Thursday, October 29, 2009

Racial "identity" and swimming?

Red, hot, rhetoric that should either be explored by USA Swimming to see if it has merit or whether it should be shouted down. I don't pretend to know the answer; I just want all ethnic communities to go swimming:

From the
"...The reasons few black Americans become involved in swimming or even learn how to swim are many. Louis Makarowski, a sports psychiatrist who earned a degree from Iowa University, said the breakdown of black families.

"The greatest contributor to crime and economic inequality has been the break up of African-American families," said Makarowski, who has an office in Pensacola. "Swimming is an elite sport. To be involved on a team as a swimmer or to learn how to swim can be expensive."

Makarowski also credited racial identity has a key issue that keeps black Americans from becoming swimmers.

"One issue is racial identity regarding sports and recreation," Makarowski said. "To be authentically black, many African Americans feel they need to play basketball, football or baseball."


Coralie Balmy Profile & Swim Footage

RobAquatics Advisory: Why swimming is better than running!

Not for the faint of heart. What is surprising is that all of these wounds to the chest were ultimately self inflicted.

Seriously, they were all self inflicted.

Why this catalog of Darwin award candidates never realized that it would be a good idea to take off you shirt when things go untoward astonishes me:

Of all the rewards one could get for running a marathon, bleeding nipples is the last one I would want! Not to say that swimming has never put holes in me (you may remember the gnarly hole I rubbed in my neck during the Pacific Challenge 5k), but I've never had to deal with the indignity of looking like the guy above.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Britta Stefen is in my estimation Germany's most exciting swimmer!

Swim profile by WorldSport.TV

The "Duel in the Pool" will be a very one-sided meet!

The 2009 Mutual of Omaha Duel in the Pool will not be is a FINA sanctioned event therefore world records will not count if broken. Which style of suits the athletes can wear is still up in the air too. Ryan Lochte may wear a LZR whereas Phelps has declared he will don a pair of Jammers.

However, if a swimmer does set a WR, tech-suit or not, the record will not be recorded but they will get an anemic $15,000 for their efforts. Unfortunately realty TV stars make more than that in a day. (MTV reality show participant, Heidi Montag, makes $100,000 a week.) Perhaps swimmers should unionize for these sort of meets?

The bad news:

Germany is not sending their best: Paul Biedermann and Britta Steffen will not be attending according to the Times Online.

Italy will not be sending Federica Pellegrini

France is not competing so there will be no Bousquet, Leveaux, Bernard, Coralie Balmy.

Australia is not invited so there will be no Eamon Sullivan, Stephanie Rice, Geoff Huegill, et al.

The spectacle, as fun as it will be to watch on a HDTV, will ultimately be a clinic for both Speedo and USA Swimming. Ironically tech-suits circa 2008 may be the best part.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

..."But how good is that 5-year-old kid's butterfly?"

Stormin' the butterfly at 5-years-of-age in Irvine, California in just under 20-seconds.

USA Swimming should get him on the payroll now and support both his coaches and parents!!!

National Public Radio: USOC Under Fire For Olympic-Sized Missteps!

The article is filled with "finger pointing" and references as to how important the business end is in regards to running the not-for-profit USOC.

Abject anger over the USA losing the Chicago 2016 Games is rampant!

The only person who put up a rational statement was Skip Gilbert of USA Triathlon who put the focus on the athletes rather than the money."

From NPR:

"Sports is not rocket science," adds Logan. "But by the same token, it is a business in and of itself that has got its own set of relationships, which are rather unique. And to fill both of those jobs by individuals who have no knowledge or experience with sports — that's got to be rethought."

The U.S. Olympians Association, which represents 6,000 current and former American Olympic athletes, has similar concerns.

"They have a great understanding of how a corporation should be run, but unfortunately that is not what we have here," says Willie Banks, a former Olympic and world champion triple jumper who runs the U.S. Olympians Association. "The understanding that they lack is that this is a public trust. We don't sell anything. We raise money to put a team out on the field of play during the Olympic Games."


The overall tone of the article makes me think that individual fortunes must have been lost by Chicago failing to capture the 2016 Games!

NGB presidents are calling for the head of the current CEO of the USOC to be severed and place on a pike and readily displayed outside the USOC headquarters next to those tacky statues.

Most of them are griping about BUSINESS, BUSINESS, BUSINESS. Whereas one lone voice, Skip Gilbert, is crying: ATHLETES, ATHLETES, ATHLETES!

I have a feeling that the inner workings of our non-profit National Governing Bodies; (Save for USA Triathlon), would greatly disturb us.

The photo above is of the USOC headquarters and are those statues really cheesy or what?

Rob has posted some beautiful open-water swim shots of central California at his blog!

Look at that wake behind them, they must be really moving!

Central California has got to be one of the prettiest locations in California and Rob, of RobAquatics, has posted some pictures of he and a friend doing a open water swim at Avila Bay.

