Swimming as a Sikh

My blog says I am a ‘Sikh‘. A sikh guy who is poised to swim, bike and run.

I have been swimming for a while, at the various swim centers in and around Santa Clara / San Jose. I like them all, but the one in Campbell works out great for me.

So today, an acquaintance at the campbell swimming pool walks over to share the lane with me. And we have this conversation-

acquaintance : “Can I join you ?”

me: “yes”

acquaintance: “Are you a Sikh ?”

me: smiling “yes I am”

acquaintance: “Great, first time I am seeing a sikh swimmer. This is what I have been telling to the others in the pool, that, he is a Sikh guy, and is doing pretty good. I have travelled all over the world, and have never seen a sikh guy swimming”

me: smiling and laughing “yes, infact, even I have not seen one, but surely there might be people “. (while writing this blog, it just striked me that my best friend Gagan learnt swimming)

Honestly, I was so happy, being called a sikh, and a swimmer (anyone who swims is a swimmer, isn’t it ?). On the same lines, it also made me think, that I need to do google look-up to find Sikh swimmers. There will definitely be Sikh women in the sport, but difficult to spot a sikh guy.

Few reasons, I think of that we do not see too many sikhs swimming:

  1. Swim centers are expensive infrastructure to build, so not easily available to people in every other country. This is generally speaking.
  2. Other reason, I can think of, but lot of Sikhs may tell me wrong, ‘sikh men find wetting their hair, and beard just too big a deal, and difficult to handle, and open beard after a swim.’
  3. Lot many sikh adults, do not know swimming, for the above two reasons.
  4. People think and spend more time thinking on how and what 5K’s to carry while swimming. Do we carry the kirpan when boarding the flight ? Its not that you are ditching the K’s. Lets just first get ourselves into the pool, and there will be workarounds, each one of us can figure out.
  5. We ponder over the protocols, if any, for the sikhs taking to swimming as a sport. Over the centuries, sports activities, and the competitiveness, in them have changed. So as per me, it is absolutely OK to untie your turban and put the swimming cap, because you do this anyways when taking a shower.

For those having really long hairs, here is a little innovation by sikhswim.com 

Few posts on SikhSwimming-

1) People discussing on what to wear, and how to carry the 5-Ks during the swims: http://www.sikhnet.com/discussion/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=2251

2) SwimBana (Burqini:  Burqa + Bikini) is a dream come true for many Sikh women. They can feel free from the moral judges that also act like “fashion police”, who are trying to shackle Sikhi with Abrahamic and Vedantic chains, while sitting cross-legged on their high chairs.

3) http://sikhswim.com/2008/07/17/sikh-swim-community-center/

4) To swim or not to swim (for women) – http://www.sikhchic.com/roundtable/to_swim_or_not_to_swim_the_roundtable_open_forum_63

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