Friday, August 31, 2012

Tsunami threat has been lifted!

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has lifted it's advisory - open water swimming is likely safe : [Link]

Ryan Lochte Reality TV Star - Watch him train and work on his fashion line! - Gosh it hurt to say that!

Watching Ryan Locthe train as a swimmer would be educational and enlightening. Watching him interact with kids possibly at a USA Swimming charity would be endearing as well. However, taking this fish out of water and putting him in an environment where he has absolutely NO TASTE, and NO EXPERIENCE will be painful.

Lochte's management has taken this glorious Olympic champion and has seemingly started at the bottom of the pop-culture compost pile by associating him with such "white trash" icons as Joan Rivers, Honey Boo Boo, and Kim Khardashian. (She cut me off on Agoura Hills road the other day with a chrome car. A chrome car... Chrome! These are the people he will be associating with.)

Ryan may or may not make a lot of money as a reality TV star, probably about $35,000 a week, but one thing is for sure his management wants to "face plant" him into the heads of the lowest common denominator and that is going to be painful to witness.

I know I am beating a dead horse, but since the horse is dead anyway: Missy Franklin is starting at the top rather than the "Reality TV" bottom. She is being introduced to America as a champion and sharing what it is like to be an Olympian. She has appeared at the USA Open of Tennis on "Kids Day", The Tonight Show, and has received accolades form internationally recognized recording stars. Her brand is that of an Olympic treasure rather than an Olympic opportunist.

In other words, when Ryan Lochte went to Vegas and partied with a "black sheep" prince, Missy Franklin went to "Kansas" and let people wear her medals.

From The clicker at Today:

"...We're gonna try to work with E! in getting my own reality show," Lochte recently told Celebuzz. "Where pretty much, they follow me on my normal day, just training, doing my own fashion line." ..." 

Tsunami warning lifted for Japan, Taiwan, several Pacific islands; warning remains for Indonesia, Philippines after earthquake



Philipines: 7.9 Earthquake - Tsunami warning issued

Woke up to this 45-minutes ago...

Breaking News: MANILA, Philippines — A 7.9-magnitude undersea quake struck off the eastern coast of the Philippines - A tsunami alert was in effect for the Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, Japan, Guam, the Northern Marianas and Papua New Guinea, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said. 

From CNN:

 The quake, which was about 20 miles deep, struck just before 8:50 p.m., the agency said. Its center was about 65 miles southeast of the town of Guiuan, in the Philippine province of East Samar. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Katherine Star of the website Safe4Athletes: ‘Kelley Davies and I Were Two of Four Texas Teammates Who Had Been Raped by Their Youth Coaches’

Katherine Star of the website Safe4Athletes was interviewed by Irv Muchnik at his site, Concussion Inc. This quote caught my attention. It not only confirms that the David Berkoff's email is true but that his emails may be more credible than his deposition. Here is what he said in an infamous email to Jeff Chida:

"... Denying knowledge of Rick Curl, Mitch Ivey and others banging their swimmers! It’s a flat out lie. They knew about it because we (coaches and athletes) were all talking about it in late 1980’s and early 1990’s. ..."  --David Berkoff

When Katherine Star was asked about these "coaches" and teammates knowing of this abuse her statement was terse and to the point:

From Concussion Inc:

"... I know now that four women on that team [...] were abused by their youth coaches. It was speculated about Kelley and no one took investigative action to look into it,” Starr said. 
“That is the main problem, there is gossip without action. Safe4Athletes want[s] to change that dynamic and give a voice to the athlete that would start that process in place and require deliberate action to investigate and determine if it is fact or fiction. We owe that to every young athlete — to pursue the truth. ..." 

And how about that Mr. Berkoff, and Mr. Wielgus!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Missy Franklin - Ryan Lochte: Contrasting the latest news headlines between the two is quite depressing!

At the London Games Missy Franklin over-delivered exceeding her medal expectations. Ryan Lochte on the other hand "under-delivered" due to bold statements such as "...this is my time" which seemingly predicted a bold result in his match-up with Michael Phelps.

When the two returned home to America each were received quite differently especially when you compare their news headlines. The difference is depressing.

Missy Franklin Headlines:
Missy Franklin's Homecoming - The 17-year-old, five-time Olympic medalist is the same kid who left for London this summer. Not that you should have worried.

Missy Franklin announces cameo in Vince Vaughn's [movie] 'The Internship'

Call Me Maybe star calls Missy Franklin 'amazing'

Missy Franklin: Justin Bieber sent me a care package

Novak Djokovic, Missy Franklin dance to 'Call Me Maybe
Missy Franklin: A gold medalist's tenacity inside a youthful demeanor 

Ryan Lochte's Headlines:
WATCH: Ryan Lochte Strips Down To His Speedo For Joan Rivers

How Much Would You Pay To See A Photo Of Ryan Lochte’s Alleged Penis?

Biz Owner to Ryan Lochte: Jeah, Right

Ryan Lochte opens up about Vegas pool race with partying prince

Ryan Lochte's Sister Apologizes for Racist Video

Ryan Lochte, Savannah Guthrie heckled by paparazzi on ‘Today’ show set

Navy vet blinded in Afghanistan will swim in the Paralympics

Warning: This article is a tear-jerker. We all must commend the IOC International Paralympic Committee for it's Paralympics work. It's incalculable how much they have contributed to the mental health of those individuals with disabilities and their families at large.

There is a slideshow as well. A must see.

From NBC News:
“During the Olympics, I read about the races, about (Michael) Phelps and (Ryan) Lochte and Missy Franklin. I heard the commentary and used that to pull out the details to produce this image,” Snyder said. “But instead of reading about Lochte, I just implanted myself in there. 
“I imagine stepping onto the block, hearing “take your mark,” the sound of the start, hopping in the pool then just being smooth and strong down the middle of the lane, executing some good turns, and hitting the pad at the end. I’m imagining success. I’m imagining the good feeling that comes with competing well.”


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

SB Nation Bay Area: Olympic gold medalist swimmer Missy Franklin will visit Cal this Labor Day weekend.

Yeah, we Californians are pretty awesome, huh? Just count how many Olympic swimmers have come out of here.

From SB Nation Bay Area:
Franklin likes Cal for a number of reasons. Some of her Olympic teammates went to Cal, her idol Natalie Coughlin went to Cal, and her Olympic coach Teri McKeever went to Cal. The biggest competition might not come from another college (although the Trojans and the Bulldogs are considered very much in the hunt). Her choice likely hinges on whether she decides to turn pro. 

Ryan, the second mouse is suppose to get the cheese!

Here is how it works. You see the mistake of the first mouse; (read it as a mouse jumping into a loaded mousetrap to get a mouthful of cheese), and after witnessing the horror of the poor rodent nearly getting beheaded. You look twice, take the piece of cheese he missed, and make a note to avoid mousetraps that are not sprung.

Right now a picture of your anatomy is up for sale. So, tell me, how many celebrities has this happened to? How many celebrities has this happened to after a jilting a lover? Maybe that wisecrack you made about not bringing a girlfriend to the Olympics may have hurt somebody's feelings?

C'mon, get control of this "white-trash" image you are getting branded with and reboot some of your friends with individuals who are smarter than you. I have it on good authority that you have a big heart, are quite generous, and that you are very gracious. Resonate those traits please.

Deadspin is presently in negotiations with a person who is in possession of a photograph of a penis. The penis supposedly belongs to Olympic gold/silver/bronze swimming medalist Ryan Lochte. The photograph is a neck-down bathroom-mirror self-portrait, in which the tip of the penis almost but not quite reaches into the sink basin.

