Wednesday, November 28, 2012

FINA, Condemn this Guinness world record!


From SwimSwam
Jordie Proffitt, a former college swimmer who swam two years at Alabama before transferring to USC in 2003, has broken the World Record for a 50-meter swim underwater in a 25 meter course, according to the Henderson, Kentucky newspaper the Gleaner.


We are still waiting for an autopsy report on Louis Lowenthal's tragic death at an NBAC practice and today I find out that Guinness has a world record for a 50-meter under water swim. Some like myself have suggested Lowenthal's death may have been due to a hypoxic training set and now a hypoxic stunt is worthy world record.

The majority of people that are competitive swimmers are 18-years-old and way younger. Even FINA was bright enough to make a 15-meter underwater rule to avoid senseless tragedies that could ensue during a race. (Was it David Berkoff that brought us this style of swimming?)

I suggest that FINA should aggressively encourage Guinness to remove this event record from their books and any attempts to break it should receive no acknowledgement whatsoever.

[UPDATE - I suggest SwimSwam avoid coverage of events like this well.]

Whales approach father and daughter while they sit in their canoe!

Father and daughter get lucky enough to be investigated by two humpback whales while canoeing presumably down under. The daughter gets a bits histrionic; (she is young), and uses some questionable language

I suspect most readers of this blog would have jumped in and rubbed their skin. (I would have.)  In Los Angeles and in Baja, California I hear the California gray whales like to be touched and will actually pull up to whale watching boats with their young so as to to rubbed. (Dolphins don't like it.)

Concussion INC: EXCLUSIVE: Notre Dame Athletic Director Appears to Admit Advising USA Swimming in Sex Abuse Cases

Our sports industrial complex is just plain sick and broken. Professional sports look the other way when it comes to doping and college sports look the other way when a football player commits a crime. In Notre Dame's case, they looked the other way when a star player is accused of rape and the victim who could find no justice, commits suicide.

From Concussion Inc
"... Concussion has learned that the athletic director at the University of Notre Dame — currently embroiled in controversy over an alleged 2010 rape by a football player who is still on the nation’s top-ranked college team — advised USA Swimming on how to handle allegations of coach sex abuse in his previous capacity as a well-connected sports industry lawyer.

This information about athletic director Jack Swarbrick surfaces just as the new issue of Sports Illustrated, in an article by writer Tim Layden, revisits the story of 19-year-old Lizzy Seeberg, who committed suicide in Indiana in September 2010, a little more than a week after she said she was raped by the Notre Dame player; the alleged perpetrator escaped both criminal charges and campus disciplinary measures.

The Sports Illustrated story expands coverage initiated in the fall of 2010 by the Chicago Tribune and broadened this year by the National Catholic Reporter (the latter through the work of a prominent Washington Post reporter). The full background is in our post yesterday. ..."

So, how do you like that part where USA Swimming gets pointers on how to how cover their bums by a guy who in present time has been accused of covering up an alleged rape at Notre Dame?

And how about that task force USA Swimming may or may not have conducted. USA Swimming Board member David Berkoff brags how he founded this sexual abuse committee in emails but under oath it's nothing but an informal gathering. See this post regarding Berkoff's blustering and subsequent back off when finally under placed oath: [Link]

Monday, November 26, 2012

The IOC supports President supports doubling doping suspensions to 4-years

If the proposal passes and I suspect it will, a doping violation no matter what the context means you will miss an an Olympic games.

From The Washington Post:
"AMSTERDAM — IOC President Jacques Rogge supports proposals to double the length of doping bans to four years as a way of keeping drug cheats out of the Olympics.

The World Anti-Doping Agency is planning to raise the penalty from two to four years for serious drug violations in the next version of the global anti-doping code, which comes up for approval next year and goes into effect in 2015. ..." 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Georgina Hope "Gina" Rinehart is the richest woman in the world - She will be donating $10.5-million dollars to Australian Swimming

Australian Gina Rinehart is a billionaire; a natural resource mining billionaire and along with that she is the most wealthiest woman in the world as well.

Gina is no single-digit billionaire like Donald Trump who told Forbes Magazine he is worth a solid $7-billion. If you multiplied Donald Trump by ten you would still miss the mark. BRW, an Australian business magazine has predicted that her wealth will surge to $100-billion US. She is so powerful a woman in Australia that she actually has a mountain range named after her in the western part of the continent.

When you are a billionaire you have to measure your words but Gina Rinehart is not that kind of gal! She recently got into some hot water when she compared the Australian Olympic team; (an obvious reference to the swimming portion), to the economic competitiveness of Australian business:

Her quote: 
"...23 August 2012, Rinehart expressed concern for Australia's economic competitiveness noting how "Indeed if we competed in the Olympic Games as sluggishly as we compete economically, there would be an outcry." ... "Furthermore, Africans want to work and its workers are willing to work for less than two dollars a day. Such statistics make me worry for this country's future. ..."

