Monday, August 31, 2009

'Omega' loves swimmers: Phelps, Thorpe, Popov, and now Massimiliano Rosolino

I am both intrigued and impressed by Omega's fascination with swimmers. I wish I could talk to their marketing director and ask them why?

Timepiece makers like Baum and Mercier will go for middle-aged celebrities and Tag Hauer likes Tiger Woods but Omega insists on swimmers and it must be working.

Massimiliano Rosolino is the most successful athlete in the history of Italian swimming has joined the team of Omega Watch spokespersons. This marks another champion from the world of swimming is joining the exclusive team of OMEGA spokespersons, adding his name to others who have made their mark on the history of this sport, such as Michael Phelps, Alexander Popov, and Ian Thorpe.


Who is Rosolino? From Wikipedia:

Rosolino represented Italy in all of the four editions of the Olympic Games since 1996. At the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, he became the second Olympic champion ever in the history of Italian swimming as he won the gold medal in the 200 m individual medley (1:58.98, then Olympic and national record). He won two more medals: a silver medal in the 400 m freestyle setting the current European record (3:43.40) behind Ian Thorpe, and a bronze medal in the 200 m freestyle (1:46.65) behind Pieter van den Hoogenband and Ian Thorpe. At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Rosolino won a bronze medal with the Italian team in the 4x200 m freestyle relay.

I am loving that pool behind him too! Would be great for filming a swimmer from above.

Roland Schoeman interview: I believe the [training] philosophy in Europe is ahead of the rest of the world.

Roland Schoeman interviewed by the South African website,

How has your life been since the 2008 Beijing Olympics?

RS: It's been great to be home after 10 years. As much as I love it here I will have to spend six months of the year overseas because I believe the philosophy in Europe is ahead of the rest of the world.

I have spoken to the president and head coach of a swim club in Marseille, France. The one where Freddy Bousquet and Fabian Gilot train and think that I will be joining their programme for six months of the year.


France is becoming a "Sprint Tank!"

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Independent: First tech-suit was created by a woman in 1907

Annette Kellerman was the Michael Phelps of her day and I find it ironic that in my blogging searches that all the famous swimmers at the turn of the century were woman. Men only started getting famous when the Duke and Johnny Weismuller showed up.

Annette Kellerman was said to have had a perfect body with measurements comparable to that the Venus De Milo statue. (She lost weight when she appeared in silent films usually playing the role of the mermaid.)

Besides contributing some epic swims for the record books she was appalled about the heavy wool suits woman wore into the ocean and decided to sex them up a bit and make them comparable in efficiency to the men's suit.

Annette Kellerman created the first tech-suit and even got arrested for wearing one. From The Independent:

Men, by contrast, wore one-piece sleeveless bathing suits, which were much more functional, so Kellerman decided to invent her own version, with tights attached. The result was a costume that covered the wearer from neck to toe but was scandalously figure-hugging – and people were duly scandalised. Kellerman was undeterred, and the suit became her trademark. In 1907, she was arrested while strolling along along a Boston beach in a thigh-length creation. [Remember, this is more than a decade before woman had the right to vote]

Women quickly adopted the men's-style suit, particularly for competitive swimming. "She created a new look for women, but she was also making a very strong statement that women could be active and glamorous," says Penny Cuthbert, the co-curator of the exhibition, "Exposed! The story of swimwear", at the Australian National Maritime Museum.


History doesn't repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme. -- Mark Twain

New York open water swimmers fined $250 becasue a lifeguard was not on duty!

This is so outrageous that you have to read it to believe it:

From the Gothamist:

Wednesday night a few Russian women were ticketed $250 a piece for swimming past 6 p.m. at Brighton Beach. The Parks security allegedly threatened to jail them and check up on their immigration statuses. While the Parks Dept. told us that "New York State law does not allow you to swim at your own risk," the swimmers (and eyewitnesses) say that the lifeguards never alerted them that the beach was closing, and simply clocked out without getting anyone out of the water.


It's not this way in Los Angeles. You can swim anytime you want.

'Eurosport' interview with Aaron Peirsol: "Records will fall despite suits ban!"

From Bill Ireland: [Aaron Piersol] does make some interesting points. Including the one about how feeling what it is like to swim that fast makes a difference. I know that is a reason for fin training also.

From Eurosport:

"..."This sport will learn how to break those records again very, very quickly," Peirsol said on a conference call to discuss his appearance at the World Cup short-course meeting in Singapore from November 21-22.

"People have had a taste of going very fast. They won't forget it. They will get back into the water and think they can go that fast again, and they will.

"I think people will be surprised at how fast they go next year. I do think world records will get broken next year." ..."


Thanks Bill, out of all the swimming interviews i link to, Aaron's are always the most informative.

Jason Rance, Vice President of Marketing has granted us an interview - I post it here unedited!

I want to thank Jason Rance very much for taking the time to answer our questions:

Speedo's viewpoint on the recent FINA decision to ban full body suits

The reputation and ongoing success of the sport of swimming is of paramount importance to Speedo and we feel that the introduction of 100% non-permeable buoyant wetsuits cast a shadow over the sport in the run up to the 13th FINA World Championships, putting swimmers in a very compromising situation. Speedo has never sought to compromise the integrity of the sport and has never created a buoyant suit. The Speedo LZR Racer suit was developed after years of intensive research and development in consultation with swimmers, coaches and experts and was fully approved by FINA. The Speedo LZR Racer suit was deliberately designed with 50% exclusive LZR Pulse woven fabric so as to avoid aiding buoyancy in the water. We do have 100% non permeable suits in our collections for triathlon/open water swimming but we believe they do not belong in the pool. Speedo believes a return to textile only body suits as per the Melbourne World Championships 2007 would have dealt with the issue. Despite the decision to return to textile jammers for men and open back knee-skin suits for women, Speedo will continue to work with the world’s leading athletes, coaches and experts to develop the most innovative swimwear and equipment. Speedo accepts FINA’s role in setting and managing the rules and regulations and understands that they had to act to halt the confusion and controversy in the sport of swimming.

