Thursday, August 28, 2008

Britta Steffen - I can't say any more about this video save for the fact that she represented Germany quite well.

Britta Steffen winning the 100-meter free somewhere on the Asian continent this month!

Britta Steffen beat both Dara Torres and Libby Trickett at this "swim meet" a few weeks ago. In my opinion this accomplishment was under reported.

I am looking for some underwater videos of her stroke; I will post them when I find them.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Anger, anxiety and loathing on the South African Olympic swim team

If Roland Schoeman was an Australian, French, or an American citizen, he would be a swimming millionaire. Instead he is is a middle class, South African, swimmer who has had to deal with extraordinary adversity by way of little economic support, threats and insults among other hardships from his very own sports governing body.

But get this: Some of his team members have gone through worse.

Snippets from Sport 24 website: "... Beijing - South African sporting authorities left Natalie du Toit badly in the lurch only hours before her historic Olympic debut.[Open water swimmer missing a leg.]

They among others allegedly:

• Refused to find her accommodation near her competition venue

• Screamed at her and her coach when they asked for the help of a translator of the South African Sport Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC)

• Forced her to wear a sponsor's shoes with uncomfortable heels even though she couldn't walk with them due to her disability

These revelations come amid serious criticism of the poor performance by SA athletes in Beijing. [...]

"... Ryk Neethling told how he had to break up a fight between the SA swimming captain Gerhard Zandberg and Roland Schoeman about comments that Zandberg had made. After Neethling tried to make peace, he feared that Swimming SA's head coach Dirk Lange would hit him. ..." [Link]

Michael Phelps is going to host 'Saturday Night Live'

That show has been on for 34-years? I think that qualifies as gentrified.

Associated Press says: "...Butterfly, freestyle, relay — monologue? Michael Phelps is trading the pool for the "Saturday Night Live" stage.

The recording-breaking swimmer, who took home eight gold medals at the Bejing Olympics, will host the 34th season premiere of NBC's long-running late-night sketch-comedy series on Sept. 13. Joining the 23-year-old athlete as musical guest will be rapper Lil Wayne.

It will be the debut "SNL" appearances for both...." [Link]

Monday, August 25, 2008

Another Alcatraz swimmer dies! :-[

From the SF Gate: "...At age 63, Phillip Coulston had made it to within 100 yards of the shore after swimming nearly all the 1.5 mile triathlon leg from Alcatraz to San Francisco on Sunday, authorities said. ..." [Link]
This really sucks for the family; I wish he never swam it.

I have swam from Alcatraz Island to Aquatic park 5-times this decade while competing in the Alcatraz Sharkfest Swim. It's the hardest open water race I have ever done. Why people pick this race as their first ever open water race astonishes me. I blame the "Dog Swims Alcatraz Channel" or the "7-Year-Old Swims Alcatraz Channel" articles as the reason why people think it's a "cakewalk."

It's not the distances that's hard, it's the concentration, and the prediction as to how to work the tide. For newbies, swim to the left. For veteran's swim for the left wall at the entrance to Aquatic Park. Also; before you even get there, swim a 1500 LCM in a masters swim meet so you can practice a pace you can maintain in race conditions.

Dave Horning makes it clear in the Alcatraz Sharkfest home page that: "...This swim is not for novices. This event is for experienced open-water swimmers only. You should be able to swim one-mile comfortably in a pool in under 40 minutes...."

Even still, people are not getting it for we have had two Alcatraz deaths in one year. In fact, my friend Scott, who volunteers himself as a rescue kayaker assists at least 5 swimmers a year. Some of his stories are extraordinary. Like the swimmer who was just three hundred yards away from the finish but was to frightened to go on. Or the newbie who jumps off the boat, hits the icy water, floats to the top and sees how far 1.5 miles is and says, "I'm done, rescue me."

Having said that, if you can swim a mile in under 35-minutes, or two minutes per hundred and you are not a novice to open water swimming; (at least three under your belt), I recommend you swim an Alcatraz open water swim. This is the one I will be doing next year with my SCAQ friend Anthony. It's quite a rush!: [Link]

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I found a link to 'Virtual Swim' on Steve Munatones' site, 10kswimmer

I betcha' I am the last person to know about this site but in case I am the second-to-the-last person to know about this site, it's called "Virtual-Swim." In their own words they describe themslves as follows: "...Virtual Swim enables competitive and masters swimmers to create customized animations to compare themselves swimming side-by-side against the world’s best swimmers from 26 different angles. ..."

Contained on the site are quadratic angles of virtual swimmers doing different strokes including starting off the blocks. They use Flash player that allows you to view 3D models of all the strokes save for backstroke. Here is a link to such an example: [Link]

In my opinion Virtual Swim should take it to the next level and make the 3D models more detailed perhaps using a program such as Smith Micro's Poser, however, I think the site is really fun and extraordinarily useful for a newer swimmer or triathlete.

Here is a link to Steve Munatones' site: 10k Swimmer

'CBS Market Watch': Ian Thorpe on his Michael Phelps prediction - Alexander Popov on Dara Torres!

Also in this article are thoughts by Michael Phelps, Natalie Coughlin and Katie Hoff who have opinions too but these quotes stood out:

Ian Thorpe: "...Thorpe quickly replied that he had not said that Phelps could not win all eight events but that he had thought, given the nature of the competition that it would be nearly impossible. Phelps nodded in agreement as Thorpe added, "I've never been so happy to be wrong about something."..."

Alexander Popov asked if Dara Torres inspired a comeback: "... the Russian replied. No nagging voices in the back of his head? Popov answered, "The voices in the back of my head say, 'Don't do it' and I listen to those voices."..." :-P [Link]

As boring as the photo above is, this is a rare moment of seeing some of the greatest swimmers that have ever existed; and of course, that includes Popov.

I got the photo from Omega's press section.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Speculation by 'Omega': Cavic may have touched first but Phelps touched harder! - Photo evidence had to sort it out!

From AP: "... Phelps' time of 50.58 seconds was confirmed after a review down to the 10-thousandth of a second; Cavic's time was 50.59.

Chianese explained that it requires 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds) of pressure to activate the touchpad.

"Any less and waves would set it off," Chianese said. "You can't just put your fingertips on the pad, you really have to push it. We explained all this directly after the race to (Cavic) and his coach."

