Thursday, February 28, 2013

Was James Pantera bullied by Mike Saltzstein? NO! Mike Saltzstein was asked to check into James Pantera's past and the results were disturbing.

Here is an email from a colleague of Mike Saltzstein who requested that Mike check into James Pantera's past.  (Names have been redacted in the email above but the names will remain intact when shown to USA Swimming .) Mike was sent links by this colleague after they had found questionable items in James Pantera's past after doing a cursory Google search on James Pantera. Subsequently these links provided distressing information and Mike was told to research it and research it he did.

As a result a myriad of lies were soon found out which has demonstrably proven that James Pantera should have never been a sanctioned USA Swimming coach since he had a felony record and an arrest on weapons charges.

What I am trying to say here is that when it comes stating the truth that a rule or rules have been broken that is not bullying in any way shape or form. It's informing the public.

Hre is a quote from Mike Saltzstein: "...[This email] should shut down any retaliation claims as my rationale for the Pantera mess. Similarly it should close off any debate of his bullying claim, this was almost a month before he claims to have filed some complaint for which I was retaliating. Fact two, I have not ever even seen this supposed complaint. ..."

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I believe I found the USA Swimming "loophole" that James Pantera slipped through!

I promised I would do a criminal background check on James Pantera and I have contacted the FBI to run it through them. It will cost me $18 and they provided a link: FBI Background check site: [Link]

In the meantime, I was sent a background check by a reader who conducted the check without a Social Security Number and he had no problem finding out that this guy is "radioactive." Scroll down to see  the result...

As I was going through the process to file with the FBI,  I was contacted by a SCAQ Blog reader who explained in pretty clear terms how our "ghost" otherwise known as James David Land AKA James Pantera AKA James Sabre Pantera AKA Robert Michael Binkin and others..., fell through the cracks.

Simple answer "USA Swimming changed horses in the middle of a stream." They changed agencies at the behest of an "expert" and this new agency failed badly. The SCAQ reader that contacted me even suggested that this "expert" has an interest in the new company they were told USA Swimming to bring in. That is a serious ethical breech or at best a conflict of interest that has harmed the sport.

Before the new agency was brought in by the "expert" they had an extremely competent company titled TC logiQ  doing all the background checks for them and this company was very thorough. Most online agencies use a "Boolean search term" rather than using what is know as "fuzzy logic." For instance if you did background check on this blogger as "Tony Austin", numerous people would show up. However by using variations of my name would render more results.

Now, with our "Ghost," James Pantera, using an "alphabet soup strategy," or multiple identities it looks  like he was able to game the sorely anemic search terms of the "expert's" agency.

So who "dropped the ball" in this mess? The person who was told to change horses in the middle of a stream" and hire a new agency.

Here is a quote for you:
"...Based on the parameters with which we run searches, we would have caught this person. Additionally our disclosure box would have immediately disqualified his membership for falsifying the application by not disclosing his prior arrest..." 
-- Thomas (TC) Danzenger - CEO  TC logiQ
Someone at USA Swimming please suspend this person or ban this person immediately... Even the USA Swimming rule book says he should never been allowed to be a member:
304.3.6 Conviction of, imposition of a deferred sentence for, or any plea of guilty or no contest at any time, past or present, or the existence of any pending charges, for (i) any felony, (ii) any offense involving use, possession, distribution or intent to distribute illegal drugs or substances, (iii) any crime involving sexual misconduct, or (iv) any criminal offense against a minor.

Background check:

Case Summary

2:98-cr-00220-LA All Defendants USA v. Pantera, et al
Date filed: 11/17/1998
Date terminated: 06/11/1999
Date of last filing: 05/22/2006

James S Pantera
Terminated: 06/11/1999  

Count: 1
Citation: 18:1542.F

Offense Level: 4

Count: 1s
Citation: 18:922G.F

Offense Level: 
18:922(g)(2) and 924(a)(2) - UNLAWFUL TRANSPORT OF FIREARMS, ETC.
Count: 2s

Offense Level: 4


Citation: 20:1097A.F
Offense Level: 4

Defendant Custody Status:

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

AP weighs in on coach Mike Saltzstein and James Pantera's "street fight."

Coach James Pantera is a complex man: He has nearly a dozen identities, three birth dates, a felony conviction for fraud, his resume has questionable items therein and now he is accusing Mike Saltzstein of being a bully by going to Associated Press and telling them all of the above.

