Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The new root of all evil: Jammers!

I got three letters; one from an Olympian, and an IM from a writer about a site that I won't mention that actually condemned jammers as essentially being "evil tech dope."

This is the same site that lobbied FINA day-after-day, hour-after-hour, to ban tech-suits but now they have found a new target: they are going after jammers.

I think their real target here is adolescent boys since once the jammers are banned, there won't be any young boys swimming in the USA.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Australian Olympian Jodie Henry just retired!

A great 100-freestyle specialist is retiring! - The word great is an overused adjective but for Jodie Henry it is an accurate one. In the video above she pulls a "Jason Lezak" on our very own Amanda Weir!

From USA Today:
Three-time Olympic gold medalist Jodie Henry has quit competitive swimming.

The 25-year-old Australian, who once was the reigning Olympic and world champion in the 100-meter freestyle, submitted her retirement forms to Swimming Australia on Wednesday.


Below, the Brisbane Times was bit harsh in my opinion. Jodie Henry has amassed numerous gold medals at the international level in venues like the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games, and the FINA World Championships but the Brisbane Times claims she had motivational issues post her 2004 Athens Olympic Games successes.

Well, I pose this to the Brisbane Times: perhaps after 9th-or-10th gold medal it's time to conquer something else:

The 25-year-old struggled with motivational problems throughout her career and never reached the same heights following her superb week in Greece five years ago.

Henry won the prized 100m freestyle title and anchored Australia to victory in the 4x100m freestyle and 4x100m medley relay in Athens.

She also collected three gold medals at world championships and four gold medals at Commonwealth Games.


She had a great run; Zeus is proud!

Ariana Kukors signs with TYR - I think she will be unbeatable in London 2012!

Ariana Kukors, who grabbed the 200-meter individual medley world record by the throat at the 2009 Fina World Championships of Swimming and made it tell her who it's mommy is - TWICE, has signed with TYR.

Here is a link to a video of her devastating Stephanie Rice by making the WR hers: [Link]

Comments upon signing:

"I am very excited. Wearing TYR when I made my first national team six years ago, I am proud to be part of the family. I chose TYR because of their long heritage in swimming and I enjoy the people behind the brand..."

"We’ve been around Ariana for about 6 years now, since she was just a kid breaking onto the national scene,” said TYR Promotions Director Matt Zimmer. “She’s a part of our family and we couldn’t be prouder of what she’s accomplished. ..."

The money is on Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympics!

I am still rooting for Tokyo... From the BettingPress:

"... Brazilian city all the rage with punters to get vote to stage summer Games ..."


Ladbrokes spokesman Robin Hutchison said: "Rio is the only city punters want to back and we've had to cut the odds on the Games going to Brazil to 6/4.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Andy Potts situation clarified - His management has some 'splaining to do, Lucy!'

Here is a statement that blueseventy ran regarding the Andy Potts situation. I am throwing this up raw and will comment tonight.
Following an investigation between TYR & blueseventy on the contract overlap regarding Andy Potts it has been discovered that both companies were misled by athlete's management. It should be clarified that while the incidence was unfortunate, blueseventy holds no issue with TYR's actions. blueseventy’s decision to end Andy Potts' contract with immediate effect still stands but the company wishes the best to Andy in the coming season.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Federica Pellegrini with the number '4' reflecting in her right goggle lense!

I bumped into this photo by accident at Al Gore's who yanked it from [Link]

Today I Raced in a Short Course Yards Meet at Loyola Marymount University!

LMU had a fund-raiser today for their women's swim team and I "legally" got to race in two separate tech suits to see which was faster: a FINIS AMPhibian or my beat up TYR Tracer Light.

First, details about the event and how fun it was.

Two swimmers once told me that LMU is God's gift to swimming. Those were the exact words from two people who did not know each other. Sort of apropos too since LMU is a Catholic University here in Los Angeles.

This LMU event was a NON-SANCTIONED SPMA/USMS event and I had a blast!

SCAQ puts on the event yearly to support the girls team. It's like the "Duel in Pool" but it's the SCAQ masters swimmers versus the LMU girls. Our best guy posted a 20.33 for a 50-free. His name is Matt and he is now a SCAQ coach! :-P

We promoted the event just inside SCAQ circles and I believe that we raised a couple-thousand dollars or more. Oh, and there was free food too!

Next year you are all invited and you can bring your fins, tech-suits, Mexican wrestler masks, monofins, paddles, snorkels, sons, daughters and you can even bring your friends. The meet only took three hours to conduct and you literally picked which events you wanted to swim on the fly. If there was an empty block, climb on and swim! We had touch pads, a score board, Olympian Clay Evans as the meet director and a bunch of brand new swimmers who had a blast.

The events I swam were all freestyle with nothing longer than 50-yards. I was in a 200- free SCY relay, an individual 50-free and finally a 200-IM SCY relay.

I have put over thirty-swims in my Tracer Light so it is getting beat up and the FINIS AMPhibian was new out of the box.

I am not going to break down the sensations I felt, nor the detailed minutiae like I should but rather I will keep it simple.

I swam faster in the TYR Tracer Light!

In an un-tapered swim in the Tracer I rendered a :25.78 for a 50 free in a 200-free SCY relay with a beautiful rolling start. If I was tapered I would have swam faster.