The photos were taken by Omega cameras placed directly above the finish line, slightly angled to include two lanes in each photo. [Link]

The photos to the right on top do not really confirm or show me anything. The DVR and the Sports Illustrated photos were better. I am looking for a higher rez copy.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A 360-degree view of what it looks like on the 10-meter diving platform within the 'Water-Cube"

The New York Times hooks us up again with a view on center stage at the top of the 10-meter-platform. I am loving how the diving is being filmed. We get four viewpoints, top, side, action photos, the sensation of speed and finally the explosion into the water.

NBC has made diving quite a Zen experience. Swimming needs to be documented in such a fashion. All it takes is technology and imagination. [Link]

Originally found at

Michael Phelps has won more gold medals than France, Italy and the Netherlands!

Come on Europe, spend some money on swimming! Take a look at Great Britain have won the most gold medals out of any EU country. [Link]

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tara Kirk to move forward against USA Swimming and rightfully so!!!

By pursuing the inept project management skills of both the USOC and USA Swimming, it is my belief that not only will Tara Kirk get the compensation that she deserves but athletes in years to come will do much better when it's time to preform at the Olympic level. I spoke with friends connected to SCAQ and they have convinced me that peaking for the race of your life five weeks before Olympics is folly, fatiguing and could have caused the less than optimum performances of such athletes as Kate Ziegler and "super-fish" Katie Hoff. (Sigh.)

A Kirk lawsuit will also address those other swimmers besides herself who followed all the rules and did nothing wrong yet had to suffer the loss of glory, wages, future earnings.

Here is a snippet of what she had to say: "... A few things have happened since I shut down my commentary on the flawed selection process that wreaked havoc on my Olympic dreams a few weeks ago. Ron Judd of the Seattle Times broke the story of the lab mistake that allowed Jessica's positive sample to sit for weeks in the lab. In the article, the lab acknowledged that they made a mistake in labeling the sample for normal testing instead of expedited. Obviously, this is a very frustrating revelation. Furthermore, the lab director said that no one from USA Swimming or the USOC called to check on the missing sample as the entry deadline approached.

In fact, I have heard USA Swimming officials say that they had every confidence that all of the drug tests would come back negative. While I can understand that no one would have expected a positive test, why do we take those tests in the first place if they aren't going to consider and plan for the possibility? Even if the drug tests had come back by July 11th, as USA Swimming now says it expected, it is not certain that the hearing and appeals process could be finished by the entry deadline anyway. Regardless of how you look at it, USA Swimming was negligent in this situation, both in planning and execution. ..." [Link]

Tara: Get your Congressman involved!!!

Photo from jdlasica's photostream Here is a direct link to the photo: [Link]

'blueseventy' sent me a new picture of Maarten van der Weijden of the Netherlands

It was 7:30 am and Deano over at blueseventy was up even earlier but perhaps a day ahead. Actually, he was probably celebrating to hard and he sent me a mail that was as coherent as a stream of consciousness poem from a drunk post expressionist poet.

Believe me, the typos were mostly his but like the usual idiot I am, I should have proof his mail. but I will say it was the most important fact that he got straight and that is that Maarten van der Weijden of the Netherlands WON the men's 10k swim!

Dutch swimmer Maarten van der Weijden wins the 10k in a customized blueseventy

UPDATE/CORRECTION: (Thanks Amarins for this correction: "...First the name of the swimmer winning the 10k is Maarten van der Weijden. And also the KNZB (dutch swimming federation) doesn't have a contract with Nike but with Speedo. Pieter van den Hoogenband was the one with the contract with Nike and he was the one that had the deal that if he thought that a suit made by another brand was better than the one from nike he could were the other suit (that's why he wore Speedo at the Olympics).

(Deano from blueseventy: You have some "splaining and spelling" to do!)

Got an email from blueseventy this morning with this photo of Dutch swimmer, Maarten van der Weijden, looking elated over this gold medal. Next to him are two blueseventy ninjas looking even more elated if you ask me. ;-) . This is the first gold medal for blueseventy in these Olympics and they are very stoked about it.

A blueseventy rep also told me that they customized the suit with a silver panel in the lower waist section. I asked for clarification if this was a functional change or a simple marking change for identification. I will hear back soon.

UPDATE: A rep got back to me. It was a fuctional design recommendation by Maarten van der Weijden himself. It was hot during the swim and he wanted a silver panel to reflect heat away from him. Also, I forgot to mention that Nike has a contract with the Dutch Federation but they allowed Maarten van der Weijden to wear the suit with their blessing.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Two separate athletes, three separate countries!

The top photo is of the man, Milorad Cavic, who placed fractions-of-a-second behind Michael Phelps in the 100m fly thus winning the silver medal and nearly denying Michael Phelps his eight gold medals. Though born and raised in the same California city as Disneyland, Milorad Cavic represented Serbia!

Below that photo is, Henry Cejudo, who after winning a gold medal match in wrestling, ran to his coach, grabbed the American flag, and while fighting back tears ran across the ring. Henry's is an Parents are undocumented immigrants* living in the United States. [Link]


*If are you born in the United States despite the legal origin of your parents, under the American Constitution, you are considered an American citizen. Ooops, again! (Thanks AI)

World Champion, Larisa Ilchenko, takes gold in the women's 10-kilometer marathon swim

What a rush that must be swimming towards the elevated bulkhead and knowing that gold is imminent. Wish I could have seen it! [Link]

Ooops: Forgot the brits, (shame on me), who placed second and third: "... Keri-Anne Payne of Great Britain, with a time of 1:59:29.2. In bronze position was Payne's teammate, Cassandra Patten, finishing at 1:59:31.9. ..."

Great Britain is coming out of nowhere lately in open water events!!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

New Scientist on why world records fell in Beijing! - It's the pool stupid!

From New Scientist: "... Records have been tumbling in other sports too, but none at this rate. What's going on? Have the swimmers found some new technique to propel them more efficiently through the water? Are they training more intensively? Or is it down to sheer competitiveness? The answer is more prosaic.

The Beijing pool is 3 metres deep, a metre deeper than standard competitive pools. The extra depth helps dissipate the turbulence caused by the swimmer's movement, causing less resistance. In other words, they are being helped by the architecture. ..." [Link]

Too simple: Blame it on lane lines, goggles, caps, nutrition, technique, blah, blah, blah, or more accurately, science and natural selection!

