Thursday, October 28, 2010
I want to thank Shelia in Texas for this. I love Mr. Fertic's explanation: "We were trying to free up more slots for you by allowing you to pay more." That does not wash but I credit him for appreciating the feedback he received.
The solution to creating more slots for competitors is to create more races. The fact that competitors are gaming Ironman events by carpet bombing these races with entry fees hoping one of the races would grant the athlete a slot; (If his explanation is true), is due to the fact that there are not enough races. The solution: Add more races not more fees.
'USA Swimming' sex abuse lawsuit - San Jose Superior Court judge fines USA Swimming $5,250 for non-compliance and they still are not complying!
The national governing body for swimming has six days to reproduce files concerning complaints of sex abuse against coaches it sanctioned, according to a court order in which the Colorado Springs-based organization was fined $5,250 for not originally complying. ..."
Names of witnesses, cities, schools, swim clubs and police departments were struck from the documents, termed by Allard as “entirely nonsensical” and “virtually unreadable.” In six cases, USA Swimming redacted bits of newspaper articles, and in two cases, the submitted identical documents with different redactions within each document. ..."
Also, if you can't qualify for the Ironman World Championships race in Kona because you are not super human, they will allow you two positions in a lottery to get into that championship versus only one position for the unwashed and similarly unqualified masses.
This tells me two things: one they are a bunch of greedy people. Two the WTC must be doing something right to have such an oversupply of athletes to justify making this this offer with a straight face.
From the WTC website:
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Premise & Inference: Both hot water and 100-degree air temps plus a profoundly long swim were the most likely issues that led to Fran Crippen's death. He most likely drowned after going hyperthermic but may have survived if he had instantaneous access to a lifeguard or flotation device.
Note, Christine Jennings is the living example of what most likely happened since she and four others were rushed to the hospital for hydration and high core-temp treatment. (Also consider that the winner Thomas Lurz was highly critical of the same swimming conditions that Jennings suffered through.)
This obviously infers that hot water and hot air temps are a dangerous mix for an open water event. The body cannot cool itself via evaporative cooling nor can the body hydrate itself fast enough when it is in trouble. (Diana Nyad, is another case in point when she required 4-liters of IV fluid to recover form a 89-degree water swim.) Thus, the potential for overheating, unconsciousness, and even death is a de facto high risk and this must be confronted aggressively.
Conclusion: All races should be held in water that is on the cool side - 65-degree temps or less. That athletes MUST have an instantaneous access to flotation aids (read "flotation aids" as a mandatory wetsuits), so as to assist any athlete in staying above the water if they are fighting unconsciousness and/or exhaustion. Also include GPS timing chips for location assistance and a trained medical staff on site for faster treatment.
Granted, this would eliminate swim races under golden, tropical, suns but since FINA and event organizers are not capable of keeping an eye on all the athletes, it is my belief that stringent solutions like these are more workable than not.
From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
I cannot find any heat stroke guidelines for warm water so let's 'crowd source' this and come up with our own.
I figured the Navy would be the place to look for info on heat stroke and warm water deaths but I could not find anything. Consequently it is my belief that we have to use FINA's maximum pool temp as a benchmark but then minus 7-degrees from that temp as an ad hoc, temporary, benchmark.
Here is why: I learned that saltwater is more "insulated" so to speak than fresh water for ocean water will only freeze at 25-degrees Fahrenheit versus the 32-degrees Fahrenheit needed for "normal" water to freeze.
My deduction, based on this benchmark, is that ocean water feels 7-degrees warmer than fresh water. Ergo, by deducting 7-degrees off the FINA 82-degree maximum pool temperature benchmark; (No one has died of heatstroke in a pool), and make a bold statement that swimming in 75-degree water should be safe in sub 90-degree temps. We have a safe rule for swimmers to use when asked to compete in sketchy conditions.
Please correct me if I am wrong.
Washington Post: Christine Jennings, winner of the 'Tiburon Mile' speaks out on how she too nearly died during the Fran Crippen race!
The other American, Christine Jennings, [featured on the far right of the photo] said she vomited several times in the water. Jennings, 23, got dizzy and veered off course. Fearing she would black out, she turned over and swam on her back with an arm in the air to signal her distress to the safety boats that are supposed to follow the swimmers in such races.
Where is the outrage from the governing bodies that sent swimmers?
Monday, October 25, 2010
Steve Munatones:"Water in the 80s feels like a Jacuzzi," agreed Steven Munatones, who helped write safety rules for FINA, the international governing body for the sport of open-water swimming. He also noted that there was no cloud cover during the UAE competition, "which makes it even more uncomfortable."Diana Nyad:Swimming in warm water can trigger nausea, vomiting and light-headedness, said Nyad, who recalled swimming for eight hours in 89-degree water in August.After long swims in hot water, her veins lay "absolutely flat," and Nyad needed four liters of IV fluid to recover.
Rowdy Gaines was even more definitive:
NBC Sports swimming analyst Rowdy Gaines called the high water temperature Saturday in Dubai "an accident waiting to happen" Monday morning on The Today’s Show, and the network’s Philadelphia affiliate spoke Sunday with Fran’s sister Maddy Crippen, who placed sixth in the 400m IM in Sydney. On Monday, she told ABC News her brother had for months been expressing concerns about the safety measures in place at such events.
