Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Chivarly has ranks and now Rebecca Adlington has joined those ranks and has been awarded with an Order of the British Empire (OBE)
The Order of the British Empire motto is For God and the Empire. It is the most junior of the British orders of chivalry and has more members than any other.
Here are the ranks from Wikipedia:
"... A happy infection lasts an average of 12 months, Fowler said; that is, if your neighbor wins the lotto it could give you a mood boost for about a year. And a joy virus can spread to people three degrees removed from the original mood shifter. So someone experiencing bliss makes his friends happier, his friends' neighbors happier and even his friends' neighbors' friends happier.
The ripple of joy continues diffusing over all of society, Fowler theorized, but is undetectable past the third degree of separation "because it is part of a whole sea of different cascades of happiness and unhappiness. ..."
The year in the pool was filed with extraordinary and amazing happenings in our sport. We had the obvious subjects such as: Tech suits, Michael Phelps and Dara Torres. We saw Cullen Jones win a gold medal! We witnessed the greatest 4x100 free relay held during the greatest Olympics
ever. Every continent had a hero but what has truly filled me with great enthusiasm is that people now are inspired by swimming; even Kobe Bryant is inspired by swimming.
Swimmers are now looked upon as sources of inspiration and lucky enough to wear those first ever "super hero" outfits. Emotions like this have never occurred before in our sport. In fact, it is not our sport anymore, it's everybody's sport now and even televised media is featuring swimming more.
In my neighborhood, I am seeing the Asian community fully endorse and fill up age group programs. I am seeing more Latinos swimming and I am seeing triathletes getting in the pool more. this is global and we were all part of this "mood swell"
It was a great year to be a swimmer!
Showing a close-up of a lemon shark's face on the surface at sunset, it was recently selected from more than 20,000 photos as winner of the Oceans division of the international Nature's Best Photography 2008 Windland Smith Rice Awards. [Link]
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Outstanding Achievement of the Year Award:
- Africa: Kirsty Coventry (ZIM); Oussama Mellouli (TUN)
- Asia: Liu Zige (CHN); Park Tae-Hwan (KOR)
- Oceania: Stephanie Rice (AUS); Grant Hackett (AUS)
- Europe: Federica Pelegrini (ITA); Alain Bernard (FRA)
- Americas: Rebecca Soni (USA); Aaron Peirsol (USA)
Monday, December 29, 2008
John Payne of 'IX3 Sports' has a succinct and lucid article on speedsuits that is rather refreshing as of late!
John Payne of IX3 Sports cuts through all of that and has a thorough article exploring the pros and cons in a very measured way:
"... The triathlon community is one that embraces technology and radical shifts in technology. That one of the defining characteristics of the species! The swimming community, while embracing technological change in the training world, has not been as quick historically to incorporate it in the competitive arena.
The pace at which the new suit technology has changed the playing field has been astonishing, particularly for the rule makers. Hopefully they can act quickly, but not in haste. ..."[Link]
When you enter the ocean, you certainly become a item on the food chain! This beast is called a Siphonophorae! I still can't find a coherent definition of what that is but apparently it is a group of organisms that form a colony and coexist as one. This is one scary looking monster. We will never find something this crazy in outer space!
Originally found at You Tube
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Statistic: World record progression in swimming due to the re-engineered speedsuits of today is way over exaggerated by the press!
The world record progression form 1957 all the way through to 1972 significantly dwarfs any gains made by speedsuit technology from 1975 to 2008.
For example: The 100 meter free world record dropped from 55-seconds in 1957 to the sub 50-mark in the middle-seventies. That is a 10% improvement despite that swimsuit technology was rather static during that period as compared to today.
A proper correlation would be that speedsuits have not destroyed swimming much like Nike running shoes have not destroyed running since the WR progression between the two sports is symmetrical.
The speedsuit burn rhetoric does not support statistics from the International Olympic Committee. I think this is clear evidence that swimming's national governing bodies are using nothing but emotional arguments within the press during the lead-up to the FINA speedsuit meeting in February so as to manipulate both opinion and the outcome.
From the Economist: "...Jamaica's Usain Bolt cruised to victory, taking his own 100m sprint world record down by three-hundredths of a second to 9.69 seconds. In the century or so since official records began, the quickest time has fallen by just under a second—a 9% improvement. But in the pool, Australia's Eamon Sullivan covered 100m in the heats (although he lost in the final) in a world-fastest time of 47.05 seconds, 19 seconds (and 28%) quicker than the record-holder of 1905 ..."Track and field is moving forward with shoe technology, cycling is moving forward with bearing technology, and swimming is moving forward with fabric technology as it always has and these improvements are not "crimes" against the sport but rather a natural prgression.
UPDATE: An anonymous poster sent me a link to an interactive graph at the New York Times website illustrating the world record progression in each Olympic sport. Not only is swimming just as symmetrical in terms of the percentage of improvement to other sports, in some cases, when compared to weight lifting and other power sports, it is lagging behind in improvement.
