Monday, February 28, 2011

The IOC is suddenly pro-gambling for Olympic events!

The IOC has is embracing gambling. Of course they get a cut but will the athletes? NO, Of course not, the money will go to the federations, the cartels and the regimes! None of that is hyperbole either. IOC President Jacques Rogge blurted it out with a straight face!


"... Specifically, we are in favor of a system where betting operators have to be licensed by the government," said IOC President Jacques Rogge, in a conference call the day before he expects to unveil the plan. "Sports organizers, national federations, and international federations would have a fair return for all their efforts for organizing the sport. They should be recognized with a return from financial income."

The premise is one that gamblers have been shouting for years. Instead of pretending the gambling does not exist, give the sports and the teams a piece of the billions of dollars that are being wagered on their games. Regulation is also needed to ensure integrity within a game.


Athletes will be exploited further unless they can collectively argue for a share and as usual the rich will get richer and the athletes will get poorer!

Update on the "missing" swimmer in La Jolla!

A couple days a go I made the following post:

From La Jolla Patch:

According to the Coast Guard, 53-year-old Jim Repetto planned to swim the two miles from Scripps Pier to the La Jolla Shores lifeguard tower but never made it.

Dunphy said the search was called off around 2 p.m.

"Pending any further developments, we are not going to be searching actively anymore," Dunphy said.

Well Rob of RobAquatics says there is a bit of a mystery here since the missing swimmer was currently in a spot of trouble.

From the L.A. Times blog:
The case has now been turned over to the missing persons bureau of the San Diego Police Department. The move was taken after investigators interviewed friends and relatives of Repetto and discovered "disturbing" facts in his background.

Go to the blog to find out why!

AUSTRALIAN SWIMMERS UNIONIZE! - Will negoitiate for better wages from thier governing body 'Swimming Australia'

[UPDATE: I just found out that US national team swimmers get a stipend of $21k - I am probably the last person to find this out. Here is a link to Swimming World with the details: [LINK]

This article from the Sydney Morning Herald discusses how swimmers down under will be able to collectively negotiate their wages with Swimming Australia. It was sent to me by somebody I truly respect and has contributed so much to the sport.

Swimming Australia is the equivalent of "USA Swimming" for Australia. Unlike USA Swimming which has a $34-million a year budget, Swimming Australia's budget is 18-million-dollars Australian. (Currently equal parity with the US Dollar.)

The Swimming Australian "pool" of money to be divided amongst 86 swimmers is $1.5-million which translates to about $17,500 each. (No wonder they are negotiating.) - Apparently the stipend money Swimming Australia dolls out has a sliding scale. From the article:

"... The Australian Swimmers Association, the ''union'' for the Olympic swim team, has just been given a tentative 10-year licence from cartel buster Graeme Samuel's competition commission to negotiate better deals with the governing body, Swimming Australia. [...]"
"... At the moment, level 1 swimmers get only $2468 a month, or less than $30,000 a year, for hours of gruelling early morning training, gym workouts, media appearances and travelling to competitions. The average wage in Australia is more than double that. ..."

If USA Swimming was collectively bound to give almost 10% of the base income, that revenue would would roughly fall at $33,700 for each national team member. This is not an exorbitant number; In fact, I find it paltry in comparison to the revenue they generate. I also think USA Swimming should throw in the same health insurance benefits their executives get if a wage can be negotiated.

I think USA National Team members should seriously consider collective bargaining. Here is a link to the AFL/CIO which explains how a union can be created: [Link]

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ryan Lochte having some fun with 'Swim Outlet!'

In the spirit of fun Ryan Lochte delivers for Swim Outlet!

Open water swimmer missing off La Jolla Shores - Coast Guard suspends search!

From La Jolla Patch:

According to the Coast Guard, 53-year-old Jim Repeta planned to swim the two miles from Scripps Pier to the La Jolla Shores lifeguard tower but never made it.

Dunphy said the search was called off around 2 p.m.

