Swim Goggles
August 17, 2004 4:31 PM   Subscribe

OlympicsFilter: What's the deal with the mirrored goggles all the swimmers are wearing? Does the mirroring serve any purpose?
posted by stopgap to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total)
I believe they are like sunglasses. There is no roof on the swimming arena.

Santiago Calatrava had designed a roof, but apparently between design issues, budget, and time it could not be built.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 5:26 PM on August 17, 2004

Best answer: I used to swim competitively, and I had about a gazillion pairs of goggles. Each pair of goggles served different purposes. Think pitching wedge versus putter. If it was sunny out, I brought out the mirrored goggles to lower the glare. I also had a pair of smokey-grays for bright light, green for indoor use, and red for indoor bad lighting. I also had a pair of clear for really bad pools. With swimming, you have only a limited set of controllable equipment decisions, so things get pretty crazy. So, like major league pitchers, repetition and superstition are taken to (il)logical lengths.

All of swimming is highly ritualistic: everything had to happen the same way. I had to eat the same thing (spaghetti) the day before. I had to get in the mind-set the same way through music and banter. Warm-ups were always the same; always was the last one out of the pool; best friend and I always do the same cheer. Crazy, but it worked. Before my event, I had to stretch the same way; had to approach the blocks the same way; had to stretch and pit on the blocks the same way; had to prepare to start on the blocks the same way; goggles had to go on at the same time. No one act by itself was weird - but taken in its totality, it would get absurd. And I was just the tip of the iceberg. Some teammates had trained their bodies to do a BM right before an event, and if that didn’t happen, all hell would break loose. Again, that is what happens when you have a sport that contains rituals which are done over, and over, and over again.
posted by plemeljr at 5:30 PM on August 17, 2004

This is a great little piece written by a baseball player turned anthropologist George Gmelch. It doesn't really relate to the question, but moreso to what plemeljr said.
posted by sciurus at 5:34 PM on August 17, 2004

Sounds like OCD to me.
posted by angry modem at 4:53 AM on August 18, 2004

No, OCD would be if you counted all the cieling tiles while you were doing the backstroke.

...oh, wait. nevermind.
posted by ChasFile at 7:49 AM on August 18, 2004

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