Monday, April 14, 2014

Charlotte Observer: Charlotte swim coach banned for life after sexual misconduct charge



Jamie Thomas finally banned for life. It took a very long time to process this ban and people should ask USA Swimming why?  (In fact I will ask and post the reply.)  This all began back in November 2013. 

In fact South North Carolina has had 9-coaches charged with sexual misconduct since 2012. Absolutely despicable. Sounds like a serious cultural problem that needs addressing. 

From the Charlotte Observer:

 On Monday, the sport’s governing body announced Thomas’ permanent suspension for violation of the USA Swimming code of conduct. The suspension means he is prohibited from coaching or owning one of its club teams. 
 “The safety of our athletes is our top priority,” USA Swimming spokesperson Karen Linhart said. “It’s very important to have the right people in our sport, acting in the ways of our code of conduct and doing the right thing.” 
 USA Swimming initially suspended Thomas following his Sept. 18 arrest in Opelika, Ala., on a pending sexual misconduct charge. 
[Link]

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

RIO Games in trouble: A "Plan B" is being floated to have some of the events moved to different cities.


The 2016 Olympics is a socio/political mess thus far. Even governing chiefs are raising their voices and one in particular, International Tennis Federation chief Francisco Ricci Bitti. "...called the situation "very serious" and said "we are scared."

As I write this 2,000+ Olympic venue construction workers are on strike because of the precarious working conditions. The strike there has been aggressive and warning shots have been fired into the air suggesting workers and security guards are quite at odds with each other.

From the Courier Mail:
“....Leaders of 18 different federations spoke out about Rio’s troubled preparations in a meeting with Bach and the IOC board. All but one — volleyball — raised serious concerns. 
The general feeling is that we are in the most critical situation in the preparation for the games that has happened in the last 20 years at least,” said Francesco Ricci Bitti, head of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations.

Ricci Bitti said the sports raising the issue of a “Plan B” were referring to venue plans, not moving the games.

“We are not at this stage,” he said, adding that basketball, for example, could consider playing some games in Sao Paulo if the Deodoro venue won’t be ready.

[Link]

Emerging economies often have environmental problems however one problem in particular, according to the The Guardian, could actually "kill" the sailing venue before it is even built.

From the Guardian:
"... Construction on the second largest cluster of venues in northern Rio, in an area called Deodoro, has yet to begin. Work on the Olympic golf course has also been delayed.

Severe water pollution in Guanabara Bay, the venue for Olympic sailing, is a growing concern with a test event scheduled in August. IOC officials have said they will not risk athletes' health if the water is unsafe. ..."

[Link]
But what about the pool? That venue was built in 2007 for the Pan American Games. The upside is that the pool is built. The down side is that it was built 7-years ago. Arguably, since FINA will not allow techsuits and insists on "tech pools" instead, don't expect a myriad of world records to be set in 2016.



Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Stephanie Rice retires from swimming - A swimming career "obit" from Yahoo sports



Unfortunately she will be remembered for the dumbest thing a celebrity can do: Tweet a gay slur on Twitter and believe you can take it down in time before it becomes globalized. That is what she did and the consequences came quick. It was 2010 and that slur cost here a luxury car contract and even the car they gave her had to be returned.

Rice was the Missy Franklin of Australia winning three gold medals in the Beijing Olympics Games. Her shoulder ultimately blew out and I suspect her interest in the sport as well. See the vide above.

From Yahoo News:
The beginning of the end of her swim career came in December 2011, when she underwent surgery to repair a torn tendon in her right shoulder. With plenty of physiotherapy and cautious training, she won both IMs at the Australian trials four months before the London Games, but the shoulder failed to hold up to more rigorous training ahead of the Olympics.

"Steph has been wrestling with this since London," Bohl said Wednesday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

"She couldn't get the best out of herself there, but with what she endured, she didn't want to retire with question marks. She wanted a year or two to think about it."

[Link]

Sad day when a young lady has to "fold her cards" and give up the holy game of swimming. May her second act be adventurous, fruitful and endearing.

Ian Thorpe is in trouble: "Australian swimming legend Ian Thorpe in intensive care and may lose the use of his left arm after 'contracting a bug during surgery' in Switzerland"

It has been a lousy year for Ian Thorpe, a man who has suffered depression issues for the better part of a decade and now this troubling news:

From the Daily Mail:

The 31-year-old gold medallist is receiving treatment for an infection after receiving surgery at a hospital near his Swiss home of Ronco sopra Ascona. Thorpe was flown to Sydney, where he is in intensive care, and his close associates fear that he could lose the use of his left arm, Network Seven reported.