More info on the 1936 Berlin Olympic Pool - It's filled and thriving!

I went to to find out more about the Berlin Olympic Pool and lo and behold it has been filled. This Flickr shot was taken on June 12, 2008. I found others with the pool completely packed and people doing "nerdy" dives so the pool is now being used. Photo taken from DanaMc's photostream.

Here is link to the original image: [Link]

More Masters Swimming articles in the news!

From the Washington post: "...Research continues to demonstrate the benefits of exercise, no matter your age. But the Tatum brothers, who for nearly 90 years have swum, skied, bowled, played football and worked in the yard, have never needed convincing. ..." [Link]

This is a great article about two masters swimmers with amazing stories and accomplishments. There is even a video included within the article.

In fact, the story was so good that even NPR covered them as well. Here is the audio link: [Link]

Article sent to us by
"lane4 [at] SMC."

This photo took a year worth of planning and testing to pull off! - I bet it wins a Pulitzer Prize!

Snippet from Sports illustrated interview: "... Heinz Kluetmeier: Jeff [Kavanaugh] put all the stuff underwater and I'd be on the computer directing. We have now developed a system where you can get the image from underwater to the computer. You can look at live usage. We moved along with the technology and it's exciting and fun to go from Nikon to Apple. It is a techie's delight and photographer's dream. Jeff probably spent 40 minutes underwater just to move the camera less than an inch -- he probably used up a whole tank of oxygen adjusting the camera. I wanted to be able to see the full body length, plus the touchpad, plus also be able to start the picture before they hit the water. Then after all that work and all that sweat, things can go wrong. We got lucky. We are shooting eight frames a second. You can miss the touch with a hundred frames a second with a high-def camera. We got lucky because as Michael hit the wall, we got the picture. ..." [Link]

Berlin, fill the pool! - You need more divers and swimmers!

Another European pool of sublime quality left to the sands of time. My gosh, what an asset! What a waste!

Here is an Alta Vista Babelfish translation: Eine andere europäische Lache der erhabenen Qualität verließ zu den Sanden der Zeit. Mein Mann, ein was für Anlagegut! Ein was für Abfall!

'Sports Illustrated' cover of guess who?

Well, we all knew this "Mark Spitz" pose was coming and "Sports Illustrated" got it first.

From the New York Post: "... This one being the first [photo] of him with all eight medals, we hope that our cover will stick in everyone's mind," SI's managing editor Terry McDonell said yesterday.

Phelps' pose is reminiscent of the well-known 1972 photograph of Spitz with his seven gold medals draped across his chest.

Phelps, who also beats Spitz, 5-3, on the number of SI covers on which he's featured, posed in front of a bright-red Chinese screen.

Spitz's famous photo - which never appeared in a magazine but was shot for a poster - netted him $1 million. ..." [Link]

The article is a bit trashy focusing most on how much money he will make rather than what he accomplished.

Also, the amount of medals he has is incomprehensible. He has won more gold medals than many nations put together.

'New York Times' - Masters Swimmers are getting FASTER!

But we all knew that, didn't we? Dara Torres has really put the spotlight on our sport.

See that 60-year-old looking guy to the right? Well he is not 60-years-old; He's 75-years-old and he is a masters swimmer named Stanley Shechter out of New York. Recently he swam a 100 free SCY in a 1:12.57. Keep in mind that the average life expectancy for a male born today is something like 76-years-old but Stanley apparently is going to last a heck of a lot longer than that.

Snippet from the New York Times: "...Chief among the reasons that Masters swimmers are becoming faster, say coaches, researchers and swimmers themselves, are improved stroke mechanics and new training methods emphasizing intensity over distance. This is good news both for those who like to race, and for those taking to the water for fitness at any age.

As people age, they lose muscle mass and cardiovascular capacity, which declines at a rate of 1 to 1.5 percent annually. But for those who exercise regularly, the rate of decline is slower, researchers say.

“Before, it was thought that athletes peak at 25,” said Scott Trappe, the director of the Human Performance Laboratory at Ball State University. “But now this whole paradigm is getting shifted. People are paying attention to their own fitness and nutrition.” ..." [Link]

I know I have said this quote a least two or three dozen times now from Mike Freshly but this article inspires me to say it again: "Show me a runner who is 70-years old and he looks like 90! Show me a swimmer who is 70-years-old and he likes like he is 50." The above photo illustrates that nicely.

Chris B. sent us this article and it was very appreciated.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Steve Munatones is on the line from '' and he has links for us...

Here is his email from Beijing:


NBC Open Water Coverage: [Link]

Chloe Sutton [Link]

More Chloe Sutton [Link]

Please feel free to provide this information to your community. I need to get the word out, [...] that I am pretty sure most people have no idea that Chloe and Mark’s Olympic 10K Marathon Swim will be covered live online at I will answer people’s questions live during the race.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Lezak, Lezak, LEZAK!

They keep pimping Phelps "50.something" but underplay that Lezak again held off one of the fastest swimmers in the world.

Freestyle technique: Torres versus Trickett!

Dara Torres freestyle pull crosses well over her mid-line. That surprised me and it has got to hurt her shoulders. If you watched the underwater slo-mo of Trickett and Torres side by side, Trickett has less wobble and a spectacular looking stroke.

Britta Steffen timed her touched perfectly!

Was it luck or skill? Great 50 free. Best women's free I have ever seen!

A sloppy finish turns gold into silver and silver into gold for Michael Phelps!

Here is a link to a frame-by-frame set of the Phelps out-touching Cavic at Sports Illustrated. Note that Cavic lifts his head high like before reaching the wall thus retracting his shoulders and hands in the opposite direction while Phelps lunges. I would like to say that I realized all this when watching it last night but Clay was coaching Santa Monica this morning and pointed it out; The video and these photographs concur. [Link]

Clay Evans, founder of 'Southern California Aquatics' (SCAQ) explains SCAQ and its coaches and programs.

About Southern California Aquatics (SCAQ): SCAQ has three coaches who have swum in the Olympics and many more that have come close by qualifying for Olympic Trials. One of our USC coaches even swam in THIS year's Olympic Trials! So, when you are wondering what Olympians do in workouts, you are experiencing it at SCAQ. (Okay, watered down of course).

