Sunday, September 30, 2012

Now here is an alternative sport where being an accomplished swimmer is mandatory!

I watched an America's Cup qualifier race today at YouTube between two Oracle sponsored AC45 catamarans and it was simply exhilarating to watch. The craftsmanship of these technological wonders is stunning; the exotic materials therein as well. There is a saying that today's technology is tomorrow's art and these boats are a work of art!

These catamarans are 45-feet long and reach speeds up to 30 knots hence it is mandatory that the crew wears helmets and life saving gear. You have got to presume these guys are expert swimmers as well.

There is an AC72 class with boats measuring 72-feet in length but now the showstopper: They allow the AC72 class to utilize hydrofoils which bump up the speeds to nearly 40-knots. Now for the encore, the sail height of the craft is 40-meters tall. Visualize a giant sail on a pair of ice skates. It is quite a spectacle.

The America's cup will take place in San Francisco, California. For more information about the America's cup see the official website here: [Link]

For a beginners primer on the sport this wiki article is superb:  [Link]

Here is a snippet from the SF Gate as to how crazy and dangerous this sport can be:

"... The AC-72 will be a bit bigger, but the timing will be the same," Spithill said. "But there's a lot more risk. One little mistake and you'll have a pileup. The harder you push, the faster you go." 
"But if you push too far, you can hit the wall," he said, evoking the bogeyman of his race-car brethren. "You crash a 72 and there's serious damage to the boat and the people." 
Aye, there's the rub. It's great fun to race your boat as fast as possible, but when you crack it up, you have to explain to Mr. Ellison why his shiny toy's all bent. You also may have to call someone's family and explain why their son didn't make it. ..."

At they have a complete rundown of specs:

“The AC72 Class adds a new dimension to America’s Cup design and technology,” said Pete Melvin, a chief architect of the rule and champion multihull sailor.

“The AC72 will place exacting demands on the helmsman, crew and support team that the vast majority of us who call ourselves ‘weekend racers’ could never hope to develop.”

The new class of America’s Cup catamaran is a tightly defined “box rule.” Certain parameters have been set, such as overall length, beam, displacement and sail area. Other factors are limited to keep the competition close across all wind speeds.

So that no team would have an unfair advantage by creating the rule, US SAILING and Morrelli & Melvin Design & Engineering authored the rule.

“Near the beginning of the process we were requested to look at a catamaran instead of a trimaran because it’s easier to transport, assemble and disassemble,” Melvin said.

“The difference in the performance characteristics is not significant, and a cat was judged less expensive to build. From there, the experience of two America’s Cups in which wingsails were used (1988 and 2010), coupled with the latest developments in wingsail technology, made it natural to morph the design rule into a catamaran with a wingsail,” said Melvin.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Swim trunks worn by Daniel Craig in the "James Bond" film Casino Royale are up for auction!

Casino Royale 2006 was the best "James Bond" movie ever. A photo gallery of the props and products from the films up for auction are located here at Seattle PI:
"...Posters, set models and Daniel Craig's swim trunks are among items up for grabs in an auction of memorabilia from the James Bond movies.

Christie's auction house is selling the items to coincide with the 50th birthday of the spy movie series. The first Bond film, "Dr. No," was released on Oct. 5, 1962. ..." 
Daniel Craig wears the same swimsuit in the newest James Bond movie titled Skyfall coming out in November despite promising "...never to put those things on again" :  [Link]

Congressman Honda of San Jose Suggests Possible Hearings into USA Swimming Sex Abuse Cases!

San Jose was the launching point for me. That's when I figured out that USA Swimming was just collecting checks and using them to field an Olympic Team as their number one priority. They had little to no concern for the swimmers that send in those yearly dues other than to collect times and "winnow the wheat" so as to select the best and reject the worst.

Then ABC 20/20 and ESPN spanked them for those very reasons and suddenly they talked up a protection program but moved as fast as a "snail on ice" putting it all together.

Truthfully and factually it wasn't till their very paychecks were threaten by a lawyer by the name of Robert Allard that they actually started to produce a plan and put it into place.

However, this program, like the "Communist Manifesto" looked great on paper, but not very inspiring when put into practice. Investigations are moving too slowly and the focal point is more about protecting USA Swimming from lawsuits rather than ensuring a "gold standard" of protection that "really nice guys" like David Berkoff and others do their best to hard sell.

Now this from Concussion Inc. by Irv Muchnick: 
"... Today Honda’s senior aide, Ashley Roybal-Reid, told me, "Congressman Honda has begun looking into what formal action our office can take to address this problem, including, but not limited to, Congressional hearings. At this point, Congressman Honda is very concerned about the issue, but our specific course of action is still being determined. ..."


If it took a Lawyer calling out USA Swimming to get something going then a congressman, if he follows through, would be the catalyst to get the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) involved as well. It will only be then that we begin to see common sense reforms.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Squirt Gun Fight Water cannon fight between Taiwan and Japan in the South China Sea

Tensions have escalated in a territorial dispute between China, Japan and other residents within the South China Sea. Japan has some islands they recently secured via a purchase from the Japanese owners but the Chinese want to claim these rocky shoals as their own. These islands are basically rocks and as my SCAQ relay teammate Daisuke says, "only fish live there!"

Now, not only is Japan perturbed by this but so is Vietnam and the Philippines.

Thus, the opening salvo in this dispute  a blast from a water cannon shot from the Japanese Coastguard  that between Taiwan fishing boat trying to storm the island.. The seas are rough as witnessed in the video and this open water "squirt gun fight" would be comical if the seas were not so dangerously rough..

The motive is obviously fishing,oil and gas rights. Bring your "super-soakers," it's game on!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Breaking Sad: Is USA Swimming on the hook for more than $2.5 Million in Brooke Taflinger Case? - I don't think so!

[Paragraph  updated] Local Swim Clubs are forced to use USA Swimming Insurance or they won't get their meets certified.

Here is where it gets really murky.

There are two insurance companies connected to USA Swimming. The first level is the United States Sporting Insurance Company (USSIC) - which USA Swimming owns but I am totally unclear on what they provide or cover.

Lexington is their second level insurer which covers General Liability but they do not cover sex abuse claims. The USA Swimming site explains their insurance option here:  [Link]

Lexington makes it clear that they will not cover sexual abuse claims.

A letter sent to me originating from Indiana:

"... A Federal Court ruling (Case 1:09-cv-00771-TWP-DML, US District Court, South District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division) in Indiana has placed USA Swimming in the position of having to pay more than $2.5 million in the Brooke Taflinger case or risk having to pay much more in accrued interest and sanctions.

Federal Judge Tanya Walton Pratt signed a default judgment for Indianapolis attorney Jonathan Little and his client Brooke Taflinger against Central Indiana Aquatics and its former Coach Brian Hindson for the amount of $2,537,000.

"Basically USA Swimming and its insurance carrier walked away from their obligation as swim club insurers and provided no legal defense for the club," said Jonathan Little. "The same strategy backfired for USA Swimming in Kansas City last year (Case 0516-CV-23636, Jackson County Circuit Court, Kansas City, Missouri) when they walked away from former Coach Pete Malone's club in the molestation case of Craig Ivancic. That decision cost USA Swimming more than $12.5 million in December of last year," added Little.

According to the 2011 Kansas City court ruling, the Judge found that USA Swimming refused to pay a 2005 judgment against the Johnson County Park and Recreation District (JCPRD) Blazers and Malone without just cause or excuse. Lexington, USA Swimming's insurance carrier, according to the decision argued that swim clubs are not insured for any acts arising out of or as a result of Sexual Misconduct. A two day trial in 2007 resulted in the court entering a judgment against JCPRD and Malone for $5,040,000 plus interest and costs.

As a result of not paying the judgment, garnishment proceedings in December of 2011 resulted in the original $5,040,000 award climbing to more than $12.5 million with the additional awarding of interest, expenses and legal fees.