"Pending any further developments, we are not going to be searching actively anymore," Dunphy said.


Ian Thorpe comeback: Secretive because he was not so sure he could follow through!

ABC in Australia has a profile on Ian Thorpe's decision to return to competitive swimming:

"I really can't believe I am making a comeback," he said on board his flight to Abu Dhabi, his training base for the next few weeks.

"Because when I started doing this I actually never thought I'd go through with it.

"That's why it was so secretive because I really wanted to be able to turn away from this and no-one to know what had just been going on."


Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Ian Thorpe are roughly same age. When you think of the "elder statesman" of the bunch, you think of Ian Thorpe but Thorpe is roughly just 2-years older than the other two. I attribute this maturity to way he conducts himself in the press, through his charities, his businesses, and finally his accomplishments. Consequently, his endorsements are more believable; "jeah!"

Perhaps these three will face off in the 200-free at the London Games? I have to say that Thorpe would be coming into match-up seemingly more motivated than Michael Phelps; (Who had to be pulled off the golf course and/or a poker table late into last year), and more specialized than Ryan Lochte who wants it all and more. This leads to the next question: Will Ryan Lochte be the next Michael Phelps or will his events be so diversified and his competition so niche focused that he does well in all but great in none?

I suspect that there is only one Michael Phelps this decade much like the 1970's when there was just one Mark Spitz. Ryan Lochte is a great swimmer; emphasis on the word great, but so was Matt Biondi and though he was faster than Spitz he could not match his accomplishments. I feel that the Matt Biondi comparison between Phelps and Lochte is valid.

The world has caught up. I am glad that Thorpe is going to attempt to be part of it. If you don't think he can win a medal because he is too old, I have two words for you: Jason Lezak - but then again there is Dara Torres, Gary Hall and Aaron Peirsol too.

The Race Club: Choosing a freestyle technique!

I have a more shoulder driven freestyle. I love that the concept of stroke count in this video is being flushed down the drain and replaced with technique options that produce results rather than adhere to a "one-stroke-fits-all" dogma. The Race Club is forward thinking in that way

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sanctioned USA Swimming coach Todd Sousa arrested on suspicion of sex with a minor!

Two readers sent this to me: one was a notable swim blogger and the other an accomplished coach who was even on deck at the Olympics.

USA Swimming has another alleged swim crime to deal with.

Todd Sousa is/was a registered coach with USA Swimming. I suppose that means he had an ASCA affiliation but I have no details. He has since been red flagged as soon as USA Swimming was notified.

From the Orange County Register:

Sousa is believed to have had sex with the girl over several months, said Lt. John Meyer, chief of police services for San Juan Capistrano.

The victim, identified as a girl under 16, had talked to a friend about her relationship with Sousa, Meyer said. The friend eventually told her parents and information was relayed to the victim's parents.


I commend the friend/teammate for speaking out. When hearing about a crime such as this, you go to the parents and you make sure they go to the cops.

I did research on this guy and if you Google his name all sorts of work with young kids come up. It wasn't pleasant but the worst part of all was looking at the "age of consent" from state-to-state. If the link below is real, there are several "red states" that ought to be ashamed of themselves. For instance:

Idaho: Age 14
South Carolina: 14/16
West Virginia: 16
Virginia: 15


I commend USA Swimming for having a rule of no sexual interaction between a coach and their swimmers. Let's just hope this gentleman, if guilty, has never had a record along with a missed background check. If so, it is my opinion that USA Swimming and ASCA should get spanked.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Scandal? - The IOC investigating Vancouver’s secret Russian deal that may have brought the 2010 Games to Canada - Alexander Popov key voter?

The article needs more references since it seems rushed and convoluted but the crux is what I call "loophole politics..."

Yuri Luzhkov was the mayor of Moscow; (read as past tense), he was fired amid corruption allegations. The article uses the word "fired." I guess in Russia you can "fire" mayors. It goes on to say that Bob Storey, of the bobsled and skeleton federation sat down with the Luzhkov and cut a deal stating that Vancouver would provide the Russians a workshop on how to win an Olympic bid for what the accuser claims was in exchange for a block of Russian votes at the IOC - Olympic swimmer, Alexander Popov, was one of those votes.

