Friday, June 29, 2012

Jason Lezak will attend his fourth Olympic Games

Jason Lezak placed 6th in the 100-Free final swimming a 48.88 which was good enough to send him to his fourth Olympic games. As far as I am concerned this is another "Jason Lezak moment!" After failing to qualify yesterday in the 100-free, he was given a second chance when Ryan Lochte bowed out of the final thereby allowing Jason another shot at Olympic glory. The race was close with the top 7-finishers swimming 48s but Jason squeezed in with a 6th place spot.

A very inspiring Swim, Jason!

The is the least talked about story of these 2012 Olympic trials, Jason Lezak, like Michael Phelps, will be attending his fourth Olympic games. Missy Franklin was barely a year-old when Jason first swam at the Sydney Games in 2000.

Entertainment Weekly has a 'Lochte hater' - but how can you hate Ryan Lochte!

Annie Barrett writes at an blog called Pop Watch:

"... I don’t know if I can wait another month to be terrorized/intrigued by another iteration of you all over again.

To be honest I can’t tell whether the anticipation of you or the threat of you plagues me more. All I know is I’m conflicted about your existence. Let’s examine that.

AGGGGGGGGGGGHHHH. Are you a sparkly serpent head or a fabulous car? Either way, you look lopsided and drunk! And I’m suffering haunting flashbacks of those tight-ass rubber bands from BRACES tugging at my teeth... 

I have never been that over the top. (Perhaps I should take lessons?) Nonetheless I see through her, don't you? Yeah, I suspect Annie Barrett is ovulating!

Missy Franklin for the "Raise Our Flag" campaign

Kelsey H. on behalf, on behalf of the USOC has asked me to post this and I think it's sort or swell.  - Tell me what you think?
Hi Tony,

I hope you are well. I wanted to reach out on behalf of the U.S. Olympic Committee regarding an inspirational video from seventeen year-old swimmer and Olympic qualifier Missy Franklin!

The video, which can be found here, is part of a series of animated athlete videos speaking to how Olympians and Paralympians got to where they are today and who is their “Team Behind the Team” which has debuted in conjunction with the U.S. Olympic Committee’s program “Raise Our Flag” campaign.

Unlike other countries, the United States receives no financial support from the government. It relies on solely on the American people and corporate sponsors to support our Olympic athletes on their path to the Olympics. We hope you’ll join us and lend your support to Team USA’s Raise Our Flag campaign. Here’s how:

  • Visit  HERE and buy a stitch from now through July 12, 2012. Each $12 stitch directly supports the athletes. 
  •  Every stitch – sharable on Facebook and Twitter – will be honored on the site’s Donor Wall and can be dedicated to a friend, family member or athlete.

With Missy’s recent success at trials, we thought this would be a perfect fit for your audience. We’d love for you to share this video and the new Raise Our Flag campaign with your readers, so they can show their support for Missy and the rest of Team USA as they travel to compete in London in less than a month.



New York Times: Swim Veteran Lezak Still Has a Chance

At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Jason Lezak, gave this generation their "Franz Klammer moment" which will live on in Olympic history as the greatest come-from-behind win ever.

I am very pleased that Jason has another shot in the 100-free.

From the New York Times:
"...Upon exiting the pool, Lezak gathered enough breath to ask Lochte, a multievent monster, if he planned to scratch from the final. Lochte’s answer gave Lezak a new lease on the London Games. No, Lochte said, he had no intention of swimming in the final. His withdrawal opened a spot for Lezak. ..." 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

McCarren Park Pool: Humongous pool reopens in Brooklyn, New York

What a super-sized pool - Just go look for yourself:  [Link]

Anonymous weighs in; "Why am I such a hater?"

Anonymous said...
Why are you such a hater? Phelps coming back to Lockte's level is the best thing that could happen to swimming this quadrennial. 
Would people be interested if Phelps was blowing everyone out of the water like he did four years ago?
I would actually prefer to see him tearing it up and beating everybody "like a boss." Once he stopped doing that look what he became...

Perhaps the "scorpion and the frog" fable applies to why I am "...such a hater?"

Apparently it's in my nature not to like him post his overwhelming success due to the way he has conducted himself in and out of the pool these past four-years. Nonetheless, I have outlined my reasons over and over - I won't repeat them.

Bowman had a pretty good criticism of both Lochte and Phelps and to be be perfectly honest both these guys need a spanking over their 200-free last night:

Bowman says from SwimNews:

[On playing Cat and Mouse' or in this case cat or mouse]"...Ryan and Michael are so focused on racing each other they do stuff like not take it out fast enough … in the process they forget to swim fast." 
Outside the conference room later, SwimNews asked Bowman if he though it would be dangerous to play cat and house when Yannick Agnel, Park Tae-hwan and others are in the mix. "It can be," replied the coach before revealing that he had spoken to Lochte's coach and Us [ What's "Us" mean? -tony] head men's coach Gregg Troy on the topic.

"When they started out racing each other they would do that. They stopped doing it but now they're doing it again," said Bowman.