To be fair to Rinehart she was not suggesting that Australian miners get paid $2.00 a day but rather that the government should consider what high wages would mean for resource exports.

Now, what about that Australian Olympic team she referenced? Enter her new Australian Swimming friends - From AFP News:

"... Australian mining billionaire Gina Rinehart on Friday said she would splash out Aus$10 million (US$10.4 million) to support the country's leading swimmers, who are reeling from a poor Olympic campaign. 
The announcement by Rinehart's Georgina Hope Foundation comes a day after Swimming Australia chief Kevin Neil quit his post in the wake of the team's disappointing showing in London -- it's worst Olympic meet in two decades. 
"The foundation will focus on providing subsistence funding, squad funding, scholarship funding and performance funding," foundation chairman Rinehart said in a statement issued by Swimming Australia. ..." 

Australian swimming has a very good friend right now, a friend who makes about $2-million-bucks-an-hour each and every hour of the day. (No really, she makes that much!) This is very good news for Swimming Australia but very sad for Australia itself.

In a country that owns a complete continent, so large that if "terraformed" it could feed the entire bottom hemisphere of this planet, it makes no logical sense for Australia to allow that much mining product to be exported. It's a sad day for Australia when the continent produces the richest person on earth but that woman got that rich by selling minerals beneath the citizens feet and the feet of their future generations as well.

Japan is a small nation on an island that probably has the same or less land mass than California yet it is the number two economy in the world. They got that way by selling ideas not resources.

Ideas are infinite resources are not.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Mens' fashion model Casey Legler grew-up swimming competitively in her native France even qualifying for the Olympic games at 18-years-of-age

[UPDATE: I found Casey Legler 1996 Atlanta Games results]

That's right, Casey Legler is a woman making her living as a mens fashion model. They have a fashion shot of her at the and if you want to see how convincing she is at working those mens fashions, click the link below.

Casey Legler swam for France in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games but I have no stats on how she did. In the 50-meter free she tied for 29th-place with Laura Nicholls of Canada. In the 400m-free relay the French team placed 10th. [Link]

Legler is 35-years-old but as a male model she looks like a 19-year-old boy in my opinion. (I hope she takes that as a compliment? I get enough hate mail.)

From The Gloss:
“... I understand signifiers. We’re social creatures and we have a physical language of communicating with each other. But it would be a really beautiful thing if we could all just wear what we wanted, without it meaning something. ...” 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

This I Learned: The "Make A Splash Foundation" has received funding from the US Congress.

I was practicing search strings options at Google and while searching the site I bumped into budgetary earmarks for USA Swimming's Make a Splash Foundation.  Who knew that the '...Splash Foundation received government money? I certainly didn't.

Earmarks are budget designations which promise funds to various projects or services. In just one search I found nearly $1,000,000 or more earmarked for both New Jersey and Chicago Make a Splash Foundation programs. That's like having each member of USA Swimming, all 300,000-plus kids, donating $3.00-to-$5.00 each.

Congressman Rothman of New Jersey in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010: USA Swimming Foundation Make-a-Splash Program to provide at-risk youth with after school programs in Berkley Heights, $400,000 
Congressman Jesse L. Jackson Jr - Chicago Youth Development program: The USA Swimming Foundation seeks funding to expand the City of Chicago to provide after-school swim lessons to at-risk students. The program would reduce drowning which is disproportionate among African-American and Hispanic youth and also provides a positive activity during a time that is often unsupervised. $450,000 

Rep Congressman Albio Sires - New Jersey since November Project Title: New Jersey Make a Splash Program - Recipient: USA Swimming Foundation The funding would be used to provide after-school recreational programming for inner city, lower income youth in New Jersey. The USA Swimming Foundation would develop and implement a quality, multi-level learn-to-swim Make a Splash program in Ashbury Park, Bayonne, Jersey City, Newark and Plainfield, New Jersey.  $456,000 

So, I then wondered how they arranged such a windfall earmark from the US Government. It turns out USA Swimming also hired a lobbying firm in 2010 by the name FaegreBD Consulting (formerly B&D Consulting). This firm charged USA Swimming $27,000 and set four lobbyist lose to lobby the Center for Disease Control for a piece of their budgetary pie. That's how I read it, your mileage may vary.


What does this all mean? Well, I am surprised that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) paid for stuff like this when they could just go straight to the city governments themselves and work out the best programs needed right there at the pool deck level. Why give the money to a intermediary in a town called Colorado Springs to dole out to cities in New Jersey and Chicago?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

STUDY: Children who learn how to swim at a young age are reaching many developmental milestones earlier than the norm.

Though the researchers of the study insist that the results are rock solid, I am skeptical. The study was conducted by Australian and New Zealand researchers whose cultures are obsessed with both swimming and the sea. Both nations, who sport small populations have produced not only the best swimmers and surfers per capita on the planet but they have produced the best sailors the world has ever known. Thus I believe that the study should have included other activities like dancing, arts and crafts, t-ball, etc. etc. 