The next two races, an individual 50-free SCY and a 50-free during a 200-IM SCY, I swam a little slower, a :26.05 in the FINIS, and I did not get my exact time for the IM though it appears it was a low :26 posted again in the FINIS.

In the TYR Tracer Light my body position feels level in the water, In the FINIS I feel a more buoyant top-half which made my legs feel asymmetrical. The suit is more effective during breaststroke than free; I learned that by warming down

Your mileage my vary.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Amy Shipley breaks the bad news first: 'FINA Masters Committee' recommends no tech-suits for masters swimmers!

I'm astonished that I actually belong to this organization via the USMS. >.<

I also want to say that I am more proud than ever to be a SCAQ swimmer. I will simply find events and governing bodies that will allow me to wear what I want.

From Reach for the Wall:

Masters swimming took the first step Saturday toward implementing the same ban on full-length, high-tech suits as at virtually every other level of the sport, but the issue remained far from resolved at the close of a meeting of the masters technical committee for the sport’s world governing body (FINA).


The decision Saturday by the FINA masters committee to pass the issue back to the FINA Bureau — despite FINA’s apparent unwillingness to deal with it earlier — represented a surprising turn of events for U.S. Masters Swimming officials, who had said they expected a concrete ruling from the committee itself and were prepared to take action based on that ruling.

“We expect them to issue a ruling,” USMS Executive Director Rob Butcher said last week. “What it is going to be is anybody’s guess.”


One USMS Official is a member of the FINA Masters Committee!

Nancy Ridout is a member of both the USMS and the FINA Masters Committee. Heck, I should have been sending her roses for the past 6-months but I only found out today. RATS!

Here is a link to her profile and there is an email link too: [Link]

Thursday, September 24, 2009

'blueseventy fires Andy Potts for breaching his contract over the 'TYR Hurricane' wetsuit photo!

I posted a photo of Andy Potts wearing the upcoming TYR Hurricane wetsuit while he was under contract with blueseventy. Subsequently, I was contacted about within an hour.

Triathletes have more sponsors than swimmers. They endorse bicycles, swimsuits, wetsuits, bottled water, helmets, etc. etc. Triathletes are like "NASCAR drivers" who have the economic opportunity to endorse every single "nut-and-bolt" within their discipline.

Potts was endorsing TYR tech-suits but he has been under contract for the past three years; (up until today), to endorse blueseventy wetsuits. He has been winning in b70 wetsuits too.

In Andy's defense, he was told that the TYR Hurricane photo would not run till next year but the fault is ultimately his for you just don't touch a competitors product while being paid not to. Ultimately he was sublimely embarassed.

Here is what blueseventy sent me:

blueseventy has agreed to part company with Andy Potts effective immediately. The USA World Champion triathlete has worn the blueseventy Helix wetsuit for 3 years, a longstanding commitment that has been beneficial for both parties. blueseventy have provided the fastest swimskins and wetsuits in the world, and Potts has been one of triathlons fastest swimmers. His contract, expected to expire at the end of the year, has been mutually terminated with immediate effect after his 2010 wetsuit sponsors TYR, took the unusual step of using his image well before his new contract comes into effect in January.

CEO, Steve Nicholls [added]: " We're not thrilled with this situation to be honest, but, at the end of the day, our company's philosophy is to be there for swimmers and athletes. Andy is a great guy, and a top athlete and I don't want to see him involved in something like this. The last thing he needs is to be caught up in a dispute between a current and future sponsor, especially given his recent accident. We will do the best thing for Andy and walk away. He's been put in a difficult position by what could be termed as questionably ethical marketing decisions, something we would never do to an athlete."
[UPDATE] - Here is a statement that blueseventy ran regarding the Andy Potts situation sent to me by TYR PR

Following an investigation between TYR & blueseventy on the contract overlap regarding Andy Potts it has been discovered that both companies were misled by athlete's management. It should be clarified that while the incidence was unfortunate, blueseventy holds no issue with TYR's actions. blueseventy’s decision to end Andy Potts' contract with immediate effect still stands but the company wishes the best to Andy in the coming season.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I so predicted this: TYR is selling wetsuits to triathletes and open water swimmers!

TYR created more tech-suit products than any other swimsuit brand and FINA pretty much discriminated against the company at every turn. Hence, in self-defense it appears to me that TYR is heading for friendlier waters. i.e. Hello triathletes and a friendly national governing body!

All those investment dollars are now being placed where they are most appreciated: Triathlons, triathletes, non-sanction USMS/FINA open water swimmers!

The Exodus of investment dollars begins. The triathlete above is named Andy Potts.


At the 2009 Interbike trade show in as Vegas, TYR is introducing a line of wetsuits, something that has been missing in the portfolio of the Huntington Beach, CA company with the slogan "Made for swimmers by swimmers."

[ there will be three lines of wetsuit - go to the link below and read about it.]

According to TYR, this line of wetsuits has been 2 years in the making and they were getting quite a bit of feedback from 2007 Ironman 70.3 World Champion Andy Potts in the process, but the brand has been around for about 25 years without wetsuits. That of course begs the question, why now, after all these years without? There are many brands of wetsuits on the market now, and it appears that more and more new brands are jumping into the game.


That "Voldemort guy" in the UK said this wouldn't happen either!

That "Polar Bear" guy, Lewis Gordon Pugh, is going swimming on Mt. Everest!

