Tuesday, February 28, 2012

'PlayTheGame.Org' - Aims to strengthen the ethical foundation of sport, promote democracy, transparency and freedom of expression in sport.

I found a site called "Play The Game" and it is a non-profit. Here is a description:

Play the Game is an international conference and communication initiative aiming to strengthen the ethical foundation of sport and promote democracy, transparency and freedom of expression in sport. It is run by the Danish Institute for Sports Studies (Idan), an independent institution set up by the Danish Ministry of Culture. The task of Idan is to create overview over and insight into the field of sport nationally and internationally.

Our offices are located at the Department of Sport Science at Aarhus University, Denmark.

Therein is an article about the lack of transparency between FINA and the swimmers it represents. They expose major financial disparities between what FINA gets to keep versus what the swimmers make. Take a look:
Other spending by Montreal 2005 included:

Athletes' travel expenses: $1.2 million
Athletes' meals and hotel: $3 million
FINA meals and accommodation: $1.7 million
Compare with FINA's Costs and Revenues in 2005:
$17.5 million income and $2.7 million in expenses from the World Champs
$3.4 million spent on the Bureau
$2.6 million on Administration
$951,000 on doping control
$1.3 million on prize money
$329,000 on development programs
FINA finished 2005 with $9.8 million excess of income, while only $1.3million was spent on prize money to all aquatic athletes and only $329,000 on programs for developing all four aquatic sports around the world. 

I am going to be sending this organization stuff and you should too.

Monday, February 27, 2012

John Leonard on "female centric environments"

In the latest ASCA article titled: "OMen Talking to Men, About Men - [sic] " John Leonard reveals what I believe are both his prejudices and bias towards men and women: [Link]

Leornard's stated belief is this: "...what is going on today, is that young males are being raised in a “female-centric” series of environments where female behavior is acceptable, and natural male behavior is demonized and unacceptable...."

With broad brush-strokes based upon an article he read in the, American Thinker,  he bashes "female dominated" sectors that he feels have summarily crushed the heart and soul of the American male. Needless to say, the author, Janice Shaw Crouse, is a conservative who worked for the first Bush administration as a speech writer and according to Slate Magazine they boldly list her as an anti-feminist" author.

I read the article that inspired Leonard at the American Thinker and it is essentially a slam on women and "female centric" policies for causing the "downfall" of the American male.  Crouse writes:  "... Clearly, in our eagerness to level the playing field for women we have seriously destabilized the balance between the sexes to the detriment of males. ..."

Leonard goes on to "salt" this wound with statistics that men are not attending college in the same numbers that women are. He mentions that men are immature and ultimately agrees that the root cause is the result of being beaten down by female institutions such as our standard issue educational systems.

Here is a rock solid fact: In the middle/late 1970's the school system was still a female dominated institution yet the ratio of men to women in college was about  60% male, 40% female.

What changed?

Apparently, according to a white paper I found at Princeton, the parity between men and women in college was evenly split in 1960. However, throughout history men have always attended colleges and universities in greater numbers than females. Now that male college attendance numbers are dropping, it is suddenly viewed as a crisis by conservative authors and swim coaching association chiefs who feel the American male is in need of their help.

Leonard emphatically states that boys cannot sit still and learn but girls can. He states boys have to be moving to be able to think. He states that females are cooperative and collaborative but males have to be trained to be so. He states that collaboration and cooperation are seemingly against the "hard wiring" of the male brain and that boys must have real-time experience to learn best.

This is all hogwash.

Neither Leonard nor Crouse can gaze into the souls of the American male and come up with an ad hoc prescription as to how to fix a problem that exists only in their op eds rather than reality. This is really nothing more than their biased opinions.

Leonard goes on to suggest that some workouts should be gender segregated so as to assist boys in their formative years. How this will suddenly correct this proposed male maturity problem and their educational ambitions is beyond me.