From Science Daily:
Hence, it's my belief that stimulating a toddler with any sort of exercise plan that involves organization and reward will exact the same result.
 Researchers from the Griffith Institute for Educational Research surveyed parents of 7,000 under-fives from Australia, New Zealand and the US over three years.

A further 180 children aged 3, 4 and 5 years have been involved in intensive testing, making it the world's most comprehensive study into early-years swimming. Lead researcher Professor Robyn Jorgensen says the study shows young children who participate in early-years swimming achieve a wide range of skills earlier than the normal population.

"Many of these skills are those that help young children into the transition into formal learning contexts such as pre-school or school. 

A free-diver and dog escorted out of Matheson Bay in New Zealand by killer whales!

Five days old but quite a site to see. Definitely denotes intelligence on the part of the orcas. The whales could have easily chomped each in two but rather took the time to get them out of the water in a gentle manner.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Never, Ever Give Up. Arthur's Inspirational Transformation!

I am more impressed in people like this than I am world record holders. I have been following arthur for a little while and this is just so inspiring to see. In recent videos he is even doing better!

So, arthur was a soldier who served in Iraq as a paratrooper. During the course of his work in Iraq he acquired several debilitating injuries that left him in braces, forearm crutches, and subsequent obesity as a result of an inability to exercise.

Doctors tell him he's pretty banged up and will have to do with what he has. So Arthur seeks out yoga instructors who are probably too frightened to work with him and turn him away. In desperation he turns to a former wrestling star who has become a yogi for help. (I kid you not. imagine Master Po of the TV show Kung Fu as a professional wrestler.) The transformation here is simply inspiring.

The swimmer I know that cross train by doing yoga are really flexible. I am going to give it a try.

Video: Camille Muffat New World record 800 Freestyle 8:01.06 SCM

"...Nobody does it better, Makes me feel sad for the rest. Nobody does it half as good as you. Baby, you're the best...."

2012 Consumer Attorney of the Year finalist B. Robert Allard - Call him the ethics police for USA Swimming!

I feel like pushing some buttons today. Why do I like Attorney, Robert Allard? He has essentially been the "ethics police" for USA Swimming ever since the Andy King scandal broke. It is demonstrable before both god and the courts that USA Swimming can't police themselves. Yes, demonstrable and documented. USA Swimming can't police themselves and it takes the courts the time and effort to fine them and scold them for all their screw-ups and their intentional withholding of evidence within the discovery process:

From Beyond Chron:
"... Last fall, in the case involving “Jane Doe,” a 15-year-old rape victim of the heinous serial sex offender-coach Andy King – now doing a 40-year prison term on counts dating back a quarter of a century – USA Swimming lost an appeal of a $5,250 sanction imposed by Judge Mark Pierce for rope-a-dope responses in the discovery process. Jane Doe then was offered, and accepted, a monetary settlement. With the condition that the settlement be sealed from public view: the favorite terms of swimming’s deniers and cover-up artists, which include USA Swimming’s Barbados-based insurance carrier, a wholly-owned subsidiary.

Obviously, a $5,250 fine for withholding relevant discovery documents won’t change much. Allard estimates that there have been sanctions totaling around $25,000 against USA Swimming in the half-dozen cases in which he has been involved so far. That’s taxicab money for long-time executive director Chuck Wielgus’s $20-million-a-year operation. ..."


Sealed settlements is a euphemism for "secret deal" don't you think?

Every lawsuit Allard files in the name of an abuse victim means USA Swimming tightens up it's standards not because it wants to but because it has to and thereby is forced to do a better job. His lawsuit are not the frivolous sort where the accuser states that the "McDonald's-coffee-was-too-hot" but rather they are usually filed against specific individuals which means that an assailant and an underage victim were involved

There would be no need for an attorney to be a quality control "mercenary" if USA Swimming didn't retain certain executives in their ranks. Especially post these past scandals. Thus, I appreciate his scrutiny and vigilance.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Olympic Teenage Stars: Ye Shiwen, Katie Ledecky, Ruta Meilutyte, Yannick Agnel, Set The Pace For Laureus World Breakthrough Award

The Lauerus Sport for Good Foundation
can be compared to the Olympic movement regarding sporting values but unlike the International Olympic Committee, which is awash in money and bribe scandals, there are NO scandals attached to this organization. Laureus is a universal movement in that it celebrates the power of sport inspire and bring people together.

The Laureus Foundation has an A-List membership to long to list. Here are some names that stand out:  Edwin Moses, Roger Federer, Tony Hawk, Mark Spitz, Nelson Mandella, Marcus Allen, Franz Klammer, Matina Navratilova,  Alberto Tomba, Katarina Witt, Jack Nicklaus, Nadia Comaneci, Dawn Fraiser, it goes on and on....

 Laureus is composed of three core elements - the Laureus World Sports Academy, the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and the Laureus World Sports Awards - which collectively celebrate sporting excellence and use sport as the means to promote social change.

