Friday, December 30, 2011

Swimming World tackles the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) certification process!

Swimming World is as perplexed at ASCA's certification process as I am. Publisher, Brent Rutemiller, patently confronts John Leonard of the American Swimming Coaches Association and forwards his reply.

From Swimming World:

Recently, a letter was sent out to a number of swim coaches by the American Swim Coaches Association (ASCA) informing them that they would lose their certification level if they did not renew their annual membership with ASCA.

This letter told the coach that "you will lose your certification level when your membership expires—meaning that you cannot represent yourself as a Level 3 certified coach to parents, employers or potential employers."

This sentence stopped me in my tracks. ..."

I am impressed by their follow-up in this subject which was discussed here in early December and I am sure USA Swimming is taking note. The letter in question was published to the comments section of a post I made in early December. I formally published it in a blog-post on December 3, 2011 - [Link

The end result of questioning ASCA's certification process could lead to a better certification process and added protection for children. We all want that.

Thank you to those that have "schooled me," have commented on the posts at this blog and have sent me material to publish. All of you are really having an profound impact on this sport in such a remarkable way. Thank you to Swimming World for following up on this.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Prediction: Michael Phelps Olympic Program

Michael Phelps has made it clear that he will swim a shortened program in London 2012. It is a testament to his greatness that I all ready consider him a member of our next Olympic team rather than waiting till US Nationals to make this CERTAIN.

Now, if I was a greedy sports agent; (emphasis on filthy greedy), and I had Michael Phelps' ear, I would tell Phelps to undertake a shortened program that was risk free. In other words, leave the stage with nothing but gold in your hands. Leave undefeated and be considered the giant of the Olympics. No bronze medal, no silver, leave the theater with five gold medals only. Silly to consider but a mixed bag of medals would be interpreted as a "felled giant." Sports Agents don't like that brand. They like the word undefeated for when the press asked if he was now officially retired after winning 5-gold, I would insist he recite the following script. "Gee, I had so much fun out there that I may have have to rethink retirement. Maybe I will swim in 2016?" Blam! Speedo is forced to resign him for a couple more years just in case he does want to swim some more for Speedo does not need to see Phelps beat their suit in a final Olympic games in 2016.

So what events would I suggest he swim: 100-fly, 200-fly, 200-IM and the relays. I would tell him to skip the 100-free which I know is a Cardinal sin as is avoiding the 200-free as well. Listen, I am a greedy sports agent and I don't want my hottest property seen as dishing out a mixed result.

Now if I wasn't an example of a "greedy sports agent" for I do obviously have that little something they don't have; (a soul), I would want him to swim the 100-free and the 200-free and accept his anemic chances against Cielo, Bousquet, Bernard, Magnussen, and Nathan Adrian.

So what about Lochte?

Enter the next "Lindsay Vonn" who is poised to become the next face of the Olympics. He does not have to be Michael Phelps and win everything but he needs to medal in everything and get lots of face-time and be his usual charismatic self. This will get him on a Wheaties Box and some modeling gigs too I suspect! What will he swim, EVERYTHING! "Jeah, bro. Come at me!"

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Flavio Bomio: FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee may have molested over 20-boys! - Coaching certification must be overhauled!

Swimming is suppose to be fun not dangerous!

Currently FINA has replaced Flavio Bomio who is suspected; (I am using the word politely), of molesting 20-boys.
Here is a snippet from his resume:

Flavio Bomio of Switzerland was formerly the director of the Bellinzona swimming club in Switzerland and the Honorary Secretary of the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee (TOWSC) that is responsible for advising, analyzing, appointing, investigating, studying and recommending rules, regulations, protocols, procedures, equipment and specifications regarding the preparations and execution of open water swimming events sanctioned and organized by FINA, the world's governing body of aquatics.

First off, he obviously wasn't very good at it when you take into account the tragic loss of Fran Crippen due to high temperatures during an open water race in or around Dubai. Also there was that near fatal race at the 2011 FINA World Championships of Swimming.

Secondly, here is a guy that was lauded throughout his career yet he was absolutely the most dangerous coach you could put before a male child if the allegations "...of sexual misconduct with 20 alleged victims..." as posted at the SwimNews are true.

Both our national and International governing bodies are really good at both collecting money and event execution. They are all really bad at certifying coaches and setting up guidelines as to how to protect kids. Sadly, this statement is not hyperbole.

FINA, USA Swimming and the United States Olympic Committee must reboot how they do the business of certification. To do this reboot is simple: first they have to recognize that they are over their heads and the people they are paying to be competent at certifying coaches are as well. As for USA Swimming, do they really have faith in ASCA at this point after having to defend themselves in court?

Governing bodies must engage professional institutes such as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the National Organization for Competency Assurance (NOCA) perhaps Sig Sigma, or even the Association of Test Publishers (ATP). They must recognized that training and certification are two different disciplines and must remain autonomous from one another.


The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), Standard 1100, defines the requirements of meeting the ANSI standard for being a certifying organization. According to ANSI Standard 1100, a professional certifying organization must meet two requirements:
  1. Deliver an assessment based on industry knowledge, independent from training courses or course providers.
  2. Grant a time-limited credential to anyone who meets the assessment standards.


A real world example of the above: a student in college decides that they want to be a lawyer. They finish their basic studies, apply to law school, get accepted, complete their courses and get a diploma. The next step of the process is to go take the bar exam for their given state. It is here where an independent body steps in and tests their knowledge. Note that the law school did not offer certification but rather a diploma. It was an independent agency that offered the certification not the school itself.

USA Swimming has entrusted the American Swimming Coaches Association to certify coaches. They charge a coach for materials and then they test them from what I hear, in an open book fashion; (Correct me if I am wrong). Subsequently, a certification is then rendered.