That to me tells me that their vanity got in the way. Did you see Phelps glancing at Lochte after his turns? Both their times were a full second slower than Yannick Agnel's best time this year and slower than Lochte's Shanghai time of last year.
There's more here: 

Instead of of concentrating on making the Olympic team and sending a loud and clear message to the world, they were focused on fan perception and ego. Ahh, vanity, one of the seven deadly sins but it sure made for some great entertainment.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

WOW! Michael Phelps did it - He swam the 200-free like a boss!

Michael Phelps beats Lochte by fractions of a second in the 200-Free. I am astonished!

He should donate a lock of his hair to science so he can have his genome sequenced. His genes are way different than yours and mine.

I was so convinced that the "Mighty Casey" was going to "strike out at bat..." Rats, foiled again. ;-)

YIKES! Colorado Springs is on fire!

Let's hope everyone is safe.

Olympic Trials: No pool for unprepared men!

Michael Phelps is getting both too much credit and too little credit!

He is getting too much credit by apologists in the press talking up how he is simply conserving his energy after placing lower than usual in the standings and besides, "it's the finals, stupid..."

He is getting too little credit for doing so amazingly well despite being as unprepared as he is. In the year of our lord, 2012, what kind of an athlete can take only one-year-or-so of training and defeat those sublimely refined athletes that spent 4-years-or-more of training? Yeah, he is that great, but there is a "faster gun" now and his name is Ryan Lochte.

As I write this Phelps has just placed third in the 200-fly prelim; this would be something unthinkable circa 2008. (Did he even lose a race in 2008?) A writer at Swimming World politely stated that either Michael Phelps was either conserving energy or the world has caught up. To give him the benefit of the doubt, I believe Phelps is obviously conserving energy because he has to. He is a weakened warrior and the expectations are high. It is my opinion that he is only swimming at 80% of his ability and in the years to come when he nears middle age I suspect his apathy towards swimming for 2-years plus will haunt him.

Yeah, "...youth is wasted on the young" - John Steinbeck

Chloe Sutton has heart!

Imagine how daunting it must be to see your competitor take a two-body-length lead in less than a couple of minutes yet still keep with your game plan and beat the remaining six A-List athletes? That's what Chloe did and she made the Olympic team for the second time in a row. Congratulations Chloe.

Allison Schmitt has guts!

I don't know Allison Schmitt nor have I seen her interviewed or know what sort of woman she is but I imagine that when she took to the blocks last night; (I have a wild imagination), she said to herself: "eff-it I going all out - LOL - screw you all." Subsequently, consequently, and FREAK-quently she is now in the top three in the world for the 400-free and the 200-free as well.

Ryan Lochte!

Only "kryptonite" can stop him. I predict he beats Phelps in the 100-Fly.

Janet Evans!

Her goal was to make it to Olympic Trials and that she did. At 40-years-old she placed 80th defeating thirty-five of the crème de la crème of USA Swimming athletes. US Masters Swimming should send her a bouquet or roses for the effort for how inspirational she was. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tyler Clary works out 24-hours a week

I really want to see Tyler Clary make it in the 400-IM.


I’m in the water 10 times a week for two hours apiece. During the regular season I lift weights twice a week for a total of three hours. I also do dryland exercises that add up to another hour. So it’s basically 24 hours of working out a week. I’m also pretty active outside of training. I’m constantly working out, basically. Anytime I’m not, I’m resting. People don’t realize how valuable resting [is] when you’re working as hard as we do.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Science Daily: Proposed Testosterone Testing of Some Female Olympians Challenged

Dara Torres is a very beautiful woman. She is both strong and smart and if you were to see her casually one summer afternoon on the Venice boardwalk wearing a tee-shirt and a baseball cap, you may at first glance mistake her as an effeminate looking 16-year-old boy.

The arm chair scientist in me suspects that the reason why Dara Torres gets stronger and stronger as she ages is that she is developing more testosterone in her body than the average female. Yes females have testosterone!

Science Daily has published an overview of an article written by a Stanford School of Medicine bioethicist and her colleagues.

From Science Daily: 
"... Proposed Olympic policies for testing the testosterone levels of select female athletes could discriminate against women who may not meet traditional notions of femininity and distort the scientific evidence on the relationship between testosterone, sex and athletic performance, says a Stanford University School of Medicine bioethicist and her colleagues. ..." 

Here is a a great quote from the authors of the study for that masters swimmer or the triathlete who loves their sport but finishes at the bottom third of the pack:
"There are many biological reasons some athletes are better than others," the authors write, pointing to several runners and cyclists who have rare mitochondrial variations that give them extraordinary aerobic capacity, or basketball players who have acromegaly, a hormonal condition that results in exceptionally large hands and feet. Such biological differences don't cause them to be banned from competition, they write.

"It bears noting that athletes never begin on a fair playing field; if they were not exceptional in one regard or another they would not have made it to a prestigious international athletic stage," the authors note.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Debbie Phelps: "Don't push your kids into sports!" SCAQ Blogger - In some rare cases you should chain them to a sport or social activity!

