Saturday, December 30, 2006
SCAQ offers swim video clinics for both individuals or groups. Of course groups are cheaper and an individual clinic is more expensive. Call the main office for prices - (818) 390-5700.
Bonnie Adair, national champion, coach of the LMU swim team, and co-founder of SCAQ, videoed both myself and Mike Weksler, a triathlete with Ironman aspirations, in a one hour plus clinic.
We were able to see our stroke not only from above the water but below it as well since SCAQ has the equipment to film you from either viewpoint. In the critique session that followed I was given solutions for a faster catch, more efficient hip rotation and how I can be more effective off the walls. We both did drills to address our deficits and given plenty of time for questions and answers.
Post clinic the two of us were stoked/enthusiastic; (or insert your own adjective here that would represent a swim epiphany), of what simple corrections we can implement for faster times and less effort expended.
I don't know of any other swim program in So Cal that offers video clinics but I was summarily impressed and I feel a video clinic is a vital tool in correcting stroke inefficiencies, stroke degradation, or the prevention of future injuries as a result of an incorrect swimming technique.
I am not paid to pimp SCAQ but I fully endorse this service.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Filippo Magnini or Italy's version of Gary Hall at the 2006 European World Championships in the 100 meter free long course event.
I think Gary Hall, Jason Lezak or Cullen Jones in a 50m LCM can beat him. His biggest asset seems to be his kick. Watch him come back off the wall from third into first.
Lane 9 News at Swimming World has a link to a PDF document that list the new changes in their banned drugs document. What struck me in the face like a flying mallet was that Vicks Vapor Inhaler is prohibited; (and rightfully so), because the USADA states it contains L-methamphetamine.
I went to the Vicks Vapor Inhaler Website and their page never once mentioned in the ingredients that it contains meth or its analog, L-desoxyephedrine.
They loosened some rules for those athletes that have asthma, asthmatic allergies, and other breathing issues allowing athletes to take formerly questionable medications such as Salbutamol (albuterol, levalbuterol), salmeterol, terbutaline and formoterol which are permitted by inhalation if it does not exceed a specified dosage and the athlete fills out a Therapeutic Use Exemption, or TUE. Nasal steroids like Flonase are all good too. :-)
If you go to the USADA website and get the list of banned drugs, some are really unusual. For instance, Propecia, the baldness prevention drug is banned since it masks testosterone. Same with other prostate drugs.
Monday, December 25, 2006
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Late Night Musings!
I posted this at Timed Finals as a comment to an editorial Scott wrote titled: Is swimming relevant? does anybody care?
Not only did I respond but so did Super-Hero and Olympian, Gary Hall. My take is a bit unique but I think it would be a lot of fun to consider. Here is my post:
What I find Ironic is that the European Union, which has primarily adopted socialistic principles within their governments, seems to have a population that embraces individualized sports such as cycling, swimming, tennis, etc. rather than team sports.
The US, on the other hand, which has more of a "bootstrap" political mentality has a populace that embraces spectacles known as football and basketball which both apparently are filled with police blotter "issues".
Europe seems to idolize the individual whereas America idolizes the "team". There's the Irony.
I think swimming needs to be presented differently. I suggest the creation of a Pro-circuit and change the whole way the races are conducted so as to resonate personality. Swimming should be photographed differently, swam differently and experienced differently as a spectator. Perhaps viewing areas beneath the surface like an aquarium where you see the swimmers pound and drive off the walls would could create gravity defying images that are mere feet away from the viewer.
Look, people are watching poker and NASCAR for crying out loud. Two of the most boring "sports" around where athleticism plays no part. Why are ratings up? The way the two are presented.
Example: To create personality, perhaps use only two lanes instead of eight. Just have two contestants per heat with the winner moving forward despite how fast or slow their times are. Just as players at the US Open of Tennis move on to the next opponent so would swimmers. To create tension, each swimmer swims ever single stroke; or a mini pentathlon, as a sprinter, a mid-distance, or as a long distance swimmer depending on their distance specialty.
Example: Gary Hall versus Italy's Filippo Magnini or Natalie Coughlin versus France's Laure Manaudou.
I believe if photographed or viewed accurately, swimming would look more poetic, more intense, and more aesthetic than of all the sports. It would look as sexy as volleyball, as emotionally intense as tennis, and as heroic as a Hail Mary, touchdown catch.
Presentation is everything. Just ask a volleyball player.