So, the location for his next swim will be in and around the Khumbu Glacier which is generally in the Mt. Everest's vicinity. The Khumbu Glacier is 17,000 feet above sea level and oxygen, at that altitude, will be extremely scarce when he starts hyperventilating in such cold water. This will be a much harder and a more treacherous swim than his North Pole endeavor.

I opened Google Earth and did a fly-by of the area and there are numerous lakes for him to swim in.

Next April Lewis Gordon Pugh will take a dip in the waters of a lake on the Khumbu Glacier, 17,000ft above sea level in the Himalayas.

He will attempt the 1km swim in just his [briefs], swimming cap and goggles and is expecting, or possibly hoping, to only spend 20 minutes in the water.

The mountain range's glaciers provide water to more than 1.3bn people and are receding faster than in any part of the world.

Temperatures in the Himalayas have risen by around 1 degree Celsius and some are predicting the glaciers could be gone within 25 years.


I personally think his swimming stunts are beautiful to watch but his reasons for doing so are rather silly.?

Let me submit this political awareness ad from TBWA depicting a "melting polar bear" made entirely of ice as a contrast to the Lewis Gordon Pugh's photo above.

Which image is more effective in creating an emotional response towards global warming awareness?

The image above was found at Why Me Design. They have an image of a jaguar too: [Link]

Monday, September 21, 2009

Yep, the 2010 speedsuits are coming and note that nobody is smiling in this TYR ensemble ad!

This is the most poignant ad I have seen for a 2010 swimsuit line from any company yet. I just got it in the mail.

The Speedo "Flipturns" campaign is "product suicide" as far as I am concerned.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

USMS Convention: 101-93 in favor of abolishing tech suits at the masters level - That is not a mandate!

The last thing I ever wanted was the "red-state / blue-state" phenomena to become part of a recreation that I love. Yesterday's USMS tech-suit vote made it official: we are all now Democrats or Republicans, progressives or conservatives, and we are angry at each other.

To have a governing body grant swimmers the right to wear tech-suits; (which ultimately sprouts a cottage industry to support that right), then within a year deny that right is more than just aggravating, it is disenfranchising.

Members on both sides of the debate are passionate, angry, and are pointing fingers at each other like Democrats and Republicans. Apparently the only common ground is a complete lack of respect for FINA.

I for one am currently evaluating what I will do next year if it is mandated that we compete in briefs or jammers.

From RobAquatics who is at ground zero of this debacle. This is just a snippet, the article is a must read:

Ok, so I just got out of the final meeting of this year's house of delegates. The last action item was, dun dun dun.... swimsuits. It finally happened. Up until this point hardly anyone mentioned it, it was like bringing up religion or politics in casual conversation... not a good idea. Once the floor opened up the comments got pretty hot for a little while. ..."


The vote was much closer than I would have expected. 101 to 93 in favor of dropping the suits earlier rather than later. Boo. I still think FINA has plenty of flip flop left in it and this was probably a whole lot of fighting for nothing. We'll see how it goes down. From what I understand we still get to ride out the rest of SCM season in tech-suits.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

USA Swimming bans tech suits in less than two-weeks from now!

Any time a politician utilizes an emotional argument to validate their political point and then salts that argument with a subjective statement posed as a fact, you are about to be bamboozled.

Chuck Wieglus is really working it with this statement that he probably had his PR people write.

From Swimming World:
"As an organization, we have been working with FINA and other swimming nations to find a solution that will ensure a fair and even playing field for all swimmers, and that will ultimately advance the best interests of our sport," said Chuck Wielgus, USA Swimming Executive Director. "With Saturday's vote, our membership has sent a clear message that it wanted this action taken sooner, rather than later. We hope that this action will put the emphasis back where it belongs – on our athletes, their training and hard work."


What bravado and arrogance! Saying tech-suits are not fair is like saying the Titanic is unsinkable and both statements are easily disproved. For instance, what if every swimmer in a race wore a tech-suit! Why would that be unfair? Hmmm, because Michael Phelps would lose?

Mark Savage
shot that photo of a swimmer at the Mission Viejo. If you look at the photo in the masthead, this is the third photo in that start progression.

How to measure the exact distances of an open water swim, a bike ride or a run using 'Google Earth!'

The Alcatraz Sharkfest Swim claims the distance between Alcatraz island and the finish line at Aquatic Park is 1.5 miles. As a crow flies or as a dolphin swims, it is definitely not 1.5 miles. However, if you swim in an arc as the race director recommends or you are thrown off course like a cork in a tempest like I was last August, it probably is a 1.5 mile swim.

Kerry, a SCAQ Blog reader and swimmer, who loves to tell me when I am wrong especially when it comes to "sacred cow" subjects like tech-suits, insisted that the distance that the Sharkfest promoters claims is way off and that it can't be more than a mile.

So, using the free Google Earth application, I was able to plot the exact distance; (if my faith in the Google satellite imaging data is correct), by using the ruler tool to calculate the exact path.

The distance between Alcatraz and the finish line at Aquatic park in 1.25 miles

Here is a quick overview how to do it

You use the RULER icon and select PATH from the pop-up menu. Then "click" each point of your swim path, bike path, run path, on the actual map and the total distance will appear in the in the RULER POP-UP panel!

Way cool!