Essentially the coach is paying the teacher to be the certification body and that sets up economic conflicts of interest. (Use your imagination here - in other words, why not just pay double and "buy" the certification without doing the training?)

The way coach certification should be done is to have two separate organizations, one that educates and one that validates that education through testing. The certification body could also be the vehicle to which background checks are conducted.

Granted, most coaches come from "mom & pop" swim teams and these coaches are not training to become brain surgeons. I accept that but a lack of competency and ethics for a sport that has so many problems has to be implemented. Joel of the 17th man in a private email said it best with this article:

"This is American sports' Catholic Church moment"
"... Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine. AAU president Bobby Dodd. Philadelphia Daily News sports columnist Bill Conlin.

And that's just since November.

ABC News revealed in 2010 that 36 swimming coaches had been banned by USA Swimming for allegations of sexual misconduct, including molestation and hidden videotaping of children in locker rooms. ..."

I took the photo above of the two brothers: The one on the right is currently diving across the SCAQ Blog masthead. The one on the left is studying to be an architect.

Sean Collins, Surfer, CEO of Surfline taken suddenly by a heart attack!

Before 1990 it was impossible to be both a surfer and a responsible individual at the same time. If a friend called who lived near the beach and said, "Topanga is goin' off, Zeroes and Heavens too." You dropped everything, missed appointments, deadlines, anniversaries, and scooted off to go surfing.
When Sean Collins arrived he was able to interpret the dark arts of satellite photos, buoy reports, and how low-pressure and high-pressure systems way out at sea affected the surf. This allowed surfers to "make appointments" if you will, schedule vacation days, trips, adventures allowing surfers to have a more robust life in and out of the water.

Collins died this this week playing tennis in Orange county of a heart attack at the age of 59-years-old.

Not to get philosophical, but why not? In my view, Sean Collins, gave more than he took. I don't care how much money he made or did not make from SurfLine, he made a sport I adore much easier to participate in and for that I thank him.

From The L.A.Times:

A Southern California native and Seal Beach resident, Collins began surfing at the age of 8. After graduating from Wilson High School in Long Beach, he attended Long Beach City College and worked as a professional photographer, waiter and bartender.

Along the way, he developed a passion to complement his surfing: poring through the National Weather Service library and studying faxes from around the world to predict swells. In 1984, he joined a fledgling company called Surfline, which offered surf forecasts by phone, then left to start a rival company called Wavetrak.
Collins bought out Surfline in 1990 and, five years later, launched its online version. According to the website, nearly 1.5 million people visit it every month.


SCAQ Masthead: Happy Birthday Trevor -

Trevor is flying by the SCAQ Masthead today to celebrate his birthday!

Friday, December 23, 2011

USA Today: "Ryan Lochte loves racing Michael Phelps, ready for challenge"

UPDATED: to fixed typos and explain myself better.

How many times have we heard that phrase, "...loves racing Michael Phelps"...? I sort of forget that Lochte felt that way after the first 30-times I heard this "mantra" but by the 50th-time-or-so, it began to sink in.

Why is Ryan Lochte always repeating that he "...loves to race Phelps?" We have been hearing that as far back as 2008 and we all know it is true. We categorically knew it was true when we watched the two race each other in the 400 IM in Beijing. We also know it is sincere and we do feel how hungry he is to do it too.

It's as if Lochte is a young gunslinger who is looking for Phelps in the streets of "Dodge City" to prove he is the best in the west. It's as if he wants to be known as the gunslinger that had a quicker draw, a faster shot, and thereby replaced Phelps as the "new sheriff in town." With all the cowboy metaphors out of the way, I suspect there is an economic interest to all of this as well.

By intertwining his destiny with the best swimmer ever in the media interviews, I suspect that this is presumably a PR ploy by his handlers so as to "draft" off of Phelps' name recognition, his stellar accomplishments, and thereby potentially get him a bigger post Olympic paycheck if Lochte can defeat him.

Do I think he will beat Phelps? I don't know, but the odds favor Phelps since I suspect he will be swimming a less demanding program than he did in Beijing. My premise is that Phelps has handlers too and his London Olympics is not about accomplishment anymore but rather legacy. If he so chose to ignore Lochte and just swam the 100-fly, 200 fly, and a medley-relay, their would be no "gunfight" and Phelps would finish off his Olympic career unbeaten in two consecutive Olympics thus remaining "the fastest gun alive"

From USA Today:

Lochte beat Phelps in their two common events at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai, the 200 free and the 200 IM, en route to five golds, compared to four for Phelps. Neither has confirmed which races they hope to swim in London.

"I'm in the perfect shape that I've ever been in in my entire life," Lochte said. "I want it really bad. It might not seem like it right now, but come when the time's right, I'll be ready."
"The guy's got his eyes on some big prizes," Busch said, "so just watch him go." 

ABC News Review: 'Michael Phelps: Push the Limit' for 'Kinect!'

It is not a positive review but it is constructive. A video game journalist and G4 video game reviewer named, Adam Sessler, even warned before this game was made that: "...Swimming — in even a Mario game — is a miserable experience - Kotaku"

I think an analogy would be the ballet. Imagine playing a 'Bolshoi Ballet' dance game? The nuance and such would only be appreciated by dancers and those that appreciate dance much like a swimming game would only be appreciated by swimmers.
From ABC News:

"... Then the race begins and you're stuck attempting to swim in a very strict rhythm for 400 short meters. Go too fast and your stamina will deplete, then get ready to receive sixth place in a swimming video game. 
The entire game consists of variations of strokes and course lengths. It feels like the title would have been better as cheap downloadable content or packaged in a larger Olympic sports world. At least keep with the swimming theme and give us diving as an option.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A dirty Joke: A prominent coach, a FINA committee member and a pedophile walk into a bar... He orders a drink!