The provenance of the photo is less than ideal. It was allegedly taken for a now-ex-girlfriend of Lochte's. 

To statistically reduce the incidents of sex abuse incidents perhaps men should coach the boys and ladies should coach the girls?

The majority of sex abuse cases we are witnessing within the sport of swimming are generally heterosexual in nature. i.e. Generally male coaches "dating" or more accurately sexually abusing their female swimmers. In other words pedophile crimes.

To be clear, it's my premise that no sexual preference or sexual orientation has a monopoly on ethics or morals and though each sexual orientation has it's problems with pedophiles, I feel gender segregated coaching could create a dramatic reduction in sex abuse crimes.

According to demographer Judy Bradford of the Center for Population Research in LGBT Health, 3.8% of the population is either lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender. That is a small percentage of the population. Hence, if the men coached the boys and the ladies coached the girls, instances of heterosexual sex abuse cases could drop more than 95%?

Of course this can't become a "law" but I see it as an opportunity or guideline to greatly reduce both sexual abuse crimes and civil litigation lawsuits. I also suspect it would open more doors and create more employment opportunities for female coaches as well.

Something for the local swim clubs to consider.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Disney to make a fantasy movie about an Olympic swimmer!

I would have preferred something a little more grounded: Hmmm, how about a little boy from a broken home raised by his mother and two sisters. The only father figure he has is a desperate coach who sees his chance for fame and accomplishment if only he can domesticate this prodigy and produce an Olympian. But wait, the boy has ADDHD and lots of angst... Oh, we saw that movie.  It was called the "Michael Phelps Story."

From the Hollywood Reporter: 
Beached centers on a chubby 4-year-old child who falls overboard during a family outing, is raised by whales and goes on to become an Olympic swimmer. (No, it’s not the Ryan Lochte story.)


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Missy Franklin and Novak Djokovic sing "Call me Maybe" at the US Open of Tennis 2012

If only her counterpart on the mens team hung out with the good crowd... At the 2:45 mark it gets good.

From USA Today, Game On:

The summer of Call Me Maybe continued Saturday when Novak Djokovic, Mardy Fish and American swimming star Missy Franklin danced to CarlyRae Jepsen's hit along with dozens of ball boys and thousands of fans at Arthur Ashe Kid's Day on Saturday. 

Sent to me by Robert Allard, Esq. Lawyers Against the Sexual Abuse of Children (“LASAC")

It's been quite a weekend. I wished this all would have happened on a Monday for I wanted to start working on some swimmer related illustrations and post them onto the blog for comment. However duty calls, and my response to David Berkoff filibustered my time.

Robert Allard, Esq. representing "Lawyers Against the Sexual Abuse of Children" sent me this response after reading David Berhoff's rebuttal and my subsequent retort back to him.

His response is aggressive and mentions that two separate branches of the FBI are "...looking into accusations of sexual molestations."

 Dear Mr. Austin:

The deposition testimony of Mr. Berkoff demonstrates that he is a mere politician stating what suits him and more particularly, USA Swimming, at the time of publication.   
You see, in deposition it benefitted Mr. Berkoff (and USA Swimming) to downplay the existence of the "abuse subcommittee" which was ostensibly formed in the early 1990's by declaring that it was not a "subcommittee" at all and otherwise never formalized. This "subcommittee" was portrayed by Mr. Berkoff in deposition as nothing more than a concept that did not come to fruition. In fact, Mr. Berkoff could not even remember whose idea it was to form this “subcommittee” nor is there any indication in USA Swimming’s meeting minutes to prove that any action was taken. This testimony helped facilitate the shameless defense advanced by USA Swimming in nationwide sexual abuse claims because it tended to show that the topic of sex abuse was not at the forefront of discussion at the time; ergo no need to formally create a subcommittee. Mr. Berkoff eagerly participated in the perpetration of this fraud during multiple deposition sessions because it advanced the interests of the entity writing his paychecks. “Just some people getting together to talk about something that was interesting” is basically how Mr. Berkoff’s summarized what happened with this “subcommittee”.

Now, when you question his character, Mr. Berkoff suddenly reverses course and cites this "subcommittee" as an example of how he has championed the rights of sex abuse victims. In truth, Mr. Berkoff abandoned the Kelly Davies of the world when they needed him the most by quitting the Board in the early 1990's because the combination of (former USA Swimming Executive Director) Ray Essick and (longtime ASCA Executive Director) John Leonard proved too formidable a foe for the meek Olympic champion. Based on what I know, an untold number of swimmers were sexually abused as a direct result of this feeble act. When the going got tough, the weak left town, and that is just what our hero did.

Mr. Berkoff has shown that he is a charlatan in the mold of Chuck Wielgus, which is ironic since Mr. Berkoff, when it suited him at the time (when he was not employed by USA Swimming), accused Mr. Wielgus of being an unworthy leader of USA Swimming and guilty of, in his words, "perjury" when addressing sexual abuse issues. Indeed, Mr. Wielgus has denied under penalty of perjury on a least three occasions that USA Swimming had any knowledge of pedophile swim coaches when in truth extensive information had been acquired concerning each of them. Mr. Wielgus himself was intimately involved in two investigations into these coaches, so it is inconceivable that he did not know of the falsity of these statements when he made them. Now, since he works for him, Mr. Berkoff has once again changed his tune and sings the praises of the venerable Mr. Wielgus as being a good and worth leader.

Like seemingly all other leaders of USA Swimming, Mr. Berkoff has sold his soul for the "cause", which is the achievement of Olympic glory, and consequent monetary gain, at all costs, even the known raping of minor girls. If this is the kind of person who you want leading your sport, than you are to blame for the disgrace that is coming down the pike for this organization, including possible federal investigations and indictments (two separate FBI branches are looking into accusations of sexual molestations). If you want what is right, there is no choice but to remove Mr. Berkoff from office, along with his cronies Chuck Wielgus, Pat Hogan and Mike Unger. At this point, there is no other alternative if we are to ensure the protection of our youth from the evils of sex abuse.

Robert Allard, Esq. Lawyers Against the Sexual Abuse of Children (“LASAC") San Jose, CA

Saturday, August 25, 2012

David Berkoff and USA Swimming enter the SCAQ blog - Big mistake!

This BLOG POST is what sparked a 740-word rebuttal from David Berkoff, Technical Vice President, of USA Swimming. If you havn't read it, please do.

Note, the fact that he put his title in his signature leads me to believe that David Berhoff is speaking for both himself and USA Swimming.

I include Berkoff's rebuttal in block quotes and my responses to his comments are beneath those block quotes.

Dear Tony:

"... I am disappointed that you continue to post inaccurate blog comments about me without having the decency to even call me. My telephone number is listed and I am in the USAS Directory. I’m not hard to find. ..."
I won’t respond to this slam on my character. Instead I want to zero in on the exaggerations and the falsehoods that both you and USA Swimming have made in this signed letter to me.

"... As for the 2010 email you posted, this is old news. Robert Allard has been circulating that email for two years. More critically, what I wrote was true as to my recollection of 22 years ago. There were rumors. I heard them. However, I had no first-hand knowledge of whether these rumors were true. Instead, I did what I could. ..."

The “rumors” you heard were not rumors, they were real instances of sex abuse upon a minor that lasted for several years. Even per your emails it is patently obvious that you believed these “rumors” and your responses illustrate this. to wit:  “...I was sick and tired of this crap. No one was standing up. No one was willing to take on these perverts...”

Those were your words and you were right, no one did stand up.