Let me do some more bragging about our staff: Coach Erik Hochstein set a World Record for the 40-45 age group in the 100 Freestyle and came within tenths in the 200 and the 50. Current Olympian Amanda Beard (three-time Olympian/two-time Gold Medalist) swam in two SCAQ workouts in the last year as did the current 200 backstroke world record holder and two-time Olympian Margaret Hoelzer. Last summer, Michael Phelps swam in one of our workouts, but I will have to admit he got his own lane and did his own thing. What a treat that was. We still have some of our fast SCAQ advanced swimmers bragging that they beat him. Of course he was warming up while they were sprinting all out, but still...

The best thing about SCAQ is 60% of all swimmers are beginners and they have workouts [and clinics for the first-timer including lessons. The first ever swim workout with a coach was with SCAQ. If you are ever in LA SCAQ welcomes drop in visitors. If you live in LA then think about signing up. Check out SCAQ at or call the office at (310) 390-5700 [Link]

Upcoming clinic and events:

SCAQ OCEAN CLINIC: swimming through the California Surf. Come learn all the tricks to swimming in the ocean: getting in and out of surf, sighting, and swimming better, safer and faster! You must call the office to register.

TRIATHLETES hopefully will be inspired by the Olympics and start swimming with their local masters team and all the great coaches across the USA. It is not good enough to just buy books, tapes and take a two day clinic by “drive-by” coaches. Get in with a group of experienced swimmers where you battle for pool space.

Where do you think all the college swimmers workout? Masters! So, if you have no swimming background, you need heavy pool time: working hard and watching that clock. Two major triathlons are a month away, so get swimming! You think the Olympians would be doing one or two swims a week and mostly drills? A two minute improvement in your swim can mean dozens of places...

SCAQ NOVEMBER TRIP TO BEIJING AND THE OLYMPIC POOL – Clay Evans has been investigating a swimming adventure over Thanksgiving to Beijing (Nov 17 – 24). He has contacted the Chinese Embassy and would like to know who would be interested in a week of swimming, coaching by Clay and exploring Beijing including an excursion to the Great Wall. Costs -if we could get 20 people- is estimated at $3,500 and would include air, buses, pool rental and hotel (not food and entertainment). This will be a small group so get on the list now, email First come first serve. Put Beijing in your subject line. drills?

[Above is a photo the Santa Monica College pool, a SCAQ affiliated pool that I swam in this morning. -- T.A.]

Friday, August 15, 2008

50m free: Caesar Cielo looked down the whole way!

The 50m free: I am not so sure I agree with the technique point of looking straight down during a sprint but it sure worked tonight in the 50 meter free for Caesar Cielo. Since Tobriner couldn't win, I am glad it was Cielo.

Hail Caesar! Go Brazil!

Welcome to Mount Olympus, Michael!

I swear he only won by a fingernail, BUT, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Great race, great finish, great swimmer.

Mark Spitz article circa 1972: [Link]
Johnny Weissmuller Wikipedia article: [Link]
Duke Kahanamoku Wikipedia article: [Link]

USMS long course national championships are underway in Mt. Hood Oregon.

Here is a link to real time results: [Link]

"Are they dirty" by Scaq Swimmer John Q.

My informal SCAQ; (workout attendees), poll finds that about half of the swimmers I ask think the current batch of world records are because most swimmers are "dirty" and the other half "clean".

As someone who swam his first age-group meet in 1962 or '63 I can point to a series of "tipping points" in the advancement/evolution in swimming training, technique and technology. There is a great piece of footage from the 1964 Games in the film Tokyo Olympiad where Dawn Fraiser; (first woman under a minute for the 100 free), is shown doing an open turn at the 50 and immediately lifting her head and taking a breath; no one thought about streamlining in 1964.

The US Trials in '64 were held in the Astoria Queens NY public pool that was not an official 50 meter pool but a large, mostly shallow pool with bulkheads set up for the competition (built in 1936 and still in use today) . There were no non-turbulence lane lines. 5,000 yards in a day was considered a long workout. Between 1964 and '68 a number of major changes occurred:

1) overdistance training was adopted and the daily regimen often meant five hours in the pool

2) Counsilman challenged a new generation of coaches to actually examine and re-examine technique, a movement that continues to challenge conventional thinking and apply scientific rigor to the process, leading, for example, to the radical notion that a swimmer can swim faster underwater and starting with David Berkoff in the late '80's evolving to Natalie Coughlin et al in the '00's;

3) weight training was introduced and became standard in the 70's

4) pool technology and new sources of funding saw an unprecedented building boom starting in the 80's of true olympic size training facilities, often indoor

5) rules changes on turns (backstroke) and hand and kicking rules relaxed in breaststroke and the list goes on. Consider also that in 1984 when Dara Torres was first an Olympian, she did not have a nutritionist, two full-time stretchers and two private coaches for both her swimming and dry land training, not to mention the financial resources to enable her to do all that.

So a few may be "dirty" but most are beneficiaries in the continuing evolution of the sport that in 1968 thought the Belmont Plaza pool, site of Olympic Trials that year, was state of the art but today cannot qualify to host a national or meaningful regional competition; too shallow, lanes too narrow, no separate warm-up pool etc.

The 'New York Times': How The USA won the 4 x 100 relay!

Note Roland Schoeman's catch! - Very disimilar to Stefan Nystrand

I am seeing two schools of catching water here: the classic textbook technique of Roland Schoeman versus the sheer brutality of Stefan Nystrand's "tomahawk chop."

The 50m free will be very exciting since all of the swimmers in the final have unique ways of sprinting.

Glenn Mills gave me permission to post the Roland Schoeman trailer. I will be reviewing the DVD as soon as I get it.

There has to be a "Michael Phelps" in there somewhere!

This New York Times article was sent to me this morning by a gentleman that swims with SCAQ. It's regarding a Chinese swimmer, Liu Zige, who came out of nowhere on the international scene and totally ripped up the field in the 200meter butterfly by taking gold and violating the world record by more than a second. Then to make it more mysterious, Jiao Liuyang comes in second swimming under world record time as well.

Okay, so now the accusations: "...Not rational" was one of them, "...I’d never heard of either of them," BUT, the New York Times is offering a viable reason. Snippet from the article: "... more likely explanation for Liu’s success, however, is that she is an exceedingly successful product of Project 119, the government training program that uses limitless resources and relentless training to increase the country’s precious medal intake.