Part of the reason, according to the decision, was that USA Swimming's insurance carrier, Lexington, repeatedly misstated the terms of its policies to the Court including the sexual misconduct exclusion. Lexington, the decision states, also lied to the Court in claiming that its hours defending the case were less than what the plaintiff's law firm expended in bringing the case.

"The Kansas City case shows that USA Swimming will throw member clubs under the bus in an effort to dodge liability for molestation claims," said Little. "It also shows that they have no concern for molestation victims and will do anything legally to avoid taking care of these victims," added Little.

In the case against Central Indiana Swimming, the Board of Directors Meeting minutes of April 21, 2008 report that legal counsel Buddy Pylitt, retained by USA Swimming, advised Central Indiana on their legal liabilities with the club members then voting to form a new club, VIPER Swim Club. "The formation of the VIPER Swim Club was another attempt by Indiana Swimming and USA Swimming to abdicate its responsibilities to those harmed by USA Swimming coaches," said Little.

Brooke Taflinger learned in 2008 that her former swimming coach Brian Hindson had secretly videotaped her as she changed clothes in a locker room. Hindson eventually pleaded guilty to 16 counts relating to the production, distribution, and possession of child pornography—none relating to the footage of Taflinger. Hindson is now serving 400 months in federal prison. ..."

[Update: I did further research and found that Lexington, USA Swimming's insurance company, will not cover lawsuits regarding child sex abuse injuries. Thus, it appears to me that a Local Swimming Club (LSC) has to have secondary or third level insurance to protect them from sex abuse claims.

How this ties into Brooke Taflinger is murky but there was a recent lawsuit in Missouri mentioned above whereas the court ruled that Lexington was indeed liable to pay up on a sex abuse claim even though the policy stated otherwise. That in itself may or may not set a precedent that would possibly have Lexington pay the Brooke Taflinger her damage claim. I must state in no uncertain terms that "it may" or "may not" and the courts will determine what happens.

Brooke Taflinger had additionally sued USA Swimming as well as Hindson and Central Indiana Aquatics but her claims against USA Swimming were dismissed last April.

From Swimming World: 
"THE United States District Court ruled today to grant summary judgment for defendants USA Swimming and the Westfield Washington School Corporation, effectively ending plantiff Brooke Taflinger's suit against the two companies following allegations of sexual abuse when Taflinger was an 18-year-old swimmer. [...] 
USA Swimming was also sued on claims of "breach of a duty of care based on a special relationship, and for breach of a contractual duty to provide a safe environment," and Westfield Washington had an additional claim for "negligence and breach of a duty of care...." 

Here is an enormously huge question: If USA Swimming uses Lexington which I  believe is owned by AIG. What does the United States Sporting Insurance Company (USSIC) cover or do for the swimmers? It's being reported that USSIC contracts out to Lexington. I have a second source that told me the same thing.

In America the USOC rewards it's athletes with $25,000 for each gold - China rewards their athletes with $50,000 per gold and it is tax-free!

For every gold medal Missy Franklin won she was awarded $25,000 by the United States Olympic Committee. For her Bronze medal she was awarded $10,000. Her tax obligation to the IRS on those medals was roughly $40,000 in taxes. Thus her final net total was $70,000 [Reference Link from Yahoo:  Link]

Ye Shiwen of China won two gold medals was awarded $50,000 or $100,000 tax free for each one and her net profit was some $30,000 greater than Missy Franklin. Shiwen also only swam in two events wheres Franklin swan in five events yet Shiwen was rewarded far greater monetarily than Missy Franklin.

Who knew that swimming for a Communist nation would be more appreciated economically than swimming for the greatest economic super-power on earth, the United States?

Is this a statement how poor we treat our athletes or what?

In 2008, the national reward scheme in China saw every gold medalist receive 350,000 yuan (over 50,000 dollars) tax-free. This year's payouts are along similar lines, but they are still way ahead of those offered by the country which topped the medal table, ahead of China; the United States. The U.S. Olympic Committee's reward scheme is identical to that of four years ago, with gold medalists pocketing 25,000 dollars, silver medalists taking home 15,000 dollars, while bronze medalists earn a cool 10,000 dollars. U.S. medalists are unlikely to receive large payouts from their home states, in contrast to Chinese athletes who are often rewarded handsomely when they return to their home provinces.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Steroid and HGH Doping now a ‘public health issue’ says World Health Organization doctor

Timothy Armstrong of the World Health Organization (WHO) states that 3% of US teenagers, and he probably means boys, are doping with performance enhancing drugs.

Fron Reuters:

“If we believe that around three percent of high school boys in the U.S. are taking a steroid or growth hormone, then that’s a public health issue,” said Dr. Timothy Armstrong of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“Substance abuse in any shape or form has a physical and mental health aspect to it. The WHO, being the lead UN (United Nations) agency on health matters, takes this issue quite seriously.”

“Elite sport plays an obvious role. They are the role models of youngsters and if they are drug takers, that is not the right role model for the coming society.

The most successful sports franchise in the United States with the most dopers and criminals per capita is the National FootballLeague. Now we learn that they are inspiring the youth of America.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Rebecca Adlington who won two golds in Beijing and two bronze medals in London is retiring!

It's a sad day when an Olympian lays down their goggles and says, "I don't want to do this anymore." It is even sadder when they have to justify and explain to the public their reasons and then beg them to accept their decision and let them go.

It takes 7-years to master something but if you are a swimmer you have probably put in 14-years-or-so to become that "black belt" master and even if you make it to the Olympics there is a 98% chance that all that time spent in the pool will have produced a negative cash return.

Speaking of 7-years, Early October will be my seventh year with SCAQ.

From Reuters:
"Rio is out of reach. I'll be 27 then and swimming, especially for distance swimmers, is a young person's game," said Adlington, who finished third behind 15-year-old American Katie Ledecky in the 800 metres freestyle at the London Games.


She also had this parting criticism for the British performance panel who is looking into why British Swimming semi-flopped at the London games this year. She wants British athletes on the panel but  they actually hired athletes from different countries.

One of the "performance geeks" on the inquiry is Michael Phelps. I find this odd because he is not a British swimmer. He has no experience leading nor managing an Olympic team. He has never scouted for a college or university nor has he even coached.

The trouble with British swimming is something he would have no experience nor any sense of history as to how British swimmers are created there. ..."

From the Daily Mail:

Adlington said: 'You can never get enough help or gain enough knowledge after any sporting event, but I wish they'd asked me or my coach, Bill Furniss, because we're the ones who really know what's going on poolside.  
'Michael Scott is in Australia a lot and the others don't know what's going on here. Britain is very different from America or Australia or China. We don't have the collegiate system, for starters. We have to make do with the tools at our disposal.' ..." 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

What should have been USA Swimming's finest hour was shouted down by two middle-aged women!

When USA Swimming declared Rick Curl unfit for participation as a coach; "banned for life," it should have been USA Swimming's finest hour. Instead they were shouted down by two middle-aged women who in the eyes of the press had more credibility than the executive staff at USA swimming.

News outlets like Associated Press, ESPN, the Washington Post all the way down to Courtroom News gave both Kelley Davies Currin and Dia Rianda several paragraphs worth of rebuttal and even some editorial space which they used well.

Though Rick Curl was banned for life under some arcane code violation that had nothing to do with sex abuse*, USA Swimming was summarily humiliated internationally despite doing a very good deed. In the end USA Swimming was made to look like an untrustworthy governing body who minces words like a chef and puts their own personal interests well above the parents and kids that they are suppose to serve. No matter what the executive staff says this is a plausible belief and here is why.