Friday, September 18, 2009

What it is like to be an elite swimmer of African descent at a swimming pool in America!

Jeff Commings is not Cullen Jones though he is a heck of a breastroker; (50 SCY: 25.62) and a very active swimmer with the USMS.

In this Swimming World article he discusses what it is like to be one of the very few elite swimmers who is coincidentally of African descent.

Apparently people mistake him for Cullen Jones just because he is black!

From Swimming World:

"... And, if you see a black man with a swimmer build at a swimming-related function, do not immediately deduce that the man you are looking at can be no other person than Cullen Jones.

I offer this advice because I am a black man with a swimmer build. I am presently at a swimming-related function at the United States Aquatic Sports Convention. And I am not Cullen Jones.

But in the past week, six people have believed otherwise.

The first time this happened was at the American Swimming Coaches Association's world clinic last week. A woman came to the Swimming World booth to look at some of the instructional books and DVDs we sell. After flipping through a book, she handed it to me and asked, "Would you be willing to sign this?"


USA Swimming has got to get this guy involved with the Make a Splash program.

Luare Manadou retires at 22-years-old - Thank you garbage yardage for yet another casualty!

Swimming is amazing, it's euphoric, it's like jumping into a warm, blissful, zero-gravity, HELLO! Yet pro-swimmers, when they retire, such as Thorpe, Popov, and now Laure Manaudou do not only feel an intense sensation of relief as they leave the sport, they flee from the pool as if it were the French Bastille during the French Revolution.

With that in mind, this all says to me that both fame and garbage yardage are the culprits!

From Associated Press:

"I quit. This hasn't been an easy decision to take," the Frenchwoman told Friday's edition of Le Parisien newspaper. "It came to me little by little. I didn't make it on impulse."

"I've got all the titles," Manaudou added. "I had everything I wanted, even more than in my dreams... I have all the time to think about my future."

Manaudou, who gave France its first swimming gold since Jean Boiteux in 1952 when she won the 400-metre freestyle at the Athens Olympics in 2004, said she lost her motivation after splitting with the coach behind her successes, Philippe Lucas.

"She made the right choice by deciding to stop," Lucas told the Le Point magazine website. "At last, she is going to enjoy some peace of mind."



Roxana Maracineanu

Babelfish translation: "... former world champion of swimming: “It was the best swimmer of all times. And not only French. But [she] did not go [to the] end of [her] talent. [She] was Michael Phelps... the female one.

Christian Donzé " ...Techinical officer French Federation: With such a talent, I was convinced that [she] could go back in [the] saddle for 2012.

Amuary Leveaux: "... I think that [she] could have made [another] Olympiad... Now, it is [her] choice to stop and [she] should be respected”.


Photo credit: sagicel's photostream at

'Swimming Canada' and their tech-suit time machine!

In a gleeful press release issued today yesterday; (This post is late), Swimming Canada, states that they could not wait for FINA's January 1st, 2010 deadline to ban tech-suits and since banning them yesterday was not soon enough, they chose to ban them 2-weeks ago!

From Swimming World:
"... OTTAWA, Ontario, September 17. SWIMMING Canada announced that effective September 1, 2009, all swimwear worn in swimming competitions sanctioned under the authority of Swimming Canada must conform to the January 1, 2010 FINA swimwear approval guidelines.

"We want our athletes to start the season on the right foot," [mixed metaphor] says Pierre Lafontaine, CEO and National Coach for Swimming Canada. "By implementing the rule in September, we are giving our athletes more time to adapt to the technology changes as they prepare for the big events this year." ..."


Comedian, Louis Black once said that his style of humor comes from a guy who is stranded on the the Titanic and nobody but himself knows what is going to happen. Hence, his salty use of sarcasm, profanity, and the impression of being on the brink while trying to convince the right people to avert disaster.

Today, I feel like Louis Black on the Titanic and this suit ban will be competitive swimming's "iceberg.

My rant is on:"

Suit sponsors will focus intensely on triathletes whereas pro-swimmer paychecks will shrink and so will interest in pro-swimmers.

A professional triathlete will happily wear your tech suit for $30,000 to $40,000 per year but if you want a triathlete "...that will rule them all," it might cost $50,000 or $60,000. (I can't expose my source on this.)

Contrast that to all of the tech-suit wearing athletes at the FINA World Championships last month and ask yourself what sort of dollars they were making directly or indirectly for switching suits. Ask what their endorsement did for that particular suit company?

A pair of briefs or jammers is not a viable business model

What is the difference between a $30 pair of jammers from TYR or Speedo versus a $14.95 pair of jammers from Club Swim or Aquatica? The answer is obviously nothing since all of the above are made from 80% Polyester & 20% Lycra fabric blend.

Gross profits for swimsuit manufacturers will be cut in half or more. A $30 product purchased 3-or-4 times a year; (you mileage may vary), cannot match in gross income a $350 tech-suit purchased once-or-twice a year by colleges, athletes and age groupers.

Consequently, manufacturers will have to provide at least five other lifestyle and equipment products which will not produce the sort of revenue that a tech-suit can generate. (For instance: how often do you buy a swim bag or a parka? I trust not once or twice a year?

Swimming is not chess, but it will become as "popular" as chess if it does not continue to evolve technologically along with other successful sports.