Started in 2002, the program’s name alludes to the additional number of gold medals China hoped to win if it focused on sports in which it traditionally lagged. Swimming was one of those sports. ..." [Link]

Okay, with a Chinese population of 1.3-kajillion, there has to be a Michael Phelps in there somewhere. Heck, the place is a petri-dish of natural selection talent from Yao Ming, Zhang Ziyi (Memoirs of a Geisha actress) to chess player Zhang Zhong. There is a lot of talent there.

Ryan Lochte reported a suit failure after his 200 meter backstroke WR

My Way reports: Lochte got Peirsol back despite a problem with his LZR Racer. "My suit came undone after the first 50," Lochte said. "I was just trying to control my legs." [Link]

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Manaudou sings her swan song!

The phrase "swan song" is a reference to a false belief that a particular species of swan, Cygnus olor, is mute it's entire life till the time of it's death whereas it blurts a final, beautiful "swan song."

In my opinion Laure Manaudou has summarily given up and is singing her swan song and it sounds just like Ian Thorpe's did in 2005.

From ABC in Australia: "..."I don't know exactly what I am going to do (after the Olympics) but I am going to take a long break and think about something else," said Manaudou, who has endured a torrid year both in and out of the pool."For how long, I don't know. It could be one month, six months, a year. But I am definitely going to think about something else and spend more time with my family and friends, especially Esther (Baron, a swimmer who didn't qualify for the Games), who is not here.

She added: "I really want to see all those who are close to me and weren't able to be here with me."

Manaudou, who admitted she gave up in the 400m freestyle final, has seen her private life become a staple of French gossip columns. ..." [Link]

From the San Diego Union Tribune: The French compare her to Marie Jose Perec, the track star who won two golds at the 1996 Olympics and then crumbled under the pressure to repeat in 2000. She arrived in Sydney, freaked out and got on the first plane home. “Mademoiselle La Chicken,” one Australian paper called her.

At least Manaudou stayed in Beijing to accept her fate, but she questioned that wisdom in the aftermath of the 100 backstroke last night.

“I wonder whether it's worth the effort to continue,” said Manaudou, who has the 200 backstroke left. “I do not even want to swim any more. I don't know . . . It's just difficult to keep finishing seventh or eighth. We'll see.”

In the meantime, she is enjoying her relative anonymity in Beijing, where few people outside the pool recognize her or know her story, where Internet pornography is blocked by Chinese authorities.

“It's great,” Manaudou said, “to be invisible.” [Link]

Quick thoughts

Thoughts on the 50 free prelim:

1) Cielo looks straight down the whole way
2) Nystrand has a "tomahawk/windmill" stroke as do many others.
3) Tobriner has his arms go into the water at a angle.
4) Schoeman has a very symmetrical stroke. His body is very rigid. (Rotates little?)

Thoughts on the 200 breast:

1) Rebecca Soni has a short glide phase and at least "two or three hearts."
2) Jones should have won but SOni was stronger - Jones looked fatigued all throughout - even on the blocks

Thoughts on the 200 back:

1) Lochte's Dad cried. :-]
2) Perisol did it again! He kicks on his belly during the turn! - NOT OK
3) Lochte does not kick on his belly

Thoughts on the Women's 200 back:

1) Manaudou lost weight, looks pale. Could be the LZR making her look thinner!

Thoughts on the 200 IM

1) Cseh is the most underrated swimmer in these Olympics
2) Phelps is making this looks so easy. Is it easy?

Women's 100 Free thoughts

1) Francesca Halsall has a beautiful body!
2) Britta Steffen STORMED it in the last 10 meters. Where everybody was fading she got stronger.
3) Natalie Coughlin is STRONG!

Ian Crocker shows up wearing jammers and nearly fails to qualify!

From Yahoo News: "... If he's going to beat Phelps, he'd sure better pick up the pace. For the preliminaries Thursday night, Crocker inexplicably came out wearing a jammer — a suit that goes only from the waist to just above the knees — and put up the 13th-fastest time, coming perilously close to missing out on the semifinals.

"He wanted to try it," said his coach, Eddie Reese. "It's a physical and psychological disadvantage." ..." [Link]

Does Ian Crocker have self-destructive tendencies or something? That was scary!

"We Spartans are descended from Hercules himself!" :-P

The "dark arts" of touching the wall by the from the Wall Street Journal: "... Mr. Lezak also demonstrated the importance of an invisible and little-known skill: touching the wall. ...

"C'mon, Katie, get to it!" shouted Mr. [Lenny] Krayzelburg, standing and pumping his fist as Ms. Hoff bore down on the wall. When she touched it, Mr. Krayzelburg shouted, "Yeah!"..."

But her touch fell seven one-hundredths of a second short of that of the U.K.'s Rebecca Adlington. Underwater replays determined that Ms. Hoff touched the wall with her wrist bent, rather than extended. "That's the difference between winning a gold medal and not winning it," said Mr. Krayzelburg, shaking his head.

"It was hard to know at first if I was first or second," said Ms. Hoff after the race.

Swim races are decided when a finisher touches an electronically sensored wall -- an action that is nearly impossible for observers to see amid furiously splashing water. For fans, that can be akin to watching a night baseball game for eight innings, only to have the lights go dim for the ninth.

Mark Schubert, head coach of the U.S. Olympic swim team, instructs his swimmers to time their final strokes in much the way that long jumpers time their final strides before leaping. Swimmers should spot the wall about five or six strokes away and adjust accordingly, he says.

"The last stroke should be full and strong with the fingers extended," says Mr. Schubert. ..." [Link]

I thought Katie Hoff and Kate Ziegler were going to be unstoppable!

Well, that shows me! Though Hoff's bronze and silver are impressive; (despite that "don't break a nail" touch at the wall" in the 400m), both swam about 1.5% slower than their personal bests in the 800, an event I thought they both would own. What happened?

From the L.A. Times: "...Katie Hoff, and Kate Ziegler to a lesser extent, found out the long hard way on Thursday night, both failing to qualify for the final of the 800-meter freestyle. Hoff looked utterly spent in her final race at the Olympics, wearily pulling herself out of the pool after the third heat of the event at the Water Cube.

Hoff may not have been last to touch -- having been third in her heat -- but she was last to clamber out after a startling 8-minute, 27.78-second performance. Her winning time at the U.S. Olympic trials a little more than a month ago in Omaha was 8:20.81. ..."

