Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Sanctioned Underwater Swim Events In Russia

Two events are included in this video, both an underwater 50 meter sprint kick and a 400 meter kick. In both events the swimmers are allowed to wear monofins and consequently the times are insane.

In the 400 event oxygen tanks are allowed and they carried while maintaining a stream line position in front of the swimmers. Watch how dramatic the flip turns are.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

MILLIONS of litres of pool water from the World Swimming Championships will be used to save Melbourne's historic trees and the lake at the Royal Botanic Gardens.

I read at the CIA World Fact book that water management is not so good in Australia. Here is a snippet:
  • Environment - Current Issues: Soil erosion from overgrazing, industrial development, urbanization, and poor farming practices; soil salinity rising due to the use of poor quality water; desertification; clearing for agricultural purposes threatens the natural habitat of many unique animal and plant species; the Great Barrier Reef off the northeast coast, the largest coral reef in the world, is threatened by increased shipping and its popularity as a tourist site; limited natural fresh water resources
Now couple that with a drought down and under six million litres of pool water looks pretty yummy to surrounding plants and fauna. Personally I am bewildered that water management is that desperate down there. I think the continent should seriously consider desalinization and forward thinking technologies to better collect and manage their water.

This article has the details. [link]

Monday, January 29, 2007

Natalie Coughlin says the Australian women's 4x100 free relay better break the world record or they are "Luserzs".

Natalie has been trash-talking the Australian women's team twice now. Here is an article where it is claimed that she says that both the Europeans and the Americans are going to spank the Australian women's team at World Championships this March. That both continents are going to grab the Australian women's team by their pencil necks and make them say that "Natalie Coughlin is their daddy!" (Well, actually that is what I wished she would have said but she really said this instead.)

BTW, if she really believes that, then why is she training in Australia with an American and an Australian coach? Why not France; or here is a thought, why not the USA with Kaitlin Sandeno or Katie Hoff since this is the dominant continent?

My take is that the Australian men's team is the gender that is going to be humiliated by the Americans and the Europeans. I suspect the Australian women's team will have problems with the Europeans but will mostly come out on top and dominate World Championships.
Logged in about 3200 yards tonight

1 x 200 warmup
4 x 150s (50 kick - 100 swim four times through)
3 x 200s easy (3:15 interval)
3 x 100s easy (2 :00 interval)
3 x 200s moderate (3:05 interval)
3 x 100s easy (1:45 interval)
2 x 200s harder (2:55 interval)
2 x 100s easy (1:30 interval)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Always hydrate before a workout and keep your blood sugar reasonable or you will cramp!

I dived into the Santa Monica College pool today to begin my 4 PM SCAQ workout and as soon as my body was wholly submerged my foot cramped. I hadn't even done a single pull yet or even a kick but my toes and foot felt like the Marquis de Sade was doing acupuncture on it.

Instead of hydrating like I usually do I chose instead to binge all day on a half- gallon of chocolate milk. (so, enough about my problems.) The fact that I didn't stretch, was physically cold, had obviously tweaked blood sugar certainly explains why the cramp-karma kicked in.

What causes cramps?

The exact cause of cramping is still unknown, but there are several factors that are associated with muscle cramps:

  • overexertion
  • failing to stretch adequately before exercise
  • extreme hot or cold
  • dehydration
  • salt imbalances after sweating
  • low blood sugar
My reference is here: [Link]

How about a politically incorrect "bell shape curve". How good a swimmer are you? SCAQ has about 1,000 swimmers and this is a break down of where I think they fit. (* These are yard times. For meter conversions add 10% if you have lousy turns and 12% if you have good flip turns). [Hey Clay, I bet $200 to Children's hospital that Scott Hubbard and Dan Wegner could do 10 x 100s on a minute.]