Friday, December 22, 2006
If true, I commend him for his desire to serve our country. However, if the reasons printed over at
Here is the quote: “I can’t think of a more honorable profession. And I look forward to using my degree in political science in politics or business. But ultimately what motivates me is making my family, friends and country proud of me. If I do that, and I become someone that they can look up to, then I will never have any regrets.”
His plans are to join post Beijing. Since Larsen has a degree hopefully they will make him an officer rather than a soldier on the ground.
After looking at these swimming requirements at Navy-SEALs-dot-com, I have to say I am underwhelmed by them especially the 2 mile swim with fins expected to be completed in 75 minutes. Larsen won't have any trouble I am sure but I don't think they are looking for swimmers but rather warriors.
PHYSICAL EVOLUTION REQUIRED TIME
50 meter underwater swim PASS/FAIL
Underwater knot tying PASS/FAIL
Drown proofing test PASS/FAIL
Basic Lifesaving test PASS/FAIL
1200 meter pool swim with fins 45 min
1 mile bay swim with fins 50 min
1 mile ocean swim with fins 50 min
1 l/2 mile ocean swim with fins 70 min
2 mile ocean swim with fins 95 min
Obstacle course 15 min
4 mile timed run 32 min
POST HELL WEEK
2000 meter conditioning pool swim without fins Completion
1 1/2 mile night bay swim with fins Completion
2 mile ocean swim with fins 85 min
4 mile timed run 32 min
Obstacle course 13 min
2 mile ocean swim with fins 80 min
4 mile timed run (in boots) 31 min
Obstacle course 10:30
3 I/2 mile ocean swim with fins Completion
5 1/2 mile ocean swim with fins Completion
Obstacle course 10 min
4 mile timed run (in boots) 30 min
14 mile run Completion
2 mile ocean swim with fins 75 min
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Last summer at the 2006 Conoco Phillips USA Swimming National Championship, Amanda Weir, logged a new American record for the 100 Free LCM with a time of 53.58.
So, what is a girl to do who sets and American record? She goes pro and signs with Evan Morgenstein of Premier Management Group and subsequently enters into negotiations with TYR, Nike, and Speedo so as to figure out what suit she thinks is best; or so says the Gwinnett Daily Post of Georgia and Swimming World Lane 9 News. [link] [link]
So what does this blogger do, he goes on Google and tries to find out what her current suit is or the suit she wore when she swam her American Record. Now, submitted for your approval is, Amanda Weir, wearing a two-toned, charcoal, and stainless-steel, gray, Speedo. The suit she set her American record in.
This blogger's point of view is that if you set an American record in a Speedo or a TYR, you have all ready endorsed that swimming related product with not only your record or records but with your legal tender Benjamins'.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Eddie Reese said in his DVD; (Eddie Reese on Freestyle, which I highly recommend), that when he got back from the 2000 Sydney Olympics he realized "...My whole team has to become better flutter kickers." He went to say that in a close race the best kickers win even in a 50 SCY sprint. He also mentioned that he saw Larsen Jensen kick a 50 LCM on 28.6 an insisted if you want to have a big-time freestyle you have to have a good kick..
In the DVD, Swimming Faster Freestyle, Coach David Marsh, says don't use kick-boards they stress the shoulders and do not offer you the correct or natural body position. Plus, they are only good for socializing.
Here is an article written by Clay Evans on why kick sets are good for your overall swimming:
For a few months I have been putting hard kick sets at the front of workouts just after my standard warm up. Before that I left kicking to the end of the workout and it was part of the warm down. Basically not many swimmers worked these end of workout kick sets. Facing some criticism from some of my swimmers, I switched and put it at the front and I am now convinced that this is better.
First of all kicking is important. Hard kicking that is. Kicking is important in the conditioning of the passive lap swimmer, the competitive triathlete and the serious Master workout swimmer. You need regular doses of isolated legwork no matter who you are or what your goals.
It might be hard to convince the distance swimmer, the poor kicker and the triathlete, but all of you need kicking. In longer swims your legs do withdraw from the percentage of effort and oxygen that is exerted but good conditioned legs are the support you need to keep up a steady vigorous pace in a race. And for a triathlete, what an advantage it will be to getting out of the water, running to your bike, biking, and then off on your run.
Regular kicking also helps keep the ankles flexible, the legs supple and that is essential to good swimming. Flexible ankles move water backward and you forward. Stiff ankles push water down rendering leg kicking less efficient to moving forward. I have not added tons of kicking with my coached workouts, maybe 300-500, but I have made it HARD kicking. You can start kicking hard much earlier in a warm up than you can with the arms and full swimming. And this kicking now gets you even more warmed up, what a great use of a warm up.