Swimming World has posted an article about the arrest and the potential admission of guilt to molestation charges by a member of the FINA Technical Open Water Committee, Flavio Bomio. I say potential for I don't know how reliable the Italian press is in these matters. The article Swimming World links too states he admitted to having 'several relationships" with minors after two hours of interrogation. 

It is mentioned that FINA suspended him immediately. 
From Swimming World: 
Bomio currently serves as a member of the FINA Technical Open Water Committee, and the Ticino News reports that Bomio was about to depart for a training trip in Florida with several young boys from Switzerland.

FINA is the "Vatican" of for international swimming. It's now time for them to take this problem very seriously and suggest strong guidelines such as the one I have been begging for: Adopt a no one-on-one policy between coaches and children.

Rooftop Pools from 'Askmen'

Rooftop PoolsAskmen showcases exotic pools high above the empire!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The 'Casio G-Shock: G-Rescue' watch: A great gift for a Navy SEAL, surfer, or swimmer

Casio makes military grade timepieces. This is a bold statement that is not hyperbole nor am I paid to say this. One of their brand lines the, 'G-Shock,' is a favorite of  military professionals throughout the world especially Navy SEALS who work in and around the ocean. Many use the G-Shock-G-Rescue.

I recently gave a G-Shock, G-Rescue; (under $100) to my best friend. We have been surfing together since we were 17-years-old and I picked the G-Rescue primarily for both the graphical tide & moon phase views built into the interface. Note the G-Rescue has a stopwatch function that produces split times as well.

After sending him the latitude & longitude coordinates for his favorite surf break; (easily found online HERE via Google), providing the mean tide interval averages; (Found on the same NOAA page), this is what he had to say:
"... I just finished programming my watch, it was actually pretty easy! I just checked the tide indicator against a tide book and its dead on! I also checked the moon phase and it is dead on as well! I'm stoked. It will also show you tides and moon phases for any date through 2099. 
Thanks ... its an awesome watch. 
Sadly, to further prove my statement that Casio creates military grade time-pieces, they have a secondary model they sell for just $8.00 which is also nicknamed the "terrorist watch." Here is a Wikipedia article about it if you are interested: [Link]

GPS Watches for swimmers and runners: In most cases more accurate for swimmers than runners?

The New York Times has article regarding the deficits that GPS watches have. These deficits include inaccurate times, distances, and laps due to trees, buildings, road curvature and other obstacles that impede information from bouncing from the satellite an into to your watch at specific intervals.

I posit that open water swimming and in most cases outdoor pool swimming would would have fewer issues since the spaces we swim in are generally open areas. Indoor pools are obviously off limits.

Regarding a race director who gets nasty emails by competitors who accuse the director of an inaccurate course due to their own personal GPS data had this to say...
From the New York Times:

Mr. Thurston has gotten so used to the complaints that he actually has a generic e-mail reply. No, it says, the course was not wrong. Your GPS device was.

“If someone wants to go to mat on it, I ask them to go to a 400-meter track and run on the inside lane for 12.5 laps. That’s 5,000 meters,” he said in an interview. Then, he tells the runner, check the distance on your GPS device. He guarantees it will not be 5,000 meters.


[Later in the article] But Mr. Helton is not throwing his watches away. He has three GPS watches and uses one nearly every time he runs. Then again, unlike most areas where I run, his routes do not have large trees, winding roads and poor satellite reception. On his routes, Mr. Helton said, his GPS device is accurate to within 10 feet of where he actually is.

Note, that Mr. Helton runs is in an area that gets great satellite reception, no real trees or buildings in the way, hence his accurate readings. Open water, especially in the ocean which GPS was originally designed for, would probably be the most accurate use of GPS. I place strict emphasis on the word 'probably' for your mileage may vary... Quite literally.

The article is a must read if you are considering a GPS. Lots of observations and how the systems work and I really want to emphasize that GPS systems for swimming is a real option, but they these systems like vectors not sine curves; (straight lines versus s-cures), and should really be considered.

UPDATE: From Rob at RobAquatics - Boy did his mileage vary. See below photo:

He had this to say in the comments section: "I've found mine to be pretty good in open water, but not the pool. I did a test in a 50 meter pool and got some pretty creative results."

Monday, December 19, 2011

Gene tweaking turns a simple mouse into the "Incredible SCAQ Tony Hulk"

Doping use to be black & white till the doctors, plastic surgeons, and scientists got involved. Plastic surgeon, you ask? Yes, but I will talk about that one later.

Scientists have gene-tweaked a mouse so as to shut off a hormone that probably prevents any mammal from becoming extraordinarily strong. In fact, not just strong, but capable of supreme endurance too. The animal also became more resistant to the cold and how is that for a warm-&-fuzzy side effect? But wait, there's more: No harmful side effects or a shortened lifespan has been detected in any creature that was tweaked. Do you believe it? Well, I don't for every functional change in a system will have a side effect.

That hormone that their gene tweaking suppressed was ultimately created and/or determined by natural selection to be there for a reason. Taking it away is going to effect something or some other system. Here is an easier way to say how I feel "...the candle that burns twice as bright only lasts half-as-long" -- Dr. Tyrell from the film, Blade Runner.
From Gizmag:

"There are now ways to develop drugs for people who are unable to exercise due to obesity or other health complications, such as diabetes, immobility and frailty," says Ronald M. Evans, who led the Salk team. "We can now engineer specific gene networks in muscle to give the benefits of exercise to sedentary mice."

