Sunday, January 31, 2010

BBC: Up to two year wait for children's swimming lessons!

Pedophiles, pedophile allegations that are patently false, and drownings are the worst news stories I bump into when looking for blog material. This one "takes the cake and eats it too." Kids in Scotland have to put their name on a two year waiting before they get swimming lessons.

Is that a drowning waiting to happen?

I hate being a moralist this weekend but this really tweaks me. I guess it must be so cold up there that backyard pools just don't exist?

Glenn Mills should open up a franchise there. Get an inflatable pool with a good heater, a warehouse, and sanctioned GoSwim ninjas!

From the BBC:

Lists at Highland Council pools are three months to two years. In Aberdeen, 362 youngsters are waiting for lessons.

Registering online at Inverness Leisure shows a wait of 1,040 days, but bosses said this was a "worst case scenario" and the actual wait was shorter.

Scottish Swimming has called for every child to be taught to swim before they leave primary school and the body said this could help ease waiting lists.

[Link]


USA Swimming 'Contact US' page reads like an advertising agency org chart - Who do I call to recommend a pedophile prevention policy?

The USA Swimming 'Contact Us' Page reads like ad agency organization chart - Who do I call to recommend that USA Swimming adopt the same pedophile prevention policy as the Boy Scouts of America?

See Sunday's post: [Link]

Chuck Wieglus will never answer my phone calls NEVER! - In fact, nobody there or at FINA have ever answered my phone calls or my emails.

Executive

Chuck Wielgus: 719.866.3579 - Executive Director

Kathy Parker: 719.866.3579 - Executive Coordinator

Brenda Adams: 719.866.3536 - Executive Administrative Assistant

Business Development

[...]


Business Operations/Member Services

Mike Unger: 719.866.3547 - Assistant Executive Director

Carol Burch: 719.866.3552 - Member Services Director

[...]


Club Development

Pat Hogan: 719.866.3534 - Club Development Managing Director

Tom Avischious: 719.866.3555 - Field Services Director


[...]

Ruth Flint: 719.866.3576 -
Club Development Administrative Assistant

Helen Uchiyama: 719.866.3529 - Field Services Administrative Assistant

Carrie Waters: 719.866.3571 - Programs and Services Administrative Assistant

Financial Affairs

[...]

National Team

[...]


USA Swimming Foundation

Chris LaBianco: 719.866.3602 - Chief Development Officer

[...]

Ana Marcela Cunha wins 'Maratona Internacional de Santos 10k Swim' - Chloe Sutton is once again on the podium!


UPDATE From Steve Munatones:


My fault, please accept my apologies. Chloe did not finish in the top 3. She was leading for the first 9K, but then fell back towards the end. Ana Marcela, the youngest swimmer at the 2008 Olympic 10K and a 5th-place finisher, out-sprinted two Italians for the top 3 finisher. Ana Marcela is the real deal and should continue to be a force in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

Local "grrl" Chloe Suton flies to Brazil for the Maratona Internacional de Santos 10k swim and places third behind number one in the world, Larisa Ilchenko. Somebody I have never heard of, Ana Marcela Cunha wins it. Ana Marcela is on my radar now.

From The Water is Open:

Ana Marcela played her cards right, taking over after the last turn buoy with 1.1K to go from Olympic 10K champion Larisa Ilchenko and American Chloe Sutton under calm seas with no wind.

In the end, I sprinted to a two-body advantage and finally defeated the Olympic champion, Larisa. I always hit the limit, but this time I achieved my goal. Now I will prepare myself well for the World Championships in Canada where I am going to strive for a medal - as well as all the other World Cup races until October. I was not patedal, [patedal? --T.A.] and for all the other phases of the Cup of the World."

[Link]

Pedophile Swim Caoch stories surge in the past three months - What is 'USA Swimming' going to do about it?

When did swimming become part of the police blotter rather than a topic in the sports section and what is USA Swimming going to do about?

From the Irish Central regarding former Irish national swimming coach George Gibney: "Notorious Irish Sex Offender Tracked to Florida." - [Link]

Then yesterday from KCBS: San Jose Aquatics, an organization affiliated with USA Swimming suffered these headlines: San Jose swim coach, [Andrew King], who pleaded no contest to 20 child molestation charges has been sentenced to 40 years in prison. - [Link]

Then this sad tale in Milwaukee: "...The Milwaukee County District Attorney's office says that more charges will be filed this week against swim coach Daniel Acker.

Greenfield police say Acker molested at least 28 boys over the past 30-plus years.

The Journal Sentinel says at least one, and possibly two of his suspected victims committed suicide, and a third died from drug abuse. - [Link]

I wish USA Swimming would wake up and establish the same guidelines that the Boy Scouts of America have established so as to prevent behavior like this and even prevent phony accusations. I am re-posting suggestions I made for parents and hopefully Chuck Wielgus of USA Swimming will be urged to adopt these standards.

Game on:

Swimming does not need a "Catholic Priest" problem but it just might have one. No organization wants that problem.

Unfortunately, I cannot find a USA Swimming prevention policy that protects both coaches from false accusations or children from predators, but I did find a Boy Scouts of America (BSA) prevention policy that ostensibly could protect both kids and scout leader reputations. (I am not saying that USA Swimming does not have one, I just can't find it!)

I am copy/pasting the BSA policies here with my recommendations as to how to make it applicable to a swim coach/age-group swimmer relationship in bold:

Two-deep leadership. Two registered adult leaders or one registered leader and a parent of a participant, one of whom must be 21 years of age or older, are required on all trips and outings. The chartered organization is responsible for ensuring that sufficient leadership is provided for all activities. [A parent or two should sit through a workout and a swim meet.]