If Fran Crippen was telling his sister the conditions were hazardous, you know he was telling FINA and USA Swimming. These people are suppose to be the "players union" so to speak but instead they are owners and the swimmers have no union to protect them from, errr, swimming in hazardous conditions.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Fran Crippen's death smells like an accidental homicide! - UAE Fujairah Police Department thinks so too!
Here is the USOC statement and it is severely weak. No mention what investigative steps they will take but rather they simply explain that they are going to wait for others to do the work for them:
“The USOC was extremely saddened to learn today of the death of US swimmer Fran Crippen. We send our condolences and deepest sympathies to the Crippen family as well as to our entire swimming community. While details of this tragedy are still forthcoming, we shall keep this outstanding young athlete and his family in our thoughts and prayers."
Seriously, I don't want to hear about sorrow and condolences, I want to hear about the outrage and calls for a postmortem audit of that race? USA Swimming just lost a national team member. His team, the Mission Viejo Natadores, just lost a friend and an inspiration, his family, a son and a brother.
Fran Crippen wasn't some "wahoo" like I was 6-years ago trying to do an Alcatraz crossing for the first time fully unprepared - he was an elite athlete who could swim better than 99.9% of the planet yet he died with no support craft near him in water that was well beyond the safety benchmark to swim in.
The finger pointing begins. FINA is pointing fingers at Fran Crippen and his coach:
“What we know initially is that he exerted himself more than he could, that's what we know,'' said FINA President Julio Maglione of Uruguay, attending an International Olympic Committee conference in Acapulco, Mexico. Maglione said he was told that after eight kilometers Crippen informed his coach that he wasn't feeling well.The United Arab Emirates Swimming Federation Secretary blames FINA:
“The competition was monitored and supervised by the International Swimming Federation. All security measures were taken care of as needed… We’ve organized so far 14 competitions and championships and never had any death,” said Al Hamour.Thosmas Lurz, the event winner blames all the governing bodies for allowing swimmers to compete in dangerous conditions and with little support:
Thomas Lurz of Germany criticized both swimming's governing body and race organizers Sunday, saying conditions were too hot for racing, that FINA's schedule was too grueling and that organizers should have done more to ensure swimmers' safety in the Open Water 10-kilometer World Cup held at Fujairah, east of Dubai, on Saturday.
The only organization that feels enough outrage to aggressively look into this horrible tragedy is the UAE Fujairah Police Department who have opened an inquiry into Crippen's death. These people get it! This could be acknowledged an accidental homicide.
[Link]So far there is a preponderance of evidence pointing to the FINA rule violation and the lack of support craft - I suspect a committee allowed this race to occur from the top down. Let's see what will happen?
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Fran Crippen died in water that was in the middle-to-high 80's - FINA Has no maximum temp cut-off for an open water races but they do for pools!
Imagine swimming a 1500-meter, balls out race, in 88-degree water? Would you get sick? I would. Now imagine swimming a 10-kilometer race in 88-degree ocean water or higher? Note this temp would feel 7-degrees warmer than a pool due to the salt content.
Fina has temperature rules for racing pools. These temps are designated to be between 77-to-82 degrees. FINA would never let a swimmer swim a race in a pool in 82.1 or higher but the athletes who swam in the FINA Open Water 10-kilometer World Cup in Fujairah, near Dubai, swam in water well beyond that limit. Subsequently, due to the salt content, the water must have felt like a hot tub somewhere in or around the 90-degree mark.
Background on the Fran Crippen tragedy from Associated Press:
"... The magazine said the water temperature was in the mid- to high-80s, and several swimmers were treated for heat exhaustion after the race.
Swimmers were the first to respond when Crippen failed to arrive at the finish. Several returned to the water to search for him and were soon followed by a dive team. Crippen’s body was found just before the last buoy on the 2-kilometer triangular course, race organizers said. ..."[Link]
The FINA rule book on open water races states the following regarding water temps. Note that nothing is said about maximum temperatures:
It was mentioned in the article that a FINA Exec stated that Fran Crippen told a coach at the 8K mark that he was not feeling well. Obviously this is a standard issue "blame the pilot for the plane crash despite the treacherous condition the air traffic controllers sent the pilot into."
"... OWS 5.5 The water temperature should be a minimum of 16°C. It should be checked the day of the race, 2 hours before the start, in the middle of the course at a depth of 40 cm. This control should be done in the presence of a Commission made up of the following persons present: a Referee, a member of the Organising Committee and one coach from the teams present designated during the Technical Meeting ..."
We saw USA Swimming do this with the sex abuse scandals whereas they blamed both the parents and the victims thereby denying any responsibility and now we are seeing FINA doing the same: "Blame the coach and run..."
Let it be known: Fran Crippen's coach is completely immune from any and all culpability due to the fact that FINA officials certified the course as being safe despite that the water temperature taken two hours before the race denoted that the water temp exceeded the pool temperature rule by roughly 6-8-degrees Fahrenheit. Add the water salinization and it would translate to perhaps 10-degrees.