Auwerx describes molecules such as NCOR1 as "molecular brakes" that slow down the activity in genes. Releasing these brakes through gene manipulation increases that activity level, providing more energy to build muscle.

The benefits of releasing those molecular brakes don't stop at increased muscle strength. The stronger mice also saw improved endurance, and were capable of running both faster and longer before tiring, covering twice the distance of normal mice in experiments. Researchers say the mutated mice were also more tolerant to cold.

In reality steroids are genuinely legal if dutifully and ethically prescribed by a doctor. Gene tweaking will be legal as well as is breast reduction surgery is now. Example: Romanian tennis player Simona Halep shot up 450-places to number 47th-in-the-world after undergoing breast reduction surgery. Her earnings for 2011 were estimated to be $286,373 - and this does not include endorsements.

Rhetorical question: Could breast reduction surgery decrease the 50-free time of a female swimmer who has a breast cup size that is above average?

I must state that the article below is not about a woman who sacrificed her breast function simply to be a better tennis player but more accurately her antipathy towards her breasts after Romanian doctors prescribed her steroids when she was young to presumably to save her life after becoming much to thin. She was also suffering back pain and introversion.

The author, Liz Jones, chimes in with her own result after having breast reduction surgery which should sell most women on the gravity of such a decision: Despite terrible scarring the surgery consequently led to her losing all feeling in her nipples and an inability to breast-feed if she so chooses to have children. She also writes about how intimate relations for her with the opposite sex were devastated.

Warning: Moderately graphic photo for most American workplaces of exposed anatomy on an operating table - This from the Daily Mail:
Last week, she was knocked out of Wimbledon by Serena Williams, but still deems the operation a success.

Her decision, however, has been widely condemned — ‘slice off part of your anatomy for money and trophies?’ sums up the online consensus.

But as an athlete, her body’s ability to perform is everything. She experienced back pain, too. I am sure also she hated the whistles and cat calls when she was trying to focus on her game.

[... Now the author's experience below]

I looked, I thought, much younger (I was still barely 30!) and so much more in-keeping with who I was, who I am: Not a sexual person, not a mummy, but invisible.

But what of the effect on my career? I can’t say the operation solved my underlying fears or neuroses but I did feel more confident at work.


Note: Simona Halep has leaped up in the rankings a full 450-places to number 47. This proves that there are body modifications one can do without the use of drugs that can make a person more enhanced. Lance Armstrong now has a carbon fiber collar bone now after a bad fall on the bike, Tiger Woods had Lasik eye surgery making him a better golfer, Simona Halep is winning more and definitely making way more cash than most gold medalist swimmers.

So would I personally gene-tweak to be a better swimmer? Absolutely not! But I would gene tweak if it would make me live longer, have a higher quality of life, have no cognitive side effects and not get so cold in the winter. Should I or anybody else be disqualified for trying to be healthier, better looking, or recover and/or be saved from a child hood illness?

The rules will have to adapt.

Chris DeSantis spent 100-minutes with USA Swimming CEO Chuck Wielgus

Chris DeSantis interviews Chuck Wielgus - here is a snippet:
"...I asked him later whether he thought USA Swimming members had a right to be disappointed in his leadership. He admitted that he felt badly about his performance in the ABC 20/20 interview but followed that up with a defense of why he did not do well. He cited that the 20/20 interview was the only disappointment that the USA Swimming board had in him. ..."

I just can't think of anything funny to say so I will say this: This interview has now elevated swim blogging into a quasi-journalistic endeavor. Perhaps in the eyes of the law bloggers are not journalists but to CEOs, marketeers, and PR people, we are now a hybrid that has to be considered. :-P

Thanks Chris!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

NYC Triathlon to triathletes: Promise that you have swam 1/2-mile in open water and we will let you do this race.

Two people died this year doing the the New York City Triathlon hence the event planners want to make the race safer by having people promise that they have swam at least a 1/2-mile in the open water before entering. In my opinion this sounds more like a "legal-out" than a serious drowning prevention plan.

Many years ago I did an Ironman in Kona, Hawaii. On the application I had to mention races I had completed so as to prove my "street cred" to even be considered as an applicant. In other words I had to have a resume that could be verified that I actually was fit and capable to do it and they had people checking these results.

Why can't the NYC Triathlon event planners adopt a similar strategy or perhaps sponsor open water clinics which athletes would obviously pay for so as to qualify these people for the event ?

From CNN:
"... The race takes place in a nearly one-mile stretch of the Hudson River, between 82nd and 99th streets. Korff says swimmers often count on the river's stiff current to help improve their swim time, but it's important to make clear that just because the swim leg is "fast" doesn't mean it's easy.

"A lot of people will, if they haven't swam in open water, they get to the Hudson, and they'll start to panic," he says. "We want people to know that you can't just put on a wetsuit, lay on your back and float."


That last paragraph is summarily pathetic. The truth is you can float on your back if you are comfortable in open water. One would think that NYC triathletes would know this. The USA Triathlon governing body should look into this matter and set some new guidelines. Their waiver is summarily a "civil litigation prevention plan" more so than a drowning prevention plan.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Engadget: Wearables Garmin's Forerunner 910XT sport watch begs to become your new swimming buddy!

This went passed me in October, sorry I missed it. This would be quite a watch for triathletes and open water swimmers. I am actually considering it for open water training; here is why - GPS mapping.