Radio New Zealand News: Swimming NZ has been forced to withdraw from hosting a round of the 'FINA Marathon Swimming World Cup' next year
This is a problem open water races are going to have to face head-on in 2009 and I suggest they hold events in striking locations with extraordinary water clarity. Perhaps this way television exposure could reach 100-million homes due to better network visibility rather than 30-million homes on a cable TV channel subsequently making sponsorship of the event look more attractive.
Open water looks beautiful in hi-def. Perhaps this is the carrot that pulls in a higher caliber network?
Open water swimming is very difficult to film - I almost think that all open water events for TV should be filmed in crystal blue water in the Bahamas so as to make the event look both look sexy and eventful underwater.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
From dw-world.de: "...It has become a technology battle which even overshadows the doping debate. That is a wrong turn for the sport," Gross told German news agency DPA. "Swimming is risking maneuvering itself on to the sidelines."He said this more than a week ago and I missed it. Rats!
"I am glad that we didn't have this discussion during my days. But the worst thing is that the kick is slowly gone for the swimmers as well, the motto being 'I can try whatever I want, it is the suit that wins.'"
Eamon Sullivan's coach, Grant Stoelwinder, suggest that the 'Speedo LZR' may not be the fastest suit!
"....Grant Stoelwinder believed the controversial Speedo LZR Racer, the suit that ignited the record spree, shaved about 0.3 of a second off times per lap compared to previous suits - an enormous advance in sporting terms.
"I don't fool myself for one second as a coach and the trouble is as coaches some people think that swimmers are improving and you have to put it at about .3 per 50 with the Speedo suit on and I think some of them are even more. ..."
He mentions that if speedsuits are banned, world records may be untouchable for a least a decade or so. Hence, one has to ask if that would benefit swimming in any way?
Friday, December 26, 2008
Fastskin FS Pro Hi-Neck Bodyskin: $205 [Link] Female $267.43 [Link]
TYR Aquapel Full Body Male $75.95 [Link] Female $65.95: [Link]
His stroke is so much different than his 50-free stroke; Great turns too.
When I compete, I have nothing to be nervous about, yet when I get to the starting blocks for the 100-free my heart rate generally elevates to about 100-beats-per-minute or usually more. There is no rational reason to be nervous so I just accept that I will be nervous and that I will have no choice in the matter.
Here is how triathlete, Emma Snowsill, deals with pressure where she is quoted in Sydney Morning Herald:
"...Triathlete Emma Snowsill, who won gold in Beijing, on dealing with fame: "I was putting a lot of my own pressure on before the Olympics and I had a bit of a light bulb moment when I was out training, and when I got home I said to [my fiance and coach] Craig Walton, 'No matter what happens at the Olympics, the beach is still going to be there and my house is still going to be there and my dog is not going to know if I have a gold medal or not,' and that's what it's been like. Nothing feels any different to me. ..."
Isn't it amazing how good philosophy, politics, or a policy looks on paper?
But when you get to the starting blocks and you suddenly become "adrenalized," why is it then that you remember that your "rational mind" has never, ever, won an argument with with your "irrational heart?"
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Will your speedsuit be outlawed in February or March? - Our national sport governing bodies hope so!
I called TYR and spoke with a PR person regarding the release of the Tracer Rise scheduled for February. While I was on the phone I realized that if Swimming Australia Ltd, USA Swimming, and all of the other anti-speedsuit governing bodies have their way, speedsuits like the Speedo LZR, TYR Tracer Rise, the blueseventy Nero, and many others could be summarily outlawed?
I was told that TYR will move forward with the Tracer Rise; that TYR is sending three representatives to the FINA meeting this February. This person also mentioned that they are anxiously awaiting the "scientific inquiry" from an unnamed university that will submit recommendations and/or suit test guidelines to FINA in March 2009.
So much for transparency with FINA science, huh? Why is the unnamed University kept a secret?
From USA Today:
..." FINA has commissioned research from a university it has not identified to examine the thickness of new suits and design a scientific test that will determine whether they are "credible" within the sport.
Any change in FINA rules could be in place for the 2009 World Championships in Rome from July 18-Aug. 2. ..."
What severely bothers me about this whole process is not just the lack of transparency but rather that the swimmer at large who summarily allows these governing bodies to make vast sums of money are not involved here. It bothers me that women have not been invited to the table as well. All we have been hearing from the press is quotes from the same male coaches presenting the same phrases and talking points that the governing bodies are pushing and it smells of manufactured consent.
As for the public at large, it is demonstrable that swimming is on the radar. Speedsuits are so intriguing to the public that at Macy's in New York, City, the LZR was displayed proudly in their window to attract customers.
From the SF Gate:
For a while, the Macy's store in Union Square devoted a display window to the LZR, although the suits bagged loosely around the waif-like mannequins, making a poor fashion statement and distorting the main benefit of Speedo's innovation.
What pleases me about speedsuits it not only are they a heck of a lot of fun; (ask any Masters Swimmer), they are allowing a level playing field in sprint events. We are seeing large framed men like Matt Greevers, Alain Bernard, winning and setting records. We are seeing smaller framed men like Eamon Sullivan, Garret Weber Gale, setting records as well.