[Link]

Thursday, April 03, 2014

In a world where Nike is "Speedo" and Alberto Salazar is "Mark Schubert" - Track & field athletes want to rise against the empire and unionize!


Track & Field athletes inspired by the concept that both college football players and basketball players can unionize is taking the ruling by the National Labor Relations Board quite seriously. They are now talking about unionizing too after an all too powerful coach arguably gamed the rules at a track & field event.

From the Wall Street Journal: 
"... The discord follows two disqualifications at indoor nationals in February. Both cases involved runners coached by Nike coach Alberto Salazar, which prompted opposing coaches, athletes and competing sponsors to question Nike's influence with the USATF and how the body applies its rules. USATF rejected claims that anyone received special treatment.  
At the meet, as Brooks-sponsored Gabriele Grunewald sprinted to victory in the final leg of the 15-lap, 3,000-meter race, she clipped the heel of Nike runner Jordan Hasay, who finished fourth. Mr. Salazar, a three-time New York City Marathon champion, protested the result on the grounds that the contact impeded Ms. Hasay. Ms. Grunewald eventually was disqualified, though some people said the process deviated from USATF rules. 
Ms. Hasay later withdrew the protest amid backlash, and Ms. Grunewald was reinstated as the winner. 
In the men's 3,000 meters, Nike runner Andrew Bumbalough was disqualified for interfering with Galen Rupp, who was coached by Mr. Salazar and also is sponsored by Nike. Mr. Rupp came in second, while Mr. Bumbalough, who wasn't coached by Mr. Salazar, finished eighth. ..." 
[Link

Some supporting "players" in this "movie" that I did not mention in the title of this post are Brooks and Saucony (shoe company rivals to Nike).  They are the TYR and the Arena swimsuits of the sport.

In 2008 USA Swimming was essentially a marketing arm for Speedo. No other suit company could advertise in the USA Swimming magazine but Speedo. This rue was so ironclad that when a TYR logo appeared on a TYR sponsored swimmer in an article, it was ordered to be airbrush off the athlete's suit. Speedo, back then, owned all the marketing and advertising opportunities much like Nike currently has with US Track & Field today

Now I don't want to be racially offensive but the following analogy is going to apply. It is not hyperbole but rather a fact and the definition fits: There is a profound amount of track & field athletes that are of African descent. These athletes like many of their ancestors are now second string "share croppers" to their governing body.

A share cropper, (usually a former slave) would take out a loan from a landowner to buy seeds and tools. This sharecropper would work the land and a percentage of the crops when harvested would go to the landowner as payment. The crop amount delivered to the landowner was about half or maybe a little less than what was grown. On face value this seems fair, but the landowner set the prices that he would pay for the harvest which would be significantly less than market value. Since the sharecropper had no access to the markets at large. The end result was that the Negroes did all the work and the landowners made all the money.

Now enters the NRLB ruling that would allow Northwestern athletes to unionize. Well, it's now time for USA Swimming athletes to considering unionizing too and here is why: You the Olympic athlete are nothing but a "sharecropper." You are slaves to US Swimming. You have no access to royalty payments from the USOC, the IOC, or the advertisers. (About $30-million per year.) This includes royalties from all the Sports networks across the globe and even the royalty rights of your likeness well into in perpetuity.

I have always felt that USA Swimming athletes should unionize and now is the time.  Carpe diem, or, seize the day, athletes.

Tony Austin



Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Possible NCAA Unionization could destroy both mens and womens swimming at top schools!

Yes, it would be "game over" for all not profitable sports because football & basketball players would make an extraordinary amount of money & benefits and have no need for scholarships. Thus, Title IX would become a meaningless relic from an antique age.

Prologue: The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) a couple weeks ago ruled that the NCAA Northwestern football players can unionize. This is the moral equal of starting a fire on a dry patch of weeds in Yellowstone Park. If the colleges and universities cannot extinguish this potential unionization "fire"utterly and completely, then "Yellowstone Park" (or University profits) will go up in "flames."

Football and basketball players, if unionized, would be considered employees of the school. These players could collectively negotiate salaries, medical care, and probably pensions too. This will be expensive. Scholarships would be over and that leads to Title IX issues.

