Why are successful open water swimmers more curvy than their swimming pool counterparts?
Adipose tissue (or fat) is a complex tissue which is has many roles, but for the open water swimmer it is the insulation, energy store, and flotation benefits that are of most importance.
Adipose is a very efficient store of energy, and the preferred energy source for endurance swimming, or exercise over 1-2 hours. It takes the body a while to adjust to burning fat (achieved by longer distance training) but once adjusting adipose has an almost limitless amount of energy as far as long distance swimming is concerned.
Fat is also a great insulator, just think of seals and penguins, so is really helpful in staying warm in colder water.
And finally the lower density of adipose tissue means floating higher in the water, and faster swimming. (just like a skinny swimmer wearing a wetsuit)
So the next time you’re thinking about skipping dessert… think again!