I see fairness and world record bonuses actually making swimming more profitable for the swimmer at large who has no say in whether the sport shuns speedsuits or embraces them.
I also see swim suit companies sponsoring swimming events more so than ever before. It is just a shame that a small group of late-middle-aged men are the only ones that get to decide rather than the swimmers who pay their salaries. I see glowing results enhancing swimming yet no matter how hard these coaches and NGBs "talk story;" (As the Hawaiians say), stating that the sport is in danger, I am not seeing any of that nonsesne.
Monday, December 22, 2008
These are my SCAQ "homies" swimming a 3:54.16 in the 4x100 free relay at the Belmont Plaza during the 2008 SPMA Regional Short Course Meters Championships. I filmed this race using Jenifer's camera from the bleachers.
Here are the splits and the participant's 100 free times:
- 25.66 - 53.33
- 31.06 - 1:05.86
- 31.15 - 1:05.13
- 23.69 - 48.84
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Jason Lezak and Cullen Jones have more of a glide phase to their strokes than do the French or the Australians. That may not be a good thing. This race is even more amazing when viewed underwater than it was watching it from above.
Is the 'International Olympic Commitee' playing hardball with the 'USOC' or is it the other way around?
In none too subtle ways, the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid has been hinted as the carrot the IOC will use to get the USOC to agree to smaller percentage deals. From the L.A. Times:
Many IOC members have been applying public pressure for three years to insist that the USOC reduce the shares it gets from global Olympic sponsorship (20%) and U.S. broadcast rights money (12.75%)Now, though the IOC has categorically stated that they can ride out this credit crunch, IOC reserves have dropped 14% to $400-million dollars due to their financial officer making a bad bet against the dollar.
From another L.A. Times article:
As of last week, IOC reserves had dropped about 14% in 2008, to $400 million, according to IOC Finance Commission Chairman Richard Carrion of Puerto Rico. The stock market decline was an obvious reason for the drop, but another loss shows just how hard it is to hedge bets. The IOC's investments in currencies other than dollars also dropped because the dollar strengthened -- until the Federal Reserve cut interest rates to nothing this week.There is a Nigerian proverb that states: "When the mouse laughs at the cat, there is always a hole nearby!"
The fact that the USOC will not negotiate a compromise means the USOC is the "mouse" here and that the proverbial "hole" has got to be the massive interest USA media companies have on bidding for the Olympic Games. From AP News:
NEW YORK (AP) — CBS Corp. and Time Warner Inc. executives have discussed joining forces to bid on rights to televise the Olympics in 2014 and 2016, turning that competition into an even greater clash of media titans.
TV empires headed by incumbent NBC, Fox and ABC-ESPN have all said they expect to bid on the U.S. rights to the games. Because of the economy, the International Olympics Committee has said it is prepared to postpone its bid selection until after the host city is named next October for the 2016 Summer Games.
Another curious thing that has been suggested is that IOC appears to be planning to wait till a host city is selected before opening the bidding for television rights for the 2016 Olympic Games. Now, if Chicago is selected, I suspect USA Media interests would bid more frantically since the US would be the host country. From Hellenic Athletes.com:
Though I am hoping for a Tokyo 2016 Summer Games, I suspect that Chicago is the likely pick especially since the President elect of the United States has ties to that city, that there is a global recession in the horizon, and several enthusiastic USA media conglomerates are ready to go to auction. Hence it appears that Chicago is the likely candidate, and the IOC will likely place a bet on that horse.
According to the IOC, a contract for the US market could be quite the bidding war as NBC, CBS-Time Warner, Fox and ABC Sports-ESPN are all reportedly chomping at the bit to televise what could be another US based games. The IOC’s main revenue source is broadcasting rights, with close to $4 billion alone for the 2010-2012 two-Games package. NBC’s portion -- long the lion’s share -- is about $2.2 billion, from a bid agreed to back in 2003.
And that is the issue -- prices agreed to many years in advance. The US rights deal has been considered the most important IOC television contract because it represents one of the largest source of funds..."
As for the economic health of the United States and its global standing post Beijing. Our government has made a lot of bad choices. Americans have made a lot of bad choices and we share the blame for this economic credit collapse. Our government and the citizens herein generally only change when we HAVE TO and the people I associate with feel a sense of panic and severe embarrassment at this time!
Now is an opportunity for the US to change and get innovative or to simply circle the drain as we have been doing.
The "feeling on the ground" here in the US is that we are about to print up a lot of money and spend it on taking the US to the "next level" with massive energy projects and infrastructure projects like this country did in the 1930's and 1950's. I suspect Chicago 2016 will get some of that money and I bet the IOC really wants to hear that.
So, post cash infusion into our economy, I expect either a renaissance on a "Biblical scale" or the United States becoming a second tier nation in the next 30-years with a ferocious military. I for one am betting on the renaissance for that's what Americans do, they believe, and we take chances.
Friday, December 19, 2008
'Swimming Australia Limited' will tell FINA that swimsuit designs circa 1970 should be the de facto standard!
