Saturday, September 17, 2011

WADA to relax ban on Clenbuterol for you can absorb it by eating beef products?!

Should, Jessica Hardy have been eligible to go to the Beijing Olympics in 2008 if WADA understood the doping drug known as Clenbuterol prevalence in the food supply?

Perhaps an injustice has been committed?

It appears meat eaters in some parts of the world may have low levels of this drug in their system most likely due to the lax standards their respective governments impose at the "meat incorporated" plants residing in their respective countries.

From BBC News:

"... Clenbuterol is a powerful drug used to treat asthma, but it can also help build up lean muscle mass and burn off fat.

The drug's growth-promoting ability has also found favour with beef farmers, particularly in China and Mexico.

The fact that humans can ingest the substance inadvertently by eating beef is putting pressure on Wada's rules, which deem the slightest trace to be a doping infringement. ..."


Friday, September 16, 2011

New species of dolphin discoverd in Australia

A population of 100 dolphins in Port Phillip Bay and 50 in the Gippsland Lakes on Australia's southern coast have been proven to be genetically unique from dolphins anywhere else in the world, Monash University doctoral researcher Kate Charlton-Robb said in a university release.

"We're very pleased to announce that yes it is a new dolphin species, and I have called it Tersiops Australis," Charlton-Robb said in an interview with Radio Australia.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Atlantic Mag - The NCAA: "an unmistakable whiff of the plantation."


Found at

This quote was the most articulate quote I have ever read regarding the exploitation of athletes at the college level.

It is also my opinion that this quote is applicable to the USA Swimming management and how the national team members are treated. Here is the quote in it's entirety:

"... Slavery analogies should be used carefully. College athletes are not slaves. Yet to survey the scene—corporations and universities enriching themselves on the backs of uncompensated young men, whose status as “student-athletes” deprives them of the right to due process guaranteed by the Constitution—is to catch an unmistakable whiff of the plantation. ..."

"...Enriching themselves on the back of student athletes!" that phrase could easily be applicable to just about all the National Governing bodies within this country; most notably the execs at USA Swimming. Consider this alteration of the above phrase: "...enriching themselves on the backs of 10-to-15-year-old girls..."

I pick the 10-to-15-year old girl analogy because that is the overwhelming majority or what the average USA Swimmer looks like. The average USA Swimming participant is white, and between the ages of ten-to-fifteen-years-old.

Here are the USA Swimming demographics: [Link]

These are the salaries of the executive brass at USA Swimming in 2008 - see page 34-35. The CEO of USA Swimming is listed on page-34 as making $636,651 but on page-35 there seems to be an addendum; (correct me if I am wrong), but an additional $139,192 has been added. If that is an added dollar mount to his salary his salary figure would be approaching $800,000. See above or go here: [Link]

What have these girls & boys been provided by USA Swimming that they did not have to pay for? This is suppose to be a non-profit and I ask you what do they receive that they do not have to pay for? Coaches pay for certification wheres kids pay to play and compete. This is a genuine question.

Now, I ask if the below solution that an NCAA team was about to attempt the only way a professional swimmer with USA Swimming can a earn a share of the money that is doled out to USA Swimming when each Olympics rolls around?

"... NCAA v. Regents left the NCAA devoid of television football revenue and almost wholly dependent on March Madness basketball. It is rich but insecure. Last year, CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting paid $771 million to the NCAA for television rights to the 2011 men’s basketball tournament alone. That’s three-quarters of a billion dollars built on the backs of amateurs—on unpaid labor. The whole edifice depends on the players’ willingness to perform what is effectively volunteer work. The athletes, and the league officials, are acutely aware of this extraordinary arrangement. William Friday, the former North Carolina president, recalls being yanked from one Knight Commission meeting and sworn to secrecy about what might happen if a certain team made the NCAA championship basketball game. “They were going to dress and go out on the floor,” Friday told me, “but refuse to play,” in a wildcat student strike. Skeptics doubted such a diabolical plot. These were college kids—unlikely to second-guess their coaches, let alone forfeit the dream of a championship. Still, it was unnerving to contemplate what hung on the consent of a few young volunteers: several hundred million dollars in television revenue, countless livelihoods, the NCAA budget, and subsidies for sports at more than 1,000 schools. Friday’s informants exhaled when the suspect team lost before the finals.

