Wednesday, June 30, 2010

USA Swimming met with the "Child Welfare League of America" today to create a plan...

...and guess what, there still is no plan. To be fair I am going to post parts of the article favorable to USA Swimming and then contrast that to what, David Berkoff, has decided to do about this topic in Montana.

Also, out of extreme consternation, I have posted the salaries of several USA Swimming execs; (info that was obtained through GuideStar ), as a benchmark of what they are paid versus what they have accomplished

From the in Colorado Springs:

"...Background screening guru Barry Nadell is helping USA Swimming review its criticized program. The NGB also vows to hire staff at its Olympic Training Center headquarters to focus mainly on preventing sexual misconduct, and USA Swimming president Jim Wood is expected to name a special committee on athlete protection later this year.

USA Swimming probably will work with the CWLA throughout the summer, with Wood and executive director Chuck Wielgus serving as the NGB’s point men. New legislation won’t go to vote until USA Swimming’s annual convention in September in Dallas. ..."


September? "...New legislation won’t go to vote until USA Swimming’s annual convention in September in Dallas...." - Ye Godz!, September, and it has to be voted on?

One individual I bumped into at the Swimming World message board, David Berkoff, who sat down at his desk and two hours later came up with a plan to protect kids in his local area. It did not take him 9-months to write nor did he hire a swanky agency to coach him on how to do it, he simply bypassed USA Swimming and decided he would do what seemed best.

NOW! Here is what David wrote:

To: Montana Swimming Board of Directors

From: David Berkoff

Date: 4/12/10

Re: Sexual Abuse

Dear Montana Swimming Board of Directors:

As many of you are aware, ABC News-20/20 recently aired a story on sexual abuse within USA Swimming. The story was not flattering to USA Swimming and certainly overstated the issue of abuse as pervasive for purposes of ratings. And while the story focused on Andy King, a 63-year old Jan Jose Aquatics Club coach with a 30-year history of sexually abusing kids, this story is much deeper. In my opinion, one of the worst aspects of USA Swimming has been to turn somewhat of a blind eye to abuse.

When I was competing, there were two very prominent coaches who were well known to have abused or had sexual relationships with their athletes. Both still are active in swimming and one of these men runs one of the largest clubs on the east coast. That coach settled a lawsuit out of court with his victim, a national team member that I swam with. I also personally knew two coaches who were later convicted of sexual abuse in Pennsylvania. One of these men, John Trites, is now on America's Most Wanted's Top 10 fugitive's list. John was convicted in absentia of secretly videotaping female swimmers on his 100-plus member team in the team's locker room.

I was disgusted enough by the over behavior of one coach (he was "smart enough" to only have sexual relationships with his 18&up swimmers) that I asked USA Swimming to form an abuse committee in 1991. That year and the following year, the subcommittee discussed abuse in USA Swimming and designed the first Code of Conduct as to physical and sexual abuse. I proposed background checks of all coaches, but this idea was rebuffed as technologically impossible at the time. As you know, background checks are required now but this mechanism still cannot discover unreported abuse, civil claims, or ongoing abuse by coaches.

I believe that USA Swimming's culture of quiet on the issue is many-fold. On the swimmers' side, discussion is limited because of our culture's somewhat neurotic approach to sex. We are inundated with images of sexuality on TV yet we have a culture of discomfort when talking about sex in a more candid manner, especially when it comes to abuse or violence. There is also the stigma of being a victim and that lack of knowing what to do when abuse occurs. That was patently clear in the 20/20 story, where one of the victims of Andy King stated that she was told that if she reported the abuse she would no longer be allowed to swim. I feel that the first step to preventing abuse is t to be educated swimmers properly about their rights as athletes when it comes to sexual abuse. When swimmers know that abuse is not right and that they can report it without fear, abuse will be less likely to occur.

On the coach side, there is little in the way of mentoring, training, and remedy. I was lucky enough to have a great coach in Dick Shoulberg as my coaching mentor. He sat me down one day and said several things that stuck with me over the years. He said, at meets, never have a swimmer of the opposite sex in your room alone; always have the door propped wide open; and never, never, never touch a swimmer inappropriately. Pretty obvious advice, I know, but there are few coaches out there saying it.

Dick understood that fact that a coach is in a position of trust and authority that sometimes is even more influential that a parent. Despite Dick mentoring his coaches, he has had two incidents of coach abuse associated with his team. It was discovered that one of his assistant coaches was having a sexual relationship with a 14-year old swimmer. That coach went to prison for three years and it led to a lawsuit. The other coach was John Trites, who was a summertime assistant for Dick. John was actually the assistant men's coach at Harvard when I swam. I was pretty stunned to learn that he had done what he had done.