There is a term called "falling on your sword" - The literal sense means to commit suicide but the figurative usage is when a CEO, a politician or a general in the military takes personal responsibility or the blame for an organizational error by quitting or leaving that organization and taking all the shame and blame with them. This allows the organization to "reboot" and be looked at anew and given a second chance to catch it's breath and do the right thing.

In 2010 after the 20/20 episode aired to ballistic ratings and after the "Let's keep this between you and me" email surfaced, the executive staff, namely Chuck Wielgus, Bruce Stratton, Pat Hogan were obviously too cowardly to "fall on their swords" and allow USA Swimming to look like a credible organization moving forward. It was selfish and as a result USA Swimming will never be granted a trust mandate for it will always be plausible that they are hiding something.

[*-- This was sent to me by a reader: The banning of Rick Curl reeks of a sweetheart arrangement. Not only was Curl spared of having to testify and therefore potentially incriminating himself relating to future criminal proceedings, but he was not cited as a sex abuser, under Code of Conduct Section 304.3.8 or otherwise, as a basis for banishment. Instead, an archaic regulation that long ago was replaced was utilized. The section cited (450.1) is nowhere to be found in USA Swimming’s 2012 Rule Book. [...] Curl should be branded for what he is- a child molester.” --]

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

ESPN: USA Swimming bans Rick Curl for life

A solid review on the aftermath of the Rick Curl banning featuring great quotes and explanations:

From ESPN:

"... Susan Woesner: "I want to thank you for your courage in coming forward and speaking out," Woessner wrote. "Your willingness to share your story is now holding Rick accountable after all these years. Thank you, Kelley. I have endless gratitude. .."

"... From Keelley Davies Currin: "We had horrible counsel. We were given terrible legal advice," she said. "I absolutely, positively wish I could have a redo. I think there needs to be a law that for a child who's abused, there's no option. It's a criminal case. It's got to be reported. To settle out of court should never be an option. ..." 

"Coach" Rick Curl banned for life as a USA Swimming Coach - Would not contest his charges.

I found this out via a note sent to me by Kelley Davies Currin Lawyer this morning. Now it's the American Swimming Coaches Association's (ASCA) turn to ban him and pull his membership.

Here is a statement from the victim, Kelley Davies Currin:
"I am happy to hear that Rick Curl may finally be starting to accept responsibility for what he did to me. I can now only hope that USA Swimming will accept responsibility for refusing to ban Rick Curl when they had knowledge to do so."

Statement from Kelley Currin Davies attorney:
"... The decision on behalf of Mr. Curl to capitulate without a public hearing conclusively demonstrates that each and every one of the allegations that my client presented are completely 100% true and accurate. The fact that Mr. Curl has now been permanently banned from USA membership is only the first of what we hope are many steps, including imprisonment, which will be taken against him to ensure that justice is served for the heinous acts committed upon my client when she was just a child. Now, we proceed to the extent of the knowledge possessed by USA Swimming and why action was not taken earlier.

Indeed, in its statement that was issued by USA Swimming on September 18, 2012 concerning the Mark Schubert lawsuit recently filed in Orange County, CA, the organization saliently failed to deny, or even address, the allegations that its organization, particularly through its Executive Director Chuck Wielgus, had known about Mr. Curl's molestation of Ms. Currin for a number of years and failed to take any action whatsoever in response thereto.

Mr. Curl was the proverbial Jerry Sandusky within this organization and, similar to Penn State immediately moving to rid itself of those who knew and did nothing, we are not going to stop until the same is done at USA Swimming, starting with Mr. Wielgus and the man who has admitted to knowing all about Mr. Curl going back to the early 1990's and failed to take effective action to protect young swimmers - Vice President David Berkoff. ..."

Okay, "Sharon Stone" gets another one, well done, Susan Woesner!

[I forgot to add that I added in the muzzle flash to Sharon Stone;s pistol. Not great; it was rushed.]

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

USA Swimming releases a statement to 'Swimming World' & the 'Washington Post' categorically denies a Mark Schubert cover-up!

I feel their denial is totally plausible but they do have a history and a victim named Kelly Currin Davies stating otherwise...

From Swimming World:
USA Swimming spokesperson Karen Linhart released the following statement in response to the lawsuit:

USA Swimming is not a party to the lawsuit between Dia Rianda and Mark Schubert; however, because that suit makes various gratuitous accusations against USA Swimming, we will address the false premise underlying those accusations.

The resolution of the relationship between Mark Schubert and USA Swimming absolutely did not involve any cover-up of alleged sexual misconduct by Sean Hutchison or any other person. Rather, because of USA Swimming's commitment to safe sport, the agreement between USA Swimming and Mr. Schubert specifically required that if Schubert had, or in the future, received reliable information involving a sexual misconduct Code of Conduct violation by a coach or other member of USA Swimming, he would bring that information to USA Swimming in writing and would testify at a National Board of Review proceeding if requested to do so by USA Swimming.

Regarding Bill Jewell, USA Swimming cannot comment on ongoing investigations. However, as a matter of process, when USA Swimming initiates a coach investigation, it immediately notifies the employing club. As per the Amateur Sports Act, membership status cannot be affected without the opportunity for a hearing. Employment decisions during investigations are at the discretion of the employing club.


They are on the record now stating no cover-up was instigated with Mark Schubert despite what was written on  Page 8 - lines 5-18 of the complaint - see link below:
Full Dia Rianda vs. Mark Schubert/GWSC Summons and Complaint:  [Link]
However the phrase they used was cover-up rather than confidential agreement. In the end it will come out once Mark Schubert and Dia Rianda are deposed. Then we will have a more clear idea as to whether "hush money" was paid or if it was simply a buy-out of his contract.

Kelly Currin Davies rebuttal response as quoted in the Washington Post:
“I have stated all along that numerous people in the swim world knew what Rick Curl did to me,” she said in a statement Tuesday issued through her attorney. “It was the worst kept secret. I read the lawsuit filed against Mark Schubert. I am angry in reading that USA Swimming failed terribly when they had an opportunity to act against Rick Curl when coach Schubert informed Chuck Wielgus on numerous occasions about Curl’s molestation of me. 
“The fact that Chuck Wielgus and USA Swimming allegedly tried to cover up for Rick Curl by forcing Mark Schubert to accept hush money in return for signing a confidential agreement is outrageous. If USA Swimming has any integrity they would fire Wielgus and the rest of the staff that continues to protect sexual predators.”


One thing that bothered me was that either USA Swimming under-reported or the Washington Post under-reported stating that USA Swimming has caught 16-offenders in the last two years. It's not that low; isn't it more like 50 or 60? I suspect they are trying to make the problem seem smaller than it is.

If Mark Schubert signed a secret settlement worth $625,000 with USA Swimming to keep quiet - what was he keeping quiet about?

Was Mark Schubert given a buyout on his contract or a secret settlement worth $625,000? If it was a buyout it should have been declared as such and both parties would have moved on. If it was a confidential settlement one has to ask why?

Perhaps it should be phrased this way: If Mark Schubert with his past knowledge of Coach Rick Curl's serial child rape of swimmer Kelly Davies Currin, and Sean Hutchison's relationship with an adult swimmer and then used that as leverage to garner that $625,000 settlement from USA Swimming, that means USA Swimming knew about Rick Curl and his victim Kelly Davies Currin well before 2012.

Thus, why was Rick Curl not flagged, suspended, or otherwise a year-or-so ago? Maybe we will find out this Wednesday when Curl has his Board of Review hearing?

Here is a suggestion to USA Swimming that they should take seriously. When I sign an End User License Agreement (EULA) with Facebook, iTunes, or other online services, I am essentially signing away some or all of my fourth amendment rights. These rights include the right to sue the offending service if they intentionally install spyware or even intentionally hurt my computer. They have the right to forward all postings, emails, and text messages I sent on that online service to the police or government agency without a warrant. They have right to delete files, sell my files, profit from any of my ideas, anything. So why is it that USA Swimming is so moving so slowly?

