Thursday, November 29, 2007

Magnus Egmar tears a start block out of the cement during his start dive!

With a name like "Magnus", what do you expect. I am stupefied by his leg strength. He actually swims in America too. Here is his profile at UNLV: [Link]

Can you tell that I am spending to much time on You Tube lately?

Ryan Lochte in the New York Times - 'Will swim for a Playstation 2'

An aspiring rapper he is not, but he is the world record holder in the 200 back. My favorite paragraph in the whole article is this one: "...The summer before his freshman year of college, Lochte posted three top-10 finishes at the United States national championships, including a fourth in the 800-meter freestyle, which stunned his mother. She had promised to buy him a PlayStation 2 if he placed in the 800, believing it was the safest of bets. It was the last time she dared to underestimate him. ..."

This profile is about a man who is exuberant, spontaneous, and dedicated. After his world record 200 backstroke in Sydney, he wanted to get back into the pool and practice harder; “Coach, you just tell me what I need to do to do this in all my events. ...”

The New York Times; considered the "paper of record," has been very good in covering our sport. Go read the article here: [Link]

UPDATE: I owe Ryan Lochte a PlayStation 3 - email me!
Ryan will race Phelps this weekend in the IM events. Hey Ryan, I will give you a PlayStation 3 if you beat Michael Phelps this weekend!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My unqualified critique of a Terry Laughlin article at ""

I saw this article a couple of weeks ago and I was apprehensive about posting it. I couldn't figure out why till tonight. In this article, Terry Laughlin puts forth some interesting statistics and compelling arguments regarding Popov's power output in relation to the swimmers he competed against. Ultimately Laughlin makes a case for how important technique is over brute force. Here is a short paragraph from the article:

"... In the same vein, Rick Sharp and Jane Cappaert of the International Center for Aquatic Research have reported that of all the men's 100-meter freestylers in the 92 Olympics, the finalists averaged a power output 16% LOWER than everyone else in the field who FAILED to make finals. This is so because swimmers who maximize their stroke efficiency simply don't NEED as much power to swim fast. ..." [Link]

My problem with the article is Laughlin's stringent use of Popov's technique as an über template of perfect symmetry and grace which he seemingly suggests should be used as the de facto standard. Personally, I feel the freestyle form is fluid and evolving. I think one's gross anatomy, their flexibility, and the strength of the individual determines how they should swim. In other words you shouldn't fit the person to the stroke but rather fit the stroke to the person. To support my argument I included a video above from You Tube of Stefan Nystrand setting a world record in the 100 free SCM. Note, he swims like a submerged helicopter and he can do it faster than Popov.

In his first lap Nystrand takes 13-strokes. On laps two and three he takes 16 strokes, on his last lap I counted 19-strokes. I had to watch it twice to confirm.

UPDATE: I am submitting this video of Nystrand from the front view. Note how he looks up rather than downward. The total immersion school feels you should look more downward, Personally I have to look more downward to stay flatter in the water due to the shape of my body. Nystrand apparently does not have to.

Beowulf, the open water swimmer!

When I was in the 7th grade, I saw a book entitled "Beowulf The Warrior." It had a sketchy portrait on the cover of a viking warrior; (think oil paint and Frank Frazetta), with a tight cropping on just half his face.

Now we have this silly movie with Angelina Jolie and my favorite British actor, Ray Winstone, recreating a Hollywood version of it. They also included a major change in how Beowulf tells the story. (I included the above clip to make this post less boring and the original translated version ;-)

Beowulf is the first known work of fiction written in the English, or old English language, and thought to have been written in 1100 AD. It has an amazing open water race in the text as well, complete over the top hyperbole. It makes the open water swimming events at the 2007 FINA World Championships with all those poisonous jellyfish and choppy water look like an episode of SpongeBob Squarepants. The translation is difficult but I found a more modern English explanation here:

"Are you that Beowulf who struggled with Brecca in the broad sea in a swimming contest? The one who, out of pride, risked his life in the deep water though both friends and enemies told you it was too dangerous?

"... Are you the one who hugged the sea, gliding through the boiling waves of the winter's swell? You and Brecca [who] toiled seven nights in the sea, and he, with more strength, overcame you. ..."

Beowulf responds: "Truth to tell, I had more strength but also more hardships in the waves.

He and I were both boys and boasted out of our youth that we two would risk our lives in the sea. and so we did.

With naked swords in hand, to ward off whales, we swam. Brecca could not out-swim me, nor could I out-distance him. And thus we were, for five nights. It was cold weather and the waves surged, driving us apart, and the north wind came like a battle in the night.

Fierce were the waves and the anger of the sea fish stirred. My coat of mail, adorned in gold and locked hard by hand, helped against those foes. A hostile thing drew me to the bottom in its grim grip, but it was granted to me to reach it with my sword's point. The battle storm destroyed that mighty sea beast through my hand.

And on and on evil things threatened me. I served them with my sword as it was right to do. Those wicked things had no joy of the feast, did not sit at the sea's bottom eating my bones. When the morning came my sword had put many to sleep, and even today in that fiord they don't hinder seafarers. ...with my sword I slew nine sea monsters. ..." [Link]

I have to agree with this review that Beowulf comes off as a jerk rather than a hero: [Link]

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Photo of Ian Thorpe at the Ian Thorpe Aquatics Center

This is the first photo of Ian Thorpe visiting the Sydney pool that has been named after him.

The article this photo came from is primarily about Ian's consternation that his good name was tainted when a French press leak stated that his final drug test contained elevated levels of testosterone. This test was later voided and he was subsequently cleared but he has not ruled out legal action .

What a shame to mix his visitation to his namesake pool with suggestions of drug use. He may sue over it. [Link]

Denver Post - Two years after being paralyzed, Dave Denniston is back in the pool

Rada Owen sent me this article from the Denver Post about Paralympian hopeful and former teammate, Dave Denniston.