The IOC is taking the allegation seriously and is investigating

Here comes the loophole in the investigation:
"... On Feb. 11, Furlong told QMI that the IOC rules did not apply because Luzhkov was not an IOC member.

“We agreed to assist each other and the Mayor of Moscow, in return for us giving a hand to help us organize a bid, he told us he would try to influence them helping us,” Furlong said. “Plain and simple, happens all the time. ...”

Happens all the time? Yes, it sure does!

London Aquatics Center - 2-months late and over budget!

The 2012 London Olympics budget was set at $4.3-Billion, $1.6-billion remains. The London Aquatics center was slated for April but now predictions are June. In my experience any pool construction or remodeling always goes longer than planned, I suspect it will miss June deadline as well.

From the Olympic Newsdesk:
Completion of the Zaha Hadid-designed aquatics venue has slipped from April to June due to complications with the design and fabrication of the steel for the wave-shaped roof.

The first venue for the 2012 Olympics is complete! - Welcome to the Velodrome!

The BBC has a spectacular gallery of the new London velodrome structure featuring photographs from both the inside and out. I am impressed with the use of a wood finish on the outside of the structure but hold will it hold up through the London Winters in years to come?

I also recommend that once the Olympics are over they allow gambling on cycling races moving forward as a way of maintaining this recreational facility as both a source of income and as a future monument to the 2012 games themselves.

A nice achievement indeed, London!
From the BBC: "... The 2012 Olympic velodrome has been formally handed over, making it the first Olympic Park venue to be completed. Construction work started in March 2009 and Olympic cycling champion Sir Chris Hoy was involved in the design consultation..."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

In the end Mark Schubert was RIGHT!

[In the wake of the Dia Rianda lawsuit I regret this post and take it all back]

Friday, February 18, 2011

Nick Brunelli has a blog and it is way better than mine!

His blog actually linked to mine which blows me away since I am told I am such a "joke." I will say this. His blog is way better than mine and you should bookmark it!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

After openly criticizing FINA's cultural issues Steve Munatones has been removed as a FINA open water referee!

Business as usual with the governing bodies. Either you walk, talk, and dance in lock-step or you are fired. The road between FINA and USA Swimming is littered with those who had an opinion that countered governing body dictates and as usual constructive voices are punished and punished severely.

Steve Munatones is a casualty on that road for wanting solid change to make open water swimming safer, more global and successful. In my opinion he got hammered for having those thoughts. It is time to hammer back!

General S. Patton, a true leader was always open to criticism. "...If everyone is thinking alike then somebody isn't thinking." That was a quote of his.

From Swim News and yes I am holding my nose linking to to them:

A source told SwimNews that the American, a leading figure in the open water world, has been punished for "speaking to the media about internal affairs". Many argue that there is nothing internal about the death of a swimmer and that all issues should be transparent, with honesty, however painful, the only path to progress worth taking, the only path likely to result in meaningful change of the kind that Crippen himself had called for.


It's time for USA Swimmers and coaches to realize that they are essentially talent to be exploited. Olympic team members once they are selected should consider unionizing as soon as they are assembled post nationals. Perhaps, in a truly legal definition of a non-profit, maybe USA Swimming and FINA are not really non-profits? USA Swimming is NOT acting like a non-profit in my opinion. None of the governing bodies are. They are really good at collecting money and paying salaries to their execs but they don't pay swimmers.

Could the Salvation Army get away with the same practices to finance their organization? Really look where all the money is going. The average swimmer isn't even making a minimum wage! - So is it time to create a new regime? You guys have the votes, you can decide who runs USA Swimming.

Governing bodies are making millions-of-dollars off the Olympics and other leveraged marketing vehicles and are giving so little back! They don't offer scholarships, health insurance, nor athlete pensions. What has USA Swimming given to the subject of their non-profit?