When I was a kid the daily paper would print these chess board situations in a specific portion of the paper like they were a daily "war room map" during WW II. Those who were interested in chess would stare at these "war puzzles" and make notes, perhaps open a book and try to solve them and the next day the answer would be posted. The L.A. Times, nor the does The New York Times do that anymore for chess has become irrelevant.

If you compare swimming to triathlons,
cycling, running, baseball, basketball, golf, hockey, on ad infinitum, these sports have evolved faster and more progressively than swimming has and to keep our sport from becoming chess-like, swimming has to evolve just as fast!

Is swimming really growing?

They use to make movies about synchronized swimming, they threw a ticker-tape parade for a swimmer named,
Gertrude Caroline Ederle, who swam the English Channel. They made movie stars out of swimmers as well such as Johnny Weismuller, Esther Williams, Annette Kellerman.

The photo above of Speedo's groovy new Flipturns are on sale now! However there is always Splish is you really want something "outloud."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The 'Liffey Swim' in Dublin, Ireland, looks really fun!

Look how polite everybody is during the start! I prefer chaos, adrenaline, and churning water! It makes you feel alive!

'Clif Bar' tip of the week: How to train for an open water swim start!

This Clif Bar commercial takes the time to illustrate how one should prepare for an aggressive open water swim start.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More details on the recent death of Mr. Richard Harley at the 'Brooklyn Bridge Swim'

Within 200 yards or 3-minutes into the swim, Richard Harley, was in trouble. The kayak staff and a rescue team which included a fellow competitor began assisting him almost right away. Within the hour he passed away

Richard Harley was not a slow swimmer either, the Brooklyn Bridge Swim demands that you qualify yourself with race times and so he did.

From Newsday:

More than 400 people registered for Saturday's event and 13 were turned away because they did not have proper documentation, Berger said.

This was the first time Harley had entered an NYC Swim event, Berger said. According to documents he provided, he had a personal best of 22:04 for a one-mile swim and had been recently certified in a pool in which he finished a 3,300-meter swim in 54 minutes - equivalent to 27 minutes a mile.


Off the coast of Singapore lies a 'parking lot' of 'ghost ships' twice the size of both the British and American navies!

This Daily Mail article is creepy on so many levels: Imagine rows and rows of empty container ships, oil tankers, and possibly cruise ships simply floating idle in some forgotten sea and no one knows for how long.

Will this stretch of coastline become the "La Brea Tar Pits" of fictitious wealth and capitalism? Will they all rust away because the cost of scrapping them is more than letting them rust?

From the Daily Mail:

"... The world's ship owners and government economists would prefer you not see this symbol of the depths of the plague still crippling the world's economies ..."

"... This is the time of year when everyone is doing all the Christmas stuff,' he points out.

'A couple of years ago those ships would have been steaming back and forth, going at full speed. But now you've got something like 12 per cent of the world's container ships doing nothing ...."


In summary, this article truly illustrates that this is indeed your grandfathers' Great Depression.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Tech suits will be allowed in open water races - Watch that segment of our sport grow!

I smell a bit of rationality emanating from the FINA "ivory towers."

From a bluesevety press release:

Swimming record breaker welcomes FINA suit news

Swimmers, including Channel World Record holder Petar Stoychev, have welcomed news that body suits will be allowed in open water events next year. Stoychev holds a key position on the FINA athletes commission and is calling on the world governing body to secure the safety of athletes and development of the sport by ensuring that technical body suits remain in the sport for the future.

Body suits, such as the blueseventy Nero 10k, have been outlawed for pool swimming, but FINA has confirmed that the same rules will not apply to open water swimming.

The FINA press office said: “The new rules relating to swimwear do not apply to open water. They apply to swimming.” However, the types of fabrics to be permitted are yet to be determined.

Stoychev commented: “At every technical meeting prior to a race FINA officials aways say that the health of the swimmers is the most important thing. Full body suits protect the skin from sunburn and dangerous jellyfish. I was hospitalized after a sting in China in 2002 and it is much safer when the skin is covered by a suit.”

“There are no world records in open water. We don’t race against time, just against each other, so there are not the same considerations as in the pool. I agree that Channel swimming is different, it’s right that technical suits are not allowed, but we need them on other races for the future of the sport.”

Introduced to the Olympics for the first time in Beijing, open water swimming has seen a massive boom in popularity since. However, for the sport to progress the use of bodysuits and wetsuits is paramount.

Stoychev also feels strongly that commercial involvement in the sport is vital. He said: “Our sport was in the Olympics for the first time in Beijing and I feel it’s important that we have more opportunities for commercial involvement in order to progress. It is nice to have companies like blueseventy produce suits specifically for open water.”

The Nero 10k suit is a specific open water suit, and was worn by Olympic Champion, Maarten vd Weijden in Beijing last year and by medal winners in World Championships in Rome.

Van der Weijden commented: “The swimwear debate is particularly poignant at age group level, where the sport needs to attract novices. And at elite level races vary in terms of temperature as well as actual water conditions, I’m pleased this is being taken into account rather than just apply the same rules that apply for the pool.”

With events such as this weekend’s Great North Swim attracting thousands of competitors, swimming has a fantastic opportunity to increase participation and interest in the sport. Access to technical swimwear, and wetsuits for beginners, can only help ensure that more people feel confident to dive in to open water.