The photos are glorious and very "Zen." I always wonder if central California is America's version of the south of France?


'Sydney Morning Herald' article: Murray Rose rants against FINA and tech-suits but offers a novel solution!

Though an eleven-paragraph, tech-suit, rant that suggests potential boycotts, hurls insults at FINA, and associates tech-suits with East Germans, the final paragraph offers a "suitable solution" which FINA should consider:

From the

''What you have to do then is draw the line and decide if it's going to be a technology-based sport or it isn't. Or, you could say there will be two sports, with two sets of records and two codes.''


That comment has pro-league written all over it. Perhaps FINA... Hmmmm.

About Murray Rose: Rose is a two-time Olympian with 3-gold medals in Melbourne 1956 in the 400-meter, 1500-meter and the 4x200 meter relay. In Tokyo four-years later he scored a gold, silver and a bronze in the same events.

He is the patron of the Australian charity The Rainbow Club which teaches disabled children how to swim.

Best of all, he swam for the University of Southern California here in Los Angeles.

The above illustration of Murray Rose was a Sports Illustrated cover from 1961 and can been seen here at the SI Vault: [Link]

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Michael Phelps could not do this at 5-years-old!

He is the boy closest to the camera and does a beautiful dolphin kick for 15-meters underwater completing his 25-yard sprint in about 22-seconds.

Giant swim puppet for a Liverpool, England parade.

Swimmer from Thingumajig Theatre on Vimeo.

Jim Clarke is a local hero in Liverpool, England. Thingumajig Theatre artists for the Liverpool Lantern Company created this animated puppet for a local parade.

Lewis Gordon Plugh: The Michael Phelps of the Antarctic circle!

In this video, Plugh, makes it look so easy till you see the mist frosting the rubber on the Zodiac chase boats and his support staff dressed up like kodiak bears to keep warm.

I take longer to jump into the pool at Santa Monica then he does walking into water that is a degree-or-two away from being a solid mass.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Rowdy Gaines in and around the pool with 'Team Blu Frog' and friends!

Call dopers out by name not country!

In the United States it is an understood fact that sports such as football, baseball, wrestling, cycling, multiple martial arts, and many others are rife with dope.There is probably more professional sports doping going on in the United States than any other county on earth. I can even name even two actors that got caught with steroids.

Perhaps in China the message boards are shouting "the Americans are doping again."

We call out our dopers by individual names, we should do the same for international athletes

Link to book: [Link]

I just bought a 'bluseventy nero comp'

It's my "nuclear weapon" for 2009 SPMA SCM Championships in December and beyond!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The '13th FINA World Championships' in Rome was the most successful FINA event ever!

Despite a published report without a reference to a source, it was stated that the supposed "shiny suits" revenue pouring back into the sport did nothing to enhance this past FINA World Championships. This statement was easy to disprove.

According to the FINA site, the games were a stunning success for FINA and had more participants competing than any other FINA championship.

Participation generally means sponsorship and sponsored they were. About 16% more athletes attended than they did in Australia. In two years we will have our answer as to the impact of tech suits on our sport and and I suspect anemic growth.

From the FINA website:

With 10 days for the start of the 13th FINA World Championships, to be held in Rome (ITA) from July 17-August 2, 2009 it is confirmed that this edition of the competition will be highlighted by a record of participation.

According to the last figures received, 2556 athletes from 185 countries will be present at the Foro Italico venue (facilities for Swimming, Diving, Water Polo and Synchronised Swimming) and Ostia Beach (Open Water Swimming).

By disciplines, the numbers are the following:
- SWIMMING – 1470 athletes from 164 countries

- DIVING – 200 athletes from 43 countries

- WATER POLO – 416 athletes from 21 countries

- SYNCHRONISED SWIMMING – 269 athletes from 41 countries

- OPEN WATER SWIMMING – 152 athletes from 39 countries
The previous record of participation was established in the previous edition of these championships, in 2007 in Melbourne (AUS). In Australia, 2158 athletes from 167 nations took part in the competition.

Very nicely done to both FINA & Italy!

WaterCube: The National Aquatics Center to undergo renovations!

The Munich Olympic Pool underwent renovations with spectacular results so China may do this right. However, what concerns me is the paragraph that sates that they intend to include revenue generating facilities within the structure. That to me says "theme park" which, according to my personal morals, cheapens the structure enormously.


BEIJING, Oct. 12 -- The National Aquatics Center, better known as the Water Cube, will undergo a closed-door facelift over the next few months to build a number of recreational amenities for the public, including a 10,000-square-meter water playground.


The renovation, which starts this Thursday and will last until June next year, would comprise the removal of approximately 10,000 temporary seats and stands installed during the Olympics.

"The needs of the public calling for exercise on normal days will be met without sacrificing the stadium's function as a host of sporting events since there will still be 6,000 permanent seats," said a staff member surnamed Cai from the center's publicity department.