If only that team had won, where would USA Swimming athletes be?

If it is considered in the coming year at some Grand Prix or even in London, would a Michael Phelps or a Ryan Lochte support the athletes at their side? I doubt it but this swimmer knows this, USA Swimmers are exploited from the top all the way down to the bottom. Though USA Swimming is a non profit, how much money actually goes to the subject of their non-profit versus what the subject of their non-profit pays into it?

Finally, one can argue that NCAA athletes get scholarships. So, what about the scholarships? Is that a form a payment?

“...Scholarship athletes are already paid,” declared the Knight Commission members, “in the most meaningful way possible: with a free education.” This evasion by prominent educators severed my last reluctant, emotional tie with imposed amateurism. I found it worse than self-serving. It echoes masters who once claimed that heavenly salvation would outweigh earthly injustice to slaves. In the era when our college sports first arose, colonial powers were turning the whole world upside down to define their own interests as all-inclusive and benevolent. Just so, the NCAA calls it heinous exploitation to pay college athletes a fair portion of what they earn.

Please read the article.

Lynne Cox: the greatest open water swimmer ever will be doing a book signing here in Los Angeles on September 22,

Diana Nyad is a great open water swimmer but she is no Lynn Cox. See Diana Nyad's GPS map of her attempted swim from Cuba to Florida: [Link]

Lewis Gordon Plough, the guy who swam at the North Pole, swam in or around the MT. Everest locale and other exotic locations can't even touch her either. See the YouTube of his North Pole event here: [Link]

Lynne Cox's resume is so long and so accomplished that I suspect it will never be matched or beaten and that is not hyperbole.

So if you live in "Lost"Angeles or will be coming to L.A. Lynn Cox will be visiting the Pages bookstore in Manhattan Beach next Thursday at 7 p.m. on September 22nd. Go and meet here and ask her questions too; it will be worth it.

The store is located at: 904 Manhattan Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266. Here is a link to the Pages bookstore website: [Link]

Included herein is a list of some of her accomplishments to back up my statement that she is the greatest open water swimmer ever. When you read it, pretend the narrator for the PBS show NOVA who also happens to be the narrator for the Dos Equis "Most interesting man in the world" commercials is reading this list to you:

In 1971: at age 14 Lynne swam across the Catalina Channel with a group of teenagers from Seal Beach, California . They swam a distance of 27 miles in 12 hours and 36 minutes.

In 1972 at age 15 Lynne swam across the English Channel and shattered the men's and women's world records with a time of 9 hours and 57 minutes.

In 1973 at age 16 Lynne returned to England and broke the men's world record for the English Channel a second time with a time of 9 hours and 36 minutes.

In 1974 at age 17 Lynne returned to the Catalina Channel and broke the men's and women's world records with a time of 8 hours and 48 minutes.

In 1975 Lynne became the first woman to swim across Cook Strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand. Her time was 12 hour and 2 1/2 minutes.

In 1976 Lynne broke the men's and women's world record for swimming the Oresund between Denmark and Sweden with a time of 5 hours and 9 minutes. And she broke the men's and women's record that same year for swimming across the Kattegut between Norway to Sweden in a time of 6 hours and 16 minutes.

In 1976 Lynne became the first person to swim across the 42 degree F waters of the Strait of Magellan with a time of 1 hour 2 minutes.

In 1977 Lynne became the first person to swim between three of the Aleutian Islands.

In 1977 Lynne became the first person to swim 8 miles around the Cape of Good Hope in a time of 3 hours and 3 minutes.

In 1980 Lynne was invited to speak at Tokyo Medical College and to participate in a swim around Joga Shima Island.

In 1983 Lynne swam across the three Lakes of New Zealand's Southern Alps.

In 1984 Lynne swam across twelve major waterways across in the United States.

In 1985 Lynne swam "Around the World in 80 Days" by swimming 12 extremely challenging waterways some that had never been attempted.

