writing a few article (and possibly a book project) on swimming, experience and perception after I have finished my current work on images, colour and contrast. So there will be more posts on swimming in the future.

For now I would like to note that there is a wonderful article in the Guardian today on one of the best swimmers ever to jump in the pool, who also played Tarzan in movies during the 1930s and 1940s, Johnny Weissmuller. You can find it here.

I like Weissmuller a lot, not just because he went undefeated for a decade and set 67 world records, but because he wrote one of the earliest book on swimming from the swimmers perspective, Swimming the American Crawl (1930). In this book he has one of my favourite quote on the nature of water in swimming. He states:

Water is elusive, but you can get ‘hold’ of it if you know how to go after it.

Water has an elusive presence that the swimmer can get a command of as they feel their way through the moving flow. I don’t want to get into swimming and its elusive qualities here at the moment though. That will be for another day. For now this post with a funny story about Weissmuller found in the Guardian article:

There are many stories about Johnny, but one of my favourites is set against the backdrop of the Cuban revolution. Weissmuller was a strong amateur golfer, and in 1958 he was in Cuba playing in a celebrity tournament. Suddenly, men with guns – part of the rebel army – appeared on the course. Things seemed about to get a bit hairy. But Johnny climbed out of his golf cart and gave his trademark yell: “Aaaaaah, ah-ya-ah-ah aaaaaaaah!” “Tarzan!” a voice replied. “Welcome to Cuba!” Hands were shaken, and the rebels escorted the Americans back to the clubhouse.

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