The suspicions that Speedo "gamed" FINA into banning speedsuits

Absolutely not. FINA has many partners and sponsors within the sport, Speedo is just one of them. We have consistently followed the rules set out by FINA and have sometimes gone above and beyond these to show our commitment to swimming. There is no truth in the suggestion that Speedo ‘gamed’ FINA into banning speedsuits. The decision taken by FINA with regards to rules and regulations for the sport from 2010 affects all manufacturers including Speedo.

What is Mark Schubert's current relationship with Speedo?

Mark Schubert is one of a number of Speedo Advisory Coaches.

What is Alan Thompson's current relationship with Speedo?

Alan Thompson is the Head Coach for the Australian Swim Team which Speedo sponsors.

Why did Speedo not have an updated suit for World Championships - consequently world records worn in a Speedo have been shredded and may not be recovered for perhaps a generation.

Speedo invests extensive time, resource and money into all its research and development and will not release anything new to the market until it is fully tested and approved to a very high standard. This is a continual process for Speedo with a number of projects running simultaneously at any one time.

Speedo has always felt that the spirit of FINA rules and the intent of coaches is not to allow buoyancy enhancements as part of swimsuit design. We have always felt that fully polyurethane suits or wetsuits that aid buoyancy do not have a place in the sport.

Speedo did not produce a new suit for the 13th FINA World Championships as we firmly believe the Speedo LZR Racer suit was (and is still) the most technically advanced swimsuit that does not aid buoyancy.

Speedo has some very exciting new developments planned to be launched in the very near future within FINA’s latest rules and regulations. We have always worked to produce the most technically advanced swimwear and equipment within the rules of the sport and we will continue to do so

Will Speedo lobby FINA for Masters to retain the right to wear speedsuits?

No. We accept FINA’s decision and Speedo will always operate within the rules of the sport and meet all levels of compliance that is required.

Was Michael Phelps obligated to wear a Speedo Suit at Worlds - could he have worn a different suit covering the name of the different company?

Michael Phelps chose to wear the Speedo LZR Racer at the 13th FINA World Championships. Michael became the most decorated Olympian of all time in Beijing wearing the Speedo LZR Racer and it’s the suit he feels most comfortable in. He is a fantastic ambassador for Speedo and for the sport of swimming and we will continue to work with him on new developments in Speedo swimwear in the future.

Ryan Lochte (amongst other athletes) also chose to wear the Speedo LZR Racer suit and broke a world record in the 200m Medley.

Overall - looking at the last 10 years of having Speedsuits - what has been the impact for Speedo?

The impact for Speedo has been tremendously positive. As innovators within the sport and as a brand that has pioneered throughout the last 80 years Speedo believes technology within sport can only be positive. All competitive sports, from track and field to tennis football and Formula One, have benefited from scientific and technological advancements, and swimming is no different. There’s no doubt that since 2000 when Speedo launched Fastskin for the Sydney Olympics we have seen a tremendous impact from both a brand visibility and financial perspective.

Do they actually have any influence over FINA?

No. As we have said before FINA has many partners and sponsors within the sport and Speedo is just one of them. We welcome transparency within the sport and will continue to share information and best practice at the regular FINA manufacturer meetings which are open to all involved in the industry

Thursday, August 27, 2009

'Speedo Underbody' previewed on an Australian morning show

In a previous post I mentioned that Speedo is launching an underwear line for both men and women. A sampling of the product can be seen in this Australian morning show program.

Knowing a thing or two about branding I can tell you definitively that business diversification can dilute or even kill a brand if not done correctly.

Coca-cola gets away with it since who really knows that they own Vitamin Water, Dasani, A&W, DR Pepper, Canada Dry, Squirt and dozens upon dozens of other brands not branded with the Coca-Cola name.

From music to phones to airplanes and video games, The Virgin Group is a strong brand globally but it does command a number one position in any of the businesses it is in? The answer is no!

Nike does dominate the shoe business but failed in the swimsuit arena. They could grab the number one position now that Speedo has been spanked but can they? They do have TYR and blueseventy to compete with.

I think this is a bad idea for Speedo to get into the underwear business and they would have been better served buying an existing brand and building both the business and that new brand concurrently much like Coca Cola has.

Swimsuit companies are in disarray right now for the FINA rule changes have hit swimsuit companies hard. Suit manufacturers went to the expense of "toolin-up" for 2009, and now they are forced to "tool-down" for 2010. People are losing their jobs as a result.

Is diversification Speedo's solution to this mess?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

2009 Alcatraz Sharkfest Photos!

My best friend, Scott Belland, took these photos. I have known him since I was 6-years-old and we have never gone more than month without talking to each other.

He was on the rescue kayak staff at the Alcatraz Sharkfest that day and snapped some great photos as witnessed above.

Most of my friends are creative types and it comes in handy when they are photographers. Scott will have a website soon and you will be able to see all his wonderful surf and nature photography. Last year he had an open water shot appear in Sports Illustrated in their Olympic preview addition.

The first photo is what the last 400-meters looks like: the water is choppy and it's the entrance to Aquatic Park, the place where the sprint begins and people are willing to swim on top of each other to get to those orange balls off in the distance.

The second photo illustrates how the swimmers exit the boat, two-by-two, and in very much of a hurry.

I posted the third one reluctantly of me only to show how wide and dispersed the start is. I think the Alcatraz Sharkfest Swim is one of the safest open water starts of any race I have ever swam. The unloading of the second boat is not in the frame.

The fourth photo illustrates the chop and please believe when I say that this swim is a lot harder than it looks. It is the hardest race you will ever do under 2-miles.

The lingerie model on the circular billboard is Eva Mendes wearing a Calvin Klein tech-suit. The ad is roughly 10-feet-tall and you will never see an ad like this run in a Los Angeles bus shelter for there would be glass all over the streets.

When Michael Jordon did that Bugs Bunny movie last decade hundreds of bus shelter windows were destroyed so as to get that poster. Little did the thieves know you could get for free once the contract was up.