Endgadget's partial synopsis:
"... With a price tag of $400, it's certainly intended for the most dedicated (or affluent) jocks, but for the outlay of cash, you'll find it provides detailed metrics such as swim distance, pool lengths, along with stroke identification and count. It even goes so far as to report one's SWOLF score, which is a measure of a swimmer's efficiency (calculated as the number of strokes to swim a lap, plus the time to travel said distance). ..."
Now more details within the press release posted at Endgadget:

"... With Forerunner 910XT, swimming will never be the same again. Designed for both open water and pool swimming, Forerunner 910XT is water resistant to 50 meters and is Garmin's first multisport watch to offer extensive swim metrics, including swim distance, stroke identification, stroke count and pool lengths. It also computes a user's swolf score – the sum of the time for one length plus the number of strokes for that length. For example, 30 seconds plus 15 strokes equals a swolf score of 45. Swolf is a measurement of swimming efficiency and, like golf, lower is better. The 910XT's robust design and easy operation make it suited for other water sports, including paddle boarding, kayaking and windsurfing to name a few.
[I am critical of the stroke count philosophy. Janet Evans had a high stroke count and her records lasted for decades.]
When an athlete is ready to jump out of the water and onto the bike, Forerunner 910XT moves easily from wrist to handlebar with the optional quick release and bike mounts. Forerunner 910XT categorizes multisport activities in one workout and can also log transition time in the process, so triathletes can analyze their performance from start to finish. And with up to 20 hours of battery life, even hardcore endurance athletes can push themselves further than ever.

The press release and posting is much longer, I suggest you check it out.

What powers Speedo’s FASTSKIN³ swimsuits - Invista Lycra fiber does

Here is a very interesting article about composition of the FASTSKIN³ swimsuit. By the way, and speaking of the FASTSKIN³, I suspect that Speedo's arm-hole, suit-entry, system for females will presumably be made available men in 2013 when tech-suits come back from their "temporary exile."


"... The FASTSKIN³ Super Elite Swimsuit uses the highly innovative HYDRO-K ZONE 3D FABRIC which contains Invista's premium fibre for swimwear - Xtra Life Lycra fibre. The varying counts of Lycra fibre knitted throughout the fabric help to create the graduated compression across different body zones.

For female swimmers, Speedo has developed an innovative Arm Hole Entry system which makes the garment easier to get on and off, yet still providing maximum coverage of fabric over the body, and thereby optimising hydrodynamic performance. The high Lycra fibre content helps to create the extreme stretch and recovery required for the athlete to physically fit into the suit through the armhole. ..."

  • Long-lasting, beautiful fit

  • Up to 10 times more resistant to chlorine than standard elastane

  • Resists "bag and sag"found in swimwear made with standard elastane

  • Ensures swimwear has stretch and recovery power and fits like new for longer


Friday, December 16, 2011

Summer Sanders: You can't train to be the "best in the world" without loving it.

Sanders says that you MUST love what you are doing if you are going to be the best at it. I respectfully disagree with her. I think you have to be gifted and have a professional approach.

Actor Marlon Brando didn't love his job and he would only perform if you paid him an outrageous rate yet he redefined acting. He also made some really bad movies into watchable ones.

Boxer George Foreman didn't like to hurt people and in a comeback fight at Caesar's Palace against Gerry Cooney, Foreman begged the referee to stop the fight because Cooney was taking to much abuse from his powerful punches. (His request was less than 2-minutes into the second round) - Note, Foreman won that fight with a brutal knockout punch and eventually reclaimed the heavyweight championship title in 1994 at 45-years-old despite his adversity to violence.

People are great for whatever reason but love is only just one component. There is a "B-Final graveyard" out there filled with swimmers who trained harder than anybody, loved the sport more than anybody, yet did not become the best. There is also a "champions' graveyard" with guys like Mark Spitz who never worked as hard as many of the "B-finalists" but found himself as a great athlete via an act of God or otherwise.

From ESPN:

"...That's amazing! Michael Phelps is not just amazing for winning eight gold medals in one Olympic Games, but for having the desire and passion to go for his fourth Olympic team.

What drives each athlete is different. Some long for more medals, others long for faster times, but the bottom line is when it comes to the Olympics, money can't drive you. A paycheck doesn't get you the gold medal. It still comes down to fire, passion and love for the sport.


To all my anonymous posters both critical, informative & splashy, Starbucks is so down with you!

Originally seen at at Starbucks the visage of Guy Fox, the face of all things anonymous winks and wishes those in the know a happy holiday!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bullied kid teased for not knowing how to swim drowns!

Attention students: Permitting your peers to be bullied is the moral equal to "joining in on the fun" or bullying the victim yourself. It leaves a lifetime worth of scars and in this case led to an accidental suicide.

Either say something or report it.

In Wenatchee, Washington Antonio Reyes is dead. He will never get a chance to be cool, kiss a girl, go to a prom, or be a man.

WENATCHEE, Wash. — A Wenatchee freshman who drowned in the high school pool missed the swimming assessment in the first week of class while sitting on the bleachers and was kidded when he said he didn’t know how to swim, according to a police report.

Antonio Reyes had entered the pool Nov. 17 with other students in his physical education class and was last seen treading water. Students in the next class found him at the bottom of the pool.

Where the F*** were the lifeguards, coach or adult supervision?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

SOPA: I could be censored by monopolies I upset if a particular congressional bill passes next week.

Here is my letter to my Congressman... 0oops, it got censored by a particular association I can't mention!

████ ████ ████████! ████ job is to ███████ the ████████████ not █████ it ████ ██████████ and █████████ ████. The ████ █████████████ the ██████. As you ████ Van ████ is a ████ █████████. Do you ██████ ████ to put ████ low ██████ ████████████ in the █████ █████ of █████ ██████ ████ ███████ ████ ██████████ or ████████ ████ of a ████ ████ █████ and ██████ to ███████ on it?

Don't ████ ████ ████████████ ████ me and my █████ ████ ███████ ██████ to be mad at ████████. The 60-███████ ██████ was bad ██████.

