Garfish are an interesting fish that takes graceful swimming strokes to glide through the water. Sometimes known as Garies, Gardies, Beakies, sea needles and halfbeaks these slender bluish green fish can grow up to 30” in size and have a dangerous appearance. In fact, some species of these fish can reach up to 10 feet and weigh as much as 300 pounds. While they do grow large and have a mouth of sharp teeth, there has never been a report of them attacking humans and some enjoy the challenge of catching them.
On their back, the garies have pectoral, dorsal and anal fins that are designed to provide them with better flexibility and maneuverability while they are swimming in the water (swim fins). Their long bodies are designed to help push them through the water as they flex and relax the muscles of their body, while using their fins to help better guide them through the water (fish swim).
As swimmers, we can watch their precise swimming strokes and take some inspiration from the way that their bodies move. This begins by taking the straight form of the fish and adjusting our pattern and movements to be far more effective in the water.
However, they are not known for swimming at fast speeds. While they can boost their speeds in a short period of time, the garfish will typically slowly float motionless near the top of the water and occasionally swim in a sluggish manner. If prey approaches, they will lunge their head at it and quickly consume it.
Their simple design and swimming strokes have remained unchanged for more than 100 million years. This is one of the reasons why they are affectionately known as living fossils. They can be found primarily in fresh water in North America. However, their fossils have been found all across the world. These fish do have a lifespan of at least 20 years and live off a diet of other fish.
Perhaps most interesting is how the gardies is able to breathe, even when oxygen levels in the air are low. They have a swim bladder that the can fill with air from above the water. This allows them to breathe in various aquatic conditions as they use it to supplement their breathing in their movement.
Some people do eat these fish, however they aren’t considered to be very appealing. Their flesh is full of bones and it makes them difficult to enjoy. Eggs of the garfish are high in toxins that can be harmful to humans and cannot be used as caviar.
There is no denying that the garfish is one of the most incredible species of ocean life that is out there. These natural swimmers offer both beauty and grace as they glide through the fresh waters of North America.
Warm-Up: 400 choice of swimming strokes, relaxed and tai-chi style, 400 freestyle
3 X (100 drill, 100 kick) freestyle
8 X 50 alternating butterfly and freestyle
2 X 200 backstroke
8 X 50 alternating breaststroke and freestyle
2 X 200 Individual Medley (IM: 50 butterfly, 50 backstroke, 50 breaststroke, 50 freestyle)
20 X 50 Kick with swim fins
Cool-down: 200 tai chi style perfect swim technique
Total: 4800 meters or yards depending on the length of your pool
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