Originally Posted by IngeA
But "freestyle" in competition ist freestyle. You can chose any style you want, but crawling is the fastest so everyone crawls.
The problem with swimming under water is, that you have to make a definition where swimming ends end where freediving begins. You can change the definition and say: OK, in freestyle you are all allowed to do the whole line under water.
Then every swimmer would train to swim under water because it's faster. They are not more free in choosing their stroke then, they only adapt their technique to the new rules. People who swim races normally do that to compete with others, not to see if they they are slower or faster coming to the finish as the slowest of all others. To do that I need no competitions.
"Freestyle" as called in English comes from a time when Europeans and european avoided front crawling (till Tarzan...). Once front crawling establish (or re-established himself) as the gold standard there was nothing freestyle about the races in which front crawlers were engaged.
Think of skying, had people start with surfboard and mono-sky and all of sudden sky as we know them appeared. Surfboard and mono-sky can't compete with standard skying.
In skying you have real freestyle, mono-sky surfboard, they did their thing obviously leaving the sky do what it does best (and that is close to everything).
If there is a way superior way of doing thing , it replaces previous techniques. That happened in freestyle swimming an undisputed and indisputable king emerged.
So what is left. Butterfly and breaststroke are interesting on their own. I like breaststroke a lot because that is what I learned first or simply something that tick with me better (the sensation is provide is superior to me than front crawling and its pretty constant pace and positioning).
So far are we, We have only one king, and three others sort of "stuck in the syndrome", they can't really evolve and and limited to a couple distances which prevent to evaluate the performances and efficiency of different approach in different circumstances and to come with new approaches.
So there is the king, of divine right, and the alternative. Freestyle is not the best choice of word in that context. We should have surface swimming competitions (nowadays freestyle and the amount of underwater swimming allowed should be further reduced).
On the other hand "freestyle" or alternative swimming, whatever you call it everything is allowed but front crawling. People are likely to do 50m underwater, most of 100m too, I guess a lot of 200m but then?
I tried to extend my time spend under water at the swimming pool quite a few times, you simply can't do it, you get out of breath really fast.
Having only two categories would allow alternative swimming to develop depending on the challenge (distance). People like the word freestyle so it could that name if well understood that it won't result in a one size fit its all approach: we already have it: front crawling.
I think skying is a good parallel, skying is the best approach when you want to go down a mountain. Yet others approach appeared and with them pretty unnatural challenges (there are few, if none, pipes in mountain.
Swimming pools are setting unnatural limitation and constrains, I believe freestyle (as I define it) could bring some excitement to the swimming industry. As for the show, filming underwater, etc. is no longer an issue.
Ultimately if breaststrokers and butterflyers were presented with the challenge of running on the same distances as nowadays freestylers, I believe that a new stroke coud emerge as I believe both vanilla breaststroke and butterfly are too demanding to be maintained past say 400m, something hybrid (using the same tools) is likely to emerge. Such stroke will never be faster than front crawling but at least it will be the best alternative to it.
As an aside butterfly is likely to continue to exist as the second option for speed.
Swimming will never get as graphic as some others sports (mountains activities at large, xtreme diving, etc.) yet I think more can be done to both make money out of it and improve our human ways of doing things.
As un example there could be more open water competitions with why not more than 8 lanes. If would offer good opportunity to see the pro/con of the various approach. It would also remove some artificial benefit granted by swimming pool.
People like outdoor activities and as far as business is concerned it is easy and CHEAP to gather crowd outside. You have can have competition is lovely places and set-up which help reaching costumers/audience/ whatever that is called.
I think swimming is a little antiquated now, it needs its X-games type of moment. The idea sprouted in my head as was posting (and as I can really do front crawl now) but I think "standard" vs "crazy" is a sound idea.