Monday, May 31, 2010

The weekend news was filled with drowning stories - Still after all our efforts the public does not understand that swimming well is important!

In the late spring and all through the summer there is a preponderance of drowning stories that I have to confront. Headlines like:

  • Teen dies after being pulled from pond

  • Teen Swimmer Drowns In Schuylkill River

  • Memorial Day weekend sees at least four deaths in Iowa waters

  • Two Swimmers Missing, Presumed Drowned

I wasn't even searching for drowning stories this weekend and these four stories have greeted me 4-days in a row.

Turns out a loaded gun in a home is less dangerous than a swimming pool:

Paraphrased from the book Freakonomics:
"... According to the most recent statistics, there are about six million residential pools, meaning that one young child drowns annually for every 11,000 pools.

About 175 children under the age of 10 died in 1998 as a result of guns. About two-thirds of those deaths were homicides. There are an estimated 200 million guns in the United States. Doing the math, there is roughly one child killed by guns for every one million guns.


Very depressing...

Every noticed that there are a lot of Jewish Olympic swimmers? Here is a list of seven off the top of my head: Mark Spitz, Jason Lezak, Dara Torres, Scott Goldblatt, Chris Jacobs, Ben Wildman-Tobriner, Garrett Weber-Gale, on ad infinitum.

There is that many because it is part of the Jewish culture to teach their kids how to swim.

Fred Pinn sent me this link:

"...The Talmud teaches that "a parent has the following obligation towards the child: to circumcise him, redeem the firstborn, teach them Torah, find them a life partner and teach them a profession. And there are some who say they must also teach them how to swim. ..."

There are that many Jewish Olympians because there is a cultural reference within Judaism and the demand that their children learn how to swim well. In my opinion America needs both a cultural reference and a demand that both adults and children learn how to swim.

If I was tasked with the job of inspiring people to swim via a Madison Avenue marketing campaign, I would position swimming as something both successful people and educated people know how to do, I would play the fear card with parents as well, and use the line from the Talmud as a de facto obligation referencing the Talmud in the fine print.

Pool Bombarded by Incredible Hail Storm

Swimming pool is pummeled by baseball-sized, ice-balls from a hail storm. At about two-thirds into the video, the swimming pool looks like it is being shot by machine gun rounds from several Apache helicopters.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The 8th Annual Black Heritage Swim Meet held at the Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary, North Carolina!

The 8th Annual Black Heritage Swim Meet drew over 700 swimmers and Olympian, Cullen Jones, was there signing autographs as well. The meet was held at the Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary, North Carolina, on May 20th. Organizers were very happy with the event and they plan on bringing it back to the same venue next year. Below is a link to the... photo gallery. Gallery has been taken down. Here is a link to an article on the event.


Friday, May 28, 2010

USA Swimming is to slow: USOC is stepping in to bypass them and make a sound policy!

Thanks goes out to the USOC for paying attention.

"... The guidelines should serve as “a toolkit of best practices,” [Nina] Kemppel told The Associated Press. “For smaller NGBs, this picture may look very different than for larger NGBs. It’s the key things of being really effective and promoting safe environments for kids.”

That safe environment didn’t exist when Uchiyama, a Colorado Springs resident, coached at Southern California Aquatics in Los Angeles, says an anonymous woman now in her mid-30s who alleges Uchiyama baited her into a sexual relationship that began when she was a 14-year-old. The woman never filed criminal charges and hasn’t sued in civil court.

[Note: SCAQ only coaches 18-year-olds, SCAQ or Southern California Aquatics has never coached minors - it is a Masters Swimming club - the club mentioned above is not affiliated with SCAQ and there is no other swim team in Los Angeles called, Southern California Aquatics.

There is a So Cal Aquatics in Orange County I believe]

Uchiyama resigned from perhaps USA Swimming’s most high-profile coaching position Jan. 27, 2006, and his name was put on the banned list four days later for “inappropriate sexual behavior.” He quit his job Wednesday as aquatics director at The Country Club of Colorado after Cheyenne Mountain Resort saw him on the list, published late Tuesday.

In a statement, USOC chief executive officer Scott Blackmun said the top priority is “the safety of our athletes,” adding that the panel was designed to “take a comprehensive look at practices and guidelines in order to give sport organizations more resources to create positive training atmospheres and, above all, safe environments for all athletes.”


Chuck Wielgus just called the unwashed bloggers and news people "lazy analysts"

Here is what he said to AP:

"There are far too many people today who make a lazy analysis about something that happened some time ago, or didn't happen some time ago," he said. "Do you think the guys at BP who were in that meeting and talked about having the right amount of control over the mouth of that pipe, do you think they have a different opinion that they had five weeks ago? That's human nature."

Wielgus said too many critics have characterized the organization as "irresponsible, and we have not been irresponsible. I think that stinks. I really do."

"In a way, I hate to say this, but there may be some fated reason why USA Swimming was put in this position, because we have the commitment and wherewithal not to shy away from an issue, to embrace an opportunity to make things better," he added.


Here is my analysis on how USA Swimming does business:


USA Swimming
has been in disarray starting in the Spring of 2008 and continuing on till today.

First, USA Swimming was sued by TYR for anti-trust violations and though the case was dropped, the Judge did acknowledge wrongdoing but since TYR was unable to show any sort of monetary damage as a result of their behavior, the trial did not go to court.

Next, we had the "Tara Kirk incident:" A breastroker who missed out on being rightfully placed onto the 2008 US Olympic team after Jessica Hardy flunked her doping test.

Apparently USA Swimming did not project manage the timing correctly to ensure that all drug tests would be completed in time to sort out who would or should be placed on the US Olympic team. When, Jessica Hardy, failed her test, the rules stated that Tara Kirk move up one position and be placed on the team but USA Swimming would not comply.

Now, we are witnessing the sex scandals and consequently somewhere around five lawsuits to defend. The USOC has now gotten involved after accusations from former USA Swimming Vice President, Mike Saltzstein, and Coach Ken Stopkotte, who have filed a complaint with the organization stating that USA Swimming plays favorites, suppresses descent, and denies work to those that criticize the organization.

The USOC is now drawing up best practices guidelines as to how children should be protected an other guidelines. What do you think would happen if a professional sports organization made this many mistakes?

Video: Finswimming German Style!