Steve Nicholls from blueseventy commented: “We are pleased that body suits will remain in the sport of open water swimming. It’s the right move to bring even greater numbers to open water swimming and increase overall participation in swimming.”

A 59-year-old swimmer dies during the New York 'Brooklyn Bridge Swim'

A very sad story from the New York Daily News about a swimmer who died during the Brooklyn Bridge swim last weekend:

"... Solon said his uncle, who was born in Brooklyn but lived in San Francisco, swam two hours a day and was in great shape.

"It's shocking," he said. Police said Baglione's quick thinking gave the doomed swimmer a fighting chance.

"She did a great job," a police source at the scene said while a shivering [Melody] Baglione stood nearby, wrapped in a towel.

"She performed CPR and everything. It was heroic."


There was once a Mt. Everest Climber that succumbed to altitude issues and though alive other climbers passed him on the way up and the way down from the summit because the amount of effort and shared oxygen to save the climber could have possibly led to their own demise. Wimps!

His name was David Sharp and here was the report: [Link]

When I read that I was outraged and Jamie was nearby and said it best, "I would rather say I rescued someone off of Mount Everest rather than say I climbed it!"

I think what Melody Baglione did was not just a heroic effort but a courageous and compassionate one as well.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Federica Pellegrini is tracking almost as high as Angelina Jolie in Google searches in Italy!

Since the 2009 FINA World Championships, Federica Pellegrini, is tracking almost as high as Angelina Jolie in Google searches in most Italian regions. In some cities, such as Naples, she is tracking equal or higher. Jennifer Aniston can't touch either of them. [Google trends is my source]

The First photo is Federica Pellegrini at the Venice Film Festival with her friend Luca Marin.

Photo source: M& [Link]

In the next photo and to the left is the current Italian President, Silvio Berlusconi, making an ass of himself overly "eyeballing" Federica Pellegrini as he greeted her at a gathering of "young supporters in Rome." The guy is actually well liked in Italy despite scandal and a challenged economy.

I swear, I think 80% of politics is making up a good story.

Silvio Berlusconi just can't help himself, can he? Most politicians mired in a sex scandal might keep a low profile and not give the enemy any further ammunition. But not the Italian prime minister, who is never far away from trouble when it comes to women.


These two photos presented certainly demonstrate how much power and prestige swimming has in the Italian universe. The French and the Australians are treated in this fashion as well. I suggest American pros spend more time racing where they are appreciated and learning the languages where they are admired as well.

Imagine, Jason Lezak, trash talking Alain Bernard, Amauary Leveaux, Frederick Bousquet, and Fabien Gilot in French and challenging them to a pay-for-view meet with all the strokes on neutral ground at the Montreal Olympic Pool in French Canada? The French would be all over it like an Italian President on a "party goer!"

I could dip my keyboard in poison and be Lezak's writer; of course Maly would have to help me translate and obviously I would not mean any of it...

I kid you not. This is the stuff American swimming needs.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

'Alice in Wonderland' photo-illustrated underwater by Elena Kalis!

My favorite book and my favorite subject matter merged together by Elena Kalis.

In the photo above Alice is poking her head through the looking glass into the alternate reality of 'Wonderland.'

Interviewed by Apostolos Mitsios for Elena reveals her inspiration for such an ambitious project.

Which are the main difficulties you come up as far as working under water is concerned?

Nothing is working the same way as in the ground. It's like you are in another dimension. But this is why it is so interesting…

What is that people find so amazing about the Alice in Wonderland story and how did you decide to create your own version?

Alice in Wonderland is timeless. It’s open to interpretations and it's up to you to make them. I decided to make it for a few reasons: this is my all time favorite book, my daughter Sacha is the same age as Alice (10) and very good at modeling underwater and, finally, the story itself seems like from some lucid different place...(underwater perhaps ?)


Originally spotted at

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The 'Ligue Europeenne de Natation' is having a photo contest and we are all invited to vote!

The Ligue Europeenne de Natation (LEN) is summarily the "swimming overlord" of European swimming. Their country list also includes Israel, Iceland, Turkey and more.

LEN is having a photo contest and the people that visit their site get to vote on which photo they like best. I posted my favorite above this post.

Here is the gallery: [Link]

Monday, September 07, 2009

Though retired, Erik Vendt, swims for fun and has some great advice for open water racers!

Next Week, Erik Vendt, will compete in the, Tiburon Mile, an open water race that swims directly below the Golden Gate Bridge. Though retired, it's great to know that Vendt swims for fun.

From the Marin Independent Journal:

Vendt, who signed his international swimming retirement papers earlier this year, says he is no longer in shape to seriously compete with the top-notch swimmers Placak has lined up for this year's race. But now he knows the winning strategy.

"Follow the leader and wait for your chance," he said. "I learned that the hard way."

It was just the start of Vendt's education on the Tiburon shores - the place where his competitive past met his successful future.


The paper also discusses Erik Vendt's post Olympic life and the history he has with the Tiburon Mile people.

For videos, photographs and general event information check out their site: [Link]

I have to add this, with his longer hair and beard, don't you think he looks like a pirate? Harrrr!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Contrast these pools to the 'Chicago Olympics 2016' plan for a temp pool

The Foro Italico: originally "... built between 1928 and 1938 as the Foro Mussolini under the design of Enrico Del Debbio and, later, Luigi Moretti. ..." It was modified for the 1960 Olympics with an outdoor pool and later remodeled again for the 2009 FINA World Championship which may perhaps be the most significant FINA World Championships ever held.