The under 22:00 club! - When the 50 free goes off, you will see nothing but steam coming out of the pool!

Lane 9 News has a recap of today's 50 free prelims. The times are mind boggling and have reach a new standard for all those competing. That standard is under 22:00. [Link]

I am going to make a technique prediction: What rotation in the freestyle stroke was to the 90's, the catch will be redefined in these Olympics. All of us will be catching water in many different styles. Look at Nystrand, Sullivan, Leveaux, Tobriner, Jones, Bernard, Cielo, Weber Gale, all with different styles of catching water.

Science explains the Michael Phelps "victory dance!"

"...Chimps do it. Gorillas do it. Michael Phelps does it too. ..." [And so do the blind, and so do the disabled!]

From the L.A. Times: "...This display of human pride and exuberance -- witnessed by millions when swimmer Phelps and teammates won the men's 400-meter freestyle relay for the U.S. on Sunday -- closely resembles the dominance displays of chimps and monkeys, which also feature outstretched arms and exaggerated postures, researchers said.

The animal world is filled with inflated displays of superiority, noted Daniel M.T. Fessler, a UCLA anthropologist not involved in the research. ..." [Link]

Visa congratulates Michael Phelps - Includes "This is Spaaaaarta" reaction to the 4x100 realy win!

Emotional bell curve: Libby Trickett knows just how Kara Lynn Joyce felt when she was added to the US Olympic Team!

I didn't know that Libby failed to qualify till after Pang was DQed. It was one of those races where I assumed Steffen and Trickett were a "gimme." She is the world record holder, you would figure at the very least she would pull a lane 7 or lane 2 assignemnt, instead she lost and ultimately she was overwhelmed.
This same circumstance happened to her in Athens as well. Then, minutes later it was announce that Pang was DQed.

From The Australian: Trickett swam a poor 54.10sec to finish fourth in her semi, a time which left her hopes of qualiying for the final hanging by a thread.

In the next semi-final minutes later, the first five swimmers to touch the wall under Trickett's time, leaving her ninth fastest and out of the final.

But then, in what Australian head coach Alan Thompson described as "some intervention from above"..." [Link]

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Rowdy Gaines states that swimmers swim faster on their side when underwater - Not True, Rowdy!

Imagine you have a square cube of water and you want to make it smaller or more compressed. To do so would take astronomical amounts of weight to complete that task. The water at the bottom of the ocean is compressed but not really that much. The water would be as thick as pancake syrup if it was easy to compress but water is not that much "thicker" at the bottom of the ocean.

With that in mind, when you are surrounded by water, you are surrounded by dense atoms that have no "secret shortcut" to swim through. When I do a flip turn I swim on my side because it's fun and I can look down the line to see where I am on the food chain of a race.

When you are swimming on your side when doing freestyle, you do go faster since both air and water are involved.

[Reference: Link]

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Thoughts on Pellegrini's world record swim!

I love watching great swimmers in slow motion and Pellegrini is a great swimmer.

1) She wore two suits
2) A long stroke, nice catch
3) She looks up when she swims
4) Straight-up-and-down flipturn - left leg is lower than her right on the push-off
5) Dolphin kicks
6) Takes her first freestyle pull with her left arm underwater and makes a 360 degree rotation with it as her first pull above the water and breathes on the second pull
7) Loving that Tattoo (Enough about my problems)
8) Looks at her opponent at the finish instead of streamlined.

I am seeing athletes wear two caps and this is the second one I saw wearing two suits. Does wearing pairs of suits and caps create buoyancy?

Jason Lezak - "Most valuable player" on the United States Olympic Swim Team!

From the New York Times: “...I think it had a lot to do with why we did so good,” Walters said Tuesday night after the Americans broke an Olympic record in the relay preliminaries, delivering Lane 4 to Phelps and Company for Wednesday’s final. “That really was the race of the century.”

It was as if the American men’s upset victory over France — and Lezak’s blistering anchor leg of the freestyle relay that made sure it happened — started an outbreak of endorphins on the United States team.

“We gained a lot of momentum,” Natalie Coughlin said after winning her second consecutive gold medal in the women’s 100 backstroke. “It was probably the most amazing swim I’ve ever seen. It got a lot of us pumped up for the rest of the meet.”

Matt Grevers, who placed second behind his teammate Aaron Peirsol in the 100 backstroke, said, “The way Lezak finished that race, it really moved me. ...” [Link]

A "sudden death" swim-off we didn't get to see! - Just two girls only fighting for a chance!

From the site, Bleacher Report: "... In the second semifinal race, which was highlighted by Coughlin winning, Kitagawa and Verraszto both finished with a time of 2:12.18.

Normally not a huge deal in swimming, if two swimmers tie for third, then two bronze medals are awarded. If the two swimmers are out of medal contention, then it's recorded as a tie.

However, this time the two swimmers were fighting for the final spot in Wednesday's final.

Therefore 35 minutes after the second semifinal the two swimmers had a swim-off. They were the only two swimmers in the pool, winner moves to the finals, loser goes home (back to the Olympic Village).

Both women looking to move on, both from entirely different backgrounds, and yet both a part of Olympic history. The excitement of having two swimmers compete in a swim-off in which they finished with exactly the same time not even an hour before, but Verraszto held a slight advantage: Rest! [Link]

Go to the site and read the article. They put a lot of effort into it.

More nude photos of Manaudou leaked - The timing is obviously to strategically hurt her!

"... now her ex-boyfriend has been accused of posting naked photos and a video of her on the Internet. [Duh!]

The former champion cannot find solace in the water or on land. After two disappointing defeats in two days, Manaudou says, "I'm asking myself if it's worth continuing. I don't even have the desire to swim anymore."

It is difficult enough to rebound after finishing last. The scandalous photo incident is a further additional burden and demotivating factor for the young Olympian during this important period in her swimming career. ..." [Link]

The guy who leaked these photos should be jailed.

Tearful Manaudou ponders future BBC Sport
Pellegrini sets world record in 400IM Los Angeles Times
Manaudou considering quitting International Herald Tribune

Speedo wants to sell us 10,000 - 15,000 LZRs before Christmas!