The long and short of it is--if this kind of incident can happen where the head coach is paying attention and being a mentor, imagine what can happen where there is no one watching! I would recommend that step two is developing a system of specific coaches training sponsored by Montana Swimming, and intra-club mentoring. The MAC coaches plan to sit down at our next coaches meeting and have a discussion about the 20/20 story, abuse in the sport, and come up with our own guidelines.

The third way to prevent abuse is to make sure we, Montana Swimming, follow-up and follow-through on accusations of abuse. For a pedophile, swimming is the Wild West. We are fairly trusting of our coaches and our kids are running around almost naked. Unless we follow-through on a claim, there is little likelihood of an abuser being stopped.

As the 20/20 report discussed, many abusers run from club to club escaping investigation and/or prosecution. I believe that most clubs who suspect abuse by a coach are simply happy to have to that coach leave town after being confronted, never to darken their doorway again. But this does not solve the problem. A club that allows an abuser to go elsewhere is guilty of allowing the next act of abuse to happen. I think we have a moral obligation to make sure that coaches who abuse kids in our LSC are investigated properly, and if there is merit to the claim, that those coaches are prosecuted.

We are in a position of incredible trust and authority. We owe it to our swimmers to make this great sport as safe as practicable. Based upon the foregoing, I propose the following legislation.

David Berkoff
MAC Sr. Coach 

1. Sexual Abuse Policy.

Sexual abuse of children is a serious and unacceptable problem occurring across the United States. Montana Swimming recognizes that swim coaches, officials, and volunteers are in a position of trust and authority over minor children, and that this disparity in power leaves children in a position of being vulnerable to acts of abuse.

As the governing body of swimming in Montana, Montana Swimming desires to use its best effort to prevent future abuse of children in our sport through implementation of the following rules and reporting mechanisms. Reporting of abuse shall be mandatory.

Montana Swimming also encourages all accredited clubs within this LSC to implement its own training and mentoring programs for its volunteers, coaches, and swimmers to supplement this Policy.

2. Montana Swimming Sexual Abuse Reporting and Investigation Rule.

A. Definitions.

(i) "Coach" shall mean any person who is an USA Swimming accredited swimming coach, or any person who is in the process of seeking USA Swimming accreditation to be a swimming coach conducting any act within this LSC.

(ii) For purposes of this rule "Consent" cannot be given by a person under the age of 18.

(iii) "Member" shall mean any registered or accredited member of United States Swimming.

(iv) "Official" means any person serving, in any way, as an official or official-in training at any Montana Swimming sanctioned event.

(v) "Sexual Abuse" shall mean intentional physical contact or touching of a sexual nature without consent of the recipient; surreptitious videotaping, recording, or photographing of swimmers, parents, or volunteers inside of locker rooms, bathrooms, or any other place of privacy where nudity could occur; texting, instant messaging, and oral or written sexually explicit material or comments to a swimmer without consent; or any other act of sexual misconduct that constitutes a state or federal felony.

(vi) "Swimmer" shall mean any athlete member or potential athlete member of United States Swimming found within the Montana Swimming LSC.

(vii) "Volunteer" means any person who has provided services free of charge at any Montana Swimming sanctioned event for the purposes of furthering that event.

3. Sexual Abuse Prohibited; Reporting Requirement.

A. Prohibition. Sexual abuse by any coach, official, volunteer, member, or swimmer against or by another coach, official, volunteer, member, or swimmer, at any swimming-related function, meet, practice, or event is prohibited.

B. Reporting.

(i) Any coach, official, volunteer, member, or swimmer who becomes aware of any alleged act of sexual abuse in violation of this Policy must immediately report the alleged act of abuse to the Montana Swimming Board of Review ("Board of Review") in writing.

(ii) The written sexual abuse complaint to the Board of Review must provide sufficient detailed information about the alleged act of sexual abuse and persons involved, and must include the name of the person making the report.

(iii) Any coach, official, volunteer, member, or swimmer who makes a report of alleged sexual abuse in violation of this Policy in good faith shall not be subject to any adverse disciplinary action by the Board of Review.

(iv) Any coach, official, volunteer, member, or swimmer who submits a purposefully false report of sexual abuse shall be subject to disciplinary action by the Board of Review, up to and including expulsion from Montana Swimming.

(v) Any coach, official, volunteer, member, or swimmer who fails to report a known act of sexual abuse may be subject to disciplinary action by the Board of Review.

4. Investigation; Discipline; Reporting to USA Swimming and Police.

A. Initial Discussion.

(i) Upon being provided notice of a written complaint of sexual abuse, the Board of Review shall promptly convene by teleconference or in person to conduct an initial discussion and review of the complaint. The Board of Review may elect to keep the complaint confidential at this stage of the investigation.