Here is a press release from the Laurerus World Sports Awards:

Golden newcomers Gabby Douglas, Kirani James, Katie Ledecky, Ruta Meilutyte and Ye Shiwen among hopefuls for 2013 Laureus Award Britain’s Andy Murray in contention after winning Olympic gold and silver medals plus his first ever Grand Slam success Laureus World Sports Awards to be held in Rio de Janeiro

LONDON, November 15, 2012 – A group of brilliant young teenagers from the London Olympic Games are among the leading contenders for Nomination for the 2013 Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award.

Gymnast Gabby Douglas, 400 metres runner Kirani James and swimmers Katie Ledecky, Ruta Meilutyte and Ye Shiwen all won gold medals in London and showed potential for amazing futures.

Also in the mix for Nomination could be Britain’s Andy Murray, aged 25, who won the Olympic singles tennis gold medal and mixed doubles silver and also his first ever Grand Slam at the US Open. And New Zealand’s phenomenal Lydia Ko, the youngest ever winner of a professional golf event at the age of 14 years 280 days.

The Laureus World Sports Awards is recognised as the premier honours event in the international sporting calendar and the Awards Ceremony provides a high profile focus as stars of the sporting world come together to salute the finest sportsmen and sportswomen of the year. The winners will be unveiled during a globally televised Awards Ceremony in Rio de Janeiro.

Proceeds from the Laureus World Sports Awards directly benefit and underpin the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which supports more than 100 community sports projects around the world that have helped to improve the lives of over one-and-a-half million young people.

American Gabby Douglas, 16, became the first woman to win individual and team all-around gold medals – competing on four pieces of equipment - at the same Olympics. Before the Olympics she was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated and Time and after she won her gold medals a giant mural depicting her achievement was painted in her home town of Virginia Beach. Katie Ledecky, aged 15, won the Olympic 800 metres freestyle gold medal in her first major championships, beating favourite Lotte Friis and defending champion Rebecca Adlington. She won by four seconds in 8 mins 14.63 secs - the second fastest in history. Ledecky was the youngest Olympian on the 529-strong American team and is now second youngest swimming gold medalist in US history.

Andy Murray made his own personal breakthrough in 2012, winning the US Open, his first ever Grand Slam event, and also a gold and silver medal at the London Olympic Games. His US Open victory, beating Novak Djokovic in a five-set final, made him the first British player since Fred Perry in 1936 to win a Grand Slam tennis event. In the Olympic men’s final he had a straight sets win over Roger Federer and also won a silver medal with Laura Robson in the mixed doubles.

At 19, Kirani James won the Olympic 400 metres gold medal in a time of 43.94 secs to earn the Caribbean island of Grenada its first ever Olympic medal. Thousands lined the streets when he returned to Grenada and President Tillman Thomas said a commemorative stamp would be created in his honour, a new stadium named after him and he would be appointed a tourism ambassador.

At just 15, Ruta Meilutyte won the 100 metres Olympic breaststroke gold medal, beating celebrated American swimmer Rebecca Soni. It made her the first Lithuanian swimmer since independence from the Soviet Union in 1990 to win an Olympic swimming medal. She is also the youngest Lithuanian athlete to win an Olympic gold medal. She led from start to finish, beating Soni by 0.08 secs.

Ye Shiwen, aged 16, was one of the sensations of the Olympic Games, winning both 200 metres and 400 metres individual medley gold medals. In the third heat of the 400 metres, she swam 4 mins 31.73 secs, an improvement of two seconds over her previous best time at the 2010 Asian Games, then in the final she broke the world record, held by Stephanie Rice since the 2008 Olympics, with a time of 4:28.43, an improvement of a further three seconds.

Two Brazilian athletes made significant breakthroughs at the London Olympics. Sarah Menezes, 22, became the first Brazilian woman to win an individual judo gold at an Olympic Games with victory in the under-48kg final. The second-seeded Menezes dethroned reigning Olympic champion Alina Dumitru of Romania, producing the winning throw in the final minute. And Arthur Zanetti’s flawless routine in the men’s rings to win Brazil’s first ever gymnastic Olympic gold medal was celebrated in Brazil as if he had scored a winning goal in the World Cup. Going last, he beat favourite Chen Yibing, captain of the Chinese men’s team into the silver medal position.

There were many other noteworthy Olympic Games performances. France’s Yannick Agnel, aged 20, in his first ever Olympic Games, won three medals - two gold and a silver. He produced one of the outstanding swims of the London Games to win the 200 metres freestyle gold, 1.79 secs ahead at the finish. He also won gold in the 4 x 100m freestyle relay and silver in the 4 x 200m freestyle relay. British rower Katherine Grainger at last won a double sculls gold medal in London at the fourth attempt, after taking silver medals at the three previous Olympiads – Sydney, Athens and Beijing. She finally won the gold medal she had dreamed about, at the age of 36, with partner Anna Watkins. It left Grainger and Watkins unbeaten in 23 races. Another Briton, Laura Trott, aged 20, one of the youngest members of the highly successful British cycling team, won two gold medals, in the omnium and team pursuit. She is now reigning double European, world and Olympic champion in both events.