What really offended me the most was his belief that men are boorish and have no class or manners and that this is ok. That teasing and bullying are acceptable forms of communication and camaraderie. They are not.

Currently we are participating in a sport that has more women in it then men yet this sport is solely dominated by men who are seemingly concerned that men are not getting a fair shake.

The world as we know it and of course the United States are in the process of a "reboot." The job landscape is shifting, industries are becoming obsolete. Places like the post office, the local newspaper, steel mills, the music industry,  the bookstore, the payphone are now either obsolete or 15-minutes away from being so. Even Wallmart could be targeted for obsolescence once internet distribution gets more efficient and don't get me started on 3d printing. People going to college today are studying for yesterday's jobs but upon graduation these students will probably find jobs that have not even been invented yet.

Swimming is safe, Leonard has nothing to fear about male maturity and gender segregated workouts and he should not fear our potential "female overlords" either. The way FINA and USA Swimming are running the joint maybe, just maybe, the old boys network could use some female points of view.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Dive harder: Worries that Tom Daley is not working hard.

Tom Daley is huge in both Great Britain and the sport of diving. Even Kate Moss was seemingly starstruck when she met him. With fame and ability come business commitments and now there apparently is an "agent versus coach" situation:

From the Telegraph:

"...Insisting that he and other officials had been flagging up their concerns to Daley’s handlers for 18 months about the youngster failing to find the right balance between training and media commitments, Sparkes said he was still concerned that the 17 year-old was not in optimum shape. ..."


To go fast: Don't look down!

Grant Hackett, Sun Yang, James Magnussen, Alain Bernard all look up when swimming freestyle. Don't look straight down when swimming freestyle for you will just be pushing more head and shoulders through the water. Ride high like a boat. Clay Evans taught me that.  Consequently, theories that state otherwise such as The Total Immersion theory founded by Terry Laughlin has no demonstrable winners in today's swimming.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

FAIL: USA Swimming has a breaststroke tutorial that clearly violates the rules - I include a GoSwim video that shows how it's legally executed.

Breaststroke - Pulldown and Arm Recovery from Glenn Mills on Vimeo.

USA Swimming has put up a breaststroke tutorial passing itself off as both the correct and legal way to do a breaststroke turn - (see the first video above of the two) - This video is in error and MUST be corrected: [Link].

The second video, from GoSwim, illustrates the correct way to do it. Note: You cannot take two underwater pulls. You can only take one. Your second pull must occur after your head breaks the surface. See the GoSwim video above or the external page link: [Link]

If USA Swimming does not make an erratum post and subsequently put up a rule book example, there will be trouble in London and local pools across America!

The rule book states the following:  "... During each complete cycle, some part of the swimmer’s head shall break the surface of the water. After the start and after each turn, the swimmer may take one arm stroke completely back to the legs. The head must break the surface of the water before the hands turn inward at the widest part of the second stroke. ..."

I notified USA Swimming; you should too.Publish Post

Thursday, February 16, 2012

SCAQ Tony's journal entry... Wore a 'blueseventy' at workout last night. I felt like I was from the future!

[UPDATED: To correct typos, add prices for techsuit fabric with reference link.] 

Most fun in the pool I have had in years. I showed up in full race gear and swam. at the VNSO pool  in Sherman Oaks. The air-temp in L.A. was 54-degrees, with a wind out of the north at 15-MPH. For me that is quite cold when swimming in an outdoor pool. For any of you east of California, that is lousy suntanning weather but your mileage may vary

Bottom line: The 'blueseventy' neoprene nullified the wind and I felt great!

When I looked at the shivering kids before we jumped in, I thought what a crime it is that these kids can't swim in techsuits on days like this. If FINA would not have banned techsuits three-years ago, I am sure that they all would have been available for less than $50-$75 each today.

An 80/20 blend of Nylon/Lycra blend fabric is insanely cheap; (Wholesales price: sells for $2.90-per-square-meter: [Link] ), and when you hot press it with a roller greased in Teflon, you have a techsuit. (Maybe I should do a DIY post teaching people how to make one?)