In 1987 Lynne became the first person to swim across the Bering Strait as a way to open the US-Soviet Border for the first time in 48 years with a time of 2 hours and 6 minutes.

In 1988 Lynne became the first person to swim across Lake Baikal and had a cape in Russia named after her.

In 1990 Lynne swam across the Beagle Channel between Argentine and Chile as a way to promote cooperation between the two countries. She became the first person in the world to complete this swim.

In 1990 Lynne swam across the Spree River between the newly united German Republics.

In 1992 Lynne became the first person to swim across Lake Titicaca from Bolivia to Peru.

In 1994 Lynne swam through the Gulf of Aqaba from Egypt to Israel and from Israel to Jordan tracing the progress of peace between the three countries.

In 2002 Lynne became the first person to complete a 1.2 miles in Antarctica, from the ship the Orlova to Neko Harbor in a time of 25 minutes.

In 2007 Lynne swam the Northwest Passage Swims: Greenland, Baffin Island, Prudhoe Bay, Chukchi Sea.

If you want to be more amazed, go check her site: [Link]

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Five swimmers considered missing: Major sea search was mounted after they all forgot to check in after an open water charity event.

Does this illustrate how difficult it is to hold an open water race or what?

From The BBC News website:

Watch manager Maddy Davey said: "Obviously with nine swimmers missing, it was a matter of great concern

"We wouldn't deter people from raising the alarm, but lessons were learnt for organisers and participants to check-in at the end of the event. ..."


DesignBoom: on the London Aquatics Center has a glorious portfolio of the London Aquatics Center. This structure may be the last great pool built for an Olympic Games. I would like to believe that other great pools such as this will be created as a cultural accomplishment but after seeing what happened to the Athens pool and now the Beijing Aquatics center being converted into a silly water park, I am not optimistic.

The popularity of the Olympics is waning and the popularity of swimming may be waning with it for the Olympics is truly the only "Superbowl" for competitive swimming.

From DesignBoom:

Construction for the 'london aquatics centre' for the london 2012 summer olympics by zaha hadid architects is now complete. capable of holding 17,500 individuals at one moment, this facility will be the venue for the swimming, diving, synchronized swimming and water polo events. sheltering the sports events, athletes and supporters is an aluminum clad steel roof which spans 160 meters in length and 90 meters at its widest point. three substantial concrete columns effortlessly support the 3,000 ton sweeping overhead structure. the double curvature parabolic structure visually evokes the form of an undulating wave. on the interior, 850,000 tiles surface the pools, changing facilities and and floors. the cluster of concrete towers including the three meter springboards and diving platforms were formed and cast onsite.

Athlete Protection Officer Susan Woessner gives a carefully parsed interview to Swimming World - Some good news therein!

Generally speaking I do not like the way USA Swimming conducts their business; especially their finances, but I am satisfied with how efficient they are in declaring an offending coach radioactive.

USA Swimming's Athlete Protection Officer Susan Woessner; (visualize Sharon Stone from the film: The Quick and the Dead"), gives a highly measured, highly parsed interview to Swimming World. However, it does contain good news. Though the article is mostly talking points this paragraph not only shows promise but could be a turning point for the sport:

Swimming World Magazine:

What do you think needs to be improved upon for Athlete Protection, and what do you think is really working the best?

Ensuring the full membership understands all aspects of the Athlete Protection program has been challenging and some aspects of the program have taken time to develop. Next week we are launching an online athlete protection education program, the completion of which is a mandatory part of membership. We will also be launching an age-appropriate education program for our 300,000 athletes and their parents later this fall.

To develop the program, we partnered with Praesidium, the leading child protection education organization in the country. Education is the cornerstone of our athlete protection effort, and this piece of programming is an integral part of our efforts further empower our membership to be advocates for safe sport.

Awareness of the need for athlete protection programs is high. We see this through many channels. Clubs are using the athlete protection section of our website as a resource. 30,000 non-athlete members have completed our augmented background checks. Clubs are also embracing the pre-employment screening guidelines and our members are willing to use our reporting structure to call out inappropriate behavior.