Regarding his accomplishments: "...Denniston set Colorado prep records in the 200-meter individual medley and the 100-meter breaststroke. He helped Auburn win an NCAA team championship and was part of a relay that broke a world record in Moscow. He made a world championships team in 2003 and came within 1.31 seconds of making the 2004 Olympic team. .."

I think this paragraph from the article is not only inspirational but also shows pretty sublime character "...When I was training for the Olympic team, my body was perfect, my attitude was paralyzed," Denniston said before a recent workout at the OTC. "Now it's switched around. My body may be paralyzed, but I'm much happier than I've ever been because of the way I've chosen to focus on all the positive things I have now. ..."

Rada Owen does not know it but she taught me how to swim by way of the David Marsh video, Swimming Faster Freestyle. A year later I joined SCAQ where she now has a leadership position. She coaches occasionally too.

I am Oderberger Straße come back from the dead

This pool looks a competition pool from the 1930's and the caption beneath read as follows: "City Pool Oderberger Straße im Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin, Germany." I found this pool on a Flickr Photset page of abandoned pools worldwide; (Very depressing), and I suspected that the pool had some sort historical value significance so I looked it up.

I decided to do some research and this pool is going to make a comeback. This from Wikipedia and it is a very sketchy translation:

“... it was built at the end of the 1890s, a "People's bathhouse. "

"... Ludwig Hoffmann began his plans 1897, 1899 started the construction work. In February 1902, the building, in the style of German Renaissance opened. All ornaments and sculptures were made by Otto Lessing.

"... [circa 2007] An exact date for the beginning of the rehabilitation work is still not known in the media were dates between autumn 2007 and 2008. ..." [Wiki Link]

Flickr Photoset page of abandoned pools [Link]

Below is a beautiful image of the front door. Click to zoom in on the mermaids above the door:

Monday, November 26, 2007

Ian Thorpe front view as compared to Grant Hackett and Larsen Jensen

I see Ian Thorpe's catch and pull closer to his body than say Grant Hackett as seen below. Larsen Jensen's is more to the side. Larsen comes in at the center line, appears to skull out to the front of his shoulder and then pulls towards the side. I actually find Jensen's the most symmetrical stroke.

Coach Jon Urbanchek says torque is more important than power in swimming

Coach Jon Urbanchek, swim coach for Michigan, states on video at a USC practice that torque; (fancy word for acceleration), is more important than power.

No wonder I am better at long course and open water than I am short course. It is all about the turnover, baby!

He states it on video at while attending a USC practice with Larsen Jensen and Oui M., and Klete Keller: [ Video is at the bottom of the page - Link]

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Ian Thorpe at 1/4 speed at the 'Commonwealth Games'

I have a slow arm turnover. When I swim a 100 free I look like I am swimming a 200. I think the reason why is that my hands go to deep. I think I should pull closer to my chest like the video above.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

People want to experience swimming and diving in a new way

In Las Vegas they have Cirque Du Soleil's "O" at the Bellagio, and then there is Dragone's, Le Reve, at the Wynn. Now there is another partially water based performance, called Fuerzabruta at the Daryl Roth Theater in New York City. The New York Times as a writeup on it here: [Link]

From the article: "...Tightly choreographed, with aerial, aquatic, acrobatic and dancing components, “Fuerzabruta” (it means “brute force”) is a largely wordless physical and visual extravaganza inspired in part by Carnaval. It is built around a few major set pieces: a 45-foot clear-bottom tilting pool, hung from the ceiling and only partly filled; flying, building-size Mylar curtains; and the moving treadmill. The 13 men and women in the cast run, fly, swim and dive, strapped in harnesses and occasionally hovering just above the audience, which remains standing for the hourlong show. (The producers would not reveal the cost of Fuerzabruta; a general admission ticket is $70.) ..."

Now, imagine watching a swim meet if the viewing was similar to that of Fuerzabruta?

To the right is a quick and sketchy Photoshop rendering; (I emphasize quick and sketchy), of Dara Torres swimming above the Fuerzabruta crowd.

Since swimming takes place mostly under the water rather than above it, subsequently this rendering represents how I feel swimming should be viewed.

I think people would pay $70 ticket prices to watch swimming this way, especially since the swimmers' bodies would be enlarged due to the magnification of the glass or flexiglass used to hold the water allowing the viewer to see each nuance.

UPDATE: One of our readers is in this performance :-D:

I can't believe you found the show I'm performing in! And I can't believe you posted it on your blog!!!!!

Trev gave me an EXCELLENT LESSON on diving and swimming in Santa Monica right before I left Los Angeles. In fact, I'm using many of the techniques he taught me during the mylar/pool piece. It totally helps!!!

I love that you did a Photoshop version of what it would look like. We're not Dara Torres by any means, but the image idea is totally correct! We "swim" and dance on a mylar surface (its a really thin piece of high tech material). The pool is raised 30 feet and lowered to 7 feet from the floor. [...]

Fuerza Bruta is in a limited run in Union are being sold through June. There's talk that it might stay longer too ;o)

Check out the website for more info:

Rose :o)


I have no details about this but the promo is really fun. It was advertising the World Championships last Spring.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Jellyfish pull off surprise attack on salmon farm : 100,000 salmon destroyed

From the Times Online: "...more than 100,000 salmon wiped out by jellyfish off the coast of Northern Ireland in a single attack.

Billions of the tiny jellyfish, covering an area of up to ten square miles (27 sq km) and up to 35ft (13.6m) deep, swamped fish-farm cages belonging to Northern Salmon Co and killed more than 100,000 salmon – valued at more than £1 million. ..."

