Karen Throsby, a sociology lecturer at the University of Warwick is conducting research on English Channel swimmers.
Karen's research has found, not unsurprisingly, that swimming across the English Channel, like other extreme sports, requires significant investment (financial, personal, physical), but that the risks are readily accepted by many swimmers who are willing to devote considerable time and energy to their passion.
However, Karen has also unearthed the dual goals of fit and fat. That is, many English Channel swimmers work to purposefully acquire or maintain body fat while also maintaining a high level of fitness. She has also obtained evidence that, especially for women, the upper body development that comes from training is counter to the ideal female body. Her research aims to explore the values and practices of the English Channel swimmers, expand on the current contemporary thoughts on what is the ideal body for an athlete, and identify motivations for engaging in sport where weight loss is not the prevailing goal.
Interested individuals can participate in Karen's research by documenting their experiences (1) online via blogs and personal websites and providing Karen with their consent to add their postings to the data, (2) offline via journals or training logs that can be shared either in their entirety or selected parts, and (3) via telephone or in-person interviews.
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