Friday, May 30, 2008

Olympic open water qualifier venue was today!

I couldn't post any of this sooner since I was stuck at work.

You can click on the above images to enlarge them. The venue almost looks like an enlarged swimming pool and Steve Munatones of is there and gave hourly reports at his Twitter page. If you sign up for a Twitter account you can read his play-by-play from beginning to end of the 10k event: [Link]

All of the above photos/maps were sent to me from China.

Now Steve is havng internet troubles in China accessing his blog hence the Twitter account which has worked out to be a great solution. Here is what Steve sent me this morning:

Dear All,

I emailed you via Twitter because I thought you might be interested in receiving live updates from Beijing on the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim qualification race.

I will be at the race “twittering” on my Blackberry to anyone who chooses to opt-in at That is, I will be writing online updates of the race as it happens so you can follow the race stroke-for-stroke. These updates will be posted a few seconds after I write them on my Twitter and Facebook pages. The updates can also be sent directly to your cell phones via text messages, if you so chose.

Because the race is not televised outside of China and there is no live online streaming of the race, these “tweets” are one alternative to learning about the race as it happens.

My “tweets” (i.e., a text message of less than 140 characters sent via Twitter) will be sent 5-10 minutes apart during much of the 1 hour and 55 minute race. I will send the tweets more often as the race develops and gets closer to the finish or anything interesting happens like a race feeding or yellow card.

Please note that if you do not have an unlimited text messaging plan on your telephone, then you may not want to participate in this test. That is, if I sent you 20-25 messages, this might cost you some money (usually 15 cents per message for many plans in the U.S. ).

You must opt-in to receive this service. If you do not want to participate, no problem.

Please note that this is a test. If Murphy (as in Murphy’s Law or “if anything can go wrong, it will”) shows up in Beijing tomorrow, then I apologize in advance if the test fails. Fortunately, I tried it out today at the Olympic venue, and all systems seem to be a go.

The women’s race will start at 6:00 pm PT on Friday (or 9 am on Saturday in China ) – I will start sending tweets around 5:00 pm PT on Friday. The men’s race will start at 6:00 pm PT on Saturday – I will start sending tweets around 5:00 pm PT on Saturday.

The women’s race is particularly interesting for the American team because only one young, talented American swimmer will qualify – and Chloe Sutton and Kirsten Groome are tough courageous competitors. If you have time or interest, I wrote a blog about this featured match race between Chloe and Kirsten at It is truly a “race-within-a-race”. It can be viewed as a “swim-off” for a coveted spot in the Olympic 10K finals.

If you know of others who may be interested in participating in this experiment, please feel free to inform them.

Please note that I will not send you non-swimming related tweets. The purpose of this experiment is simply to inform you of some of the most exciting and pressure-packed races in the annals of open water swimming history.

Lastly, the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim venue is beautiful. Under bright blue skies, the water temperature is between 68-72°F (depending on the depth of the water) and the venue looks gorgeous. Supposedly, the venue will be sold out for this weekend’s races.

Steven Munatones in Beijing

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