"... The salmon died from their wounds and from the stress of the jellyfish stings. At one stage staff tried to reach the cages in three boats, but such was the density of the jellyfish they struggled to get through and arrived too late to make a difference. ..." [Link]

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

There are no swim videos on 'Sportnet' yet USA Swimming is listed as one of their "properties"

Last spring USA Swimming cut a marketing deal with the Wasserman Media Group to bring USA Swimming to market. Since then what has WMG accomplished for swimming at large?

1. WMG purchased the swim site Timed Finals but I see no equity there for USA Swimming. Rumors are they are going to rebrand it but our sport needs visual exposure not rewritten, "drive by," blog posts with just a spattering of audio content. Swimming needs to be seen and experienced not talked about.

2. WMG set up a website called SportNet to showcase WMG 'properties' such as USA Swimming yet as of today there are no swimming videos on the site whatsoever.

3. The only press release Wasserman has distributed through Sportnet about USA Swimming was regarding their marketing deal with them from last spring. I did a Google News keyword search on both Sportnet and the Wasserman Media Group and there was nothing there promoting USA Swimming.

Ultimately, I am seeing no swim marketing or content at Sportnet or any other WMG vehicles such as their cable network and this includes press releases, news items or viral marketing campaigns of any sort. Hence, if USA Swimming is the proverbial 'little piggy' here, that little piggy certainly didn't make it to market. Instead, that little piggy stayed home.

I think Swimming World, WCSN, You Tube, the Australian press, and even the fans in the stands are doing a far better job marketing USA Swimming than WMG has. Subsequently these aforementioned outlets should be considered their marketing partners next time.

Threse Alshammar versus Natalie Coughlin for 100k large in the 2007 FINA World Cup Series

Therese Alshammar, along with Dara Torres are contenders in both the 50 and 100 free. Both will have a combined age of 71 years old next year in Beijing. Dara will be 40 and Therese will be 31.

Look at the angles on Therese in the photo to the right. Every angle on her looks hydro. (Is she really a land dwelling animal?)

Currently Therese is leading in points in the 2007 FINA World Cup Series with Natalie a far off second. According to Lane 9 News: "... While there are various other event-win and world-record bonuses included in the prize money allocated for the World Cup series, the overall winners receive $100,000, while those placing second and third overall will receive $50,000 and $30,000, respectively...." (Hey, I wonder if it is paid in Euros? If so that's a $147,000 Benjamins.* Yep, that is how week the dollar is.) [Link]

They suggest Natalie could take it though.

[*If I won that money, I would stick it in an interest bearing account in Germany or England and let it grow as the dollar falls further and further. This way you get both interest and Euro-appreciation as the dollar sinks more and more. Hence, it is a safe way to make 15% on your Euros with little to no risk. You can thank the treasury and our current administration for the collapse of our dollar. No country ever became prosperous by collapsing it's currency.

Pretend that this "swimming pool" full of balloons is actually full of blue bubbles

Monday, November 19, 2007

"White men can't jump" and British kids can't swim!

Hey Great Britain, here is a clue. Fill up your empty pools with water instead of graffiti.

Here is an article by the BBC which states that most British kids can't swim one length of a short course meters pool and that kids spend more time driving to the pool than actually swimming in it.

From the article: "...An Ofsted report said most 11-year-olds did not reach the national curriculum target of being able to swim 25 metres.

But some groups of pupils were missing out, including ethnic minorities with little experience of swimming.

Even among schools which had received extra money to boost swimming, [a] one in six attainment was "inadequate".

In these schools, the key factor was lack of time devoted to the subject.

In a quarter of the 12 local authorities visited, the way that swimming facilities had been centralised meant pupils spent more than twice as long traveling to the pool as they spent in the water. ..." [Fill your empty pools] [Link]

GB wants to fix that though and this article addresses their concerns and programs:

Here link to several empty pools in and around London. Warning, it's very depressing. [Link]

This song has been stuck in my head for two days! It just turns itself on when I swim.

Michael Phelps listens to rapper, DMX, and lately I have been listening to this song from a quasi-electronic/band called Faithless from Great Britain.

When I drive to swim meets I play lots of electronic music to amp me up. Stuff with a 120-beats-per-minute drum lines such as DJ Tiesto from the Olympic games. Anyway, it is working since I am swimming a lot faster both in workouts and at meets. (Maybe we all should submit play lists?)

This particular song is not such a bad song to have stuck in your head considering that the holidays are coming up and the overt commentary therein regarding the current political Zeitgeist that has divided this country...err, planet!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

SPMA Pierce College Turkey Shoot meet was today

Above is the Pierce College pool shot at 8:15 AM this morning. Due to time constraints I was only able to swim two events, the 800 SCM, the 50 SCM and as far as my goals and targets, I exceeded expectations. (1st and 3rd, baby!)

Dara Torres swam a 24.1 today for the 50 scm at the 2007 FINA World Cup series, and my time today was in the 20's too. That is all I will say. As for my 800 scm, I posted a 11:35.41.

By the way, I wore Speedo Fastskin leggings for the 800 scm and it was a really dumb idea! Phelps, Crocker, or Hansen, can get away with it since they are never in the water for more than 180 seconds. By the third hundred I felt like I was wearing a drag suit. I immediately changed into my TYR Aquashift brief for the next race and set a personal best in the 50 SCM. A much nicer experience to say the least. (These opinions are mine, not SCAQ, and I don't get any compensation from TYR for saying that.)

Another important detail, since it is the holidays, I found an amazing charity that I am really enthusiastic about. I am going to write more about it later in the week. It's called Senior Smiles.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Dara Torres in the NY Times

This article has an amazing photo of Dara Torres swimming which is featured above and a few photos of her doing dry land workouts as well. She is ripped; all 6-foot-and-150-pounds of her. They go into details regarding her routine and it surprised me that she only swims 5 times a week. She also gets blood drawn regularly to valdate she is a clean swimmer.

Snippet: "... She asked [Michael] Lohberg if he would coach her, and he sat her down to have The Talk.