This is just the beginning; I am hearing rumors of too few lifeguards and rescue craft as well.
Open Water Swimmer Fran Crippen has passed away during an open water swim in the United Arab Emirates
Crippen had shown signs of slowing down during the third lap of the five-lap race.
When Crippen did not immediately finish, a fact noticed by teammate Alex Meyer who screamed for help, the competing swimmers rushed back into the water to help with the search.
Information provided to Swimming World demonstrates that the water was likely too hot for the event as several swimmers were treated for heat exhaustion after the race.
This was the last open water swim of the year for Crippen, and he had planned to take a vacation to Italy.
Friday, October 22, 2010
"Dancing in the deepest oceans, Twisting in the water, You're just like a dream" -- Robert Smith (The Cure)
US Masters Swimming needs to create FREE intro swimming programs to get these guy introduced to the dark arts of open water swimming and then up-sell them into a masters program or at the very least cross-sell them instructional tools such as DVDs from Glenn Mills.
Triathletes should realize that two-minutes off their swim time can mean ten places or more on the results food chain. Ten-minutes off their mile-swim time could be 100 places.
Tiburon fire Capt. Steven Ardigo said his department treated four swimmers with mild hypothermia symptoms in the race area.
"They just needed some active rewarming," Ardigo said, noting that the volume of swimmers suffering from hypothermia was higher this year than in past races.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
The Grievance Committee went into deliberations between 8:00 pm and 9:15 pm. Discussion included consideration of all submitted documents as well as the statements and rebuttal testimony given by the Petitioner and the Respondent during the hearing.In accordance with the USMS LMSC Grievance Procedure, the Committee agreed that the grievance submitted by the Petitioner has merit and therefore is not dismissed. The Committee also agreed that the Respondent’s membership with SPMA should not be suspended but respectfully makes the following recommendation:For the period of 12 months between November 1, 2010 through October 31, 2011, the Respondent shall:
- Not be allowed to compete in SPMA/SPMS sanctioned events – this includes both pool competitions and open water competitions
- Not be allowed to hold any SPMA/SPMS elected or appointed office, nor be a member of any SPMA/SPMS committee or sub-committee
- Not be allowed a vote on SPMA/SPMS business conducted during LMSC meetings
- Not be allowed to represent a club or group for purposes of SPMA/SPMS businessThe Committee further recommends that the Respondent not be prevented from coaching for an SPMA/SPMS club and be on deck as a coach during SPMA/SPMS-sanctioned competitions during this time period and that the Respondent not be excluded from competing in non-SPMA/SPMS competitions and events.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Frederick Bousquet quietly serving a 2-month suspension that he does not deserve for a vasodiliator you can buy over the counter!
What is a vasodilator? Vasodilators are medications that widen blood vessels and also help those suffering from extremely low blood pressure. Amusing enough, Vitamin B-3, or niacin is a vasodilator. You can find B-3 in a whole grain health cereal or more abundantly in Flintstones Vitamins. Take enough B-3/Niacin and you will turn bright red and feel a major heat flush that is probably more saturated in color than a bad sunburn. B-3 also lowers cholesterol!
The vasodilator, Bousquet, tested positive for was in a ointment. The drug is called heptaminol and though recently added to the banned substance list, this two-month is suspension is both irrational and extraordinarily invasive. Consequently, Frederick Bousquet's privacy has been invaded, and his reputation sullied by a drug that that is not even an effective performance enhancing drug in the manner that it was taken. It is also the last drug a sprinter would want to take
When taken orally, The drug is used to assist bed-ridden patients stand up without fainting so as to assist in getting the patient mobile again. It accomplishes this by raising the patient's blood pressure. Now, is that something a sprinter wants to do, elevate their blood pressure before a heart wrenching sprint that can or will elevate a heart rate to over 200-beats a minute? Fast answer: No!
In my opinion the suspension should be lifted, he should get an apology and any lost pay credited back to his account. This suspension is summarily slanderous.
Monday, October 18, 2010
The Sharkfest Swim Debacle!
“Okay, it’s official: I’m drowning!” and I said it aloud.
Tony Austin, former Ironman triathlete, life long surfer, former rock climber and now an Alcatraz Sharkfest competitor was drowning in the middle of a bay, in the middle of a race, and in the middle of his life.
When you’re drowning you cough a lot and you cough hard. The irony is you don’t think about getting yourself out of the water, that’s the least of your problems, you think about getting the water out of you. So, you hack, you bark, you whoop, and then you violently convulse trying to turn your lungs inside out so as to keep them from collapsing into mush.
I did not feel like I was doing a good job but I must have been because even though I was light-headed I wasn’t dead yet.
A life guard friend of mine once told me that it only takes a couple of teaspoons of water to kill a man. Subsequently, when you feel half that or more rolling down your bronchial passages, you feel like your inches from death and that is not hyperbole.
The Ground zero of my presumed demise was the choppy waters of the San Francisco Bay. I was 300 yards into a race aptly named: The Alcatraz Sharfest swim, a 1.5 mile open water swim that started out at around 8:00 AM off the shores of Alcatraz and was to conclude in a man-made inlet known as Aquatic Park. To my right was the Golden Gate Bridge, the de facto “suicide icon” of California. To my left the sprawling delta with the Oakland Bay Bridge hovering above it.