She also said the company is looking into constructing new facilities in the Cube that will only be accessible with added fees in an effort to generate revenue. The price of admission to the center, 50 yuan (7.32 U.S. dollars), will remain unchanged.


b70 bundle: helix wetsuit, nero comp tech suit, goggles, backpack and more!

For the price of a wetsuit blueseventy is offering a bundle of four high-end swim products which probably is a $1,500 value by my guesstimation.

From the blueseventy web store:

a helix, a nero comp long leg, a nero jammer, a nero bag and two pair of rzr goggles!! specify goggle color & suit sizes in notes field during checkout.

note you can call and request a nero knee skin (subject to stock) instead of long leg. Also the jammer is not in the picutre but is in the bundle.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Natalie Coughlin picks up a new sponsor: California Dried Plums!

Dara has pistachios and Natalie "got plum!" When the video comes out I will post it.

Here is the press release:

SACRAMENTO, Calif.--(Business Wire)--
Natalie Coughlin, Olympic gold medalist and World Champion swimmer, is the new California Dried Plum Board spokesperson.

In her role as spokesperson, Coughlin, an advocate of healthy eating and lifestyle choices, has created new recipes featuring California Dried Plums. Considered to be one of the world`s best athletes, she also possesses a passion for cooking and has participated in a series of cooking and other promotional videos for the California Dried Plum Board.

"California Dried Plums are one of my favorite healthy snacks. I sometimes nibble on them like candy and I recommend dried plums to my family, friends, teammates and coaches," says Coughlin. "They`re also a versatile flavor accent that can enhance both sweet and savory dishes."


"Natalie is a passionate foodie with an enthusiasm for healthy cooking and eating. We were thrilled to learn that she loves California Dried Plums and appreciates their many benefits as a super-fruit and nutrient-dense powerhouse," says Rich Peterson, executive director of the CDPB.

About Natalie Coughlin

Coughlin, who is represented by Octagon, is the most decorated female athlete of both the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and 2004 Athens Olympic Games. Coughlin has won a medal in every single Olympic event that she has ever entered, for a total of 11 Olympic medals.

In 2008, she became the first American female athlete to win six medals in one Olympiad, in addition to becoming the first woman to win consecutive individual Olympic gold medals in the 100m backstroke. She is also the most decorated female swimmer in World Championship history, with 16 medals.

Coughlin, who is currently a cast member of season nine of ABC`s Dancing with the Stars, is active in social media through Facebook and Twitter that can be accessed through her web site, Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Coughlin attended the University of California, Berkeley, where she earned a BA in psychology in 2005.



'Heliosphere Projections' at the April 2008 Fina World Championships in Manchester, England!

Heliosphere Projections from Knifedge on Vimeo.

What a way to open up a swim meet! The description from

This a film of projections that Knifedge created for the FINA World Swimming Championships opening ceremony in Manchester in April 2008. The brief was to create the illusion of events occurring within the 7m diameter helium balloon. This would then feel like the total show but when the second section of the show commences, when the balloons take off, it created an audible intake of breath from the entire audience. The heliosphere performance is the creation of our great friends, The Dream Engine.


Here is a link to The Dream Engine Website in the UK: [Link]

Awesome swim footage: Job Hall, Creative Director of 'TYR' quietly released this to 'Vimeo' 23-hours ago!

TYR World Champhionships from Job Hall on Vimeo.

Titled, TYR World Championships, It's very nice - fine editing too.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Final thoughts on the FINA World Cup in Durban 2009!

Short course meters venue: In my opinion, short course meters racing is the most entertaining way to watch a swim race. Long course becomes to repetitive for the field of swimmers separates to quickly especially during longer events and short course yards mostly takes place underwater.

SCM seemingly has more balance. The distance is long enough so you can appreciate the stroke, the walls are there to keep the race close and even the dive has greater significance.

Peter Marshall is unstoppable when he has walls: He set multiple world records in the 50-back last until being trumped by Randall Bal but now he sets a new one.

Swimsuits: It's all Adidas and Arena. Even Peter Marshall, who was not allowed to wear TYR's possible equal to both of these brands still wore a TYR cap but I believe he wore an Adidas.

Therese Alshammar eyes: Those blue/green eyes depending on the lighting are either perfectly symmetrical or she wears makeup for each race. Even in a pixelated video at Universal Sports the blueness or her eyes overwhelms even the teal color of the water.

Jessica Hardy: Hell-fast!

Tech suits: I enjoyed every second of them. The technology, the speed, the growth they created for swimming.

There is a new "Lochte" in town! - Meet Devon Lochte!

ESPN has a profile on the newest Lochte sibling to attack the water. What I found moving is that he got a tattoo of his Grandfather's name on his arm in black script for teaching hisFather everything h knows about swimming. That tells me they are a tight family and that is very admirable.