"Men's swimwear shall be limited to one swimsuit that covers, at most, the body surface from hips to knee. Swimwear must not extend above the waist or below the knees [Read as jammers only]If the USMS is force to agree with these standards, I would own over $500 worth of suits that I couldn't wear to a meet. I am sure that there are other swimmers, who have way more money invested than I do.
Women's swimwear shall be limited to one swimsuit that is of "open back" and "open shoulder" designs that may extend down to the knee. Swimwear must not extend below the knees. [Read as a short-john with no zipper]
General: Swimwear must not have a zipper or any type of fastening system. All swimwear worn by competitors in Age Group Events (18 and under) conducted in Australia by SAL shall be commercially available products ..."
These three stories this year have placed our sport on "pop-culture's radar!" they include!
- Speedsuits (NASA said it was their biggest story)
- Michael Phelps (Sports Illustrated has magazines and books about him)
- Dara Torres (Masters swimming has never been bigger I bet?)
Here are some rhetorical question for "suit burners:"
- Did helmets, face masks and/or shoulder pads make American football less exciting or less pure of a sport?
- Has the swimming population decreased this year as a result of speedsuits or has it increased?
- Will there be more swimming related investment if speedsuits are banished?
Thursday, December 18, 2008
"...MULTIPLE Olympic gold medal winner Libby Trickett believes banning the use of hi-tech bodysuits would set the sport "back a decade".
"...I read that in 1972, I think, there were 53 world records broken, and there has been 54 [long course] this year," Trickett said. "What provided that difference that year?
"...I don't think it really makes sense to ban the suits across the board, because then we would be going back over a decade ago to when we were just wearing the togs - and that, to me, would be a reversal in the sport. I don't see why we would want to go back to that time.
Well that shows you, Clay Evans, Blogger Scott, and Craig Lord. ;-P
The photo of Libby Trickett came from ABC.net.
They also mention that wireless high speed internet access is available for your laptop. (That sort of killed for me despite my love for the internet. Just leave the laptop in your room!)
Found originally at NotCot.org, here is a direct link to the pool description: [Link]
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Those distances have a nice to ring to them. One-hour in the morning, another hour in the evening would actually feel pretty good.
In the series, Master Po, mentored a young orphaned Chinese/American boy named, Kwai Chang Caine, in the sublime arts of Chinese philosophy and martial combat. Ultimately this led to the culmination of a Chinese/American Shaolin priest.
Set against the backdrop of the American west, each Kung Fu episode was really two shows in one: When faced with a moral or an ethical conflict in the present, flashback sequences were used as Kwai Chang Caine reflected upon his teachings with Master Po for answers as to how to resolve his present conflicts.
For entertainment sake this usually meant 50% of the his problems were resolved philosophically with communication and good feelings whereas the other 50% were settled with really cool fight sequences.
Bill Boomer is swimming's version of "Master Po."
First, here is some background info on Bill Boomer from wikipedia: "... Boomer had no experience coaching swimming when he started at Rochester. The graduate assistant to the track and field team had in fact never seen a swim meet prior to being offered the job. In order to better understand his swimmers, Boomer studied how the human body reacted to the water in a pool. From there, Boomer developed swimming techniques similar to those used by aquatic animals, and those techniques would then be adapted by some of the best swimmers in the world. Boomer's techniques emphasize keeping the core body aligned properly to minimize water resistance. ..."
What Boomer and the art of Kung Fu have in common is that they both use animal analogies to describe fighting styles and swimming styles. Kung fu has the Crane style, the Tiger, the Praying Mantis, and Bill Boomer uses cats and dogs to describe the swimming styles of swimmers.
Boomer granted an interview with Brent Rutemiller of Swimming World Magazine where he used his animal metaphors and analogies much like "Master Po" would in Kung Fu.
For example, he compares Gary Hall to a cheetah; a guy who is up for one precise hunt and then he is done! Whereas a leopard; (read that as Michael Phelps), can hunt multiple times in a single day. Then he says that Dara Torres was a cheetah forced to train like a dog but now trains like a cheetah and suddenly she is swimming faster than ever.
Olympian, Erik Hochstein called this interview "...one of the best interviews about swimming I have seen/heard in a long time." I feel it is a load of fun and very helpful for those swimmers looking for their inner-animal. As for my style I am probably a kitten!
Here is a link to that interview: [Link]
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
15 out of 17 European National Governing Bodies have signed a protest which will be presented to FINA in February
I smell political gamesmanship!
Again, PURISTS BEWARE!!! SPOILER ALERT!!! The BlueSeventy will absolutely accomplish the first two items on my short list of three considerations. Should that be legal? Forum posts, please. :)
Item #3... "last for more than a few swims"... is a big one for many people, and I'm here to give you a report on what my BlueSeventy has been through over the past 8 months. I can hear someone already... 8 months... and the suit looks like THAT?!?!?! Read on..."
Monday, December 15, 2008
That is to say, once the Olympics are done, they fold it up and put it in a park somewhere for kids to enjoy!
Frankly, I think that it is a tired, political, PR line they are floating here and it does not wash. I just don't believe that a temp pool will benefit Chicago kids for Illinois politicians, starting with the Governor's office, certainly don't have a history of credibility.