The Oakland Bay bridge is a monster of a bridge. It’s painted battle ship grey with a double deck transit way that summarily would look more at home in Brooklyn then it does No Cal. I identify with that bridge more than I do the Golden Gate for the Oakland bridge represented strength, the Golden Gate represented vanity. (Ironically enough the Golden Gate is the stronger and better made of the two.)
When you are in the middle of panic attack, you’re so convinced you’re about to die that you just accept it and it is then that you think of your family and how guilty you feel for getting yourself into the mess as fatal as the one I was in now. The guilt is engulfing. It is definitely not the last thought you want to carry into eternity and it was going to be the thought I was stuck with.
I had trained religiously for this event for eight whole months swimming in a 25-yard pool, 3-4-days a week till I could swim 100 laps straight and now I appeared to be a “dead” failure.
Though my perceived version of reality was that I was about to sink to the bottom of the bay, and though it felt very real, the kayak support staff as watching me and they felt I was doing fine.
I started doing backstroke during these “last thoughts” so I could cough and breathe and at least make an attempt for shore.
After 55-minutes worth of coughing I could taste blood. That bolted my pulse rate to about 165-beats-a minute and I felt a sweat coming on in the 55-degree water. My wetsuit felt like it was shrinking and I started to signal for help but a kayaker paddled up to me with a big smile and asked, “how ya doing?” “I aspirated water!,” I replied but he probably did not know what that meant. If I could talk, then I was okay in his book. “Well, you’re backstroke looks great, turn a little bit to the right and you’re only a 100-yards from the entry into Aquatic Park.”
I presumed that the tide and my anemic backstroke must have floated me across the bay and near the inlet of Aquatic Park. At that point I needed help but I was too vain to yell, "get me out of here," so I figured since he was paddling next to me I would be chaperoned the rest of way and I would “Man-up,” because that is what "men" do.
The next 300 yards were an agonizing attempt at a sloppy freestyle. When I made it to shore, out of over 800-swimmers I placed 5th from last and the time it took me to do so was an anemic 1:12:00 to finish the swim.
It became clear that "a good athlete knows when to quit and I was not a good athlete."
The audience applauded me and patted me on the back as I walked out of the water. I felt bloated, pathetic and I would be coughing on an-and-off for nearly 4-days after that.
I dragged myself a block or so to the swanky hotel that I was staying at: The Argonaut, a five-star hotel at the tip of Fisherman’s wharf made entirely out of brick. The hotel was once a cannery owned by the Del Monte corporation some ages ago but now converted as both a San Francisco historical artifact and a fancy hotel with a nautical motif. I gathered my bags, settled the bill and met my friend Scott for breakfast at a cheap café. It was there that I debrief and told him all about what happened and what I felt about my “failed” crossing.
After getting me in reasonable shape to make the flight back to “Lost Angeles,” he drove me to Oakland and dropped me off at the Southwest terminal for the fly home.
I stood in line at the terminal, depressed, deflated and angry. Two Sharkfest competitors stood in line next to me and asked me how I did. I refused to tell them, but they kept at it but I wouldn’t break my silence. Though they were a bit proud and full of too much pride they did say two simple words that changed my life…
Within six years I would lose 25-pounds, would return to the Alcatraz Sharkfest not once, but six-times and finish each time in the top 15% - 20% of the overall finishers and each time in the top ten of my age group.
Those two words? Masters Swimming! Then I was on my way to mastering swimming.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Steve Munatones has play-by-play and video: [Link]
1. Chip Peterson (USA) 22:52
2. Thomas Lurz (Germany) 23:06
3. Ryan Cochrane (Canada) 23:09
4. Oussama Mellouli (Tunisia) 23:20
5. Mads Glaesner (Netherlands) 23:47
6. Vincent Donnelly (USA) 23:59
7. Alex Kostich (USA) 24:47
8. Eric Nilsson (USA) 25:11
9. Joshua Charnin-Aker (USA) 25:12
1. Christine Jennings (USA) 24:45
2. Melissa Gorman (Australia) 24:46
3. Chloe Sutton (USA) 25:02
4. Emily Brunemann (USA) 25:14
5. Luane Rowe (Australia) 25:58
6. Heidi George (USA) 25:32
7. Catherine Breed (USA) 27:20
8. Olivia Hughes (USA) 28:08
9. Natalie Malicki (USA) 28:28
10. Kathryn Taylor (USA) 28:34
The first photo is the race start. Next, 3rd place finisher, Chloe Sutton, standing next to her competition. The third photo is the Natadore Team from Orange County California and boy do they look cold. Finally the female winners of the race with Jennings holding a $10,000 check for her sub 25-minute effort.
Scott Belland Photography is responsible for these fine images.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Which suit do we believe is now the new number one?
Hence, TYR is rebranding; or more accurately, going back to their original message: TYR was founded by athletes, the product is designed by athletes, and they even named it after an athlete! (Well, the Norse god, TYR, wasn't exactly an athlete but he certainly encompassed the same ideals.)
