• Id: 54875

Olympic dream lives on for finswimming 'dolphins'

Finswimming
Participants compete in the women's 50m Finswimming surface event. Francois Nel/Getty Images
New world record set at Baku 2015 demonstration event

The campaign to introduce finswimming into the Olympic Games has not succeeded so far, but the dream lives on as far as governing body the Underwater Sports Committee (CMAS) are concerned.

Spectators at the Baku Aquatics Centre were treated to a dramatic demonstration on Saturday as athletes competed in four events – 50m and 100m surface, underwater swimming (without bottles), and 100m scuba. Russia's Pavel Kabanov marked the occasion by setting a new world record in the men's 50m race.

The swimmers wear a monofin, and their body movement mimics that of dolphins so successfully that when swimming in this way amongst the marine mammals, they are accepted as one of the species.

"It is all about speed," explained Anna Arzhanova, president of CMAS.

"Some disciplines are with scuba bottles. You can see that diving is not just fat lazy tourists with the bottles, watching the fish, but also about speed.

"You can compare some disciplines with dolphins. We did some research in Egypt and dolphins accept a person with a monofin as one of themselves.

"Yes, we dream about the Olympic Games, but we have different events which are important and nice. And we are happy to be here in Baku."

CMAS was founded by famous marine biologist Jacques Cousteau, and originally had nothing to do with sport. However, a demand for underwater competition means that CMAS is now a sports federation.

One of the events they are planning to introduce is the biathlon, a mixture of free diving and shooting underwater.

Arzhanova added: "Shooting underwater is the oldest sport, because people from ancient times caught fish with special guns.

"We hope to be able to introduce new things and we hope to participate in different Games. We are recognised by the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and, one day, maybe we will be at the Olympics. We are working on it."


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