I am thrilled by this news. It's my belief that this is a significant step to winning the battle against pedophile coaches but why did it take something so obvious, and so inexpensive to implement some two-years to create?

Nonetheless, I am glad it's happening.

I don't like drug cheats but...

The Guardian has a report from the "Drug Control Center at King's College London wheres Prof David Cowan, director of the center has stated emphatically that would be the "..."riskiest yet" for anyone using illegal methods to enhance performance."

The article has a fascinating writeup on how scientists are have realized a way to detect blood doping; (blood doping: the practice where one's own blood is collected and reinserted back into the body at a later date so as to create an over supply oxygen carrying more oxygen carrying red blood cells). Scientists have figured out a way to calculate the age of the RNA within the reinserted blood so as to detect it.

From the Guardian:
Cowan said many of the hurdles to detection of blood transfusions have now been overcome. "A few years ago, scientists discovered there are processes going on in red cells [as they age outside the body]. We've been looking at the different RNA that's present and been able to identify those that are clearly changed in stored blood."


At my job we have dramatically increased our client base to include financial institutions and European telecoms. Without getting into details regarding what we do, our company has instituted a drug policy since we are interfacing our technology with their clients to help drive sales.

My first reaction was; ("Oh great, are we going to be treated like Olympic athletes whereas we are ambushed at odd hours?), but after reading the policy I found it incredibly fair, honest and quite private. It included scheduled appointments, mandatory drug tests scheduled post a serious accident, and best of all the results are between you and your employer ONLY!

Contrast that to what Olympic athletes endure: A positive test is broadcast globally in most cases well before a second sample is tested. Hence, as Mark Twain once said: "A lie can travel halfway round the world while the truth is putting on its shoes,"

When Jessica Hardy tested positive she eventually admitted to testing positive by blaming or suspecting that it was supplements she was taking. Hardy really had no time to appeal or explain due to the aggressive Olympic trials schedule and the demonstrable lousy project-management of the athlete test samples by USA Swimming. I am still bitter that Tara Kirk did not get to go to the Olympics in Jessica Hardy's stead but I concede that Jessica Hardy had no time to mount a defense, an explanation or the ability to cross examine the results. Hardy was declared a doper and removed from the team and consequently USA Swimming declined to follow the rules and allow Tara Kirk to swim in her place.

It's extraordinary how many mistakes USA Swimming has made in the past four-years ranging from an anti trust lawsuit, child abuse lawsuits, poor drug test management, poor athlete compensation, forcing an athlete who followed the rules and qualified to swim for our country to stay home, and finally execs making 6-figure incomes with the USA Swimming CEO's salary approaching the million dollar a year range but I will save that for later. (Also, why do I feel I am missing some others as well?)

Recently Cesar Cielo tested positive for a banned substance but was exonerated or more accurately forgiven for the offense. Nonetheless, he did test positive and it was blamed on something he inadvertently ingested. Whether he should have been forgiven or not is arguable but his privacy, as well as Jessica Hardy's medical privacy should have been respected till the final outcome was declared.

In no other professional sports do athletes have to give their constant whereabouts, activities and vacation plans as if asking a parent permission to go to out and play. Athletes deserve privacy - if they test positive who really needs to know and why? I say just their employer and the athlete. Why they did or did not make the team is both the employer and the Athlete's business only.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bruce Lee on H2o

"Be formless... shapeless, like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You pour water into a bottle; it becomes the bottle. You put water into a teapot; it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow, or creep or drip or crash! Be water, my friend..." - Bruce Lee

Friday, September 09, 2011

USA Swimming's Executive Director Chuck Wielgus is quite ill.

I am coming in late on this: Mr. Wielgus apparently survived a bout with colon Cancer in 2007; (which few people survive), and now he is on mend recovering from cancer surgery complications which I hope are nothing more than an inconvenience rather than a scary threat.

This is not the way I want to see Mr Wielgus leave his position as CEO at USA Swimming so I wish him best and his family as well.