He asked Torres if she had ever used performance-enhancing drugs. “For myself, I needed to have this clear before we started anything,” Lohberg said.

Torres recalled, “I said, ‘Why do you ask that?’ and he said, ‘Because that’s what everybody was talking about on the deck in Sydney.’”

She assured Lohberg that she would never use drugs. After they began working together, he saw no reason to doubt her.

“Technically, she’s brilliant,” Lohberg said.

“And Dara wants to be perfect,” he added. “She’s very conscientious.” [Link]

UPDATE on Dara Torres' participation in the 100 SCM free at the FINA World Cup stop in Germany -- from Lane 9 News: "[Marleen]Velhuis nearly had all she could handle with Germany's Britta Steffen clocking in at 52.17 right behind her to crush her German record (52.82), while the United States' Dara Torres added the 100 free American record to her bag with a third-place time of 52.79. That performance clipped Natalie Coughlin's time of 52.81 set in 2004. Sweden's Josefin Lillhage also went sub-53 with a fourth-place time of 52.84. ..." [Link]

SPMA SCM Turkey Shoot swim meet at Pierce College tomorrow

What is so fun about the Turkey Shoot meet is that if you can guess your time exactly for any given event, you win prizes and that can include a turkey. I will be going and I will bring a camera of some sort. [Link]

Sunday, November 18, 2007

800 warm-up at 8:00 a.m.

800 starts at 9:00 a.m.

1. 800 m Freestyle (check in required)
Additional warm-up after 800

Event #2 starts at 11:00 a.m.
2. 50 m Butterfly
3. 100 m Backstroke
4. 200 m Breaststroke
5. 50 m Freestyle
6. 100 m Butterfly
7. 200 m Backstroke
8. 800 m Free Relay (men, women, mixed; deck enter)
9. 50 m Breaststroke
10. 100 m Freestyle
11. 200 m Butterfly
12. 50 m Backstroke
13. 100 m Breaststroke
14. 200 m Freestyle
15. 400 m Individual Medley

16. 400 m Relay (men, women, mixed; medley or free-style; deck enter)

Cheater, Marion Jones, passed 160 tests while doping - Dick Pound wants an audit done to find out why and how

Corruption by US doping agencies? Incompetence? Masking agents? perhaps her chemicals was completely off the radar? Dick Pound wants to know!

From The Australian: "...
“As for the rest, well, we will see... I'm not happy to hear that someone who had that many tests was a user for that many years,” added Pound.

[...] Jones had long been a target for Pound's accusations that she had been taking drugs but she always denied doing so, causing the many members of the American media to accuse the 65-year-old Canadian lawyer of embarking on a witch-hunt.

However, her confession last month vindicated Pound. ..." [Link]

Here is a direct link to the photo on the left from The Jeff Selis photo stream at [Link]

I woke up to a "Swim Alert" from Lane 9 News that Dara Torres beat Therese Alshammar and set an American record

Though Torres placed second to Marleen Veldhuis, Dara Torres now owns the American record in the 50 SCM. I think it is a pretty significant swim especially since she also beat Therese Alshammar. I was hoping You Tube would have a fan video but nothing has been posted yet. I now think there is a very good chance that Dara Torres will medal in the LCM version of this event in Beijing if she qualifies next year at trials. Lane News [Link]

From WCSN: "...

Marleen Veldhuis blazed the splash-and-dash event with a time of 23.58 to pip Sweden's Therese Alshammar's global standard of 23.59, set way back in March 2000. The mark also jumped Veldhuis well ahead of Libby Lenton's season-best time of 23.77, set at the Aussie championships in August.

Additionally, the United States' Dara Torres rocketed past the previous American record of 24.21 set by Kara Lynn Joyce in March 2004. Torres posted a blistering time of 23.82 to become the first sub-24 American in the event.

Alshammar (24.05) and teammate Anna-Karin Kammerling (24.32) took third and fourth, respectively ..." [Link]

Friday, November 16, 2007

What is it with elite swimmers and alcohol?

This article from is about "... World butterfly champion, Geoff Huegill, who has put on 30kg in 12 months and is "happy" to have six beers at night with pizza since retiring..."

30-kilos of weight is 66 pounds and that translates to 5-and-a-half-pounds per month in weight gain. [Link]

The Australian press likes to exaggerate, use hyperbole, and ultimately be down right mean. So to be fair, let's start off with the good stuff about Geoff Huegill.

Geoff is a charitable man who donates his time and energy to encourage kids to swim. He was a world class butterfly champion who won both a bronze medal at the Sydney Olympic games in the 100 meter butterfly and a silver medal in the 4x100 medley relay. At the 2001 FINA World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, he scored double golds and a bronze in both butterfly and medley events. In other words he has represented his town and country quite well but now he is being held up for ridicule and laughter regarding his weight gain.

This guy needs help, not ridicule.

Torres, Alshammar and Steffen will race in the FINA World Cup event in Berlin

Though Steffen is the world record holder in the event and though Therese Alshammar and Dara Torres are summarily amazing, I think the 100 free is both for Libby Lenton and Britta Steffen to sort out. Britta also has the home pool advantage. Why this event is on my radar is the dissimilar age of the swimmers. Britta is only 24, whereas Therese Alshammar, is 30 and Dara Torres is 40. From the article:

"... Steffen, who turns 24 tomorrow, is European champion and world record holder in the 100m freestyle and was not even a year old when Torres, 40, picked up the first of her four Olympic gold relay medals at the Los Angeles Games.

Torres hopes to become the oldest ever swimmer to compete at an Olympics in Beijing next year, where she will be 41, and would be the first swimmer to make five Olympic teams. She will be up against Steffen and Sweden’s Olympic medallist Therese Alshammar in the 100m freestyle in Berlin during the two-day event. " [Link]

Gary Hall Jr. will be there too.

