Photo: AP

Close watchers of the Olympic games will notice that there are swimming medals awarded for four different “strokes.” That’s three strokes too many and we’ll tell you why.

What is the purpose of swimming as a sport? To go fast. It is a race. The point is to swim faster than everyone else. Now then.

Is the “breaststroke” the fastest way to swim? No.

Is the “backstroke” the fastest way to swim? No.

Is the “butterfly” the fastest way to swim? No.

So why do we have competitions in them? Defeats the point of swimming!

In fact, the last way of swimming is called “freestyle,” which is not a specific stroke, but which means swim any way you like. Invariably, in freestyle, all the swimmers swim the same way—the fast way, because it is a race, and the fastest way to swim is the best way to win the race.

What we propose is: They should only swim that way.

“But the different strokes require different skills,” a swimming apologist might say. We’ll grant that that’s true. In fact, many useless and counterproductive activities take “skill” to master.

Imagine if, in addition to footraces in which people run as fast they can, the Olympics also featured a crabwalking race. Some of the world’s top athletes would spend years mastering the crabwalk, and they would be the best crabwalkers in the world. The best normal runners would stand no chance against them in a crabwalking race. None of that would change the fact that a crabwalking race would be a very silly thing to have in the Olympics, when running is the fastest way to use your legs to race someone.

In fact, the Olympics already have walking races, and people universally think they’re stupid. We contend that a walking race in the Olympics is no stupider than making people do the slow ways of swimming.

Thank you.