Debbie Phelps reveals a talk she and Michael's father had with Coach Bowman about Michael's career. Debbie was quite measured, polite and sincere. On a prima facie glance, she is 87% right if applied to the general population as a whole.

Here is what she had to say at MSNBC:

"... Debbie recalls Bowman coming to speak with her and Michael’s father about their son’s swimming future. Bowman laid out a plan for Michael’s swimming career all the way up to 2012, and Debbie started to laugh... 
Bowman asked what was the matter and Debbie was blunt. “I told him, ‘If [Michael] doesn’t enjoy it, this isn’t going to happen!...” 

Yes, I am impressed with their parenting skills and it is a very endearing article. She is a "pro-parent" and deserves supreme acknowledgement ... HOWEVER...

Kids who have or who are prone to borderline or extreme low self esteem, narcissism, laziness, lust, gluttony, shyness, criminality or psychopathic tendencies, should be FORCED into a sport or discipline. If sports are not an option then dance, music. Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts nust be an option so as to develop a sense of discipline and the ability to see the cause and effect of their hard work. Man is a social animal and accomplishment breeds self esteem.

In fact, there goes one now flying past the SCAQ Blog masthead above and it's not me.

In a society filled with video games, Facebook, iPods, iPads, iPhones, Warcraft, Mine Craft, Cartoon Network, YouTube, Vimeo, Live Leak, and darker places on ad  ad infinitum... Well... I think I made my point.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Chloe Sutton profile by filmmaker Don Le

Loving that Aquadeus swimsuit featured in the thumbnail above. Here is a link for more details about both the filmmaker and Chloe Sutton - [Link]

Woman who survived breast cancer can now swim topless in Seattle city pool.

A woman who survived breast cancer has now won the right to swim in a Seattle city pool topless. 

 From Seattle Pi:
"... Jaecks spoke to a staffer at the pool, who didn't have an issue with her intent to swim topless. Neither did the assistant manager, who wanted to clear it with the pool manager. Eventually, Jaecks says she spoke with Kathy Whitman, aquatics manager for the city parks department, who eventually told her that despite the fact that she no longer had breasts, she would still have to cover up. ..."

Expressionistic illustrator Leroy Neiman dies at 91-years of age.

Artist Leroy Neiman was the the kind of guy who inadvertently would put himself at the right place at exactly the right time ultimately achieving both fame, fortune and a cadre of  influential buyers and admirers. In 1954 Leroy Neiman bumped into a guy named Hugh Hefner when they when he was commissioned to do do some fashion illustrations for a department store where Hefner was working as a writer. The two eventually collaborated for 1/2-a-century. - [Link]

Neiman was quite industrious and he painted what he loved, usually prominent sporting events, landscapes and of course imaginary girls for Playboy. Andy Warhol knew who Neiman was as early as the mid-50's and when he discovered that Leroy Neiman in early 60's was selling prints and lithographs of his work for $200 to $1,000 each, Andy said: "I want to be as successful as Leroy Neiman." - [Link]

So if Andy Warhol was inspired by Leroy Neiman, who inspired Leroy Neiman? Neiman, when interviewed, said it was Willem De-Kooning and Jackson Pollock; (look then up especially Willem de Kooning), that really inspired him to paint the way he does.

Leroy Neiman had many influential friends including Hugh Hefner, Muhammad Ali, Joe Namath, Reggie Jackson, Sonny Liston and Jack Nicklaus. Though he left behind no children he was quite a generous and sponsored several child related organizations.

From Wikipedia:

"... Neiman sponsored and supported several organizations from coast to coast that foster art activities for underprivileged children such as The LeRoy Neiman Center for Youth in San Francisco and the Arts Horizons LeRoy Neiman Art Center in Harlem. He also has established the LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies at Columbia University in New York and scholarships at his Alma Mater, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. ..."
I only like Neiman's sketches. Every year when I travel to San Francisco to do my favorite open water race I check out his work at a local gallery nearby. Though I find his paintings to "splashy", over-saturated with colors that you would never find in nature, I do admire how he can take a sporting event and give it a personality that transcends a photograph.

CNN features a gallery and an obituary:  [Link]

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

One with the Water has partnered with the US Paralympics to provide year-round training for athletes and those that want to learn to compete!

Kenneth Rippetoe is a SCAQ coach, a certified lifeguard, a contractor and he loves all things that are swimming related. Thus, he has a created program called One with the Water. 

He is not in this for the money like some non-profits we know and he is doing some good things with it too. He sent me this press release and then we talked about it. I am down with any swim program that helps disabled people and Kenn is doing just that:

One with the Water™ - [Errata: Ken prefers the line to read:] welcomes athletes of the US Paralympics to provide year-round training for those that want to learn to compete!
This program is designed for persons with mental or physical challenges, what we call "flawless imperfections." Designed to help swimmers learn and improve skills, maintain and increase physical fitness, achieve success and receive recognition through competition, and experience self-actualization in a regular aquatics environment. The program include one weekly technique lesson and as many workouts a week as you can make! 
We offer lessons and swim team practices to those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, Asperger's, ADD, ADHD, sensory integration, anxiety, Down and CHARGE syndrome, auditory processing disorders, dyslexia and other neurological flawless imperfections. We welcome Service-Disabled Veterans and athletes of the U.S. Paralympics and U.S. Special Olympics!