If you can read German; (I can't so I went to Babelfish to translate), here is an article about all the nonsense and allegations Steffen had to put up with once she broke the world record. She discusses that she dose not have the time nor the money to constantly prove she does not dope and that if she did have the time and money, critics would then accuse her of buying off the labs that tested her. Hence she just gets tested by the German anti doping agency. [Link]

Monday, November 12, 2007

Hajin - The same freighter company that nearly ran over the kyak support staff at the 'Alcatraz Sharfest' recently caused the SF Bay oil slick

In the picture above the sheriff literally had a Jetski in the water wrangling the kayak support staff away from the Hanjin freighter as it barreled into the bay at roughly 30 knots. I wrote about it here last summer. [Link]

Hanjin is the South Korean freighter company involved in both the near miss at the Alcatraz Sharkfest on June 10th of this year and the newest oil spill within the San Francisco Bay just last week. Though Hanjin boats were/are involved in these mishaps, it is the responsibility of the American pilot to steer the ship into port.

I am told that when a freighter enters the San Francisco or any American port, a new pilot takes control and guides the ship into Oakland. I wouldn't be surprised if the pilot involved in the above near miss was also the pilot involved in the most recent oil slick.

Now, to be fair to the pilot, John J. Cota, 59, of Petaluma, was tested within an hour of the impact with a bridge abutment on the Bay Bridge west of Yerba Buena Island, for alcohol and most likely drugs as well. He was clean. Also the accident took place in heavy fog but you think there would be a process to avoid catasrophies such as this. [Link]

So who is responsible? Hanjin or the American pilot paid to steer the ship to shore?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Glass Octopus from "Plantation"

This 12-inch-long, ruby red, Octopus, equipped with anatomically correct suction cups is a $395 item from Plantation Home Accessories. I find it both creepy and elegant. Wouldn't an installation of glass sea creatures such as this either hanging from a ceiling or submerged in a tank of distilled water with glass bubbles, eels, jellyfish, sharks and all look simply fantastic?

Now, both Christmas and Hanukkah are approaching and I will pretend I didn't see this! (wink-wink) ;-)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

"" - Bookmark it!!!

Fellow SCAQ swimmer Michael B. sent me a link to a site that is summarily fantastic. It's like a cross between "You Tube & ESPN." They have great videos and the video resolution therein is much cleaner than You Tube.

This video is: "Dennis Dale (University of Minnesota) giving out 30x50s on roughly 1:30, broken up into groups of 10. Every swimmer has a goal time, and every 50 that he misses his goal he has to make up at the end. They were holding 24's and 25's: [Link]

Here is a Brendan Hanson interview where he compares the Olympics to the Superbowl, that he sets small gaols for each practice and each week so as to get his end result. He mentions that he likes to train with the best of the world every day to stay motivated: [Link]

Missouri head coach Brian Hoffer shows us around one of the nicest pools in the country. (It includes a video board and other cool amenities [Link]

The above photo is from a video interview with Eric Hansen "...the Wisconsin sprinters look more like super heroes than swimmers on Tuesdays and Thursdays when they get their power work in. [Link]

Friday, November 09, 2007


It appears the Coast Guard was just as incompetent as the captain of the South Korean tanker. The oil leak began at 8:30 AM and it wasn't until 9 PM that the situation was properly explained and the gravity of the calamity was understood.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is on the line as well as Senator Boxer and Mayor Gavin Newsome. Of course many officials are screaming lawsuit but keep in mind that Exxon never paid Alaska after being sued over the Exxon Valdez spill and consequently they were allowed to get away with it.

Newsstories found at Google:

Response to fuel spill under Bay Bridge called 'unusually slow'
San Francisco Chronicle, USA - 7 hours ago
Gary York, a salmon fisherman from Fairfax, was out in his 17-foot whaler Wednesday when he ran into the oil slick that covered the bottom of his boat with ...
Oil oozes in San Francisco Bay after ship hits bridge Los Angeles Times
Oil spill leaves questions, contradictions Marin Independent-Journal
Oil Spill Fouls Shores in San Francisco Area New York Times

Oil Spill in the San Francisco Bay Could Threaten Wildlife for years

From CNN: "... The oil spilled from a South Korea-bound container ship when it struck a tower supporting the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in dense fog Wednesday. The accident did not damage the span, but the vessel's hull was gashed, officials said. See the damage to the tower and the ship

Tides carried a plume of heavy fuel beneath the Golden Gate Bridge and into the Pacific Ocean. By Thursday afternoon, oil had been sighted about 15 miles north of the city, and at least eight beaches in San Francisco and Marin County were closed. Watch cleanup efforts get under way ..."

This disaster poses a lot of questions as well. Will the Alcatraz Sharkfest, the Alcatraz Challenge, the Tiburon Mile and numerous other events be cancelled? When will open water swimming for the S.F. swimmers at large be viable?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Swimmers really do "feel better" and that Speedo claim of a 7.5% in reduced drag is not corroborated

US National Institute of Health studies on Swimming:

This study illustrated the relationship between swimming, an aerobic activity, and mood. One hundred college students, voluntarily enrolled in beginning or intermediate swimming classes or in lecture-control classes, completed the POMS; [Program Objective Memo], before and after class.

Results of a 5-way ANOVA; [ analysis of variance], confirmed that, as predicted, swimmers reported significantly less tension, depression, anger, confusion, and more vigor after exercising than before. [...] Despite different social connotations of exercise for women and men, there were no gender differences in the amount of mood change associated with swimming. However, in direct contradiction of existing literature, the women reported significantly less tension-anxiety, depression, anger, and confusion than the men. [Link]

Here is one that confirms that, "Shorter-distance swims that do not tax endurance are preferable, if mood enhancement is a goal." [Link]

This one studied the Speedo Fastskin and found that their 7.5% claim was not corroborated, but to be fair, they did measure a 2% reduction in drag.

