Monday, October 31, 2011

FINIS Stroke Lab: Video notation software for coaches and swimmers!

Video clinics are vital if you want to master swimming for you have to see what you are doing from a "2ND person point of view" to truly implement a stroke correction. Then when you do it takes at least 100,000 meters to make it permanent.

I am not endorsing this product but I am endorsing what FINIS is trying to accomplish - a video markup or notation software product that allows coaches and swimmers to truly drill down into the minutiae as to what needs to be corrected or strengthen!

You don't necessarily need a video mark-up to implement stroke correction, but the notation will help you to remember the details.

"Ear Dough" from New Zealand by a company called Kahlm

As you know, I accept no gifts, money, or otherwise for posting info about products but here is product that I am quite interested in using: Ear Dough by Kahlm.

Ear Dough looks like it offers solid ear protection for both racing and surfing and that is why I am interested.

I use wax when I race or surf and I hate how non-pliable the wax becomes and/or even hard to get out. This stuff looks more flexible, more pliable and more efficient.

Here is a link to the the Kahlm site for more info: [Link]

Happy Halloween - Scary deep sea fish carved from a pumpkin "analog" called a squash I think!

From the greatest pumkin carver of all time: Ray Villafane

See a scary viking, football players, a medusa and much, much more at his epic pumpkin carving site: [Link]

Saturday, October 29, 2011

For NCAA swimmers the month of March is fast approaching

...And Kenyon College can so taste a championship too. From the New York Times:
"... We are seeing the kind of energy we didn’t see a year ago,” said Bakk, a senior from McFarland, Wis.

His fellow senior David Somers, from Gaithersburg, Md., said, “We know what is at stake.”

The words “at stake” are Kenyon code for regaining what the men feel is naturally and rightfully theirs. The 31 consecutive men’s titles are, by far, an N.C.A.A. record in any division in any sport. The individual who presided over 29 of those, Coach Jim Steen, is back for another season poolside. (He missed two titles because of sabbaticals. He also presided over 19 women’s championship teams at Kenyon, including 17 in a row.) ..."


Kenyon College men's swimming and dive program: [Link]

Swim coach Todd Sousa sentence to 16-months for sex crimes - Victim once an avid swimmer now depressed and avoids the pool due to the abuse.

I don't have any details about the sentencing only that it is 16-months. (Could he be paroled?)

In California we pay $47,500 a year to house and care for an inmate. So, not only do we have an underage victim who has been "sentenced" for the duration of her depression however long that may last, we Californians have nearly a $70,000 bill to flip for this loser. Economically, I suspect I am only scratching the surface here in regards to consequences. Sousa will be unemployable when he gets out and probably have his rent paid by the state for who knows how long...! You know, I could go on-and-on.

Finally, I suspect parents in Orange County after reading the morning paper may choose to put their child into tennis, golf, or some other sport rather than swimming.
"The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft' interred with their bones..." - William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar.

From the Orange County Register:

"... The girl's mother and stepfather in a victim-impact statement given during Friday's sentencing hearing indicated that their daughter had once been an avid swimmer but now avoids swimming and is depressed, according to the District Attorney's Office release. ..."


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

2010 USA Swimming Demographics: Open letter to USA Swimming.

Was just going over your 2010 USA Swimmer Membership Demographics and I noticed that those who chose to answer the ethnicity question or what race they are totaled only 53.2% of your clientele. Out of that 53.2% a whopping 75.5% of those members were white. Second place was Asian coming in at 9.2%, Mixed race coming in at third at 7.5%, The Hispanic race coming in fourth with coming with 5.2%, and finally African American, Pacific Islander, Native American, and “other” rounding out the last 2.6%.

The average USA Swimmer is a white female, She is 12-to-13-years-old, and is more likely to resign for another year than her male counterpart. When compared to new members, 50,627 were female versus 37,712 males – there is almost a 13,000 member deficit.

Your retention rate is 69.4%, you had 286,900 members in 2010. (I believe you had 300,000-plus in 2008?)

Hence, My recommendation to the USA Swimming Board of Directors: when numbers dip, so should the bonuses. If the medal count dips, so should the salaries. If there is a gender gap, throw some money in that genders direction. You're a non-profit, spend some money and please don't profit on the backs of 12-to-13-year-old girls.