From ESPN:

A typical day involves waking up at 5:30 a.m. to make it to 6 a.m. practice. After swimming for two hours, Lochte goes to class. He's back to the pool at 2 p.m. for a second practice, which leads into lifting weights at 4:30 p.m. Meanwhile, he's eating carbohydrates and proteins every three to four hours.

Although Devon has significantly less experience in the pool than most college swimmers, Florida coach Gregg Troy -- who also coached Ryan -- sees potential.

"He's got some real good physical tools and a nice feel for the water," Troy said of Devon. "I don't want to limit him because he is very raw."

Ryan, who still trains with and helps out the Gators' swimming team, sees how successful Devon can be on a daily basis.

"If he's 110 percent devoted and dedicated and willing to push his body, I think he's going to be better than me," Ryan said. "I've seen it."


The photo comes from his Devon's FaceBook page

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I wrote an editorial for 'Swimming World' "FINA: We have two tribes!"

The "two tribes" metaphor refers to Masters Swimming having two types of swimmers, the elite and recreational. The more "Draconian" the rules for competing become, the fewer swimmers will bother joining or competing.

The photos connected with the article were shot by Mark Savage and feature Erik Hochstein doing a backstroke start and a photo of me gasping for serious O2 during a 200-free.

Here is a snippet from Swimming World:

Then on Sept. 26, Amy Shipley of the Washington Post broke news via source Nancy Ridout declaring that the FINA Masters committee was going to recommend that the same swimsuit rules the FINA Bureau had adopted for international meets should be applied to Masters Swimming worldwide. However, there was a caveat: this decision was only a recommendation and not a ruling. A final ruling would have to be rendered by the FINA Bureau themselves some three months later.

Essentially, the FINA Masters committee "punted."
Within an hour, blogs, message boards, and Facebook pages were on fire with the news; or the lack thereof, summarily stating that nothing had been decided and nothing had been accomplished save for the notion that FINA was being reckless towards the Masters swimming population at large.


Now go "show me" and tear into my opinions

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

'TYR' Founder, Steve Furniss, featured in the 'Wall Street Journal'

I met Mr. Furniss and he is quite a gentleman. One of my high school teachers is part of his extended family.

Here is a short list of his favorite gear that Mr. Furniss uses while swimming. From the Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Furniss wears a 4-inch nylon trainer swimsuit, similar to underwear briefs, which retails for $24. Unless he's testing prototypes, Mr. Furniss believes in paying for his equipment, which he buys at an employee rate. His TYR Racetech goggles retail for $11. The other equipment—the foam pull float, kickboard and plastic hand paddles—are communal at his pool.

A 34-use pass to his community pool costs $80. Monthly membership to the Olympic-size pool he uses on the weekends costs about $100.

His morning exercises, usually performed in pajamas, are free. "Last time I checked, my wife wasn't charging me rent," he says.


I prefer the TYR Metalized Velocity goggles & a TYR silicone cap for days it is windy.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hiroshima and Nagasaki are launching a joint bid for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

From: CBCsports

The Olympics symbolize the abolition of nuclear arms and world peace, and we want to work to realize our plan to host the games," Akiba said.

"Hiroshima's mayor spoke last month in Mexico City, saying he firmly believed the world could abolish nuclear weapons by 2020. He suggested his city and Nagasaki could hold the Games that year to celebrate.

The mayors' announcement comes just over a week after Tokyo lost in its bid for the 2016 Games to Rio de Janeiro.

There is no word yet as to whether Tokyo will try for the Olympics again in 2020. Only one city from each country can bid.

Image of the Hiroshima Gembaku Dome from wikipedia

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Korean Competition swimsuit patterns - Who will be the new number one?

First, I have to commend the Koreans for not being so boring with their swimwear designs and for taking chances.

Though some of these suits are quite "horsey" or a bit "loud" to my cultural tastes, these silkscreen designs technically rival in execution those t-shirt designs by Christian Audigier, Affliction, or whatever trendy t-shirt you see selling on Melrose or Ventura Blvd. these days.

Executing ornate silkscreen apparel designs such as you see to the right, and to make it symmetrical so that it lines up nicely from one edge of the pattern to the other is really hard to do and these companies are apparently very good at it.

The average suit is made of "80/20" as they say in the garment industry. I recently just learned what that means; It is slang for 80%-nylon, 20%-Lycra and it is really cheap to purchase.

The retail price for 80/20 is $8.00 a square meter. It's probably $3.00 a square meter or less if you buy in bulk. (Does somebody know the exact bulk rate?)

This Nylon/Lycra fabric will be the "standard issue" material for competition swimsuits in 2010. In some cases a swimsuit company may treat their jammers or briefs with Teflon but Teflon breaks down in chlorine and the only suits that will benefit from this value added treatment will be the ladies swimsuits since they obviously utilize more surface material then the men.