After I did the race, Scott and I went to the Fisherman's Wharf Aquarium and since Scott knew I am fascinated by jelly fish, he shot these photos for me.

BTW, I am now using cloth bags when I go to the grocery store after visiting this aquarium. I learned that plastic litter bags our oceans and sea turtles and birds are dying en masse as a result mistaking the plastic bags as jellyfish. By using cloth bags, less plastic makes it wat to the ocean.

I really like San Francisco and I admire the culture and the sense of community there. There is a radio station I found that plays lots of techno-club music called Energy 92.7. It's a nice station, great for getting amped-up for a race.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Speedo to start an underwear line!

Speedo wants to start an underwear line and they actually have people on their payroll that suggested this would be a really good idea!


WAG, model and all round fashion plate Lara Bingle joined the ranks of lingerie model with the launch of Speedo's first underwear line, Speedo Underbody, which she spruiked with swim star Andrew Lauterstein yesterday.


In the "Boys Gone Wild" photo above, Andrew Lauterstein is featured on the right and Nick D'Arcy is featured on the left.

The image was yanked from the CourierMail who yanked it from Nick D'Arcy's Facebook page.

In just 9-days the "Alcatraz Sharkfest Swim" slated for June 6, 2010 is all ready 25%-full!

Less than ten-days ago I competed in the 17th annual Alcatraz Sharkfest Swim; an event that Envirosports hosts yearly.

800-swimmers-plus compete for a really cheesy plaque and t-shirt and for the past six-of-those-years I have been one of them.

Next year the race will be held on June 6th., and I will once again be swimming it.

If you are thinking of swimming it, sign-up soon, last year the race sold out in three months. Currently it is 25% filled! Yikes!

I don't know why I keep swimming it? I just want to get it right and each and every year I swim that race it is like fighting a different dragon each time which is unlike any open water race I have ever done.

Race info [Link]

Sunday, August 23, 2009

FIINA moves one year forward but swimsuits move one decade back!

Above are screen shots from TYR, Speedo and the Nike websites. Welcome to 2010, these are our swimsuit selections!

Looks like Nike is back in the swimsuit business! I guess Nike smelled blood in the water and has posted this revamped Nike Swim site in response to Speedo's epic FAIL at 2009 Worlds:

Nike Swim [Link]

I suspect Nike has a shot at becoming the number one suit brand since Speedo has apparently loss it's "street-cred" after Jaked and Arena knocked it off it's pedestal!

It took Speedo 40-years to place their brand on that pedestal too.

New SCAQ Masthead for this week!

I am running out of photos of SCAQ swimmers. Paging Mark Savage of Mark Savage Photography - I need more meet photos please!

The United States Olympic Committee was about to launch a television network till NBC and the IOC voiced their displeasure!

When the NBC TV network, a subsideary of defense contractor General Electric and the IOC voice "displeasure" over an USOC Olympic channel, I suspect that "voiced displeasure" is a euphemism for the threat of a lawsuit and/or forget holding an Olympics in Chicago if you do go live with that cable channel!


It's uncertain when -- or if -- the U.S. Olympic Committee's proposed new television network will launch. But by postponing the network, the USOC is trying to avoid any harm to Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympics.

Bringing the games to Chicago is being viewed as a near-necessity to maintain U.S. interest in the Olympics. "..."

The USOC's original move brought sharp reaction from the IOC and TV partner NBC. After meeting with IOC president Jacques Rogge on Sunday, USOC chairman Larry Probst announced the network startup would be delayed.

I personally do not want Chicago to get the Olympics for evey thing I have read from the USOC, they want to do it on the cheap. i.e. a temporary pool,

From the USOC:

"...Chicago 2016 organizers unveiled on Friday several venue changes they say will benefit athletes and the community, and make their bid more attractive. In addition to moving the aquatic center and making the swimming pool a temporary facility, the sailing, canoe/kayaking, track cycling and BMX cycling venues all will be moved under Chicago's retooled bid plan.

"... The warm-up pool, a permanent venue, will be adjacent to the temporary competition pool and the two will be separated by a deck, much like they were in Beijing. There also will be a separate diving well and a pool for water polo. All temporary pools will be moved to other Chicago parks after the games. ..."


I prefer the games go to Japan - they obviously have more taste than Chicago and will try to out-do Beijing!

We certainly won't be able to throw an awesome Olympics when the USOC is bragging not about the venues but rather how "smart" their budget is!

Shaquille O'Neal will race Michael Phelps!

Basketball star, Shaquille O'Neal, will race, Michael Phelps, and participate in a relay against him in his reality TV show called "Shaq Vs."

Shaq recently went into the ring against light middle weight boxer, Oscar De La Hoya, and may have beat him!

Shaq is a 7'1", weighs 325 pounds, and wears a size 23 shoe. That foot size translates to 24-inches or long or more than twice the length of my foot size.

O'Neal said the concept for the program came about during an Olympic-watching party at his house in August 2008. According to O'Neal, someone turned to him while Phelps was winning one of his eight gold medals at the Beijing Games and asked, "Hey, you think you can make it down before he makes it down and up?"

"And I said, 'Yeah, of course I could,'" O'Neal recounted Saturday. "I said, 'Well, hook it up.' And that's how the show started."

For the Sept. 15 episode, he'll take on Phelps at a Baltimore-area pool Sunday, with help from Phelps' own coach, Bob Bowman. The emcee explained that O'Neal will swim 50 meters and Phelps will race a "longer distance, to be revealed" — something O'Neal apparently did when he made reference to having to swim one length of the pool before Phelps can finish two lengths.

They'll also square off in a relay of sorts: O'Neal will have teammates, including medal-winning Olympic swimmers, while Phelps will swim every lap himself.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Katie Hoff on bieng " out-touched" in Beijing against Rebecca Adlington in the 400m Free!

Look at that smile, isn't that smile full of "awesome and win?" Damn straight it is!