From Swimming World:

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, September 9. JUST days before the United States Aquatics Sports Convention is to begin in Jacksonville, Fla., Swimming World has learned that USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus is currently on medical leave due to complications from cancer surgery.

More details at the site: [Link]

Now, my opinions which will probably land this swimmer in some hot water and as usual I don't care! You ready? Here they come: Does USA Swimming have a succession plan in place if things go untoward in the next few months or ensuing years for Chuck Wielgus or does USA Swimming even need one? What do they really do each day?

USA Swimming is no Apple, Coca-Cola or General Electric but if a chief executive is ill it is the board of directors responsibility to put in place a succession plan and what better place to work one out but the USA Swimming convention next week.

USA Swimming management and who will be in charge will be a serious issue next week and I suggest those with a vote help effect a smooth transition as we slide in an Olympic year.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Italian sprinter Filippo Magnini races two dolphins in a close contest!

From Mercury

"...The captain of the national swimming team raced a pair of dolphins—King, 19 years old, and Leah, nine-years old—at a specially arranged event in a swimming pool in Torvaianica, about 30 miles (50km) south of Rome.

The dolphins had to swim about twice as many lengths as Magnini, but... "

You have to click on the link to see who won!

Video: Music project using gold fish to create sound - Imagine the sounds swimmers would make?

Quintetto promo from Quiet ensemble on Vimeo.

From Vimeo:

"Quintetto" is an installation based on the study of casual movement of objects or living creatures used as input for the production of sounds. The basic concept is to reveal what we call "invisible concerts" of everyday life.
The vertical movements of the 5 fishes in the acquariums is captured by a videocamera, that translates (through a computer software) their movements in digital sound signals.
We'll have 5 different musical instruments creating a totally unexpected live concert.

The installation was born with the collaboration of the Aesop studio
. In 2009 Quintetto wins the third prize at the "International contemporary art prize-Celesteprize" - Berlin.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

USA Swimming "Diversity Consultant" caught up in allegations of sxual misconduct!

Ben Sheppard is his name, a coach for the Oakland Undercurrent Swim Team. If this is true than this is over-the-top disturbing to say the least - worst of all he was a "consultant" for USA Swimming. They sure do know how to pick them, huh? Is this the second or third one?:

From the East Bay Express:
In at least four instances, the 35-year-old coach allegedly sent messages of an inappropriate nature to girls who were his former or current swimmers. One young woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said Sheppard sent her several Facebook messages on her eighteenth birthday in February. In transcripts of that conversation obtained by this newspaper, which began at 9:34 p.m., Sheppard initiated conversation with the young woman by wishing her happy birthday.

After some back and forth, Sheppard grew coy, and wrote "just let me say it and ignore me if you want ... simply put, as crazy as it sounds I had such a crush on you ... and then some."

"It was really weird," the young woman recalled by phone. "At first I didn't think it was him. I thought it was somebody hacking his page. He was like, 'Oh please don't tell anyone.' I didn't say anything in the beginning because I thought I was the only one. I don't want to mess up the team or make a big deal of it. I thought it was such a cool program."

I am told this individual was a member of Pat Hogan's staff. I am calling on all swim bloggers, swim news organization and journalist to summarily audit the successes and the failures of USA Swimming for the last four-and-a-half-years and subsequently publish their results.

If memory serves me correct and it often does: There has been an anti trust lawsuit, sexual misconduct lawsuits, two documentaries on the sexual misconduct therein, the mysterious firing of the national team coach, outrageous salaries versus the near poverty level pro swimmers endure, tax forms that look as if more money is spent on the comfort and aid of the executive staff and their entourage rather than what is spent on the subject of their non-profit: i.e. Adolescents, teens and national team members.

Publish it all, link to references so the the USA Swimming members at large can see this and "dethrone" those individuals who sit on the board and who have allowed an executive staff to live so well and hurt our sport so much!

You, the swimmer at large, can effect change far more than this blog ever could. Please make them stop this nonsense by putting people on the USA Swimming board that you know personally. People who are fed up with their "Marie Antoinette" compensation policies and their "wolf in sheep's clothing" child protection policies as well.

Fire these bums now! Take action! NOW!