Associated Press has a cursory overview of this silly allegation leveled at Mike Saltzstein by James Pantera:

A San Diego swim coach alleged to have multiple identities and a felony conviction fired back Tuesday, calling his accuser a "bully" with a checkered past.

"... James Pantera issued a statement one day after a complaint was filed with USA Swimming by Mike Saltzstein, a former vice president with the governing body.

The statement said Saltzstein is "attempting to smear the name of a well respected and liked swim coach and official" who has passed numerous background checks*. It also points to Saltzstein's legal issues, saying he was involved in an insider trading case more than a decade ago. ..." 
"... The statement also referred to a 1999 case that Saltzstein settled by paying about $6,000 to the Securities and Exchange Commission, without conceding any wrongdoing. 

*I am going to put that to a test tomorrow. I will pay for a background check and post all the results.  If he has a felony record then one has to ask why is allowed to coach? Why, at the very least has he not been suspended pending a USA Swimming investigation?

If he was never certified a level 5 ASCA coach then would this act of lying preclude him from being a part of ASCA or is ASCA okay with that?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Where was ASCA and USA Swimming? Mike Saltzstein reports a swim coach with a 11-eleven last names, 3-birth dates and a felony conviction!

[February 27th: Edited to make the rhetoric less shrill.]

USA Swimming's safe sport policies failed to find this guy, or they were not applied correctly but former Vice President of USA Swimming did find out about James Pantera's multiple identities because Pantera was operating in his neighborhood. Thanks to Mike's vigilance in this matter.

The American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) policies are non-existant in this subject... There is no policy to screen coaches and protect kids from criminals via background checks or whatnot.  CEO, John Leonard, even bragged about that situation in a deposition as if it were a "get of a lawsuit free card." He was quoted as saying that ASCA is not a youth organization despite that ASCA certifies and trains coaches who work in and around children.

Factually speaking, USA Swimming should be embarrassed and they should declare loudly as they can what steps will be implemented to correct this miss. This loophope was not caught by the consultants USA Swimming hired but rather it was caught by Mike Saltzstein. Perhaps they should bring him in as a consultant to review policies and see what he can suggest?

As for ASCA, they are bad joke in regards to screening those they take money from. There is a Roman saying, Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? It translates to "Who watches the watchmen?" In this case USA Swimming was under-advised and ASCA who has no background check policy whatsoever was busy collecting money.

This is not a loop hole or a crack in the floor that this person with multiple identities slipped through. It was a "5-lane freeway" and he drove through right into a coaching job without proper screening. Subsequently, Mike Saltzstein should be thanked for his expertise and insight.

This "guy's" rap sheet; or whatever name he is using today, is so scary that in one state alone he was arrested for a firearms violation, has a fraud conviction, a passport fraud conviction, busted for stealing, busted for forgery, blah blah blah!

As for USA Swimming, Mike Saltzstein belongs back at USA Swimming. He is a proven asset inside and outside the oranization and he has been an authority on this subject for 13-years. The consultants they hired missed this "five lane freeway"  but a former insider caught it.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Deep Sea Creatures - Nature's Microworlds - Episode 11 Preview - BBC Four

Imagine a place so dark that it only receives 1% of the light that we see on the surface.  A place where the creatures have transparent bodies so predators can't see easily see them in night or day. A locale where a particular species of jellyfish dance around with tails that are 40-meters long.

The BBC has a documentary about them.

Found here: [Link]

Friday, February 22, 2013

ABC News: Rick Curl admitted to one count of child sex abuse and faces up to 15 years in prison when he's sentenced on May 23, 2013

Rick Curl is the little man in the center of the photo and what little of a man he is.

Rick Curl just had his head placed on the "pike" planted squarely in the foyer of USA Swimming headquarters. Placed there as a reminder that sex abuse of an athlete will have either immediate or eventual consequences.

Those responsible for implementing this success are as follows: the victim, Kelly Currin who had the courage to come forward despite the onus of a potential lawsuit. Her attorney, Robert Allard, who worked pro bono and finally, Susan Woesner, who carried this to fruition via the police and the banned list.

Rick Curl, 63, from Washington, D.C.'s Virginia suburbs, admitted to one count of child sex abuse and faces up to 15 years in prison when he's sentenced on May 23. He will also be required to register as a sex offender. 