Mr. Berkoff you are a lawyer and the idea that you must have a “victim” come forth to report a crime simply does not wash especially if it is a crime against a minor. This “victim-only” rule is an “old wives tale” that the USA Swimming organization keeps pushing and has been trying to pass off as a fact for far too long.

Though it is inconvenient to accuse an innocent person of abuse, it is far worse to allow a child to be abused because you are reluctant to speak out. The suspicion of a crime can be reported anonymously. Let the professionals based upon the anonymous report determine what happens next.

"... 22 years ago—when I was a 24 year old swimmer—I confronted a problem that I saw as unjust. I formed the first abuse subcommittee in 1991 and the committee’s work formed the basis for the Code of Conduct. I quit the Board for several reasons in 1992. ..."

I read the transcript of a video deposition you gave on January 26th of 2012 - You were NOT on a “Sex Abuse Sub-Committee in 1991 nor were you a USA Swimming board member during 1991. You admitted as such in your deposition. What you were doing during that period was training for the Olympics. [Page 178]

Though you state emphatically that you “formed the first [sex] "abuse sub-committee" in 1991,” a statement you mentioned in emails to Ken Stopkotte, Mike Saltzstein and this rebuttal post, you testified under oath of doing NO such thing.

Moreover, there are NO official committee meeting minutes or otherwise that can be presented and after going over your deposition I could only find this "shred" of an explanation that you gave regarding the formation of this “Sex Abuse Committee”:

Question: Whose idea was it to form this subcommittee?

David Berkoff: I don't know if it was mine or whether somebody just said, hey, who is interested in doing this. I don't recall. [Page 178] 

In January of this year you had no idea if you formed this “abuse sub-committee” or not but in this rebuttal letter you produce a firm date, which was not only incorrect but you take credit for being the originator. Repeat, under oath you have NO idea if you formed this “abuse sub-committee” at all.

Question: [When Asked about a letter to Ken Stopkotte and Mike Saltzstein]  Quote, As you all know, it took seven years from the date we formed an abuse subcommittee in 1992, end quote. 

When you say "we," who were you referring to when you wrote this in July of 2010?

David Berkoff: Yeah. Probably U.S.A. Swimming in general.

Question:  And why did you use the words "abuse subcommittee"?

David Berkoff: I really didn't know what else to call it. It wasn't a formal committee. All I know is it was a group of us who I recall meeting once, maybe twice discussing these issues in a very frank and open manner. And what I recall of it I've testified to before, and the only person I can recall actually being there was John Leonard [...]

Question:  Was the topic of implementing a formal Code of Conduct discussed during this meeting?

David Berkoff:  I don't know if there was actually some discussion of a formal Code of Conduct. I do believe that we did discuss the issue of whether or not we should have some kind of formal statement on abuse of swimmers.

What stands out the most for me is the “...Formal Code of Conduct...” that you so brazenly take credit for in your rebuttal. What you said in your rebuttal is that “...the committee’s work formed the basis for the Code of Conduct...” but this completely conflicts with what you answered in your deposition above. When asked directly about this “formal code of conduct” you make it clear that it may have never been discussed.

"... I got back into the USAS arena in 2010 (17 years later) largely because the athlete protection issue seemed to need more work. I drafted several versions of a new athlete protection policy before ever stepping onto the Board. These drafts were shared with the Board in July 2010 and 6 of the 7 concepts I proposed were adopted in substance and redrafted for consistency with the established Code of Conduct. In September 2010, I stood on the floor of the House of Delegates with other USAS members and advocated for the passage of these new rules. I advocated for mandatory reporting, a reporting hotline, defining sexual misconduct, education, and no statutes of limitation. That year USAS passed the most ground-breaking and cutting edge athlete protection policies of any NGB. ..."

Claiming USA Swimming’s child protection policies are the most ground break cutting edge athlete protection policies of any NGB - (National Governing Body) would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious. I suggest you look at the Little League for a class act in regards to child protection policies.

"... In 2011, I helped the athlete protection officer formulate the updated background check program and to cut costs as best as possible. That included dozens of conference calls during a time when my wife was hospitalized in Minnesota for a third hip replacement surgery. In 2011, I also helped advocate for the passage of USAS’s anti-bullying rules as well as some important additions to the athlete protection rules. I again advocated these changes on the House floor. I will be proposing legislation this week that will add more power to the Board of Review to rid our sport of pedophile coaches. ..."
After reading your deposition, I don’t believe you. Your accomplishments within USA Swimming seem to be a "multiple choice option".  When under oath you seem non-committal, when running for office or defending your positions you seem self-assured and confident.

"... Furthermore, you and your readers should know that because of the amount of work I am doing for USAS, I resigned from my position as a Partner at a law firm that I had been a part of for 15 years. I did this to spend more time of USAS issues. I made a choice—continue to take on a Partnership workload at a big firm for money or leave the firm and dedicate time and energy to USAS for no pay.

In choosing the latter, I lost about $50,000 in income per year, gave up my interest in a $16 million building, lost my equity in the partnership, lost most of my clients, and had to start over on my own. Tony, this kind of decision is not easy when your wife’s health is in question and you have two kids.

However, because of this choice, I dedicate about 800 hours a year (at least) to USAS projects and tasks. I chair, help manage, or participate in 11 different committees—more than any other Vice President. I have traveled all across the country to go to meetings and conferences. I spend dozens of evenings reading USAS proposals, reports, and information. I donate time and money to the USAS Foundation. On top of it all, I miss time with my family. I do all of this because I care about USAS and want to make a difference. ..."

When faced with the terrible adversity that befell my family, I took 5-years off and cared for them. I will leave it at that.

A word of advice, swimming is a recreational sport; I acknowledge that you love this sport but plesae keep it in perspective. Family is more important than any recreational sports activity, period!

"... Unfortunately you have interpreted my silence in the blogosphere as inaction or apathy. Far from it. I’m not the kind of guy who likes to toot my own horn, but since you have attacked my character, I am giving you the full monty. I frankly don’t have the time or inclination to get sucked into yellow journalism, rumor and speculation, or conspiracy theories, and so this is my first and last response to you. I hope you have the decency to post this reply and let your viewers judge me fairly. ..." 
I think my record of hard work speaks for itself. If I am voted off the Board, so be it.

David Berkoff 
Technical Vice President, USA Swimming

Not only do I have the decency to post it, I made my response an official blog post so now your rebuttal and my answer back to you is in a permanent archive that can be referenced for years to come.

Justin Bieber sends a "CARE" package to Missy Franklin.

Contrast Missy Franklin's to Ryan Lochte and we have two polar opposites in our Americana pop culture spectrum. Though each has a big heart, there is one who is poised, graceful and exuberant. The other is somewhat awkward, excited, and a bit "zippy."

 Missy Franklin has an admirer with a huge following and this is will bring more attention to our sport. 

From USA Today, Game On:

Bieber, who tweeted Franklin congratulations after she won her first Olympic gold medal, sent the 17-year-old swimmer a personalized present, Franklin told NBC's Today show Friday.

"He sent me a huge care package, which was so awesome," she said. "I walk home and my mom is so cute; she took everything out and set it out on the table. I had T-shirts and CDs and posters and all that stuff." 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Missy Franklin set for a cameo role in a new Vince Vaughn movie called "The Internship"

The movie is called "The Internship." According to

From Zap to it:
"... "I got a cameo in the upcoming movie 'The Internship,' it's with Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn and I am so excited about it," Franklin gushes.

But when asked for details about the role, she laughs and says, "You're gonna have to wait and see!" ..."


According to the Internship is about "...Two recently laid-off men in their 40s try to make it as interns at a successful Internet company where their managers are in their 20s. ..."