No one-on-one contact. One-on-one contact between adults and youth members is not permitted. In situations that require personal conferences, such as a Scoutmaster's conference, the meeting is to be conducted in view of other adults and youths. [Parents must be involved for one-on-ones if an adult can be there]

Respect of privacy. Adult leaders must respect the privacy of youth members in situations such as changing clothes and taking showers at camp, and intrude only to the extent that health and safety require. Adults must protect their own privacy in similar situations. [That's clear enough]

Separate accommodations. When camping, no youth is permitted to sleep in the tent of an adult other than his own parent or guardian. Councils are strongly encouraged to have separate shower and latrine facilities for females. When separate facilities are not available, separate times for male and female use should be scheduled and posted for showers. [That's clear enough]

Proper preparation for high-adventure activities: Activities with elements of risk should never be undertaken without proper preparation, equipment, clothing, supervision, and safety measures. [Medical checkups, and back-up swimsuits and Goggles.]

No secret organizations: The Boy Scouts of America does not recognize any secret organizations as part of its program. All aspects of the Scouting program are open to observation by parents and leaders. [A parent or two should sit through a workout.]

Appropriate attire: Proper clothing for activities is required. For example, skinny-dipping is not appropriate as part of Scouting. [That's clear enough]

Constructive discipline: Discipline used in Scouting should be constructive and reflect Scouting's values. Corporal punishment is never permitted. [Values here should be about health, welfare, growth and most important - having fun!]

Hazing prohibited: Physical hazing and initiations are prohibited and may not be included as part of any Scouting activity. [That's clear enough]

Junior leader training and supervision: Adult leaders must monitor and guide the leadership techniques used by junior leaders and ensure that BSA policies are followed. [Encourage policies such as these be adopted by swim clubs.]

For more detailed information, here is link to the BSA page on the subject.

[Link]

Friday, January 29, 2010

'Swimming Australia' divides the leadership pie - HURRAY!

Incredibly smart decision on the part of Swimming Australia to break the General Manager of High Performance position and the Head Coach duties into two separate departments. To do so avoids conflict of interest issues such as swimsuit policy and private/secret endorsement deals.

TYR is suing over USA Swimming, Coach Mark, Schubert and Speedo over the same nonsense Swimming Australia wants to avoid. I think Swimming Australia had the foresight or the ability to look around the corner so to speak and do what is necessary to build the best team they can that is free free from corrupting influences. To so will probably take them to the next level and the US should take note.

From Swimming World:

Swimming Australia CEO Kevin Neil said the decision to re-structure the High Performance unit, which involves changes to the role and responsibilities of the Head Coach, are crucial and have been made for the good of the sport and its future success.

"A full review of the High Performance unit was conducted by the SAL Board at which point a recommendation was made to split the roles of General Manager for High Performance and that of the Head Coach, and Alan is not prepared to work under this new structure."

"Swimming is a sport that prides itself on professionalism, hard work and success, and to continue to maintain and develop those values at all levels, we believe this new structure is the best way forward."

Leigh Nugent has been appointed as the acting Head Coach of the Australian swim team, while David Crocker, who has been on secondment from the Australian Sports Commission since December, is currently acting in the role of General Manager for High Performance.

Swimming Australia will advertise for the positions of both the General Manager of High Performance and Head Coach in the near future.

Separately, the independent investigation being conducted by Louise Donohoe SC is continuing with all findings to be presented to SAL upon its completion and appropriately addressed at that time.

[Link]
Thompson should not have been such a "baby" in public about this decision, especially while he is still under investigation for alleged inappropriate behavior.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

OK, it is a slow news day so let's watch a guy get launched at the water park!



A kid posted this on FaceBook.

2012 London Aquatics Centre is moving right along!


The 2012 London Aquatics web cam: The roof looks more fleshed out and as far as I can tell most of the attention is going on inside the pool area at this point.

What 14-15-or-17-year-old today will be swimming in that pool in two-and-a-half years? Send me some predictions...

[Link]

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Steve Munatones is becoming a giant within the open water swim community!

When Steve endorses what you do, it's huge! From The Daily Egyptian Serving Illinois since 1916:
Aside from saving lives, [Rick] Walker was named the 2009 Americas Open Water Swimming Man of the Year Jan. 1 by Steven Munatones, Editor in Chief of the Daily News of Open Water Swimming, the main news engine for the open water swimming world.

Walker was one of five men around the world that were recognized with the award. He finished second to Petar Stoychev of Bulgaria, who won the World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year award.

Walker said it was a great feeling to be recognized, but he believes that the people around him share the recognition.

“I am truly honored to be recognized, but the award is also a testament to the hard work of my staff for covering for me as well as the support of my wife and two children,” Walker said.

[Link]


Here is a link to his site: [Link]

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

FINA to retest blood samples from '2009 World Championships' to check for the presence of plastic paticles!

Apparently, when you receive a blood transfusion or perhaps an IV, plastic particles or "plasticisers" from the plastic IV bag enter you circulatory systems and cruise around like like a slippery convertible on a Los Angeles freeway.

I think this is an unscientific witch hunt and here is why: If I would have been tested by FINA or WADA three-weeks ago, I would have tested positive for "plasticisers" since three weeks ago I had the "pleasure" of getting an IV. Subsequently, how do I know that the "plasticisers" are still not there? How long do "plasticisers" last? What studies have been done? Have these studies been peered reviewed? Are all bodies the same when it come to metabolizing "plasticisers?"

FINA's logic here is that if you have "plasticsers" floating around randomly, then you are an EPO doper! Now how is that for a stretch?

Here is the story from The Independent:

FINA said it would examine samples to check for the presence of "plasticisers" – particles of plastic left over from blood bags.

[Link]

Above is a 3d EPOgen molecule from Wikipedia: Erythropoietin Created with data set "1buy" from Protein Data Bank and the free program PyMOL.

Monday, January 25, 2010

TYR anti-trust lawsuit against Speedo & USA Swimming goes to trial on April 9th, 2010.


I found out a lot of things today.

On January 21, 2010, Both Speedo and USA Swimming asked the Honorable Judge, James B. Selna, to throw out TYR's anti-trust complaint against both Speedo and USA Swimming. (It's not going to happen.)