The response has been pretty good so I went to You Tube and was surprised to see dozens of videos.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

What is Finswimming? - It's fast and looks really fun!

Martin from Zurich sent us this and I have decided to cover this sport at the new site I am building. So what is finswimming?


Invented for use by the Russian Special Forces, a mono-fin was first strapped onto the feet of swimmers in order to allow them to move more quickly in the water while keeping their hands free. The military invention led to an interesting discovery. The easiest and most natural stroke to use while wearing a fin is the Dolphin Kick. The Dolphin Kick requires snaking the body in exactly the same way as the mammal from which the name was taken. The combination of the two allows you to swim extremely fast, faster than any other method before it.


A bi-annual World championship was started in 1962 and the sport was recognized by the International Olympic Committee in 1986 where it has been staged as an exhibition sport ever since. Today, Fin Swimmers beat even the fastest free-style or butterfly Olympic times by over three seconds on a 100 meter race. The sensations are incredible and the swimmers claim that they are literally flying through the water. They don’t swim as much to beat records as for the thrilling sensation of speed.

Martin put up an ad hoc gallery at; here is an image from that gallery. Can you figure out which swimmer false started?

Here is a list of finswimming sites:

Martin's gallery at Flickr: [Link] [Link]

All Fin Swimming blog: [Link]

Fin City: [Link]

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Well so much for background checks and 'USA Swimming' keeping a sharp eye on who gets to coach!

USA Swimming gives a good reference to someone they had fired for sexual misconduct so he could go coach some kids.

This is becoming "Hurricane Katrina meets the Vatican" for Chuck Wielgus. Time for the USOC to step in and put them ion probation.

Former USA Swimming national team director Everett Uchiyama no longer works for a Colorado club after his named turned up on a list of those under a lifetime ban from the national governing body.Uchiyama was the aquatics director at the Country Club of Colorado, located about five miles away from the USA Swimming headquarters in Colorado Springs. He landed a job at the club after resigning from USA Swimming over allegations that he had a sexual relationship with an underage swimmer.

The club released a statement late Wednesday afternoon saying that Uchiyama had "resigned" effective immediately.The statement says that USA Swimming gave Uchiyama a positive reference, and he didn't show up on any background checks since he was never charged with a crime.


This is an example of a potential situation that can occur when no crime has ever been committed before employment. Hence, USA Swimming has to adopt a policy of no one-on-ones without a parent or parent representative being the "watchman" watching the "watchman."

This simple idea is so "sturdy and industrial" in that everyone is protected, everyone is responsible, and everyone is safe.

Thank you Ken S. for sending me this.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Do sunscreens work? : Apparently no full consensus

Disclaimer: Science is not about certainty but rather a preponderance of evidence and even the evidence they do have should always be rechecked.

The Environmental Working Group group has released a report on sunscreen protection and most got sketchy ratings or thumbs way down. Now, with that in mind, I don't trust these guys and their findings but they do supply references.

Why don't I trust them? Because they have singled out their favorite brands which says to me they have a brand bias rather than ingredient bias. Now, to give them the benefit of the doubt, it also may suggest that they are going under the assumption that each sunblock company has their own SPF factory but none of them do.

These"brands" simply buy 100's of 55-gallon barrels of the goop from an original equipment manufacturer, squish it into brightly, colored, plastic, bottles and then sell it for 10xs what they paid for it. (That is the business plan. same goes for vitamins, supplements and shampoo. Shampoo only cost a 2-cents in real life.)

In my opinion, If I put on a cheap sunscreen, I don't burn and burning causes inflamation and inflamation is associated with cancer. Do they prevent skin cancer? I don't know but I want to go outside anyway and not burn so I not going to play favorites until the FDA comes out with an opinion.

Here is a snippet:

1. There’s no consensus on whether sunscreens prevent skin cancer.

"... The Food and Drug Administration’s 2007 draft sunscreen safety regulations say: “FDA is not aware of data demonstrating that sunscreen use alone helps prevent skin cancer” (FDA 2007). The International Agency for Research on Cancer agrees. IARC recommends clothing, hats and shade as primary barriers to UV radiation and writes that “sunscreens should not be the first choice for skin cancer prevention and should not be used as the sole agent for protection against the sun” ..."

[Link] - For the report go here: [Link]

Home page screen shot of the new swimming news site I am building - It is still a work in progress and I need your help!

This is a partial screen shot of the layout which is now finished. The secondary pages look amazing but I need help with some input such as what categories should I put into the new site. Categories such as: Masters Swimming, Platform Diving, etc. etc.

Also, I have said so many times before in the comments section that the SCAQ blog readers are for more knowledgeable than I am, and consequently, I want your voice. What sort of section do you want? Le me explain, I want in some way to allow user submitted content. What are your thoughts on that or what are your thoughts in general?

If you notice, Glenn Mill is the Swim Technique adviser to the site and he will hook us up with drills and short blasts of aquatic info. I am very flattered that I was able to talk him into it. His input and endorsement will make the site great.

I pulled off another coup which I can talk about is a few weeks.

I will start posting more screen shots as the site gets more fleshed out. I am looking forward to hearing what you would like it to be.

I was just sent a contract that Australian swimmers are suppose to sign if they want to swim in the Pan Pacific Championships!

The beast of a document is 29-pages long and after a fast glance it essentially says: We so own you and we are going to leverage your talent for every dollar we can. You are not allowed to think freely, dress freely, write freely, work freely, or self promote freely, because you are owned by the "company store!"

I will read it fully and completely tonight but here are some points that stand out.

Team members cannot communicate with the media unless they wear a team uniform and they can only talk about their events, their prospects and their performances while at the event itself; nothing else.

If a team member has a blog and he wants to talk about "team content", all advertising on their blog has to be removed unless they are Swimming Australia sponsors.

Team members are not allowed to be sponsored by a competitor of the Swimming Australia sponsors and one of them just happens to be Speedo. Consequently, you can't be sponsored by a rival brand unless you fill out a bunch a paper work and demonstrate that the brand is faster. Now how do you do that?

Now it gets worse: Let's say a telecom wants to sponsor you; forget it, It is not allowed because Telstra sponsors Swimming Australia. Since Telstra has an internet presence, this sponsorship precludes the athletes from being sponsored by internet companies both domestic and international which sell products, services, equipment etc. etc. This also includes online portals such as Yahoo or Google, blogs, movies, video games, children-sites, and more.