I've censored the following, in protest of a bill that gives any corporation and the US government the power to censor the internet--a bill that could pass THIS WEEK. To see the uncensored text, and to stop internet censorship, visit: [Link]

Friday, December 09, 2011

Men's 200 Individual Medley A Final - 2011 SPEEDO Junior National Champs - Meet record too.

Ryan Murphy has heart and vicious kick; you could surf upon the wake his kick makes!

I want to thank Swimming World for allowing a comment I made to a John Leonard guest editorial to stand despite a request to have it removed!

There have been allegations that Swimming World is a "yes-man" to both USA Swimming and even the American Swimming Coaches Association. Fellow bloggers have criticized them as well especially a website called, US Swim Scandal, authored by an under-the-radar-group known as the Splash of Truth has as well.

In September 10, 2010 John Leonard the CEO, wrote a guest editorial for Swimming World entitled FINA Changes Course; Thank the Captain! The crux of the editorial was to thank FINA for not becoming less "...autocratic" as Leonard put it and still allow input via a vote from the coaches and federations. Read that as Federation CEOs & Coach Association CEOs only thereby allowing them a vote on how FINA should do business.

Here is a snippet:

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida, September 27. JUST as FINA was about to wreck itself on the rocks of autocratic Rule by its Executive Director and Honorable Secretary, the steering wheel has been turned by its President and his good influence on the FINA Bureau.

President Julio Maglione has proven himself a friend of the Federations, the coaches and the athletes by arguing the case for Federation input into the proposals to be put forth for next summer's FINA Constitutional Congress. He made his case so strongly during the Bureau Meeting in Uruguay last weekend that an initially-oppositional Bureau swung all the way around and unanimously agreed to allow all Federations to contribute ideas for the good governance of the sport.

To put my frame of mind in perspective, I was seething at the time that coaching bodies and federations put the swimmers last and here was a guy using politics 101 to put forth what I viewed as an erroneous opinion that FINA was now "democracy." My take was that swimmers have no real say or real vote in anything a federation or a coach association does. (Imagined if national team swimmers had a vote on salary compensation?)

Subsequently I wrote a shrill, emotional response and I am told that John Leonard was not impressed. So much so that he wanted to know who I was and have the comment removed immediately - Swimming World, to their credit said NO WAY! Both Brent and Jason would have not buckle. When i was told of this, I asked if I could rewrite it and put my name it. With no hesitation they agreed and off I went. I made the comment even more shrill and ultimately more ungrammatical.

To say Swimming World is a "yes-man" is not true, far from it and it is my belief everything they print is the most accurate news you can get.

Here is a snippet of what I wrote a sproof:

John, It's my belief that you have set up a de facto monopoly in the swim coach certification market by way of USA Swimming's endorsement of your outfit. Subsequently, I suspect you have personally profited greatly from it. That is my opinion after looking at the salaries of the USA Swimming executive team.

What annoys to no end about ASCA is that if a mom-&- pop swim team wants to be certified as a USA Swimming club, there is a strong push to have their coaches certified through ASCA if the mom-&- pop swim team coach has no college degree equivalent. (See USA Swimming's silly points system for club certification as a reference).


Finally, it is my opinion, [the] ASCA standard of becoming the "creme de la crème" of coaching is to find a kid with some talent who can post a US Nationals qualifying time which subsequently [would make] you a "superior coach" is both garbage and a lie?

I am publicly thanking Swimming World for allowing my comment to remain at their site so as to dispel any allegations that they are soft, wimpy or cave in when there is pressure to support a particular political point of view under threats.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Michael Phelps' age group record falls - Could a new vanguard of great American swimmers be emerging?

On July 5, 2010 Ryan Murphy broke Aaron Peirsol's 13-14 national age group record in the 100 backstroke. Note, he has knocked off another age group record formerly owned by a guy named Michael Phelps.

Could a new vanguard of great American swimmers be emerging? I think so.

From Lane 9 News:

AUSTIN, Texas, December 8. BOLLES' Ryan Murphy certainly was the headliner on the first night of swimming at the USA Swimming Short Course Junior Nationals held in Austin.

Murphy crushed the boys 200 IM with a 1:45.77 to clear David Nolan's 2009 meet record of 1:46.26. Murphy, 16, bettered a U.S. National Age Group record in the 15-16 division previously held by Michael Phelps with a 1:46.30 since 2002. Jacob Pebley placed second tonight in 1:46.62, while Bolles' Teo D'Alessandro earned third in 1:47.20.


Wednesday, December 07, 2011

SPLASH ON EM (Official Video) - Can you name the Olympians?

Katie Hoff "autotuned" in there as well. I see Edwin Mosses in there too.

Google said they will give me $100 if I allow advertising on the blog

Nope, violates my mission statement to not accept payment of any kind. This includes: advertising, gifts, favors, food or free rides.

Women's 100m Freestyle A Final - 2011 SPEEDO Junior National Champs!

Simone Manuel with a refreshing win. She has a very powerful pull with an impressive turnover. WOW!

Men's 100m Freestyle A Final - 2011 SPEEDO Junior National Champs!

Now here is a real horse race; about 1/2-a-second separates first place through to 8th-place and it wasn't lane-4 that won it either!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Sex Abuse Lawsuits: Was ASCA nothing short of a firewall made of dried straw?

USA Swimming was set up as the "National Governing Body" (NGB) for the sport of swimming via an act of congress. This act of congress is known as the Ted Stevens Amateur Sports Act; a federal law that establishes certain basic standards for certifying coaches and governing the sport of swimming.