10 x 100 Yards in a short course pool
0 swimmers @ 1:00
10 swimmers @ 1:05 top 10
20 swimmers @ 1:10 top 30 / 1000
40 swimmers @ 1:15 top 70 / 1000
80 swimmers @ 1:20 top 150 / 1000
100 swimmers @ 1:25 top 250 / 1000
150 swimmers @ 1:30 top 400 / 1000
150 swimmers @ 1:35
150 swimmers @ 1:40
150 swimmers @ 1:45
100 swimmers @ 1:50
80 swimmers @ 1:55
70 swimmers @ 2:00
60 swimmers @ 2:05
50 swimmers @ 2:10
40 swimmers @ 2:15
30 swimmers @ 2:20
20 swimmers @ 2:25

Many will be discouraged with these statistics. I think you should realize how good our SCAQ swimmers are. Even to swim 10 x 100 on 2 minutes is quite an accomplishment and would put you in the middle of the pack of most triathlons.

Most triathlons do not have coach potatoes. They are vigorous people intent on their health and fitness. Anyone in the 1:20s and above most likely had a competitive swim background. The reason I put this out there is to get swimmers a sense of accomplishment and to help you in goal setting. You want to keep an eye on the clock and an eye on your times for the main goal: staying in the water and enjoying a little effort at being healthy.

Now, if you want to make a jump to the next tier on the bell-curve you have several options: You can add an extra workout per work, ask your coach for stroke correction, or if you feel your technique, or the lack thereof, may be holding you back, click here to sign up for a swim clinic of your choice.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I have now included a news-feed from Scott Golblatt's Timed Finals.

Scott Goldblatt has participated in two Olympics: Sydney in 2000 and Athens in 2004. He even brought home a couple of souvenirs; that's right, both a silver from Sydney and a gold medal from Athens. Each was well earned in the 4x200 Freestyle relay.

Timed Finals is my favorite swim related website. If you look at the archives you can see that I have a linked to several articles from the site. In fact, even Google News links to Scott Goldblatt's site because he is so in the loop. Hence, I have included his topical news feed.

Not only does Scott have a big site, he has a big heart too. this from the USOC website [link]:

"...While in Athens, Goldblatt organized an Olympic Team memorabilia charity auction to benefit the Melanoma Research Foundation. He asked Team USA athletes to donate unique items to benefit the Melanoma Research Foundation. In May of 1997, Goldblatt lost his mother, Linda Goldblatt, to this disease. "I have seen what this disease can do, and together with your help, hope to educate others in the prevention of the disease," said Goldblatt. ..."

So, to add equity to this site I have included a news feed from Timed Finals in the left navigation. It's below the "links" section. Be sure to check out the headlines every day.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Toyota Swimming Grand Prix update: Sandeno wins again! Coughlin breaks her own American and U.S. Open record in the 200-yard free and some guy named Phelps won his third event by almost 3 1/2 seconds.

Sandeno dominated the 400 IM SCY in a time of 4:09.74. Here is a quote I stole from Lane 9 News: "I was talking to Natalie this morning, and we were saying it's like you can't come here (to this pool) and not swim fast," Sandeno said. "It really is a fast pool, and I can't think of a meet where I've come here and not swum fast. This pool is just phenomenal."

You know, This Blogger has swam at Belmont [Plaza] and the pool certainly has charisma and a history but in my opinion, LMU and Santa Monica College trump Belmont and are faster pools.

Phelps won the 400 IM SCY in 3:39.61 with a 3 1/2 second lead. His goal for the meet was to best 3:40.

Phelps placed second in the 200 Breaststroke SCY, the first time Phelps has swam the 200 breast SCY in about three years time and he was happy with his time.

Jason Leezak beat Ian Crocker in the 50 Free SCY with what he believes was a lousy start in 19.49. Quote from Lane 9 News: "My start I didn't like tonight," Lezak said. "I had a much cleaner entry this morning, but I'm normally a long course swimmer, so (starts and turns) aren't the things I worry about too much. At a meet like this, it's practice.