With the same fabric as a de facto standard, will any suit be faster than any other? I say no! Consequently, I suspect it will price point, the artwork and durability of the suits that will determine who the new leaders will be. Therefore, when it comes to price point, access to Asian garment districts in Cambodia and Vietnam, and the courage to take chances with a silkscreen printer, who is to say that the Koreans are not in the game now?

I think the industry has been turned upside down and shaken violently by FINA and their silly tech-suit regulations. I think there is no swimsuit leader in competitive swimming at the moment. Perhaps that is why Nike is back in the swimsuit business because the market has been sent back in time to 1980?

Ironically enough, it is Speedo that got hurt the most by this upheaval for several reasons: They have no presence in the triathlon world which means no tech-suit offering, wetsuit offering, and other gear. They have lost there technological foothold as well since a mandated pattern and fabric specification has been determined for all by FINA. They are paying a fortune for world class athletes to help them sell swimsuits that cost $30-to-$75 each versus $150-to-$550 for a tech-suit.

The featured suit above and to the right comes from a company called Silverspin who sells their product through [Link]

The USMS sends me an ominous letter foreshadowing the end of tech-suits!

Essentially it says: Please come to our meets and wear tech-suits. Please buy tech-suits from our sponsors; but just so you know, in less than 11-weeks from now you probably won't be able to wear tech-suits at USMS sanctioned events...

From the USMS:
Dear Tony ,

The FINA Masters Committee has recommended that the FINA Bureau, meeting in mid-January, approve its recommendation that Masters swimmers be governed by the same swimsuit rules as the elite pool swimmers. If the Bureau approves the committee's recommendation, it is anticipated it would go into effect after the Bureau meeting. If this recommendation becomes policy with the FINA Bureau, USMS will implement it for our sanctioned swim meets.

For the time being and until the FINA Bureau issues its policy for Masters, the June 1, 2009 ruling that allowed technical suits in USMS swim meets is still in effect. If you choose to compete in a USA Swimming sanctioned meet, you must follow USA Swimming rules. If you would like more information on purchasing technical suits, you may contact your swimsuit dealer or any of the following:

bluesevety, TYR, Speedo, Finis

After reading this letter two more times through, I decided to go for a bike ride at my local bike path.

Dara Torres pimping pistachios!

I am probably the last person to see this, huh?

'Universal Sports' has a swim gallery of the 2009 Kona Ironman!

Here is a direct link to the photo gallery: [Link]

The 2009 Kona Ironman swim start!

When I competed in this race, there were less than 1,000 who showed up, Yesterday there were 1,700. I have never see a race start this intimidating.

Craig Alexander repeats as Kona Ironman but Andy Potts (TYR Sayonara), John Flanagan (TYR Sayonara) and Pete Jacobs (bueseventy) won the swim!

The swim times were a bit slow this year: 49:42.0. I could not swim it that fast but I could have been within 5-minutes of that time. I suspect the swim course may have been unwittingly extended and the athletes swam farther than 2.4-miles

From the Examiner:

Flanagan led Potts, churning through the water like he was fleeing a shark as Potts loped along on his tail, looking relaxed. In the last several hundred meters of the swim, Flanagan decided that he had had enough of Potts swimming on his toes and turned up the heat. Potts fell a body length behind, but ultimately caught up and passed Flanagan to collect the day's swim prime with a time of 49:42. Two minutes later the follow pair emerged and their identities were revealed: Pete Jacobs from Australia and the 20-year-old dark horse Philip Graves who some have compared to a male Chrissie Wellington.


For a larger version of the video here is the YouTube [Link]

Friday, October 09, 2009

The Ironman is tomorrow - to celebrate I found a photo of me wearing one of the first tri-suits!

This photo was taken when Julie Moss, Scott Tinley, Mark Allen were racing. In other words I found it bubbling up in the tar at the famous La Brea Tar Pitts in West L.A.. I think I even raced Ahelee that day as well and I believe she rode a pink bicycle. If it was her and you have to know, she handed me my ass.

This particular race took place in Long Beach along the Belmont Shores and we all cheated and got to draft in a glorious peloton like they do in the Tour de France. It was epic.

I am also wearing one of the first "tri-suits" and look at those real "neato," Saucony shoes. I loved those shoes.

Here s a link to a site TYR put up so you can follow race online:

Tracer Sayonara™ Swimskin Online Giveaway This Weekend

Huntington Beach – TYR prepares for the 2009 Ironman World Championships this Saturday, October 10th with the launch of an exclusive online site,, with pre-race and race day coverage.

The site features biographies, a photo gallery, and live video blogging of TYR’s sponsored triathletes including two-time defending world champion Chrissie Wellington, Ironman 70.3 world champion Andy Potts, and Eagleman Ironman 70.3 champion TJ Tollakson.

In addition, viewers have the opportunity to win a Tracer Sayonara, an elite swimskin made with Titanium alloy to be worn by the top competitors at Kona Ironman World Championships.