Tony: You are an industrious guy, what was it that got you started working with kids with sensory integration issues and starting One with the Water?

Kenneth:  I have actually been teaching and coaching swimming on a part-time basis for over twenty-five years. Last summer, I had the opportunity to start doing it full-time and ran with it. I enjoyed it so much and found that I had a special connection with the kids with sensory integration issues.  So, I left my job as an engineer and decided to pursue this full-time.  I wanted it to be a non-profit in order to provide swimming lesson scholarships to families that might be struggling with resources.  We don’t turn down anyone that wants to learn to swim, or become “One with the Water.”  And being a non-profit allows us to accept donations for those scholarships. We recently were awarded a grant from the Coast 2 Coast swim challenge.  We will be teaching 18 kids to swim this summer with that small grant.

SCAQ Blog: What kinds of issues have the kids been diagnosed with that you teach?

Kenneth: I have several kids diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum Disorder, a great swimmer with muscular dystrophy, and several kids with Asperger's, ADD, ADHD, sensory integration, anxiety, Down and CHARGE syndrome, auditory processing disorders and dyslexia. I also teach a few Service-Disabled Veterans and train athletes for the U.S. Paralympics and U.S. Special Olympics. In fact, I recently worked with Mia Schaikewitz of the new Sundance series “Push Girls”. I trained Mia for a swim meet.  We competed together at the UC Irvine pool last February. (

SCAQ Blog: How does the swimming help these kids and adults?

Kenneth: Being a swimmer yourself, you see the benefits you gain from working out, when you show up.  We focus on full-body development and strengthening motor skills for all of our students. Kids with special needs sometimes need that little extra attention to help them to develop their bodies and motor skills. My experience in teaching the kids has been phenomenal. They are smart, communicative in their own ways, and they appreciate being in the water. They love the water pressure on their bodies, like a hug, that the water puts on them. They like being submerged. This helps them to feel grounded. With all of the stimulation in the world today: noise, internet, visual and verbal, being under water helps them to escape from that and clear their minds.  As you know, swimming is an incredible vehicle for positive change and awareness.

We trained a young man (teenager) to compete with his high school swim team.  Chad trained with us for five months, and made the cut-off times to train with his high school varsity swim team in February. While training with us, he progressed from swimming almost two minutes per 100 yards freestyle, to less than 1 minute 10 seconds per 100 yards. One with the Water Coach Mallory Mead and I attended his conference meet just a few weeks ago.  Chad swam a 27 or so on his 50 yard freestyle, and went a 1:00 on his 100 yards.  As a freshman, we see him up and coming as he grows in physical stature and his swimming skills.  He is competing in both breaststroke and freestyle for his team.  More importantly for us and for his family, Chad is able to compete in the mainstream swim program offered by his school.

SCAQ Blog: Wow!  That’s huge!  I am really stoked for him!

Kenneth: Yes, we are!  Chad is a great kid.  His dad is super proud of him.  We are proud of all the kids we teach. One mom wrote to me last week:

“...I wanted to drop you a line and let you know how thrilled we were with the experience Ezzy had swimming with Kenneth. It was amazing, really. Kenneth just had this incredibly chilled but fun energy that Ezzy just totally connected to. He was learning, but he was having a blast. I literally would hear him laughing his head off for a lot of the lesson. More importantly for us having access to a pool, 8 lessons later, he is swimming. Kenneth had a really perfect balance of pushing Ezzy past his comfort zone but never scaring him or forcing him through something as I have seen other instructors do in the past.-- (Sarah Zavdi)”

Although Ezzy is not diagnosed with any sensory integration issues, I love teaching all kids and adults. When I hear a kid tell me to let go and let them do it on their own, and when I get feedback like this, well, those are the times that it just brings tears to my eyes.

SCAQ Blog: Sounds like you really like what you do.

Kenneth: I was recently asked why I do what I do, every day.  I told them, “When I look into the eyes of the kids that I teach, I see an explosion of beauty, innocence and curiosity. They have a spiritual awareness about them that communicates, "Teach me!" They may not communicate as the standard world expects them to.  Just look into their eyes and feel their presence, they will see you and they will communicate their desires to explore the world.”

Tony: You are also a coach for SCAQ at my favorite pool - Last workout featured 400 LCM sets salted with sprints. Really Kenn? Every time I touched the wall I felt like a ship wreck victim washing up on a beach.

Kenneth: Well, Tony, someone has to push you to greatness!

Kenn said if you "Like" One with the Water® on Facebook at this link here: [Link] - You can become a member-donor and receive access to hundreds of workouts or request a workout created just for you, for only $30 a month.

All donations made to One with the Water are used to provide instruction, insurance, and pool space to teach kids with Special Needs. Help us to keep teaching, saving kids’ lives, and donate today.

Olympian Natalie Coughlin grows her own...