I hope she "storms it" and I hope she starts taking acting classes.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Another email from USA Swimming board member David C. Berkoff regarding rampant sexual abuse in our sport - John Leonard is mentioned!

The above s a screen shot that was sent to me 2-hours ago. It is a letter from USA Swimming board member, David C. Berkoff, to Jeff Chida sent on 7/26/2010 at 6:15 PM. Herein he states he personally knows witnesses that told him Mitch Ivey was sleeping with a specific swimmer. That Rick Curl was molesting Kelly Davies and he heard this by unnamed swimmers in Texas. That John Leonard was on a sub-committee and told Berkoff that  "... he was opposed to an all-out ban on swimmer/coach relationships because he had married one of his former swimmers. ..."

It is time for David Berkoff to resign or be voted off the board. USA Swimming has the appearance of protecting it's own at all costs and that stinks of the "Sandusky/Paterno/PennState" scandal. I see many similarities.

In no other sport would this be tolerated but not only is it tolerated, those that knew who the victims were, knew who the perpetrators are, have been granted greater visibility and responsibility within the sport.

I call for David C. Berkoff to resign. I call for John Leonard to either refute or acknowledge his statement below and for the members of USA Swimming and it's more reasonable board memebers to get rid of the people that tolerated this "dirty animal" called sex abuse that entered our house.

Herein David C. Berkoff states:

From: David C. Berkoff [mailto:dcberkoff@GARLINGTON.COM]
 Sent: 07/26/2010 6:15 PM
To: 'Jeff Chida' 
Subject: RE: Norm Havercroft

Denying knowledge of Rick Curl, Mitch Ivey and others banging their swimmers! It’s a flat out lie. They knew about it because we (coaches and athletes) were all talking about it in late 1980’s and early 1990’s. I was told by several of Mitch Ivey’s swimmers that he was sleeping with Lisa Dorman in 1988. I heard the whole Suzette Moran story from Pablo Morales over a handful of beers and nearly threw up. I was told Rick Curl was molesting Kelly Davies for years starting when she was 12 by some of the Texas guys. That was the entire reason I formed the abuse subcommittee. I was sick and tired of this crap. No one was standing up. No one was willing to take on these perverts. 
John Leonard was on the subcommittee and told me he was opposed to an all-out ban on swimmer-coach relationships because he had married one of his former swimmers. I finally threw in the towel out of frustration because no one wanted to stand up for background checks or banning coach-swimmer relationships.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Boston: Five swimmers test a 20-mile prototype for a new marathon swim event.

Five swimmers got together and "beta tested" a pretty formidable swim. The Boston Globe reports it would be a 20-mile swim but no specific race map was published.

From the Boston Globe:

"Connor started last at 3:50 a.m. and made it to Provincetown in 10 hours and 22 minutes."

"... It was nice, I was enjoying myself,” he said, adding that the first hour was the hardest of the entire swim. “I’d say, ‘I don’t think I can, I want to quit.’ It happens all the time. I just have to push through the first hour...."

Before yesterday’s triumphant swim, many had attempted the same route, but only one had succeeded battling the Cape Cod current. Russell Chaffee of Sayre, Pa., was 41 when he completed the swim in 14 hours and 40 minutes in 1968.

The swimmers followed the rules set up for those who want to swim the English Channel: They were allowed to wear a swimsuit, cap, and goggles, but could not have any assistance during the swim other than an escort boat. Swimmers were given food at regular intervals, and were not allowed to touch the boat or crew during the swim. ..."

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

David Berkoff in an email to Jeff Chida discusses the rampant sexual abuse in the sport - Does he allude to Rick Curl?

David Berkoff is both an Olympian and currently sits on the Board of Directors at USA Swimming. When running for the position of board member he was highly critical as to how USA Swimming was addressing the rampant sexual abuse within the sport and summarily made promises as to what he would do if elected.

I endorsed him when he was running and I even turned my head the other way when he borrowed form this blog in a long "manifesto" he posted in the comments section to a Swimming World article.

Once elected, it was as if all his rhetoric in those private emails and the postings on message boards was nothing but election rhetoric. He signaled "left" but he turned "right."

Here is an email written by Berkoff to Jeff Chida which demonstrates this.

From Concussions Inc.  
“...Denying knowledge of [REDACTED] and others banging their swimmers! It’s a flat out lie. They knew about it because we (coaches and athletes) were all talking about it in the late 1980′s and early 1990′s. I was told by several of [REDACTED] swimmers in 1988.… I was told [REDACTED] was molesting [REDACTED] for years starting when she was 12 by some of the Texas guys. ...”

Once again I remind readers of what 1988 and 1992 Olympic medley relay gold medalist David Berkoff said in a 2010 email to Jeff Chida, a swimming parent, shortly after ABC’s 20/20 blew the cover off USA Swimming’s decades-long cover-up of coach sex abuse.

Was Berkoff talking about Rick Curl, now on “provisional suspension” after exposure last month of his molestation of his swimmer Kelley Davies through the early 1980s at the ages o 13, 14, and 15 – followed by Curl’s payment of $150,000 in hush money to the Davies family? Berkoff won’t say. Now USA Swimming’s technical vice president, Berkoff defiantly maintains that the organization takes care of its own because it is “family.” Graham Spanier, the disgraced former president of Penn State, probably believed the same of his institution. So did Don Vito Corleone. ..." 

This article is shocking and goes into explicit detail about how Rick Curl allegedly groomed his victim and allegedly abused his victim for years all from the alleged victim's point of view.

Shades of Moby Dick - Diana Nyad forced to abandoned her Cuba to Florida Swim!

This swim is more formidable then climbing Mount Everest. In fact, to convert this task into a more pedestrian activity,  it would be like going on a 400-mile run. If it were on bicycle it would be like going on a 2,000 mile bike ride without sleep.*

After four attempts at this remarkable and most likely unobtainable goal, Diana Nyad, is pulled out of the water by her team.
From NPR:

In a new post on Nyad's website, her team reports she was "fully alert and articulate" when she got into the escort boat and wanted to get back in the water to finish the swim. But "with lightning, thunder, and roiling winds tossing her tiny escort vessel up and down on the waves like a paper cup" it was decided that "for the sake of the safety of her team and herself" they needed to motor on to Key West. 
One reader in an email suggested that this swim reminded him of  Herman Melville's classic, Moby Dick, and I think the comparison is appropriate. For those who may have never heard of the book, let alone seen the movies, it's about an arm-less captain named Ahab who lost his arm to a white whale during a whale hunt and he is out to get revenge. His relentless chase of the whale is much like Diana Nyad's relentless pursuit on all four of her Cuba to Florida swims. However, to her credit, she listened to her crew whereas Ahab would have none of that and all but one of his crew members sank to the bottom of the ocean.

" …to the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee...." -- Captain Ahab, Moby-Dick - 1851

It was hate, arrogance and revenge that killed Ahab but it was Diana's respect, smart choices, and desire  that left this whale for another day or another swimmer.

[*I am judging these calculations based upon pool-times-versus-track times-versus-cycling-times. For instance, the 400-meter dash world record (WR) is timed at  :43.7 whereas a 100-meter free WR is times :46.9 and finally the 1-kilometer cycling time trial WR is logged at: :58.875]

Monday, August 20, 2012

Put Michael Phelps near a Louis Vuitton bag and he suddenly looks quite dashing!

A plushy couch, a little tea, a chess set in the lower middle left, and finally a Louis Vuitton bag guarded and out of the way under his leg.

I like how he is working that tie. I hope those shoes don't have square toes?

He looks stylish, relaxed and comfortable. It's a good look. Best photo I have ever seen him in.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Diana Nyad Cuba to Florida Swim - Uh oh, off course?