It is time for athletes to start learning about trade unions, forming unions and questioning if a $34-million-a-year organization known as USA Swimming is a for real non-profit. If not, swimmers are entitled compensation for the fruits of their labor.

In Egypt the citizens protested because they were only making $6.30 a month as a minimum wage. Our USA Swimming national team members make nothing and pay dues.

Knocked off his boat by a ghost swell a fisherman's 4.7-mile swim hailed as a "miracle!"

An Australian fisherman was knocked off his boat by a ghost swell and was forced to swim 4.7-miles to shore. This "feat" is being hailed as a "miracle" for it took him 8-hours to do the swim in "shark infested" waters no less! YES, shark infested waters and currents too?

There is a test you can do to see if the ocean your swimming or surfing in is shark infested. What you do is you wade into ankle deep water, stick your finger into the ocean and then taste it. If the water is salty, that ocean has sharks in it.

If those hailing this "miracle" want to see a "professional miracle", they should go witness an open water race featuring Thomas Lurz of Germany. For instance: At the European Open Water Championships, Lurz "beasted" the 6.2-mile swim in under 1:54.22 swimming 1.5-miles farther than our "miraculous" fisherman and doing it in less than a quarter-of-the-time.

From the Huffington Post:
As Nine News is reporting, Andrew Wilson was thrown overboard while his boat's engine was still running, leaving the 25-year-old angler stranded without any safety devices. He was then forced to make the 4.7-mile swim to shore through strong currents, and has claimed he bumped into a shark and was knocked against rocks throughout his eight-hour ordeal, which is now being hailed as a miracle.


The article fails to realize that his biggest danger was not sharks but rather it was the drowning risk for most people can't swim very well. Consequently, I think the shark population is also getting a bad rap here. Australia has the reputation of being heavily peppered with sharks yet most people fail to realize that more great white shark attacks happen in California alone than the whole continent of Australia.

For instance: 102 people in the United States have been killed by white sharks since 1952: [Link]

Less than 27 have been killed in Australia by great white sharks since 1876: [Link]

The photo above is the finish line of the Alcatraz Sharkfest Swim taken by Scott Belland all rights reserved!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Thar she blows? - Get it?

I gotta lighten things up! I gotta provide some novelty, humor and a lot more water. Here is an awesome tissue box in the shape of whale with the protruding tissues representing the blow spout!

In SCAQ Blog green too

Seen at Etsy: [Link]

Monday, February 14, 2011

USA Swimming investigates Sean Hutchison and finds no evidence of an improper relationship!

From AP:
"While it is not our policy to investigate in the absence of a formal complaint, we acted in the best interest of our athletes, coaches and organization to conduct a full investigation into this situation," USA Swimming executive director Chuck Wielgus said.

After we received the report, we felt it was important to correct the false rumors."
The investigator's report said in part that "there was no evidence to substantiate the existence of an inappropriate sexual or romantic relationship between coach Hutchison and the athlete."

So, why did they investigate Sean Hutchison? There must have been a complaint but the rumors of Hutchison having an improper "anything" were denied by Bill Jewel - he even stated that he had no idea how these rumors got into the press?

I asked Amy Shipley of the Washington Post how these rumors got into the press and she stated in an email that it all came from Bill Jewell's mouth.

Here is what I know:

On December 29th, Amy Shipley of the Washington Post wrote an article complete with names and quotes stating that Sean Hutchinson had resigned from his coaching position at the Fullerton Aquatics Swim Team (FAST) after being confronted regarding rumors of a swimmer/coach romantic relationship, a concept forbidden by USA Swimming despite participants being adults.

Soon after USA Today followed up with their own story which pretty much collaborated what the Washington Post had written but included even more quotations by Bill Jewell.

Then on January 6th, Swimming World posted that the Washington Post Story was innaccurate in that Sean Hutchison did not resign and everything was all good.