Soon thereafter, USA Swimming obviously decided to outsource the job of certifying their coaches to the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA). This action was executed presumably to allow the core management of USA Swimming to focus on event planning and national meets rather than coach education & quality control.

I suspect lawyers recommended the following criteria for establishing an outsourced coaching certifying body:

  1. Have this professional coaching organization do all the work necessary in creating the best educational swim content as possible.

  2. Have this organization maintain an ethics code that would be aggressively enforced.

  3. Conduct background checking of potential coaches applicants so as to protect the kids.
If the points above were indeed mandated for a competent certifying body, then it is demonstrable that ASCA has failed USA Swimming on two-out-of-the-three-points above. Subsequently, USA Swimming has had to take the reigns by creating an educational site, a reporting infrastructure, and finally conduct background checks since ASCA never ever attempted to implement these obvious steps.

ASCA was suppose to be a firewall of protection for kids, coaches and USA Swimming, but their firewall was evidently made of "dried straw." When news of the Andrew King case suddenly went viral that firewall was as combustible as a match.

To clarify, when the Andrew King news broke I was outraged and went right for the keyboard. A few weeks later I was contacted by a few victims, then I got contacted by a producer at ABC, and suddenly we had two news documentaries regarding the event hit both cable and network TV. I am not stating this to "toot my own horn" I am stating this to illustrate how USA Swimming lost control of a very serious issue that was definitely on their radar for a very long time.

Next damage control had to be done: USA Swimming suddenly had to become "pro" overnight in a subject they had never done before. To be both blunt and crass, they figuratively had to change "ASCA's dirty diapers" by creating their own online educational program; (which I majorly endorse), and their own method of reporting thereby cataloging who is considered too dangerous to coach.

One would expect that the certifying body chosen to protect all those involved would have created such an obvious "bullet-proof" process since that is what they were paid to do, right? As a result of not having those procedures in place USA Swimming is now mired in several lawsuits and is busy doing a job they entrusted ASCA to do.

Here is how USA Swimming coach certification works:

To get certified as a USA Swimming Coach; (presuming you have not been grandfathered in before the Ted Stevens ACT was enacted), you must go to a second party known as the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) for certification.

After paying ASCA a fee for courses, tests, materials and such, a coach is awarded a "level" rated from 1-to-5 that quantifies their accomplishments.

To get a job with a USA Swimming sanctioned club you must have ASCA certification. if you look at the job postings for coaches at USA Swimming or ASCA, these "ninja levels" determine a coach's income depending on which "level" they have attained.
Level 1: Finish a course called the foundations of coaching.
Level 2: You learn about swim technique
Level 3: Physiology school
Level 4: Administration school
Level 5: Leadership school and get a swimmer into USA Nationals
So, send in your money and climb the five rungs of the ASCA ladder and you can command a higher salary.

Now it gets worse: Once you have attained a particular level you can possibly have your level revoked if you don't maintain that accomplishment with a yearly fee. Here is a letter from ASCA sent to coach who wants to remain anonymous:

I see that you were an ASCA Level 3 Coach. I am sure that is very important to you!

I am not sure if you are aware but you lose your certification level when your membership expires. Meaning you cannot represent yourself as a Level 3 certified coach to parents, employers or potential employers. You have taken the time to get the Level 3 status, why not keep it?? It is important to keep your ASCA Membership current, that is why I am dropping you a friendly reminder that you membership is expired!

Please renew by calling 1-800-356-2722 as soon as possible, so that you may continue your Level 3 Certification status. If you are no longer coaching or retired, we would like know that too!

If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact me.

Kimberly Witherington
Certification Coordinator
American Swimming Coaches Association

5101 NW 21st Avenue, Suite 200
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309
tel: 1-800-356-2722 / (954) 563-4930
Imagine graduating high school and having to pay a yearly fee to be considered a high school graduate? Imagine a nurse having to pay a yearly fee to be considered a registered nurse? Imagine a lawyer having to pay a yearly fee to be able to practice law?

[Wow, I got that wrong! several professional organizations to make you pay to play. My apologies]

To me, ASCA sounds more like a trade union than a certifying body - Who do they represent: The Coaches, USA Swimming or the Kids? It is my belief it should be all three.

On March 19, 2010, I published a post stating that if USA Swimming did not make changes, The US Senate would get involved. To my chagrin nothing happened but now that the Penn State tragedy has occurred, A senator by the name of Robert Cassey from Pennsylvania is now going to hold Senate Hearings on both child abuse and neglect.

From his Press release:

"... I know you share my strong commitment to protecting children and, like all of us, have been troubled and distraught about the child sexual abuse allegations coming out of Pennsylvania State University. No child should ever be subjected to sexual abuse. And no adult should ever turn a blind eye to such abuse. If any of the allegations coming out of Penn State turn out to be true, the gravest of crimes will have been committed against the most vulnerable amongst us.

Unfortunately, I have seen these types of crimes first-hand. I started my career as a social worker in Baltimore – helping at-risk and abused and neglected children. While working with the Baltimore City Welfare Department and Catholic Charities, I saw how child abuse can destroy a family and ruin a child’s life.

In an effort to keep our nation’s children safe from predators, I have spent years – as Chairwoman of the Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations subcommittee – working to ensure that Justice programs give federal, state and local law enforcement the tools they need to prevent, investigate, and prosecute crimes against children...."


I suggest in the strongest of terms that USA Swimming send several executives to that hearing and articulate what they are doing to alleviate this crisis in our sport and what responsibility they will take for the failings of what I believe was their "straw firewall."

Finally, it is my belief that the executives of USA Swimming should do an audit regarding how well ASCA has preformed over the years, asked their own coaches as well and asked themselves if there is something better. I suspect there is.

