Thursday, October 19, 2006

SACistan: A Crucible Of Swimming?

A thought that has recently piqued my interest is related to the masters swimming team that I have belonged to since the Spring of 2001. Not so much the swimming part of it ... the great friendships, and not even the social network we have developed, but more around how does a swim team come into existance ... and grow, evolve and thrive over 20+ years?

On one level, the long term survival of a swim team is about reproduction. Kind of like evolutionary biology, where organisms that survive long enough to reproduce create the next generation. Those that don't tend to fade away. So if the swim program keeps attracting new swimmers ... and they stay, the swim program can continuously regenerate itself, and evolve.

But I suppose where my real question is related to is the patterns of evolution of a swim team. There are many public and private pools in Phoenix capable of sustaining a swim team, but why do some pools have teams and some pools don't? And the pools that have swim teams ... why are some teams bigger, or more competitive, or more social than others? Why do some teams come into existance only to fade away after a few years? Why do some teams last for decades even after most of (or all) the original members have long since left?

And OK I got it ... you need a pool to have swim team, but ... there are evolutionary pattern theorists that talk about time and those that talk about space. Maybe their thoughts can be extended to swim teams ...

  • Time: Do swim teams form and evolve in a smooth and gradual manner over time or through a series of bursts of change interspersed with periods of stability?
  • Space: Are there conditions that exist at some pools that essentially become better crucibles for swim team formation and are more nuturing than others?

OK, that's enough. Too many questions. I'll write more when I talk with Steve Bo.


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