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The World’s Only Swimming Channel

I’m at a loss to explain this.

I do not have cable TV, but my TV has an antenna which receives 8-10 major channels, plus about 15-20 others. I almost never watch those minor channels (actually I almost never watch the major channels either), but recently I found a channel with swimming – lots of swimming. Whenever I turn to this channel, I see swimming. Most of the time it is competitive swimming, but at other times it is water polo or synchronized swimming. Yes, there are commercials and occasionally they switch to beach  volleyball. But most of the time  I see swimming – big swimming pools with people going back and forth, and occasionally getting out of the water. The announcers give a play-by-play account of what the swimmers are doing, and apparently they know all the swimmers’ names. Occasionally, a scoreboard flashes on the screen, with flags for each team (each representing a different country?)  The channel is relatively quiet; occasionally you hear a roar from the crowd, but the announcers never  get too excited; after all, it’s only swimming. Most of the time you can actually hear splashing sounds.  During the water polo matches, the coach is at outside the pool pacing from side from side, sending hand signals to players. We see more camera shots of coaches (who are always yelling, pacing around and looking grim) than the swimmers themselves.

Sometimes I will turn on the TV in the middle of the night just to see if the swimming is still on.  It always is.

I’ve been aware of this channel for almost a week, and  a lot of questions pop into my head.  Who besides amazed people like myself are watching this? Who really cares about swimming?  And how do marketing departments convince companies to advertise on it?  Has the station  discovered some hidden profitability about people who like to watch random swimming?    Highlights:

Here comes Hungary….

And Benedict wasted no time—he heard the signature whistle and fired up!

There is an exclusion foul.

That is a controversial and really inexplicable foul.

(Commercial for tomorrow’s  Diving Competition).

(Organ donor public service announcement).

(Hair restoration kit commercial).

Team USA could live with that…

They need to keep their offense on all cylinders

(random male butts in bathing suits  walk past the camera).

A few days later: After checking periodically with the channel, I discover that all traces of swimming has disappeared from the channel to be replaced by beach volleyball. It was good while it lasted.

December 22, 2010 Update. I have randomly checked back with the channel over the past year. No swimming until today… I spent 5 minutes watching a riveting woman’s relay race. At first, China was ahead, with US and Australia a close second and third. Then during breast stroke, the US  took the lead only to have China to regain the lead in the last 10 yards; they won by 7/10 of a second!  I checked again in the middle of the night; it was now running a nonstop commercial about a saw-cutting tool thingie. The connection with swimming is obvious. (Seriously, how hard is it to broadcast decent schlock over the airwaves these days?)

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