Visit for complete details.
Now pay attention and see which tech suit is first out of the water: blueseventy, TYR, and maybe we will see a Jaked?

The US Olympic Committee CEO, Stephanie Streeter, is being forced to resign!

This is how we do business in America: Show me the money or I will show you the door.

As you know the Chicago Olympic games were vetoed by the IOC and subsequently both our President and First Lady were summarily embarrassed after having Chicago rejected during the first round.

Chicago hosting the 2016 Games summarily meant international prestige for both our President and his home town but instead both President Obama and the city of Chicago "came home" looking weaker than when they left.

The governing bodies did not like that.

The other major factor includes NBC paying 2-billion dollars for the Olympic games and this loss just messed with their return on that investment.

The governing bodies did not like that either and neither did NBC.

Compound the loss of revenue with the political embarrassment and you get yourself a a bunch of NGB types forming a posse!

From the Chron:

NBC Universal Sports and Olympics Chairman Dick Ebersol, whose company purchased the rights to the next two Olympics for a record $2 billion, made the first public call for a leadership change hours after Chicago became the second straight U.S. city to finish fourth in the international race for a Summer Games. The International Olympic Committee awarded the 2016 Games to Rio de Janeiro. New York lost its bid for the 2012 Games, which went to London, four years ago.

Ebersol and others have said the USOC's failure to connect with the international sports community and the perceived arrogance of its leadership doomed Chicago's bid. In March, the USOC's board ousted the popular and, from a sporting perspective, successful chief executive Jim Scherr, replacing him with Streeter, who went from a volunteer position on the board to earning a $560,000 salary.

Now the punchline,

[Ebersol] also said candidates for the CEO's job could include Steve Penny, CEO of USA Gymnastics, and Chuck Wielgus, CEO of USA Swimming.


When a network CEO who paid "2-billion large" for the Olympics calls for who should run the USOC, that is a red flag that money is taking precedence over the sport.

So, let me throw in my name to head the USOC: Skip Gilbert of USA Triathlon. Gilbert has experience with three sports, has grown the USAT to 122,000 members and is not beholden to a specific manufacturer like USA Swimming is.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

The 'Telegraph': "Black kids can't swim because black parents can't swim."

Cullen Jones may be our most valuable Olympian. He is the one standing next to Oprah and Michael Phelps. (Photo from Wikipedia.)

From the Telegraph. Scroll to the bottom of the page to read the synopsis:

"...In Friday morning’s Black Men Can’t Swim (Radio 4) Matt Blaize, a non-swimming actor and comedian, attempted to find the true reasons for the dearth of elite black swimmers. He interviewed one, Cullen Jones, an American who, after winning a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics last year, is a living affront to the programme’s titular myth. ..."


"... The pertinent point, Blaize concluded, wasn’t biological; it was cultural. Black parents don’t swim, so black children don’t swim either. ..."


Year-after-year I read about horrific drownings while looking for stories for this blog. Sometimes I get so rattled, especially the stories where families lose a child or a child is rendered near brain dead, that I can't think or blog for some minutes.

I am convinced that the ability to swim should be a mandated skill before the first-or second-grade much like vaccinations are mandated when you go to enroll your child in public school.

The United States, or any country for that matter, would be unstoppable in the pool if our less advantaged populations had more aquatic opportunities.

3d illustration: "Looking out of the tube" - Wallpaper for a small laptop

Here is an abstract illustration made in 2003 called "looking out of the tube." The artwork size is 1024x768 and I made it for a small laptop background.

This was the first draft and though I wish I could find the final one, alas, it has been lost to the four "electron winds."

Karen Gaffney made it! - "...I did this swim to show people what people like me can do..."


Imagine if you can that your IQ has been cut in half; (that is assuming that you have average to above average intelligence.) Imagine that your life expectancy will be on average 1/3-shorter than it should. Imagine that you weigh only 95-pounds, you can't use your left leg for kicking nor can you use it to even run, and finally you're about to jump into Boston Harbor in October for an open water swim to show the world that you can?

31-year-old Karen Gaffney has Down Syndrome and she just swam 5-miles in outrageous conditions. (I myself draw the line at 2.4-miles because I am no Karen Gaffney.)


"The conditions were really difficult," said Elaine Kornbau Howley, one of the open-water swimmers who paced Karen Gaffney. "She's just a really inspiring person."

The swim was a fundraiser for the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress, whose executive director Maureen Gallagher, said, "We want our young people with Down Syndrome to have every opportunity for a full and productive life. And we know they can."


I was interviewed by the 'Wall Street Journal' today!

I got a phone call today from a writer with the Wall Street Journal asking me about my viewpoints on the potential tech suit ban in US Masters Swimming.

One question that came up was what will I do if a tech-suit ban takes effect at the Masters level in January? I replied that I would continue to wear my tech-suit but if I am not able to step up to the blocks and at least get a time before being DQed, I would not compete in the USMS in 2010.