In court case progression this is the usual course of events: before going to trial you ask a judge to throw the case out no mater how absurd it is or hard it is to keep a straight face even if the blood on your client's hands is still wet and the gun at his side still has smoke coming out of it.

What made their request so unusual to me is that they requested that their reasons for asking that the case be thrown out of court be kept confidential! - In other words USA Swimming does not want the public to know why they are innocent!

So, why is that?

Remember this is a national governing body set up by the United States as a non-profit organization to guide the sport of swimming and our best competitors towards the Olympic Games but look how USA Swimming responds: they want to keep secrets as to how they do business with a suit manufacturer from the public.


New readers may not remember the lawsuit so here is a link to the actual complaint PDF:
[Link]
Here is a link to preliminary ruling PDF in the case that totally "spanks" Speedo, USA Swimming and Mark Schubert and simply declares the case is going to court and they all have an uphill battle:
[Link]

I am moving forward with a second swim related website to raise money for a pro league. I will say I have an exceptionally talented person in front guiding me through this. I will post more details as I build the site and I will definitely ask for suggestions.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Technique video shootout: Dave Scott versus Glenn Mills!





Six-time Ironman winner, Dave Scott, is featured in the uppermost video explaining the freestyle catch. Unfortunately the featured swimmer therein does quite a poor job in demonstrating it. One point of view that Scott offers that I disagree with is telling the viewer they don't have the flexibility of an Olympian and therefore they should modify their entry. Ultimately, he is encouraging the triathlete to start their catch much later than they should and consequently grab less water.

Below that video is the Go Swim with Kara Lynn Joyce trailer demonstrating a beautiful freestyle stroke with a perfect catch. Though it is not in the trailer audio track, in the actual video each lap has Joyce narrating in detail what she is doing.

My conclusion is that triathletes should seek individual advice from coaches in their respective disciplines rather than a single coach. I really don't think it is possible for a coach to have mastered all three disciplines and still be able to keep their skills current on a regular basis.

Just compare the swimmers in each of the videos above.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Tom Daley, bullied school boy and platform diving champion, seeks to master world's hardest dive.


Timeline: Months ago, Tom Daley, now 15-years-old, was bullied by his schoolmates because he wore a Speedo at his "day job." Consequently he was forced to leave his public school and attend a private school so as to avoid the school yard distractions. Then last summer he won gold at the FINA World Championships, picked up Kate Moss as a fan, and now he wants to master the worlds toughest dive.

Diving is an extraordinarily difficult task for an adult and more so for boys going through the throes of puberty for they are generally clumsy and/or uncoordinated for their limbs are growing faster than their brains can register or adapt to. I kid you not.

From The Mail Online:

The importance to Daley of mastering the dive is the high scoring potential that goes with it. Divers score points according to the difficulty of their dive and style marks given by seven judges.

The two highest and two lowest marks are discarded, with the remaining three added together and multiplied by the difficulty tariff to give a final score.

Daley, who sat some of his GCSE exams last week in order to free up the summer for competition, said: ‘It’s a big risk doing the dive, but it’s a risk worth taking. If you manage to pull this dive off, as Matthew Mitcham did at the Olympics, then it can be crucial.

[Link]


Beth Barney: A nearly crippled mom, to an experimental 'surface hip replacement' candidate, and finally a triathlete!


And she placed in her age group. Very inspiring story regarding a woman born with hopeless hips and how medical technology rebuilt her life.

From The Press Enterprise:

"I dreaded going shopping or to the mall," the Nuevo resident recalled. "That meant walking and standing, and at this time I could only walk about a block before needing to stop and rest."

Her doctor in Provo added to the hopelessness, telling her she had no cartilage and the best option was a total hip replacement or fusing her hip together. ...

Enter Dr. Harlan Amstutz, a Los Angeles physician who Beth Barney's mother had heard about.

[Link]

Friday, January 22, 2010

Crazy open water painting by Arnold Bocklin!


I like the chaos and madness of this composition, it reminds me of what is going on every time you circle a buoy in an open water race: [Link]

What is it about those orange buoys, they are like magnets?Add Image

Jaked making the leap to the Triahtlon market?

Went to the Jaked website to see how they are going to transition from tech-suit to jammer and I must say that the site looked better than ever. What caught my attention is that they are offering shoes as well as suits now.

Full body suits are still on sale but they are selling them for 100-euros less than last year. This is more proof companies like TYR, b70 and Jaked are going to more receptive governing bodies outside of the FINA bubble.

[Link]

Thursday, January 21, 2010

'You Tube' Video: Age Group meet in Long Beach

Was Rob of the 'RobAqutics' blog forced to remove videos of the 'Southern California Grand Prix' from his blog?

I bet a hit-man from USA Swimming made him take them down? (Actually I all ready know the answer.) He took his iPhone to the meet, captured some really grainy, impressionistic, and overly contrasty vids and now they are gone.

Good thing too, last thing USA Swimming wants is swimming to become less obscure.

[Link]

Rowdy Gaines supporting a 200-million dollar development plan in Cape Coral, Florida!


Twenty-percent of the 200-million goes towards a kick-ass aquatics facility. It will also include a swim school bearing his name.

From News-Press:

Hall of fame swimmer Rowdy Gaines was in Cape Coral this afternoon throwing his weight behind a proposal to build a national swimming center in the city.

Gaines – a three-time Olympic gold medalist – and other members of the National Swimming Center Corporation, the nonprofit organization proposing the project, spoke this afternoon to members of the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association during a luncheon at Tarpon Point.

“From a competition standpoint alone this will bring in a lot of revenue,” said Gaines. A swimming school bearing his name could be a part of the $200 million development proposal, which would include a $40 million Olympic caliber swimming arena.

[Link]


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

High School Senior describes what it is like to swim a lane away from Michael Phelps!

