A Swift Explanation of the Logo

To me, all birds are magical. However, the common swift possesses a particularly potent form of sorcery. This is why I’ve chosen a flying swift as the new logo for White Line Coaching.

The image of the White Line swift is formed using straight lines, producing a geometric pattern across its body, and has been masterfully designed by Santiago Piqueras, the creator of the new White Line Coaching website and the All The Way To The Finish Line documentary. 

Over the last 3 years I’ve spent countless hours with binoculars pressed to my face, watching the birds that grace the British Isles. Birds were a childhood passion which has become re-activated for me in adulthood. The connections in my mind between birds and things that are pure are plentiful. Birds have become an incomparable source of goodness for me as I continue to transition from a difficult period of my life.

You possibly don’t even have to be a birder to have a favourite. The robin is traditionally the nations number one- it’s red breast adorning millions of Christmas cards every year and being one of the boldest and most visible garden visitors makes it stand out. Other obvious favourites are our more colourful species. Ones that might seem better suited to tropical climes. For instance, the electric blue and orange of the kingfisher, the vibrantly plumaged yellow wagtail or the perfect pastel pink of the jay all would be understandable choices to put at the top of your list.

My favourite however is the rather drab and somewhat angry looking common swift. Why should a bird that only visits for a few months in our summer be my favourite? Afterall, it arrives later (late April) and leaving earlier (August) than most other migrants so it can’t even be bothered to stick around for very long and deprives me of its magnificence for 9 months of the year.

“This is all great,” I hear you say, “but what’s all this got to do with health and fitness or with becoming a better athlete?” Well, the swift is my favourite, not because of its plumage or the fact that it can perch atop the bird bath so we can get a good view of it all whilst sipping a cup of Yorkshire tea (which would be impossible because its latin name Apus apus means “footless”). It is the life and the behaviour of the swift that makes it my favourite and why I am going to proudly use it as a symbol of what I will both bring to and provide for my clients.

Common swift. Photo: Nick Upton.

Outside of the breeding season, which takes place when the birds are here in Europe, the swift almost never lands. Yes, it flies all the time. It eats, sleeps and has sex on the wing. The swift occupies a portion of reality that is almost completely impossible to understand. It’s as different from us as a fish in the sea. Yet the swift isn’t below us like fish. It is higher than us. For us, flying is aspirational. We had to invent machines to get us airborne- almost pitiful in a sense. The swift can fly up there because that’s what it is, and it never comes down! It’s almost completely lost its need for the land. It has mastered the heavens. The endurance and unending focus it displays to live such a life are astonishing. It knows what it needs to do and it never stops doing it until the day it dies.

The swift is also very FAST. The fastest bird in fact (if you don’t count freefalling speeds such as those achieved by a diving peregrine falcon)- reaching an officially recorded speed of 112km/h. Knowledge of my background as a sprinter and coach to elite sprinters makes the need to explain why this aspect of the swift appeals to me, null and void.

Finally, whilst its feathers aren’t exceptional, for me the common swift is a thing of beauty. It is perfectly balanced. The shape of its body makes it incredibly manoeuvrable. It can twist and turn on a sixpence as it chases its insect prey or when in the late summer, they engage in “screaming parties” (which some have suggested is the swifts way of having fun). Their bodies have a look of strength, but no more than is needed. They are built for the task they were born to do. They are not bodybuilders. They are athletes. Everything they possess serves a purpose.

Your body has a purpose. Your body is fast. It has endurance. You have within you the ability to be focussed on a goal and to never be diverted from it. You are like a swift. Let me help you be like one.

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