Let's say a brokerage house, an insurance vendor, a mortgage bank, a credit card company wants to sponsor you: It's not allowed unless Swimming Australia allows it after you fill out a "schedule 2" which definitely sounds formidable. I would love to get a hold of that form for I wonder if Swimming Australia would demand a cut?

I may make this contract available as a download. When you view it you will marvel at how a national governing body can bring a swimmer to their knees "voluntarily" just so that they can swim. I need to talk to a lawyer first before I make it available and I do have a lawyer who was the chief strategist for Sketchers (the shoe company), and he is partnering with me for the new swimming news site which will go live on July 1st. If he says, I can publish this, I am going to put it up.

Swimming Australia athletes work hard for their daily bread, same goes for all the world's swimmers. I think it is time we look at the culture within the sport at large and put a spot light on how athletes are treated, how underpaid they are, and what they have to do to be able to swim. To me this "voluntary" servitude is akin to working as a "share cropper."

I don't know what Swimming Australia's budget is. USA Swimming makes about $30-million a year and it's head boss, Chuck Wielgus, gets 2% off-the-top of each million-dollars the organization brings in. Recently, the Organization is talking about giving pro swimmers a $50,000 a year salary but will this salary set our athletes up to sign contracts that suppress speech, suit choice leveraging their income? This is something for the sports agent to really look at? [Link]

What I really want is for athletes, coaches, suit manufacturers, meet directors, and even the agents to make as much money as they can. "Industrial age" contracts like the one that was sent to me is not going to deliver a wage comparable to the salary that the CEO of USA Swimming and probably Australia Swimming is going to make.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Associated Press does a writeup on tech suits and masters swimming! - Love the quote from David Marsh.

From AP:

"...I love the way it makes me look and I love the way it makes me feel in the water," said Gaines, who won three gold medals at the 1984 Olympics and still competes in the Masters division at age 51. "It sucks everything in and gives me a little more buoyancy. We could all use that in life."

The U.S. Masters short course nationals held in Atlanta this past weekend were the final opportunity to wear the neck-to-ankle suits, which revolutionized the sport but are now banned by all the major governing bodies. Masters was the last group to outlaw the suits, allowing them to be worn through the end of the month.

Not surprisingly, 103 individual and 19 relay records were set at the same pool used for the 1996 Olympics.

"I think they've been great for the sport," Gaines said. "I'm really sad to see them go. ..."


Temporary exile - they will rise up and reclaim the kingdom once Phelps retires.

Here is the mailing address and the phone numbers for the USOC!

It took me 10-minutes to find this address, names and phone numbers. I am going to be writing them a letter regarding some topics that are on my mind and if you would like to suggest a few things on your own: tear into it, sparky!

United States Olympic Committee

Chairman: Lawrence F. (Larry) Probst III
CEO: Scott Blackmun
COO: Norman Bellingham

Olympic Plaza
Colorado Springs, CO 80909-5746

CO Tel. 719-632-5551
Fax 719-866-4654

Kastaway: Diver Ton Daley poses with Kate Moss for Italian Vogue!

Good for him! Kast-a-way has a bunch more photos and details: [Link]

Japanese movie monster found in Chinese lake!

I want one but imagine what you have to feed it? Probably a live monkey or something.

From the Telegraph:
"...The creature's alien status meant that it could have posed a danger to the local ecological system, they added. ..."


Ummm, You think?

I am electrified by these 'aqua forest aquariums"

In most aquariums you might a plastic, sunken, ship and cheesy deep-sea, diver blowing bubbles out his mask. These Aquariums make both the "living terrain" and the fish the focal point rather than $1.99 castle and sea shell.

Ultimately, the tank itself is actually a garden that the fish swim around and exist in it making it an "aqua forest".

I found these images a Aqua Forest Aquariums:

About Aqua Forest Aquarium:

AFA (Aqua Forest Aquarium) is a unique retail aquarium store owned by Archaea Int'l Corp.

AFA is the first aquarium store in US dedicated to Nature Aquarium Style concept. We have the largest selection of aquatic plants in the San Francisco Bay Area, excellent selection of fresh water tropical fish, and carries full line aquarium supplies. Whether or not you are a hobbyist, come visit our store to enjoy yourself with our 6 nature aquarium display tanks and discover the limitless world of Nature Aquarium.

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

Underwater art with a senseof humor and imagination!

Rational Exploration of the Undersea von Philippe Ramette! Five images total and the composition in all them is both unique and humorous. [Link]

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The USMS National results are so "off the hook" I question if the live results are accurate?

Extraordinary results demand careful validation and the USMS National results are so "off the hook" I question if some of the live results are correct and if they are I wonder if the bulkhead placement is accurate? These times are very significant.

What I am questioning:

In the 200-free relay, 47-year-old, Richard Hughey, was about to swim in the third position. Presumably his son, Austin Hughey, would follow and I suspect the adrenalin was pumping. With a rolling start Mr. Hughey exploded off the blocks and swam an incredible 50-free; (a personal USMS best even), stopping the clock for his split in a time of 20.15 which is about a second or more faster than his last five 50-free swims over a period of five-years. (Reference: event rankings USMS.) This is definitely probable but then the anchor of the relay, Austin Hughey, did something more extraordinary.

Austin Hughey, out of Auburn, was next up in the anchor leg and he too swam a time so fast and so incredible that he bested Cullen Jones' 22.4 in the same event finishing in a time of 17.88. He also swam faster than Cesar Cielo's 18.4 NCAA National record in that relay leg. Austin Hughey's seed time for the 50-free Sunday is 22.5.

In the Medley relay look at these times:

WMAC: 1:36.62

1) Tiltmann, Laren A - M40 - 25.22

2) Schaetz, Daniel J - M39 - 42.72 (17.50)

3) Fulbeck, Kip M45 - 59.73 (17.01)

4) Power, Michael L - M42 (36.89)

I find it unlikely that Daniel swam a 17.01 for 50-fly, and, Kip Fulbeck, swam a faster leg doing breaststroke. Obvious mistake, so are the results accurate? I think not.