Speedo's number one swimmer, Michael Phelps, seemingly hates his job and would rather be playing golf or playing poker in Las Vegas according to the press. That is a huge whole to fill.
Ryan Lochte is coming out with a new Speedo shoe line but has he convinced you that a Speedo will make you swim faster? Other problems for the company is that they seemingly have no presence in the triathlon market and even Arena is building a larger stable of swimmers.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Consequently, the designs are mostly not that good. Some flashes of brilliance but most coins, especially the swimming coin, fall well short of the quality you would have expected from an affluent western country.
By the way, I am not thrilled about the aesthetics of American money either but when it comes to the Olympics, your city should step up and produce artwork that is remembered such as the pictograms from the Los Angeles Games in 1984 and of course the Munich Games that set the standard in 1972.
Graphically speaking, from their London 2012 logo to the reliefs on these coins, anemic is the only adjective that comes to mind.
From the Daily Mail:
For a video essay of the Olympic pictograms from 1936 to today, see this New York Times feature which echo my sentiments:
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
I let everyone else get moving first and then sighted off of other people’s swim caps to figure out where we were going. I had my head up quite a bit at first but after a little bit I got on line with another swimmer and could relax a little and put my head down a little more. This led to a little bit of a surprise… THOUSANDS OF JELLYFISH!!! I’ve seen one here or there before, but this was completely amazing. They were everywhere, all pointed in the same direction with their tentacles unfurled behind them. Luckily they were about 5 or 6 feet below the surface. I was admittedly a little (ok possibly a lot) freaked out by this. I mean now that I’m totally surrounded what happens if there’s an upwelling that pushed them to the surface where my bare arms and chest are all ready to be stung repeatedly and mercilessly? Much to my relief none of that ever happened, but I was definitely on high alert from there on out!
Keep in mind that Monterey Bay is part of the infamous "red triangle"; a hangout for great white sharks.
Saturday, October 09, 2010
Potts' event in college was the 400 IM.
- 48:48 Potts, Andy Colorado - USA
- 51:12 Bockel, Dirk Munsbach - LUX
- 51:15 Jacobs, Pete Sydney - AUS
- 51:25 Al-Sultan, Faris Al-Ain - ARE
- 51:26 Cartmell, Fraser - GBR
- 51:27 Raelert, Andreas - GER
- 51:29 Bayliss, Stephen - GBR
- 51:30 Ritter, Christian - GER
- 51:30 2:42 5 Henning, Rasmus - DNK
- 51:31 2:43 11 Bozzone, Terenzo - NZL
Friday, October 08, 2010
From Pool & Spa News:
"... But the swimmer didn’t just lend his name to the product.
Phelps and coach Bob Bowman provided input on various design elements of the new premium line, Lauter said. Indeed, one model was engineered specifically with the Olympian in mind — a swim area two feet longer than the next largest, with a propulsion system 40 percent more powerful than the standard.
“For the mere mortal, most of what we had would work,” Lauter said. “But for an elite swimmer, we had to do something special. So Michael and Bob were involved in helping us figure out some of the technical challenges, and to figure out how he could get in and swim, and use it as an effective training tool.” ..."
If I was a "kick ass" Olympian like a Michael Phelps or an Ian Thorpe, I would come out with a signature line of limited addition watches instead of hot-tubs. Did you know that a Bell & Ross watch uses a $300 an Swiss ETA movement and sells for around $4,500. Welder uses a Japanese movement that is a $100 less and their watches sell for about $1,500 - $5,000.
Other Olympians that could pull it off include Federica Pellegrini, Laure Manaudou, David Foster, Kosuke Kitajima, Alexander Popov, and especially, most especially, even severely especially, Dara Torres. she has a perfect demographic to sell a watch to as well
With a run of say 300 copies, each sells for $2,500 and your favorite athlete could buy a nice condo at the beach.
Athletes have to become their own businesses much like rock-&-rollers have to become their own record companies.
Kobe Bryant has a watch line and the watch he is selling is massively tacky: they call it, The Black Mamba, and to look good in it you better, 6'5", and have wrists the size of triathlete's water bottle for even on Kobe Bryant it looks like a grenade. The watch sells for $30,000 and it is selling!
Here is a guy that overcame obesity, perhaps alcoholism, and even depression just by believing that he could do something perceived as impossible. He did so simply by putting one foot in front of the other and following a "road map" out of that dark place to the new heights he now resides.
This was no movie, it was Geoff Huegill.
From the Sydney Morning Herald:
''I can't believe it's taken me 10 years to break the 52-second mark again,'' he said on Friday, having swum 51.69s to break his own Games record set in 2002 in Manchester. ''It's been awesome. I woke up today and had a great sleep last night, almost nine hours, and a nice easy massage this morning. I just felt good in the water. It was just about getting out there, staying on Jason [Dunford], staying in control and really coming off the wall and bringing it home strong.''
Huegill is a scaled-down billboard for the powers of body and mind, the ability of man to see flaws and change them. Entrepreneur, humanitarian, TV presenter - these are all new hats he wears to set off that winning smile.
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Mark Foster reveals in an insightful article why the lack of notable male swimmers in Great Britain!