Vegetables, that is -  Eleven time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin took a break from swimming laps to chat with the Green Life about her other passion – gardening. An urban farmer, Natalie replaced nearly all her landscaping with edibles and grows her own food. 

She told Sierra Magazine: “...It gives me a sense of calm. I just go out and stare at the beds.” Between caring for 10 citrus trees, seven different vegetable beds, an array of herbs AND five chickens, Natalie will no doubt still find time to train for the London Games this summer. ..." 

Check out the full interview - Coughlin once did some ocean swim through an oil spill to ill results.

We had chickens and the eggs are amazing but beware; they eat like birds and poop like dinosaurs. We also have a pretty good garden going and growing your own tomatoes and everything else that goes into a good spaghetti sauce is simply amazing.  The food you grow tastes much richer than the watered down, GMO produced, store bought stuff.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Cause of Death: Norwegian swimmer Dale Oen died of heart disease

There were some that suggested Epogen the day after he died. Shame on you.
From Fox News: 
"Based on the autopsy findings and the investigative history that is available to me, it is my opinion that Alexander Dale-Oen died of atherosclerotic coronary artery disease," Coconino County medical examiner Lawrence Czarnecki wrote in a report. 
The second tests revealed "severe atherosclerotic disease of the coronary arteries" supplying blood to the heart, and found that the left descending artery was "occluded" by "atherosclerotic plaque." "The decedent's only known risk factor for heart disease was familial," Czarnecki found, noting that one of Dale Oen's grandfathers died suddenly of heart disease at age 42. 
"Given the decedent's young age and significant atherosclerotic disease, a follow-up and evaluation of family members is recommended," he added...." 

Ryan Locke: The "Alexander McQueen" of tennis shoe design

I wonder if he knows who Alexander McQueen was? Nonetheless, "his no holds barred" approach to tennis shoes is just as aggressive as Alexander McQueen's was. (look it up) Can you guess which shoe design is his? Here is a hint, one belongs to Lady Gaga.
From the MSNBC Blog: 
Lochte recently posted a photo of his custom-designed kicks on Twitter, writing “Don’t duplicate!! #swagismine.” Another pair, which he designed for one of his sponsors, Speedo, feature emerald rhinestones and will be sold in flip-flop form for $24.99. 
“He wanted green, he wanted bling,’’ the director of marketing at Speedo told the Times. “He likes to make a statement when he walks onto that pool deck.” 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Libby Trickett: They see me shootin' , they hatin'

More "thug life" photos out of Australia. How about that "scandalous" photo of Libby Trickett shooting what appears to be a flintlock and black powder pistol probably from the 1800's inside a target shooting range in the US.

Wow, that is so "thug" of her?

In fact, I hear that she can load that beast and fire off a second shot in under 5-minutes! No wonder Australian Olympic officials are worried, It takes your typical "gangsta" at least ten

Are the rumors true that she has an "Australia Life" tattoo on her belly like "Tupac Shakur?" Wouldn't that be sexy? (If you do, please send it Libby, even if it's in marker.")

Australia immediately has to put forth a law that every potential Olympian may only engage in recreational sports that either Snow White, a bunny, or a unicorn would participate in. "Shame" on her and what a "bad" influence she is having on me! 

In fact, that photo is so "disturbing" that I am fighting off the impulse to go out and buy a "Plymouth-Rock-style musket", drive out to sanctioned shooting range in the desert and shoot a lead ball at a target. Wow, what will Australian society do now? ;-)

From the Sydney Morning Herald:
Five years ago, on a camp that Sullivan attended, Olympic gold medallist Libby Trickett was snapped firing a vintage pistol with her teammates watching on, apparently in an exercise to build team harmony. D'Arcy and Monk, meanwhile, have already been ordered by the Australian Olympic Committee to return early from the London Games after they posted photos of themselves on Facebook and Twitter posing with firearms in America.

Seriously, the only thing I don't like about the photo is that she way better looking than the photo presents.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

This container ship is so massive it can carry 12,000 containers. Think of this vessel as a floating "empire state building" but is this a good thing?

A container ship sailed into Los Angeles like they do everyday but there was something different about this one. To begin with, The MSC Altair is 1/2-a football field wide and it is nearly 1/4-mile long. This container ship is so massive it can carry 12,000 containers. Think of this vessel as a floating "empire state building" but is this a good thing?

After doing some quick calculations I postulated that if each container was mounted on a 18-wheeler truck and presuming that each truck would take up 50-yards-each worth of space on a 5-lane freeway; (34-yards for the length of the truck and 16-yards for the distance between each vehicle), the traffic jam would be 68-miles long.

From the Long Beach Press Telegram:
Executive Director Christopher Lytle, adding that his port will start seeing more mega ships call to Long Beach on a regular basis in the coming months as the busier season approaches. "It's not just that they're bigger ships; the fact of the matter is these vessels are much more efficient on a per-container basis," Lytle said. The benefits, Lytle said, include fuel efficiency, and they are cleaner burning and have less harmful pollutants or air emissions. 

The average carrier can hold a staggering 8,000 containers but this mega-carrier use less energy; (so I am told), than one-and a half carriers doing the same workload. As much as 20% so the environmental impact is well reduced.