Memo to Rick Curl: The craven sexual abuse you perpetrated on a 14-year-old swimmer named Kelly Currin will live long after you have passed. Today's admission of the abuse you wrought upon that little girl will be your historical epitaph.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

What do people in Harlem feel about white swimmers doing the "Harlem Shake?"

The most obvious aspect of the "Harlem Shake" videos was lost on me since I was wrapped up in the Lowenthal drowning. The Harlem Shake videos are are mocking a culture and more likely an ethnic group.

"That's not the Harlem Shake, That's not the Harlem Shake at all. That's humping and that's not the Harlem Shake, it ain't no Harlem..." 
"I feel like they are trying to disrespect us...." 
"It's making us look bad, it's an absolute mockery of what it was..."
"Yeah, it looks like they are making fun of it..." 
"An injustice..." 
"They are basically taking what we do, our dances, and making a joke of it..."
"Nobody in Harlem would do that..." 
"Do you know the history of Harlem?..."

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

WKBW: High School Swimmer Helps Saves Teammate's Life During Practice


Supervision and teammate observation is everything! The swimmer who was rescued was an experienced swimmer. That is something to keep in mind during your next workout.

USA Swimming INC - Catholicism INC: Both need a new "Pope"

Bill Keller  from the New York Times wrote an amusing Op Ed comparing the leadership position of the Pope to the leadership position of a Fortune 500 CEO.

Keller quotes business consultants and others who offered suggestions as to how the church can restore the credibility or the "Catholic brand." 

It's my opinion that the suggestions contained in Keller's Op Ed would work wonderfully for USA Swimming thereby restoring credibility and trust. Some execs have got to go, some board members have to resign. 

From the New York Times
"... The business world has much to teach [The Catholic Church] about surviving scandal. Michael Useem, director of the Center for Leadership and Change Management at the Wharton School, told me the church might learn from the way Warren Buffett cleaned up Salomon Brothers after a bond-trading scandal and Ed Breen revived Tyco International after its chief executive went to prison for theft. 
The remedies were bold and effective. First, a purge of those responsible for the abuses and the cover-up. (“Managing out,” as it is called in the corporate vernacular, has been a major weakness in the church, so it was heartening to hear the Vatican spokesman say that Benedict’s retirement could “open the door for a potential wave of resignations.”) Second, unstinting disclosure to investigators, waiving any privileges. Third, appointment of a compliance officer with impeccable credentials, ethical tenacity and conspicuous support at the top. At Tyco, the new leadership went on a high-profile road show of the company’s outposts to drive home the reforms.

Ocean Ramsey free diving and hitching a ride on a great white shark

Ocean Ramsey dives and rides like a boss with a great white shark. Thank you Go-Pro for making the cameras that you make. You have taken us places we can only dream of.

From CBS News
If you're in need of a little serenity as you start the work week after the holiday weekend, then have I got just the thing for you. Watch as a freediver swims alongside of a Great White Shark in the video above. Because nothing says serenity like swimming with a shark. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Underwater "Harlem Shake" videos! - Really? Really?

In light of the Louis Lowenthal drowning, I am surprised that the owners, coaches and administrators of the pools used in the underwater versions of these videos allowed these stunts to take place let alone appear on YouTube.

The autopsy report on North Baltimore Aquatic Club swimmer Louis Lowenthal has been released!

[EDITED: I wrote the original letter in one sitting. I have edited some of the poor grammar and typos.]

I was sent the autopsy report by Irv Muchnick and this is an edited excerpt of my email back to him - Warning the description of the cause of death is very macabre - this was a very painful passing as are all drownings or near drownings and this description is graphic:

"... Good God!

Here is my interpretation: The most important aspect of this autopsy report is that there was no heart defect nor circulation problems. This boy was fit and the specialist doing the autopsy was impressed with his state of health. Louis stood at nearly 6-feet-tall, was 14-year-old, and weighed 157-pounds. As you predicted he was healthy.

When Louis went into oxygen debt his brain began to bleed in the most most critical part of the organ, the ventricle area where the brain creates and circulates Cerebral Spinal Fluid. (CSF). The purpose of CSF is to cradle our brain, help circulate blood, and provide immunological protection.  This fluid circulates up and down the spine and flushes itself out about four-times-a-day. The portion of the brain that creates this fluid is called the Choroid Plexus region. (Choroid is Greek for the "membrane that encloses the fetus" - Plexus means network) This area of the brain creates massive amounts CSF so it is always fresh, clean, and pure .