Boulder High School swimmer and senior, Zane Grothe; (Loving that name, sounds like the name of a viking in a Frank Frazetta painting), placed third to Michael Phelps in the 500-free SCY at the Belmont Plaza last weekend. In this Las Vegas Sun article, he talks about what the event was like for him:

From the Las Vegas Sun:
Zane Grothe remembers checking the lane assignments hours before swimming in the 500-freestyle finals Saturday at the Southern California Swimming Grand Prix in Long Beach, Calif.

Grothe, a senior at Boulder City High, spotted his name on the list in lane No. 6. Then, another name immediately popped out — Michael Phelps was assigned to lane No. 4 ..."

[Link]

Stories from the cold - Swimmers facing ridiculous adversity!

These stories sound like a day at the office for Dagny Knutson but when these swimmers swam when fabric and heating technology really sucked.

Scott, The Canuck Swimmer: Well, I swam in Edmonton, Alberta which, as it shares the same latitude with Moscow, gets chilly in the winter. After practice on a cold day (around -20C or -4F) you'd keep your tuque off; [knitted cap], for about a minute and then you would be able to scrub the ice out with your fingers and brush it for a nice dry head of hair. Caution: if you try doing that with long hair you're risking having some break off in your hands :(

P.S. Some related trivia. Last year a girl from the Yukon, Alexandra Gabor made Canada's national swim team (first swimmer ever from the three territories). Up there it is considered unusually cold only when it dips close to -40, the temperature where Fahrenheit and Celsius cross paths. At that temperature the cold starts becoming physically painful. I shiver at the thought of just getting into a frozen car in order to get to practice, much less coming out into what would be veritable deep freeze afterwards.

[Scott, the temperature becomes physically painful at 40-degrees, not 40-below. You can die in 40-degree weather; you can become a crystallized fossil at 40-below.]
Screaming Viking: When I was a senior in high school our Senior Champs were at the University pool in Fairbanks in March. The building heaters were not working. The room was about 40 degrees. The water was in the 70's. We were all wearing parkas, rubber boots and stocking caps behind the blocks until the last second when we stripped down to our paper suits before our races.

Swam a couple of big best times there. Great memories.

[MY GOSH, It sounds like you swam for Santa Claus High and you had elves for coaches.]

Ted Baker: Trying swimming in Edmonton or Saskatoon... Or Winnipeg. I remember a meet at the University of Alberta, back when the blocks (Metal) were by this big picture window at the end of the pool: The blocks got so cold that it felt like your feet stuck to them!

We used to finish work-out, go outside and our hair would freeze.

[That is a horrific description. I am envisioning "slices of bacon" left behind on the blocks after every dive.]

'blueseventy' rumor: Will tweak buy-back program!

Text message from Seattle: I am hearing blueseventy will be doing a special US Masters buy back program in July for anyone using a suit up until June 1st...

Emergency Masters Swimming Rule change! - Tech suits till June!



The fat lady forgot the the words at the end of the song! USMS can wear tech suits till June! So, I am a powerin' up my tech suit, baby!

At the height of the tech suit boom the USMS had it's biggest year ever bragging in a press release that it's membership tally hit 50k members. I suspect the USMS is looking froward by sending up a trial balloon to see if they can remain for SCY indefinitely...

EMERGENCY RULE CHANGE

Due to the change in Masters swimwear rules published by FINA January 16, 2010, and pursuant to Article 601.4.8, the USMS Rules Committee and the USMS Executive Committee have approved the following emergency changes to the USMS swimwear rules. These changes are effective immediately for short course meters and long course meters competition. The changes are effective June 1, 2010 for short course yards competition. Note that the new swimwear rules no longer allow modesty/privacy wear underneath the competition suit nor zippers or fasteners of any kind except for a waist tie on a brief or jammer. The new swimwear rules will not govern the One Hour Swim being conducted January 2010.

Changes to the swimwear rules are underlined below.

102.14 SWIMWEAR

102.14.1 Design-The swimsuits worn for competition shall be nontransparent and conform to the current concept of the appropriate. The referee shall have authority to bar offenders from competition until they comply with this rule.

102.14.2 Swimwear shall include only a swimsuit, cap and goggles (a nose clip and ear plugs are allowed). Arm bands or leg bands shall not be regarded as parts of the swimsuit and are not allowed.

102.14.3 In swimming competitions, the competitor must wear only one swimsuit in one or two pieces. All swimsuits shall be made from textile materials. Except for open water competitions, for men, the swimsuit shall not extend above the navel nor below the knees, and for women, shall not cover the neck, extend past the shoulder, nor extend below the knees.

102.14.4 Only swimsuits complying with FINA swimsuit specifications may be worn in any U.S. Masters Swimming sanctioned or recognized competition.

102.14.5 Exemptions to the foregoing restrictions may be granted to a swimmer, on a case by case basis, by the Chair of the Rules Committee or designee. Exemptions will be granted only for conflicts due to the swimmer's verified religious beliefs or verified medical conditions.

A Procedures for applying for an exemption will be established by the Rules Committee and posted on the U.S. Masters Swimming website.
B No exemption to these restrictions will be granted for a swimsuit that will give the swimmer a competitive advantage.
C The decision of the Rules Chair may be appealed only to the entire Rules Committee whose decision shall be final and binding on all parties.

102.14.6 Swimmers are not permitted to wear or use any device or substance or swimsuit to help their speed, pace, buoyancy or endurance during a race (such as webbed gloves, flippers, fins, etc.). Goggles may be worn, and rubdown oil applied if not considered excessive by the Referee. Any kind of tape on the body is not permitted unless approved by the Referee.

102.14.7 Advertising-Products involving tobacco, alcohol or pharmaceuticals containing drugs banned under IOC or FINA rules may not be advertised, but the advertiser's name only may be used. Offenders may be barred from competition until they comply with this rule.

For any questions contact:
Kathy Casey, Chair
USMS Rules Committee
rules@usms.org

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Michael Phelps "business plan!"



Income equals time in the water - crashed income equals the amount of workouts missed.

Mini Profile on the Alaska-Fairbanks women's swim team!