I am thrilled that Long Beach is still currently a hub for international shipping despite Republican measures to build a "NAFTA superhighway" through the middle of the United States. Yes, Republicans are backing a "super-highway" paid with private industry funds that would begin at the Port of Lazaro Cardenas located in Mexico  and move up through to Texas and cutting all the way through the country into Canada thereby bypassing American west coast ports.

However, Los Angeles is fighting back spending $2-million a day to make the port faster, better, and easier. These mega-carriers could cut traffic by 33% thereby making Long Beach a destination far more attractive than the Port of Lazaro Cardenas thereby saving American jobs.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

In defense of Rowdy Gaines

UPDATE: Rowdy Gaines send us a clarification and more. It's located at the bottom the article:

John Leonard and Craig Lord go after both the Wall Street Journal and Rowdy Gaines' analysis of American college coaching in a article that was recently published at the WSJ site.

Both the Wall Street Journal and Rowdy Gaines have a track record of being quite good at analysis. For instance: You want to make money, you read the Wall Street Journal for its recaps, explanations and predicted consequences. When you want real time swim reporting you go to Rowdy Gaines at NBC Sports who the New York Times said "... balanced emotion during the [Phelps/Lezak] 4x100 medley relay with clearly-spoken narration and analysis, without losing lucidity."

The Wall street Journal pretty much posted an Op Ed stating that we are training the world's Olympians and they are spanking us and removing opportunities for American athletes to excel.

From the Wall Street Journal:
The damage adds up. At the 2008 Beijing Games, foreign athletes from U.S. universities earned at least 28 medals for their countries—and possibly twice that many. About half don't cite their NCAA affiliation in their Olympic bona fides, says U.S. Olympic Committee historian Bill Mallon, who estimates that foreign athletes from U.S. universities may have won 60 medals in 2008—more than 6% of the total. In Beijing, 48 countries fielded athletes from the Pacific-12 Conference alone.
The situation troubles Americans such as swimmer Rowdy Gaines, the three-time Olympic gold medalist. He favors capping the percentage of international athletes on U.S. college teams to preserve a majority of opportunities for U.S. athletes. Fielding so many foreign athletes, Gaines said, "hurts our Olympic movement, which we have to think of, first and foremost."

My defense of Rowdy Gaines: Remember when I brought up the word analysis? Rowdy Gaines knows what is coming ahead for us in 2012 and he knows that we may not even win one mens freestyle gold medal. We are not favored to win the 50-free, the 100-free. the 400-free, the 800-free nor the 1500-free. The 200-free is so tightly stacked time-wise that it's possible we may not even medal. Yes, both Phelps and Lochte are great swimmers but if you take their best times from 2011/2012, you have six guys who are less than 1/2-second from taking first place. In a 200-free that takes place in less than one-minute-forty-five-seconds, that is extraordinary. One bad turn, one sketchy start, or a tired body from trying to survive the prelims just to get into the final and it's over. This race will look like a 50-free street fight.

Do you know what the potential and economic consequences for American swimming would be if we have our worst Olympics in the pool EVER? We are a sport that only occurs in the eyes of the public every four years and then it goes away. "If we belly flop", we are off the radar in a huge way. Networks follow the money and they would be less interested in swimming if the ratings fail and they will fail if we don't win. I presume Rowdy wants to prevent that debacle by suggesting that we invest in our own talent so that US swimmers can continue to win in a venue that occurs only once every four years.

The big question is how did we get there? In my hyperbolic interpretation of what Rowdy is saying:  It's the coaches stupid and there is a scarcity! And he is right too.

UPDATE: Tony...thank you so much for the kind words. I would like to clarify something however. I did say those exact words in the WSJ article but they were taken completely out of context.

I told the writer there were two schools of thought on this sensitive was what I told her that some people felt and the other was one of America being the land of opportunity for all and the people having problems with International kids should just do a better job of recruiting. This was obviously left out in the article. It is a difficult situation and I have always had mixed emotions. But again, thanks so much Tony and love your stuff. If you ever want to call me out though feel free to...god knows I've got a big enough mouth...

Thug Life: Nick D'Arcy and Kenrick Monk posing with guns on their social network pages

"...Guns never settle anything, I said, guns are a fast curtain to a bad second act" -- Philip Marlowe from Raymond Chandler's book, Playback.

It's fun book, I think it was his last and I love the opening scene which had me laughing for five minutes.

So, posing with guns! what a socio-geographic concept to be sorely offended by.

In Dallas, Texas, the photos would be considered cool since the population therein is allowed to carry concealed weapons. (Yes, Texas is that crazy.) Then there is Los Angeles, Berkley and San Francisco, If an HR director saw these photos during a background check seeing their potential employees posing enthusiastically with "riot guns" and "nines," they would be unemployable. In West Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama, they would be considered a welcomed neighbor.

Imagine Somalia or Afghanistan?

This is a cultural issue as well as a geographical one. Australia will have to deal with it but in America it's an issue with 256-shades of gray all depending on your geographical location.