So be ready to kick!
Here are some images and a Flash movie at GoSwim.com that illustrate a very graceful flutter kick: [link]
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
I talked to my friend, Bruce, who I have known since I was 8-years-old and he told me about a History Channel or Biography channel show that credited Ben Franklin with the invention of the hand paddles and flippers for swimming.
(Tony off-on-a-tangent-alert: If they do a sequel to The Da Vinci Code they should call it, The Ben Franklin Code for this guy gives Leonardo a run for his money in terms of innovation and accomplishments!)
I asked Bruce what show it was so I could talk about it on the Blog and to include the show as a reference. Alas, Bruce couldn't remember. Well, thank goodness for Google for fact-finding and fact-checking. I "Google-ed" good old Ben Franklin with this search term; Ben+Franklin+swim+paddles, and I got 114,000 documents validating what he said. Thank you Bruce. If you are to lazy to paddle over to Google and try the aforementioned search string, click this link here: [link]
Monday, December 18, 2006
On, June 10th 2007, Sharkfest swimmers will be ferried to the Alcatraz Island whereas all entrants will do a six-foot leap out of the ferry and into the San Francisco Bay. Then the Sharfest entrants will swim to an ad hoc starting-line made up of kyakers and when you hear the sound of a loud foghorn; make a mad swim to Aquatic Park 1.5 miles away. Fun, huh?
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Cullen Jones could be the next world record holder for the 50m free. I would so love it if he did so at Worlds but I'll take Beijing too. The 21.84 for the 50m free he logged at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships was less than a 1/4-of-a-second off of, Alexander Popov's , 21.64 world record. This year alone he has beaten Gary Hall, Jason Lezak and best of all he is the first African American to hold a world record in swimming after he swam a leg in the world record breaking 4x100m freestyle relay along with Michael Phelps, Jason Lezak and Neil Walker at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships.
To quote NPR: "...The victory impressed Nike enough to sign Jones to the biggest endorsement deal ever for a short-distance swimmer. He'll receive more than $2 million dollars over the next seven years." Hear the audio of this report at NPR.org [link]
Saturday, December 16, 2006
The following super heroes will be at The Long Beach Grand Prix of Swimming at the Belmont Plaza in Long Beach this January: Michael Phelps; Natalie Coughlin; Brendan Hansen; Erik Vendt; Kaitlin Sandeno; Klete Keller; Jason Lezak; Tara Kirk; Peter Vanderkaay; out of retirement is, Lenny Krayzelburg; Tunisian swimmer, Ous Mellouli; Tamas Kerekjarto of Hungary who are both training in So Cal at USC as well.
A bigger list will be available on January 3rd 2007. Ticket info here. [link]
Larsen Jensen's shoulders are amazingly flexible. Check out this video by clicking the link below.
I drew a line over the above photo to illustrate Larsen Jensen's shoulder flexibility. If you have flexibility like that; (I personally don't and never have), then use it. Notice his crossover to the front of his head. If I do that I get shoulder issues but he appears to be more hydro and streamlined by doing so. Also note how late his pull is; it seemingly looks like he is doing a catch-up drill. Another thing I noticed is how Larsen Jensen looks down rather than up at the "T " when swimming distance.
This is an amazing video to study. [link]
Friday, December 15, 2006
The Australian Leafy Sea Dragon, a good friend of SpongeBob's, and I am just a sucker for Sea Horses.
Plus the blog needed "...a shot right through into a bolt of blue." (What song is that from?)
If you go to this Flickr page; [link], you will see tons of Leafy Sea Dragons in all their splender. I got this idea from Spy's Spice, a blog I like from a guy in the UK. [link]
Fifty Indian lifegaurd recruits couldn't even finish a 400m swim and the other 78 timed out. Indian officials are hopeful that those that were able to swim the 400m in 12 to 15 minutes will improve with more training. [link] In fact, 200 swimmers drowned at Goa, India last year alone. [Link]
In my opinion a masters swimmer; male or female, can probably swim better than 90% of the planet.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Germany's Olympic committee has agreed to compensate former GDR; (German Democratic Republic), athletes who were systematically and unknowingly doped under Communist rule. Each athlete would receive up to 9,250 Euros.