Let's go back to August '08 - In a dramatic moment in the 400 meter free at the Beijing Olympic Games, Rebecca Adlington out-touched Katie Hoff at the wall after coming back from a body length deficit in the last 100 meters.

SCAQ coaches and American swimmers were in a state of shock. ;_;

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 Hochstein: "... 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.

I had no opinion at the time but I did feel perplexed after watching most Olympic swimmers avoid such basics like no breathing off the walls, don't look at another swimmer underwater, or even looking up as they glide into wall: (i.e. Milorad Cavic's "FAIL" was a bigger mistake than Hoff's.)

In this Baltimore Sun article Katie Hoff opens up on Bob Bowman coaching style and how someone like Michael Phelps is able to thrive whereas someone like Hoff was like "WTF, dude! This is a swimming pool, not Satan's bladder!" (I made that quote up, I'm serious.)

This is a "home run" as a swimmer profile: [Link]

Better than anyone else, Hoff knows how a swimmer's legacy can be shaped by fractions of a second. In the 400-meter freestyle Olympic final, she led by nearly a body length with 100 meters to go. But at the wall, Great Britain's Rebecca Adlington out-touched her by seven hundredths of a second. Had she held on, she knows it's likely her Olympic experience would have been viewed differently.

"A lot of my struggle was that [race]," Hoff said. "That is something that obviously still bothers me a little bit. But it bothers me a lot to be like, 'Could I have touched differently?' There is nothing more that I could have done. At this point it's like, OK, time to move on and keep going."

Friday, August 21, 2009

"The Art of Swimming" This guy grosses $580,000 a year teaching people how to swim straight-arm freestyle!

This post is primarily for newer swimmers and triathletes.

The author of the Forbes article I point to below gets a private swim lesson from Steven Shaw and describes some marginal improvement. Note: his only swim training was by way of the Red Cross water safety program four-decades ago.

From Forbes Magazine:
In [Steven] Shaw's crawl, the arm remains straight as it pulls out of the water, bending only once it has formed an L shape with the body. "I want your stroke to be effortless, powerful and graceful," he says. "You should swim like an eagle, not like a chicken."

His 13-year-old, $580,000 (revenues) company, Art of Swimming, operates at 26 pools in the U.K., two venues in New York City and one in San Francisco. Fees range from $175 an hour for a private lesson with Shaw himself, to $250 for a six-week one-hour-a-week group course.

Devotees include Irish billionaire Dermot Desmond, 59, and Evangeline Benedetti, a 68-year-old cellist in the New York Philharmonic, who does a session of Shaw strokes before each performance.


Are guys like Steven Shaw and others merely selling "instant talent?" (Rhetorical question and it's very "snarky" of me.)

Selling "Instant talent" is a mirage especially when it comes to swimming, it's snake oil, it's a weight-loss product on a cheesy informercial at 3:00 AM.

Glenn Mills has a DVD for about $30 called Go Swim Straight-Arm Freestyle, with Olympian, Scott Tucker. (Scott Tucker's technique appears to be the same forward crawl that Steven Shaw is teaching).

Contrast the prices of Steven Shaw, the "Swim Whisperer," to actual coaching and training through a masters program:
  • $50-per-month investment in a masters program for three months.
  • $30 DVD Go Swim Straight-Arm Freestyle, with Scott Tucker, or Jason Lezak, Roland Schoeman, Kara Lynn Joyce, or what ever flavor you like
  • Go to your swim workout 4-days-a-week or more depending on your team schedule
Total cost: $180 for 50-hours-plus of training & coaching plus a sound video reference as a technique example.

Clever rhetoric like "swim like an eagle not like a chicken" will not make you a decent swimmer but praticing with simultaneous coaching will.

Baltimore Sun: "Hoff 'super-motivated' about leaving Baltimore!"

"Super motivated?" I love that phrase; it's very inspiring. Though she says nice things about Bob Bowman, it's my opinion she fired him due to her unusually poor showings for a swimmer of her sublime talent.

I look forward to her dominating again.

From the Baltimore Sun:

"I think it's time for a fresh start," she said. "Most people, after they're done with high school, they go off to college and they get that kind of change, but I've never really gotten that. I'm looking forward to it."

In California, Hoff will train at Fullerton Aquatics Sports Team, which this week was named by the U.S. Olympic Committee as one of two new professional and postgraduate training sites for elite-level swimmers working toward the 2012 Games.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Another triathlon open water death! - The USAT must demand swim time standards for all first time triathletes!

It's imperative that the USAT demand swim time standards for all first time triathletes.

From the

There has been another death due to triathlon this past Sunday, again during the open water swim portion. A first time triathlete, Kim Schmidt was found dead in Lake Winneconne in Wisconsin on Sunday, the third death this summer during triathlons in Wisconsin alone.


Has the USAT; (US Governing body for triathlons), reached a point where a swimming related death occurring once a month or more has become an acceptable casualty?

I stand by my comment that all first time triathletes must meet a set swim-time standard by way of a sanctioned USA Swimming swim meet or a United States Masters Swimming swim meet before competing in a triathlon that contains a swim longer than 500 meters.

I think the end result of the USAT instituting such a rule would not only prevent senseless tragedies and higher insurance rates but would grow each of our sports exponentially.

A triathlete should be a master off all three events before combining them as one. Hence, athletes must master the swimming portion.

'' commercial uses multi-racial giants to bring the world together into one big continent!

250-million years ago when the earth featured one big land mass as a lone, super-continent, plate tectonic scientists named the place Pangaea.

This promo piece uses Pangaea as it's metaphor for unity and I am likin' it!

Originally found at

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

World Sand Sculpture Festival 2009!

What is open water season without the distraction of a sand castle contest or two. Pink Tentacle has posted a sand castle collection from all over the word. This one is my favorite. It reminds me of the the lost stone castles at Angkor Wat.

Link to Pink Tentacle's sand sculpture collection: [Link]

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

'Racing swimsuits for 2010' - Now how is this for a reliable disappointment?