Alaska-Fairbanks women's swim team was profiled by The Morning Call. Look at the adversity they go through just to get to the pool in the morning:

"...''You have to be very determined,'' Lemley said. ''Every swimmer gets up at 4:30 and swims at 5:30. When you walk from your apartment to the pool and it's 40- or 50-below and your head hurts after the first 30 seconds outdoors, you have to be determined. ..."

[Link]

My favorite part was the coach being worried that the 50-degree temps in Pennsylvania would spoil them.

I would love to hear some stories about Sweden, Norway or Finland in regards to what swimmers there have to go through to get to the pool.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Rebecca Soni: Southern California Grand Prix

It's official, Rebecca Soni is unbeatable!

From the L.A. Times:

Rebecca Soni of the Trojan Swim Club blazed in the 200 breaststroke, touching in a 2:05.90. The time was just over a second off her American record from the Pac-10 championships in February 2009.

[Link]

It's a second off because winning was enough.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Serious surprises at the 'Southern California Swimming Grand Prix'

Here are some swims that really stood out in my mind:

Dana Vomer beats Jessica Hardy in the 100-free SCY

Chloe Sutton beats Katie Hoff in the 500-free SCY

Elizabeth Pelton beats Margaret Hoelzer in the 200-back SCY with local "grrrl" Kendyl Stewart placing second in the B-final and she is only 15-years old!

There she is again, Kendyl Stewart placing 6th in the 200-fly SCY with a sub 1:59.97

Matt Grevers on top of Will Copeland and Jason Lezak with a photo finish in the 100-free SCY

Some kid name Michael Phelps swimming the 500 free SCY in 4:18.72. Let's see that is like a 25.8 per 50! - Very nicely swam. I could hold him for a lap or two wearing a tech suit and I get a start dive on his slowest 50-yards.

Results: [Link]

The photos above are of local girls Chloe Sutton and Kendyl Stewart. They were shot by Mark Savage.

The last day of the "...If technical suits are banned will you still compete at the Masters level?" poll!

Well, so far more than 2/3s of the masters swimmers who took the poll will compete! A very solid majority for sure. Refusing to swim in any USMS event, we have a 17% defection rate. Those that said they would not compete as much come in at 8% and finally 4% do not know what technical-suits, or "tecnical" suits as I spelled it, even are.

The poll is not scientific and was definitely open to gaming the results. Another consideration is that the blog had over 6,224 page views this week yet only 84 passionate swimmers took the poll.

Let's presume that this poll is accurate and let's make another presumption that half the people refusing to swim at USMS events will change their minds and swim an event or two. That leaves us with only a 10% reduction in membership and attendance. Is that even a noticeable difference?

As for me, I voted to compete less. When I started swimming it was Ian Thorpe in a full body suit and Michael Phelps wearing leggings. That is swimming nostalgia for me; not Matt Biondi wearing a brief and no cap. Hence, making me swim like I am at a workout has no romantic appeal for me since my times will be the same and I will lose anyway. ;-)

I have never been involved in a competitive recreation before that makes rules and them changes them every six months depending on who is winning or losing. I will pop up at one or two SPMA Regionals meets with two other people in my life that have demanded I swim a relay with them. If they have a bunch of fun doing it, then they are going to make me show up for a second and a third meet but the fun factor will be the crux!

To fill the swim void, I am choosing to swim more open water events like Alcatraz and La Jolla, A Nautica Tri relay has a nice ring to it and even a solo Tri with some friends. I also admire the USAT governing body who is more technology and fun oriented which is something FINA should look at since triathlons are outpacing swim growth.

"Fat lady sings" chaser post: Wearing ZERO: Strawberry Dragonfruit Sobe" tech-suit!






SoBe is now the official drink of the SCAQ blog.

This post is a FINA chaser: FINA is nothing but a bunch of fat old men and maybe a one-or-two old ladies who rubber-stamp fat-old-men decisions. Let me contrast that situation and their silly, self interested, rules to something a little younger, a little more exuberant and wearing a tech-suit FINA would certainly deny.

SoBe [tech-suit] Model ASHLEY GREENE wearing Strawberry Dragonfruit. Want to see more go here:

[Link]

Music: "Landline" by Oberhofer

'The Water is Open' - NO TECH-SUTS FOR MASTERS

The fat lady has sung and though she was off key, forgot the words and was roaring drunk, the opera ain't over till the USMS talks about SCY events. I am not optimistic repeat: NOT OPTIMISTIC and in my opinion and if my unscientific poll in the right hand column of this page produces numbers that are accurate, these stringent rules as to how a swimmer is suppose to approach his or her recreation will noticeably impact competitive participation.

Notable points that stood out for open water from The Water is Open:

  • Masters, both in the pool and open water, must abide by the same rules and deadlines as the elite swimmers.
  • From June 1, 2010, swimsuits for both men and women shall not cover the neck, extend past the shoulder, nor shall extend below the ankle.
  • After June 1, 2010 open water swimsuits worn in competition must comply with the FINA Criteria for Materials and Approval Procedures.
  • Until June 1, 2010, the 2009 swimsuits can be used in order to protect the athlete from sunburn, jellyfish and other natural elements and marine life.
[Link]

Friday, January 15, 2010

Phelps is getting serious for 2010 - or so says 'AP News'

When Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player ever, had the ball and stuck out his use tongue you knew a dunk or a great shot was coming.

Michael Phelps is more or less the the opposite: When Michael Phelps has facial hair and looks silly at a meet, he is just showing up and swimming through it.

Michael Phelps has practically defined every beard and mustache combo there is: There was the Frank Zappa "horseshoe" mustache with a "soul patch." The Wyatt Earp "handle bar" extending into the side burns. The George Michael "I slept in till 2:00 PM shadow beard," or the bad episode of cops mustache where a man somewhere in the Bayou with the trailer on cement blocks is in handcuffs and the fat lady; (presumably the woman who called the cops), is yelling at the peace offciers, "don't take my baby!" - I hated that mustache.