A particular "Bebop-Hipster-Marketing Assassin," (I can't tell you who because I forgot to ask.), sent me this link early this morning. It's Interview over at CNBC with the CEO of Warnaco. They have a video there too:

The U.S. Open maybe five or six years ago, Serena Williams comes out in a Puma catsuit. They put it out and it only sells 50. Yeah it was a fashion statement and yeah it got the buzz, but it only sold 50. You guys are taking pre-orders for the Speedo LZR Racer right now. It's going to come out in October.

Gromek: Hopefully early September.

Darren: OK, how many of them do you expect to sell?

Gromek: I would be disappointed if we didn't go through 10 or 15,000 pre-Christmas. [Tony: That's could be as high as five-to-eight-million-dollars.]


Warnaco not only owns Speedo which accounts for 15% of it's business, Calvin Klien is also Warnaco's B**** which accounts for 65% of it's business.

I will admit Speedo makes a damn fine product and I am going to close my mouth right now and not say anything nasty about the LZR and nor will I say anything good.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Clay Evan's and Erik Hockstein on Katie Hoff being out-touched in the 400-meter free.

Clay Evans: "... Katie Hoff gave away the 400 free with horrible beginner's finish/ touch. She looped down and up touching with almost a completely flat hand like she did not want to break a nail. Meanwhile the Brit lunged forward plunging in a direct STRAIGHT line to the electronic pad making up at least one foot. It was plain as day in the under water shot. I was dumbfounded at that error.

Erik Hockstein: "... This Katie Hoff finish will be replayed by American coaches for the next decade - yes, even a world-class swimmer can lose a 400 Free on a finish. This type of finish is actually more common than expected - I have seen this quite often at the elite level in the last few years.


My take: I am seeing people breathing off the walls, looking at each other under water, and people looking up as they glide into the wall for their touch. Is it hubris or coaching issues?

Here is an article from the Baltimore Sun regarding the 400 meter free: [Link]

Illegal turns: I saw three swimmers in the 100 back kick while on their stomachs to the wall during their turn!

I thought you couldn't I checked the FINA rules and you cannot do any forward movement type of work with your legs or arms when making your backstroke turn. If you have a TIVO or a DVR, please review. I have done so 5 times. I saw three swimmers kick into the wall on their stomachs. Is that It is NOT legal? Perisol was one of them. He took two kicks and a dolphin. Seriously!

FINA rule:

SW 6.4: During the turn the shoulders may be turned over the vertical to the breast after which a continuous single arm pull or a continuous simultaneous double arm pull may be used to initiate the turn. Once the body has left the position on the back, any kick or arm pull must be part of the continuous turning action. The swimmer must have returned to the position on the back upon leaving the wall. When executing the turn there must be a touch of the wall with some part of the swimmer’s body. [link]

Rowdy Gaines did not bring this up last night! What sucks is that I just accused the gold medalist of breaking the rules and I can't post a video illustrating it!!! Anybody want to come over to my house and see for themselves on my DVR? ;-)

The New York Times regarding last night's swims:

Less than 10 minutes later, Peirsol threw himself backward in Lane 2, touched the wall on the turn in second place and then took control for good.

His reward for holding off the younger set for another Olympiad was a world record of 52.54 seconds, a significant improvement on the mark he set most recently at the qualifying trials this summer.

Matt Grevers, Peirsol’s towering, 6-foot-8 teammate, took the silver medal in 53.11 seconds: quite an achievement for a man who had had no intention of swimming the 100 backstroke in Beijing when this Olympic season began.

“Hands down the best backstroker ever,” Grevers said of Peirsol, who is just 25 but already in his third Olympics.

“He is a great guy; he gave me some private lessons during our training camp,” Grevers said. “I don’t have the shoulder strength that he does, so I can’t pull the amount of water he does.” [Link]

Rada Owen in a 'McDonalds' commercial

Rada Owen; Screenwriter, Olympian, NCAA champ, featured swimmer in the David Marsh swim video: Swimming Faster: Freestyle. She also holds a management position at SCAQ and now a billion people or so have seen her in this McDonalds commercial.

She is the pretty one with the nice smile and GREAT dive!

Life sucks for her, huh?

Remember the "morning finals scandal" when the Australians and the Europeans were throwing tantrums about them?

Moving forward, maybe all Olympic swim finals should be held in the morning if the men's 4x100 relay is any indication.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


They ought to give Jason Lezak two gold medals, a sword and shield for that effort! What a hero! From Associated Press: "... When his veteran teammate touched the wall, Phelps let out a scream of triumph, punching his arms in the air as teammates Garrett Weber-Gale and Cullen Jones joined him in the celebrations.

"Unbelievable! Jason finished that race way better than we could have even asked for," Phelps said. "For that last 50, I was thinking 'this is going to be one close race'.

"The last 10 to 15 metres were incredible. I lost my voice, and I was definitely pretty emotional after that."

Trailing at the final turn, Lezak relentlessy pursued Bernard, but it wasn't until the final 10 meters that the American was able to pull level and, finally, edge ahead as he touched with an astonishing split of 46.06sec. ..." [Splits at Swimming World]

AP newswire: Cullen Jones will swim the 4x100 relay final with Michael Phelps!

Also, a Freudian slip on the part of the French?: "... The French believe they can ruin Phelps' hopes of going eight-for-eight in a country where eight is considered a lucky number. They've certainly got reason to be confident, putting up the best time of the year until a backup American squad broke the world record in the preliminaries on Sunday night.

The French also went under the old mark — just 13-hundredths off the U.S. time of 3:12.23 — and that was with Bernard and their other top 100 man, Fabien Gilot, resting up in preparation to join Amaury Leveaux and Frederick Bousquet in the final.

"We want to be the best," Bernard said. "It will be one of the toughest races for Michael to win. [That's the Freudian slip because he all ready is the favorite in their minds.] The world record will be in danger." [Link]

Cullen Jones should swim in the relay final, period!

Watching the profile on Cullen Jones and one of his first experiences in a pool was sinking to the bottom with a pint of water in his lungs. He was unconscious, lifeguards administered CPR, and now he one of the fastest swimmers that ever lived.

Whoa! I bet there is an Olympic gold mine worth of swimmers in the inner city. USA Swimming has got to tap that mine.

WR in the 4x100 relay prelim! Was that epic or what?! - "Give them nothing - take from them everything" --Lionidas in the Movie 300!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Dara Torres receiving electronic muscle stimulation?