If you didn't get the memo, after World War II Germany was divided in half at gun point by both the Russians and the Americans who subsequently set up two dissimilar nations governed by two dissimilar systems. i.e. A communist government versus a democratically elected republic. The Communist side was called the GDR, the capitalistic side was called the Federal Republic of Germany, (FRG)
The GDR did some really bad things to their Olympic athletes. The GDR used the Olympics as a PR and marketing tool to try and gain national recognition by way of sending what were seemingly superior athletes to the games; (To be fair, all nations probably do), but the GDR cheated. They doped their athletes without the athletes knowledge sending unknowing cheats to represent their country in what was seemingly a "parade of horribles", or athletes with grotesquely modified bodies by way of anabolic steroids who went on to achieve dubious world records.
Later in life these same athletes developed cancers, heart ailments, fragile bones and in one case a heart wrenching seven miscarriages. [link]
All this nonsense ended in 1990 and now there is but one unified Germany, the FRG, that is thriving and successful. The FRG is going to compensate the former GDR athletes despite that they were doped under a different regime as outlined in this article. [link]
Chlorine: Biocide, chemical weapon, used in insecticides, dyestuffs and it plays havoc with skin, hair and possibly our immune systems!
So, these past few weeks I have been Googling chlorine alternatives and this here is an article at About.com which is as pro-ozone as I am now. [link] The ozone filtration, or airation zaps, the water off-hours or in closed-off standing pool nearby and filters the water back into the pool. When it is time to swim, the water consequentlylooks like a tide-pool in Bermuda. No asthma risk, viral/bacterial, or perhaps cancer risk whatsoever. The water becomes essentially untainted or fresh. Look at that water in the photo. That pool is the Macau Aquatics Center in China.
Another interesting comparison chart I found plays up the difference between ozone and chlorine. [link] Caveat: This firm sells ozone systems.
There are other chemical alternatives such as brine and saline but I am sold on Ozone. Every article I have read points to it as the safest, most healthy way to swim. Ipso facto, chlorine is a biocide. Read as it kills all life and we are swimming in gallons of it almost everyday. We should seek this as an alternative.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
You can't get any more So Cal than Kaitlin Sandeno: El Toro High School, the University of Southern California, and she will be swimming at the Long Beach Grand Prix, taking place January 12-15, at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool. Here is where you can get ticket information: [link]
Erik Vendt, is another So Cal local boy too, but you have my permission to cheer Phelps and Keller.
Monday, December 11, 2006
This is an old story from almost two-and-a-half years ago but keep it on your radar since the technology is not only here but it is cheaper to produce.
Katie Williams was an engineering student at London's Brunel University; (AWESOME engineering and design department), and she created these kick-ass goggles, or more of a British way of saying it, has created a pair of "smart goggles" for swimmers that log lengths and time. They do so by the using the gravity created, or the spinning motion of your flip turns as the benchmark for when a lap is completed
These goggles would be so illegal at a meet but maybe they shouldn't be. They have no hydrodynamic effect like suits and they allow you to push yourself or maintain a pace. [CNN link] [Way Odd link]
Sunday, December 10, 2006
I was so distracted by the European Short Course Meters Championships that I forgot to pay attention to the Australians and the Asian Games as well.
The Australian press loves conflict. The Gold Coast Weekend Bulletin stated that, "Grant Hackett makes a challenge" but when you read the article it is nothing short of Grant "talkin' story" about how the Australian team will magically coalesce into a dominating force come Worlds next March. Here are the TELSTRA Australia Swimming Championship Results. Grant swam a 14:56 in the 1500 with retiree Ian Thorpe looking on. Though he swam 22 seconds "slower" than his world record, no one has swam faster than that this year.
My take: I suspect both the Australian women's team, and their men's team are going to have problems with both the Europeans, and a real strong American team. Stick a fork in the so called Australian dominance of swimming, it just won't happen.
The Asian Games Swim results produced nothing for the Americans to lose sleep over whatsoever. Period!
The rivalry between Japan and China is worse than the Giants-Dodgers rivalry. No, that's not accurate enough. It's more like the Soviet Union and the United States. A scary fact as of late is that the Chinese have not been sending their best swimmers to international meets. In fact nobody knows who their best swimmers are. Now, why is this? I suspect the real team will not emerge from hiding till 9 months before the Olympics coinciding with the FINA drug testing deadline for potential or eligible athletes for Beijing.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Love, Politics, cold hard cash, and another world record for Laure Manaudou
Laure Manaudou logs a world record in the 400 free SCM with a time of 3:56.09. [link] I watched her performance live on Eurosport this morning and from the dive to the finish she was never less than a body length ahead of her world record. How do I know that? The broadcast graphic of a superimposed line which denotes the world record was chasing her from beginning to end. For most of the race she was two body lengths ahead. At the close a full body length.
