You may have noticed several Olympic athletes practising odd rituals or superstitious customs ahead of their events. Swimmers particularly lead in this section, From slapping themselves, to the tradition of wearing headphones while competing, visitors and watchers are left wondering the reason behind these practices. While all athletes have their own quirks, there is a scientific explanation behind some of their actions. Here's all you need to know about the odd behaviour of swimming athletes.
Why do swimmers smack themselves? The answer is fairly simple. Hitting the body helps increase the blood flow. According to Temaly Tomley of Swimmers World, the move is intended to support the warm-up process and helps swimmers step into the pool with ease.
Another way to increase the blood flow and keep the body warm is by wearing coats. You may have noticed swimmers wearing heavy coats before the match. Cold muscles can lead to stiffness and cramps during the race. The heat helps relax the muscles and prepares them for the big dive. Some swimmers are also seen splashing water on their bodies before the event. This is also done to prepare the muscles and helps reduce the impact of jumping into the pool water. It also helps ensure the swimsuit is in close contact with the skin.
There are several different versions of why swimmers wear headphones before swimming. The primary reason is quite literally 'drown out' the noise around them. Some athletes also play music on their headphones to calm themselves down before the nerve-racking race. In all, wearing headphones is a common part of the swimmer’s pre-race routine.
There is also a legitimate reason as to why swimmers wear double caps. The bottom cap is intended to stick tightly to the head but it is likely to get wrinkly. The second cap is put over the goggle straps and helps them stick to place and prevents them from slipping and falling into the water. Both caps are generally made of two different materials and the top cap is smoother and removes those wrinkles.