From the USOC: "...We worked very closely with international sports federations and national governing bodies,'' said Doug Arnot, Chicago 2016's operations chief. ``This plan is better for sport, better for the games and, perhaps most importantly, better for Chicago's youth sports legacy. This plan remains very financially responsible. ...'' [Link]
Well, Points-off, Chicago! You flunked miserably in my Olympic view of the world. I want a pool with artistic glory and a structure that is a de facto Olympic monument. Perhaps something so great that in a 1000 years it would even rival the Roman Coliseum. The Bird's Nest may be that monument that this century is remebered by but I prefer better one.
In the long run we are all dead. Let Chicago spend some money on an inspirational idea and leave it behind for us.
If Chicago's ideas are that uninspired then the IOC should pass the torch to Japan or Rio!
How bizarre that the richest nation on earth is considering building a temp-pool for the Olympics! That to me is indicitive that this nation is degrading both financially and artistically.
Boy, Japan and Rio are looking pretty good to me right now!
"...To swim faster, most swimmers increase the stroke rate, but with the aquapacer, Miley took Adlington through a session where they slowed her stroke rate down and found she was able to maintain the same high speed. In other words, the length of her stroke was her asset. “Rebecca is one of the rare swimmers where this is the case,” Miley said. “She was moving with such efficiency, it may have felt like she was swimming downhill....”
Adlington also worked on the finer points of her swim such as her turns. I like the innovative way they addressed filming them:
"... Once back in the pool, Adlington was able to fine-tune the weaker part of her game: her tumble turn. This involved linking up again with Jodi Cossor, the biomechanist at British Swimming, who, over the course of the previous year, had worked with her in the pool at Loughborough, videoing her turns from above and below. ..."
Then there was her finish, the one side-by-side with Katie Hoff. The one where I quoted Clay Evans angrily saying this about Katie Hoff: "it looked like she didn't want to break a nail. ..."
"... The finish itself was programmed into Adlington, too. “Rebecca knows exactly how many strokes per length so she is coached to finish at the end of a stroke,” Furniss said. “It's been drilled into her. And that is what she did.”
Hoff, however, finished with her arm not straight, her wrist cocked and her hand flat. No one can be sure how much time that final error cost her but for that last five metres took Adlington 2.69sec, Hoff 2.89. ..."
Here is a direct link to the photo: [Link]
In the USMS database, Joel McKenna, is ranked nationally in the United States as having the 17th fastest time across all age groups in the 1500scm free. Congratulations Joel. Here is a link The 17th Man swim blog. [Link]
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Generally speaking, they usually grab a phrase, a concept or a particular idea that is either partially real, maybe real, or more likely a damn lie and they run with it.
USA Swimming is going with the idea that speedsuits hurt age-group swimmers, and colleges who can't afford them.
I heard a rumor today that the globally recognized National Governing Bodies of swimming are really pissed off at speedsuits because of the world record bonuses they have to pay out to athletes that break records. Now instead of hearing speedsuits are costing us "mad-phat-bank" as an argument to ban them, we hear "what about those poor Ivy league schools" and those "age-group swimmers" who can't afford them?!"
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Lane 9 News covers the USA Swimming clarification: "...During the time since the change, there has been much confusion about what constitutes the beginning of the first arm pull. Based upon the Rules & Regulations Committee understanding of FINA's interpretation and actual practice in international competition, our guidance has been that the mere separation of the hands or arms does not necessarily constitute the beginning of the first arm pull.
However, we have been informed that FINA's interpretation is now different from our previous understanding of what constitutes the beginning of the first arm pull. In order for our interpretation to conform to that used by FINA, the following interpretation is being made, effective immediately.
For purposes of Article 101.2.3, as it relates to what constitutes the initiation of the first arm pull and the allowed single downward butterfly kick, the following applies:
After the start and after each turn, any lateral or downward movement of the hands or arms is considered to be the initiation of the first arm pull. ..."
Apparently I was doing it wrong. Here is my translation and probably something will be lost: Do your turn, kick out, arm pull, and you are done - no more "anything" till you break the surface!
"Stuff happens like random cool situations where I get paid $500 just to go hang out," Elden said. "People just call me up and they're like, 'Hey you're the Nirvana baby, right? Well just come and swim in my pool and we'll give you some money.' " Read more about Elden and the 1991 photo shoot..." [Link]
The photo was recreated at Rose Bowl Aquatics. It would be so cool if he were a swimmer!
Rijeka: 2008 European Short Course Meters Championships - New WR for Amaury Leveaux in the 50-meter free!
This was posted on You Tube an hour ago. Amaury Leveaux in a semi-final swims a
1 LEVEAUX Amaury FRA 20.48 NEW WR
2 BOUSQUET Frederick FRA 20.69
3 DRAGANJA Duje CRO 21.15
3 LAGUNOV Evgeny RUS 21.15
5 ORSI Marco ITA 21.32
6 FESIKOV Sergey RUS 21.42
7 NALESSO Mattia ITA 21.46
8 MURPHY Barry IRL 21.62
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
The TYR Tracer Light cost me $344.00 out the door. It was not a gift, a loaner, nor a sample. I paid for it, I own it and I am glad I bought it.
- I set two personal bests out of three individual swims; (the 50-free and the 100-free. In the 800-free relay I swam near my best 200-free time.)
- The suit is remarkably light as in lightweight.
- Good swim technique maximizes your results GREATLY!
- Unlike the Chloroprene suits, it is best raced when dry - I like that.
- The craftsmanship is evident upon inspection
- Easier to put on than a LZR , it still takes 10 minutes to fit into it well
- Sizing is critical - TYR sizes are accurate so size down at your own risk!
- For $344.00 it needs a case or at least a special, mesh, protective "baggy" like a good set of swim goggles provide but then again, does any speedsuit come with a case?
The bottom line with a speedsuit is that you must swim faster. If you are still swimming the same times you were prior to any speedsuit purchase, then you better, at the very least, look like a snappy dresser because that is a lot of money to spend on no results.
The verdict is in and I did swim faster right out of the box as they say.
I swam five events at the 2008 SPMA Short Course Meters Championships; two of the events were relays.
I set the personal bests in the 50-free and the 100-free. In the 800-free relay I swam a second best time.
My Short Course Meters 50-Free Time Progression:
28.54 Tracer Light
29.01 Nike Hydra
29.09 Nike Hydra
29.17 Nike Hydra
29.40 TYR Fusion Briefs
29.55 TYR Fusion Briefs
29.72 Speedo Fastskin Leggings
These times are listed in the USMS database if you want to validate them.
The suit is lightweight
I took my Nike Hydra and my Tracer Light to the post office to weigh them. I was going to take a photo but post 9/11 the public service sector is a bit irrational when it comes to photographing objects and/or locations such as the post office. We live in a very fearful country. That is why we out spend all of your countries combined when it comes to defense. (Can you tell I am mad that I could not use my camera in a post office?)
The Nike Hydra is the lightest suit I have ever worn, it weighed in at 8.5 ounces. The Tracer Light came in at a meager 6.9 ounces! That's almost 20% lighter than the Hydra.
Good swim technique in a Tracer Light maximizes your results GREATLY!
During the 800-free relay, I never really nailed my turns on the "odd numbered" walls. Those who have swam short course meters at the Belmont Plaza know why. Since the pool uses a bulkhead system, you pass a "T" at the 25-yard mark, swim up to the next "T" at the 25-meter mark. Then there is a third line which probably represents the half way mark in the pool and consequently one's timing, or an idiot like myself, will produce sketchy turns in a pool like that.
When I would nail my turns on "even numbered" walls, I felt like a needle when I went into my streamline position. (It doesn't mean I looked like a needle but rather I felt like one.) When I would pull off a sloppy my turn, I got no advantage from the suit whatsoever. I felt the same way I do in workout when someone is directly behind you and you are trying to be polite and get out of their way.
When my catch was strong during the first 100-meters of that 200-free, the Tracer Light gave me the same sensation I feel when I shave down. I feel more efficient in the water and that the effort of my catch is delivering.
With that said there was that second half of the race: During the last 10-meters of the race my quads, forearms, and triceps felt like that were filling up with "battery acid." I was fighting hard trying to keep them from going spastic. During these 10-meters the Tracer Light gave me no advantage whatsoever. It only delivered the same momentum that I was putting out. In other words it wasn't magic.
The Tracer Light will allow you to maximize the momentum that you have the ability to create; it will do nothing more. It will allow the swimmer to express their true abilities, not give them super powers or an advantage
Race the suit dry!
I like that! I like coming to the blocks dry and my muscles warm. That is why the blueseventy was off my radar. That suit races best when wet whereas the Tracer Light is hydrophobic and the drier it is the longer it will stay that way when submerged. I know that what I said just now seems like an oxymoron but the suit repels water for minutes at a time. It almost feels like you are surrounded by oxygen.
The stitching looks like a robot sewed it. The seams feel solid and way better sewn than any wetsuit I have owned.
Don't size down!
TYR is religiously accurate with their sizes. I got my correct size and it is tight. I spend 10-minutes putting on the bottom half then I walk around a bit to warm up the material. Then I spend 5 minutes putting on the top. Never once did I feel I was going to rip it but when I pull on the fabric I would be sure to pull on the seams since they look so strong and durable.
The Tracer light comes in a box and that's it. When I take it off I feel like I am looking at $344 artifact or more accurately a fabric that is more than a days pay, hence, I don't want to place it loose in my bag.
So here is what I would do, I would put it in zip lock baggy and then lay it out to dry when I got home. You would think speedsuit manufacturers would hook you up with a mesh bag or something to keep it warm and safe. It' not like it's a disposable diaper or something and I want this little puppy to last me till next Fall!
Monday, December 08, 2008
Here is a letter I got from Ken Brisbin of the Long Beach Grunions. How about that first paragraph? Best part was being there to see it all happen:
Dear: Tony Austin:
I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank you for attending the 2008 SPMA Short Course Meters hosted by the Long Beach Grunions. Like last year we were lucky enough to have a fast pool with around 30 world records set. We hope you had as much fun attending the event as we did hosting it.
Looking back at this year's event, we grew to include more swimmers from more places around the country and world than ever before. With this growth came new challenges to maintain the event's efficiency, accuracy and excitement. We, as Grunions, are always up to the challenge, and are always excited to hear both positive and negative feedback from you. This is the best way to help us ensure this meet's continued success so please let us know your thoughts.
The complete results are available now at: [Link]
Meet Director - Long Beach Grunions ..."
Marshall went on a cageless shark dive, and then a safari for an entire week.
“In Stockholm,” he told me, “the night before competition, I went walking around the city most of the night looking for an old Viking ship. It was cold and rainy, but we were on a mission.”
He was with friends: 2008 Olympian Kara Lynn Joyce, sprint-free aficionado Kicker Vencill and many others. The way Peter described the Viking Ship hunt, it sounded like everyone was lost in the moment. Competing the next day did not seem to be a very high priority. ..." [Link]
The image comes from Yahoo UK/Eurosport where they covered Peter after setting his first WR: [Link]
Here is a fast profile on Mel Stewart: [Link]
They have that Swimming Hall of Fame museum in Florida but if they were ever to give out doctoral degrees to coaches and/or swimmers for contributions made to swimming that had never been made before, Mel would deserve one for he created an innovative way to do 'fly. Just watch the video and look at his head position.
Below is Mel Stewart defeating Michael Gross in the 200 fly. To me this victory is more significant than Michael Phelps defeating Milord Cavic for Michael Gross was the 'Michael Phelps' of his day.
And this is why I call Michael Gross the Michael Phelps of his day:
Sunday, December 07, 2008
The most innovative and coolest start dive I saw at the '2008 SPMA Short Course Meters Championships!'
In a breaststroke heat there was this gentleman with a "plushy tummy" in lane 8 who owned everybody on his start dive by two or three body lengths. It was so cool, so innovative, and funny that everybody in the grandstands sitting near me did a collective "WOW!"
When this gentleman got up to the start blocks he was "amped" and ready to "attack" in his full bodied, "old school," speedsuit. When the bell went off, he leaped off the blocks more straight-up in the air rather than out towards the flags and when he reached the apex of his dive, he did a pike, frog-leg style, and then made this freakishly loud "ker-plunge" into the water. The kind of sound five bags of cement would make if dropped off a 3-meter diving board!
Then the swimmer went down, down, down, seemingly to about 9-feet-deep where he sort of leveled out and then did his dolphin kick-out at a 45-degree angle upward using both the oxygen in his lungs and his "plushy tummy" as a float. I was completely baffled as to what he was doing down there till I saw him emerge 2-3 body lengths ahead. I have never seen someone travel that far from a dive
When he popped up out of the water he had traversed three-quarters of a pool length. It was Epic! Now, I want to do a 50-breast next year just to do that crazy entry dive.
The jumping frog photo comes from National Geographic: [Link]
So, talk about some inspiring swims to get me 'amped up' for Short Course Meters: Frenchman Amaury Leveaux breaks the 50 SCM butterfly record in a 22.29. [Link]
UPDATE: Here is a recap from Lane 9 News: [Link]
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Let me get this out of the way first: I did something really 'stoooopid' today that consequently had a official berate me over the PA system at the Belmont Plaza and it certainly wasn't fun.
I took a photo today of a friend on the blocks before a race and my flash went off as I took the the photo. I have been swimming for five years and I didn't know that swim start systems use a flash device for hearing impaired swimmers as a visual que to signal the start of the race.
What's ironic is that I am officially hearing impaired; (I can't hear out of my left ear), and so when the race official said no flash photography before the race start, I didn't hear him because I am HEARING IMPAIRED. So, if you were there, I was the guy that got screamed at during the womens 200 free! Also, if you are like me and didn't know about this rule or start technology for the hearing impaired - learn from my mistake.
You all are going to be seeing a lot of world record postings at Lane 9 News in the next couple of days for as many as 15 world records were set so far during this three day meet. The usual suspects too, Jenny Cook, Erik Hochstein, Jeff Cummings et al. Best part is that Jenny Cook and Erik Hochstein swim with SCAQ. I can't tell you how lucky I m to be able to swim and learn from them.
I am back tomorrow for two more events, the 100 free and and the 400 free relay. Today I swam the 200 free, the 50 free, a 200 free relay, and finally an 800 free relay.
Looking around the most preferred speedsuits were mostly older suits but for those wearing the most up to date technology, blueseventy was by far the most worn suit by masters swimmers. In one race I saw seven people on the blocks wearing the suit.
The least worn suit I saw today was the Speedo LZR: I saw only two swimmers wearing it. The buzz around the building regarding the lack of visibility was LZR longevity issues.
The Speedo Fastskin Pro II apparently is appreciated a heck of a lot more than the LZR at the masters level. People who could afford the LZR passed on it for the Fastskin Pro II. Apparently, for masters swimmers, masters swimmers want hydrophobic material and durability.
I saw three or four people wearing a TYR Tracer Light and I was one of them, a girl from San Diego set a world record in one; extraordinary swimmer too. I set a personal best in the 50-free with a time of 28.54. Then, completely exhausted I swam a 200-free in the evening in a time of 2:29.00 which was roughly the same time I swam in the morning when I was fresh.
I am wearing the Tracer again tomorrow in both the 100-free and the 400-free relay. and then I will write a review. So far I feel very positive about my $344.00 purchase but I wan to see if my personal best and swimming near my personal best in the 200 was a fluke.
Friday, December 05, 2008
Five-and-a-half weeks ago Eric Shanteau had cancer - Now he has a personal best after placing second behind Ryan Lochte at 'SCY Nationals!'
Though the lighting is bad and this You Tube looks like a grainy, "witness protection video" from a bad episode of America's Most Wanted, that is Eric Shanteau!
A few years ago I missed the FINA World Masters Championships at Stanford because I got stuck with the flu for six-weeks. Then it took me another humiliating six-weeks to return to form.
Eric Shanteau went from cancer surgery, chemo and lots of tubes and needles to a second place finish behind Ryan Lochte in the 200 IM in a time of 1:42.50 in just five-and-a-half weeks time.
I am positive Eric Shanteau has not been training! How can you? Yet, he comes back from the "dead" and does this well. Amazing! He is certainly a giant and an inspiration to our sport.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
From Lane 9 News: Men's 50 freestyle Matt Grevers of Tucson Ford scared Ben Wildman-Tobriner's American record of 18.87 with a blistering time of 18.95 to grab the sprint crown. Grevers now stands as the second-fastest American in the event ever. [Link]
Kim F. wrote me this afternoon and told me that he is wearing the same suit he wore in the Olympics, a TYR Tracer Rise, which says two things: The suit is fast and holds up really well and if I could sneak in one more little factoid, all the cool kids are wearing it!
Swim Network is doing a fantastic job. [Link]
I don't want to give it away but keep your eyes on lane 4 and lane 3.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
If a plastic stopwatch is to "suburban" for your taste, there is always the 'TAG Heuer Grand CARRERA Calibre 36 RS'
I never volunteer as a timer at meets because I am afraid I will screw it up. Well actually, I am not afraid I will screw up, I KNOW I will screw up. I am very bad at numbers and I hate leading in my lane due to my incompetence with the clock. With that in mind, I saw this watch and thought, this makes a stopwatch with more than three buttons look easy!
From Gizmag: December 3, 2008 The newest member of TAG Heuer’s high-end Grand CARRERA watch collection, the Calibre 36 RS Caliper Chronograph features a COSC-certified* movement oscillating at 36,000 vibrations per hour and is the only automatic chronograph capable of both measuring and displaying 1/10 of a second intervals using an innovative rotating scale design. ..." [Link]
I just looked up the price: $4059.00! (It's that last $9.00 that really bug me; Are they trying to make it look cheaper?)
Swimming is at a tipping point much like cycling was when Lance Armstrong won the 'Tour de France' for the 7th time!
Click here for a past list of SI winners.
The 2008 Beijing Olympics were a perfect storm for our sport. There were heroes from Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, South America, Africa, China, Australia, Japan and others. Swimming had global heroes.
When Beijing was over, a person who runs a very notable swim website told me that, "This is the biggest it is ever going to get! It will never get bigger than this," referring to the improbability that swimming at this level could ever happen again. He was both elated and depressed at the same time. I think his comment is worrisome and it could be either a prediction or a fact.
Consider that China spent $45-billion; (the same amount they spend on defense in a single year), building an entire city which showcased swimming in such a masterful way that it elevated swimming to football-esque ratings. Can it get it better than this?
Swimming is at a tipping point! We will either grow exponentially or degrade. Michael Phelps is the Lance Armstrong of our sport and we need a couple more, male or female, or else it will be the latter.
When Lance Armstrong left cycling, The ratings for the Tour de France crashed, this year The Deutschland Tour (Tour of Germany) was Canceled, The Tour of Georgia (US) has been too. To be fair doping may of had something to do with it but Lance Armstrong retiring from the sport was bad for the sport and his reemergence has been GREAT for the sport.
I have no solutions to offer how we can find, create, nurture, or genetically grow another Michael Phelps or Dara Torres. Swimmers generally have a short shelf-life; (save for Dara).
USA Swimming, and perhaps even the USMS, have to create an infrastructure that will find that talent or rediscover a talent such as Dara Torres.
Monday, December 01, 2008
We all saw the 60 minutes segment and I have to say that I am really impressed with Michael Phelps not just as a swimmer but as a de facto business. For someone who has literally become a poster child/adult for ADD his he displayed amazing dedication, follow through, and a focus for the sport that is simply never been matched. It's my belief that he deserves every million he has made.
Let's hope that some of his 'hobbies' such as gambling and clubbing remain a recreation and not a lifestyle.
Thanks go out to Lauren; a former
UPDATE: I just noticed this: Anderson Cooper is so perfect that his hair stays combed even after sprinting a 25scy. Also, his stroke isn't to bad but he is breathing a bit late.