However AP says he is getting serious so i am betting that the facial hair is gone. That is when I will know that he's serious!

From AP:

"This year is the big year to prepare yourself for the next two years," Phelps said Friday, as he prepared for USA Swimming's Southern California Grand Prix at Long Beach.

"Those are the two most important years that are coming up for me, being able to have a good World Championships next year to set up hopefully a good Olympics."

Phelps's schedule will include US Grand Prix meetings in Missouri and Charlotte, a meeting near his training base in Baltimore and a trip to the Paris Open in June.

[Link]


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Headlines: "Shark rips tourist apart" - "Dinosaur-sized shark kills tourist"

I am very rattled by the description. Just last month a Great White leaped out of the water at Sunset Point in Los Angeles; (See the Photo above), and now this tragedy in South Africa!

From News 24:

"... According to her, just after her husband said these words, they saw an "incredibly big" shark attacking the man. "It came from below and grabbed the man. Part of his body was gone."

[Link]

From Discovery News:

"... A tourist enjoying a swim yesterday off of Fish Hoek beach in Cape Town, South Africa, was suddenly pulled under the surf and dragged out to sea by what onlookers have called a "dinosaur-sized shark," according to several media reports. ..."

[Link]

The Telegraph:

"... He said: "It was this giant shadow heading to something colourful. Then it sort of came out the water and took this colourful lump and went off with it. You could see its whole jaw wrap around the thing which turned out to be a person." ..."

[Link]

At Sky News a guy twittered the attack as it was happening:

"...A horrified Twitter user tweeted the moment a tourist was killed in the jaws of a "gigantic shark" in a holiday hotspot. [...] I jumped, waved my hat and roared and screamed at swimmers to get out of the water. I never want to experience this again. I'm going to block it out of my mind," he said." ..."

[Link]

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

SCAQ Blog Poll: If technical suits are banned will you still compete at the Masters level?

I have posted a poll in the navigation area asking the following questions:

If technical suits are banned will you still compete at the Masters level?
  1. Yes, I will compete - 51%
  2. Yes, but not as much - 8%
  3. No, I will not compete -14%
  4. No, I will swim elsewhere -17%
  5. What are technical suits? - 8%
So far only 36 people have taken the poll even though I have had 3,000 page views during the past three days. I wonder if this sampling will be accurate?

Four more days to go!

Jason Lezak's 4x100 come from behind win in the 4x100 relay rated top-5 moment of the decade!


The New York Times Sports Special Report: Top 10 of the decade:

[Number] 5. 2008 Olympics, men’s 4-by-100 freestyle swimming relay With a half lap to go, Alain Bernard of France, the 100-meter world-record holder coming into the race, had a half-body length lead on Jason Lezak of the United States. France couldn’t possibly lose but did, and Michael Phelps would go on to win eight gold medals after all. ...

[Link]

I just got a text message from Lausanne - I don't know if it is true!

"...the end is here for open water suits apparently a certain few have already made up their minds and the meeting hasn't started. ..."

My take if true: absolute jackasses! Wait till somebody gets stung by a box jellyfish! Plural!

A dog name Rez scares away sea lion population from the Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco

I am both intrigued by seals and annoyed by them. I like to watch them swim, I like the sounds they make and the reflection of light of their shiny fur but seals are also a hazard.

Due to their bad eyesight they often mistake the dangling feet of surfers as they sit on their boards as fish and treating a seal bite requires IV antibiotic delivery and a few days off your feet. Then there that annoying shark issue! Sea lions are the "Burger King, the Pizza Hut, the In-and-Out Burger" for California's great white shark population. I don't want seals around where I surf and swim and Pier 39 and Aquatic Park in San Francisco are two of those places.

Thanks to a dog name, Rez, he showed them and now city officials are pro dog! From the S.F. Weekly:

Although he had heard about the problems with pinniped infestations up and down the West Coast, "San Francisco is the worst I've seen," he says. He never imagined his dog might be a solution. When he got Rez a year ago, the dog was unfazed by sea lions. But on a recent fishing trip, Rez developed an aversion after several aggressive sea lions charged the boat: "It freaked him out. After that, he would bark at them."

The fisherman didn't set out to banish the sea lions — he just needed to walk his dog. While he says Rez never physically attacked the sea lions, he did run after them and bark at them. Evidently that was enough to scare them off. After he spent several nights walking Rez around the Hyde Street Pier, their numbers dropped from about 100 to zero.

[Link]

(If you know him, please send a photo of a dog name Rez.)

Speedo Press Release has an odd subhead!


The subhead read:
"...The Swim Wales New Year Dragon Open Meet at the Wales National Pool in Swansea got off to a great start and was the first UK event under the new FINA 2010 swimsuit rules banning buoyancy-assisting swimwear...."

[Link]
How many ways can that be read:

  1. The Speedo LZR created buoyancy which Speedo and their surrogates denied.
  2. Speedo is seemingly quite happy that tech suits have gone away.
  3. Speedo presumes swimmers are going to believe that they have the fastest suit and best engineering post their Arena/Jaked spanking at FINA World Championships.
Right now Arena is on my radar and they are in California now too.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Lovin' these swimsuits - Especially the Los Angeles version


Leave it to Sydney, Australia, to take swimsuit graphics to the next level. The site is called WeAreHandsome - Perhaps they should have named it We Are Expensive; but then again, so are a pair of jammers these days. I bump into this site chasing down a NotCot.org link
WeAreHandsome.com [Link]

Open water swimmer know thy enenmy: Awesome collection of multi-colored jellyfish!

Above is the "Medusa" jellyfish. The site tells us that in most languages, the word "Medusa" translates to jellyfish. Who knew? Obviously, monolingual, idiot, American, me didn't!

Brought to s by TwistedSifter: [Link]

Originally found at NotCot.org

Eamon Sullivan: The most fragile sprinter I have ever seen in this sport.