Ultimately maybe the universe has changed and "Baby Boomers" are redefining middle age. Maybe middle age starts, and not ends, at 50-years old for the "Boomers." Maybe an actuary should crunch the numbers in the USMS database comparing it to muscle decline in similar age group studies. Something has happened in the last 5-years but some of these times are questionable, and if some of these times are questionable, then there could be more errors.

I hope the Live result times, will be corrected or explained and do not effect the placings. When you have two or three events where timing was skewed badly, who is to say it did not effect the placings?

I once had my placing bumped down ten spots because of a timer error in an open water event. What was even more frustrating is that the person I was behind got moved up two spots even though we finished together. We were both perplexed and I almost never did the event again.

Friend and fellow SCAQ swimmer Mark Savage's post at the USMS board was the idea behind this post.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

TYR will sponsor the biggest swimming governing body on the planet!

USA Swimming has roughly 300,000 members. Swimming Australia has 90,000 members. Even if you combined both the membership of USA Swimming with the membership of Swimming Australia, they still fall short of the behemoth known as the German Swimming Federation (DSV).

I verified that the German Swimming Federation does indeed vastly exceed the numbers mentioned above coming in at just under 600,000 members total.

USA Swimming
should take notes as to how they too can grow the organization as large as the Germans have. The Germans must be commended.

The gravity of this sponsorship is great for TYR for FINA will now have to think twice before bullying TYR as they did all throughout 2008 and 2009. TYR now has constituency at the "FINA table" that obviously appreciates the company and they will defend it when needed.

One could argue that a couple or so German swimmers will pick up a suit contract from a rival manufacturer or two but the fact remains that there will still be over half-a-million German swimmers supported directly and indirectly by TYR and these swimmers will have to be seriously considered when FINA attempts to play favorites.

TYR Press Release:

TYR Becomes Official Supplier to German Swimming Federation (DSV)

Huntington Beach, Calif. – May 17, 2010 – TYR Sport, Inc. extends its international footprint with the sponsorship of the German Swimming Federation (DSV). TYR becomes the “Official Deck Apparel Supplier” to the largest federation in the world (580,000 members). The partnership extends through 2013. TYR will outfit the national team on deck, during public and personal appearances and will provide Tracer technical suits to all federation members that choose to compete in TYR.

“Signing the German Swimming Federation (DSV) is an incredible achievement for our brand,” commented Franck Horter, TYR’s General Manager for Europe. “The DSV is currently the largest Federation in the world and has a unique tradition and a history of high performance swimmers. TYR is deeply engaged in making this partnership a big success for the federation and TYR.”

Germany holds the third highest amount of swimming world records (seven). At continental European Championships (LEN), the country consistently places in the top three amongst the 51 participating European national federations. At the most recent European championships, Germany captured five gold medals.

“In addition to being the premiere American performance swim brand, TYR is becoming the most recognizable brand on the international level in swim and triathlon,” said TYR’s Executive Vice President Steve Furniss. “To welcome the German Federation into our growing family only strengthens our ties to the global market.”

The country is also amongst the top nations in international competition. At the 2009 FINA World Championships, Germany’s Britta Steffen and Paul Biedermann took two world titles with world records in each of their respective events.

Olympic history runs rich for the German Swim federation, with 10-time Olympic medalist Franziska von Almsick amongst one of the most recognizable in past games. At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Steffen was the fastest female of the games winning the 50m and 100m freestyle en route to setting two Olympic records. In 2012, TYR will offer the outfit of the German swim team in the most successful technical suit collection ever offered by TYR – the Tracer series.

'New York Times' - "2 Officials Say They Face Retaliation for Addressing Sexual Misconduct"

Coaches Mike Saltzstein and Ken Stopkotte have filed a formal complaint with the United States Olympic Committee against USA Swimming stating that they have been singled out due to their pointed opinions and criticisms regarding the current sex abuse scandals within the organization.

The complaint states that they both have been denied work and access to leadership positions within the organization but USA Swimming disagrees. A food fight ensues and the New York Times has it covered.

Karen Crouse has the details:

"...Jamie Olsen, a USA Swimming spokeswoman, said in an e-mail message Wednesday, “I’m told by Pat Lunsford that the reason Mike was not nominated was because in the last quad he’s only applied to work ONE meet.”

In response, Saltzstein said meet assignments were not applied for, but were handed out by Lunsford. He also provided an extensive list of completed assignments, starting with the 2008 Olympic trials..."


All kidding aside, I am seeing a very negative progression here from the original Associated Press coverage, to an ABC News: 20/20 report, then the ESPN: Between the Lines, coverage, now two articles in The New York Times, and USA Swimming still has no official child protection policy.

This fiasco started 6-months ago. Both the news media and the swimmers are demanding leadership from the "front" on his issue not from the "rear" like a "sheepherder." You don't build consensus as to what to do when the "wolves are spying on the flock", you identify the problem and organize a stop gap as fast as possible. The public and the news media don't see that being stop gap implemented as of yet.

I am at the point where I am wondering who will solve their most "pressing problem" first: USA Swimming or British Petroleum? Then ask yourself which problem is more complicated.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Arena congratulates both Rebecca Soni and Eric Shanteau for outstanding wins at the 'Charlotte UltraSwim Grand Prix'

Nice photo, huh? I love it. It's so sketchy, real, and so not posed.

By the way, I said it first here on the blog, Eric Shanteau is the Lance Armstrong of our sport and what a comeback champion he is after dominating cancer of all opponents. Please note that Eric represented the LIVESTRONG foundation, while Rebecca Soni represented the UN Foundation, and Aaron continues to represents Oceana, which is the largest international organization focused solely on ocean conservation.

Aarron Peirsol is the most underrated Olympian ever. I am losing count as to how many Olympic games he has attended: Three total and working on a fourth.

Here is the Press release.
CARLSBAD, Calif., -May 18, 2010– Arena, one of the leading waterwear companies in the world, today announced Arena elite team athletes Rebecca Soni and Eric Shanteau took home top medals from the Charlotte UltraSwim Grand Prix this weekend.

Soni, who placed second in the overall meet and was awarded $10,000, set two meet records in the 100 meter breast stroke and the 200 meter breast stroke. Teammate Eric Shanteau took home a gold medal in the 100 and 200 meter breaststroke and took home silver in the 200 meter individual medley relay.