During the Dara Torres profile I noticed she had Frankenstein-like electrodes attached to her quads and her muscles were twitching at what seemed like 100s-of-times-a-minute via the electronic stimulation. It was during the warm up part of her stretch routine while all of her "yoga ninjas" were walking on her quads, rolling their feet over her shoulders and doing all sorts of "dark arts" stretching stuff to her.

I wish I could afford all that. It would probably add 10-years to your life too. More stretches here [Link]

I wonder what the scientific validity of electronic muscle stimulation is. Does it make her muscles bigger or just warm her up.?

Why these Olympics have been so good for China, the Athletes, and the Olympic ideal!

The Olympic ideal has just received an investment equal to a defense budget of the third largest country on earth thus giving it's mission statement sublime credibility.

Estimates are that China has spent 40-billion-dollars on these Olympics. Now contrast that to the Chinese defense budget which is estimated at 44.7-billion-dollars. (The United States spent 481-billion-dollars on our defense budget.)

Obviously the Chinese felt that the 2008 Beijing Olympics are so important to their nation's image and morale that it was equal in importance to their ability to defend themselves.

Imagine if the United States spent 1/3-of-a-trillion dollars on a summer Olympics? The figure is so large that it is absurd and incomprehensible. Athens and London have and will spend perhaps 10% of what the Chinese paid. Obviously China wants to demonstrate they have arrived on the world stage and want to be considered credible, reliable and innovative. I suspect my feelings are shared by many now. The Chinese are also humble about it by outsourcing this endeavor to western firms.

The experience these 2008 athletes will have will be perhaps never be surpassed. For instance, If Michael Phelps blasts 8-golds, these Olympics will be the IOC's finest 16 days in the history of the movement. i.e. The great achievement of any Olympic athlete, the most medals garnered by an Olympian and the biggest, "swankiest," Olympics ever.

As for human rights, pollution and political rights: I know nothing about political science but perhaps these are the growing pains that a totalitarian society goes through as it makes its transitional to a democracy?

I am not happy about their environmental and human rights havoc but I am not happy about the United States environmental and human rights havoc as of late either.

Edited to fix grammar and add the last sentence: [8/18/09]

USA defense budge reference: US Dept. of Defense [Link]
China defense budget reference: Info-Wars: [Link]

Mark Spitz's on Speedsuits

On Friday's; I swim with Dean, he is a writer for Reuters. Dean is witty, charming, a snappy dresser and has a commonwealth accent I can never place. He has a good breaststroke too but he won't race. I may try and rope him into a relay.

Recently he did a very thorough interview with Mark Spitz for 'Reuters' and he is letting me post it.

Snippet from Dean's MySpace page:


Mark Spitz: I had long hair, I didn't wear goggles, I had a little suit that was nylon that wasn't even clingy and yet I broke world records. If you really thought that that swimsuit really made you faster then I'm buying Tiger Woods' golf clubs because I think I can be competitive.

The reality is, it's not the swimsuit that's taking the swimmer across the pool fast, it's the guy in the swimsuit stroking that suit fast. What they don't tell you is that you need to go about 6 miles per hour to break the actual drag co-efficient and that means you have to swim a 50 freestyle. Those are the only people that can actually swim fast enough to get anything out of that suit. Any thing more than that in distance, the suit starts to become smaller. If you look at Michael Phelps when he swam the 400 individual medley, he basically wore a suit from his waist to his knees. So he's not wearing that full-length bodysuit in some of those events because of the drag factor.

So it's a marketing tool. At about $700 a copy -- and they basically give them away and they only last for about 2 hours and I think you rip about one out of every 4 you're trying to get on -- it's not something that I think an age group swimmer's parents are going to be too happy about buying ... It's a psych. If everybody was wearing those suits, I'd want one too ... It's all psychological at that point. ..."

(And I just made a promise this morning I would leave the subject of speedsuits alone too. Sigh! Note that the above is Mark Spitz's opinion so don't shoot the messenger.)

Bob Bowman describes each of Michael Phelps Strokes

Snippet from ESPN: "... Breaststroke: This is the closest thing Phelps has to a chink in his individual medley armor. It's the only stroke he's not capable of dominating, but he's hardly bad at it.

"It's so much better in every way," Bowman said. "What we worked on is coordinating his arms and his kick, and activating his core muscles in every way."

The breaststroke is all about timing and rhythm, keeping the pull and kick working in synch. And Phelps' dry-land weight training, which he'd never done prior to last year, has enhanced his core strength. ..." [Link]

16 screws and two plates later, Emily Silver will be swimming in these Olympics!!!

Emily Silver will be swimming in these Olympics!!! From "... BEIJING Forty-eight hours before the first official race, the U.S. swim team kicked off its Olympic meet with an impromptu event Thursday night.

Emily Silver versus the clock.

Coming back from surgery after breaking her right hand during the U.S. trials, the Bainbridge Island resident did her own time trial at the end of a training session to show the coaches she was fit enough to swim on a relay team.

The stands at the massive Water Cube were largely empty, but more than two dozen of Silver's teammates lined the pool to cheer her on, including Kara Lynn Joyce, who stood to claim Silver's spot on the 400-meter freestyle relay if she didn't recover in time.

Silver was told by the coaching staff that she needed to swim down and back in no more than 55 seconds to keep her relay spot. She was timed with a hand-held clock at 54.8. ..." [Link]

Friday, August 08, 2008

'Coca-Cola' creates Beijing Olympic Stadium or "Bird Nest" commercial!

Homage to the Beijing Olympic stadium. Originally found at Not.cot who found it at Shape and Color.

"Do you have hot water in America?"

Cultural differences and misunderstandings about mustaches in Beijing. From the Telegraph: "... It was a chance to mix and meet Michael and Ian Croker; great rivals for the 100m butterfly title. Both were sporting moustaches but admitted they would be shaved off before competition.

One of the Chinese journalists could not understand why they grew them and then shaved them off. Ian sounding serious said they were a fashion status and didn't she like them. He then realized she was taking him seriously so quickly admitted he would not race with it and that swimmers were pretty lazy people (meaning they didn't shave). She misunderstood him and he quickly butted in "no, no, we are clean people and we do wash" which drew a laugh. ..." [Link]

Here is to Michael Phelps and his COPS episode mustache.