I went on to say that there are open water-events I can do like the Alcatraz Sharkfest, there was the LMU fund-raiser for the womens team, that sprint triathlons had a nice ring to it, and I would even stage my own swim meet. (Something I was going to do at the USMS level through SCAQ but now that it is probably unlikely.)

If I am quoted, I will let you know when it comes out.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

More London 2012 Webcams on Demand!

London Aquatics Center up close web cam: [Link]

Olympic Park looking south to north: [Link]

The Velodrome in progress: [Link]

The web-cams featured above are just a few of many at the London 2012 site. Looking in from time-to-time gives me the sense that London is not simply "phoning it it in" but rather really taking to time to create a meaningful Olympic experience and leave an infrastructure behind that is worthy.

Here is a link to their web-cam page: [Link]

A 'bird cam' captures a flock of albatrosses stalking a pod of killer whales so as to munch on the leftovers!

A "lipstick camera" along with thermal sensors and other "sci-fi stuff" was mounted on the back of an Antarctic albatross and this 'bird cam' captured a unique albatross hunting strategy never before seen.

From Wired Magazine:

Albatrosses often have to fly hundreds of miles in just a few days in order to find their prey, and scientists have long wondered how the birds navigate over a largely featureless ocean. Previous studies suggested the birds might use a combination of scent and vision to guide them, but until now, no one had been able to directly record the behavior of the foraging seabirds.


“One surprising finding was that one of the study birds encountered a killer whale, Ornicus orca, during the course of the trip,” wrote the researchers in a paper published this week in the journal PLoS ONE. “This image showed that the killer whale broke the surface and that three other albatrosses were also apparently following the whale.”


Apparently, Albatrosses are consciousness enough to improvise when they see an apparent or potential opportunity and by doing so saves 100's-of-miles of flight time. Amazing how an albatross that has a brain that is probably the size of a Tylenol caplet can display so much consciousness.

Monday, October 05, 2009

"YOU ARE A SEXY BEAST" the judge shouted - Natalie Coughlin storms the rhumba on Dancing with the Stars!

I just saw Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) tonight with Natalie Coughlin. I am astonished that she is just about as accomplished as any pop star today.

TV Guide did an extensive interview with her and she sounds like she is having a blast.

Coughlin and her partner, Alex Mazo, are now in second place.

From TV Guide: I was wondering if that was maybe a habit from swimming, like, do you count strokes when you swim and now you're counting steps?

Coughlin: No, I don't really count steps. I don't know if that's a good or bad thing, but most dancers count to eight when they're learning. I just sort of do it. That just might be my learning process and I may need to change it. The rumba, it's really strange because it's like, four, one-two-three, four, one-two-three-four. Hopefully I'll get better. And you're breathing, right? That whole intro package was weird because why would you not breathe outside of water?

Coughlin: I know! I'm breathing! It's not that I'm physically not breathing! [Laughs] Alec [Mazo, her partner] says I'm not breathing, but he just means I'm not using my breath to dictate my movement. What he wants are these long inhales and long exhales to dictate, like, a softness in your body. That's what he meant, but you have to oversimplify for a minute-long package.


Steampunk goggles for the descriminating, anti-tech-suit, purist crowd!

For the discriminating purist who believes that tech-suits are too "shiny and fast," that jammers are too "vulgar" and give a swimmer an unfair "hydrophobic advantage," that modern goggles are not painful enough to wear and come in to many "bright, trashy colors," we bring you the Steampunk solid brass goggles (Anatoray Volunteer's widespread design No.2) from Etsy

Product description:

Frames – cut from solid brass using some powertools. Outer diameter of each frame - 52mm, inner diameter 42mm.

Lenses – cut from 4mm thick blood-red transparent perspex using some powertools.

Plates on frames – cut from 0.3mm sheet brass, using cutting machine tool with air compressor.

Flexible strap holders – made from 5mm solid brass trudges. They are VERY hard.

Oculars – cut from 2mm vedge-tanned cow leather, painted in brown.

Padding - cut from 1mm vedge-tanned leather, painted brown. The padding is handsewn to the oculars with waxed polyester shoe thread.

Straps – cut from 3mm chemical-tanned cow leather, painted in brown. The straps are long enough to fit even the most large heads, or worn over aviator caps or cylinder hats and era extremely durable.

Strap buckle and loops – made from 2.5mm brass wire. Buckle is fully handmade, the wire was hammered before forming, for additional hardness. Buckle and loops attached to the straps with tin rivets for leather, with brass covering.

Screws and Nuts – made from solid brass and steel 1\8' in diameter. Of course, they aren’t handmade, but purchased.


Here is an update on the London 2012 pool - This webcam allows you to view the construction of the London Aquatics Center!

[Update] I originally made this post in February 2008...

Either bookmark this post and you will be able to keep up with the construction of the London Aquatics center for the 2012 Olympics or just go to the site and bookmark it.