Laure Manaudou is the pride of French athletics right now. The French team is sponsored by TYR, and Manaudou is obviously French. Now, at the final I think I saw her wearing an Italian cap with an Arena logo on it; I am not sure. She definitely did so at a qualifier. Her excuse was that her only cap ripped and she had to borrow one. Whose cap did she borrow? Swim News suggests she borrowed the cap of her Italian boyfriend, Luca Marin, who had upset Hungarian superhero, Laszlo Cseh, in the 400 medley.
Manadou will be paid 69,000 euros or $100,000 by the French Federation. This money, or the bulk of it, according to French Federation President, Francis Luyce, comes from their partners.
I am sure the appropriate people will be spanked. Read it here.
Update: Dec. 9, 5:21 PM. The Italian press is playing up the love angle mentioning nothing about Arena or TYR. Leave it to the American press to play up both the money and the marketing angle but leave it to the Italians to talk of passion and relationships. If you can read Italian or you want to use babelfish to translate, here is the link
Friday, December 08, 2006
In the 800 free SCM she logged a low 8:12 which was just off a Euro record by .12 of a second. In the 100 back SCM she logged a 57.87 and it was a great race, she took in the last lap.
All this is live at Eurosport. The men's 100 butterfly is about to go off so I got to go.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
South African,Roland Schoeman, pictured to the left is the current world record holder in the 50 free short course meters. He is the first man EVER to go under 21 seconds with an astonishing time of 20:98 seconds. Just look at him. This is the best streamline I have ever seen in a swimmer. Roland just looks like a hydrodynamic spear-tip.
At the 2006 Pan Pacific Swimming Championship in Canada he logged a long course meters time of 22:12 versus American, Cullen Jones', time of 21:84.
I suspect it was his turns and streamlining that greatly assisted in his world record accomplishment. What did Richard Quick say about starts and turns; that you do you fastest swimming underwater? It appears so. I got to get a better fly kick.
Here is Roland's website. It includes a nice gallery and links to his results from various races around the globe.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
They love hyperbole and exaggeration down there. Emily Seebohm, recently tagged the "C-Bomb" by the Oz press stormed the 100m back at Australian Nationals:
From the Herald Sun: In a thrilling finish to the final of the women's 100m backstroke, the unheralded Seebohm tied with Zimmer to book a place on Australia's world championship team. Seebohm touched first at the 50m turn, but the Queensland schoolgirl could not be separated at the wall with Zimmer as they both finished in 1:01.09.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Dan Wegner logged a 23.75 in the 50 Free SCM last Saturday setting a new national record busting the former one that has stood for the last 12 years. TWELVE YEARS! I bet you can count on one hand all of the people who have held that record in the 37-years-plus history of Masters Swimming.
About Dan: He's fast, talented, and a self-made software tycoon who helped put SCAQ on the map; (SCAQ is the largest swim club in America), he did so with a club software package he wrote for them called Club Assistant!
Gosh, it must suck to be him, huh?
Monday, December 04, 2006
Southern California Aquatics sending a team of about 5 people or less still managed to rank 17th out of 49 teams. Thank God I showed up or we would have finished 18th. ;-) Here are the results to a great meet put on by the LB Grunions
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Right Now The Long Beach Grunions are hosting the Southern Pacific Masters Association, (SPMA) , Short Course Meters Championship at the Belmont Plaza.
The Grunions have to be the friendliest swim team in all of Southern California. Right now and for the past two days they have been putting on a GREAT swim meet; (read it as great and not as a hyperbolic compliment). I participated in two races, the 50 SCM Freestyle with a time of 29.55; (I know, but I am still getting faster), and in a match-up with 49-year-old butterfly phenom, Paul Carter, in the 50 SCM butterfly, it was a photo finish but the officials declared that he nosed me out by about a lap or so. I think his 50 SCM Butterfly time was a 26:15 whereas mine; (It's not my event, okay? I just do it to get the engine running, okay, okay okay?), my time was 39:60.
Here is a link to a flickr page with some photos of the Grunions and the Belmont Plaza. Here is a link to Grunions Swim.