On face value it seems like the female gender would have a bit of an advantage here but in fact they do not for the Title IX law would become obsolete. The Title IX law states that scholarships must be doled out equally amongst men and women. However, would football players need scholarships if they were legally marked as employees of the school? These kids would probably be making hundreds-of-thousands-of dollars per year so why offer scholarships? Why would a school give a scholarship to a football player if their union is making the schools pay salaries, health insurance and pensions?

From Brietbart 
 "...Title IX requires whatever additional medical and educational benefits Northwestern football players—and those at other universities forming unions negotiate—be extended to athletes in other sports with equal aggregate amounts spent on men and women. 
[Link]

What would happen to Title IX if suddenly there was a surplus of female scholarships versus male scholarships? (Presuming that all male and basketball scholarships were virtually erased off the books?) What incentive would a college or university have to increase the number of male scholarships to match the amount of females receiving them? Thus, they kill female scholarships.

Yes, fewer sports for women especially swimming is the way this unionization thing is looking.



Monday, March 31, 2014

Chat log conversations between Michael Phelps and Bob Bowman regarding Phelps' comeback?

Anonymous hackers sent me some chat logs from IRC from who they believe is Michael Phelps and Bob Bowman talking about a comeback. Boy, these two are nothing what we think they are. Oh, and quite possibly Susan Woesner of USA Swimming's Safe Sport arm shows up as well!

<<***Bob_CoachDaddy> has entered the room
<<***GAOAT> has entered the room
<<***RL_Jeah> has entered the room>
<<***Pete_the_Van> has entered the room>

<<*Bob_CoachDaddy> Hey Michael. What a bad day it’s been! I come to the pool and all my male age groupers do is talk about this cartoon called My Little Pony’ or “Ponyville” and this “Friendship is Magic” crap. It’s really pissing me off. They are not acting like boys, they should be talking about Call of Duty frags or something. They have now turned my kick sets into a social kicking party and they sing songs to the cartoon as well. It’s driving me crazy, driving me nuts. How long will it take for this Pony-crap to run it’s freaking course?

<<*GAOAT> I don’t know, Bob. Probably like a few more years. I mean Sailor Moon took a whole decade or so before it finally ran it’s course.

<<*Bob_CoachDaddy> Yeah, whatever, Sailor Moon. You bet… So, speaking about kick sets, These boys need a better role model out there in the pool. Somebody much more inspiring than pink & blue horses that eat glitter for breakfast and fart rainbows & stars into the sky at lunch. Our team, our pool needs… Well, even America needs some inspiration. We need the Greatest Athlete of All Time to come back and show us all how it is done. And that person is Mr. Michael Frederick Phelps the II. You with me? We were taking about you returning to the pool Last week and you said you would show up on Monday but I didn’t see you this morning. Any explanation?

<<*Pete_da_Van> Bob, Sailor Moon was great show and deserve all the accolades and the national syndication it deserved. 

<<*RL_Jeah> JEAH! Sailor Moon!!!!!!!!!!!
&lt;*RL_Jeah> Fighting evil by moonlight

<<*Pete_the_Van> Winning love by daylight
<<*Pete_the_Van> Never running from a real fight

<<*GAOAT> She is the one named Sailor Moon.

<<*Bob_CoachDaddy> has left the room

——

<<***Bob_CoachDaddy> has entered the room
<<***GAOAT> has entered the room

<<*GAOAT> Hey Bob,it’s me. I’m coming to you with my tail between my legs. I am going to need your help? I gotta figure out how I am going to do this and I’m scared. I’ve know I’ve done it four-times before but I don’t know if I can do it again. I need your help, Bob. It’s bad this time, and I need that intellectual magic, the guidance and that experience of yours to figure this all out.

<<*Bob_CoachDaddy> Ahhh, the Prodigal son has returned. Thank you Michael. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. I knew you would make the right choice. You have so much talent, I have all the confidence in the world we can do this again and we will do it better. YEssss. Thank you God!

<<*GAOAT> Okay, this is what I need…

All we have to do is get you back in the pool. You know, maybe once a day and and then in a week-or-two I will have a program all worked out so we can get you ready for the Grand Prixs at the end of the year. The Grand Prixs will build up your confidence and YOU ARE GOING TO WIN THEM MIKE!; 

I am so glad you finally made you contact. I was so worried. I have not slept in three days, and I am tired all the time. Yesterday when I was on deck yawning, I accidentally swallowed my whistle. You know what it is like swallowing a whistle? Every time I burped I sounded like I just got kick in the nuts.

<<*GAOAT> To much information, Bob.  