And no one can forget the efforts of Niger’s Hamadou Djibo Issaka, called ‘Issaka the Otter’ by the enthusiastic spectators at the rowing course in London who cheered him on, despite him finishing his two Olympic single sculls races more than a minute behind his competitors. Because of his positive and determined approach, he became one of the unsung heroes of the Olympic Games. A few months before the start of the Games, Issaka, aged 35, was a gardener and swimming pool attendant in his country's capital Niamey, then he took up rowing and trained in an old fishing boat. He now plans to compete at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Golf provided two of the outstanding individual performances away from the Olympic Games in 2012. New Zealand’s Lydia Ko became the youngest ever winner of a professional golf event in January when she won the New South Wales Open at the age of 14 years 280 days, breaking the record of Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa, who was 15 years 8 months when he won his first tournament. In August, she became the youngest winner of an LPGA Tour event at the CN Canadian Women’s Open at 15 years 4 months.

China’s Feng Shanshan won the LPGA Championship in June, at the age of 22, to become the first golfer from the mainland of China to win a Major Championship. She was also the first woman player from the Chinese mainland on the LPGA Tour, which she joined in 2008. Feng was born in Guangzhou and started playing golf at the age of ten.

The Laureus World Sports Awards recognise sporting achievement during 2012. The names of the six Nomiize:10.5pt'>Nominees for the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award, as voted by the Laureus Media Selection Panel, comprising leading sports editors, sports writers, broadcasters and online journalists from around the world, will be announced in Rio de Janeiro on December 13. The eventual winner will then be chosen from this shortlist by the 46 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, the living legends of sport honouring the greatest athletes of today.

Laureus World Sports Academy Member and swimming legend Mark Spitz, who famously won seven gold medals in one Olympiad in Munich in 1972, said: “The London Olympic Games really came alive in the pool with so many great performances and so many great new faces. I don’t recall so many young swimmers making such an impact before. Katie Ledecky, Ruta Meilutyte and Ye Shiwen were the best of the bunch, but I think they will have a fight on their hands in what looks an extremely competitive category. It will be fascinating to see which six names the world’s media vote for as Nominees.”

Among the winners who have received Awards at previous Awards Ceremonies have been Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Alex Ferguson, Lewis Hamilton, Rafael Nadal, Pele, Oscar Pistorius, Steve Redgrave, Ronaldo, Michael Schumacher, Kelly Slater, Serena Williams and Zinedine Zidane. Guests attending the Awards Ceremony have included His Majesty King Juan Carlos of Spain, HSH Prince Albert of Monaco, David and Victoria Beckham, Sean Connery, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Morgan Freeman, Teri Hatcher, Eva Longoria, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kevin Spacey,

Members of the Laureus World Sports Academy volunteer their time to act as global ambassadors for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, whose mission is to use sport as the means to combat some of the world’s toughest social challenges facing young people today such as juvenile crime, gangs, HIV/Aids, discrimination, social exclusion, landmines awareness, education and health problems such as obesity. Since its inception Laureus has raised over €55 million to support projects around the world.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Anthon Ervin is my favorite swimmer right now: 100 Freestyle Men Tokyo 2012 Fina/Arena World Cup

I admire his, "Frank Sinetra, I did it my way stroke" too. Lot's of rule breaking there but he delivers so much power with it.

I bumped into his site and saw he had a fund raiser. I wish I would have known about it. Put me on your radar Anthony!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

The autopsy report on Louis Lowenthal will be made public soon - Will Bob Bowman still remain silent? - Will you?

[Edited to fix typos]

I got an email this morning stating that the Louis Lowenthal autopsy results are pending. This report will state the cause and manner of Louis Lowenthals's death. At that point the full autopsy report will also be available for a fee. I will link to that report and any commentary connected to it.

Here are my unmeasured opinions:

I am really becoming severely cross and thoroughly unimpressed with Coach Bob Bowman and it's my belief that the swim community should be too. Bowman is considered the premiere swim coach of American Swimming; (the man that molded the great Michael Phelps). His club, the North Baltimore Aquatics Club (NBAC) is internationally recognized as well. Yet, when the death of a young swimmer occurs at NBAC, Coach Bowman, like a ghost simply disappears.

CEOs are suppose to lead from the front not from the back. As the CEO of NBAC, Bowman, has made no public comment regarding the death of Louis Lowenthal. No public mention of condolences. No explanation regarding what went wrong for the boy to suddenly be found at the bottom of a pool probably for some minutes. No mention that he will oversee an investigation and will make the results known and I also see no evidence press mentioning that Bowman went to the memorial service.

Bob Bowman is not leading from the front but rather he is leading from the back, or more accurately, hiding in the back behind a lawyer. You milage may vary.

The parents are hurting and the community is hurting. The parents need to know what happened and so does every other club out there so that another family and another club won't go through the same tragedy.