So, I wake up and I see I got an email from Swim Outlet. The subject header says, 'New 2010 Racing Suits."

I clicked on the email and there I saw the photo of the January 2010 "racing suits" featured above!

"Oh noes, it's really happening!" There will be be no Easter bunny, no US Calvary coming over the hill, or some Deus ex Machina to save technical suits for another year.

So I go to work, talk to Clay Evans in the afternoon about it and he yelled at me for five-minutes about how rotten speedsuits are, about how unfair they are, and how they corrupt kids too...

Well, actually he only ranted for 30-seconds but he went over the same 30-seconds, 10-times.

Sort of like a workout set: 10-rants on the :30, raise your voice 1-5, and then do it again 6-through-10 - Ready, goooo!

So, I come home and I see that Swimming World has a post that FINIS is having a polyurethane speedsuit sale of their newly approved AMPhibian Tech Suit.

Here is what I read:

AMPhibian™ Tech Suits:
Uniquely engineered racing suits that are bred for the water. Utilizes dual fabric technology, specialized compression networks, and stabilizing strips to help you achieve the optimal body position in the water.

* Male & Female Long John: $349.99 $60.00
* Male & Female Short John: $299.99 $50.00
* Male Race Tight: $249.99 $40.00
* Male Jammer $199.99 $25.00


TYR and b70 have much better looking product, but I hope I can fix that with some oleophilic spray paint!

Ultimately price point has made me switch brands for a while. I will post a review when I get it in a week or so. :-)

Monday, August 17, 2009

USOC tells America's elite swimmers - we want you training in Orange County, California! - That's Disneyland for short!

Revealed in Swimming World:

So, you're an elite swimmer and the USOC gives you a choice to call home: Baltimore, Maryland; Charlotte, North Carolina; or in Orange County, California?

I suspect all the cool kids will be choosing California.

"... Sean Hutchison revealed that he would be heading to Fullerton, Calif., to open a United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Post-Graduate Center as part of the Fullerton Aquatics Sports Team (FAST).

Hutchison will not be taking over head coaching duties at FAST, as he will be focusing on coaching a high performance area of the team.

"When I was asked by Mark Schubert to go to Fullerton and run a USOC sponsored site, I was honored," Hutchison told Swimming World. "As difficult as it will be to not be on the ground at KING, it was something big enough for me to look ahead to. Fullerton will be a little different from Bob [Bowman] at North Baltimore and Dave [Marsh] at SwimMAC-Carolina. I am just coaching the elite swimmers, which will be my main focus."


Muslim woman barred in French pools if they choose to wear a 'Burquini.'

Chris B. sent me this article regarding Muslim women being denied the right to swim in a Paris pools. From AP:

A Muslim woman who tried to go swimming in a head-to-toe "burquini" has been banned from her local pool in the latest tussle between religious practices and secular authority in France.

Officials on Wednesday insisted they banned the woman's use of the Islam-friendly swimsuit because of France's unusually strict hygiene standards in pools — not because of official hostility to wearing overtly Muslim garb.


I think Muslim women should be able to swim. Granted, a compromise has to be made regarding modesty and the the bagginess of the material, but if a swimsuit manufacturer can make a suit made of the same material as an approved western European swimsuit which would not hinder the ability of the swimmer to float or swim, then they should be able to swim.

The woman pictured above was taken in Newport Beach, California.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Eamon Sullivan is pro speedsuit! No, really! - He has no idea he helped get them banned!

When Sullivan demanded that polyurethane suits be banned? It was his sponsor, Speedo, that built the "Poly-'U'-word" into our suits in the first place. He was ultimately dismissing his own suit an subsequently he was branded a "suit-hater!"

Apparently he had no idea the consequences of his rhetoric:

Australian world record holder Eamon Sullivan has slammed FINA’s decision to go back to textile swimsuits, comparing it to asking Roger Federer to play tennis with a wooden racquet. [ I got so flamed for saying those same words - Tony!]

Sullivan, who set his 100m freestyle world record in a soon-to-be-illegal Speedo LZR at the says he has mixed views on the changes to come next year fearing times will become much slower.

“For me personally it’s a bit of sour grapes because some people don’t want the sport to get faster and its like telling Roger Federer to go back to a wooden racquet,”


[UPDATE] From Steve: "... The quote is inaccurate. The actual quote is "for me personally, I think there's a bit of, not sour grapes, but people are not wanting the sport to get faster..." You can watch the video here:


I predict the following, the next in line to suddenly turn into bona fide suit-lovers will be Libby Trickett, followed by Bob Bowman and Michael Phelps.

The consequences are becoming apparent: People are getting laid off, athlete contracts will be getting smaller, no more world record bonuses, swimming returns to the underground.

The 'SCAQ Blog' Masthead features no swimmers this week. :-(

I actually want to do a masthead that looks like a boxing poster but I was rushed this weekend. I will get to it, I promise.

I purchased the the image of the clear blue water at [Link]

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Speedsuit criminals will be escaping from Alcatraz this Saturday morning at 9:00 AM PST - pass it on!

Hundreds of "speedsuit criminals" wearing "plastic fantastic thingys" along with fifty-or-so fellow-travelers wearing just skin will escape from Alcatraz this Saturday morning at 9:00 AM PST.

The Alcatraz Sharkfest Swim put on by Envirosports commemorates John William Anglin, along with his brother Clarence and Frank Morris, who successfully escaped from Alcatraz on June 11th 1962.

Note: They were never heard from again!

Though I have done this race 5-times, I am taking it both seriously and cautiously. This is the hardest open water swim a person can ever do under 2 miles.

Though all the cool kids were wearing orange and green caps, Chris Flattum, refused to bow down to peer pressure!

At the Balboa pier in Orange County, California, they have a open water race for Junior Lifeguards called the Monster Mile. Kids ages 9-15 who have gone through the Junior Lifeguard program compete.

It's the moral equal for these kids of getting your "black belt in "swim fu."

