Monday, August 21, 2006

There is at least one good swimmer in Korea

I recently wrote a post titled "why Koreans aren't good swimmers'. I was mostly commenting on how strange it was that Naksan Beach would have a festival titled, "Sea of Fear". To me, that's as reasonable as Air Canada showing "Snakes on a Plane" or "United 93", etc, on a flight.

Anyway, I got called on it. A commenter wondered why I would say such a thing.

I replied that in informal polling, around 10% or fewer of my students could swim and mentioned some personal observations I had made based on time at various pools and beaches in the country. I even made the bold claim that I had not yet met a Korean who was my equal as a swimmer.

I can still stand by those words as I have not met this man nor any of this teammates but Park Tae-hwan is pretty damn fast! Congratulations go out to him and Korea on their first gold in swimming at an international event. 3:45.72 for 400metres of freestyle is fantastic.


PAKA said...

Funny thing is that I have friends who learned how to swim as children but are scared to swim in the seas/ocean...reason being...they are scared of sharks. Yes, strange but true.

Yankabroad said...

Okay, Brian, at the risk of sounding like a nutcase with alzheimer's, I relate this story. Perhaps, again.

Great article in the LA Times some years ago about a man in a small village in central China. Parents Italian. Blue eyes, blond hair. Born in China however, and never left. Can't speak a word of anything but Chinese.

But man, could he swim. Whenever the townfolk got into trouble in the local river, guess who bailed them out? You guessed it. The ethnic Italian.

Now, either this guy's parents (who have long since disappeared) introduced him to the water at an early age, or it's genetic.

Pretty interesting, eh?

What do you think?

kwandongbrian said...

I don't think you have alzheimers; I'm keeping quite about the 'nutcase' bit ;)

It's an interesting story (and the first time I've heard it). The thing is, there are many, very fast Chinese and Japanese swimmers at the Olympics. I don't know about the average Chinese or Japanese swimmer, but they have some stars. Until now, Korea has not.

I'm a little surprised about the river rescues. To help someone in the water, strong swimming skills are needed but so are strong rescue skills.