All this tip-toeing around the possibility of offending coaches or getting sued for suspending a coach or banning a coach is not changing the swimming culture for the better. If the American Swimming Coaches of America or USA Swimming had each coach sign an agreement that favored the swimmers it would benefit all. This sort of policy would would encourage clubs to include no one-on-one policy, a parent rep at workouts etc. etc.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Dia Rianda Press Release: Former USA Swimming Olympic Team Coach, Sued for Protecting Swim Coach from Sex Abuse Charges

Here is the press release from Dia Rianda's attorney - if you have not read the last post, I want to make it clear that Dia Rianda's character is "triple-A rated bond."  I can attest that for her to file this suit, it means this is huge and a supreme indictment for those accused.

Press release:

Mark Schubert , Former USA Swimming Olympic Team Coach, Sued for Protecting Swim Coach from Sex Abuse Charges

Longtime USA Swimming Coach and Benefactor Dia Rianda sues Mark Schubert after she is fired for purportedly trying to keep Coach William “Bill” Jewell from having access to children while under investigation by USA Swimming for alleged sex abuse charges.

SAN JOSE, CA – September 17, 2012 – USA Swimming coach Dia Rianda has hired the sexual abuse law firm of Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard to file a wrongful termination lawsuit (Orange County Superior Court, Case # ) against former USA Swimming Olympic Team Coach Mark Schubert and his swim club, Golden West Swim Club (GWSC). Rianda claims in the lawsuit that she was fired by Schubert for trying to keep Coach William “Bill” Jewell away from children while he was under investigation by USA Swimming for alleged sexual abuse charges and for warning Schubert about complaints from parents about Jewell’s inappropriate behavior.

According to the complaint, shortly after Rianda was hired as General Team Manager and Head Age Group Coach of GWSC, Mark Schubert hired his former assistant coach from USC, William “Bill” Jewell, as a GWSC assistant coach even though Jewell had been fired from his previous position as coach of Fullerton Aquatics Swim Club (“FAST”), an Elite Training Center funded by USA Swimming, and was under investigation by USA Swimming for the alleged sexual abuse of swimmers.

The lawsuit states that Rianda informed both Schubert and USA Swimming about Jewell’s behavior, including alleged inappropriate conduct she observed, along with a series of complaints from club parents. Specifically, Ms. Rianda complained to both Executive Director Chuck Wielgus and “Athlete Protection Officer” Susan Woessner about Jewell’s sexual misconduct. The complaint states that Schubert threatened Rianda that her future as a coach would be destroyed if she continued to question Jewell's behavior, which by this time had been under investigation by USA Swimming for nearly one year. Shortly thereafter, the lawsuit states that Schubert fired Rianda by making it clear that the only reason her employment was terminated was due to her complaints concerning Coach Jewell's alleged inappropriate conduct.

“Dia Rianda loves the sport of swimming. This lawsuit is about protecting children and not about money. This is a family that contributed nearly half a million dollars toward the building of a swimming pool at Carmel High School, donated their time and money into building a swim program in Monterey County, and are major financial contributors to the USA Swimming Foundation. Dia just wants USA Swimming to get rid of the bad eggs that continue to sit at the top of its leadership structure. Until that is done, this kind of corruption will manifest itself over and over again, in which case kids will continue to be exposed to sexual abuse and harassment”, said Robert Allard, attorney for Rianda.

As a longtime USA Swimming coach, Rianda considered Schubert a longtime friend and mentor, even bringing the Hall of Fame coach to share his expertise with her swim programs in Salinas and Palma High School. Because of that relationship, the lawsuit claims that Schubert called Rianda to help him resurrect the GWSC program as Schubert was dealing with personal issues. Rianda, according to the lawsuit, uprooted to Orange County from Carmel, assumed control of operations and brought the program back to national prominence.

Jewell, according to the complaint, was originally hired at FAST as a result of Schubert working behind the scenes to take control of a team that he lost when he was the head national coach for USA Swimming. The complaint states that in order take power from FAST coach Sean Hutchison, Schubert surreptitiously hired a private investigator to film and/or photograph Hutchison engaging in alleged inappropriate sexual activities with female swimmers. Schubert, the lawsuit alleges, then used the incriminating evidence concerning Hutchison to leverage a $625,000 “confidential” settlement from USA Swimming, which at the time was reeling in the midst of a sex abuse scandal and was highly motivated to shield this information from public view.

In exchange for the hundreds of thousands of dollars that he received, Schubert, according to the lawsuit, promised that he would not publicly discuss any sexual abuse allegations against USA Swimming coaches, including Hutchison and another prominent USA Swimming coach named Rick Curl.

According to the complaint, Schubert confided to Rianda that, while he was head coach at the University of Texas, he learned that Curl had sexually abused one of his swimmers, Kelly Davis, over a number of years, leading her to develop an eating disorder and other emotional problems. As opposed to helping Davis and/or taking steps to ensure that Curl would not molest others in the future, Schubert decided to push Davis off the team in the interest of the other girls. Schubert confided in Rianda that he informed USA Swimming’s Executive Director Chuck Wielgus about Curl on multiple occasions but no action was ever taken, allowing Curl unfettered access to children for years until Davis came forward in the summer of 2012.

Swim Coach and Philanthropist Dia Rianda is suing Mark Schubert and the Golden West Swim Club (GWSC) for wrongful termination!

I met Dia Rianda on Facebook and she is an amazing philanthropic soul. When I was getting threatened by John Leonard she just laughed and called it out as a bluff and she was right. She spoke highly of Mark Schubert and convinced me he was a good guy. Now WBAL is stating that she is suing Mark Schubert and the Golden West Swim Club (GWSC) for wrongful termination.  

 in July of this year. The claim states that Schubert fired Rianda because of her persistence with alerting Schubert of continued inappropriate behavior by William Jewell, Schubert’s friend and assistant at the Golden West Swim Club (GWSC). 
Additionally, the complaint also alleges that Schubert used damaging information that he acquired about another coach - relating to improper contact with swimmers - as leverage to secure a lucrative settlement with USA Swimming; Schubert himself was dismissed by USA Swimming from his powerful role as National Coach in late 2010 following his behavior at the Pan Pacific Championships that year. Even further, the suit implies that USA Swimming yet again participated in a cover-up by quietly hushing up an inappropriate coach-student relationship by a rising star among the coaching ranks. 
In a flash of comedic and brutal irony, this lawsuit comes just days after the Colorado Springs-based entity of mendacity – otherwise known as USA Swimming – came out with a much publicized interview with the Associated Press in which the organization said that they’ve made tremendous progress in rooting out the abusive behavior in the sport. “ They (USA Swimming membership) know the complaints and sanctioning process works efficiently and effectively. I see that as a positive”, stated Susan Woessner, the Athlete Protection Officer of USA Swimming. 

When I read that USA Swimming press with Susan Woesner as "point man" for credibility I too was astonished. Two years before this self-congratulating press release was a governing body; (or more accurately Chuck Wielgus), sitting on a letter from a swimmer in San Jose complaining of sexual harassment. His reaction was to forward this email to another stating "Let's keep it between you and me" and nothing consequently nothing was done to help this poor girl. Wielgus was also sitting on the knowledge that Coach Rick Curl had signed a sex abuse settlement agreement with Kelly Davies Currin to keep his disturbing child rape of her a secret. Then, when confronted on TV about other sex abuse crimes this same Executive director refused to apologize to the victims and even got "testy" with the reporter for asking such a thing.

Thus, Susan Woesner is put forth as their only moral authority and states that USA Swimming has "made tremendous progress" in rooting out abusive coaches. In one sense she is correct. She took a very political organization and got it to finally do something but this organization is not the "paragon", or "gold standard" of child safety that one particular board member professes it to be.

