SWIMNEWS ONLINE: August 1997 Magazine Articles

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Pablo Morales On Monofinning


Cecil M. Colwin

I've taken part in the sport of fin swimming over the last few years. It's great, and I enjoy it. The feeling that I get in fin swimming is a feeling that I was never able to create swimming without fins. As a competitive swimmer, I spent the better part of ten years training to experience the sensation of speed through the water, and the feeling of water flow over the body at increasing velocities, and putting on the monofins gives a feeling of speeds of up to 30 per cent faster than I have ever experienced before.

Fin swimming gives one a great, great feeling of fluidity and power that I admire so much. I've had the good fortune to watch the world championships last summer in Hungary, and to see the best in the world. As I've said, there's such a grace and a fluidity and, at the same time, a combination of power and speed that makes it a very beautiful and exciting sport to watch.

I didn't compete at the world championships, but I have competed since then. To tell you the truth, I am not on a par with the best. It just really showed me that someone who is a world-ranked classical swimmer, a world champion butterflyer, whatever, can't expect to put on a monofin and think that they're going to be up there with the great fin swimmers, because the great fin swimmers grew up with fin swimming. That was their sport. They weren't classical swimmers. They developed and grew up with fin swimming, just as I grew up as a classical swimmer. So they know how to operate the fin, and how to maintain the proper motion to get the most out of the fin. They don't swim butterfly arms action at all. In fact, to actually stroke will slow you down.

Asked if fin swimming was done underwater, Pablo replied that it was done either on the surface with a snorkel, and the rule there is that at least one part of your body must remain on the surface at all times, and the snorkel is included as 'part of your body'.

Then there's another class of events, which is the immersion in which you actually hold a scuba tank out in front of you. It's a modified streamlined tank, and you hold it out in front of you. I don't think the streamlined tanks are specially designed for the purpose; they just sell different types of tanks, but they do seem suited for monofinning.

Fin swimming has been in existence for about two decades, and the sport has held eight world championships so far. It's an IOC recognized sport, although it hasn't been part of the Olympic Games yet.

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