From USA Today:
"...The photo of Monk holding two pump-action shotguns and standing beside D'Arcy, who had a pistol in each hand, in a U.S gun shop spread quickly in social and traditional media Thursday, with Sydney Daily Telegraph taking to Twitter to ask: "Are you offended by this photograph of Nick D'Arcy and Kenrick Monk in a US gun shop?"
Swimming Australia issued a statement saying it became aware of "inappropriate photos" and "instantly contacted the athletes involved to ask for them to be removed..."
It's my opinion this photos are simply "thug life" satirical poses on their part. They look about as dangerous as a bad actor on a "soap opera." Unfortunately these guys are public figures and when you are a public figure your personality has to be more mythical than factual.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Sew Your Own! - Triathletes get technology for a price whereas swimmers just get the price!

Updated to fix my usual grotesque grammatical errors and to add a You Tube movie on how to make a sewing pattern.

TYR just came out with a new techsuit called the AP12. I am not crazy about the graphics but what do I know?

One of the arguments made in regards to banning techsuits was that lower income families could not afford them. I actually believed that argument and was concerned as well. Subsequently, like many others, I was apparently bamboozled into believing it.

Have you seen the prices on racing jammers for men?  $395.00 for a LZR Fastskin3 Elite, $240.00 for TYR Tracer B. These are not prices, their penalties. 

Why is it that both ASCA and USA Swimming are not jumping up and down complaining? ...Yeah, that was a rhetorical question - the answer is that prices never bothered them in the first place; they simply needed a wedge issue to manipulate the "unwashed masses" which is us and it worked.

Racing jammers that sell for triple-digit dollar-amounts are essentially criminal. I think FINA should pass a rule that a kid or a kid's mom et al.  should be allowed to make their own swimsuits by sewing a FINA approved or designated fabric; (such as Lycra, Nylon/Polyestor, etc.), so a kid can race for less than their parents rent payment. FINA should mandate a racing fabric or fabrics that become a de facto standard so mom, or "Big Sis" can make a tailor-made suit for race day for under $15.00. A 80/20 nylon-polyester blend sells retail for about $12.00 for two-square-yards.That is like 4-pairs of jammers.

Below is a YouTube video on how to make a sewing pattern. This example is a bit over the top for what we would like to do but it covers the basics. YouTube has a zillion of these videos and I going to put up a pattern ASAP.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Acording to Swimming World USA Swimming has a "private flag list" for potential members.

 Following the arrest of  Coach Joshua David Tatro in the San Francisco Bay Area for sexually assaulting a student, Swimming World reveals that USA Swimming has a "private flagged list" much like the TSA's "No Fly List."

Obviously this will be only be used in the event that the man is found guilty but it makes me wonder, does the American Swimming Coaching Association have such a list too or do they use USA Swimming's?

From Swimming World:
"... This means that USA Swimming currently does not have jurisdiction to begin the process to add Tatro to the public Banned for Life list. However, there is the potential for USA Swimming to convene the process that will lead to Tatro being added to the private flagged list the organization keeps in case someone attempts to gain membership at a later date...."


Saturday, June 02, 2012

Why Michael Phelps is bigger than FINA, USA Swimming and can dictate what suits we swim in!

In the comment section of another blog post I mentioned that the Olympics are becoming less relevant and the ratings are getting generally lower.  I mentioned that that the 1976 Olympics were ultimately the "grand apex" of the movement here in the states and that the World Cup and perhaps the X-Games could become a bigger deal.

I realized a short time later that I did not do enough research on the 2008 Games, After looking at the ratings for each night it became mathematically evident that Michael Phelps was the focal point of the entire success of the games. In one instance his "most gold medals night" scored 30%-higher than beach volleyball players, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh winning gold medals and Usain Bolt winning gold in the 200-meter dash on the same night.

Here are the top five nights out out of 16-days:

1 - 19.9 share - Phelps breaks most gold medal record - August 17th
2 - 18.8 share - The Opening Ceremonies spectacle - August 8th
3 - 18.1 share - Phelps makes gold from Lezak effort - August 10th
4 - 17.9 share - Liukin all around gymnastics winner - August 14th
5 - 17.8 share - Phelps wins on another relay - August 16th


On 2009 during the FINA World Championships is when we started hearing the excuses for his loses. His first excuse was delivered via surrogate; (his coach, Bob Bowman), that the techsuits created unfair advantages for lesser swimmers and Bowman categorically stated that his boy would not swim for FINA unless they were revised in a big way. FINA could not ban them fast enough. Phelps meant ratings and ratings meant more money for everybody but the swimmers.

Then came the excuses for losing and/or the excuses for bad times. We heard how out of shape he is and/or unprepared. Finally the most used of all, his "wake-up call," which he kept hitting the "snooze button" for month-after-month-after-month.