Eamon Sullivan is having a fifth hip operations? Can you believe that; all of which delivered before the age of 25-years-old? The Sydney Morning Herald has an article about his latest hip issue:

Sullivan's injuries list grew a little longer yesterday when he was forced to undergo hip surgery to repair a labral tear, and to shave the bone, which in turn creates more room in the problem hip joint. It is the fifth time Sullivan has had hip surgery and almost a year to the day since he had the same procedure performed on his left hip.

[Link]

Dara Torres has gone "under the knife" far to many times as well but I suspect Dara's issues are age related; (Dara is almost two-decades older.)

Eamon Sullivan is only 24-years-old, perhaps that quote in the movie Blade Runner is applicable here: "The candle that burns twice as bright only lasts half as long; and you ahve burned so very, very brightly, Roy."

Monday, January 11, 2010

"Open Water #24" winner of the $250,000 top prize in the first "ArtPrize" competition.

A formidable composition of some serious wave chop by Art Prize winner, Ran Ortner. After winning the prize, the painting was purchased by a private collector for $100,000.

From MLive.com:

The group show with five other artists, curated by Nick Cindric, was titled, "He Believes in a Beauty" and was held in the Miami Design District.

"Nick was interested in expressions of beauty, and what I brought down was a rather big, heavy, dark, ominous painting," Ortner said. "One of the more ferocious paintings I ever did.

"I got to be the tough-guy beauty."

[Link]

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Massive open water swim: "Pier pressure sends 4000 into the sea for a summer tradition"

4,000 swimmers in an open water swim is an incomprehensible number for me to get my head around. From a distance, the neoprene suits must have looked like an oil slick. Since the the race is a short 1.2-kilometers long, I suspect that the last swimmer into the water was probably told who won the race before he or she was even able to get wet. Here is some press on Australia's Lorne Pier to Pub swim
From The Age:

WHEN you are tossed about in the water like a sock in a washing machine, certain truths become clear. Manners, for example, have no place in the Lorne Pier to Pub swim. Hands, feet and thighs crash about the salt water; goggles and gentle tempers disappear.

Wayne Sweeney, winner of the first Pier to Pub 30 years ago, was in the water of Louttit Bay yesterday, along with more than 4000 swimmers.

[Link]

Friday, January 08, 2010

I got a Michael Phelps bio tonight at 'Borders' - A Rowdy Gaines quote in the back sealed the deal!

First off, Barnes & Noble was my first stop and the user experience there is horrible. Barnes & Noble is great if you want pop-culture fiction but in my opinion Borders tops B&N in both quality, volume and how well they index their stuff.

I wanted to buy the Phelps' bio, Beneath the Surface and my plan was to do ballpoint pen illustrations on every 20-pages or so and post them to this blog. Though Barnes & Noble had the book, they couldn't find it for me.

There was a Dara Torres book available and I figured, yeah, why not, she put a lot a lot bodies in the pool and she is extraordinarily inspirational! So I opened it up to get a feel for the rhetoric and the first line I read went something like this: "I was divorced at 27-years-old and I couldn't get pregnant at 35!"... Well, Dara, I went deaf in my left ear at age 6 and my parents divorced when I was 8; after that it got worse.

I like Dara, but I am not illustrating stuff like that! (BTW, she grew up in a mansion that had 27-rooms, I think most of us had it tougher.)

Off to Borders who ultimately didn't have the book either. On the drive over I began to get cold feet in doing the project. I mouth off a lot about how badly our athletes are "pimped" and I am actually quite angry about it. Octagon and PMG really have annoyed me and I have posted several posts voicing my feelings. Jason Lezak, who produced an Olympic moment equal to that of Jesse Owens or Bob Beamon, was failed by PMG in bringing him to market.

As for Octagon... Arrrgh!

And speaking of Octagon, as I drove, I began thinking that Octagon might send out legal ninjas if I drew Bob Bowman looking a bit unflattering and consequently could make me take the posts down as a questionable copyright violation. Hence, I decided to throw my money at someone else.

When I got to the swim section, I saw a book by Paul McMullen called Amazing Pace... that Rowdy Gaines endorsed. That endorsement was good enough for me so I bought it. My goal is to post one or two illustrations a week.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

The image was not "Photoshopped!" - It is your imagination that "Photoshopping" it!

Wayne Levin likes water; especially underwater. His portfolio allows you to use your own imagination to fill in the blanks rather than illustrating a clean and clinical "waterscape."

The subject in the photo above appears so weightless.

In 1993 Wayne was one of six artists included in the First Biennial Exhibit at the Contemporary Museum, in Honolulu. The underwater portraits of his daughter Elise, from age 6 months to 2 years, explored her interaction with the ocean while learning to swim, and further extended his black and white underwater portfolio.

Editions Limited published Wayne’s first book of his black and white underwater work, Through a Liquid Mirror. This book received the Hawaii Book Publishers Association, Hawaii Book of the Year award in 1997.

From 1999 to 2001, Wayne traveled throughout the United States and Japan photographing aquariums. His objective was to investigate the phenomena of society creating hi-tech mini oceans as the world’s oceans become increasingly endangered. This project led to the book, Other Oceans, published by University of Hawaii Press in 2001.

Wayne’s photographs have been exhibited nationally and internationally at galleries including Tokyo Designer Space, Japan; New York University, Tisch School of Art Gallery, New York City; Robert Koch Gallery, San Francisco; Louis Stern Fine Arts, Los Angeles; Rosenberg & Kaufman Fine Art, New York; Contemporary Art Center of Virginia, Virginia Beach; High Museum, Atlanta; and the VIP room of the American Pavilion at the World’s Fair, Japan.

[Link]

GoSwim has released a FREE iPhone app!







Opening line for the GoSwim iPhone application description at the iTunes store: Welcome to the GoSwim app. You are about to become a better swimmer!... and that is not hype or a "boardwalk pitch."