"... Inspired by the Roman forums of the imperial age; it's design is lauded as a pre-eminent masterpiece of Italian Fascist architecture instituted by Benito Mussolini. ..."

Photo Attribution: Posted to Flickr by antmoose and can be seen here [Link]

Yoyogi National Gymnasium Tokyo 1964: [The Complex] "...was designed by Kenzo Tange and built between 1961 and 1964 to house swimming and diving events in the 1964 Summer Olympics. The design inspired Frei Otto's arena designs for the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich.

The arena holds 13,291 people (9,079 stand seats, 4,124 arena seats and 88 "royal box" seats) and is now primarily used for ice hockey and basketball.

In October 1997, the NHL opened its season at the arena with the Vancouver Canucks taking on the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in two matches. The following season the San Jose Sharks played the Calgary Flames in two games also to open the 1998–99 NHL season.

Photo attribution: kanegen's photostream & Joe Jones' photostream
at Flickr.

The Olympia Schwimmhalle: is an aquatics centre located in the Olympiapark in Munich, Germany. It hosted the Swimming, Diving, and Water Polo events at the 1972 Summer Olympics. At the 1972 Olympics, the stadium had a 9000-seat capacity which was reduced to 1,500 soon after. During the 1972 Olympics, the Olympic Records in all 29 Olympic swimming events were broken as well as the World Records in 20 events. -- [citation needed - Wikipedia]

The Schwimmhalle is unique for its roof construction which is a lightweight stressed-skin structure. This curved structure bears loads through tension only, not compression. The double curvature in the roof design is what provides support which is further stablized through pretensioned guy wires.

Olympic Park
built for the 1972 Olympics: "... The concept of a "green Olympic Games" was chosen, and so too was the orientation toward the ideals of democracy. Officials sought to integrate optimism toward the future with a positive attitude toward technology, and in so doing set aside memories of the past, such as the Olympic Games of 1936 in Berlin. -- Source Wikipedia

The Montreal Olympic Pool was constructed for the 1976 Summer Olympics as part of the Montreal Olympic Park. The olympic pool is part of the larger swimming centre, located in the base of the inclined tower. The centre has a spectator capacity of 3,012 seats.

At the 1976 Olympics, the venue hosted swimming, diving, and water polo. It had a capacity of 10,000 seats at the time (6,988 temporary seats were installed).

The building was designed by French architect Roger Taillibert, who also designed the Olympic Stadium and Olympic Village. -- [Source Wikipedia]

Photo source:

Central Lenin Stadium it was called and it is an aquatics center that is part of the Luzhniki Sports Complex in Moscow, Russia. It was opened in 1957 and renovated in 1980. The 10,500-seat venue hosted Water Polo events at the 1980 Summer Olympics. It also hosted events of the 1973 Summer Universiade, 15th World Festival of Youth and Students, 1986 Goodwill Games, Spartakiads of the Peoples of the USSR and others. --[Source Wikipedia]

The center will be updated

Photo source: Arsengeodakov

Jamsil Indoor Swimming Pool
is an aquatics venue located in Seoul, South Korea. It hosted the swimming, diving, and water polo events at the 1988 Summer Olympics.

Source: '자작' [Wikipedia]

The Athens Olympic Aquatic Centre is a complex at the Athens Olympic Sports Complex, consisting of two outdoor pools and one indoor pool, that was built for the 1991 Mediterranean Games. It was refurbished and expanded for the 2004 Summer Olympics. The larger of the outdoor pools, which seats 11,500 spectators, hosted swimming and water polo events. The smaller pool, which hosted synchronized swimming, sat 5,300 fans. The indoor pool, which hosted the diving events, sat 6,200 observers.

The outdoor pool was the subject of significant controversy during the run-up to the Olympic games. A roof was planned that would have shielded the swimmers from the blazing Athens sun. This feature was later scrapped, leaving the athletes and most of the fans without shade during the events; however, during the course of the games, no athletes made major complaints regarding the facility, nor was there any mention of the lack of a roof affecting athletes' performances[citation needed] - in fact, many Olympic and world records were broken and/or set in this FINA-approved, world-class venue.

Photo of the Athens Olympic Aquatic Centre taken from the stands by Prisonblues

The Beijing Aquatics Center (Water Cube) hosted the Swimming, Diving and Synchronized Swimming events during the Olympics. Water Polo was originally planned to be hosted in the venue but was moved to the Ying Tung Natatorium.

Many people believe Water Cube to be the fastest Olympic pool[10] in the world. It is 1 meter deeper than most Olympic pools. Up to a certain limit, beyond which swimmers will lose their sense of vision, deeper pools allow the waves to dissipate down to the bottom, leading to less water disturbance to the swimmers. The pool also has perforated gutters on both sides to absorb the waves.

With the popularity of the newly introduced faster Speedo LZR Racer swim suit, the Aquatics Center saw 25 world records broken in the Beijing Olympics[3].

Since June 20, 2009 the Watercube has been open to the public on certain days of the week. It is also used for sound and light shows and during the summer of 2009 was turned into a ballet theater for a production of Swan Lake. The building's popularity has spawned many copycat structures throughout China.