It's my belief that bad examples are being set at NBAC and that is shameful. When a teammates dies due to a traumatic circumstance it is a mental health crisis and it has to be addressed immediately.

See this reference titled: Suicide and Sudden Loss: Crisis Management in the Schools. Highlights: An ERIC/CAPS Digest.

The reactions of survivors who have experienced a suicide or sudden loss are likely to be complex, but typically include some or all of the following behavioral characteristics: denial, anger, blaming, shame, guilt, fear, intellectualization, or hostility. Stanford (1978) and Hunt (1987) further suggested the need for direct intervention in schools with survivors. Shneidman (1972) noted that when a death occurs, particularly of an unexpected nature, there is no pattern of behavior to draw upon, and confusion results. Teachers also need help in understanding and handling young people's normal, yet often inappropriate, reactions to death. Young people often take clues as to how to react from the adults around them more than from the event itself. A paramount need is for counselors, educators and other support personnel to process the emotional needs of survivors. Intervention to enhance coping skills could ultimately prevent future suicides, or related self-destructive behavior...."


Last month NBAC was confronted with a sexual abuse allegation. A reader posted a letter from Bob Bowman in the comments section of this blog. The letter ensured families that everything was okay and no one was ever in danger. Here is that letter:

Dear NBAC Families,

This morning an article appeared on by Tim Joyce concerning a former NBAC coach. Mr. Joyce has been covering USA Swimming and that organization’s response to allegations against coaches of improper behavior involving swimmers. [...]

While I cannot comment on the allegations, I can assure you that the safety, health and well being of our athletes, your sons and daughters, are paramount to all of the staff at NBAC. NBAC is committed to creating, and protecting, a safe and healthy environment for all of our participants.

Robert A. Bowman
Head Coach/CEO

When NBAC was confronted with a sex abuse allegation, the words above came swiftly and decisively. When confronted with a tragic death of Louis Lowenthal the results are abject silence.

I am not naive, I know this is all about lawsuit suppression but there comes a time as a leader when you take responsibility for things beyond your control and make a promise that you will do better or you will replace yourself with somebody who can. (e.g. Jamie Diamond or Tony Hayward - One of whom still has his job at JP Morgan and the other, who "fell on his sword" after the British Petroleum spill, and began a successful "second life" so to speak.)

As a leader in a situation like this you publicly acknowledge the family's suffering, you publicly acknowledge your own travail and how it will inspire you to do better.  Bob Bowman has has seemingly done neither. No public message to the family, no public message to the swimming community advising sound prevention. Nothing, nothing, nothing.

Though visits from Baltimore to this blog are way up, comments in the comment section from Baltimore are down. This leads me to suspect that the club is telling the NBAC kids to "shut up" and say nothing.

In the coming weeks I suspect the truth will come out. I want the truth to come out not to "hurt Bob Bowman" or the NBAC club but rather to prevent the horror of another parent getting that terrible news over the phone that something has happened to their child.

To the kids reading this, this is what it is like to hear that something terrible beyond comprehension has just happened to your child:  The phone rings and the voice on the other end sounds overly direct, blunt, and straight to the point. The news is delivered: Your parents feel an electrical jolt from the bottom of their spine to the center of their brain stem. Your mom or dad feels that this must be a mistake. Please be a mistake! Then your parent feels a strange sensation in their heart like it has been given a hard, unexpected, punch. Their throat tightens and they feel out of breath. Next, their head throbs and they are suddenly hot and beginning to sweat even though the temperature around them is moderate. Thinking has become impossible. Their knees go weak and nothing matters but their memories of you for they now know that the next 50-years or so of their life will never be the same without you.

Don't ask me how I know that.

FinSwimming champion does a dolphin jump

Mauricio Fernandez is a finswimming champion and in this video he executes a dolphin jump to great effect. This snippet comes from a video called: Finspirit in San Andres. The music is by Larnak.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Hey Bob Bowman: It was your pool, your club, why no statement on Louis Lowenthal's death?

I was actually getting heart palpitations researching this post. I have a link below that describes the process into eventual death when one is drowning. After unconsciousness there is a two-to-four-minute rescue window to prevent brain damage/death. Louis Lowenthal was not so lucky.

Louis Lowenthal drowned under sketchy circumstances. The only details the press has been able to ascertain are statements made by the paramedics who arrived at the scene:

"...There are "... few details surrounding the Sunday incident, but emergency responders say Lowenthal was found at the bottom of the pool. ..."  
"...The club said that on Sunday, someone saw Lowenthal go into the pool. That witness left the pool area but when they returned, found Lowenthal at the bottom of the pool. A lifeguard pulled him out and performed CPR, but was unable to revive him. ..."
[CBS Baltimore: Link]

How long does it take for somebody to drown?  I suspect each individual is different but presuming that Louis somehow fell into an immediate unconscious state for whatever reason such as a hypoxic set or otherwise, lifeguards had a two-to-four-minute window to prevent irreversible brain damage and it appears that they were too late.