(ii) After the Board of Review conducts its initial discussion, the Chairperson of the Board of Review shall immediately contact the person(s) against whom the complaint has been made, inform that person of the investigation, and notify the person that he or she shall have no contact with the alleged victim(s) of the abuse. Notice shall be given by verbal message and/or written correspondence.

(iii) The Chairperson of the Board of Review may elect to communicate with, or provide notice to, any other person who may be involved in, or necessary to, the investigation of the sexual abuse complaint.

(iv) After the initial discussion, Chairperson of the Board of Review may implement any interim order or decree to: (a) protect evidence or information necessary to the investigation; (b) prevent contact between the victim(s) and alleged perpetrator(s); (c) secure testimony or statements from witnesses; or (d) assure proper investigation of the complaint.

(v) If, after the initial discussion, the Chairperson of the Board of Review believes that the complaint is of the nature that there is an imminent risk of harm to the abuse victim, the Board of Review may elect not to notify the person being accused of the act of abuse, or any other persons involved, and immediately contact the appropriate law enforcement authorities. Involvement of law enforcement authorities by the Chairperson of the Board of Review shall not eliminate, or prevent, the requirement of any investigation of a complaint of sexual abuse by Montana Swimming.

B. Board of Review Investigation and Hearing.

(i) The Board of Review shall follow the standard Board of Review rules and procedures as adopted by Montana Swimming and is responsible for determining the appropriate disciplinary action. The Board of Review may elect to keep the names of the alleged victim(s) confidential.

(ii) The Board of Review shall produce a final report into any complaint of sexual abuse, which shall include: (a) the initials of the victim(s); (b) the name of the alleged perpetrator; (c) the names or any witnesses who provided testimony; (d) a list of documents reviewed; (e) the Board of Review's findings of fact; and (f) any disciplinary action.

(iii) If the Board of Review determines that there is either: (a) insufficient evidence to determine that an act of sexual abuse occurred; (b) the complaint has no merit, or (c) the complaint was made in bad faith by the complainant, the Board of Review's findings of fact shall state so.

(iv) All complaints of abuse shall be forwarded to USA Swimming for concurrent review. Those complaints forwarded to USA Swimming and are found by the Board of Review to be inconclusive, having no merit, or made in bad faith, shall attach a copy of report from the Board of Review to USA Swimming.

(v) All complaints of abuse which are deemed to have merit and which warrant expulsion from Montana Swimming shall be forwarded to the appropriate local law enforcement authorities.

(vi) Any person deemed to have committed an act of sexual abuse as defined by this policy shall be banned for life from Montana Swimming and such action shall be reported to USA Swimming.

C. Training and Review.

(i) All coaches, officials, volunteers, members, and swimmers shall submit to any sexual abuse training and certification adopted by USA Swimming. In the event that USA Swimming does not adopt a sexual abuse training and certification program by the end of 2011, Montana Swimming will adopt such a program.

(ii) Accredited clubs within Montana Swimming are strongly encouraged to adopt internal training, rules, and reporting mechanisms related to sexual abuse.

D. Supplementation of Rules.

(vii) Montana Swimming shall immediately adopt, and use as a replacement to the policies stated herein, any and all rules and procedures related to sexual abuse claims hereinafter enacted by USA Swimming which are inconsistent with the rules enacted by USA Swimming. ..."

Now ask yourself this, should, David Berkoff, be making, Chuck Wielgus', $636,000 annual salary or what?

I want, David Berkoff, on the USA Swimming board or as President and you should too!

The USOC has 15-million reasons to love 'BP' and they are all named after "George Washington"

The USOC has 15-million reason to love BP and they all contain the name George Washington in it but how many reasons do the athletes have?

It was February 2010 and British Petroleum was about to announce that they were going to become a proud sponsor of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).

The USOC needed this deal and they needed it badly for they had suffered a great loss when their “shoe-in” candidate, Chicago 2016, did not even make it passed the first round of the International Olympic Committee selection process for the 2016 Games.

To rub salt on the wound, the President of the United States was internationally humiliated by this rejection along side the USOC after flying in on Air Force One from Washington to “close the deal” but instead of “closing the deal” both his charisma and diplomatic skills were questioned in the global press for days.

BP had paid the organization $15-million dollars for this sponsorship deal and obviously part of the deal was to have complete access to US athletes, their likenesses, and their names for commercials and collateral branding for the company.

Then two months later on April 20th, 2010 an oil rig named the Deepwater Horizon exploded creating the worst ecological disaster the Gulf of Mexico has ever seen. An incomprehensible amount of oil continues to flood the Gulf each day and most of the fingers are pointed at BP when in reality this ecological disaster was a “team effort” starting with the federal government all the way down-the-line to the engineers who planned the effort and the people who dug the hole.

Apparently the US Government had granted BP the rights to drill despite the fact that the United States government had no technology nor the expertise to clean up an oil spill of “Biblical proportions” and neither did BP. It is a shame that the USA, also blinded by energy needs and a 40% royalty on every barrel drilled, could not predict the consequences if something went horribly wrong, and as usual, something always goes horribly wrong.

Fast forward to 2012: This disaster is now posing problems for Olympians tied to environmental causes and charities for how credible would an athlete look if they were endorsing an oil company when their particular charity was geared towards ocean health? The USOC is also oblivious to athlete concerns since they will not return BP’s money nor will they allow athletes to exclude themselves from participating with a sponsor they do not support.

It is clear to me that the USOC looks at athletes as nothing more than “branding engines” for our country, their organization, and their own personal gain.

The proof comes to us in an Article by, Eddie Pells, of Associated Press, “…The U.S. Olympic Committee intends to maintain its partnership with BP, hoping the company that provides about $15 million in sponsorship funding through 2012 can find "as quick a solution as possible" to the crisis in the Gulf. …”

No mention is made what they will do if the Gulf cleanup takes weeks, months or years. Just the word hope as they take the money their "branding engines" earned them and spend it on anything but athlete salaries.

Photo: Above BP execs are shown some love by the USOC

Monday, June 28, 2010

USA Swimming Foundation Board of Directors in Crisis?

This was just sent to me: It is a letter written by former USA Swimming, Vice President, Mike Saltzstein, who has sent it to President Jim Wood of USA Swimming.

The first two paragraphs are certainly of interest:

"... I understand there will be a telephone meeting of USA Swimming's Board of Directors on June 30, 2010. It is my further understanding that this call is planned to be [a] discussion of the collapse of the USA Swimming Foundation Board, and appointing member of the Swimming Board in number[s] sufficient to run the Foundation.

While complete control over the assets of the Foundation is certainly an important topic, I urge you to use this meeting as well, to discuss the recent revelations of certain violations of trust, good, and transparent leadership of the organization (including: [Link] ) And, to break the silence from you, our elected leaders. It is simply unfathomable to wait any longer to protect our athletes and the coaches who lead them. ..."

[See the image above to read the letter in it's entirety - Tony]

So, what does Michael Phelps do after a meet in Paris?

I am told he planned to go shopping and then hang at the the Musée du Louvre.

Hanging out in a museum; probably the best museum there ever was, after a swim meet thousands-of-miles from home is classy way to bring down your blood pressure. I hope he took in a lot of the French impressionist and perhaps a gander at the Mona Lisa.

Michael Phelps had a good meet despite media reports to the contrary. He showed up in France, swam a 1:55-and-change in the 200-fly thereby blowing out the field. He qualified for finals in every event he swam and it is apparently clear that Michael is not struggling but rather picking his battles which will probably be Olympic trials for 2012.

It is time to pull back on the yardage and enjoy himself a little till at least 2011 and I suspect that is what he is doing.

iGeneration covers Swim Wall on an iPhone and so does Glenn Mills!

French Apple site, iGeneration, in France must have seen my post: [Link]

Glenn Mills of GoSwim.TV views on his iPhone 4G. [Link]

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Look what 'SwimWall' looks like on an iPad!

That is Elisabeth in Paris at the Open EDF de Natation. She snapped the shot you see of Micahel Michael Phelps putting on his cap and more.

I wonder what SwimWall looks like on an iPhone, Blackberry, or an Amazon Kindle? Send me screen-shots with you in the frame and I will post them and a link to any site you want as long as it is swimming or health related. :-D

Saturday, June 26, 2010

USA Swimming Sex Abuse Scandal: When is a complaint by a victim an "official complaint" and when it is just a complaint?

I use to think that USA Swimming was "cagey" in regards to the way they addressed the sex abuse cases and the TYR anti-trust lawsuit.... Well, this email completely erased those opinions. I now realize they just going down the same road as the Catholic church did; simply following legal counsel and hoping it will all go away.

Well, we are all "Catholics" now.

If a victim writes the CEO of a company and says "I was sexually harassed or sexually assaulted", not only is that a formal complaint, that is a "shot across your bow," and you better do something even if the victim requests that you don't.

Once you know a crime or a potential crime may be taking place, you're now responsible since this is your "ship" under attack.

Only thing I can assume is that the CEO of USA Swimming must of thought that since the swimmer stated she did not want to file a "formal complaint", in some way this was a "get out of jail free" card or "this is not a formal complaint" card so USA Swimming can sit on their hands and keep their "pie-holes" shut.

The San Jose Mercury news has just released private emails between a victim in the Andrew King sex abuse crimes she exchanged with Chuck Wielgus, the head of USA Swimming.

From the San Jose Mercury News:

"... In her lengthy, Jan. 20, 2003, e-mail to Pacific Swimming's Benton, Kelly described her experience swimming for King at Chabot 10 years earlier. She said she "was shaking as I type," and called King "a terribly abusive coach" who had made female swimmers kiss the males in front of the team before practice. If they didn't, the whole team had to swim extra laps. "Andy timed it with a stop watch, because the rule was I had to kiss this person for 30 seconds," she wrote.

King also subjected swimmers to
lengthy diatribes, filled with comments like "stupid bitch" and "you are an idiot" if they did not swim as well as he wanted, she wrote in her e-mail.

In the same e-mail, she said "over 10 years later, I feel I need to say what I wish I said then. I can't change what happened but maybe something can be done to stop this from continuing." She wrote that she was "writing not to lodge a formal complaint, because perhaps too much time has gone by...."


"... In a Jan. 27, 2003, e-mail, Wielgus wrote that he had talked to the group's attorney and "here is our counsel:

"1. No formal complaint is being filed, so there is no formal action for you or us to take.

"2. You should monitor the situation and alert us if any new information comes forward.

"3. USA Swimming will open a file on this matter and while we will take no action at this time, we will remain alert for any new information.

"4. This matter should be kept confidential by both you and us.

"5. When and if any new information comes forward, we will assess the situation at that time and determine if any action is required."


Why should it be kept quiet? Seemed like that coach needed a bit of scrutiny and now I believe that USA Swimming does too!

I was given constructive criticism from a doctor who swims with SCAQ!

I was told that my blog was geared for the faster lane swimmers rather than the slower lanes and that I need to include content that assists newer swimmers have more fun. The good Doctor suggested that I talk about how to get rid of chronic cramping an she told me how she would drink quinine water and it completely removed the cramps she got while swimming.

We discusses quinine and I decided to do research. Here is what I found:

From wikipedia:

"... In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration limits the quinine content in tonic water to 83 ppm (83 mg per litre if calculated by mass), which is 0.25% to 0.50% of the concentration used in therapeutic tonic. Still, it is often recommended as a relief for cramps. Dr. Jim Mitterando states that "Quinine is one of the few treatments shown to help reduce nocturnal cramps. Quinine is found in low concentrations in tonic water (one-tenth of prescription dose). Drinking 8 to 16 ounces (a quarter to a half litre) at night can be a simple remedy."However, because of quinine's risks, the United States Food and Drug Administration has declared that nonprescription sources, such as tonic water, should not be used to prevent or treat leg cramps. ..."


I am officially frustrated that I can't get the official results for the mens 100-meter free from the 'Open EDF' meet in Paris!

© 2010 Photo: Elisabeth Escoriza - Guillaume Deutsch

As you know, I am launching a second site called and I have been waiting for about 10-hours now for the official results of the men's 100 free at the Open EDF in Paris, France, to be published.

I know who won and who was barely out touched in the last 20-centimeters but I can't post the news until the results are official. (Yannick Angel out touched Nathan Adrian by less than a finger length just like Jason Lezak did to Alain Bernard.)

So, I am going to preview the photos I cannot display yet from swim wall so you can get an inkling how close the race was and an official" article will be posted there as soon as I get them.

The Open EDF organizers have some rethinking on how the meet is timed and the results disseminated next year.

Michael Phelps Solid in Paris!

200-fly and 100-free coverage from Associated Press at SwimWall:

"... The American is competing in Paris as part as his preparations for the U.S. championships, which will determine the roster for 22nd Pan Pacific Championships in Irvine, Calif., in August.

Bernard, swimming in the same heat as Phelps, was unable to accelerate in the last 50 meters. The Frenchman, who is gearing up for August’s European championships in Budapest, Hungary, said he was not worried by his disappointing performance.

“I was very tired,” Bernard said. “And when you’re tired, there is nothing you can do. I wasn’t in a good shape today, and it’s also the result of my training for the European championships. This meeting was not a milestone in my preparations.” ..."


Friday, June 25, 2010

I am no Michael Phelps and Michael Phelps is no Richard Abrahams or Robert Strand!

That is Rich Abrahams above and you can tell it is a recent photo of him since he is wearing a tech suit. That man is 65-years-old and he can swim a 50-LCM free in 25.23. His short course yards time is a 22.10! Michael Phelps won't be swimming that fast at 65-years-old.

Robert Strand is another swimmer who was probably grown in military grade laboratory. He too will be there educating you on all things about health and success in Masters swimming.

His lastest accomplishments were breaking his own SCM world records in breastroke at the SPMA SCM Championships in Long Beach, last Dec., lowering all three of his records for the 4th year in a row, including breaking his own national record in 100 yd. breastroke at USMS Nationals in Atlanta going a 1:05.17 at 64-1/2-years old breaking his previous record that was set at age 60.

His latest breaststroke effort was a 1:15.4 in the 62-year-old age group.

Between Richard Abrahams & Robert Strand are 100 Masters world records and 150 national records. These guys are the "Shaolin Temple masters" of Masters swimming and they are inviting you to their "Shaolin Monastery"; (perhaps your local pool but on July 18th it will be the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center), where they will teach you how to excel and how to maintain performance despite aging.

Here is what their promo has to say:

Super Sessions Clinic with Strand/Abrahams, July 18th

On July 18th at the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center, Rich Abrahams and Bob Strand will be hosting their inaugural Super Sessions Clinic, that will concentrate on the "preparation and execution" of your prime race objective. It will feature pool race work, starts, and turns with video and dry land session. Between Bob and Rich, they have set over 100 Masters World Records and 150 National Records.

Each swimmer will get a cap and goggles, plus a 30% discount off FINA approved suits, thanks to sponsor Blue Seventy.

For further information contact Bob Strand at:

This clinic is sanctioned by SPMA, and current USMS membership is required.

An outdoor graphic presents Michael Phelps in France for the Open EDF!

This will be an amazing swim meet with giants in the sport such as Michael Phelps, Cesar Cielo, Alain Bernard, Amuary Leveaux and my favorite, Coralie Balmy.

I will be giving my over the top opinions here regarding stuff like that "ship anchor" beard Phelps is working on in the poster above as well as his performance and my opinions of what I saw.

I will be covering it as swim news item at our new site

I say it is "our site" since I want to set it up so that if you have a news event, a meet, or something you would like to cover, I would like you to submit it.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

South African Olympic backstroker: Charlene Wittstock to marry Prince Albert of Monaco!

Notice how there is no photo of the couple included in this post? Every photo of both the Prince of Monaco and his soon to be bride are tied up at news agencies and stock photo houses.

Nonetheless, South African, Olympian, Charlene Wittstock, is to become a princess. She swam backstroke in the 2004 Athens games and apparently she has fallen in love with a Prince.

Her Swimming career as cataloged at Wikipedia:
She was a member of the women's 4×100 m medley South African team at the 2000 Summer Olympics, which finished fifth. She finished sixth at the 2002 FINA Short Course World Championships for the 200 m breaststroke. In 2005 she swam for University of Pretoria. On 13 April 2007 Wittstock regained her title as South Africa’s 50 m women’s backstroke champion when she completed the 50 m backstroke final at the Telkom SA National Aquatic Championships in 30:16 seconds, to finish third behind Australia’s Sophie Edington and Brazil’s Fabiola Molina. She has won several national titles over the years. She planned to compete in the 2008 Olympic games in China, which she said would be her swansong, but she did not qualify.[6] Previously she had been out of competitive swimming for 18 months with a shoulder injury. Wittstock said she would be swimming in Europe in the near future, hoping to better her times. "I have a year left of competitive swimming, and I just want to be the best I can be in that time. After that I want to get involved in charity work, and development work with athlete's commissions."
Her personal life as categorized by Wikipedia:
On 23 June 2010 she and Prince Albert II of Monaco became officially engaged, having been in a relationship since 2006.They had been seen together since 10 February 2006, at the opening ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics when Prince Albert was accompanied by Wittstock. They were seen again together at the Monaco Grand Prix. Albert and Wittstock attended the "Bal de la Rose" and the Princess Grace Awards Gala in 2009. They also attended the wedding of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Daniel Westling in Stockholm on June 19, 2010, as a couple.

When married, Wittstock is expected to take the style of Her Serene Highness as well as the title of Princess Consort of Monaco, a title previously occupied by the Prince's mother, Princess Grace of Monaco.
If you would would like to see a photo of her and Prince, take a peak at the new site I am building, it's called SwimWall and there I posted an Associated Press photo and article regarding the couple. Yes, I am credible now. Associated Press has trusted me with the keys to their content:
Let's hope Charlene gets him into the pool so he can lose 30-pounds-or-so swimming Masters, shave his head, change the rest of his look-and-feel by slipping him into black, Italian, suit with sharper lines, perhaps some Persol sunglasses; (they worked for Steve McQueen), a Bell & Ross watch, a tattoo of his royal crest, and then you will have a pretty macho guy rather than a stand-in for the guy who played Edward Norton's boss in the movie Fight Club.

The above paragraph is why I will still keep blogging and maintain this site. This will be the place where I post how I feel rather than trying to balanced.

Though SwimWall is not quite finished, I hope you like what I have done so far with SwimWall. I am going to add so more sections like Masters, Diving and more but most importantly, I want to build a way for you all to submit content and photos.

So, the site is almost finished but I had to share it sooner. Please submit your opinions of it if you like and I hope to launch on July 1st.

I have always believed that you all know more than I do and your suggestions will be considered meaningful to me. :-)

BREAKING! News USA Swimming knowingly gives a positive reccomendation to a banned coach!

Everett Uchiyama, was accused of sexual abuse by a 30-or-so-year-old woman who stated the abuse began when she was just 14-years-old. these events were chronicled by Associated Press here: [Link]

Uchiyama, was later placed on the banned list of coaches yet USA Swimming "brass" in plural tense gave Uchiyama a solid recommendation, if not glowing, to The Country Club in Colorado Springs who hired him as a swim coach.

It is time for, Chuck Wielgus, and all those connected to the Everett Uchiyama endorsement to step down or be summarily fired by the USA Swimming board of directors. It is time for the USOC to exert pressure and insist on real reforms and not numerous, "band aid," press releases.

Age Groupers cannot tolerate an organization that is not putting both their interests and safety first. If this was any other professional sports organization, this would not be acceptable to anyone, especially the board of directors or the players.

From Swimming World:

"... Documents reveal that a reference call was made to Pat Hogan, club development director for USA Swimming, on December 22, 2006. Pat Hogan was recorded as saying Uchiyama was "Fantastic – most popular employee in the organization." And that his initiative was "Outstanding".

The document indicates that Hogan said Uchiyama's reason for leaving was a "Personal Choice". When asked in the document whether Hogan would rehire Uchiyama, the document indicates a "Yes" answer including the following note: "(I was not his supervisor)". Uchiyama reported directly to Chuck Wielgus, Executive Director for USA Swimming. ..."


Monday, June 14, 2010

More photos of Chloe Sutton and Kate Ziegler at the '2010 TYR Swim Meet of Champions!'

The first photo is of Chloe Sutton on the blocks adjusting her goggles for the 200 free.

Below that is a photo of Kate Ziegler challenging Chloe after a turn. Kate was besting Chloe on every turn in that race but chloe would out power her on the "flats" so to speak.

I want to talk about turns and what I learned from Kate Ziegler: I watched a lot of great swimming last weekend such as meet records, new talent, etc. etc., and what really confused me was that most of the athletes were breathing off the turns which we are all taught not to do. It's like a double standard so to speak from pro to recreational racer but Kate Ziegler was not one of them.

Durnig the 200-free she did not breathe into nor out of her turn and she would gain a half-body length on Chloe but Chloe was very motivated and very strong and would out-power her. (Open water training perhaps?)

What Kate Ziegler taught me is that the pros who are disciplined enough to adopt breath control during the turns may be the ones that qualify for Olympic trials.

Photos by Tony Austin this time.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Mark Savage and I attended the "TYR Swim Meet of Champions" - We had a blast!

Here are some photos I took with a couple included from Mark Savage. The photos Mark took today are some of the best swimming shots he has ever done. I will be posting them soon. I am exhausted right now but you will see more tomorrow.

Also, Kate Ziegler is quite friendly and smiles a lot. She is gracious and kind and was quite accessible to the kids seeking autographs.

The first two photos feature a swimmer in lane 4, final of the 50-free. I will post the name tomorrow.

The next two photos are of Tyler Clary swimming fly and back.

The next swimmer is, Madison, in Lane 4 during the 50-free final. Everything about her was perfect. Her stroke, her start dive, her winning finish, everything. She wasn't hard to look at either.

The final two photos are of Chloe Sutton in the 400 IM.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Last Weekend Alcatraz Races: FAIL!

[The photos above were taken by, Scott Belland, his work has appeared in Sports Illustrated. © 2010 Scott Belland Photography]

Around the Rock Swim
On Saturday morning I woke up early to go watch Rob Dumouchel do an Alcatraz race called, Around the Rock, whereas swimmers actually swim from Aquatic Park to the Alcatraz prison, then swim around the island itself, and finally back to Aquatic park. The race was almost called off due to fog but the race director allowed the race to go off 25-minutes after the initial start time once it became apparent that the fog would burn off.

On face value, a 25-minute delay does not appear to be a gamble, but what was working against this decision is that the tidal prediction for that day was off by 15-minutes. Consequently the swimmers left aquatic park during the start of the low tide.

As soon as the swimmers left the mouth of the bay, the tide carried them slowly in the direction of the Golden Gate Bridge. Again, the swimmers were to swim around the rock counter-clockwise but by the time the swimmers reached the island, many were at the wrong end of the rock and were forced to swim against the current to fulfill the mission.

The swim was eventful for those that made it around the rock. There was a total of five Coast Guard and police events to protect swimmers from errant boats as the tide took control of the race.

The final event that ended the race was when a yacht began to sail towards the leading swimmers and the police boat had to aggressively intervene with sirens blazing and a direct, head on course with the yacht. Only with 8 feet to spare did the ‘captain” make a hard turn to the right or “starboard;” (Arr matie!) and avoid the head on collision. It was then that the race was deemed over and the swimmers were pulled from the race. I believe five or less made it without assistance.