Maybe the purist-swimmer cares about how Kate Ziegler's 800m-time compares to Dawn Fraiser's 800m-time circa decades ago, but no other sports fan cares about times set today versus a record set  1/3-of-a century ago. This applies to Formula 1, the Ironman, The marathon, 100-meter dash, the Tour du France, or NASCAR.

The fan wants to see a spectacle, something that has never been done before.

Swimming should move forward and make swimming fun, sexy, and exciting. Both business opportunities and the fans are waiting. 2008 was the greatest Olympics ever for swimming. It's all downhill from here if swimming does not change. Even FINA knows this and they want to bring them back!

Enough about their problems!

BTW, performance wise, I felt great in the pool, and you should too when it is cold. Try it!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Swimming World Interview: USA Swimming's rebrands or renames their "Athlete Protection" program to "Safe Sport"

I will be fast and blunt about the rebranding: I feel the name change has been ordered so as to take out the "promissory tone" that the phrase "Athlete Protection" carries. I actually don't fault them for that since I suspect that it was the lawyers who demanded it. With that out of the way, my attention has be drawn to something else.

Susan Woesner gives a lengthy interview to Swimming World Magazine. Deep within the the interview is an answer to a question that some of us have been asking for about 3-years now. That is: having a no one-on-one coach/swimmer policy so as to protect both the coach and swimmer. It is refreshing to hear the answer:
One item that has continually been brought up as a way to better the Safe Sport initiative is to implement a no one-on-one policy where coaches and athletes are not allowed to be anywhere by themselves. The reasoning is that both the athlete and the coach are protected with this type of a policy, as the athlete would then never be in a position to be victimized, and a coach would never be in a position to have a false accusation without a witness. Can you explain why this policy is not in place, and what it would take to get the policy implemented into the code of conduct?

Two-deep leadership is not currently required as a hard and fast rule by our Code of Conduct. However it is addressed by the Athlete Protection Best Practices in three different ways:

2. All swimming practices should be open to observation by parents.

3. Two-deep Leadership: One coach member and at least one other adult who is not in the water should be present at all practices and other sanctioned club activities whenever at least one athlete is present. Clubs and coaches should evaluate their seasonal plans and map out how to best accomplish this strongly recommended guideline.

4. Open and Observable Environment: An open and observable environment should be maintained for all interactions between adults and athletes. Private, or one-on-one situations, should be avoided unless they are open and observable. Common sense should be used to move a meeting to an open and observable location if the meeting inadvertently begins in private.

In order for it to get passed as measure in the USA Swimming Code of Conduct, it would need to be proposed to the Rules and Regulations Committee and voted on by the House of Delegates at the annual convention.
Now, the key phrase within that answer is actually the last sentence: "...it would need to be proposed to the Rules and Regulations Committee and voted on by the House of Delegates at the annual convention. ..."

So, If the members submit that policy for a vote at the next convention and it is summarily voted down by the delgates then USA Swimming, like Pontius Pilate, would be morally entitled to emphatically state to the USA Swimming members: "Lavo manus meas." I wash my hands of this, the responsibility is yours.

Please make them share that responsibility with you rather than you shoulder that "cross" alone.

Painting-by Antonio Ciserie

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Silly photos of Michael Phelps taking a shower brings me out of my posting malaise!

Michael Phelps showering with a Procter & Gamble product known as Head and Shoulders. When you look at outtakes of the shoot, seen here, you see  photographers gathering around a shower trying to get a sexy shot in bad lighting. This has to be the worst PR demo I have ever seen.

I am astonished that the PR and Marketing wizards didn't schedule this shoot in a swanky gym or five star hotel bathroom.

I have been in a posting malaise lately, but this display of cognitive dissonance snapped me out of it.

More photographs at the Metro: [Link]