This lawsuit that Dia has filed confirms that USA Swimming has miles to go and that this timed press release was nothing more than a planned distraction to deflect attention from what is going on inside the legal department and board room of USA Swimming.

For Dia Rianda to do this, a woman who is extraordinarily credible, generous and kind, it must be an extraordinarily important and heartbreaking issue for her to take up. Trust me, she doesn't need the money, so don't go there and in the comments section.

Note, I am not on Facebook anymore.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

USA SWIMMING CONVENTION: A coach can still date their swimmers if over 18-year-old!

Rule-16 or R-16, "Paragraph C" was voted down today at the USA Swimming Convention:

(c) Any sexual or romantic relationship between an adult athlete and any other member (excluding a pre-existing relationship between spouses or life partners) who has a coaching responsibility or other position of authority over such athlete, even if it is a consensual relationship between adults.  
Here is a link of all the Rules being submitted for approval: [Link

I am not impressed, and I am more than disappointed so I am going to use this disappointment to vocalize my opinion.

There is a legal term called undue influence. The easy definition is that when a person takes advantage of their position of power over another person. Think of it as a situation where free will to bargain is not possible or that the person beneath the presumed power of authority is essentially being controlled unwittingly, unknowingly or both.

Examples would include a priest exerting their will via "God" over a parishioner. A lawyer exerting their "legal expertise" over a dying client's last will and testament and finally a coach exerting their authority, complements, and promises of an Olympic future over a swimmer under their tutelage.

With that in mind, note this: The average USA Swimming member is a white-female between the ages of 12-to-14. Very few USA Swimming members walk onto a deck aged 18-years-old. This is not a professional environment filled with adults. The professional relationship between a coach/swimmer begins between or around the ages of 12-14-years-of-age. Thus, most USA Swimming coaches will have guided their swimmers from puberty and barely into adulthood. Consequently, and on that 18th birthday, I suspect some or a few unscrupulous coaches will have probably been grooming that preferred swimmer for that 18-year-old "due-date" and try to exert some undue influence over that swimmer.

How about that Mr. John Leonard, CEO of the American Swimming Coaches of America (ASCA) who married one of his swimmers and latter divorced?

It is my opinion that section of R-16 paragraph "C" failed to pass because of the lobbying from John Leonard and the fact that the majority of both ASCA and USA Swimming certified coaches are men. It would be interesting to do a survey on how the women coaches voted.

It is my advice to the Local Swim Clubs to make a de facto rule to protect your swimmers and your business from lawsuits by making "R-16 paragraph C" a rule of employment that each coach must sign and agree upon. You can still be sued once that swimmer is 18-years-old if they use an undue influence complaint and the person filing the complaint may be the very swimmer that was seduced.

Comments please!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Seagull steals GoPro Camera - Owner gets it back!

Seagull steals GoPro Camera - Owner gets it back! - No arrest was made; the bird flew the scene.

Originally found at

Swimmer pay a subject both in France and Australia this morning.

The cold war is over and gold medals for most nations have lost their political status. Mix that with the way swimming is conducted today and it is summarily no different than horse racing without the gambling. (Would you go to a horse race if you could not bet?)

Though swimming is a lifestyle it's fashion items are not applicable to average lifestyles. Only "resort wear" swimsuits can make an independent label rich and only Speedo is making any serious money from the sport.

Techsuits are no more, open water swims are more dangerous than cage fighting, and if you are a swimmer in Australia, you get more benefits being on welfare than you do working in the pool.

All of this is a crime and it is NOT a sad fact of about the too few resources the governing bodies are given. For instance, the average worker at Coca-Cola makes $58,630 in income. These employees generate $318,345 for the company each year in profit or about 5-times what Coke is paying them. See this link: [Link]

Now compare that ratio to USA Swimming's $30-million-a-year revenue or Swimming Australia's 20-million-dollar-a-year revenue to what their Olympic athletes are getting paid. Theses athletes are probably generating 25-times or more what their respective governing bodies are paying them.

Now, I am sure I am going to hear in the comments section that there are $300,000 "employees" or kids within the USA Swimming stable but note this fact, these children pay their way in mandatory donations and swim meet fees. They are the true sharecroppers in this sport that keeps it alive in the first place.

 From the Herald Sun
That means, for some people, you're 10 times better off getting a job at Swimming Australia than actually swimming for Australia.

These figures are only going to increase the pressure on invisible CEO Neil who somehow secured a five-year contract a month before the Olympics and before the true performance of the executive team was available in the annual report.

It was only this week that Olympic gold medallist Melanie Schlanger bemoaned her lowly $17,000 income for the coming year - and she won three medals in London to be a major success story of the meet.

Another swimmer said he was "better off on [welfare]..." 

Then there is Olympic silver medalist, Clement Lefert, for France who helped his country in the 4x200 IM relay, saying that he will give up swimming because he can't make a living from the sport.

From Reuters: 
"I want to have a job I like, not one I would not have chosen and I am fully aware that swimming will never make me free from want," he said. "I am not Camille Lacourt, Yannick Agnel or Laure Manaudou," he said, referring to the few French swimmers who clinched lucrative advertising contracts after they won world or Olympic titles. 
Manaudou, who was the 2004 Olympic 400m freestyle champion but failed to get into a final in London, gets 1.5 million euros ($1.93 million) a year from sponsors, according to daily newspaper Le Parisien. ..."  

 "... Ah, you hate to see another tired man lay down his hand like he was giving up the holy game of poker. ..." -  Leonard Cohen

Both articles bring up that the fact that "few are called but even fewer are chosen" when it comes to making a living out of swimming much like Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, or Laure Manadou, have done.

One can read between the lines here an in red, bold-face, type that it suggests that perhaps swimming is just not worth it especially when you look at the governing body salaries an the other possibilities that exist to feed your belly.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

USA Swimming Convention: A voting card for "PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO 2012 RULES AND REGULATIONS"

[Updated to correct typos]

I hope other bloggers come up with their own voting cards so as to stimulate debate.

I am submitting recommendations as to how a member of USA Swimming at the convention should vote at the convention this weekend. Overall I am very impressed with the rule submissions. I credit outside influences for such a refreshing change from previous years. Those outside influences include the lawyers, bloggers, critics and the media who are all behaving like a quality control unit for the organization. Some of these changes should have been implemented in...hmmm, 1992?

Here is a link to all the issues therein: [Link]

R-1 Measures:  MUST APPROVE!
R-2 Measures:  MUST APPROVE!
R-3 Measures:  MUST APPROVE!
In a world filled with 28-megapixel iPhone cameras, GoPro video equipment which are smaller than a deck of cards. Photo messaging on such sites as Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. We live in an environment where all it will take is just one towel to fall and your LSC and USA Swimming will have been instrumental in creating some seriously humiliating "child porn."
R-4 Measures:  MUST APPROVE!
Certification creates quality if the certification follows the American Standards Institute policy of separating the educational body from the certifying or testing body. 
R-5 Measures:  MUST APPROVE!
R-7 Measures:  MUST APPROVE!
R10 Measures:  MUST APPROVE!
This rule is very welcomed and should be memorized!
R12 Measures:  MUST APPROVE!
No mercenaries allowed. You must be a member if you represent the membership
R14 Measures:   MUST APPROVE!
R15 Measures:   MUST APPROVE!
The boys pick on the weakest, the girls gossip about the strongest. A psychologist told me that the scars from each form of bullying last a lifetime. Swimming should be fun and not an emotionally stressful experience. Hazing, bullying, and gossiping has got to go.
R16 Measures:  MUST APPROVE!
Loving this proposal and I bet John Leonard is not! - Didn't he marry and divorce one of his swimmers?
R17 Measures:  MUST APPROVE!
R18 Measures:  MUST APPROVE!
R19 Measures:  MUST APPROVE!
R20 Measures:  MUST APPROVE!

R21 Measures:  VOTE NO!