This is most important iPhone/iPod Touch app for swimming ever released! I kid you not! I can think of no better coaching or technical reference tool when trying to teach a swimmer a new drill or as a de facto example of fine technique when a computer is not available! Read that as on deck, in a restaurant, at a social gathering, or on a plane.

What makes us important or significant is what we contribute to one another not necessarily what we know and definitely not by how much money we make. Having access to immediate data not only defines what we can share, it makes each of us even more valuable to one another.

This app is free, it is fun, and it's an asset.

[Link]

"Duel in the Pool" Nielsen ratings!

Nielsen Ratings for "Duel in the Pool" gathered a 0.7 share which is really bad but higher than Monster Energy Supercross, U.S. Snowboard Cross World Cup, NCAA Fall Highlight Show."

Constructive criticism: It needed a one-on-one with Milorad Cavic and Michael Phelps for 1-million bucks salted with a lot of trash talk and then followed by a one-on-one with Paul Biedermann and Phelps in the 200-free, and finally a one-on-one with Dara Torres and Britta Steffen for the same prize money!

That's entertainment!

[Link]

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Wall Street Journal: "Swimming Takes a New Dive"

Jason Rance, VP of Marketing for Speedo was quoted as saying this. Also, I wonder if they quoted him correctly. The WSJ certainly twisted Clay's words:

Separately, swimsuit makers admit there was a heavy financial cost to the abolishment of the superfast suits, but they are quickly adapting to the new regulation. Jason Rance, vice president of marketing at Speedo International in Nottingham, says the change in rules is "part of the challenge and enjoyment of what we do".

[Did he really say that? - It sounds like Speedo was excited about the rule changes. T.A.]

Although he says having to remove the new suits from the shelves posed a "fairly considerable" financial cost not only to manufacturers but also to retailers, clubs, partners and the swimmers, the veteran swimsuit-maker has been quick to implement the changes to minimize the cost.

"Our role is to ensure we provide swimmers with the very best technology within the rules as laid out by Fina," he added. As an example of how swimsuit makers need to adapt quickly to new rules, Mr. Rance highlighted how Mr. Phelps and Britian's double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington were already using the new generation of swimwear in line with the new Fina rules at the "Duel in the Pool" competition in Manchester last month.

[Link]

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

New TYR Tracer Line

New TYR Tracer line fully approved by FINA

I was going to titled this post: "The girls get tech suits but the boys get jammers," but after looking at how well constructed these suits are by way of TYR's innovative use of seams, I decided to do just a product mention rather than pontificate how FINA will probably alter the rules once again just to slow these suits down. [...]

The seams look really cool and for me they summarily promise at first glance that they will produce a nice, compact, suit.

Here is a link to the site with info on the new Tracer line: [Line]

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Maly scores an awesome interview with Michael Phelps - best interview of the year!

Maly from France won a Speedo contest where she got to share a meal with Michael Phelps. She transcribed her interview into English. Also, isn't that an awesome photo? He looks extraordinarily accessible.

Here was my favorite part, it validates my bias that swimming is just as much an art as it is a science:

Maly: How about your experience with the straight arm recovery . Do you have an idea why it did not work out for you ?

Michael Phelps: I wasn't very comfortable with it . It was not as comfortable as my old technique. I was pulling les water than before (showing the two techniques). I had to use the the old method for the 200 free so ended mixing the 2 strokes . Switching between the two was hard for me . It very different for each swimmers , you have to be comfortable with your stokes . I am glad to be back to the old habit. Bob decided not to pursue the experiment , he likes to try new things but you have to be comfortable with your swim.

[Link]
By the way, her blog is better than mine. bookmark it!

This 'Photoshop' rendition of Michelangelo's Pieta is a tech-suit allegory!

I was going to do an article titled: Death of the Tech-suit for a sports-oriented print publication but the condition that I placed upon the editor was that I got to do the artwork for the article. Obviously, My proposal didn't fly - they wanted the article only! So I submitted the idea to a second who had both an online and print source and though they too agreed to publish the article, the art was off limits; it was way to hot a concept.

The idea was this: Two models with swimming experience were going to recreate Michelangelo's Pieta underwater with bubbles coming out of the dead son's mouth. the Madonna was going to be wearing orange blue and the dead son a tech suit to be determined. One company expressed interest.

Above is a simple Photoshop doodle or a simple sketch I was going to send out to a well known videographer who was both excited and willing to photograph the concept for me. Models were selected, a dive tank chosen, we were so close and it all started with this sketch I did some months ago.

It's an allegorical concept for I believe tech-suits will "rise from the dead." It won't be this year or probably not next year but it is my belief that when the age-groupers replace the boomers as a deciding authority, they will be back and so will swimming!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Polar Bear Swimmers of 2010: Even ice could not stop them!

For him it's a job, for those below, it's a duty! So, are polar bear swims a healthy way to bring in the new year? Syracuse.com has the answers: [Link]


Chicago! Who is crazier, the girl wearing a Santa Claus hat in knee-deep water with snow on the beach or the hundreds of people coming out to a snowy beach to watch her? Chicago Tribune.com gallery: [Link]


Of course the Italians want to add a touch of class as to how one should engage the water for a Polar Bear Swim. This gentleman here is diving into the River Tiber somewhere in Rome! A gallery of other European swimmers can be found here at My Sinchew: [Link]


Boston maniacs storm the harbor! At least one had the sense to wear a furry gorilla suit to keep himself warm! From Boston.com: [Link]


The locals along the banks of the Kaskaskia River in Saint Louis, Missouri, make it look so simple. I for one did not spend my morning jumping into brown barely liquid, water this morning. From Saint Louis Today: [Link]



Sheesh, Only in Green Bay, Wisconsin, It must be the cheese! That is not weather, it is an emergency- An amazingly surreal gallery at Green Bay Press Gazette: [Link]



And craziest of all: These Ontario locals are definitely a couple clowns short of a circus! Don't believe me, look at the fireman-guy next to them in the deep-sea diving gear. From the CBC News: [Link]