<<*Bob_CoachDaddy> You’re right! Never mind. Enough about my problems. Don’t worry Mike, it’s going to be OK… We start out with building a base, then some daily stretching with some light weights.

<<*GAOAT> You don’t understand. I want to get this wired and not screw it up. There are huge pluses and minus here that I don't fully grasp. Bob, I gotta do this right.

<<*Bob_CoachDaddy> There is only pluses here, Mike, and your mom will love Brazil.

<<*GAOAT> Bob, This is not about swimming. I am trying to wire these speakers I just got in the mail from Amazon. Do I put + wire into the - holes, and - wire into the + holes?

<<*Bob_CoachDaddy> You’re kidding me right?

<<*GAOAT> No, I am not. Little Wayne is coming over and I’m afraid if I get it wrong his music will play backwards like I am Satanic or something.


<<*Bob_CoachDaddy> has left the room

——

<<***GAOAT> has entered the room
<<***Bob_CoachDaddy> has entered the room

<<*GAOAT> Hey, Bob! Great job at that age grouper meet. The kid has a great backstroke.

<<*Bob_CoachDaddy> Thanks, Michael, I will tell him you said so. He will be so flattered. Why don't you come back and join us? You might have some fun yourself. How bout tomorrow. I will set it up with your agent and we will send out a press release.

<<*GAOAT> Did you celebrate?

<<*Bob_CoachDaddy> Oh, we sure did but it didn’t work out too well for me!

<<*GAOAT> What do you mean?

<<*Bob_CoachDaddy> I stopped at CVS and I bought a couple cases of Coca-Cola and those really hot Doritos that the kids like. I get myself some Mountain Dew so I can wake up a little bit. (The whistle is still driving me crazy) Anyway, one of kids thinks it would be really funny to shake up one of cans of Mountain Dew and have it spray all over the place when I open it.

So we go in the office to watch some of the meet video on my laptop and everything is going fine. Everybody is swimming well, having fun, laughing, and then this kid hands me THE can of Mountain Dew; (of course it’s one set to splash and fizz all over), and like a sucker I take it. 

<<***SafeSport-COP_SharonStone> has entered the room

So I am watching this kid on the laptop, and I pull it open and it explodes all over the keyboard and the monitor! I am like Oh God, Oh, God, Oh God. So I grab it really it fast turn it upside down and try to shake it all out. And the kids are all screaming and running for the door and I just want to tear into them.

<<*SafeSport-COP_SharonStone> You are a sick, sick man, BOB! I will be calling you at high-noon tomorrow, pervert! And you better pick up!

<<***SafeSport-COP_SharonStone>has left the room

BWAAAAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

<<***Irv-Muchnik> has entered the room

<<*Bob_CoachDaddy> What did I say? What did I do? Hey, is that Muchnik that just enter the room? Oh [Expletive deleted]

<<***Bob_CoachDaddy> has left the room
<<***GAOAT> has left the room

——

<<***GAOAT> has entered the room
<<***Bob_CoachDaddy> has entered the room

<<*Bob_CoachDaddy> Just got off the phone with USA Swimming's Safe Sport division. Talk about something taken out of context. WOW! - Let's cut the crap,  Micheal. I have been punished enough. Doctor "Rear Admiral" says the whistle is stuck inside my colon and you don't want to know what it sounds like when I break wind or what it's going to take to pull it out.

Yes-or No? Do you want to come back and swim? I need closure, Michael.

<<*GAOAT> No, I don't want to.

<<*Bob_CoachDaddy> I figured that. I will leave you alone. Send your mother my best, she is a good woman.  

<<*GAOAT> But I am coming back. I am going to jump into the pool. Swim everything you tell me to swim. I am going to measure my words. Pretend I am the male version of "Missy Franklin" and I promise that everything that comes out of my mouth with be all about truth, justice and the USA Swimming way. I will be a good sport. Make no excuses and I will swim all the relays you put me on. Then I will wrap myself in the American flag, win or lose, and smile as best that I can and force myself to go to the closing ceremonies and pretend I am the happiest man in the world. 

<<*Bob_CoachDaddy> Why, Michael? Why do this to yourself?

<<*GAOAT> Because I learned that happiness is overrated. Right now I am getting nothing done but getting good at a couple of recreational sports. Unfortunately, I can't do anything else but be an icon, a swimmer, or both. If I swim, my mother and sisters will never be wanting for food or shelter, and those watching me will get a little inspiration or some relief.

<<*Bob_CoachDaddy> I will see you at 6:00 AM tomorrow morning. Oh... Thanks Mike. 