Lane 9 News [Link]

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Toyota Swimming Grand Prix: Natalie Coughlin wins the 100 free SCY in a fast 47.03

Quoting AP Sports News: Natalie Coughlin won the 100 free in 47.03 — the second-fastest time by an American in history. She set the American record of 47.00 four years ago.

"I definitely think I could go faster than that, I just don't have that many opportunities to race this event," she said.

I'm like that too, I have a great race and then I start thinking how I really could have done better if I had only, blah, blah, blah! In other words I just kill the accomplishment for myself.

Sigh, the human condition.

That be-bop, hipster, Olympian with the cool, daddio, gotee has two freestyle victories so far.

Michael Phelps won the 100 free in 42.43 beating butterfly rival Ian Crocker who swam a 42.88.

In the 500 free he led all the way finishing in 4:14.57 according to ABC News. [link]

Forbes had a couple of interesting quotes:

"I tried to go out as fast as I could, which still wasn't that fast," he said. "But I was pretty happy with the time. It's my best time."

Phelps tried to wiggle out of swimming the shorter race, but his coach Bob Bowman "reminded me I have 17 swims in Melbourne." [link]

From Sports Illustrated: "I get to see where we are and see what we need to tune up for worlds," he said after a light workout at the indoor pool. "I can't believe we're less than 60 days away to Melbourne. That's going to be a pretty big meet for all of us." [Link]

Update on Kaitlin Sandeno: She is stormin' it!

Kaitlin Sandeno wins the 200 butterfly and 500 free adding to her 1,000 free victory on Friday.
2007 Toyota Southern California Swimming Grand Prix

So Cal local girl, Kaitlin Sandeno, dominates the 100o SCY. Kaitlin went out stroke-for-stroke with Japanese Olympian, Sachiko Yamada; (Quasi-local girl too since Sachiko trains in OC with the Misson Viejo Nadadores), for the first 750 but beat her by a second. Her time was 9:37.06 versus Sachiko's time of 9:38.09.

It is really great seeing people come out of "retirement" and dominate their first race and she appears to appreciate it too: "I never thought I'd swim here again, and that made me sad," Sandeno said. "Some people think this is an old, dungeoney pool, but I like it. I'm really happy that all my family is still here. ... "

In the Photo above which I "deep linked" from Go-Swim, look at Kaitlin's catch and how symmetrical her stroke is. [Photo page link]

Meet results here: [link]

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Shirley Babashoff calls for the acknowledgment she and several other Olympic athletes deserve.

Read as 5 gold medals, and one bronze robbed from her and numerous other swimmers by East German Republic (DDR) admitted doping. Other countries robbed include Holland, New Zealand, Canada, Australia and Russia (USSR).

This quote by Shirley Babashoff is awesome: "...ONE hundred and sixty-seven former East German (DDR) athletes will be financially compensated through Germany's Olympic Committee for the systematic doping of DDR athletes from 1973 through 1989. When told of this fact, Shirley Babashoff's first comment was, "Only 167 Athletes!" ..."

It speaks volumes because the intelligence arm of the DDR known as Stasi labeled as many as 10,000 knowing and unknowingly doped athletes.

The article can be read here: [link]

Sunday, January 07, 2007

SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY - The US Swimming Grand Prix SCY- Michael Phelps, Eric Vendt, Klete Keller, Kaitlin Sandeno and local boy who lives in my neighborhood, Lenny Krayzelburg - Tickets on sale now!!! BE THERE!

Lenny Krayzelburg swam at SMC and then USC where he went on to win, not one, not two, but three gold medals at Sydney. Other locals from So Cal include; Kaitlin Sandeno, El Toro High School, the University of Southern California; Erik Vendt, another So Cal local boy too, but you have my permission to cheer Phelps and Keller if none of my crew is swimming against them.

All of the above 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]

Saturday, January 06, 2007

I have not been in the water in three weeks due to illness and I am so going to die on Monday when I get back in!