Rule 503.7 - 504.7 Opinion: No officer should be afforded a 2/3s vote to be "voted of the island" or fired for doing a bad job in two separate voting sessions. That smells of cronyism thereby making it impossible for human resources or the  board of directors to govern properly.  
Rules and laws are always enacted to solve a problem. These rules sound like someone does not want to get fired, or someone wants to keep their job for life. 
Please see this post and comment sections for more  points of view on this topic: [Link]


R23 Measures:  VOTE NO!
It gives the President of USA swimming too much power. Our National Governing Bodies (NGBs) are political in nature and allowing the President to appoint individuals to a 4-year run versus having them voted in worries me that the appointments will be political in nature. Members to the Credential Election Committee should all be voted in rather than appointed  for this organization has a history of "circling the wagons" and protecting their own. Seriously! Everett Uchiyama comes to mind.
R24 Measures:  MUST APPROVE!
R25 Measures:  MUST APPROVE!
A refreshing measure indeed that gets LSCs truly involved in making this the best sport ever.

Monday, September 10, 2012

USA Swimming proposed rule change: It looks like Chuck Wielgus and the officers at USA Swimming are angling to have a job designated for life!

This weekend USA Swimming is going to have a convention and they will be voting on some new rules.

If one of those rules is enacted, 503.7 REMOVAL OF OFFICERS or line number 365 in the document linked below, this rule would make it nearly impossible to replace any officer within USA Swimming without a  2/3s-vote of the entire voting membership of the USA Swimming Board of Directors. Then it goes even further. If the vote was mustered to remove the officer, the officer who was voted out gets to have a Board of Review hearing and then it would take another vote with a 2/3s-vote requirement to finally remove the offending officer.

The only officer I can name at USA Swimming is the Chief Executive Officer and his name is Chuck Wielgus. Apparently he wants to game the rules to avoid any dismissal attempt EVER!

Here is the rule as described:
503.7 Removal of Officers. Any elected or appointed officer of USA Swimming who has failed to attend to his or her official duties or responsibilities or has done so improperly, or who would be subject to penalty for any of the reasons set forth in Article 404.1.3 of the USA Swimming Rules and Regulations, may be removed from office by the National Board of Review pursuant to Part Four of the USA Swimming Rules and Regulations, in an action authorized by a two-thirds (2/3rds) vote of the entire voting membership of the Board of Directors.

Any appeal of the Decision of the National Board of Review would be heard by the Board of Directors as a whole (not by a panel thereof) and any decision of the Board of Directors in favor of removal of an Officer would require a two-thirds (2/3rds) vote of the entire voting membership of the Board of Directors. 

The purpose of a Board of Directors from Professor Steward Hamilton from

"... The Scots have a saying that “the fish rots from the head”, and so it is with companies. The prime function of the board is to provide oversight and guidance, to monitor the CEO’s and senior management’s actions and to protect the interests of the shareholders. As part of this, they must be prepared to challenge and hold accountable the CEO and remove him if he fails to discharge his duties adequately. This they are less likely to do if they are financially beholden to the company, or are family members or cronies. [...]

An essential characteristic of a non-executive director must be independence of mind, which needs to be coupled with a willingness to walk away if dissatisfied. Few companies enjoy explaining to the outside world why a non-executive director has resigned. ..."


503.7 Removal of Officers as written appears to be a motion that will steal both purpose and power from the USA Swimming Board of Directors thereby making their guidance both ineffectual and lazy. The board members are the collective mind of USA Swimming and if more than 50%, 55% or 60% of Board of Directors are not in agreement with the direction the CEO is taking them, then it is the CEO's responsibility to either follow their directions or get lost.

Ask yourself this: Why does that number have to be 66% to remove an officer at USA Swimming? Why is so important for the USA Swimming Board of Director to give up any power at all? Does it take more than 51% of them to make a credible decision? The officers at USA Swimming think so and I would like to hear their argument why these officers have immunity whereas no other employee does not.

Those that will suffer the most in the long run with be the kids, the athletes and the program. The board members are the collective mind of USA Swimming and they are the veto mechanism that prevents arrogant abuse of power. I hope they don't forfeit that right.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

ASCA: The John Leonard Lawsuit Threat Revisited One Year Later!

This post is important today because of the potential tax implications for coaches who wrote-off any donations to the American Swim Coaches of America (ASCA) on their taxes.

About a year ago I linked to a blogpost that Sarah Gjerstad had written about a political fight she was having with a person named George Block. Block happens to be an associate of John Leonard and consequently John Leonard got dragged into her fight.

This political fight played out on this blog with John Leonard  regarding accusations that ASCA's corporate status was not in order. In fact it was classified as terminated  inactive in the corporation home state.

Here is the to the blog post that started it all: [Link] - For brevity here is a snippet of the allegation Sarah made:

"... As I look closer at this, I learn that a more ubiquitous name in swimming is John Leonard. Many organizations fall under the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA), with John Leonard as Executive Director, and George Block as an officer.

ASCA is listed as a foreign corporation in Florida. Foreign, in corporation lingo, means not incorporated in the state. I originally had images of a corporation concealing their finances in Grand Cayman. It turns out John Leonard and George Block have an even better deal. Their annual reports to Florida state they are incorporated in Iowa. I checked the Iowa department of state. John Leonard registered in Iowa in 1968 but was terminated labeled inactive in 1992 for failure to file reports.  [i.e Leonard let his corporation status lapse for many years and it was declared dead]

ASCA is not a legitimate corporation so there is no government oversight into their finances. It is not registered as an assumed name in Bexar County, and it is unlikely to be registered in any county.

This is a fictitious entity.

I confirmed ASCA status on Iowa's website and verbally with the Iowa department of state. ASCA, SwimAmerica, WSA, and possibly several other business entities seem to be doing business fraudulently. ..."

John Leonard was livid over this post and sent poorly typed and numerous threats to both Sarah and myself that quickly degraded into cursing and lawsuit threats. When I was originally threatened I asked him what specifically was the error he felt I made. This just enraged him further See the full exchange here which includes a detailed a synopsis, his infamous emails, links, screenshots and quotes illustrating Sarah's evidence: [Link]

Here is a snippet of how he wanted to resolve this with us:

No, i told you what i want. Period.

No bullshit, no lengthy diatrides, [sic] no dancing. You are dead wrong, you slandered the ASCA and myself among others, and there are ZERO issues with ASCA or SwimAmerica and the IRS or State of Florida, or anyone other entity.

YOU PUBLISHED SLANDER. Get that through your head. We don't owe you explanations or answers. You owe US an apology and acknowledgement as i indicated previously. IF you don't, i will take this to court and you can tell the judge how you shouted foul first and THEN decided you didn't know what you were doing. Good luck with that.

by 6 PM today. No more communications from me to you.

John Leonard

Now, let's move forward to February, 2012. John Leonard finds himself in a video deposition
regarding a sex abuse lawsuit that USA Swimming is fighting. He is asked directly about Sarah  Gjerstad's allegation regarding sloppy corporate administration and he is forced, by virtue of being under oath, to admit that Sarah was correct all along.

Here is the transcript of his exchange regarding if ASCA as a legitimate corporation or non-profit:

Q. Okay. Let me show you a final set of documents that we'll mark as Exhibit 272.

(The document was marked Plaintiff's Exhibit Number 272 for identification.)

John Leonard: I have read this.

Q. Does this refresh your memory as to the exchange you had with Sarah? It's spelledG-j-e-r-s-t-a-d.

John Leonard: It does.

Question: Would you please turn to the third page of this exhibit. Line Item 3 states, quote, "The ASCA is a 501-C6 corporation originally incorporated in Iowa and now duly registered for many years" --

John Leonard: I'm sorry. I'm on the wrong page.

Q. Sure. It's my fault because I said third page. I meant fourth. Let's try this again. Would you please turn to Page 4 of this exhibit.