From Prevent Injury.Org

"... Drowning usually occurs quickly and silently. Childhood drownings and near-drownings can happen in a matter of seconds and typically occur when a child is left unattended or during a brief lapse in supervision. Two minutes following submersion, a child will lose consciousness. Irreversible brain damage occurs after four to six minutes and determines the immediate and long-term survival of a child. The majority of children who survive (92 percent) are discovered within two minutes following submersion, and most children who die (86 percent) are found after 10 minutes. Nearly all who require cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) die or are left with severe brain injury.


How long was Louis underwater for? To no fault of their own, CBS Baltimore, Swimming World or any other press outlet does know how long Louis was stranded because that is how thorough the clamp down of information has been within Meadowbrook and NBAC?

Somebody knows and I suspect that the parents and kids were told to "shut-up" or to "...keep this between you and me." Typical swimming "poolitics" as I call it or perhaps a more urban description might be more fitting: "snitches get stitches," or "witnesses get ostracized."

Kids, don't shut up about this tragedy. Talk to the authorities and talk to your parents. Make swimming safer by speaking out. Parents should consider the positive effects or moral transparency as well.

I would like to thank a hostile reader who confirmed that Bob Bowman does own the Meadowbrook Aquatics and Fitness Center or the pool that Louis Lowenthal drowned. Here is the link that he/she sent to me for the Meadowbrook website confirming that CEO, Bob Bowman, is the Meadowbrook owner.

[Meadowbrook Website confirmation: Link]

Bob Bowman is also the CEO of the North Baltimore Aquatics Club (NBAC), Hence, not only was it his club but it was Bob Bowman's pool too. Why no statement from Bob Bowman?

On Tuesday, Louis was sent off with what the Baltimore Sun described as a beautiful acknowledgement on who he was and what he accomplished. The boy was so capable and this is such a terrible loss. I suspect that there was a lousy process in place for this to have happend. Coaches, pool owners, and swimmers throughout the swim community need to hear what went wrong so as to prevent this sort of senseless tragedy.

From The Baltimore Sun:
"... Louis' NBAC coaches, Tom Himes and Solomon Sniad, recalled a young swimmer who worked to get better and was always the last one out of the pool — though he just as often could be seen trying to find out how many spins he could do in the water without touching the pool floor.

Kennedy said Louis was always willing to help out with Stoneleigh's young swimmers, who would flock to his lane when he was able to stay for their practice.

He told of a 5-year-old swimmer who asked one day how Louis got so fast; the young swimmer wanted to be like him.

Kennedy told the boy that Louis was fast because Louis was part fish and had fins.
To hear the boy's response — on an afternoon when Kennedy urged a thousand people to take Louis' compassion and happiness with them into the world —solidified why so many felt the need to celebrate a 14-year-old's life. ..."


So, Mr. Bowman, what happened? You are the captain, it is was your ship and your ocean too? What is your statement? What went wrong so it can be prevented at other clubs and facilities as well?

Planet Earths naturally occurring pink lake - Lac Rose, Hmmm, for girls only?

Actually in 1914 pink was one considered to be a masculine color whereas powder blue a feminine one.
[Reference Forgotten History blog: Link]

However, let's talk about the original topic at hand: Lake Retba or Lac Rose which is strawberry pink in color but not as a result of industrial pollution but rather harmless bacteria called Halophile bacteria. These bacteria live in extreme environment and actually thrive.

From the website Amusing Planet:

"The strawberry colour is produced by salt-loving organism Dunaliella salina. They produce a red pigment that absorbs and uses the energy of sunlight to create more energy, turning the water pink," said Michael Danson, an expert in bacteria from Britain's Bath University.

Covering an area of about 3 sq km, the lake is located about 35km north-east of Senegal’s capital Dakar. Since the 1970s, local residents have been mining Lake Retba for its salt, which they use mainly to preserve fish. [Link]

Lot of photos therein as well.

Friday, November 02, 2012

The Louis Lowenthal tragedy is now being reported overseas in Great Britain!

[UPDATE 1:  Located at the bottom of this post]
[UPDATE 2:  Located at the bottom of this post]

How can an accomplished swimmer presumably swimming in a lane full of kids, presumably being watch by the coach or coaches, and presumably being watched by lifeguards sink to the bottom the pool. It is now being questioned in Great Britain.

In the photo to the right is Louis participating in a "polar bear" swim. That illustrates  how tough he was!
From the Mail Online:  
"... Fourteen-year-old high school student and standout swimmer Louis Lowenthal died Wednesday after being pulled from the bottom of a pool at the Meadowbrook Aquatic Center on Sunday. ..." 

I was at  Masters swim meet when Olympian Parry O'Brien died of a heart attack during the 500-yard freestyle. He did his flipturn, pushed off the wall at somewhere around the 200-yard mark, and then sank. Lifeguards were on it before he hit the bottom of the pool.  

I was the first person to report the tragedy and I reported how I saw it happen first hand. [Blog posts on the topic located here:  Link] - I hope someone comes forward with their version.