I did get in the water and swam a few hundred yards for a video clinic with, Bonnie Adair, but I have not done a workout in 3 weeks due to illness. It is amazing that you can swim consistently month-after-month but when you suddenly get sick, miss three weeks or so, you're done! Finis! Game Over! And Monday is a distance workout too.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Luo Xuejuan, Chinese breaststroke swimmer is in the hospital for suspicious heart ailments. [Read as steroid abuse].

Timed Finals
once again gives me something to talk about.

The Chinese have a spotted past when it comes to swim doping. Well, actually it is not spotted, it's more checkered. Well, maybe that's a bit to nuanced. It's not spotted nor checkered it is actually opaque and red-handed. Over 40 Chinese swimmers since 1990 have failed drug tests. That's triple the amount of any other swimming country during the same period of time. [link]

Now, Luo Xuejuan, is in a hospital with a heart ailment.

From Eurosport:

Luo ... omitted from the Chinese national team for the Doha Games due to ill health, but then fainted during training in November caused by what doctors at the time thought was lack of rest [or] low blood pressure.

Swim News stated she has passed out several times during training. That is not good for a girl as young as she. The Chinese government always distances itself from doping scandals usually blaming the athlete. However, and my opinion is biased, there is enough circumstantial evidence to point a finger at the Chinese swim program due to past questionable tactics. Such as, sending secondary swimmers to swim and be drug tested for international meets while elite swimmers stay home and train in a bubble till just before internationally covered meets such as the Olympics or World Championships. Note, the USA is not exactly saintly either but the Chinese have some "splaining to do" due to such immense positive tests in the past and the fact that their athletes are subsidized.

So, why is steroids being suggested? Because her illness is a fishy as a tuna! I did a Google search on anabolic steroid use in regards to heart health. What I found were article-after-article about how steroid use can: Weaken heart valves, as witnessed with Governor Arnold's heart valve replacement; cause stroke issues and heart attacks due to decreased HDL or good cholesterol; and mess with your blood pressure as well as weaken your bones. [link]

This is sad for both Luo and her family but hopefully it warns other swimmers from thinking you can buy performance with no consequences.

"Healing Swimmer's Shoulder by Staying in the Water"

"Healing Swimmer's Shoulder by Staying in the Water"
-- Bonnie Adair

Bonnie Adair is the head Coach of the LMU Women's swim team and co-founder of Southern California Aquatics. In just three years as head coach, Bonnie has turned the LMU program into a contender for the Pacific Coast Swimming Conference Championship. The LMU Lions finished a program-best third in the conference in 2005 and set 16 of 19 school records in a history-making season. LMU earned its first two conference event titles in 2005, winning both the 200 medley relay and the 100 backstroke. [LMU Swimming

During her own 13-year swimming career, she set 35 National Age Group records including a 50m freestyle record that stood for 29 years.

Many swimmers and triathletes of all levels have succombed to the pain of "swimmer's shoulder," an impingement syndrome caused by repetitive shoulder rotations. A typical Masters or fitness swimmer swimming three 1-hour workouts each week will do between 10,000-11,000 rotations compared to a professional tennis player who will do approximately 1,000 rotations.

The standard Rx: ice the involved area, take an anti-inflamitory medication and give the shoulder a rest. In short: stay out of the water! This may be good advice for that occasional flare up of shoulder pain caused by extra activity or heavy lifting, but it is not the desired treatment plan for those with chronic shoulder pain who do not wish to interrupt their training regimen by skipping workouts each time that nagging shoulder ache returns. Thus, we designed this workout to allow you to continue your training while correcting poor stroke mechanics and building strength in the vulnerable area.

In our program at SCAQ, we train over 1,500 swimmers each year and are confronted almost daily with complaints of shoulder pain from swimmers of every level - ranging from new fitness swimmers and first time triathletes to aging competitive swimmers still seeking that personal best.