Now AP is stating that USA Swimming concluded an investigation and they found all of the above to be unfounded rumors. USA Swimming even hired a private investigator to do the leg work for them.

So, we MUST presume Sean Hutchison is innocent but what cannot be denied is that there was a lot of lying connected to this story. Bill Jewell stating that Sean Hutchinson resigned, then Bill Jewell says it never happened but if there were never any rumors in the first place, why did USA Swimming investigate?

USA Swimming is on record as to participating in an investigation. If it appears that something was sorely missed I truly recommend that this be the last straw for all of the "Yes-Men" on the USA Swimming board of directors and a new CEO is put in place.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Found a great place to surf on Google maps!

It's located in Central California,it's point break and it's a moderate hike to get too. If you can find it and you do go and surf there please note that it is located in the infamous "red triangle" of California. (read as lots of great whites) Also, it is at the edge of river mouth; (which sharks like to frequent), and finally bring lots of food, water, and medical supplies with you in case things go untoward.

I have to go there and surf it. It is surrounded by forests, and pristine cove. I have to go there before they put a hotel on it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

All it took was a couple people and some moderators to turn the USMS message boards into a cauldron of "Pool-itics"

I rarely go onto the USMS message boards because I am not wanted - I once asked an USMS official, Michael Heather, if he had ever ran a swim club before? If the answer was no, then what were his qualifications to be giving a swim coach a particular constructive criticism?

BLAM - My comment deleted! My rejection went something like this:

I’m not sure who gave you the impression that your post was offensive. I deleted it because I believed it violated forum rules. For example “Debates are fine, but argue the point, not the person.” Also, in my opinion (which was not shared by some other moderators) the question of Mike’s coaching experience was off-topic and had nothing to do with the question posed by the thread.

Well that shows me, huh? I wish I could post the thread but the whole thread was deleted probably after I threatened to post the whole thread to the blog. When somebody offers a criticism or advice, who knew it was an off topic to question their qualifications?

But get this, If I had said any remark that was anti-gay; which is something I would never, ever, do, not only would it have been published but the USMS would have put it in print!

Yes, I kid you not. Square World, an awesome blog has the details:

From Square World:

It's been a few days since the U.S. Masters Swimming homophobia scandal broke, after members of the organization learned about a homophobic letter published in the January/February issue of SWIMMER Magazine. U.S. Masters Swimming issued an apology for the letter, but it still hasn't offered an explanation for editor Laura Hamel's serious error in judgement.

So, I have to ask: "Why, Laura?"

Follow Square World for USMS "poolitics."

Saturday, February 05, 2011

'Swimming World' disables reader comments for 'ASCA' Founder, John Leonard's Op Ed!

John Leonard has been lobbying the public via Swimming World for FINA to appoint a coaches position on the FINA Bureau for some time. Mr. Leonard has used words like "democracy" and has even evoke the death of "Fran Crippen," which I found summarily objectionable, to resonate his point.

It is my belief that politicians trying to convince the public to vote their way generally use fear, sentimentality or both to evoke an emotional response. It is my belief that a coaches position at the FINA bureau is in ASCA's best interest and not in any way shape or form in the athlete's best interest. Athletes need a union not a governing body that makes tens-of-millions-of-dollars off their aquatic labor and then gives them nothing in return.

I am not a fan of ASCA and I have criticized John Leonard's on the Swimming World message boards on at least one or two occasions. Apparently Mr. Leonard may have insisted, and I want to make it clear that this is a guess, that Swimming World turn off the message board for his Op Ed so as to free him from having to confront what he may view as shrill or unflattering criticism and thereby not be forced to defend his position. I don't know, this is merely a guess/opinion. Take my opinion at face value but I must ask, why is the comment option turned off for just his article?

So, since I cannot voice my critique at Swimming World, I will voice it here.

Here is a snippet from the article my response below it:

And surely in a sport dominated by professional athletes and coached by Professional Coaches, the input from one of those professional coaches cannot be anything but a wonderful assistance to the volunteers of the FINA Bureau.