I also want to note that this is not a letter to begrudge the lack of out reach to ethnic or less affluent communities; I know you have tried with several programs but to little avail. Ultimately, you are suppose to be professionals at this and you should have seen this cultural debacle coming for decades. I do encourage you to come to Los Angeles and see how successful L.A. has been in teaching Hispanics how to swim. You will note that L.A. allows kids to swim for free in highly supervised lifeguard areas all year round and offers other incentives for inexpensive “learn to swim programs as well” – It truly is a template for how your “learn to swim programs” should be conducted.

Your mission statement is to build the sport and field an Olympic team but you have left that up to Michael Phelps, the NCAA and the “creatives” at NBC to make our athletes look sexy and tell a story every four years. Well, Michael Phelps is less than a year away from retirement, the NCAA is shedding swim programs like a dog shedding fleas in a flea-bath, and our potential Men's USA Olympic team for 2012 is not looking that strong on paper as it has in previous years.

Your CEO is paid nearly a million-dollars-a-year yet your numbers are flat, or more accurately dipping. As Michael Phelps use to say, "...This is a wake-up call, ...have work to do, ...Not where we want to be!"

USA Swimming Membership Demographics PDF: [Link]

Saturday, October 22, 2011

BBC Sport: "Ryan Lochte could upstage Phelps & Thorpe in 2012"

Steve Perry is thinking like a competitor or more accurately an odds maker who has to create some sort of a gambling wager to pull in some revenue for his casino. With Perry's own Olympic accomplishments behind him he should be thinking more about legacy and meaning rather than a simple bet prediction.

Here is his set-up, ...err, his premise from BBC Sport:

"...Everyone seems to be talking about those two but they have both come out recently and said, 'Hold on a minute, the guy who's looking amazing is Ryan Lochte'.

So there is the potential for the media to be focusing on the wrong people.

Lochte was the first guy ever to break a world record unaided by a suit and took Phelps out in two of Phelps' main events at the World Championships earlier this year, the 200m freestyle and the 200m medley.


As for Thorpe, it is remarkable what he is doing. He has been trying to quell expectation but I don't think he's quelling it enough - I can't describe how big a struggle it is going to be for him.

Michael Phelps, 500-years from now, will probably be the only Olympian history will remember; That is if the Olympics are remembered at all. In the near term, beating Ian Thorpe is way more significant an accomplishment legacy-wise than beating Ryan Lochte. Phelps beating Lochte and winning a gold medal holds no meaning here - He's won gold medals 8-times in a row; what is there for him to prove? It only means a soon-to-be-retired-great was beaten while simply honoring the final years of his contract.

Enter Ian Thorpe: How many times has the great Michael Phelps out touched, out raced, or out lasted Ian Thorpe? The answer is never; not even on a relay. That is where the real legacy issue lies.

If by some miracle Ian Thorpe steps up and out touches Michael Phelps, there will always be that asterisk, that footnote, the glaring historical fact that Michael Phelps was never able to beat an Australian by the name of Ian Thorpe.

This could be the "Rocky" moment of 2012 and/or the bragging rights for who was the greatest freestyle swimmer ever.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Michael Phelps has finally changed his typical "Wake-up call/I have work to do" rhetoric at the FINA world cup meet in Moscow!

We use to hear him explain away or qualify his loses; now he is taking a more positive note. The guy went two-for-five in Moscow which is rather anemic for the world's greatest especially when you compare that to his past accomplishments. (Note I don't care how close the 200-free was or his 200-back win. Michael Phelps is "Mr. Walls" - he redefined how they should be attacked and in my opinion SCM should be a world in which he utterly dominates.) Nonetheless, I am impressed that he is motivated to win, is exhibiting sportsmanship and is seemingly prepared but is he really in the " form since 2008"?

From APF:

BERLIN — Multiple Olympic gold medallist and world champion Michael Phelps insisted on Friday that he was in his best shape since his historic 2008 Olympic year. [...]

"I'm in best form since 2008. I'm a lot happier and in better shape than last year. In 2009, I took six months off after the Games. I was in the worst shape of my life," said Phelps.

"The important thing is not what happens today but down the road. I have time to change things and prepare and get ready. Hopefully I'll improve small things.

Now here is he is quoted in the Telegraph:

“Two years ago I swam in a couple of World Cups, but I didn’t swim as fast as I wanted to.

"Now I think I’m in a lot better shape than I was then, and if come in with some faster times I will be happy and satisfied.