“We are incredibly proud of our Arena elite team and their continued success in these grand prix events,” said Bryan Smeltzer, vice president of marketing, Arena USA. “Not only do we support our elite athletes, but we stand behind all the charities that were supported at this weekend’s UltraSwim event.”

In addition to bringing home top medals, Arena elite team members were able to support their respective charities. Rebecca Soni represented the UN Foundation, Eric Shanteau represented LIVESTRONG and Aaron Piersol represented Oceana.

Triathlete attacked by alligator! - Elbow to the head ends the bout and awarding the triathlete with a technical knockout.

The 8-foot long alligator, like the one featured above, attacked, Doug McCard, in Moss Park lake located in southeast Orange County, Florida. The attack occurred during a open water workout in a lake that he had been swimming in since he was 5-years old.

Apparently what rats are to New York, alligators are to Gulf coast states. (I will take sharks and earthquakes over alligators and hurricanes.)

Turn on your southern accent when you read this quote from the article:
“We heard him screaming and yelling, and we looked up, and he was thrashing in the water,” said Rex Jones, who witnessed the attack. “I don’t think the alligator actually ever rolled with him, but he was able to break free -- but when he was coming up, you could tell he was attacked, because he was bleeding pretty good from his chest.”

An elbow to the alligator's head ending the struggled and McCard probably had to have one heck of an antibiotic cocktail at the hospital he was at.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Former USA Swimming Vice President states that child protection policies within the sport are progressing too slowly!

Mike Saltzstein! I like this guy, I endorse this guy, I want him back on the USA Swimming board! I find no fault with any of his suggestions and criticisms and it completely baffles me why USA Swimming is taking months to implement a child protection policy when this guy took a fast weekend if that.

That is leadership; that is leading from the front ; that is not leading from the middle asking experts what to do and pretending to get ideas from outside youth organizations. Think about it. It has taken months! MONTHS! just to talk about a stopgap measure. Let that sink in a minute.

"Coach" Andrew king was sentenced to a few decades in prison in January of this year. That is 5-months, 2 news documentaries, and a couple articles in the New York Times questioning what the heck is going on with USA Swimming management.

Apparently USA Swimming is either hoping this will all be forgotten about and just go away or they are not confident enough in their abilities to come up with a worthwhile fix, albeit temporary or permanent.

If Chuck Wielgus was a school board president, would the public tolerate this slow-motion implementation, train wreck? No, they would not. People want fast answers to complex problems and the public isn't buying that it takes months to find solutions to problems that other organizations have solved. namely kindergartens accross America, The Boy Scouts, The Girl Scouts, et al.

I don't make my living from swimming and I know that Mike Saltzstein is not doing this as a career move for you know his name must be "mud" in Colorado Springs today.

Here is a news article from the San Jose Mercury News quoting him:

"No exceptions, no excuses, effective immediately," Saltzstein said.

Among his other recommendations: requiring: "good faith and reasonable suspicion" reporting of abuse as a condition of membership in USA Swimming; taking

disciplinary action and possibly terminating any staff member who fails to report abuse or excessively delays an investigation of abuse; requesting that Hall of Fame officials remove from its rolls any offender connected with USA Swimming; banning coaches from performing rubdowns, massages or physical manipulations "without specific recognized training or certification" — and never "in a one-on-one scenario."

To bring about change, Saltzstein said, the culture of the sport will need to change because it's a culture that bans parents from practices at many clubs and gives coaches too much power. When he and others through the years have tried to effect change, Saltzstein said, the strongest opposition has come from coaches.

Wielgus declined to discuss Saltzstein's recommendations or criticism.


The best part of Mike Saltzstein's suggestions is that is a "win-win-win" solution for both coaches, kids, and parents for who "Watches the Watchmen?" they all do.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Red Bull had an idea: "Let's find some crazy platform divers and challenge them to dive off the Saint Nicholas Tower in, La Rochelle, France...."

Above is the entrance to the port of La Rochelle. Built in the 1300's. the entrance to this 14th-century port was defended by two massive towers each with their own purpose.

On the left is the pentagonal, Saint-Nicholas Tower, which stood as the fortress equipped with a barracks and super-fortified walls to prevent a blistering attack.

Opposite the tower stands the Tower de la Chaîne; (Tower of the Chain), so named because at night a
large, forged-iron, chain, was stretched across the harbor like a "close line" so as to prevent hostile warships from entering.

Circa 2010, Red Bull, had the bright idea to put the structure to better use: A platform was built some 27-meters above the water and divers from all over the world were challenged to see who could pull of the best dives.

On paper 27-meters does not sound all that high but 27-meters has some interesting statistics and physics connected to it. 27-meters is is almost 90-feet high or as high as a 9-story building. Leaping off a platform that high, the user will reach "freeway speeds" or 62-miles per hour before slamming in the water in less than 2-seconds.

But the athletes said it better:

Artem Silchenko: “...No matter how fit your body is, you cannot dive from 27 metres with a mind that’s not ready,” Russian Artem Silchenko cuts the complex going-ons in the divers’ minds down to a simple explanation. “A lot happens up here,” Australian Steve Black says, pointing to his head, “mainly because of the fact that we don’t have a place where we can train off 26 or 27 metres. The whole idea is to keep your body in shape as much as you can. Up here is the thinking part of the rest of the dive. You do train, but only on 10 metres and the rest of it happens in the mind.” Before athletes like the 43-year-old world champion from 2008 attempt the actual dive they have already performed it mentally a hundred times. Why? “Because you have to know what you are going to do and what it is going to feel like,” explains Gary Hunt, runner-up of the series’ 2009 edition.

Kent De Mond: “... By the time I step onto the platform the only thing I’m thinking of is just the start, not even the flips. My mind already knows how to do it.” For Kent De Mond (USA) this natural ability to learn and train a dive on a mental basis is something that makes the difference between a good diver and an exceptional diver and is essential in high diving. One who has nine world championship titles to underline his talent is Orlando Duque from Colombia: “I have been in the sport for a long time and we have to deal with a lot of difficult situations, difficult locations and tough competitions. The physical part is always there; you are always strong when you do your preparation. But you have to deal with that mental thing. If I know I am diving today, I am going to be fit. I know it. If I show up here today to dive, I am fit to dive. Mentally and physically; otherwise I wouldn’t come.” Mental readiness makes the step to the edge of a 27.50m platform possible but the hand-picked dozen divers in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series go one stage further, as Silchenko’s explanation shows: “One or two seconds before I go, my body is still there but my brain is already flying.”