John Leonard: Yeah.

Q. The third line item, quote, "The ASCA is a 501-C6 corporation originally incorporated in Iowa and now duly registered for many years with the Florida Department of Corporations with all reports and status active and complete," end quote. Do you see that?

John Leonard: Yes.

Q. Was it an accurate statement?

John Leonard: At the time, yes.

Q. Was as of that time ASCA duly registered for many years with the Florida Department of Corporations?

John Leonard: Yes.

Q. At, I'm sorry. Earlier I thought we talked talk about the fact that you realized at some point in time that the non-profit status of ASCA as incorporated in Iowa was suspended. Is that accurate?

John Leonard: That's not what I said.

Q. What did you say earlier, sir?

John Leonard: I said that what I discovered through Ms. Gjerstad's comments was, Ms. Gjerstad had a complete misconnection of SwimAmerica, ASCA. She didn't know that something called the Council existed. Okay? And she had all this jumbled up in a complete mess. The thing she had correct -- and she is the only one who did -- was the fact that our original incorporation in Iowa had been suspended. And I did not know that until I went back stimulated by Ms. Gjerstad to discover that there was the problem, and then I went back through the State of Iowa to find out that notices had been sent to Mr. Helmick's office, and then we went ahead about correcting that problem.

[NOTE: It was not suspended, it was labeled inactive see the links above. If you read his answer he rambles through the first three sentences till he finally gives up the exact answer after being asked roughly three times or so. Sarah Gjerstad's accusations that John Leonard's corporate filings were not in order was absolutely correct.

Q. So as of the time you wrote this, which was May 26, 2011, is it true that ASCA, American Swim Coaches Association, was a 501(c)6 corporation duly registered for many years?

[MR. SHEPPARD: God bless you. ... [Someone must have sneezed T.A]

Q. Is it true as of the time you wrote this document, May 26, 2011, that the American Swim Coaches Association was a 501(c)6 corporation duly registered for many years with the Florida Department of Corporations?

John Leonard:  Well, you probably know more about this in terms of legalities than I do. We filed all our reports as required by the State of Florida for many years. My understanding when I took the job was that's what we had to do, was file with the State of Florida. I knew nothing about this Iowa thing. The whole Iowa thing is, was beyond me. I did not know that's where we incorporated or we had any obligation to the State of Iowa at that point until Ms. Gjerstad pointed out that that was where we were originally incorporated, et cetera. And then I had to go back to the State of Iowa and have ourselves reinstated.

Q. Did you ever issue an apology to Ms. Gjerstad for threatening her with malicious slander?
John Leonard: No. Because she was essentially totally incorrect on every other aspect of what she had to say about us. 
Q. What was driving Ms. Gjerstad to look into the issue, if you know? 
John Leonard: You would have to ask Ms. Gjerstad.

So why is this blogpost important? - If the ASCA corporation filings were labeled terminated inactive isn't it a reasonable question to ask what the status of his non-profit is? I do have a copy of ASCA's Form 990 for 2009 and the IRS accepted it so they were definitely sold then but what about 2010 or moving through this current year? If I was sending in a donation along with a certification a check I would want to make sure his filings were in order but a bigger question is, does USA Swimming care?

In 2009 this non-profit grossed $840,086. The salaries paid out come in at $501,061 with John Leonard taking in $119,335 of that. Another $31,953 was paid out for occupancy which I assume is either rent or mortgage.  Another $66,646 going to office expenses and one must wonder why the American Swimming Coaches Association is spending 80%-plus of it's gross proceeds just to open it's doors. Wait till you see what they paid out in travel expenses

Here is a Link to their 2009 Form 990: [Link]

Open Water: Trent Grimsey has set a new record for an unassisted solo crossing of the English Channel crossing!

Swimming 19-miles-or-so in under 7-hours, Trent Grimsey may be the final record holder if channel crossings become disallowed.

[Reference Link]

From News.Com.AU
From the "Stoychev set the bar incredibly high, being the only person ever to swim the Channel in under seven hours, but having beaten him recently to become No.1 on the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix Circuit, I knew he wasn't invincible and that this record could be beaten. 

Dutch princess swims in Amsterdam canal in an open water tour.

The Daily Reporter provides two images with the second image in the set illustrating the water quality of the Amsterdam canals. I for one would not swim in them and the public there should insist on better.

The Netherlands' Princess Maxima has joined a thousand other swimmers braving a two-kilometer tour of Amsterdam's ancient canals to raise money for charity.  

MAKE MAGAZINE: How Cindy made a pair of prescription goggles for $12.00

From Make Magazine:

Cindy came up with this simple and great idea to make her own prescription goggles for only $12 (the cost of the goggles), saving $$ compared to buying a pair from the optometrist or dive shop. If you have an old pair of prescription glasses, you can probably make a pair of these for cheap, and in only a few minutes.


Saturday, September 08, 2012

Open water swimming: A rule of thumb for the prevention of Hypothermia and Hyperthermia!

Open water swimming needs a "rule of thumb" or a temperature benchmark that can be easily remembered.

There are so many variables to determine what are safe open water conditions. So, to avoid either hypothermia and hypothermia, swimmers and event directors may want to consider a "one size fits all" approach. Thus, I am going to suggest benchmarks that can be easily remembered and I need guidance. ANy Science guys out there would could be greatly helpful.

I checked out several kayak forums, news groups and info sites regarding hypothermia and they have a "rule of thumb" measurement to determine what makes for safe kayaking.

From the New River Campground
"... One of the biggest risks of river rafting is hypothermia. For dealing with this the golden rule of air and water temperature was developed. The rule is simple, just add the air temperature and the water temperature to get the combined temperature. If the combined water plus air temperature is less than 120, wet or dry suits are recommended. If the combined temperatures are below 100 degrees, wet or dry suits should be required. Here at New River Campground Canoeing and Kayaking we believe in following this rule, and will require you to have a wet or dry suit if you wish to go on the river when the combined temps are below 100 degrees. .." 

The "rule of thumb" above leaves the air-temp and humidity out of the equation but they seem pretty reliable as a benchmark from an anecdotal point of view.

There are benchmarks for air-temps too. For instance, today in a suburb of Los Angeles where I live the air temp today will be 93-degrees with 47% humidity. Per the chart above that is border line danger for the Heat Index tells us that it will feel like 103-degrees. Note, extreme caution per the chart above is when the Heat Index reaches 91-degrees.

When Fran Crippen died in Abu Dabai, Crippen told his coach, Richard Shoulberg, before the race that the air temp was 100-degrees and that the water temp was 87-degrees. [Link]

See the chart above, 100-degrees as an air-temp is bordering upon Extreme-Caution. Even the water temperature if converted to an air-temp with 0% humidity was nearing the Extreme Caution zone. Consequently, all the coaches on the beach and all the swimmers in the water that day had no idea what they doing to themselves. The trouble was that all of the data was available but all of the above were ignorant to the dangers.

Then, a year later a near sequel in Shanghai with near fatal consequences occurred...

From Swimming World:

FINA World Championships, Open Water: Petar Stoychev, Ana Marcela Cunha Win Controversy-Marred 25K Races 
"... This all takes place against the backdrop of the death of Fran Crippen at the UAE stop of the FINA Open Water 10K World Cup less than a year ago in October 2010. Calls for rules to enhance athlete safety were met with a slew of recommendations from two separate commissions (FINA, USA Swimming), which included a recommended maximum temperature of [88-degrees Fahrenheit.] Again, these recommendations have yet to be codified into the rule books. 
Throughout the men's race, 10 more swimmers did not finish the race including an open water veteran like Italy's Valerio Cleri. For the women, four more swimmers did not finish the course including USA's Claire Thompson. Thompson ignored USA Swimming's suggestion that the U.S. not participate in the event, and the team had to let her race due to the Amateur Sports Act. ..."