"The last couple of weeks we’ve had good training and I just want to see where we stand right now..."

The 'Holy Grail' of this blog is to find a photo of Gwen Stefani Swimming 'Fly in High school - We are so close!

Hats' off to the Swimmers Daily who found this photo of the multi-talented Gwen Stefani grabbing a lane line for a school photo. Gwen Stefani, a local "grrl" from Orange County , California went on to be the "front man" for the band No Doubt for almost 20-years; a band her brother founded. She then enjoyed highly a successful solo-career doing duets with Moby and others. She started a clothing line called Harajuku Lovers which embraces Japanese pop-culture sensibilities and she has won and has been nominated for numerous Grammy awards.

She is definitely more charismatic than Lady Gaga, credited her image to the early work of Madonna flat out saying that she was a xerox of her early career and has battled her weight and self image since the sixth grade. Obviously she is winning that battle.

Thank you Jason for posting it on my Facebook wall!

"Sea floor skimming jelly fish" - A potential new species!

Calling someone a 'sea floor skimming jelly fish' would make a great insult too - to wit: "You are about as smart as a sea floor skimming jellyfish."

This Jelly fish looks more like a "Sci-Fi" machine rather than a creature and it's uniqueness as an aquatic creature has inspired me to post it.

From National Geographic:

"..."This is a special kind [of trachymedusa jellyfish] which, instead of floating around in the middle of the ocean"—as most jellyfish do—"floats just centimeters above the bottom, with its tentacles touching the seafloor," team member Monty Priede said. "This is a very unusual thing." ..."

Saturday, October 08, 2011

SCAQ is also swimming in the Redondo Beach Pool - Here is one of their workouts!

Is that a nice pool or what? The Redondo Union High School is on the corner of Diamond Street & Pacific Coast Highway. SCAQ coaches masters swimming workouts there and the club I belong to is building a presence in the Redondo Beach community. A perfect place for Redondo masters swimming or any sort of Redondo swimming if you ask me.

Here is are a couple of workouts that Clay Evans sent me which he gave in that pool; (Clay is a silver medalist Olympian from the Montreal Olympics):


"... This is one of my favorite Master’s workouts for distance and it takes only one hour. This workout was first given by Andre Burres an Olympian; [200-fly] and a SCAQ coach who passed away in an accident while jogging to coach a SCAQ workout over a decade ago.

It is all swimming, but go ahead slip some kicking in on your own if you need to.

This is one set of 3,900 yards/meters, there is no rest between ladders. If your 100's intervals are more than 1:50 you will need more than an hour or cut back. I gave this workout in Redondo Beach Monday with all other swimmers from the South Bay (Manhattan Beach, Torrance, and Hermosa).

Round one:
100, 200, 300, 400, 500 - Free Rest about 30 seconds all the way through. With each swim the effort gets harder as you get warmed up and the 500 is a 100% effort. Get your times!

Round two:
100, 200, 300, 400 with no extra rest between rounds and throw out the 500. Concentrate on the 400 as an all-out effort .

Everything leading up to it is faster than the first warm up round.

Round three:
100, 200, and 300 again, knocking out the 400 but the 300 is all out. These sets have no extra rest in between.

Round four:

100, 200 and the 200 is the fastest swim yet.
  • Next a 100 extra easy recovery swim
  • Next a 100 all out.
You are almost done! Hang on for one last effort:
  • 50 easy
  • 50 sprint
  • 200 loosen down
That is 3,900 of distance done fast and furious. The workout quickly stacks up the yards and it will relate to my next workout, a Middle Distance set given the next day.

I define "Distance Workout" as averaging less than 10-seconds rest per 100 and a main set of around 2,000 or more. I prefer the workout to lead into the next workout of the week. The workouts relate and help swimmers understand and prepare for improving their swimming.

Directions to Redondo pool: [Link]

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Is this suit from French swimsuit maker 'Aquadeus' filled with "awesome and win" or what?

TYR and Speedo certainly are not offering suits that look this good, look that fast, and look soooo sexy!"

The Europeans are actually doing something with swimwear because they actually care whereas the American companies don't. They just "throw adjectives" at us!

I like the company so I am putting a link to them in my links column!

Here is a link to the Aquadeus Blog page: [Link]

Here is a link to the Aquadeus Facebook page: [Link]

Here is a link to their store: [Link]