I would say those thoughts and feelings fit with the company's adrenal brand, wouldn't you?

This is the second time Red Bull has had the competition at La Rochelle and the crowds were huge and appreciative. Next stop with be cliff diving in Mexico.

Results from the Red Bull site:


1. Gary Hunt | GBR | 390,10 points

2. Orlando Duque | COL | 369,30 points

3. Kent De Mond | USA | 328,25 points

4. Artem Silchenko | RUS | 309,00 points

5. Steve Black | AUS | 299,80 points

6. Slava Polyeshchuk | UKR | 290,40 points

7. Cyrille Oumedjkane | FRA | 181,20 points

8. Hassan Mouti | FRA |180,60 points

9. Alain Kohl | LUX | 171,60 points

10. Eber Pava | COL | 170,60 points

11. Michal Navratil | CZE | 162,15 points

12. Andrey Ignatenko | UKR | 86,40 points

For details about Red Bull platform diving: [Link]

Saturday, May 15, 2010

FINA says goodbye to Dubai for hosting the "2013 World Championships of Swimming"

Dubai will host the 2010 FINA Short Course Meters World Championships but will drop hosting the 2013 long course event. Lot of fluff in this press release as to why. I have a feeling the 2013 FINA World Championships of Swimming are pretty much a bad investment at this point in that Phelps or Dara Torres will be retired and it will also be an Olympic off year as well.

I think swimming is about to go through a challenging time. Though eradicating the tech-suits got us all talking about the swimmers again rather than the suits, I think the sport of swimming would need that sort of revenue and controversy to stay topical, relevant, and produce more economic opportunities for the sport.

Here is the FINA Press release in full:

FINA President Dr. Julio C. Maglione recently discussed preparations for the 10th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m), Dubai 2010 with members of the Dubai Higher Organising Committee.

FINA expressed its appreciation for the tremendous amount of work completed by the Dubai 2010 organising committee and the progress made in the construction of the Dubai Sports Complex. Furthermore, it is expected that the 10th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) from December 15-19, 2010 in Dubai will be a great success.

The project for the 15th FINA World Championships 2013 was also reviewed and in a mutual agreement, FINA and the Dubai authorities decided that Dubai would not go forward with the organisation of these championships.

Both Mattar Al Tayer, Deputy Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee and Deputy Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council, and President Maglione reaffirmed that Dubai has opted to concentrate on developing grassroots interest in swimming rather than go forward with another championships for elite athletes in three years.

“Our vision from the start was that hosting the 2010 World Championships would leave a legacy that would benefit residents in Dubai and throughout the UAE. Our goal after the championships is to encourage wider use of our new aquatic complex by the people who live here”, Al Tayer said.

“We believe that, at this stage, it is of paramount importance to further improve the impact of the aquatic disciplines in this Middle East region before staging a FINA World Championships with our five sports. The UAE authorities will certainly do their best to accomplish this goal and the first step towards achieving it will be the organisation of a very successful FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in December”
, considered FINA President Dr. Julio C. Maglione.


I salute, Garrett Weber-Gale's, parents who believed they should never leave their son and daughter alone at the pool!

Associated Press ran an article entitled: "Sexual abuse cases put swimming on the defensive", with numerous quotations from both our elite swimmers and coaches participating in the Charlotte UltraSwim.

I commend Garrett Weber-Gale's parents who insisted that one or the other be present on deck during a workout.

From Paul Newberry at Associated Press quoting Garrett Weber-Gale:

"My parents never left my sister and I at the pool by ourselves with the coach," he said. "You don't really know who these coaches are, and you're going to leave your kids there alone for two of three hours? They're just kids. Anything could be going on."


A no "one-on-one" policy for kids under 18-years-old is a sublime idea and should be embraced by USA Swimming. It doesn't have to be a parent but a parent is best. Both, Garrett Weber-Gale, and his parents got it right.

Craig Lord, covered this story in his blog, Swim News, and cited the Associated Press article but changed both the title and premise and then copy/pasted every single quote therein thereby repackaging or creating a disturbing spin of Mr. Newberry's premise.

The original title of the Associated Press article: Sexual abuse cases put swimming on the defensive versus the, Craig Lord, title: US Elite Speak On Abuse Claims, is not only an inaccurate title but insinuates that the sexual abuse crimes committed on USA Swimming affiliated swimmers were simply claims, not crimes.

Also, I find it sketchy that he copy/pasted every single quote from the article but never provided the actual link or an explanation as to why he was allowed to do that to Associated Press.

Featured above is Garrett Weber-Gale promoting good grocery selection. I am told he is quite a chef. Would love to see him on Food Network as his second act post London.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Megan Jendrick signs with TYR: 27 American records, one world record to date.

Huntington Beach, Calif. – May 13, 2010 - TYR signs Megan Jendrick, one of USA Swimming’s most decorated female breaststrokers, to endorse and wear the TYR swim collection of swimsuits, apparel, and accessories. She will compete in the new Tracer High-Performance Series of technical suits in her quest for a spot on the 2012 U.S. Olympic team.

On signing with TYR, Jendrick shared the following:
“It's wonderful to be a part of the TYR family. The level of support and care they place on their athletes is unprecedented. I have been involved in professional swimming for over 15 years and TYR's suits are without a doubt the best I've ever worn. I feel more confident than ever now going into competition wearing TYR.

I've been with KING Aquatic Club for over five years now and I've had a chance to see the wonderful support they have always received from TYR. My coach, Sean Hutchison, and a great friend of mine, Ariana Kukors, are both with TYR and when I finally had the opportunity to join the team, I jumped at it. I'm very excited about my partnership with TYR!”

Jendrick had her first international breakthrough at the 2000 Olympic Games as the youngest medalist on the U.S. swim team. Competing under her maiden name of Megan Quann, she won gold in the 100m breaststroke and was a member of the winning 4x100m medley relay.

“Megan is a class-act and we couldn’t be prouder to have her as a member of the TYR Family,” stated Matt Zimmer, TYR’s Team Sales and Promotions Director. “She is an outstanding member of the swim community and a role model in and out of the water.”