The most powerful line in the entire article: "...You could get to your late 20s, dedicate your life to the sport, walk away and say, I didn't earn a living..."
From BBC Sport:
We have to get male swimmers engaged enough, early enough. Keep them in a sport which, ultimately, does not pay unless you are the best in the world. In football, you can be an average player and earn good money from the sport, but in swimming you have got to be the best.Swimming's dirty little secret is that it is a sport completely controlled by ad hoc monopolies. FINA is on the top all the while running the show like a multilevel marketing scam. The money moves quickly to the top but the swimmers scramble below to catch the pennies that fall out of their pockets.
Swimming was once considered an extreme sport. Ticker-tape parades were held for those that swam across the English channel. I was told by, Bill Ireland, in days gone by that each year 50,000 people would show up to watch an open water swim in Boston. Swimmers even became movie stars because swimming was the "Ironman" or the "X-Games" of it's day. Now it is a sport that happens every four years.
Solution: A new governing body has to step up and embrace all the economic opportunities that the "old boy" governing bodies resist. This includes tech-suits, gambling, and even venue changes where traditional races held in rectangle pools suddenly take place in beautiful and exotic locations like a bay in Fiji or a hot springs in Iceland while it is snowing.
Pools have to be redesigned for better spectator viewing pleasure so the fans and gamblers can enjoy the swimming from beneath the water instead of above it. i.e. A pool with a glass bottom in the shape of a contact lens so the swimmers look like mighty giants as they swim above you.
All of the above would make swimming exotic, sexy, marketable, pofitable and compelling. I envision fans paying top dollar to see a twelve-foot-tall, three-foot wide Chloe Sutton racing an equally statuesque Laure Manadou in a 400-free. Imagine an Milord Cavic racing an Ian Crocker and seeing the expressions on their faces as gasp for the wall!
New Delhi - Common Wealth Games: Jason Dunford of Kenya won gold in the 50-fly hitting the wall in 23.35 besting Geoff Huegill's 23.37 and Roland Schoeman's 23.75.
Geoff Huegill's comeback is complete. Outside of the Paralympics, this is one of the most inspiring swim stories I have ever seen.
From the Sydney Morning Herald:
Huegill's silver medal still represents a great achievement for the 31-year-old, who lost 45kg to return to the sport after quitting in 2004.
I sent a letter of congratulations to Geof via his blog. I mentioned that it wasn't so much the silver medal that was inspiring but rather the journey it took to get there.
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
"... He suffered a lot of jabs and jeers from the media when he put on the weight but, when he decided to do something about it, he had a lot of support. Initially, people were asking 'how are you going to do that?' but he came through it. ..."[...]
Geoff has achieved a lot in his career, but the premise for why he is coming back is completely different. He is doing it for himself, and for the role he can play in inspiring others. He realises there are a lot of people behind him.
Regardless of what he does in the pool, this is a success story. Period.
Monday, October 04, 2010
On November 16th, 2007 - I wrote these words about Jeff Huegill:
This article from News.com.au is about "... World butterfly champion, Geoff Huegill, who has put on 30kg in 12 months and is "happy" to have six beers at night with pizza since retiring..."
30-kilos of weight is 66 pounds and that translates to 5-and-a-half-pounds per month in weight gain.
The Australian press likes to exaggerate, use hyperbole, and ultimately be down right mean. So to be fair, let's start off with the good stuff about Geoff Huegill.
Geoff is a charitable man who donates his time and energy to encourage kids to swim. He was a world class butterfly champion who won both a bronze medal at the Sydney Olympic games in the 100 meter butterfly and a silver medal in the 4x100 medley relay. At the 2001 FINA World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan. There he scored double golds and a bronze in both butterfly and medley events. In other words he has represented his town and country quite well but now he is being held up for ridicule and laughter regarding his weight gain.
This guy needs help, not ridicule.
A year later I was very happy to write this:
One year ago I did a post on Australian butterfly champion, Geoff Huegill, who was ridiculed in the swim press for gaining weight post his 2004 retirement. The Australian press posted a before/after photo of him seen here, and overall treated him severely.Then in February 2009: "From obeseness to sleekness;"
Now he is back in the pool and he looks 5-years younger. From SMH.Com: "... Huegill won a 2000 Olympic bronze medal in the 100m butterfly and retired after a disappointing showing at the 2004 Games. However, he said his motivation was back and he will train alongside stars Eamon Sullivan, Libby Trickett and Andrew Lauterstein at the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre in inner Sydney.
I love comebacks, I hope he spanks both Phelps and Cavic at World Championships in Rome! From the Courier Mail:
The former Olympian, who has stripped 30kg from his giant frame, will on Saturday endeavour to once again make a splash in Australian swimming.Then in 2010 during Commonwealth trials: "From "hero to zero to hero"
The 29-year-old has embraced his new healthy lifestyle with aplomb since announcing a comeback to competitive swimming on November 12.
People need to believe and what better belief is there than believing you can do something impossible and then actually doing it!