Found this originally here at who links to

From London2012: "...Progress on the site is well underway with construction starting in July 2008, two months ahead of schedule. During the Games the Aquatics Centre will include a 50m competition pool, a 25m competition Diving pool and a 50m warm-up pool. ..."

See renderings here for the new London Aquatics Centre.

Other venue web-cams: [Link]

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Frank Deford: "Only the IOC still calls itself a movement... It's just NASCAR with accents."

Frank Deford of National Public Radio spoke these words on April 8, 2008; just four months before Beijing. It's extraordinarily strong critique of the IOC for choosing totalitarian governments to host the Olympics all the while draping themselves as a movement rather than a capitalistic endeavor.

The torch relay was conjured up by the Nazis for the 1936 Olympics and then embedded in our dreamy Olympic consciousness by the magnificent gossamer photography of Leni Riefenstahl, Hitler's favorite movie maker. Now, three-quarters of a century later, it has come back as an unexpected curse to haunt another totalitarian government to which the International Olympic Committee has hitched its wagon. [China, who endured numerous torch relay protests.]


Only the IOC still calls itself a movement and gets away with it. Hey, it's no more than an international cartel that puts on a big show every four years. It's just NASCAR with accents. And to tell you the truth, I think the Olympics are yesterday's party. Once upon a time, before globalism and jet airplanes and cyberspace, bringing athletes together quadrennially in one place might have made sense. Today, it's an unnecessary excess. And while insular Americans might not understand this, the World Cup of soccer has become much more important to many more people in the world.


My take: I think it would be very interesting if the IOC hosted each event like it's own "World Cup," or used the world cup as a template for how teams get to the Olympics

Above is a snapshot from an Olympic Torch gallery at the New York Times. I chose the torch as my favorite since it represented my hometown, i.e the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. Click here to see the torches going back as far as 1936:

Frank DeFord is quote a decorated writer. He has nearly a dozen journalistic awards and even an Emmy for his work during the Seoul Olympics. He is a best selling author who has written 15 books, served as chairman of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for seventeen years, until 1999, and remains chairman emeritus.

His resumé is is both formidable and admirable.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

What Tokyo had to offer: These architectural renderings are mind blowing!

The first photo would be the "Tatsumi International Swimming Centre" and I would have been lovin' those curves and lattice work.

The second photo is that of a solar powered Olympic stadium cut into the earth as an amphitheater.

The third photo is the proposed velodrome stadium; a venue the Japanese are very practiced at building.

The third is 'Dream Island Stadium" and I am guessing that it would be for volleyball and perhaps a venue for equestrian events.

You can see more of what could have been at WBBM News Radio 780: [Link]

Friday, October 02, 2009

2016 Olympics: It's not Chicago nor Tokyo! - It's Rio, Baby!

From Reuters:

After decades of underachievement, Latin America's largest country in recent years has finally made good on the immense promise of its abundant natural resources, vibrant democracy and vast consumer market of 190 million people.

Rio's Olympics victory may be the most spectacular sign of Brazil's surging profile under President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the country's first working-class leader who nurtured an economic boom that has lifted millions of people out of poverty and made him one of the world's most popular leaders.

Even the global economic crisis was unable to knock Brazil off its stride for long as the economy swiftly emerged from recession and returned to growth this year.


I want to make it clear, the United States did not deserve the Olympics!

From NPR:

The IOC's last two experiences in the United States were marred by controversy: the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics were sullied by a bribery scandal and logistical problems and a bombing hit the 1996 Games in Atlanta.


Why do cities want the games since they all end up losing money? Answer: International trade! Every city that has hosted an Olympics elevated its international profile on the world stage thereby becoming a more viable trade and export hub for their respective state.

BTW, I get a lot of mail from people telling me I don't like my country. It's ironic becasue i fly my American flag outside my house every day and I even take it in at night. I am currently quite disgusted how my country has been acting for the last decade and I want to get it fixed, unfortunately, it does not look that that is going to happen soon. Hence, my grumpiness towards a USA Olympics.

Competitive Swimmer Karen Gaffney to Complete 8-Mile Swim Next Week - She has Down Syndrome

Karen Gaffney is quite a woman who, at 31-years-of-age and living with Down Syndrome, has accomplished more in the open water than the majority of us.

From NewsBlaze:

WHY: [Karen] Gaffney has successfully mastered a string of 'firsts,' completing 16 swims across San Francisco Bay - including the popular "Escape from Alcatraz" relay triathlon. In September 2007, she successfully navigated a nine-mile swim across Lake Tahoe and became the focus of a DVD documentary, Crossing Tahoe: A Swimmer's Dream. Gaffney opted to swim Boston [Harbor] this year to also raise funds for the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress and its support programs leveraged by thousands of families across the Commonwealth.


The photo comes from Patricia E Bower's site who provides news and commentary on disability issues: