Monday, August 30, 2010

'USA Today' : On-the-rise Ryan Lochte could soon glide past Michael Phelps

USA Today on how motivated Lochte is:

"I'm definitely eating healthier," he says, noting that he has more pasta, fruit, vegetables and lean meats.

"After eating a good meal, I'm just happy. It relates to my swimming. I'm having more than just a couple good practices in a row. I'm having a week where practices are unbelievable, and I think it's due to my diet."

It all could lead to an unbelievable story line in London, with Lochte overshadowing Phelps, who won a record eight golds in Beijing.

"I'm going to race as many events as I physically, possibly can," Lochte says of the 2012 Games. "Nine would be really nice. We'll see."

Whatever he is eating, or however he is dieting, I would buy that cookbook... Did you hear that Octagon? Make an "informercial" please.

On what Michael Phelps had to say on the 400 IM:

But encouraged by his mother, his coach and by the current times in the event (Lochte's winning time in the 400 IM in nationals was more than six seconds off Phelps' world record), Phelps is keeping an open mind about whether to swim it at the 2012 Olympics in London.

"I don't think I'm in the best shape I could be to swim that race how I want to," he says of his prospects for Thursday, "but I think it's a good opportunity to see if that could be an event that could still be in the program for the next two years."


Lochte and Phelps - one is talking the potential of going for 9-freaking-medals and the other is not really prognosticating or playing his cards close to his chest.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Craig Lord essentially states that Eddie Reese is calling for a "FINA mutiny"

Craig Lord of Swim News, a site I have promised to never link to, has produced a piece with such hot rhetoric and with such serious implications that it cannot be ignored. In it, Lord, states that he has seen a mysterious paper that ASCA has forwarded to him with Eddie Reese essentially calling for a de facto mutiny and to completely disenfranchise swimming from FINA thereby creating a new international governing body for swimming:

Holding my nose while I quote Craig Lord and link to his site:
"The End of FINA" will raise alarm bells not only among those running world swimming but in IOC circles too at a time when rumours abound that leading figures in the international federation are pressing for a return of the bodysuit, albeit in textile.

In a document seen by SwimNews, Eddie Reese, one of the world's leading coaches responds to Leonard's paper as follows: "It is time to openly start another organization ... the best swimming nations have a "universal games" at the same time as the Olympics. The athletes would be very important in this situation (as they always are)."

A mutiny, or the start of a new International governing body, would not please the International Olympic Committee, The United States Olympic Committee, USA Swimming nor the US Senate.

FINA was once confronted with a rogue governing body from Brazil and they dealt with them swiftly and with lots of prejudice and threats. If you swam at a non-FINA event, you were banned from FINA events forever. PERIOD! That was their "nuclear option" and it was "Game-on; finger on the button; Hallelujah, the missiles are flying, baby! "

The potential of watering down our Olympic presence and/or medal potential at an Olympic games while two governing bodies summarily conduct a silly "street fight" over textile tech-suits and voting power is way beyond the IOC to comprehend or even tolerate. They don't care about the morals or the ethics of swimsuits, they want a successful Olympics with no outside competition to dilute their billion-dollar party.

Note, that this alleged mutiny is coming out of the United States. Also note that the IOC happens to be in a very public spat at the present time with the the USOC. In fact the IOC even had the "cojones" to embarrass the President of the United States over the Chicago 2016 Games. Subsequently, I don't think the IOC will roll over or tolerate this mutiny and the USOC will get an ear full and told to get their ducks in a row or everybody loses.

John Leonard, of ASCA, is leading this charge and his particular peeve is that FINA wants to fore go their "democracy" as he calls it and run their organization like a "monarchy," or more accurately, like the NCAA. (Read, NCAA, as a synonym to "monarchy"). FINA has decided that they are tired of the USA & Australia dictating how the sport should be conducted and they don't like the voters telling them what they don't want to do.

My take, I want the sport to grow and I feel technology and profit driven industries support swimming and will take this sport to amazing heights. It will benefit athletes with higher salaries and it will benefit my bias for tech suits.

Some professional swimmers are now swimming for suit companies for less than $15,000 a year. A swimmer could make more working at Starbucks or a tech support call center, instead they chose swimming and it is my opinion they should have more opportunities or at least make half as much as Eddie Reese or Mark Schubert.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

PR Crisis: Michael Phelps and Bob Bowman exchange expletives - Reputations and careers at stake!

There is no doubt that Michael Phelps is the greatest swimmer ever. That is talent is so rich and runs so deep that he has demonstrated all throughout 2010 that he can show up to a meet barely prepared and still win the majority of races he competes.

It will probably take a generation of swimmers; (30-years or so), before we see a swimmer that can match his accomplishments and this declaration may be an understatement.

For over a year now Michael Phelps has acknowledged that he has been poorly prepared when showing up to "off-meets." These are not my words, but the words of both Michael Phelps and Bob Bowman.

Here is a brief chronicle of the past 8-months:

It was a state championship in a short course yard pool for age-groupers; the Maryland State Swim Championships at the U.S. Naval Academy. Michael Phelps was graciously attending to both inspire the kids and to get some benchmarks to measure his conditioning. One of those benchmarks was the 400 IM.

From Associated Press:

"I'm not happy, not at all," said Phelps, [...] He last swam competitively seven weeks ago.

"I wasn't as focused as I should have been. I let things control me that I should have been able to control. This is my job, my profession. I should handle things differently..."


"I can say today, at this moment, after this event, 3:39 is nowhere close to what I can or should do." [The state record was 3:35.98.]

Later in the meet he went on to break his own short course record in the 200-free.

In middle March, Phelps, swam at the The UltraSwim meet in Charlotte. He won the 200m IM, the 100m-butterfly, and the 200m-free. He scratched in the 50m-free after placing ninth in the prelims and placed second to Nicholas Thoman in the 100m-back.

His response to his performance as printed at the Telegraph in the UK:

"... "This weekend gives me motivation, more than anything. The weekend was not great, not terrible.

"I can't really be disappointed. There's some conditioning I need to fix, but hopefully by the end of the year I'll be where I want to be."..."

In May at the Open EDF, more mixed results:

His time in the 200-meter medley was a 1 minute, 58.95 seconds on Sunday, but he struggled throughout his freestyle races telling AP that he has to train harder, he needs to train harder.

“I’m not worried,” Phelps said. “Am I upset? Yes. Very. When I’m upset, I think it’s the best time for me to try and use that as a motivation.”

“Hopefully, it’s a wake up call. If it’s not, then I have to change a lot,” he said. “I blame myself. You’ve got to be responsible for your own action.”

According to, Bob Bowman, Phelps still continued to loaf and failed to show up for workouts. Bowman and Phelps even traded expletives regarding his workout attendance. When asked by ESPN what has been going on with his "day job", it was suggested that the Open EDF, the 2010 USA Swimming Nationals, and the Pan-Pacific Championships were summarily events held during an off year. He credited his lack of workout participation for giving him time to relax, to take up golf, and discover or define who he is as an adult.

Consequently, the Bowman/Phelps drama is seemingly like the separation one observes between a "father and his son" once the kid reaches adulthood. However, their relationship, as noted by ESPN, is a business relationship rather than a father/son relationship.

Form ESPN:

"I used every trick I had," Bowman said. "At first, I tried to be really patient, which is not a strong suit. I acted like it didn't bother me even though it killed me. Then I said, 'Screw that,' and got all over him and he missed like two straight weeks."


Bowman said he confronted Phelps about his commitment a few times, describing their conversations like this: "He wouldn't show up and I'd say, 'Where the f--- are you?' And he'd be equally urbane and intellectual, and then would miss two more weeks."

Michael Phelps is not just a professional swimmer, he is even more than a business, he is a resource that generates millions-of-dollars for the likes of Speedo, USA Swimming, his charities, his agents, his lawyers, and the TV networks that cover him.

Even now Speedo is embracing Ryan Lochte more than they are Michael Phelps because Ryan Lochte cares about his brand, his workout schedule and performances. Consequently, he blatantly executes well. Phelps on the other hand berates his very own work ethic which in effect diminishes the ability of those that either lost to him or defeated him.

Example: If Michael Phelps suddenly gave an impromptu press conference at some swim meet stating emphatically with lots of emotion that Ryan Lochte will never beat him in the 400 IM. That he will never allow anyone to beat him in any event he swam, economic engines at NBC Sports would be planning to have a television crew at any meet he swam and the sports pages all across the country would AP alert set up cover his races.

Even USA Swimming would be throwing more swim meets and licensing the television rights so as to use the profits to both grow the sport and their personal pocketbooks. Offers for both athletes to come and swim here or there would come early and often but Phelps is not saying those sort of things.

Instead, his excuses are about how unprepared he is or; if you read between the lines, how he would really rather be doing something else.

Finally, since Michael Phelps is a brand, his brand is changing from the greatest swimmer of all time to a swimmer who can't wait till retirement. That to me is a PR crisis and his sponsors can't be happy.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Amanda Beard Signs on to Endorse Aqua Sphere as the Premium Brand for Swimming!

That strikingly gorgeous photo of Amanda Beard above was photographed by Mark Savage of Corbis Images fame.

Amanda Beard, in a economically depressed swim market, had no problems getting signed and she chose Aqua Sphere.

Amanda is one of the few swimmers to transcend swimming and receive celebrity status outside of the sport and it is not an exaggeration to say that only four swimmers this decade have been able to do that: Michael Phelps, Natalie Coughlin, Dara Torres, and finally, Amanda Beard:

Here is the Aqua Sphere press release:

VISTA, CA - Aug. 2, 2010: Amanda Beard, the four-time Olympic swimmer and new mom, is finding comfort in the pool with Aqua Sphere. As the new face of the company that's recognized for its high-quality swim products that are as comfortable as they are innovative, Beard's endorsement comes from a lifetime of experience in the water as well as a new lifestyle that places comfort above competition. "We're obviously extremely excited to have Amanda with us," says Oliver Laguette, Director of Marketing for Aqua Sphere. "Here's someone who's spent over half her life training in the pool. If anyone knows what feeling comfortable in the water is - it's her."

Beard first gained fame as a 14-year-old phenom when she won silver in the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke, and gold in the medley relay at the 1996 Olympic Games. She went on to win seven Olympic medals, eight U.S. Swimming titles, a World Championships title and a World Record in her signature event, the 200-meter breaststroke.

Today, the 28-year-old swimmer and new mother, who is currently training for the 2012 Olympic games in, works out four to five hours a day - but her priorities have shifted slightly from swimming to her 10-month-old son, Blaise Ray Brown.

"My lifestyle has changed over the last year. Comfort has become a luxury," says Beard, whose time is split between swimming laps and changing diapers, "so I'll take it wherever I can find it, and Aqua Sphere's products are absolutely the most comfortable gear I've ever used."

About Aqua Sphere: Aqua Sphere is the worldwide brand of choice for swimming gear, based on the highest industry standards of design and innovation. Launched in the mid-90's as a division of diving industry leader Aqua Lung, Aqua Sphere is committed to supplying eye protection for dedicated or casual swimmers, enabling them to feel safe, comfortable and at home in the water. The company's numerous innovations include the Seal, the first swim mask featuring 180-degree vision and the first panoramic goggle. Aqua Sphere, which partnered with Ironman in 2008 to create a new line of unparalleled triathlon wetsuits, has long been known throughout triathlon circles for their line of popular swimming masks, goggles, and aquatic fitness gear. For more information, log on to: [Link]

Note, that she is now training 5-hours-a-day.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Pan Pacs: 400-Meter Free - Drama, Suspense and no Excuses from a gracious Kate Ziegler!

Pan Pacific Championships provided mixed results for Katie Hoff. After making the US World Championship team in the 200-free relay at US Nationals, she failed to final in the 400-free at the Pan Pacific Championships.

Hoff had swam a 4:05.50 at Nationals but her time of 4:08.93 at Pan Pacs was too anemic to make it into the finals. Her only hope to make it on the 2011 FINA World Championship US team was for Chloe Sutton or Kate Ziegler to fail to best the time she set at US Nationals.

A strong Chloe Sutton won the final and Kate Ziegler just missed Katie Hoff's time by 200ths of a second.

Though a stinging loss for Ziegler, Kate provided no excuses for the loss. She congratulated Hoff in the press and reveled in her glory at winning the 800-meter-free. A brief "post mortem" of the race to the Washington Post reporter included Ziegler mentioning that swimming with a faster field in the finals would have inspired her to swim even faster which is an obvious direct compliment to Hoff. She mentioned that this strategy of waiting fora faster field to inspire her was going to change.

Hoff mention some anxiety symptoms to the Washington Post while waiting to see if her US Swimming Nationals time would hold up and these symptoms included shaking and feelings of anxiety. Once learning she made the cut to the World Championships all symptoms subsided.

There is a saying in Hollywood that you are only as good as your last movie. Could Kate Ziegler actually be the faster swimmer of the two and a better swimmer to have on the team at FINA World Championships? My personal bias thinks so after seeing how well Kate Ziegler swam at Pan Pacs.

Memo to "Superman" - Lochte wears shoes made of "Kryptonite!"

I don't know anything about the Ryan Lochte shoe line from Speedo but I bet the cost to import, process, and manufacture these "Kryptonite" puppies much have taken a lot of time and cost a fortune to build; two factors Speedo had both of.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The "Magnificiant Seven" cheer on Samantha Vanden Berge at "US Nationals"

UCLA's Samantha Vanden Berge "beasting" the 800-free while her teammate and friends from UCLA cheer her on to victory in the 800-free prelim at 2010 US Nationals.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Michael Phelps 'Washington Post' profile piece is a PR crisis!

"... Bowman said he wonders whether he shouldn't have just told Phelps to take an entire year off after winning eight gold medals in the 2008 Summer Games. Phelps has shown up for about 40 percent of the year's work ..."

Michael Phelps has only been attending practices on a regular basis since May. When he doesn't show up he wouldn't call or text and his coach Bob Bowman would move on to the swimmers who did show up. After missing practice for a week, Bowman wondered if he was okay?

For the past two years, Michael Phelps, has "phoned in" the majority of his swims often showing up to the meets unshaven and prefacing each misstep or mediocre time with an excuse. These excuses are not only unprofessional but they are subsequently degrading the swimmers that have actually put in the hours to beat him and they are embarrassing the sponsors that have invested in him.

His workout ethic once had no equal but now it is both lazy and asymmetrical.

When I read between the lines of each excuse he has proffered over the last two years, I read these words between the lines: I HATE MY F**KING JOB!

Michael, either be a "super hero" or get a new job.

The photo above is brought to by Corbis Images and is copyrighted. I can't share this photo - you will have to license it.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

USA Swimming is doing a masterful job at 2010 Nationals!

The event is going so smoothly and so professionally I am told that it indeed surpasses such Hollywood Events as the American Film Market, The Cannes Film Festival, or even the Academy Awards. Event planners take notice on how to get it right.

Mark Savage is down in US Swimming Nationals doing photography for both Corbis and the my various web projects and even though he is loudly connected to this blog and the soon to be released,, USA Swimming officials are treating him with sublime respect litterally making sure he is well fed and watered up despite my criticisms of the organization.

Mark tells me the atmosphere down there is electric. Obviously the best swim talent in the United States has gathered and 99.9% of the athletes are displaying no egos whatsoever; (the .01% person knows who they are), Aaron Piersol recognized Mark and said hello; (Mark did a photo shoot with him in 2000). Ryan Lochte was gracious and let Mark snap a head shot and Lochte was surprised that he even asked for permission. (Mark says he looks ripped and displayed massive torque during the 400 IM.)

With all these good vibes and great swims, Mark has decided to include doing USA Swimming Meets to his Corbis portfolio along with his movie star work.

I suggested to Mark that he offers his services to regular losers like me to come and out and shoot us. He said he would love to. He said grab a pool, a starting block and he would photograph swimmers for a nominal fee.