I am loving what these kids can do with colored zinc oxide: Some made it look like war paint, clown makeup, cat makeup, 'Lord of the Flies' makeup, it's all great.

At the Daily Pilot, there is a gallery of the event on the right hand side of the page.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Triathletes should be certified by the USMS or USA Swimming!

Triathlete death rates during the swim portion surpass those of marathon runners!

60% of triathletes are terrible swimmers. Most need fins and lessons.

My informal statistic reminds me of an eBay joke I once heard: 50% of the the junk on eBay is crap and the other 50% is fake crap!

I don't say that lightly: Their death rates during the swim portion of the triathlon are twice that of marathon runners.

In just three weeks or so we see these news stories:
August 2nd: Reuters: The chief executive officer of Deutsche Telekom Asia, Calvin Lee Wee Sing, died on Sunday after he got into difficulty during the swimming leg of the annual Singapore triathlon.

August 10: (UPI) OSHKOSH, Wis., Aug. 10 -- Police in Winnebago County, Wis., say a 43-year-old woman died while competing in the swim portion of the Oshkosh Triathlon.

July 18: Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal: In the past six weeks, a 54-year-old woman and - last Sunday - a 33-year-old man died during the swim portion of area triathlons, despite near-immediate efforts to rescue them...

Now, is this a red flag or what? From The Independent:

"... Now a study has revealed that the risk of dying in a triathlon, though low, is nearly double the risk of dying in a marathon. A study presented to the American College of Cardiology Conference showed there were 14 deaths among almost one million competitors, a rate of 1.5 per 100,000. A further four deaths occurred among non-officially recognised events.


If I want to swim next year in the Pier to Pier race from Hermosa to Manhattan Beach, I have to swim a 500-yard test without a wetsuit for a L.A. County lifeguard to validate that I am qualified to swim with the other 900-racers in the event.

500-yards is probably the average swim distance for a triathlon and if triathletes are dying at such a rate why can't the USTS hold a triathlete to the same standard that the L.A. County Lifeguards do? No one has ever died during the Pier-to-Pier event and it is a 2-mile swim, not a 500-meter warm-up.

The USAT and USMS co-marketing efforts are not enough, insurance companies should mandate that the USMS and/or USA Swimming certify triathletes as knowing how to swim before they race.

This certification can be accomplished by the triathlete competing in a sanction USMS/USA Swimming event and producing the results of their meet as a passport for competing in a triathlon.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Joanne Jackson and Rebecca Adlington interviewed after placing in the 400-free.

New SCAQ Masthead and this week Chris Beach is featured!

Chris is the other "Michael Jordon" on our team; He swims a low :21 for the 50-free.

The photo, once again, was taken by Mark Savage. In fact I understand that a photo that Aaron Peirsol is using on one of his sites was taken by Mark in the studio somewhere.

Here is one of Mark's photography sites: [Link]

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Four World records set this weekend so far- Is 'Arena' the new 'Speedo' ?

Maly sent me an update regarding Jessica Hardy's suit of choice.


She set the world record in the 50 breaststroke with a split of 29.95 seconds when she time-trialed the 100 breaststroke on Thursday.

Hardy wore a Jaked suit Friday. It and other record-breaking polyurethane bodysuits will be banned by swimming's world governing body on Jan. 1.


If Speedsuits are allowed in masters in 2010, I suspect Jaked will be a top seller.

Roland Schoeman in the 50-free SCM, Joanne Jackson in the 400-LCM 400-SCM, Cameron van der Burgh in the 50 and 100 breast SCM. All of these records were NOT set in a Speedo swimsuit.

Joanne Jackson was not wearing a LZR, only Rebecca Adlington was and Adlington was quoted in the Times Online as looking forward to January 1st, 2010 when suits are outlawed. Personally, I think it was the Speedo LZR that put her on the map since she is a 'soft and comfy' and the Speedo delivers amazing body compression with its polyurethane panels.

Getting down to business Speedo has taken a huge hit. Once the world record leader in swimsuit design but now it wouldn't be an understatement to say that for the first time in 40-years of swimming, Speedo is not seen as the number one. They have been replaced by Arena and even the Jaked 01.

We will leave the speedsuit era with Arena and Jaked having the last word for most of the world records in 2009 will have been set in their suits.

How will Speedo convince the swimmer at large that their briefs and jammers will be more, better, or filled with "mad phat win" when compared to Arena or Jaked?

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Is this graffiti vandalism?! - What a way to inspire the community to clean up their river!

From the street art website, Wooster Collective. Think what you will about civil disobedience and graffiti. In this case I think this message would deeply inspire the best in the community at large.


Ballet dancers film underwater!

The art director in me turned this photo upside down for a quick, emotional, punch. To see it displayed correctly, click the the link below

Bernstein&Andriulli: [Link]

This ticker-tape parade was held for a swimmer named Gertrude Ederle!

August 6th, 1926: was the day that, Gertrude Caroline Ederle, became the first woman to swim across the English Channel in a time of 14-hours, 39-minutes. The fastest time over the previous five men who had swam it.

From Wikipedia:

Gertrude Caroline Ederle (October 23, 1905 – November 30, 2003) was an American competitive swimmer. In 1926, she became the first woman to swim across the English Channel.

She trained at the Women's Swimming Association, which produced such competitors as Eleanor Holm and Esther Williams. She joined the club when she was only thirteen. From this time Gertrude began to break and establish more amateur records than any other woman in the world.

At the 1924 Summer Olympics, she won a gold medal as a part of the US 400-meter freestyle relay team and bronze medals for finishing third in the 100-meter and 400-meter freestyle races.

When Ederle returned home, she was greeted with a ticker-tape parade in New York City. She went on to play herself in a movie (Swim Girl, Swim) and tour the vaudeville circuit, including Billy Rose's Aquacade. She met President Coolidge and had a song and a dance step named for her. Unfortunately, her manager, through a combination of incompetence and duplicity, mishandled her showbiz career and Ederle failed to reap the rewards she deserved. She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1965.

[Oh, I have to throw this in: Coach Ahelee of Mision Viejo Aquatics swam it too.]