Diana Nyad has seemingly hit a rough spot at the time of this posting. I see that she changed course and at one point was heading south rather than north. Later she makes a correction to head north . Still this anomaly is distressing.

The photo above is a close-up of Diana Nyad's GPS Google Map which shows the anomaly. I watched the whole episode unfold and could not get my head around it.

For the most of the swim she has been fighting a westerly current and this current is going to build. However, if she can make it to the half point in the swim, the swell direction will favor her greatly as it changes to the north.

How do I know this? I found an animted current prediction model from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) which is located here: Scroll down to watch the next 180-hours unfold it: [Link]

I took a screenshot of a single frame and placed it below Diana's map as a reference.

After looking at the NOAA animation I think this is still doable but I would have have been positively sold this could be completed if they had had started the swim 120-miles east of Havana.

Her Twitter Page says the following:
"...At 8pm EDT "all hell broke loose here." Out of nowhere, a squall "blew up very quick." blowing Diana off course ..."

Think good thoughts.

Teen Swimmer crosses Lake Ontario!

In 27-hours, Annaleise Carr "beasted" a 32.5 mile swim. Swimming in fresh water is not easy, it is not as buoyant as saltwater, it reacts more to the wind, and it is colder due to less density. (Those are my experiences with it)

"... Teenage swimmer Annaleise Carr has arrived at Toronto’s Marilyn Bell Park, making history by becoming the youngest swimmer to cross Lake Ontario. 
Carr was welcomed by fans and well wishers at 8:58 p.m. local time Sunday, marking the end of her grueling 52.5-kilometre swim that started in Niagara-on-the-lake on Saturday evening.


Diana Nyad - Cuba to Florida Swim: The first 24 hours: Steve Munatones shares his observations of Diana Nyad

Confidence is high, she is nearly a quarter of the way at the time this video was created.

Diana Nyad Swimming through jelly fish swarms!

Diana Nyad's site is posting frequent updates and it floors me how relative good news can be for her during this Cuba to Florida swim. For Diana Nyad good news is getting a 5-minute break in-between jellyfish attacks.

That is definitely "a glass is half-full" attitude.

The Google GPS Map says she is about 30-miles into into the swim at the time of this posting.

  • [Google GPS Map: Link]

From Diana Nyad's site:

Angie Sollinger, Christi Barli, and Candace Lyle Hogan are staying up all night to report the good news: At her 3:15 a.m. feeding, Diana asked for pasta and hot chocolate! Minutes later, Danny Lintz, one of the boat crew ferrying various personnel to and from their shifts on the escort boat, says over the VHF: “Good news: the organism swarms are getting fewer and far between—now coming only every five minutes.”


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Diana Nyad is swimming from Cuba to FLorida right now so think good thoughts!

Diana Nyad, has box jellyfish scars and still goes back into the drink to nail that Cuba to Florida swim.

She is so tough and resilient ! I once said she swims like a boss; strike that that, she swims like a "pirate" and a "Spartan!"

I hope she makes it. She is predicting 60-hours.

From Huffington Post:
..."I've been surprised at the fact that the human is the worst athlete on Earth in many regards, compared to our animal brethren, yet we are superior at the endurance of continuing at a high threshold of effort for days and even weeks at a time.

I've found myself in a state of rapture to let the mind go free out in the deepest of oceans. The sensory deprivation caused by tight caps and fogged goggles, the metronomic slapping of the hands on the surface for 20, 30, 40 hours of training, no matter how one tries to persist with concrete progressions of counting and singing, takes the mind way out into the cosmos. You just can't conjure thoughts about the edge or the infinity of the universe at dinner conversation as you can when under the extreme physical and mental distress of a long, isolated swim.

There exists pure sport in this quest. Extreme adventure. Outrageous personal discovery. The thrill of unexplored territory. ..." 
CNN: [Link
Real TIme Coverage: [Link]

Friday, August 17, 2012

Remote control lifeguard saves the day - Can "swim" faster and bring in multiple rescues.

This is so lame it's golden: Ryan Lochte to trademark ‘Jeah!’ catchphrase!

I can see it now: the the word JEAH emblazoned with a customized graffiti font on the side of a pair of shoes. Etched in glass at the bottom left-hand-corner of a pair or tinted pair sun glasses. Grills, Cargo pants, bottles of beer! - JEAH!

From Zimbio:
"... He apparently hopes to "use the word on sunglasses, workout DVDs, gift cards, mugs, drinking glasses, trading cards, calendars, posters, swimsuits, swim caps, sports hats, and water bottles." As if you'd ever want to own a swim cap that DIDN'T say "Jeah!" on it.

Lochte joins a unique list of celebs who have tried to gain ownership of their own words. ..." 

Michael Phelps and Misty May-Treanor get Wheaties boxes

I think Keri Walsh should have got the cover instead or that they both should got this box cover as a team. From USA Today:
Limited edition Wheaties boxes featuring Michael Phelps and Misty May-Treanor will be on shelves next month. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

As an interview subject I contrast Missy Franklin with Kirsten Stewart

Above, Missy Franklin is being interviewed by Jay Leno; Kristen Stewart is interviewed by David Letterman.

In my opinion Missy Franklin has equal amounts, or arguably more, charisma than Kirsten Stewart of Twilight fame. Franklin did great on the Tonight Show and I hope she draws attention to our sport.

They are both young and successful and the two of them are outstanding icons within their respective groups. Both are considered elite in their fields; (elite in Hollywood is defined as a strong box-office draw whereas with swimming, it has to be an Olympic gold medal for no other medals count), and finally both inspire their followers.

Stewart seems poised, guarded, and measured. Franklin seems exuberant, quick with her answers and is more interested in Jay Leno than the Audience. (The interview is for them, not Jay Leno.)

These icons are so much more palpable then the dross we suffered through in the early apart of the decade with "celebrities" named Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, and Lindsay Lohan. I hope Missy Franklin is just as successful as her pop culture counterpart, Kristen Stewart.

Eamon Sullivan makes it's clear that this is a sport that happens every four years!

The Australians got spanked in London; their worst showing since 1976. To rub some chlorine into the wound it happened in a Commonwealth country too which for them was not quite a home pool advantage but if you were not racing a Brit you had some "second-string" fans rooting for you.

The opening quote from Reuters says it all:
"... As much as you think you're ready for it, the difference between world championships and the Olympics is a hundred times more pressure," freestyle specialist Eamon Sullivan told reporters on Thursday. 
"We under-prepared for the expectations of the pressure and the experience of the Olympics and, unfortunately, it's a bad time to learn lessons," he added. ..." 

I don't think that Eamon Sullivan is talking about "stage fright" here but rather that the competition is greatly improved and is more formidable even when compared to World Championships. Also of note is that perhaps Australia does not have much to work with?

As big as the Australian continent is the population is minute. With a land mass that is just about the  size of the United States, the population there is estimated to be about 22-million citizens. To put how small that is into perspective, the city of Shanghai, China which is the largest city in that country has a population count of  23-million citizens. (China has about 76-cities)

Moreover, with such a small population it's impressive that Australian coaches have fielded such great athletes throughout the years and explains why they can take in a Ye Shiwen or a Sun Yang and turned that "unrefined resource" and reform it into a "beautiful diamond."

What the London Games has proven is that Australia may have the best coaches in the word but a small "pool" of athletes. In short: the problems facing Australian Swimming is not the pressure, it's the amount of available talent.

Above is YouTube movie called "Shift Happens." It is essentially an award-winning Powerpoint presentation that scared the heck out of the awards body that was judging it.