The effect on drag of a Speedo Fast-skin suit compared to a conventional suit was studied in 13 subjects (6 males, 7 females) swimming at different velocities between 1.0 and 2.0 m.s-1. The active drag force was directly measured during front crawl swimming using a system of underwater push-off pads instrumented with a force transducer (MAD system). For a range of swimming speeds (1.1, 1.3, 1.5 and 1.7 m.s-1), drag values were estimated. On a group level, a statistically non-significant drag reduction effect of 2% was observed for the Fast-skin suit (p = 0.31). Therefore, the 7.5% reduction in drag claimed by the swimwear manufacturer was not corroborated. [Link]

They should have used a TYR Aqua Shift.

The next study says that triathletes need to spend more time doing technique clinics. (I swear, I did not make this up.) The study is called: "Differences in propelling efficiency between competitive and triathlon swimmers."

Snippet: "...It is concluded that triathletes should focus their attention on their swimming technique rather than their ability to do work. The distance per stroke might be a simple criterion to evaluate the improvement in skill. ..." [Link]

There are 100's more at the NCBI website: [Link]

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

'GoDaddy' Airs New Amanda Beard Commercial This Weekend

GoDaddy is a domain name registry. From TopHost: "...The ad will debut during the ESPN2 Saturday Night College Football Primetime.

Beard opens her bathrobe for a revealing plot twist in the new commercial titled Shock. The ad also features a cameo appearance by swimming icon Mark Spitz. ..." [Link]

The internet version can be seen here. It appears all cheesecake till the end: [Link]

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Former SCAQ swimmer and Army Staff Sgt. Joseph F. Curreri, 27: drowns in the Philippines

From the L.A. Times: "... Although the investigation is incomplete, Curreri's family and friends said he apparently drowned Oct. 26 while free-diving alone with a mask and fins to retrieve a USC medallion and St. Christopher medal that had slipped off during official diving maneuvers and settled to the bottom of Siet Lake on Jolo Island. ..."

A blog has been set up for Joe with photos from High School, College, and into his service with the military: [Link]

His death has touch a chord in several news related publications:

TYR has seemingly stop selling the male full body 'Aqua Shift' suits

Dang it, I wanted one for Christmas! I also felt that the TYR trip wire technology and the science behind it made the TYR Aqua Shift the fastest suit ever made. At the TYR website they are still selling the rest of the Aqua Shift line but not the full body suit. [Link]

From Wikipedia: The research for the TYR Aqua Shift was done by the University at Buffalo, where it was supervised by senior professors of physiology and biomechanical engineering. TYR worked with CRESE; [They do wok for the military], to design a highly-effective hydrodynamic suit.

Wave drag is one of the forms of drag created by swimmers, the others being pressure drag and friction drag. Wave drag is created by every movement a swimmer makes in the water. The more wave drag is created, the more energy a swimmer must put out to make progress through the water. Therefore, anything that reduces wave drag will theoretically make it easier for a swimmer to swim faster. The Aqua shift suit is claimed to reduce wave drag by as much as 53%, according to the research done by TYR. Their research also claims that the suit reduces drag overall by as much as 10% and pressure drag by 18%.

Amanda, take note! Coca-Cola will pay 4.1 billion large for 'Smart Water' and 'Vitamin water'

I found out about this buyout from but their link to CNN Money was broken and it took almost 20 minutes to verify that it was a real story. After doing some research, the buyout of these brands is going to happen, Coca-Cola is buying Glaceau, the makers of Vitamin water, and Smart Water for 4.1 billion dollars.

From the Reuters News Service: "For a company like Coca-Cola to recognize the potential of Glaceau ... is a huge statement about their vision for the future of the beverage business," Bikoff said during a conference call with reporters. "I can't tell you how proud I am to be part of the Coke family and what a dream this is for me to fulfill," [He said laughing all the way to the bank.] [Link]

I would like to say that the public at large is rejecting soda-pop but more likely those rejecting it are parents and 'boomers' who fear obesity and diabetes. Hence, value added water. [Live Science: Soda Sales Go Flat, Industry Fights Back! - from Live Science Back Link]

Glaceau, also known as Energy Brand inc became the behemoth that they are by branding their water as being both health and sports conscious. I bought into it as well and I am trained to recognize this stuff.

Now, with all this money 'splashing' around for h2o brands that are health-centric rather than sugar-centric, the most logical models to use in an Olympic year to pimp such products would be models with terrific bodies, models that represent the pinnacle of health and accomplishment, and models who seemingly adore the art of water. Those models would be Olympic swimmers, both national and international. So, Amanda take note.

Train high, live low: That apparently is the most effective way to train.

Eamon Sullivan, Ryk Neethling, Roland Schoeman, César Cielo, and many other sprinters from outside the US seem to gravitate to the United States when it comes to training.
From the Herald Sun: "STAR sprinter Eamon Sullivan is confident a stint of high altitude training in the US will give him an added advantage as he steps up his campaign for the Olympic swimming trials in March. ..." [Link]

Here are some of the names I feel will be in the 50 meter free final in Beijing. All have trained in or live in the United States:

César CieloBen Wildman Tobriner
Roland Schoeman
Cullen Jones
Eamon Sulivan

Monday, November 05, 2007

9 questions for Natalie Coughlin over at Swimming World

This stood out the most for me:

Jason says: You also keep threatening the 100 IM record. Since this race isn't really done much, what is it about the 100 IM that you enjoy the most?