After reading the article it seems to me that swimming was once held in higher regard than that of football or basketball during the depression. Coming out of that generation the world embraced Johnnie Weismuller as Tarzan, Esther Williams and her swim movies, and perhaps others.

What changed the Zeitgeist.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

CNN compares swimming body types of Olympic sprinters!

CNN sizes up swimmers and concludes size does matter but not so much weight. From CNN:

"... In the data, researchers noted, for example, that Duke Kahanamoku, who had world records for the 100-meter freestyle in 1912 and 1918, weighed 185 pounds and stood 6 feet, 2 inches. In 2008, Alain Bernard broke a record for the same race, weighing 190 pounds and standing about 6 feet, 5 inches.

But not everyone conforms to the pattern of increased height and weight -- at about 172 pounds, swimmer Eamon Sullivan weighed less than both Kahanamoku and Bernard, and also broke records for the same contest in 2008...."


I like this kind of stuff. The last paragraph about a sprinter in the Roman Empire who weighed only 70% of what we weigh today was only a second slower in a 100 meter run.

In other words, size begins to hamper. Consider the size of a gymnast as compared to Alain Bernard? In a pound-for-pound ratio of strength, the gymnast may be stronger.

With that info in mind, also consider that a "heavyweight Greco-Roman wrestler" 2,000-years ago only weighed 140 pounds. That is hardly MMA or WWE material. To think that an average "Costco shopper" today would be considered a "bad-ass" both cracks me up and puts me in awe as to how far we have come.

Matt Greevers would indeed be a GOD! Oh well, instead he will just have to settle for being an Olympian!

Also note, the study did not take into account our speedsuits, caps, goggles, lane lines, and chlorine as compared to swimmers from 100-years ago.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Rob of 'RobAquatics' interviews, Glenn Mills, the founder of 'GoSwim.TV'

Rob interviews Glenn Mills of - here was my favorite question:

Any waterproof camera recommendations for the aspiring amateur swimming film maker? Personally I really want to know what my stroke looks like underwater!

There are SO many great little underwater cams these days, it’s silly for a coach or serious swimmer not to have one. If you have a digital cam, it should be waterproof. Pentax has the W60 and now W80, which are 10-12 megapixels still, and HD video at either 15 or 30 frames per second. We’re talking just a bit over $200. Olympus has a great digital underwater cam as well as Sharp. Depending on your budget, I’m pretty sure you can grab a digital underwater cam for as low as $150.

I am liking those numbers!

CBS Sports National Columnist, Gregg Doyel, tears into both FINA and Speedo!

First the bloggers, now the press is pointing fingers at Speedo! I guess I am not crazy.

should really do that interview for us and clarify how they do business. From CBS Sports:

"...Socialism is at work because FINA, the swimming governing body, has bowed to the sponsors who control swimming. Not contribute to swimming. Control it. Some of the equipment companies that make the biggest contributions to swimmers in particular and the sport at large, like Speedo, have had their trunks pulled down by lesser-known companies like Arena and Jaked. The irony is beautiful in that Speedo started this revolution, introducing the LZR that dominated at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, but now Speedo has been passed like its swimmers are wearing concrete flippers. And Speedo doesn't like it. Breaks my heart.


"... You can almost see Schubert's lower lip quiver. The United States might not have swum as well as usual in Rome, but we pouted our asses off. Bob Bowman, Phelps' coach, threatened to withdraw his swimmer from future international events if the swimsuit controversy wasn't addressed, which is hilarious given -- again -- that Phelps' revolutionary (at the time) LZR swimsuit in Beijing helped him win eight medals and set seven world records. ..."


Gregg Doyel does make an error thinking Nike is still in the swimsuit business but overall his arguments are well stated.

Phelps versus Cavic in the 100 meter butterfly!

Calling this race Phelps versus Cavic instead of the 100-meter Butterfly final is like relegating all the other great athletes in this race to being nothing more than "background action" or "movie extras" since the focus was simply on these two.

Phelps turns are simply lethal weapons.

SCAQ is the 2009 SPMA LCM Regional & Zone Champs!

SCAQ dominated the event with 56 swimmers all led by Coach, Erik Hochstein. The event was a huge success for masters swimming in our region with over 400 people competing.

We are thinking of winning the SPMA Short Course Meters Championships at the Belmont Plaza this December as well. Come with us or against us!

Mel Stewart writes a compelling article for Yahoo Sports about speedsuits and Tyler McGill!

Mel Stewart for Yahoo Sports:
"..."The sport's not about swimming anymore." [>.< ]

Most swimwear manufactures aren't necessarily on the same page.

Quietly, out of the spotlight, they've been grumbling. Most are in favor of the hi-tech suits - and their high price-point, which drives revenue. These dollars drive swimwear contracts, and it's clear these contracts will be cut, or significantly reduced, for athletes just out of the medal hunt.

Will the fallout of the 2010 FINA ban on hi-tech suits result in little or no swimwear endorsement dollars for athletes like Tyler McGill?


Others who have voiced the same opinions have been laughed off by a British swim journalist. I think the aftermath alone will illustrate what FINA has done to garment workers, athletes, swimsuit companies and the growth of the sport.

Monday, August 03, 2009

I just sent an interview request to, Jason Rance, the Vice President of Marketing for 'Speedo'

If Mr. Jason Rance agrees, I would like to submit a series of questions to him form all of you regarding speedsuits and FINA.

Hopefully we can get him to agree to pick which ten questions he would like to answer.

I would demand that the questions not be rhetorical statements which is something I would since I am biased, so keep them professional and specific to the topic.

They got to be serious, no softball questions such as: "Is Michael Phelps a nice guy!" More like, "Will you lobby the USMS to allow speedsuits?" - "Why do you feel swimming needs speedsuits rather than briefs?"

They got to be tough and important; I will let you all know if and when he agrees.

Post your questions to Jason as a comment to this post or send me an email. Anonymous email is okay too.