With emerging nations becoming more affluent and which contain larger populations, the United States may be next in line to get spanked.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

From WBAL: Those Who Attempt To Challenge The Blue Wall Of Silence At USA Swimming Face Instant Retaliation!

WBAL profiles what they believe was a "hit job" and "blacklisting" of Coach Ken Stopkotte by USA Swimming. They pose a very good argument.

For background on who Coach Ken Stopkotte is and what exactly happened to him, see this blog I wrote back in March: [Link]


Ken Stopkotte had heard enough.

So in the fall of 2009, after the arrest of Chris Wheat for sexually abusing a 14 year-old girl at the Lawrence Swim Club in Lawrence, Indiana, Stopkotte, a swim coach himself (and eventual 2010 Indiana Swim Coach of the Year) made the bold move and went to the local Indianapolis media and spoke of the disturbing pattern of sexual abuse that was emerging within the ranks of USA Swimming.

How could Stopkotte not speak up after suspecting that Wheat was a problem. While the head coach of the Indiana Zone All Star Team, Stopkotte reportedly confronted Tony Young, the Sports Development Director at Indiana Swimming, and told Young that he didn’t want Wheat on his staff based on rumors he had heard from female swimmers. Young ignored Stopkotte’s warning., with Young saying something to the effect of “take it or leave it.”

Stopkotte was adamant that speaking out to the media was the right thing to do in an effort to shed light on this growing crisis within the sport; yet he was also aware that he would face immediate and vicious blowback from many others in the swim world.


I love swimming and I sometimes wonder what would have happened to me career-wise if I wrote this blog and I made my living training swimmers for the Olympics?

I wonder if they're coaches out there who are thinking the same thing?

Monday, August 13, 2012

2012 London Games Advertising: Who advertised. How often, Which ads were covered by the press favorably or unfavorably!

Shannon from Dow Jones sent us this. these cool graphs and pie-charts that tell us how the advertising looked to the Olympics as an important vehicle to get their message out.

The people who compiles these "thoroughly boss" charts for us are the people at Factiva. Now, my favorite graphs are these: Top Global Sponsors Favorability, and Top Global Sponsors Trend.

I am astonished that the Proctor & Gamble ads were viewed as the "best in show" ads and covered favorably by the press at large. These ads were very "pro-Mom" acknowledging the "mothers of the world" as the real forces behind the success of the athletes whether male or female. [...] These were not my favorite commercials for they made the mothers seem; (to this male point of view) a little obsessed.

Michael Phelps takes a bath with Louis Vuitton

From the Huffington Post:

"... Snapped by Annie Leibovitz, the shot shows 27-year-old Phelps soaking in a pristine white tub wearing -- what else? -- a Speedo. His Louis Vuitton tote bag, which we doubt he carries in real life, sits on the ground next to him. ...


BBC - Could the fledgling field of performance profiling reveal the truth about Olympian achievements that defy expectation?

When I read the headline I thought the general topic would be about using analytics to find great athletes. Instead it was about using statistical analytics to judge who should be tested for performance enhancing drugs.

The subject has it share of political spin with proponents stating that this profiling would not be to punish or discipline athletes but rather to "screen" them. The word "screen" should be read as, "If you are really good then you are a de facto suspect and will be "screened" more because we are suspicious. That's how I read it.

From the BBC:

To make performance profiling more rigorous, sports scientists must determine a typical trajectory for each sport and each event by studying data from hundreds, even thousands of careers, says Berthelot. Sprinters tend to peak young and fall off quickly, while distance runners typically peak in their late 20s and early 30s and lose their speed less quickly. With this foundation and as much data as possible on an athlete’s past performances, computer models could put a probability on the likelihood that a performance was unusual enough to warrant closer drug screening, or whether it fits the trajectory of a exceptional career.


In horse racing the crooks use to dope the "losers" to make them into "winners" and then bet heavily on them. Then when they realized that drug testing was getting too sophisticated to mask, they started doping the "winners" so as to become "losers" and then bet heavily on the "long shots."

When I say long shots I mean "Hubble-telescope-grade" long shots. Those who should have never been in the race in the first place let alone in a stable. The way they would doped these faster horses was terrible, they would stick a sponge up the horse's nose so it could not breathe properly and consequently fade during the race.

In my opinion dope testing is important but it should be that all athletes get tested not just the youngest or the best. Selective screening simply punishes the strong an places suspicion on greatness no matter what the category.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

National Institute of Health (NIH): Prevention and Treatment of Swimmer's Shoulder

Photos and exercises included...

From the NIH:

Swimmer's shoulder is a musculoskeletal condition that results in symptoms in the area of the anterior lateral aspect of the shoulder, sometimes confined to the subacromial region. The onset of symptoms may be associated with impaired posture, glenohumeral joint mobility, neuromuscular control, or muscle performance. Additionally, training errors such as overuse, misuse, or abuse may also contribute to this condition. In extreme cases, patients with swimmer's shoulder may have soft tissue pathology of the rotator cuff, long head of the biceps, or glenoid labrum. Physical therapists involved in the treatment of competitive swimmers should focus on prevention and early treatment, addressing the impairments associated with this condition, and analyzing training methods and stroke mechanics. The purpose of this clinical commentary is to provide an overview of the biomechanics of swimming, the etiology of the clinical entity referred to as swimmer's shoulder, and strategies for injury prevention and treatment.


Omega Watches: OMEGA House「Swimmers Night at London 2012」

Natalie Coughlin loves the "Seamaster" the Omega watch that is!- Me too!

Triathlete dies during the swim portion of the Ironman New York/New Jersey - Open water deaths in New York are practically becoming a statistic!

Another tragic open water death - swimming is an extreme sport and more swimmers have died doing sanctioned open water racing than MMA/UFC fighting.

I suspect that New York City may be the most dangerous place to hold an open water race. More deaths have occurred there than any other city in the United States. I can think of four besides this one.

The competitor "experienced distress" during a 2.4-mile swim in the Hudson River at the start of the all-day competition, a publicist for the race organizers said. The course ran along the New Jersey shoreline, just north of the George Washington Bridge.

The swimmer was pulled out of the water and taken to a hospital in nearby Englewood Cliffs, N.J., but did not survive. The organizers said the cause of death is unknown. An autopsy is planned.

New York City police said the contestant was a 43-year-old man. His name has not yet been released.


Swimming World: Sun Yang's $20-million dollar payday will partially be shared with his team!

Wow! Imagine if USA Swimming had the same sort of communist law! - Actually it sort of has has a nice ring to it since $6.5-million would be split between 50-swimmers-or-so. That's about $135,000 each.

My flame resistant suit is on! - Come at me, bring it, game -on!

From Swimming World:

"... Sun, who is in line to make $18 million throughout the next year as part of a sponsorship deal with Coca Cola, shoe company 361 Degrees and dairy goods manufacturer Yili, will also be required to share part of those funds to the rest of the Chinese Olympic swim team according to Yahoo Sports. His contract with the Chinese Swimming Federation requires that around one-third of those funds must be turned over to the rest of the Olympic swim team. ..."


I did the artwork above more than a decade ago. When I was the senior artist for the Disney Store Online, the outside people called us the "Dot Commies" so I made it for myself.

哇!试想一下,如果美国游泳有相同的共产主义的法律! - 其实它的有它,因为有一个很好的环之间进行分配6.5亿美元的50游泳或。这是135000美元。

我的阻燃服! - 我来,带上它,游戏!




Just got back from a US Masters Swim Meet.

I swam in an 800m freestyle relay; (long course meters like the cool kids do), at the Natadores pool in Mission Viejo today. The weather was about 100-degress-plus. Consequently, I had to jump into the warm-up pool three-times before my heat to cool off.