Perhaps coach certification as it is practiced today should be broken up into components such as education, ethical behavior, and investigation. In other words three separate organizations that bid for that contract. This suggestion should be sincerely evaluated and this question should be asked: Is ASCA truly organized enough to be certifying coaches as capable, safe and moral?

To add my two-cents as I usually do, ASCA is an organization that let it's corporate filing lapse in Iowa. Does that fact instill a sense that they are competent "firewall?"

See this post for details:
"...After doing the research, I conclude that Sarah is absolutely correct stating that the American Swimming Coaches Association corporation filing appears to be inactive in Iowa. I won't venture to make judgments on the repercussions or conclusions of what that means but it sure does sound like the American Swimming Coaches Association has some paperwork to do?

Calls to the Iowa Secretary of State office yielded the following answers: Iowa Secretary of State office 515-281-8993 - Pam was the person Sarah talked to and she confirmed the American Swimming Coaches Association corporation status terminated in 1992.

Calls to Florida yield the following answers: Fl Non-Profit Corporations (850)-245-6052 - Mary Ann was the person Sarah talk to and she confirmed the American Swimming Coaches Association foreign non-profit status is indeed located in Iowa. She suggested the Fl Dept of Revenue might be interested in the fact that his Iowa corporation has lapsed. ..."


Rebuttal from Coach Klein:

Hi Tony

Coach Ira Klein here, past president of ASCA, VP of USA Swimming and past employee of USA Swimming. To shed some light, or truth into your article. ASCA was created in 1959 almost 20 years ahead of the Stevens Act. It was created by coaches like Councilman and Daland and the late Phil Hansel was the first president. It was and remains an avenue for coach education. John Leonard is the third CEO of this organization. Under his leadership formal education was created as well as certification and a code of conduct for coaches, ahead of the one at USA Swimming.

The problem is that you do not have to be a member of ASCA to work as a coach, membership is completely voluntary. There were never any lawyers involved creating the points you claim. Since membership with ASCA is voluntary there is no way for it to conduct background checks and enforce USA Coaching registration. You put way to much onto the relationship between the organizations.

In all of the things ASCA has done, education, certification, code of conduct, they have been the number one leaders in all sports and the USOC and other NGB's follow their lead. It is easy to pontificate in a blog on what should have happened but I have never seen you anywhere trying to make things better or using your all knowing crystal ball about what should be done. Monday morning quarterbacking is great for the couch potatoes but try getting into the game for a change and putting yourself on the line for others.

And Tony, whether you know it or not you are entwined with SOT and you should investigate the background of the 'anonymous' author of that site. It might turn you stomach to know who you are in bed with.

Coach Ira Klein, proud member of ASCA and USA Swimming.

My Reply:

I am not "in bed with the Splash of Truth" SOT, That was quite a stretch to say that. This post came about through a conversation during a chat I had with a individual with whom I respect. My rhetoric is also significantly different than SOT.

As for coach employment: Please see the job postings at ASCA and USA Swimming which carry a "Level certification" needed to get a job.

See this post I made as well: [Link]

Another reader corrected me regarding having to pay a professional fee to maintain a license. I will correct that paragraph and acknowledge that I was incorrect. Please see the correction above...

As John Leonard, I find him unmeasured as revealed in this dialog between he and I and I find him somewhat crass and angry but that is just my opinion.

See this post I published which reveals letters between he and I some months ago: [Link]

As for making things better with swimming: Yes, I have made things better with swimming; (Thank you notes from ABC and ESPN were real morale boosters). Consequently, USA Swimming really put together a strong reporting and education program. Perhaps it was on the way, but those two shows on both national TV and cable accelerated the process a great deal and that can't be denied. Others have thanked me as well, those with medals and those that support them. Even moms, dads, and victims too.

I want to see a national governing body that spends more than 51% of it's gross profits into the subject of their non-profit. I want to see national team members make a living wage. I was told they now make $36k but I can't confirm. I want to see more reasonable salaries for executive positions and I want a coach certifying body more capable than ASCA. No one has been able to refute that ASCA was asleep at the wheel in regards to validating coaches as safe to put kids in front of.

I appreciate your measured rebuttal - Perhaps ASCA would in be in better hands if you ran the joint.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Fastskin-3 released - Swim media perplexed!

I am curious about the material and I have an email into the Speedo, Aqualab designer. In that email I ask about the material, any hydrophobic coating, stitch-differences when compared to the Fastskin-2, their feelings about the potential return of techsuits in 2013, and I blatantly ask what is more better and different about the suit. Hopefully I get answers today.

The Daily Mail does a profile on the new suit and it appears that only Commonwealth countries are covering the launch with enthusiasm.

The Daily Mail drops a "decontrsctionist" bomb in their headline stating:

"...Hopefully it won't be banned this time:"

I am so down with that sentiment. It is refreshing to hear a successful newspaper state the obvious about technology and sport - people want to see something that has never been done before, they do not want to sit done with an almanac and compare numbers. to wit: The average person watching the Olympic Games is not going to compare Chloe Sutton's 400-free time to that of Sippy Woodhead circa 1983. They want to see a spectacle.

I will cut to the chase - From the Daily Mail:
"... The components all work together to streamline a swimmer's body. Speedo claims that swimmers will gain an extra 11 per cent in oxygen economy by wearing the system - allowing them to swim stronger for longer. It also reduces skin friction drag by 2.7 per cent and full body drag force by 5.7 per cent. ..."


That is an extraordinary claim. The American press is not embracing this like the Commonwealth press is. Some colleagues who cover swimming and some of my friends who closely watch the sport have chatted about it to me and most feel the claims about skin friction and oxygen economy are seemingly incredulous and we want to see the studies, tests etc. etc.