From the Daily Telegraph:
"Without a doubt it's better than making my first ever team," Huegill said. "The emotions I feel today are definitely on par to when I stood up on the blocks here at the Sydney Olympics. It's just been a dream come true." --Geoff Huegill
More quotes from the swimmer are included in the article and each and every one describes what it is like to go from "hero-to-zero-to-hero!"
LA Triathlon had almost 6% of field rescued during the swim and the conditions were NOT treacherous!
That is not an acceptable failure rate for two triathletes nearly died. These statistics come form the "authorities;" (Read as L.A. County Lifeguards), who summarily expressed surprised by saying: it was "...unclear why so many swimmers needed assistance."
Race organizers backpedaled stating these stats were overstated which is definitely a bold statement since a lifeguard has to file a report on each rescue.
From KTLA 5:
Paramedics say one person nearly drowned and another was treated for saltwater in her lungs.
And, a female lifeguard was hospitalized after suffering a back injury during a water rescue.
The USAT solution for making the swim portion of the triathlon safer has been to simply make shorter swims and push wetsuits. Not a bad idea since most triathletes who are determined to swim on their own can't break 2-minutes-per-100-yards.
The swim portion of an Olympic distance race back when I was handsome and I occasionally made girls swoon rather than cover their eyes and shout ZOMBIE, was 2-kilometer swim; now it is 1.5-kilometers.
Eventually a lawsuit will make its way to the USAT when swimmers; plural, who have no business racing in the ocean drown because the USAT has no swim certification process in pace.
When you enter the Alcatraz Sharkfest they make it clear that you must be able to swim 1-mile in a pool in under 40-minutes or don't enter. Perhaps that is the benchmark that should be used. Look! if someone is going to swim a mile in a lake or an ocean, they should prove it in a pool first at a USMS swim meet. The infrastructure is in place, all they have to do is finish a 1500-meter free in set time.
The USAT would be doing these people favors to insist on that. Even the Ironman makes you fill out a de facto resume before you can enter as a way of certifying your qualifications.
Now for a change of subject:
I want to do an info-graphic on triathletes. Doing research I found that by age 40, athlete participation falls significantly. By ages 50-and-up the field is extraordinarily soft. With that said, what really shocked me is that young adults participate less than those 40-and-above. Could that be our crashed economy, since the entry-cost for a triathlete is quite significant or is obesity & sedentary culture more "fun" for this demographic?
That is a worrisome demographic trend for the USAT.
Triathletes expenses are high, why they can't afford $50 - $70 for a coached swim workout per month where they can actually master the toughest event which happens to be way cheaper than a week doing yoga baffles me.
Swim cap: $8.00 (silicone)
Wetsuit: $200 - $650
Low-end costs: $263
High-end costs: $713
Water bottle: $0.00
Bicycle: $1200 - $5,000
Cycle tune-ups and tires: $300
Low-end costs $1,840
High-end costs $5,640
Running shoes: $115
Guesstimate cost: $150
The photo to the right was taken in 1986 in a triathlon that featured Mark Allen, Scott Molina and Scott Tinley. They beat me.
Sunday, October 03, 2010
From the Telegraph:
"... But there was one person in the stadium who found it an uncomfortable night after being roundly booed as he rose to make the opening speech during the formal part of the proceedings.
“India is ready,” proclaimed the hapless chairman of the Games organising committee, Suresh Kalmadi, adding: “There have been many challenges but we have been able to rise above them all.”
The hostile reaction from spectators, prompting a quizzical look from the Prince of Wales, showed exactly what they thought of such crowing.
What completely puzzles me about all this complaining is that if the conditions are as bad as the "Commonwealth press" say they are, then why did their respective countries send their teams or allow them to stay at the athlete's village in the first place? What the Telegraph fails to report is that the Australian team expressed satisfaction with the games as reported by IBN Live.
(Did you know that the Prince of Wales believes in homeopathy?)
Saturday, October 02, 2010
I am beginning to wonder if the WADA drug list may be so harsh and Draconian in nature that global athletes at large are denied drugs that they possibly need or should have access too.
WADA does have their medical exemptions but, Ian Thorpe, is a prime example of an athlete having no allowable access to the drugs he needed when diagnosed with glandular fever; (Mono), because the recommended antibiotics had a steroidal compound within them. Hence, he had to take weaker medicines and his recovery took longer.
I would like to see a "general population" test by WADA to see what percentage of everyday people would test positive for banned substance. The results could be revealing in that they may show that the world's athletes are under-served in regards to medicines they may need.
From AFP: The 22-year-old Mahoney, who is a rising star on the USA swimming scene, tested positive for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine, widely used a nasal decongestant but also found in recreational drugs.
The World Anti-Doping Agency added methylhexaneamine to its banned list this year. The drug increases alertness, delays fatigue and has a role in weight loss. It is also a popular ingredient in recreational "party pills" in New Zealand.
No response from Sean was mentioned. I suspect it will be along the lines of, I didn't know the flower oil supplement was "loaded," or I had bad allergies and I was feeling miserable!
Friday, October 01, 2010
From If it is hip, it is here:
For those who don't tune into ANTM (that's America's Next Top Model for you non-watchers), you wouldn't be aware of how the show has upped the creativity quotient for their 15th cycle.