The water at the Natadors pool is practically "holy." Since I started swimming Masters I have seen Kate Ziegler set a world record there, I shot photos of Rebecca Soni winning races, I have photos of Tyler Clary, Chloe Sutton, Jessica Hardy and many others. The one above is of Rebecca Soni post a race win.

So, I had to swim in the 50-free within 30-minutes after swimming my 200m Free. The relay went great and though we placed fourth it was still rewarding because relays are always an exhilarating activity. Even Michael Phelps thinks so. (Hey, triathletes, consider trying it.)

I had quit competing in the pool after the techsuit ban as did many others. Though I swam in an expensive set of Jammers that cost me a $100 At Amazon; (TYR Tracer Light), I swam on top of  my tech suit times which was surprising. Must say I had a blast and I am sorry that I stopped competing even,

When I got to the 50-free, I felt like I had just finished rock climbing a wall at Stony Point. My arms were shaky and my triceps felt like water balloons and my legs felt nonexistent too. When the race started it was my most effective start I have ever done. The Natadors club finally got new starting blocks and you can launch "like a boss." The old ones felt like "pie-plates" and they wiggled too. so, when I hit the water I did three dolphin kicks and it was the only time in that trace when I was actually leading.  After then, it got worse:  I had to breathe 4-times during the race wheres I usually only breathe once, and worst of all, my goggles were around my neck. Not my best race but I beat a particular someone which felt really good! >:-)

Back for more in a 200m relay; will have  much better 50m-free

Friday, August 10, 2012

Missy Franklin does a bumper for a show called "The Whistle"

Most dynamic personality I have seen in an elite swimmer in a very long time. Here she does a bumper for a program called "The Whistle"

Video description:
Gold-medal winning American swimmer Missy Franklin talks about her superstitions, tries a British accent, and shows off a killer victory dance at the U.S. Olympic Committee's media day in Times Square. 

Constructed 'Lego' of the 'London Aquatics Centre' - Synchronized swimming in progress!

The best artwork is the when you mind has to fill in the missing details. We know Lego is plastic yet when we view the translucent blue material, our imagination changes it into water.

Very ambitious and accessible.

From - several more photos there to look at. : [Link]

Gerald Schoenewolf, Ph.D writes for Yahoo regarding Michael Phelps relationship with his father.

Gerald Schoenewolf, Ph.D., is a licensed psychoanalyst in New York, an adjunct professor of psychology, and an author of 20 books of psychology, philosophy, fiction and poetry. He has also written and directed two feature films, the most recent being, BROOKLYN NIGHTS, based on the Dostoevsky short story, "White Nights."

He has written a article for Yahoo discussing Michael Phelps relation with his possible relationship with his father titled "Whatever happened to Michael Phelps Father?"

Granted, he acknowledges that his opinions are based on what he has seen, heard or read in the media but he makes a good case that not only did Michael Phelps over came adversity but that his father as distant as he may have been, has some rock solid integrity too.

From Yahoo:

None of them--neither the mother nor the two sisters--ever mention Michael's father. He has not been seen at the London Olympics, nor was he at the Beijing Games. It appears that Michael's father, Fred, is a persona non grata to this close-knit family comprised of mother, daughters and son. 
When Michael's father didn't attend the Beijing Games, Fred told told interviewers, "I'm very proud of him and all he's done. This is not about me, it's about him." Based on this one quote, he does not seem like an uncaring father. 
In an interview with Yahoo! reporter Summer Sanders following the winning of his 22nd gold medal (in case you have been living on Mars, he has won more medals at the Olympics than any other athlete), he spoke briefly about his relationship with his father. In a muted voice, when asked about his father, he said his father had come to the U.S. trials but not the Olympics. When asked about communication, he replied that there was "not much communication." When [Summer pressed him, he added, "We've been able to kind of talk. …"


Thursday, August 09, 2012

USA Swimming has '2012 Swim Trials, LLC' choose the Olympians. Few swimmers realized they were swimming for a private company.

Sarah Gjerstad is in the house and don't underestimate her. She wrote article for me titled: "What’s the Problem with Swimming."

Never under estimate her. She called out John Leonard for a faulty corporate structure and he had to admit she was right in a deposition and now she outlines how USA Swimming operates and what they are getting wrong. It might surprise you especially her take on the sex abuse cases.

I promise you this is a good read and quite enlightening. I will include my comments in the comments section:

What’s the Problem with Swimming -- Sarah Gjerstad

Recently John Leonard made a statement that “Ms. Gjerstad had a complete misconnection with SwimAmerica, ASCA.” He may be insulting me, but due to his limited proficiency in English, I’m not sure. I am tempted to revive last summer’s battle with him. It was emotional satisfying to write a blog pointing out the lunacy and failings of someone who gleefully threatened Tony and me with lawsuits. Satisfying, tempting, but no longer productive. It’s time to move on.

From the lawsuits, blog posts, and comments many are dissatisfied with the programs controlled by USA Swimming. This includes club swimming, coach certification, and lack of professional opportunities for swimmers.

What is causing these problems? Is it USA Swimming? Where should people send complaints? As usual, I have an opinion. Ever the contrarian, my opinion might surprise many.

It’s easiest for me to address weak complaints, and organizations that are not responsible.

The USOC [United States Olympic Committee] has selected USA Swimming as the National Governing Body (NGB). The NGB has the authority to choose the team for international competitions, represent the US in the international sports federation, conduct national level competitions, sanction international competitions held in the US. That’s about it. USA Swimming does all that. There are no complaints with those activities. Hence, USOC is a non-player in these problems.

There have been complaints about the lack of a professional league for swimmers. Rarely in sports it the NGB and the professional league the same corporation. The NGB must be a non- profit, and the goals and business practices of professional leagues make non-profit status a challenge. Often the NGBs have the professional leagues choose the Olympians, and to some extent it is that way in swimming. USA Swimming has 2012 Swim Trials, LLC choose the Olympians. Few swimmers realized they were swimming for a private company. We don’t know the financial details, because it is private. We should be able to find out corporate information about 2012 Swim Trials, LLC to ensure no conflict of interest existed. But we can’t find information because, dare I say it again, I cannot locate its corporate registration in the Colorado Secretary of State records. But whatever the status of that corporation, USA Swimming is not the professional league. Swimmers, or someone interested in swimming, needs to form a league, and create professional meets. Patty Berg, founder of the PGA in 1948, told us in the 1970s to form a league. Why hasn’t it happened?

Club swimming is where the problems lie. The sexual abuse and the coach certification complaints are primarily occurring at the club level. USA Swimming does not approve clubs and coaches. The 59 local swimming committees (LSC) do. The problem is at the LSC level. The LSCs may claim they are only implementing USA Swimming policy, and USA Swimming CEO Chuck Weilgus has stated in a letter regarding insurance that “The various Local Swimming Committees are administrative divisions of USA Swimming. They cannot act independently of USA Swimming’s stated objectives.” The legal status of USA Swimming and the LSC’s indicates this is not true. They are formed as separate corporations, in the corporation registrations and IRS tax returns.

USA Swimming and the LSCs represent their relationship differently to the public than to the IRS. The 59 people who sign those tax returns should be paying attention. The LSCs receive tax exempt status because they provide opportunities for youth, a charitable activity. In practice, they implement USA Swimming’s objective to ensure financially sound clubs, definitely not a charitable activity.

