The only woman swimmer in Oman’s national team, Lara Al Yafei, has started a website to help and encourage other Muslim women swimmers. “I created the website Tasbahee (Do you swim?) because I want the community of Muslim women swimmers to be able to discuss different topics,” she said.
Lara is the only woman in a group of 30, which can be intimidating and awkward. “I am the only girl and there are 29 other guys in the national swimming team. It’s challenging in many ways. You have to wake up really early every day to swim. It requires a lot of discipline. The other part is being the only girl in the team is a little intimidating and awkward,” she said.
Lara has been in the team for over two years and wishes to see other Omani women join her. This is one of the many reasons behind her website. “Hopefully, me joining the team will help other girls think that perhaps they can join as well. The conservative society is a little overwhelming for young girls. When I was looking online for guidance, I couldn’t find anything. That’s why I created the website,” she explained.
Citing an example of how there wasn’t much information for young Muslim swimmers, she said: “We have special swimsuits, which are very tight. I faced a lot of problems putting them on. I searched and found out that I could use baby powder to make it easier. Through my website, you can find such information directly and won’t have to search for it.”
Lara intends on making the website an online community, where information, knowledge, and experiences can be shared. “On the website, I want to build a community, where people can discuss things with each other. I have already spoken to a few international swimmers and they said they would love to be on the website,” she said.
Currently, Lara is preparing to represent the Sultanate internationally and has been working tirelessly to achieve her goals. She said, “Hopefully, within the next few months, I will represent Oman internationally. We are going to Algeria.” Her ultimate aim is to participate in the Olympics. “My goal is to participate in an international competition and represent Oman, and eventually go for the Olympics,” she revealed.