Indoor photo attribution: Jmex60 from Wikipedia Creative Commons. Exterior photo attribution Charlie fong from Wikipedia Creative Commons

I am going to add more to this post.

I want to make to make it clear, that what a culture leaves behind is more important than the memories or the news reports. If Chicago is granted approval for the 2016 Games, there will be be little to no legacy left behind to add gravitas to the Olympic ideal.

The idea that the USOC supports a "frugal" Olympics is a clear and absolute indication that it views them solely as a profit opportunity. The Olympics should transcend that idea

I will finish this post soon and I will include more glorious stadiums that pay homage to the Olympic ideal.

'Arena' captures the real Loch Ness Monster in this ad

For a larger viewing size go to here: [Link]

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Open Letter to Rob Butcher, Chairman of the United States Masters Swimming.

Congratulations on a great year.

You have done such a wonderful job growing our sport and your successes have been numerous: The Southern Pacific Masters Association now has 4,000-plus members. Rowdy Gaines is back in the water as a sponsored swimmer for blueseventy, electronic entries via Club Assistant have made meet sign-up both painless and simple, USMS regional meets and championship meets have seen some incredible and electrifying world record swims and all of the above has happened under your watch.

It has been a terrific time to be a member of the USMS; have we ever seen such a stellar year?

It’s now September and soon you have to walk into the Lion’s den and make a recommendation to FINA Masters Swimming regarding the acceptance or the rejection of tech-suits.

From those bloggers and coaches I have talked with, the general consensus is that half of the masters swimmers are pro tech-suits, and the other misguided, ill informed, and cranky half are purists. (I had to put that joke in to let you know where I stand.)

My recommendation is that you ignore all the emotional arguments from both sides and some how produce a recommendation that will augment all that has been accomplished in 2009. That you produce a recommendation that acknowledges both the needs-and-wants of the purist and still satisfy the pro-technology swimmers and thereby keep our sport growing.

There are many variations for compromise – They could include SCY meets, mixed relays and other swims FINA refuses to acknowledge but I must stress, what really matters is that the USMS remain fun and exciting and whatever recommendation the USMS renders, it will be the membership numbers that determined whether the USMS rendered a good decision or a bad one.

In closing, I think it is time for a selective membership survey. A survey that interviews those USMS members that compete and asked thorough questions so as to get a grasp of the consequences of denying tech-suits or full acceptance. The consequences of guessing could have a devastating effect on our membership rolls.

For instance, some sample questions could be: "Would you as a competitor continue to swim in USMS swim meets if tech-suits were allowed? "Would you as a competitor avoid USMS swim meets all together if tech-suits were allowed?

These sort of questions need to be asked.

'Alcatraz Sharfest Swim' as filmed by 'Team Hydro!'

I was sent this YouTube this morning by a friend of mine who recognized me. I don't how they did, I look like a penguin like everybody else

Every year, 1,000 San Francisco swimmers participate in SHARKFEST: Escape from the Rock. They take a ferry to Alcatraz, jump off and then race back to shore. The water is cold and full of sharks and sea lions...but amazingly everyone makes it back to shore!

This is the story of Team Hydro, a group who swims Sharkfest to raise money for the non-profit Hydrocephalus Association - a relatively unknown disease that affects over one million Americans.


Ironically enough I am actually in the video doing butterfly at the 11-second mark. When I jump off the boat the water is so cold and hurts so bad I do butterflyfly so my face goes in the water for the fast shock and then out of the water till I finally get use to it.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

'Washington Post' swim blog: '' has entered the building!

Amy Shipley of the Washington Post has a swim blog called and I promise you I will be checking it often.

The blog has a lot of smart content and even today; when most swim news sites and blogs had very little to talk about, she broke this story regarding FINA who may compromise and flip-flop once again on tech-suits.

From Reach For The Wall:

Just weeks after adopting new rules designed to end the controversy over high-tech, full-body suits, the world swimming governing body (FINA) is having second thoughts and considering tinkering with its swimwear regulations as early as January, several U.S and international officials said.

Since FINA decided in late July to allow only waist-to-knee textile suits for men and neck-to-knee textile suits for women, the governing body has been under pressure to make men’s and women’s swimsuits equal in size, the officials said.


Her content is smart and timely, and I am going to add Reach For The Wall in my links column. Visit it often!

Oh YESes! - Garrett McCaffrey will be doing work for Swimming World

From Swimming World:

PHOENIX, Arizona, September 1. SWIMMING World is proud to announce two additions to its staff. Garrett McCaffrey has joined the SwimmingWorld.TV team as its producer, while Denton Taylor is the new advertising/promotion coordinator for Swimming World.

McCaffrey, the man whose grass roots approach to event coverage of swimming revolutionized online media within the sport, joins SwimmingWorld.TV as its top content producer.


Swimming World made a good hire. This magazine will soar to epic proportions!

'The Daily Mail' has an article and photo gallery about filming models and actors underwater at 'Pinewood Studios'

From The Daily Mail:

"...Underwater photos from some of Pinewood Studios' most famous films are to go on display for the first time.

The photographs offer a rare glimpse into life behind the scenes at the studio's world famous underwater stage.

They feature stars such as Keira Knightley, Myleene Klass, Sharon Stone and Matt Lucas, who have all swum in the giant tank.