Thinking again about aquatics: Perspectives with Track-and-Field next to Football and Soccer



​Original article by Kevin McCarthy

The global sports market sends clues to consider with the combination of fitness and entertainment – both beneficial and inspiring. 

On land, the sports industry generates 90% of its revenue through competitive team games rather than individual athletic events. Soccer, football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and lacrosse are all vibrant, profitable, team games. Kids love team play. Football and soccer are large and have a physical-space relationship with track and field, in that they often share venues at schools, colleges and parks.

The game sports of football and soccer often provide the financial justifications for the investments of the stadiums and seating costs. Spectators can flock to the football and soccer games and the track and field teams use the same spaces in their seasons.

The expression, “If you build it, they will come.” seems to work if the draw is a “game.”

Soccer is showing faster growth than football in recent decades because many feel it to be safer, more fun, easier to learn, more inclusive, and appeals to a wider audience.

Many youth and teens choose to play football and run track. The one sport helps the skill-set with the other. Football and track coaches often talk and share athletes. Football gives stamina, resilience, courage, team play, and most importantly poise under fire. These assets are some keys to success in track and field as a runner and as a field athlete, such as a javelin thrower. Plus, specific skills from track and field help football players. Likewise, the same two-sport benefits apply for soccer and track.

The enormous opportunity in aquatics plays upon the same multi-sport dynamics from the land activities.

Building a broader base of participation in aquatics, will, in turn, help to feed swim racing.

The vision and philosophy with Skwim International is to aid and further enrich the aquatic industry from the ground floor. Skwim can boost participation opportunities for kids, many of whom leave depart from the pools following a year or two of swim lessons.

Skwim can be a catalyst for growth for aquatics.

The greater majority of elementary school children are either not ready nor not interested in swim racing. Skwim is a fast moving, entertaining, easily played team game, like soccer. Skwim can retain enthusiasm and boost fitness in the water. Skwim activities prepare children for later competitions in racing settings. Racing activities, both on land and in water, become more popular with kids in junior high and high school.

Track and field benefits from soccer and football. Track gets to share the athletes with the team sports and gets to use the facilities. This type of partnership can grow between swim racing and skwim too.

Most of all, increasing the numbers of kids that are stronger swimmers, especially among the younger age groups, would reduce childhood drownings.

As many as 3,500 lives and 15,000 traumatic injuries occur in water accidents each year. That’s too much trauma for a country with such an abundance of available swim lessons.

Let’s look at sports participation with races events and game play through the a window of history and consider the sporting relationships and kindred partnerships. To create a more robust aquatic industry, add vibrant, diverse, profitable, and lifelong opportunities of aquatic game play at the swim pools. This is sure to help the greater community.

About the author 

Mark Rauterkus

Coach Mark, the executive director of the nonprofit 501(c)(3) of SKWIM USA, lives and coaches in Pittsburgh, PA, USA, where he helps to lead swim, SKWIM and water polo activities for a wide range of participants.

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