I wrote in 2010:
According to, Bob Bowman, Phelps still continued to loaf and failed to show up for workouts. Bowman and Phelps even traded expletives regarding his workout attendance. When asked by ESPN what has been going on with his "day job", it was suggested that the French Open EDF, the 2010 USA Swimming Nationals, and the Pan-Pacific Championships were summarily events held during an off year. He credited his lack of workout participation for giving him time to relax, to take up golf, and discover or define who he is as an adult.
From ESPN:
"... Bowman said he wonders whether he shouldn't have just told Phelps to take an entire year off after winning eight gold medals in the 2008 Summer Games. Phelps has shown up for about 40 percent of the year's work ..." 

With all of this nonsense and drama Phelps is now in a position that it is remotely possible that he may NOT make the US Olympic team or even medal if he does. In 2008 it was laughable to say this for his lead up to Nationals was far more stellar than it has been since 2009.

Now reasonable people can wonder whether Michael Phelps can beat Ryan Lochte or Ricky Berens in the 200-free at Nationals?

Despite all of the above Phelps is still the "center of infinity" come these Olympics. In 25-years from now when he suddenly gets the clarity and wisdom of an 50-year-old-man, he will truly realize George Bernard Shaw's words of wisdom: "Youth is wasted on the young."

NBC Bay Area: "Swim Coach Arrested for Alleged Sexual Assault on Student!"

Some day some sort of actuary-type or "data miner" will compare sex abuse statistics between the various occupations that deal with youngsters and I don't think it will be pretty... Just saying! Just warning! Just encouraging that more be done such as no one-on-one policies.

From NBC Bay Area:
Police began investigating Joshua David Tatro, 25, of El Granada last month after a student at Aragon High School told authorities that Tatro had touched her inappropriately. 
Attorneys for the victim alleged in a statement that Tatro had been grooming the student and had promised her a Division I scholarship.
Some evidence to arrest Tatro was taken from the student's cell phone, according to her attorneys.

More details and video at ABC7 San Francisco:  [Link]

Friday, June 01, 2012

Swimmer Anna Crandall devastated by a clerical error!

Ever read the entertainment section of the newspaper to find that some reporter is interviewing an actor that just lost his job or his TV show was cancelled and the actor is hearing it for the first time from the reporter?

Now imagine the reverse happening: Imagine hearing that as an actor you were hired, didn't know it, and did not show up for the part of a lifetime?

That's what happened to to swimmer Anna Crandall

From Swimming World:
The blurb underneath one result reading something like "leaving first alternate Anna Crandall at home when she should have been invited" caught my eye. I looked at the title and it said something like "NCAA 2010 Predictions Recap", so I immediately thought "WHAT?!!" and clicked on the article to find out what it was talking about. "
That's right. Crandall spent two years thinking she'd been the first alternate -- the first one not to make it. No one told her she should have been at the meet, even though she continued to train and toil in hopes for a scratch.

Why the Olympic trials are held so close to the Olympics

Another example as to why money comes first well before the athletes on our national teams.

 From the Star Tribune:
The four American trials were scheduled concurrently in the final weeks of June because of NBC's desire to create interest for the London Games, July 27-Aug. 12. But the schedule makes it difficult for athletes to peak twice within a month to try to win medals. 
Two words could end all this: "Collective bargaining." Don't forget, the USOC got 1/2-a-billion dollars from the IOC and all our athletes got was what?

Speedo's new suit system failing to inspire some elite swimmers

I am pro-techsuits for new readers. I think they are fun, they raise revenues for the businesses that support swimming and they level the playing field much like the bigger rackets did for tennis.

As a result of the tennis federations taking a bold approach to improve the game every tennis match is now more exciting to watch. The game has moved forward from 110-mile-an-hour "fastest-ever" serves in the 1930s to nearly 155-mile-an-hour-serves cicra 2011.

Even within track and field Usain Bolt is not running barefoot and he does not run on a surface made of dirt.

Track and field took the leap and embraced technology and you see major industries and magazines promoting the sport vigorously. In our world we have one magazine in the United States and one leading seller known as Speedo.

Coming into the 2012 Olympic games swimsuits have seemed to take a step backwards. There is less material but the cost has elevated to ridiculous proportions. Gimmicks, shinny marketing photos, high priced photography, have tried to sell 'jammers' and the Speedo goggle systems as the next "best system ever" but the public and the elite swimmers are not buying it...

From AP via Bakersfield Now:

Claudio Rosetto, Magnini's coach: "...I don't think they really hit the mark with that suit. Nobody is using the three-part system," [...] "For the men, the suits don't make such a big difference now, but if there's a big negative effect, that's significant." 
Netherlands coach Titus Mennen: "The new suit is horrible," [...] "It gets very heavy and it's difficult for the women to put it on, pulling the (straps) over their heads. Then it bunches up in the water. That's something Speedo has to work on."  
Fabio Scozzoli, Italian team swimmer: "As long as that keeps working for me, [The 2010 Speedo LZR] I'll use it," [...] "The new one compresses too much. It's heavy and it seems like it holds water."  
Jessica Hardy on the speedo goggles: "The depth perception is really different and I can see more than I would like to see in them" [...] "I think I'm just going to try it later, after the summer." 
A differing view from Bob Bowman: "The suit does matter, it does help," [...] "But it just gives them a little sharpness. It doesn't completely change them as a swimmer."