Where were the lifeguards, the coaches, the adults in charge? what sort of set was he doing?  Was it a breath control set and if so did that contribute to his death? 

This death should be thoroughly investigated. If the autopsy proves that his heart, lungs, and brain were fine, I hope the police investigate. 

This is so important yet no one is talking. I am told that even the kids have been ordered to leave it alone on the social networks!  If a witness would like to contact me, please leave a comment anonymously in the comments section. No one will be able to trace you including me.

[UPDATE 1CBS Baltimore is reporting: "... The club said that on Sunday, someone saw Lowenthal go into the pool. That witness left the pool area but when they returned, found Lowenthal at the bottom of the pool. A lifeguard pulled him out and performed CPR, but was unable to revive him. ..." [Link]

[UPDATE 2:  CBS Baltimore is reporting: "... The autopsy is incomplete at this time. It is still unclear what caused him to drown..." [Link]

Rule number-one of pool swimming - don't swim alone. Also note how they don't call the witness a lifeguard or a coach.

NBAC Swimmer slips into a coma during workout and later passes - No word yet from Bob Bowman or Michael Phelps! - Why?

[UPDATE - Michael Phelps is NOT a co-owner of the North Baltimore Aquatics Club nor the Meadowbrook Pool.]

On October 24th something terrible happened to Louis Lowenthal during a Sunday morning workout at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club (NBAC). According to The Baltimore Sun, "Details surrounding the Sunday morning incident are scarce." There was no witness statements included in the Baltimore Sun article save for that when paramedics arrived he was receiving CPR from lifeguards. Once transported to the hospital he slipped into a coma and later died.

Louis was well liked. He was good in school and even won an essay contest regarding his love for the sport of swimming. The principal even stated that he was a great writer. He was kind to others, excelled at science and apparently was a real asset to his family and the community. I feel terrible for the family and I know that their grief will never be comprehended by anyone who has not gone through something this painful. In fact, this sort of grief is so bottomless that they don't even have an English word for it. Example: when a spouse dies they call the surviving member a widow. When a child dies there is no word for the parents.

This happened Sunday and the media is reporting it both yesterday and today; (I only saw it today), but why aren't the NBAC owner owners, Michael Phelps & Bob Bowman at least offering their condolences at the website or to the newspapers? I went to the NBAC site and nothing was mentioned. (See image above.)

When news spread that Louis was in grave condition; 12-hours later is when the NBAC staff contacted the swim parents to let them know what happened.

A lot of questions here about his passing: Like exactly what happened on deck? Did he suffer from a congenital heart, brain or lung issue? How hard was the workout? Were lifeguards and coaches quick to determine what happened soon enough? All this needs to be in the public domain so that warning signs can be observed.

A memorial service will be held on November 6th. Let's hope the owners attend or at least say something that hasn't been parsed by a lawyer.

The Baltimore Sun:  [Link]

NBAC Swimmer dies after Sunday workout!

This poor family, what a loss. A dedicated swimmer, a dedicated student. A very depressing article and I am not liking this sentence from the Baltimore Sun at all:  "...Details surrounding the Sunday morning incident are scarce. ..."

Why are they scarce? Sounds like plenty of witnesses are available such as lifeguards, coaches and swimmers.

From The Baltimore Sun:
That night, city fire spokesman Chief Kevin Cartwright said emergency personnel responded to a call at the pool about 10 a.m. Sunday, and found a lifeguard administering CPR to Louis on the pool deck.

Cartwright said paramedics performed "advanced life support measures" en route to the hospital.

Just before 10:15 p.m. Sunday, as word of the incident began to spread and false reports regarding Louis' condition began surfacing on social media, NBAC Director of Operations John Cadigan sent an email to club member families updating them on the situation. 

Peter Hurzeler, Head of Omega Timing: "...Swimming is the only sport where the athlete can stop his time."

"...Swimming is the only sport where the athlete can stop his time." -- Peter Hurzeler, Head of Omega Timing stating this this at the 2nd FINA World Aquatics Convention held in Moscow.

From the FINA Website:

"...Peter Hurzeler, Head of Omega Timing and speaker at the Convention: "This event is a good benefit for all the federations, it's a fantastic and important event to know what's going on in the sport. In my talk, I explained that swimming is the only sport where the athlete can stop his time."

The audience was surprised, realising it is a noteworthy difference. Hurzeler added: "We have a fantastic relation with the sport of swimming because for me it is one of the best organised international federations. Together with FINA, we did a lot of new things; if you're looking at swimming competitions on TV, everybody understands, it's straightforward." ..." 
What a profound observation - an observation that is 100% accurate and one could argue that it is most elevated form of fairness out of any other timed sport. It's accurate because you may touch the touchpad first but it is your responsibility to stop the clock. Sublime in that it removes any possible excuse of bias by an official. It's the official that starts the race, but the swimmer must stop his race and log his own time.

Makes me proud that I wear an Omega.