The Alcatraz Sharkfest Swim: The race I was slated to do was canceled due to dense fog. The fog was so dense that when the kayak support staff left Aquatic Park to paddle to Alcatraz, the only sense of direction they had to locate the island was the bellow of a fog horn stationed at the island. The horn would bellow for 20-seconds so they were literally paddling blind. They had to get within 300-yards of the Island to finally see it. Once there they waited patiently for the swimmers arrive.

When the two ferries carrying the 800+ swimmers made it to the island, the doors were opened for us to leap into the “drink” and line for the race but the Coast Guard would have none of that. The race was ordered stopped and we were sent back to the mainland.

Fortunately Envirosports had an immediate “Plan B” race for us which a slight majority chose to do. The swim was a little over a mile whereas we would swim out of Aquatic Park by swimming around a breakwater and then back into the bay to the finish line where the Alcatraz finish was set up.

Since we all had chips on our ankle it did not matter when you started. This completely removed the stress of a mass start and the slower swimmers, and even the faster swimmers, could choose to go when they felt "warm and fuzzy" so to speak.

Of course I was with the first "pod" into the water for I wanted fast people to pace me to some degree. It was a workable strategy but I believe it was the Cal Poly Water Polo team that took turns running me over one by one. I had a respectable finish though placing 112th overall out of almost 500-swimmers, 11th in my age group even and I will do it again next year.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Therese Alshammar - Even her goggles are classy!

I must get an interview with her. I have no idea what I would ask her about swimming but these things come to mind: I would like to ask her about Gary Hall's: The Race Club, Dara Torres holding up the 50-free in Beijing so she could change suits, what she thought of that lame Australian official who DQed her for wearing a modesty bikini under her suit, and finally what sort of goggles she is wearing in that photo?

Coralie Balmy warming up that pool!

French swimmer, Coralie Balmy, during warm-up. In my opinion, Coralie, is so stunning to look at that she makes movie star, Halle Berry, look like a waitress at Denny's.

Wiki Bio: Coralie Balmy (born June 8, 1987 in La Trinité) is a freestyle swimmer from France, who was born in Martinique (France). She won her first senior title at the 2008 European Aquatics Championships in Eindhoven in the 4×200 relay freestyle. At the same Championships she won the silver medal in the 400 m freestyle with the time of 4:04.15, all-time fourth fastest behind Federica Pellegrini's world record.

At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, she finished fourth in the 400 m freestyle final. On December 6, 2008 she set the world record for the 200 m Free (SC) at the French National Championships in Angers, France in a time of 1:53.16.

Camille Lacourt acknowledges Aaron Peirsol

Camille Lacourt: "I won the 100 back on behalf of Aaron Peirsol.. I think he could do a fast second-half, so I accelerate... and hopefully he would not answer. That guy is a legend to me.. Now I know I can swim against first class swimmers..."

I am way behind. I was out of town, had no internet access and working on the new site. This is from Mare Nostrum Saturday finals.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

This is the most surreal event I have ever posted to the blog: Guillaume Nery base jumping into an underwater sinkhole!

This is a jaw dropping event filmed so beautifully that you want to see more. There is a long shot of the diver "falling" in slow motion into the hole with a composition so overwhelmingly dangerous, you have to come away thinking how amazing the human body is.

This stunning video of world champion freediver Guillaume Nery base jumping underwater into Dean's Blue Hole will take your breath away.

Dean's Blue Hole is the world's largest underwater sinkhole, plunging 663 feet to the ocean floor in a bay west of the Bahamas. Nery, accompanied by freediving cameraman Julie Gautier, dove straight to the bottom, struck a pose, and then climbed his way back out.

My director friend, Esther, sent me this from the Huffington Post. (I designed the poster for one of her movies that won a technology award at the Boston International Film Festival.)

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Mike Bottom inspires Vanderkay: "Instead of it being like a job, it's fun again."

Could Bob Bowman be the final holdout on "garbage yardage?"

The article among others leads me to believe that Bob Bowman may be working his swimmers to hard. From, Katie Hoff crying, to Peter Vanderkaay stating: "Instead of it being like a job, it's fun again..." I think it is demonstrable that the intense purpose to win despite all physical and emotional costs ends up becoming a festering wound that consumes both athlete and any joy connected to any victory.

Now the words of praise for both Bottom and Vanderkaay:

Hats off, and a Kung Fu, Taoist, salute to Coach Bottom who apparently took a burned out swimmer regretting each workout into a swimmer who wants more. That's motivation, that is good coaching. The desire to do better is senior to just hard work alone.

the article details Vanderkaay's yardage as well.

From the

Mike (Bottom) is brilliant at putting all the aspects of the sport together. People would be surprised how little yardage I do compared to what's historically thought necessary for the 1,500."