Natalie answers:

I love that race! I think they should add it to the long course format with a 10-meter buffer zone in the middle of the pool to change strokes. Wouldn't that be an exciting race to watch? What's not to like in that race? You race all four strokes and the race is super quick. I wish I could do that race every meet. [Link]

Libby Lenton, the most accomplished yet most under rated swimmer in the world

It completely went over my head that Lenton won five gold medals at the FINA World Championships. All I could focus on was Michael Phelps' seven gold medals and several world records. The above You Tube is Lenton winning her 5th gold at FINA World Championships in the 50 meter free beating Natalie Coughlin and Therese Alshammar.

Here are some articles discussing her recent accomplishments and her Telstra Swimmer of the Year award; (an Australian version of the "Golden Goggle.)

The Australian [Link]
Hanson Sport Media [Link]
Swim News [Link]

Sunday, November 04, 2007

I had this strange thought while doing a breath control set at LMU today

I have been out of the water for a week due to an extreme ringing in my ears accompanied with a dizzy sensation which was no fun whatsoever. Hence, It felt good to finally be back in the water today at Loyola Marymount College. LMU is my favorite pool.

Anyway, this bizarre thought crossed my mind while doing a breath control set of 10 x 25s on the :50 this morning. It was certainly Halloween related and I was thinking that since LMU is a Catholic college, and if a priest ever happen to bless the pool water, you would have roughly 250,000 gallons of holy water thereby making one completely immune to a vampire attack if one chose to swim at night.

See what anoxia can do to one's thinking?

Nearly 3,500 Chinese babies have been named 'Olympics'

Hope I am not doing to many off topic stories but I thought this one was cute. From the article: "... Most of the 3,491 people with the name "Aoyun," meaning Olympics, were born around the year 2000, as Beijing was bidding to host the 2008 Summer Games, the Beijing Daily reported, citing information from China's national identity card database. ...

The vast majority of people named Aoyun are male, the newspaper said. Only six live in Beijing. The report didn't say where the others live. ..." [Link]

From vagabondrhythm photostream at Direct link [Link]

Saturday, November 03, 2007

WADA to develop test to detect 'gene tweaking'

Imagine you're a cheater and you want to rearrange your DNA so as to increase your VO2 max, or perhaps tweaking your genes to overly produce the PEPC-K enzyme like that freak mouse I blogged about? [Link]

WADA is on to you and within 5-years; according to Dick Pound, WADA will have a test that will discover the extent of such gene "doping." Here is a snippet from the article:

"..."We are working with them (scientists) to have a non-invasive (test) ready by the time these techniques are being used," Pound said, telling the paper he was convinced scientists would make genetic manipulation an option for athletes in five to six years. ..." [Link]

My take is that gene tweaking won't work. Sure you may get immediate results but our internal systems are so complicated and so harmoniously aligned that any agitation will either alter or off set any number of important cellular processes. Natural selection has had 4-million years to make us the way we are, I predict that 'gene doping' may turn athletes into brands of Blade Runner 'replicants' or super humans; but to quote a central character from the Ridley Scott film regarding the consequences of creating such 'uber-people', "The candle that burns twice as bright only lasts half as long."

Below is a scene from an animated movie illustrating how complicated a simple white blood cell is. If you want to see something quite remarkable check out the animation, Cellular Visions: The Inner Life of a Cell at the Studio Daily website. [Link]

The animation just illustrates some of the processes involved as to how a white blood cell works. A cell is as complicated and as industrious as a large metropolitan city with just as much 'business' going on therein. To alter just one process therein could create a domino effect of tragic proportions.

Kevin Clements doing a perfect start in slo-mo

You gotta love the internet and yoou got to love Glenn Mills for posting such great videos to

I am so impressed with his pro bono contributions to swimming that I am adding a link in the links section to his site.

Some amusing pools from 'The Cool Hunter' website

The Cool Hunter is a noted design website that catalogs various design disciplines from all over creation which includes architecture, fashion, industrial design, vinyl toys and in this case the world's "coolest" hotel pools. Personally I just think they merely amusing. [Link]

Friday, November 02, 2007

East German athlete study: Children of 69 doped athletes have special needs

Above is a before/after picture of East German heptathlete Birgit Dressel. More on what happened to her below. Very sad!

It's been a depressing week despite all the great swims by Natalie, Libby, Roland etc. . (Ahh, maybe it is just me!!! I have been sick and have not been in the water. I may miss a meet this weekend as a result too!)

The title of this Australian article from the Sydney Morning Herald borders on offensive but that is the hyperbolic nature of the Australian press. Here is the title: 'Children of doping athletes deformed.'

Well, not all of them. Of the 69 athletes; (Oops), children followed, four had mental delays and/or handicaps; (it is not specified what types of mental issues such as ADD or autism), and seven had physical deformities. (Again not specified to what extent.) The remaining 50-or-so had allergies or asthma higher than the general population. The article title makes it sounds as if all 69 were deformed in some freakish way which is wholly not accurate.

Every solution has a consequence albeit aspirin, alcohol, or steroids. To bad these individuals were either not informed or unable to predict these consequences. [Link]

Check out this hideous doping result from the Globe and Mail. The article is full of these sorts of tragic events:

"... Twenty years ago, East West German heptathlete Birgit Dressel died from a toxic-allergic shock. When she died on April 10 1987, there were more than 100 different medications in her body. Her internal organs simply shut down in chemical confusion. ..." [Link]

In South Africa, Ryk Neethling, is a 'rock star' and Ryk sites training in the US and the culture therein for his success

I hope the title does not come off as jingoistic or frantically patriotic for I hate it when a politician or a political party takes credit for a good economy or burgeoning culture as a result of their particular policies. America is great because of the people, the culture, and the innovation herein that we the people have created. It is NOT due to any politician's or political parties contributions.

Ryk Neethling acknowledges the American culture in a speech he gave to the Women In Business Support Initiative in South Africa recently.