What frustrates me is that the press nor I paid attention to the air temps at Shanghai. The average temps the time of year when the race was conducted is around 95-degrees. With one fatal race behind us and a second potentially fatal one in Shanghai, it's demonstrable that a combined air-and-water-temp over 185-degrees has proven both fatal and near-fatal.

SO where do we go with this and what number as a benchmark do we come up with? Here is what I suggest by taking the New River Campground quoted above and their benchmark as a possible ratio:

New River Campground kayaking Model:
  1. Air-temp + Water-temp = 100  (Wetsuits or drysuits are mandatory)
  2. Air-temp + Water-temp = 120  (Wetsuits or drysuits recommended)

Open water swimming suggested model:
  1. Air-temp Heat Index + Water Temp = 100  (Wetsuits mandatory)
  2. Air-temp Heat Index + Water Temp = 120  (Wetsuits recommended)
  3. Air-temp Heat Index + Water Temp = 140  (Choice of swimming attire)
  4. Air-temp Heat Index + Water Temp = 170  (DO NOT RACE)

To simplify even more: 100-degree to cold to swim, 170 to hot!

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Swimmer builds a LED readout timer for early morning swims.

A very resourceful swimmer named Doug built himself an LED readout timer since he can't read the old-school analog clock on the wall during his 6:00 AM workout. In fact he can't read read the clock for 6-months out of the year and that was indeed a problem.

So, what does he do? He builds his own timer and provides his schematics online for any other industrious swimmers; (or higher forms of life), that that can build such things. It is also water proof!

From DougDIY
I swim with a triathlete group in an outdoor pool at 6AM three days a week. For half the year I can see stars when I start swimming. What I can’t see in the dark is the analog clock to check my pace on 100 meter laps.

To solve this problem I designed and built a portable digital timer with LED display. The 4-digit 7-segment display is large enough to see from 10 feet away so I can read it without stopping. The timer is encased in a transparent and waterproof polycarbonate tube so that I don’t have to worry about it getting wet or falling in the pool.


Doug, you engineer like a "boss" and you have made the "swimming universe" a better place. Though I am too incompetent to build something like this. Perhaps you could sell them?

Prince Harry visits Paralympic swimmers and raises money for them too !

Say what you like about the Prince but he apparently likes swimmers,  cares about the disabled and supports charities that assist them.

He is good with me now and he should be with you too once you read this...

From the Examiner:
In truth, the prince wore a shirt over jeans: “Metro UK” clarified that the swimming shirt was actually an adidas Front Line to Start Line shirt, sold to raise money for injured service personnel entering competitive sport. The goalball shirt was official kit.

The public will likely forget about Prince Harry's antics much sooner than the media. Metro UK's reporting was typical of British media that day, stating that Prince Harry was surrounded by women at a pool party.


Go read it now and look at the slide show.

Thank you world for visiting the SCAQ blog in August!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Rebuttal to the Swimming World Magazine article: "Right or Wrong, Doping Questions about Ye Shiwen Need to Be Asked..."

[UPDATE:  Fixed some horrible grammatical errors and added a few more flourishes to resonate some points of view.]

The premise of the article is that the infamous leader of the American Swimming Coaches Association, John Leonard, was justified in questioning Ye Shiwen's gold medal  performance as "suspicious" and that it should be questioned because she is Chinese and that her times were so good.

Well, her performance shouldn't be questioned, and if it were to be questioned, it should be done by the professionals at the testing labs and not done rhetorically to a global news organization.

Here is how Mr. Rutemiller words it:
"... China has a long history of drug issues. More than 40 Chinese swimmers tested positive for steroids in the 1990s. It was all brought to light in 1998 when Australian customs in Sydney discovered human growth hormone (HGH) in the baggage of swimmer Yuan Yuan. Six days later at the World Championships in Perth, tests showed the presence of a banned diuretic masking agent called triamterene in the urine samples of four Chinese female swimmers.

In June of this year, China removed a 16-year-old swimmer from its team for having erythropoietin (EPO) in her system. EPO enhances both VO2 max (one's ability to intake oxygen) and helps the back half of a swimmer's race. ..." 

After reading the article I did a little research on nations that dope and what surprised me was the sordid past that our very own USOC has in regards to covering up positive tests in American athletes.

Both John Leonard and Brent Rutemiller are obviously uninformed as to how bad doping continues to be within the United States. One could even point a finger at  Lance Armstrong, Marion Jones and Carl Lewis as evidence as to how bad it is.

Moving forward, the premise they both used to justify Ye Shiwen's performance could easily be turned on it's head and subsequently used to question every great performance by an American athlete for the past 30-years. From Mark Spitz to Michael Phelps from Dona De Varona to Missy Franklin. We have had over 100-positive test swept under the rug and that is despicable.

From SCOTT M. REID, WILLIAM HEISEL and TONY SAAVEDRA The Orange County Register:

"... The U.S. Olympic Committee and American sport federations for more than a decade allowed athletes who failed drug tests in qualifying events to compete in the Olympic Games and other world-class competitions.

The Orange County Register reviewed more than 10,000 pages of confidential documents from 1988 to 2000 that show for the first time how the U.S. Olympic movement failed to deal with its own doping issues and kept test results a secret while accusing other countries of failing to control drug use in athletics.

The documents reveal more than 100 cases in which athletes failed tests that would have disqualified them at the Olympics but were ruled "inadvertent use" by U.S. officials.


Then I found this article from Scott Reid in 2009 at the OC Register:

LOS ANGELES - The U.S. Olympic Committee, concerned about the potential embarrassment of a doping scandal involving American athletes at the 1984 Summer Olympic Games, conducted an informal drug testing program in the months leading up to the Los Angeles Games that allowed Olympic-caliber athletes testing positive for banned substances to escape sanctions, according to documents obtained by The Orange County Register and interviews with three officials involved with the program. At least 34 U.S. track and field athletes either tested positive or had possible positive tests during six weeks of informal testing by USOC in the spring of 1984, according to confidential USOC memos. None of the athletes was sanctioned or lost eligibility, according to USOC documents and interviews.


John Leonard as usual is "throwing stones" in his own "glass house."

Final note,Questioning swimming OUT LOUD instead of letting the grown-ups or the professionals in the lab-coats do so hurts the sport more than it helps it. It is called killing the category. The rhetorical questions Leonard put forth did nothing to encourage or enhance the Olympic games or the spirit therein but rather created strife, finger pointing, and accomplished nothing but ill will and acrimony!

Question: How does China receive their Olympians? - The same way the ancient Greeks did!

One could argue that western civilization which includes northern Africa or the Mediterranean basin as a whole was refined by the Greeks and solidified by the Romans. The cultural values regarding sports and achievement are still being practiced some 3,000 years later.

So how do the Chinese treat their Olympians?

From the Chicago Tribune:
Chinese swimmers Sun Yang and Ye Shiwen both received apartments worth 3 million yuan ($472,600) from a company in their hometown of Hangzhou, according to the China Daily.

Hangzhou also plans to build statues for the swimmers to honor their efforts at the Olympics.

Double gold medalist Sun, who broke the men's 1,500 meters world record, was named "Zhejiang Model Worker" and given 2.6 million yuan, state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

Ye, who also won two gold medals in London, received the same title as well as 1.8 million yuan.


And how did the ancient Greeks treat their Olympians:
"... Successful contestants were commonly treated like heroes ever after the Olympics. They didn’t only get free meals, cash and tax breaks once they had returned to their home cities, but they were also considered leaders of local communities, memorialized in statues and victory odes. Along with most respectable citizens they could expect to be given special places in the theatre and invitations to different banquets..." 

To my Chinese readers, I chose this Chinese Republic flag circa 1925 because of the fish which I found charming and quite reminiscent of what great swimmers your country is producing today.