Swimming is NOT dominated by professional athletes, that statement is demonstrably absurd. Swimming is populated with swimmers who can barely scrape together their daily bread without the help of parents, colleges, or friends. In the United States you can count on one hand how many swimmers make a middle class income or better.

This nonsense that swimmers are professionals because if they win a moderately big meet it could translate into a $20,000 check does not wash either. The training cost, traveling expenses, accommodation fees, and taxes will erase at least 60% of those winnings and that is assuming that the "professional" in question won the meet not just one race. Ask yourself this, What do swimmers make if they "just" made it to the final?

It has been my observation as of late that any coach that reaches the rarefied air of governing body politics is, in my opinion, essentially a "Yes-Men" to the governing body that put them there and pays them handsomely. Allowing a "coach vote" will simply double-down the power of the governing bodies thereby out voting individual swimmer interests.

Also, in my opinion, governing bodies do not want professional swimmers, nor unionized swimmers who tell the execs at USA Swimming, "Hey, 10 people on your executive staff make $2.7-million dollars, how about FIFTY of us swimmers divide up $2.7-million dollars like you guys do?" If they did, USA Swimming would still have 25-million or so to spend of furniture and websites.

I think this is a very dark hour for Swimming World and this is something they should be embarrassed about. They gave John Leonard a soap box and allowed the readers no chance to leave a response or rebuttal. Disabling comments so as to stifle public criticism of an OP Ed when the comments section is alive and well for other Op Eds gives the appearance that somebody has very "thin skin" in my opinion.

Why is it that one man can use the extraordinary credibility of Swimming World; (trust me when I say that Swimming World has extraordinary "street cred"), to make a political statement which subsequently gives the appearance that Swimming World endorses his views without allowing the "voters" in his proverbial "democracy" the ability to voice their opinions back at him?

If anybody wants thriving professional in our sport it is FINA. Keep governing body "Yes-Men" out of the way. Return tech suits back to swimming so that athletes will have something to sell in exchange for an honest living.

The photo is licensed under Creative Commons.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

The Michael Phelps video game: "Push the Limit" will actually be fun because you will "Kinect" technology to play it!

Imagine both your arms and hand gestures becoming the "controllers?" That is how the game will be played. Talk about working on your catch!

Here is a synopsis and a link to a demo of "Kinect:"

"... Kinect brings games and entertainment to life in extraordinary new ways without using a controller. Imagine controlling movies and music with the wave of a hand or the sound of your voice. With Kinect, technology evaporates, letting the natural magic in all of us shine. ..."

This actually may be the game that inspires me to buy an X-box! Damn you Michael Phelps! I swore I would never buy anything from Microsoft EVER!

UPDATE: USA Swimming 2009 IRS Form 990 - Ten executives pulled in about $2.7-million in cumulative salaries!

Ten executives within the USA Swimming ranks cost the organization about $2.7-million in cumulative salaries expenditures. To grasp that amount, that would be like giving every single member on the 2008 USA Swimming National Olympic Team; (About 50-members), a $50,000 salary plus a $5,000 holiday bonus at the end of the year.

Well, I suggest they do that and so should you if you are a parent and sending them money each month! In fact, suggest scholarships too!

Not to pour some salt on the wound but if USA Swimming found it in their hearts to do what I suggest, that would leave the organization with more than $20-million dollars left over to actually spend on more important issues like furniture and stuff.

Let me explain, on Page-10 of the Form 990 called, 2009 Depreciation and Amortization Report - Unadjusted cost of basics: Furniture, fixtures, office furniture and equipment started out the year worth $861,174 but depreciated to $737,358 a year later.

That is a lot of furniture, I wonder what the cost breakdown per employee would be?

One has to imagine what the health of the sport would be like if USA Swimming spent at least 51% of their gross income on swimmers and swimming! I am doing the math and I don't see that percentage of income distribution asserting itself. I could be wrong, I am still looking into it.