Since breaking onto the national and international scene, Jendrick has set 27 American records and one world record to date. She is both a ten-time USA National and U.S. Open champion. Jendrick is only the second female to break 59 seconds in the 100y breaststroke. In 2008, she added silver to her Olympic medal collection in Beijing, swimming the breaststroke leg of the women’s 4x100m medley relay.

Caroline Burckle has been signed by 'blueseventy'

Olympic swimmer Caroline Burckle will be sponsored by blueseventy as she works towards the London 2012 Olympic Games. The 2009 University of Florida graduate won bronze in the 800m Freestyle Relay in Beijing, will also lend her design flair to the Seattle based swimwear brand.

The 23 year old, who is based in Newport Beach, California, where she trains with US National swimmers and coaches. She is targeting the 200m and 400m freestyle in 2012.

Burckle said:

"I am thrilled to represent blueseventy. The company has created swimwear and accessories that make me excited to go to practice and give my coach everything I have, every day. blueseventy's attention to detail, their desire to have me provide input not just in fit but quality, fashion and design is just overwhelming. As an emerging company in a very competitive market, blueseventy has the support of athletes and coaches.

My goal is to win medals in blueseventy’s products, utilize my education from fashion and design school to assist the company in creating fast and fashion forward products that young swimmers through Olympic champions want to swim in. As a global spokesperson who will be asked for input on all of blueseventy’s products, I couldn’t think of a better relationship or be more proud to invest my time in helping them be the best!”

Dean Jackson of blueseventy commented: "We're delighted to announce Caroline Burckle as a blueseventy athlete. As well as having fantastic potential to be successful in London, we're excited to work closely with her to develop our suits even further. Feedback is vital to us, and having an athlete of Caroline's calibre who also has a passion for design and product development will be hugely beneficial."

As well as being NCAA Swimmer of the Year in 2008, Burckle was a four-time scholastic All-American. Jackson added: "Caroline is not only a great swimmer, but also stood out in the classroom. The aim of our sponsorship is to help her achieve her dreams in pool, and start a successful career outside of it as well. Caroline was an obvious choice for us, and we will be right behind her all the way to London."

blueseventy has a range of 2010 FINA approved swimwear, neroTX, that takes full advantage of the very latest fabric technology and construction techniques, including bonded seams and compression. The brand has also recently agreed to sponsorship South African Olympic medallist, Darian Townsend. Both he and Burckle have been based in Seattle doing a photshoot and suit fittings ahead of their key 2010 events.

HGH: For Sprinters Only! - Garvan Institute of Medical Research!

In a study conducted by the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia, 103 athletes got low doses of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) so as to measure the performance enhancing effects of the hormone.

Generally these were low doses of the drug so as to keep it safe. Sports dopers on the the other hand would probably demand higher doses and more sophisticated ways of masking the hormone.

I don't want to publish the heart of the article so it is a must read if you want to hear about side effects, what WADA had to say who were the sponsors of the study, and how it compares to testosterone injections

The findings? From Associated Press:

They lifted weights, jumped and rode exercise bikes to test their physical performance. Growth hormone didn't improve strength, power or endurance, the researchers said. The only improvement was for sprinting on a bicycle, a 4 percent increase in sprint capacity compared to those who didn't get the hormone. In men who also got testosterone shots, there was an 8 percent increase.

The researchers speculated that the boost from growth hormone alone is enough to shave off about half a second in a 10-second sprint over 100 meters. That little time "divides the winner from the last place finisher," said Ho.

The study volunteers who took growth hormone lost body fat and gained lean body mass, but it was mostly from water retention, not from bulking up muscle, the researchers reported in Tuesday's issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.


I support studies like these especially when they reveal formerly unknown side effects to the public such as the ones listed in the article.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tennis great, Venus Williams, is now officially a swimmer! - USA Swimming should be all over this.

Now I am officially in love with her. From DNAIndia:

"...I started swimming. I love being in the water - and I was never was a good swimmer - but in the last week, I've learned to swim...."


Thursday, May 06, 2010

John Morse, swimming coach -most likely still USA Swimming affiliated is a hero today!

Flood waters raging, a four-year-old who can't swim trapped in a attic with her mother. The rain is pouring at unreal decibels and then a selfless, life-or-death, decision had to be made: John Morse went for a swim to rescue the family:

From CNN:

Word that Sheucraft and her daughter were trapped reached longtime friend John Morse, a swimming coach. She said he drove to the neighborhood, parked his truck where the water was relatively low and, risking his life, dived in.

When Morse reached the house, he shouted for Sheucraft and helped her out of the attic, she said. They grabbed a floating ottoman and told Lowell Ann to lie down on it. The little girl clutched a duffel bag, with the dogs peeking out.

"I told her, 'This is going to be really scary, and it will be like nothing you've seen before, but Mommy is going to be right beside you. It's going to be OK,' " Sheucraft said.

They got out of the house, and the current hit them hard. "It was stronger than any ocean," Sheucraft said. "I didn't think I could make it very long. ..."


An epic must read!

Chris DeSantis sent me this and he should get all the credit for this catch.

ESPN: "Outside the Lines - Swimming's dirty little secret"

ESPN: Swimming's dirty little secret:

Swim Scandal This week, USA Swimming's board of directors approved a seven-step plan to combat a sexual abuse problem that has been going on for decades: predatory coaches having sexual relationships with their under aged athletes. Sunday on "Outside the Lines," T. J. Quinn examines this issue by speaking with victims and a former coach, who is now serving a 40-year sentence after being convicted on 20 counts of molestation.

VIDEO - [Link]
Speaking of which, Have any of you read the 7-point action plan devised by USA Swimming to protect youngsters and coaches?, do you feel USA Swimming is addressing this issue fully and completely? I would put a poll up but I fear it would be "gamed."

I personally do not think they have. USA Swimming is a 31-million dollar organization and an organization with that much income should be ale to assemble a batallion of lawyers, a platoon of child care specialists, and squad of law enforcement professionals so as to bang something out immediately, even if it is a temporary fix, within weeks even just to demonstrate that they are trying rather than being forced to react. In fact, that it took lawyers and TV producers to get them to act reactively rather than proactively.