Swimming functions differently than other sports. Most young children are coached by a parent, rather than a professional coach. Many coaches get recruited from the sidelines when they bring their 5 year olds to the first day of soccer, basketball, or T-ball practice. Children may get introduced to sports in school or camp, but it is usually the parent who throws or hits 300 balls a day to their child. Membership in elite teams start once the child has achieved some relatively high performance level.

In swimming, parents must turn responsibility of their children over to a professional coach immediately. The LSC will not allow any competition opportunities until the child joins a club. Parents cannot coach their own children outside the approved club system. You cannot be approved to be a USA Swimming club unless you have indoor “water” and level 3 certification. Why, I asked? I wanted my children to compete from May to October and practice in my backyard or neighborhood pool. The answer is the LSCs need to ensure quality coaching. Not only was this an insult to me, but also none of the LSCs business. I agree to sign a waiver regarding quality. Then they admit the policy is to ensure club dues are paid. Follow the money.

What about sexual abuse? Until age 12 or 14, sports coaching is the responsibility of parents. Often this is done through a parent in the neighborhood. When parents bring their young children to lessons, they usually stay and watch. In swimming, parents are expected to hand responsibility and control to the coach. According to an article written by John Leonard and reposted a disturbing number of times, even family vacations need to a taken according to the coaches schedule, not the family’s schedule. It’s part of the culture. Surrender control to the coach. The system trains the parents to accept that coach’s authority, and ultimately the child

does also. Sexual abuse is more likely to happen when institutions pressure parents to accept the authority of those making demands of them or their children, whether those demands are from a coach or to the priest.

There are hundreds of thousands of private club, public, semi-public (neighborhood or HOA), backyard, and school pools in the United States. The majority children who swim in these pools cannot join USA Swimming and compete in swim meets. The business interests of USA Swimming, enforced and implemented by the LSCs, do not permit it. Participation is limited to those who pay club dues. Who’s to blame for the existing system? Whatever USA Swimming objectives are, it does little to implement them. The LSCs, as independent non-profit corporations, should defy USA Swimming and provide opportunities for youth, not clubs. If not, the IRS should revoke their preferential tax status.

Excerpt of a letter from USA Swimming to James Myers dated April 29, 2008

Circa 1948 All American swimmer, Jean Wilson, pretends she knows how to smoke for a Camel cigarettes commercial

Wow, goes to show you that every starving man or woman has a price and those rare few that don't, well, they can be leased. Note her breaststroke; it's half butterfly and breaststroke. This stroke is nothing short of a continuous rule change. I almost thing we should abolish it for the combat stroke or pull out a heft slab of Italian marble and chisel a final set of breaststroke rules into its face and at the bottom state no more rule changes allowed.

Open water 10k - we rocked a silver in the women's event

We are so catching up in open water!

From NBC Chicago:

Eva Risztov of Hungary has won the women's Olympic open water race at Hyde Park, holding off American Haley Anderson in a sprint to the finish. [...]

Martina Grimaldi of Italy took the bronze, disappointing a huge British crowd that lined the banks of The Serpentine. World champion Keri-Anne Payne was fourth, just missing the podium.


Wednesday, August 08, 2012

"Smashed like flugel horns" the Germans take inventory!

Germany also did not win a gold medal in swimming and the finger pointing is taking place there like it is in both Great Britain and Australia. Many US athletes won more medals than all these countries combined and I have a theory as to why...

First, the Unites States we have a big talent pool, especially a female talent pool. (No pun intended) Next, our coaching is tremendously diverse in nature.

For instance Missy Franklin trained differently than Allison Schmitt. Michael Phelps trained differently than Ryan Lochte. I suspect; (read as guessing), that the training in Australia, Germany, and Great Britain is not as diverse as it could be and perhaps there is more of a "hive mind" or a set process when coaches show up on deck?

Though several breakout stars from China trained in Australia, I suspect their Australian coaches coached those athletes in an entirely differently way. (Please confirm or shoot down.)

From the Sun Daily
Ex-world champion Franziska van Almsick has said her country now needs a fresh start ahead of Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

"It is not only about the personnel," she said.

"It is a problem we have already had for a long time.

"Our swimmers aren't able to go flat out twice per day.

"In the past, one or two successes have hidden the real problem.

"It would be nice if now a new beginning is made. Changes must come, it is necessary for work to be done to lead the way over the next four years."

Alongside Steffen, Steffen Deibler also claimed a joint fourth place in the men's 100m butterfly final on Friday but it has been slim German pickings.

As the stars of the Germany team, Steffen, and boyfriend Paul Biedermann, the world 200m and 400m freestyle world record holder, have been big disappointments. 

NPR covering the Rick Curl Sex abuse case - Interviews the victim!

NPR is now covering USA Swimming sex abuse issues. I would have to say that the content therein may be deemed NC 17 or uncomfortable for some adults.

When you finish the article or listen to the story, ask yourself how this is any different that the Penn State sex abuse crime. Personally I think it's different. I think it's worse; more victims, more pedophiles.

From NPR: 
"[NPR]...MARTIN: Why did you decide to speak out now?

CURRAN: Well, it was an accumulation of things, really. You know, I have a daughter that is 12 and a half and what has gone on with the Penn State issue coming out, that has certainly played a part in this, but it really got kind of mixed up or stirred up for me and it was right after the 20/20 investigation. I think that was about two years ago.

You know, I was at my kids' Lacrosse game and I had - it was a Friday night and I had people from both sides of the country calling me and asking, are you watching this? And I said, no. And, of course, I went home and watched online the story and...

MARTIN:   An investigation of U.S.A. Swimming. Why were they asking you this? I mean, did they suspect that you had some connection to this story or is it just because they knew you were a swimmer?

CURRAN: Oh, no. They knew. They knew. I can not tell you the number of people that have come forward and said, you know, we're sorry. Not just in the last, you know, week, but over the last 20 years, I've had - or the last 10 years, I've had - through different social media outlets, I've had people come forward and say, you know, I feel horrible about this. I couldn't do anything. I didn't know what to do. And these were mostly, you know, teammates and, you know, peers. It wasn't - I have never received a message like that from a coach or anything, but they knew. ..." 

NCAA Colleges - First we blame all the women when we cut the mens sports programs!

When the schools were forced to give Title IX athletic scholarships to women, they circled the wagons around football and basketball and so began a scorched earth policy to preserve those two money makers at all costs. 

To deflect the blame, they went after those "uppity women" who caused all the mayhem with this "Title IX nonsense" and men believed it.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association estimates that $2-billion is being gifted towards twenty-three NCAA athletic scholarships each year. A whopping 59.2% is going to football and basketball while the rest of the sports fight it out for the left over crumbs.

Here is a graphic analogy, imagine that you are at the dining room table at Thanksgiving and you are serving 23-guests for dinner. It is now time for desert but two of your guests have consumed nearly 60% of the pumpkin pie. They have now passed the knife over to you and have asked you to divide what's left into twenty-one-separate-slices. You do so but some of the remaining guests who happen to be swimmers protest over the meager portions. The two "gluttonous" guests turn beet-red and are summarily insulted. With their plushy, purple, cheeks and over sized tongues they bark, "perhaps next year we will tell the host not to invite you back so we can get more?"

It's my take that if a college or university is going to be allowed to profit than some of that profit should go back to the remaining 21 sports.

From the Wall Street Journal:

"... Even with such preparations, an athletic scholarship is, statistically, unlikely. For men, 59.2% of sports scholarships are given just to football and basketball players, according to Patrick O'Rourke, founder of the data website Scholarship Stats.

In 2010, a student who played high-school sports had a 6% chance of playing any college varsity sport, in any division, according to Scholarship Stats, which bases its numbers on U.S. Department of Education data. For Division I schools, chances were only 3.7%. ..."