They've enlisted more impressive photographers and judges than in previous cycles, have wrangled a Vogue Italia cover as part of the winner's package and in the episodes that have aired thus far, seem to be taking the creative art of modeling a bit more seriously. Don't fret, the cat-fights, insipid conversation and petty drama within the modern beachfront Venice house still occur.
It means that Arena is being taken quite seriously as a contender to Speedo. The Riverside Group has businesses on just about every continent and nearly 50-businesses in United States alone.
"Results on deck" is Arena's marketing mantra and it was Arena who knocked Speedo off the pedestal at the 2009 Fina World Championships with upset wins over Phelps and others. One could take the moral high ground and state we should be talking about swimmers instead of suits but the truth is, the athletes rather have you talking about their suits so they can pay their bills.
With Speedo mostly concentrating on A-list athletes primarily in America and Australia, Arena went global with regional superstars all throughout Europe and beyond. Even in emerging economies such as South America with, Cesar Cielo, and even in Africa with Roland Schoeman and Kristy Coventry, they are creating a global brand and doing it very quickly. Arena has realized that you don't have to have the world's best swimmers either. For instance take this international star who reportedly brings in $2-billion dollars in sales for Mattel: Barbie!
FINA is now making subtle moves to bring the suits back and with it has come the Riverside Group. They wouldn't be getting into this business if there wasn't any money in it.
Here is the bulk of the press release:
RIVERSIDE ACQUIRES LEADING INTERNATIONAL WATERWEAR BRAND ARENA FROM BS PRIVATE EQUITY
High-profile acquisition is Riverside’s first deal with Italian focus
Milan and Brussels, September 30th, 2010
The Riverside Company, the largest global private equity firm investing in mid-sized companies with enterprise values up to €200 million, announces its first deal focused on Italy with the acquisition from the Italian fund BS Private Equity of 100% of the Arena Group, a leading world-wide player in the sports waterwear segment, with Net Sales 2009 in the range of € 100 million.
This is Riverside’s 14th acquisition in 2010 and is part of the Riverside Europe Fund IV (REF IV). The team responsible for the transaction comprised Partners Tomasz Glowacki and Kai Köppen, Vice President Dr. Michael Weber and Associate Sven-Hendrik Schulze. Ivica Turza, Vice President, originated the deal.
Since its establishment in 1998, Riverside has successfully completed 237 acquisitions for a total enterprise value in the range of € 4.1 billion. As of today, Riverside’s global portfolio consists of 74 companies with aggregate Net Sales above € 2.7 billion.
Cristiano Portas, CEO of Arena Group, and Arena’s top management team confirm their commitment to the company and the brand by re-investing alongside Riverside in the new venture.
Arena products are distributed in over 100 countries worldwide, including those managed by the Descente Group based in Japan, trade mark owner for the Far East. Established by sports visionary Horst Dassler in 1973, the brand is well known for its focus and competence on product innovation and technological power, which are the key drivers for its competitive advantage and business growth.
Throughout its history, Arena has been a partner to legendary champions, such as Mark Spitz, Shane Gould, Matt Biondi, Alexander Popov, Franziska Van Almsick, Aaron Peirsol, Filippo Magnini, Laure Manadou, Laszlo Cseh, Paul Biedermann, Alain Bernard, Kirsty Coventry, Rebecca Soni and Cesar Cielo, to name just a few.
Arena R&D team exploits a fully integrated network of scientific partners and best-of-breed fabric manufacturers, to develop breakthrough technologies applicable to racing swimwear and equipment.
“We are extremely satisfied for the business and financial results achieved by Arena over the last four years” said Alessandra Gavirati, partner at BS Private Equity.
“We are very thankful to BS Private Equity for the strong support given to Arena in the development of the brand and the business” said Cristiano Portas, Arena Group CEO, “We are also extremely confident towards the future, as we truly believe that Riverside will be an outstanding partner, able to support Arena in its further growth aiming at becoming the global leader in the waterwear sports market”.
“Arena is an attractive investment opportunity for Riverside thanks to its strong brand position, its image among top athletes and millions of water sport lovers all over the world, a very successful track record and a huge growth potential” said Tomasz Głowacki, Riverside Partner.
Do you see yourself as an advocate for those who have substantial complaints, and if so, how does that not conflict with a coach or member who is party to the complaint and claims to be innocent?
It is my job to be an advocate on behalf of the alleged victim. That does not mean that the accused individual would be denied their due process, it simply means that I am there to help athletes first and foremost. We have to trust in our system (and the legal system) to filter out any false accusations.
In what format do you see education programs being implemented? What role, if any, will ASCA take in this education role?
With a membership of almost 300,000 – and an audience of around 450,000 including parents – we think online is the best delivery mechanism for learning. We are currently working with an outside organization to provide research-based, online curriculum and to develop effective, age-appropriate programming for the wider membership. We are also pursuing opportunities to train the leaders of our sport in other ways, including in-person sessions.
As for me, I don't trust the legal system so I don't like her first answer. How many guilty people have been found "not guilty" and how many people who have been incarcerated for years before DNA testing or a guilt-ridden witness comes clean and sets them free?
I suggest coaches adopt their own self protection guidelines.