Ryk Neethling, gold medalist in the 4x100 free relay at the Athens 2004 Olympics, 9-time NCAA National Champion, Arizona Athlete of the Year and PAC-10 Athlete of the Year for four consecutive years, 1999 NCAA Swimmer of the Year, then there was the University of Arizona Athlete of the Century award and he got to date Playboy Bunny, Amanda Beard, for 6 years according to Wikipedia.

Note that the bulk of his accomplishment happened on the American continent where these sublime accomplishments are mostly under the pop-culture radar but in South Africa, Ryk is a "rock star." From an article I found while searching up Yoga and swimming:

"...Olympic gold medalist Ryk Neethling found himself in the midst of a storm of women begging to have a picture taken with the South African swimming hero. ...

Ryk, South African’s Olympic gold medalist in swimming, was reflecting on the difference between South Africa and the time he spent in America where everything works well. Now that he is back home, he is positive about the change that people can effect in the lives of the less fortunate. Ryk was the guest speaker at the Women In Business Support Initiative (Wibsi) in Lynnwood...

He pointed out that the difference between America and South Africa is that people there know how to dream big and are therefore successful. ...

After his remarkable achievements in the previous Olympic games, Ryk hopes to be successful at the next Olympic games in Beijing in 2008. Until then, he is training hard and swimming at least 10km a day, he does spinning and even has time for yoga in preparation for his final Olympic games. ..."

His shared Advice can be read here: [Link]

I love that photo above of the two fans posing with Ryk. It was located at in escolme's photostream. Here is a direct link to the photo: [Link]

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Heat Sheets for the FINA/Arena World Cup in Sydney Australia

UPDATE: Lane 9 News has full coverage here. Libby Lenton stalked and even broke a world record: [Link]

Located here at Omega Timing: [Link]

Gene tweaking - Creating performance enhanced mice through gene manipulation!

UPDATE: This story is getting huge! More links below.

This is going to appear in The Journal of Biological Chemistry on November 2nd. 2007

Take an average mouse: it can run on a tread mill for 19 minutes straight, gets fat when it over eats and has a biological clock that only allows it to have so many birth cycles. Now take that same mouse, tweak a gene and then boost the levels of an enzyme called PEPCK-C in the mice's skeletal muscles and now you have a super mouse capable of the following:

"... They are metabolically similar to Lance Armstrong biking up the Pyrenees," researcher Richard Hanson, PhD, says in a news release. ..."

"... The genetically engineered mice ran for 32 minutes, while the ordinary mice pooped out at 19 minutes. ..."

"... The genetically engineered mice ate 60% more than the ordinary mice, but they were lean and light, weighing half of what normal mice weigh with 90% less body fat. ..."

"... For instance, mice that were up to 2.5 years old outran mice that were less than half their age, the study shows. ..."

"... In addition, a 30-month-old genetically engineered female mouse had baby mice during the study, well past the typical mouse-bearing ages.

A major unanswered question, Hanson's team notes, is what brain changes accompany the genetically engineered mice's hyped-up activity. ..."

If it only lowered your IQ ten points, would take it?! [Link] [Link] [Link]

Sports business analyst for NPR's, 'Marketplace' speaks glowingly of Michael Phelps

Diana Nyad was a long distance swimmer and for a ten period of time; (1969 -1979), there was nobody more accomplished. She was the 'Janet Evans' of open water swimming. She later went on to sports broadcasting working for such icons as ABC's Wide World of Sports; (Thrill of victory, the agony of defeat), and I believe she did some work for NBC.

Currently, she is now a sports business analyst for NPR's Marketplace which is recorded M-F at the Frank Stanton Studios over at USC. (Los Angeles is very NPR centric. We have KCRW at Santa Monica College, Marketplace and Day to Day over at USC, We have KPCC at Pasadena City College and more.)

The sports topic today for NPR's Marketplace was about an accomplished American skier named, Bode Miller, who will have nothing to do USA Skiing even though USA Skiing invested a lot of time and money helping him master his craft.

Diana Nyad contrasted this behavior with Michael Phelps who she states makes 30-million dollars a year and goes out of his way to promote USA Swimming interests. I suspect the 30- million-dollar figure is a bit inflated and I suspect 3-10-million in an Olympic year is more accurate. Still, it was nice to see that our sport doesn't have police blotter issues splashed all over the radio as compared to some professional sports such as basketball, football and baseball.

Glenn Mills tests speedsuits to see if they make a difference

Gosh knows how long this article has been up; Glenn Mills compares each variation of a TYR Speedsuit, such as full body, jammer, etc. and posts how each suit effected his times. A bar graph with stoke comparison accompanies the article. What stuck me was that both 'fly and breaststroke are faster than briefs but not as fast as a 'body jammer.'

Currently TYR Aquashift suits are half off at the TYR web site so this article really interested me. (I receive no compensation or gifts from either Glenn Mills or TYR) [Link]

The United Nations has adopted the "Olympic Truce Resolution"

From Newsday: ALL NATIONS SHOULD OBSERVE a truce during the Beijing Olympics next August to enable athletes to compete and help build "a peaceful and better world through sport," [...] A resolution adopted by the 192-nation body cited the ancient Greek tradition of ekecheiria, or "Olympic Truce," as a model. [Link]

From WCSN: "Olympic chief Jacques Rogge, in a speech to the United Nations before the resolution was passed, reiterated his view that engaging with China by holding the sporting spectacle in Beijing would have long-term benefits for the whole world.

"In China, the Beijing 2008 Summer Games have already delivered important social, legislative and economic benefits," he said. "It is better to open a new door to China than to leave it closed at this point in its modern evolution." (...) [Link]

All of the above articles stress that there was opposition to the truce resolution from human rights groups due to China's positions on Tibet and Dafur. To see a contrast between the western press and the Chinese "press" on this issue look at this Xinhua article which only plays up the pro China aspects rather than the pro democracy points of view. [Link]

The Xinhua article sort of reminds me of the FOX News Network in regards to our current political Zeitgeist.