<<*GAOAT>>; APRIL FOOLS, SUCKER!



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Adults & age-groupers take note: The poisonous pee byproducts lurking in swimming pools can affect multiple organs

Live Science did an "English" translation of a study regarding the health effects on the body when kids or adults pee in a swimming pool. It's not pretty. Pointblank the study states that swimming in such a "swill" can when inhaled, affect your lungs, heart, and central nervous system [read as one's nerves & brain]. So, peeing in a pool not only hurts you, it hurts everyone even the non-swimmers on deck.

I imagine that the health effects of this practice in an indoor pool would be worse.

From Live Science:

They found that two chemicals, cyanogen chloride and thrichloramine, are formed by the reaction of uric acid [otherwise known as pee] and chlorine. When inhaled, these chemicals are known to affect multiple organs, including the lungs, heart, and central nervous system. So it seems that peeing in the pool has its own punishment — it’s just too bad it affects everyone.

[Link]

Let's not make a "swill" out of the water we swim in. Encourage kids and teammates to be responsible.

Photo: flickr/tano_d’ere

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Reggie Padilla: Surfing while playing the alto sax



I surf, I can play an alto sax so I gotta like this guy.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

London Olympic pool now open for the swimming public - Come one, come all!


For the pool to be "swimmable" they had to remove 15,000 temporary seats at the edges and cover the sides of the pool with windows. It seemingly works very well. I don't really like this architect very much for I find her designs a bit repetitive but the London Olympic pool is a majestic spectacle and I look forward to swimming it. 

China on the other hand really dropped on their grand aquatics center. Gala to see England is more industrious.

SCAQ may challenge Great Britain's masters swimmers to a meet. (Ooops! did i just say that? The keyboard may have been drinking here.)

 From Dezeen
In a statement released ahead of the centre's reopening on 1 March, mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "After a post-Olympic makeover, London’s majestic aquatics centre is now flinging open its doors for everyone to enjoy, whether an elite athlete or enthusiastic amateur." 
[Link]

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

They paid the rent but will they be able to use the pool - "Poolitics" slams a swanky block in Manhattan?


I read the article three times and I still have no clue how New York manages it real estate and the ownership issues therein. For instance, people in L.A. rent apartments whereas people in New York buy apartments. A landlord in Los Angles owns the apartment building but in New York "co-ops" can own the building. We call those people investors or stock holders.

Hmmm, Co-op? Isn't that something hippies did in the 1960's in places called communes and pig farms? I digress,  there are only 150-pools in Manhattan and most of them really suck. With that in mind pools are such a scarce resource there that there is a lot of "poolitics" surrounding which higher "forms of life" get to use them.

From the New York Times:

"... And now it has become the object of a dispute that threatens to divide the city within a city that is the venerable London Terrace apartment complex in western Chelsea — the four taller buildings on the corners, known as London Terrace Towers, and the 10 smaller buildings in between, known as London Terrace Gardens. [Read as really swanky gentrified apartments] 
At issue is how much the landlord of the Gardens buildings should pay the Towers, a co-op that collectively controls the pool, so that Gardens renters can continue to swim, work out in an adjacent fitness center and lounge on a nearby roof terrace. A 20-year deal runs out at the end of the month, and some renters in the Gardens worry that they will lose access. They fear that co-op owners in the Towers have concluded that continuing to share the three facilities would hurt property values. ..." 
[Link]

Let's take a step back here and consider what New York is - I have only been to New York once and when I was there I spent three days walking through the whole place, ten miles a day, just to see what life there and on the streets was all about.

A lot of people envy New York: John Lennon once said that if the United States were the Roman Empire than New York city is Rome. Though I agree with that statement one thing must be clear, New York is nowhere near being an urban paradise or otherwise.

Consider this: New York is so overly centralized and cramped that the upper class mentioned in the article has to go to a roof top to lounge in the sun. Their beach water is dirty, and their pools scarce and fought over by people with the most money. Prices there are expensive and the weather is formidable. The only thing to envy about New York is its centralized art districts such as Soho, Broadway, the Met.

So when you are laying on deck in the sun waiting for your next event or walking to pool through a meadow or a field of wheat to get to workout you have more space more freedom and less hostility than John Lennon's Rome.

BTW, Ringo Starr had a different take on where to live. I saw him driving a 1956 something with flames on the side of the car and a big smile on his face driving through the Santa Monica mountains. Ringo Starr's "Rome." - I predict Rome 2.0 will be either be Shanghai or Los Angeles.