Andrew King was arrested about one year ago. Since April 20th, the day they announced an action plan, two TV news documentaries have been produced, another couple lawsuits have been added, and I am hearing rumors of a third media extravaganza is underway.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Milorad Čavić and Gold Medalist Michael Phelps to Sign Famous Bejing Olympic's "Out-Touch" Photo for Charity

I just got this press release from Arena and I am posting it here since it is all about supporting a noble purpose:

CARLSBAD, Calif., - May 4, 2010 – Arena, one of the leading waterwear companies in the world, today announced former elite team member Franziska Van Almsick will be inducted at the 46TH annual International Swimming Hall Of Fame (ISHOF). In addition, Arena current elite team member Milorad Cavic, along with Michael Phelps will sign the famous “touch” photo from the 2008 Beijing Olympics at the induction ceremony.

An important part of the gala night will be the silent auction featuring: a framed photo of the famous Olympic “Touch” (in the 200 [100] fly final) signed by Michael Phelps, Milorad Cavic and legendary Sports Illustrated photographer Heinz Kluetmeier. Proceeds from the silent auction will go directly to the International Swimming Hall of Fame so it can further develop programs that encourage people to participate in all forms of water sports. A portion of funds from the sales of Dr. Guy Harvey paintings will support his Ocean’s Foundation.

“It is important that Arena elite swimmers, like Cavic, are able to use their celebrity to give back to charitable foundations, such as the International Swimming Hall of Fame,” said Bryan Smeltzer, vice president of marketing, Arena USA. “Arena applauds Van Almsick for his [her] achievements and this great honor of being inducted this weekend.”

In addition, Arena will be showcasing its heritage and US history at an exclusive Arena exhibit at ISHOF. Arena recently re-entered to the US market and plans on launching its new line in late Spring 2010. Arena is preparing for a big come back in the United States, and has signed a select number of prestigious sponsorship agreements with top level American Swimmers (Aaron Peirsol, Rebecca Soni and Eric Shanteau), as well as two of the most competitive NCAA Swimming Teams (The Men/Women’s Swimming Programs at the University of Auburn and the Men’s Swimming Program at the University of CAL Berkeley).

This year’s class includes include Honor Swimmers Brooke Bennett (USA), Petria Thomas (Australia) and Franziska Van Almsick (Germany); Honor Synchronized Swimmer, Maria Kisseleva (Russia); Honor Open Water Swimmer, Paul Asmuth (USA); Honor Swimming Coaches, Murray Stephens (USA) and Tamas Szechy (Hungary); Honor Pioneer Diver, Larry Griswold (USA); Honor Pioneer Swimmer, Teofilo Yldefonso (Philippines); and, Honor Contributor, Cornel Marculescu (Romania). Dr. Guy Harvey (Jamaica) will receive ISHOF’s Gold Medallion Award as a former competitive swimmer who has achieved international recognition in another field.

The International Swimming Hall of Fame Honoree Festival is a multi-day celebration of the enshrinement of the newest Hall of Fame Class. To be held in Fort Lauderdale, May 6 – 9, 2010 the festival includes a number of special public events featuring the Enshrinement Ceremony on Saturday evening, May 8, 2010. Other major public events include the AT&T USA Diving Grand Prix (all day, May 6 – May 9), the Hall of Fame open water swim (Saturday morning, May 8) and the Paragon Awards (Friday evening, May 7).

Arena is distributed in the United States by Arena USA, based in Carlsbad, California.

Monday, May 03, 2010

TYR & Chrissie Wellington Extend Sponsorship Deal!

Huntington Beach, Calif. – April 30, 2010 - TYR has extended its sponsorship of Chrissie Wellington, one of the greatest Ironman athletes of all time. Chrissie will represent the TYR triathlon and swim collections for the rest of her career and into her retirement. After signing the extension, Chrissie stated the following:

“I have been part of the TYR family since my first World Ironman Championship victory in 2007, and with their support I have won two more World Championship crowns and broken the world Iron distance record.

With TYR I get the complete package. They have a proven commitment to sporting success; they are at the cutting edge of innovation, leading the way in producing a complete range of high quality, high performance products that cater to all types of athletes. Whether it is the new and super speedy Hurricane wetsuit, my tankini race kit, or the huge selection of training gear, I have total confidence that I am wearing the best apparel on the market.

But this is only part of the story. As a TYR athlete I feel like I am truly part of a close-knit, supportive family. The company’s staff is energetic, committed and passionate; the service and support I (and my family and friends) receive is unwavering and unrivalled and they actively seek the athletes’ opinions on product development to ensure that we can all stay a step ahead of the game.

I am extremely excited to have signed an extension to my existing agreement with TYR. Our world record-breaking partnership will continue throughout my competitive career and also after my retirement. I will fly the TYR flag with pride and passion and, of course, a huge smile and make sure we stay always in front!”

The TYR design team will collaborate with Chrissie on the creation of limited edition race gear, a signature wetsuit, and lifestyle apparel products. The partnership will also focus on generating awareness around the key charities and foundations that Chrissie already supports. Additional news will follow as products are released into the market in 2011-12. “Chrissie is a phenomenon. She embodies the core attributes of the TYR brand and is the ultimate competitor,” stated TYR Triathlon Sales and Promotions Director Ryan Dolan. “We are honored to support her as she continues to make her mark in the history of triathlon.”

KRDO in Colorado Springs is running a story about former USA Swimming exec and Mike Saltzstein and USA Swimming!

Mike Saltzstein was a former exec within USA Swimming and he is not happy with the child protection policies that USA Swimming is putting forward. KRDO in Colorado Springs interviewed him for this story:

From KRDO:
"I don't see anything that has a time-line to it or calls for immediate action," says Mike Saltzstein, a vice president at USA Swimming from 2000-2006. "It's just more of the same. In 2004 the board directed that a director of child protection be named, and in 2010 we're just now announcing that we're going to hire this person?

"He says swimming benefits thousands of young people, and he gains nothing from tearing down a sport and organization that he's still involved with. Saltzstein has come up with his own ideas on how to prevent sexual abuse, ideas he says USA Swimming officials asked him not to publish. They include requiring two adults to be present around swimmers, punishing staff members who fail to report abuse, and forbidding coaches from giving massages and rub-downs unless they're certified. He also wants required discipline for any threat of retaliation.

I emailed Mike Saltzstein regarding this interview and he wanted me to add that he wants a policy that is of mutual protection to both the swimmer and the coach.