Austrian swimmer Markus Rogan could use some advice!"

From USA Today:

Rogan, 27, told the Austria Press Agency that four bouncers beat him up Saturday night as he attempted to re-enter a discotheque in Ostia, on the seaside near Rome, after being ordered to leave "for no apparent reason." The night club said that the swimmer was ordered to leave for security reasons that included dancing drunk with a broken bottle in his hands. The club said that Rogan also fell as he attempted to get back inside the club.


From the Globe and Mail:

“When I stepped back inside again, four bouncers jumped me,” he said.

Fabio Balini, an executive with the Shilling club, said that the swimmer was with his teammates when he was asked to leave by the club's personnel as part of standard security procedures. Balini said Rogan could be a danger to himself or others because he was drunk.

Balini said he had interviewed witnesses and reviewed security tapes and that there was no evidence that the personnel had acted improperly.


If he does have issues, then get the guy the help he needs.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Top 5 moments both positive and negative for the 2009 FINA World Championships!

This is written from my point of view, your point of view may vary and I hope it does.

Top Moments:

1) Michael Phelps beating Milorad Cavic in the 100 buterfly.

Michael Phelps dug down deep and set a WR in an epic swim where "trash-talk" got swimming talked about all over creation. It was the UFC version of Brock Lesnar versus Fedor Emelianenko and the "good guy", Michael Phelps, won. (I was rooting for Cavic.)

Both swam under world record time and both put the race onto the international radar! There must be something to making a race into a soap opera.

2) Aaron Piersol setting a WR in the 200 back.

Aaron Peirsol, after failing to qualify in the 100 back, bounces back and sets a WR in the 200 backstroke making it clear he is the best ever.

Per his interviews he seemingly let go of his loss like it was "water under a bridge" and he moved on to become the champion that he really is. How existential is that?

3) Britta Steffen definitively proving she is the greatest female sprinter on earth. None of the greats could touch her.

Britta Steffen is German Swimming and she is expected to win or the German press will tear her apart. Again, despite this pressure she steps up and spanks the best and those swimmers include, Dara Torres, Therese Alshammar, and Libby Trickett who really wanted to beat her.

4) Therese Alshammar placing second to Britta Steffen!

Alshammar who is better known as a short course meters sprinter finishing second to, Britta Stefen, in an amazing 50-free. She just gets younger-and-younger, faster-and-faster.

5) We saw the greatest Italian athlete ever, Federica Pellegrini, breaking the four minute barrier in the 400 free.

On the covers of Italian national magazines and well clothed in Armani, she exudes style, class, charisma, a sketchy tattoo that crawls up her neck, and completes this package with abject swimming confidence.

She is the perfect "leading lady" for our sport. Swimming has never had someone this classy or this sexy. (Can you tell I am part Italian?)

Top 5 low points:

1) Bob Bowman's rant and rationalization for Michael Phelps' loss in the 200-free to Paul Biedermann.

Bowman was the "Ugly American" in hi-def ranting pathetically about speedsuits and FINA. His grand threat to pull Michael Phelps out of international competition if his demands were not met greatly soured me on Michael Phelps. I am sure others feel the same way.

2) FINA returning men to briefs and Jammers come January 1, 2010.

FINA responding in less than 24-hours to Bowman's tantrum and thereby restricting the use of speedsuit way ahead of schedule confirmed in my mind that the organization is in Speedo's pocket.

If you look at the biggest mouths yelling for a return to briefs, they are generally form National Governing Bodies with huge Speedo interests. This is my opinion.

3) Speedo Commonwealth swimmers; Period!

4) That British swim journalist guy!
World records are over, swim and swimmer sponsorships just lost 75% of their funding.

5) FINA open water officials waiting a day to award Fran Crippen a bronze medal.

Imagine going back to the hotel not knowing how you finished? This is about your life's work, your employment, your income.

Open water is evolving and this has to be fixed. I recommend "photo finish video."

The photo above comes from the The Big Picture gallery at [Link]

According to Australian announcers in Rome, all FINA World Champiohships must now be held in indoor pools!

So this years 2009 World Championship will be the last dance for outdoor pools, speedsuits and world records! What is next, mandated suit brands and eye color? Way to go FINA!

Someone in the media; and Ted Baker, contacted me and said that heat was a problem for the media in Rome and that they would not want to wait if an event got canceled due to weather. Hence, the controlled environment of an indoor pool.

New SCAQ Masthead for this week!

This is the new masthead for the week. The shot was taken by Corbis celebrity photographer, Mark Savage, and his non-swim related work can be viewed here: [Link]

Saturday, August 01, 2009

"It doesn't matter what suit you wear,'' Phelps said. "It matters how you train.''

WHOA! What a u-turn that is! Can we have our suits back now!

Michael Phelps, in a super-human effort, puts forth a super-human time of 49.82 in the 100-fly, to beat Milorad Cavic who swam a 49.95!

After Phelps was beaten in the 200 free by German swimmer, Paul Biedermann, then after posting a mediocre time in the 4x200 relay, and finally allowing his coach, Bob Bowman, to globalize a middle-school tantrum filled with finger pointing, insults and excuses, I thought Phelps was distracted and quite finished.

So much for "tea leaves."

Phelps one again did the impossible.

Link to Universal Sports coverage of the race: [Link]

Here are two quotes that will outlast this world championships:

Michael Phelps: "It doesn't matter what suit you wear,'' Phelps said. "It matters how you train.''

Bob Bowman: "We've lost all the history of the sport. Does a 10-year-old boy in Baltimore want to break Paul Biedermann's record?" Bowman said. "The sport is in shambles right now and they better do something or they're going to lose their guy who fills these suits." [In reference to Bob Bowman pulling Phelps out of competition]

I respect the spirit and amazing talent of Michael Phelps, but I can't root for him anymore nor support his sponsors.

"Just Dive In" - From the 'Big Picture' at ''

The The Big Picture gallery has 35 images of all sorts of diving circumstances from competition diving, competitive swimming and even a polar bear. [Link]