We employ a 3-step approach to eliminating shoulder problems:
(1) Correct technique: If you have chronic shoulder problems, chances are you have a flawed stroke which causes excess pressure to be placed on your shoulder structures. By making a few simple stroke adjustments, we find that we can quickly eliminate shoulder pain in 90% of our swimmers that are having repeated "flare-ups. If you are one of these, ask your coach to look at your stroke or, better yet, sign up for a video clinic if one is available to you.

(2) Strengthen: We strongly recommend that all swimmers, not just those with shoulder problems, incorporate a series of dryland shoulder strengthening exercises into their weekly training schedule (3-4 times/week).

(3) Relax: learn to relax while swimming.
However by staying in the water and slightly modifying your standard workout, you also can strengthen this vulnerable area, something not being done when you are continuously "giving it a rest" by skipping weeks of workouts waiting for the pain to subside. And the good news is that the modified workout we recommend actually accelerates your heart rate and provides a great conditioning workout. So here it is!

Warm-up: Easy 400 - Alternate breathe to even out stroke. Relax.
Warm-up #2: 4 X 100 freestyle increasing effort each 100 but only to 80% on 4th 100.
Warm-up #3: 4 X 50 - 3 on a short rest interval providing 5-10 sec. rest, the 4th 50 is easy. Repeat set 3 more times with 30 seconds rest in between each set for a total of 12 X 50. Stay between 80-85% effort. These are not sprints! [Total 1200 yards]

Main Set: 6 X 200. If you are having a "bad shoulder day" we recommend that you use a short fin on this set and follow this pattern. #1: Do the first 150 yards using a "catch-up" or "touch-stroke" to stretch out and relax the arm cycle. Put your kick into overdrive, which will increase your cardiovascular output. The last 50 is in your regular stroke cycle. #2: The first 100 is "catch-up" stroke, the second 100 regular cycle.#3: The first 50 is "catch-up," the remaining 150 regular cycle#4: Same as #1; #5: Same as #2; #6: Same as # 6
[1200 Total]

Kick set: 25 - 50 - 75 - 100 - 75 - 50 - 25. Repeat. [Total 600] Do not use kickboard as this will cause extra stress on your shoulders. Instead try kick on your side, alternating between right and left.

Sprint set:4 X 25 @ 30 sec. 2 breaths maximum each 25, loosen 25 4 X 25 @ 35 sec. 1 breath maximum each 25, loosen 25 4 X 24 @ 40 sec. no breath Until you are asymptomatic for 3 months, we recommend that you substitute breath control for "sprints." Stay below 90% effort but put your kick in overdrive to create.

Warm-down: 200 "catch-up" stretch out and relax.

Extend your warm up: At least 1/3 of your swimming workout should be in the "warm-up" phase. Gradually increase the effort, never exceeding 80% until you are well into the middle of your workout. You are still getting a good cardiovascular workout at 80% and are strengthening your upper body structures without tearing down the shoulder area by sprinting too soon. Save the 100% effort for another day when you have rehabilitated your shoulder to a point that it is pain free.

About pulling: we recommend that you don't pull in workout until you have been pain free for at least 3-months. Instead substitute "catch-up" stroke with a short fin when your coach gives pulling sets. Most importantly - stay away from paddles! If you must, use an undersized paddle which will still satisfy your "paddle addiction" without breaking down your vulnerable shoulder structures. Again, it is better to put the paddles away and use a short fin until you are asymptomatic for a minimum of 3 months.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy birthday Tracy. (Five world records, 63 American records which is more than any other American swimmer, male or female.)

If there was a pantheon built for the world's greatest swimmers whereas each great swimmer was idolized in bronze and surrounded by marble, people like Mark Spitz, Shirley Babashoff, Michael Phelps, Janet Evans, and Jenny Thompson would be standing right along side of Tracy Ann Caulkins for here is a swimmer that owned records in every single event. She will celebrate her birthday on January 11th. [Link]