As I suspected from the summary you mentioned on the phone on Tuesday, brain bleeding within the core of the brain led to immediate Hydrocephalus (brain swelling - water on the brain). The pathway the CSF circulates through from brain to spine is called the "Sylvius Aquaduct" and the report says it was "obliterated." That is a strong sentence! His third ventricle was elongated meaning that severe blood clots were jamming the pathway for Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF) to circulate.  This caused the Hydrocephalus to expand the ventricle and cause the subsequent obliteration of the Sylvius Aquaduct . When a blockage occurs it like a fire hydrant going off in a weather balloon but the fluid can only stretch the balloon so far before destruction or "obliteration." Thus when the blockage occurs the ventricles dilated and his brain got squished.

His tonsils were bleeding perhaps due to being on the ventilator or having the ventilator tube shoved down his throat to keep him alive. Autolysis was occurring meaning the brain cells were pretty much digesting themselves or committing suicide en masse.  As a result his frontal cortex, that portion where our "selves or souls" may reside pretty much died screaming!

Drowning is not a "peaceful" way to pass.  I hope he was so utterly unconscious that he had no physical feeling whatsoever as to what was going on for this was a cruel death. Herniated tonsils, ventricle bleeding, sinus thrombosis meaning swelling and blood. OH MY GOD!

I am told that Meadowbrook only had one lifeguard on duty that day despite a slew of kids swimming. Louis was one of those healthy kids who needed supervision and the Meadowbrook pool and the coaches at North Baltimore Aquatic Club  failed him.

If NBAC shows up to the pool and there are not enough lifeguards there for the amount of swimmers they bring then it is incumbent on NBAC to demand lifeguards be present, provide them, or cancel the workout.

Tony ..."

For more details follow Irv Muchnick's coverage of the autopsy report:  [Link]

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Personal experience: Swimming in a hot pool drops more pounds but be careful!

A few months ago I broke my nose... Well, actually somebody broke it for me. One week after that I had to have it broken again to set it back in place. The bad news was I was out of the water for 7-weeks total and during at time I was told not to raise my blood pressure with sports or physical activity.

When my 7-week sentence was up I got the flu and was now out of water for another 5-weeks. This had been the longest period of time I had been out of the water last in 7-years. During this period I gained 12-pounds or a pound-a-week because I was medicating myself with hot chocolates, chocolate croissants, and lots of drawing.

Now I am healthy and back in the water again but I can't believe how out of shape I am. It amazes me how one can swim for 7-years regularly and then lose it all within weeks. I have been doing SCAQ  workouts about twice-a-week so far; (three this week), but in between SCAQ workouts I have been swimming on my own at L.A. Fitness.

The pools at L.A. Fitness are extraordinarily warm, low to middle 80s. Swimming 200s demands longer breaks to recover and swimming only a 1,000 meters feels like your have swam a metric mile. I also find that I am losing more weight with back-to-back "hot tub" swimming than I am swimming twice the yardage in a cooler pool. I am losing 1-to-2-pounds a week.

The upside to this is that when I get inside an 80-degree-pool, the first 1,500-yards is quite doable at a reasonable interval as well. After that I am suffering and paying close attention to my heart rate.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI to resign! - Why is this swimming related?

If you noticed I have been somewhat impressed by USA Swimming's response to child abuse reports but why is this blog post regarding Pope Benedict XVI swimming related?

Short answer:  Because the "national governing body" for the Catholic church, known as the papacy, is making management changes so as to reboot and allow the "cement to dry" in regards to the sexual abuse reforms that the church has implemented.

In modern times Catholic Popes' have chosen to remain in office till death do they part so as to resonate their pro-life position and demonstrate that it is God's will as to when they are "retired."  It has been that way for about 600-years.

Pope Benedict XVI was deemed Pope for the Catholic Church in 2005 after the passing of Pope John Paul the II. Soon thereafter Pope Benedict was engulfed in a sea of sex abuse scandals which he reacted by enacting reforms and making easier to defrock priests [1]

However, parishioners in several cities such as Los Angeles are still enraged because new details have come to light. Details that illustrate cover-ups and misdirection by Cardinals and their underlings which have caused untold hurt and suffering. Though the Catholic church instituted reforms and made strict child abuse prevention policies it is hard for the parishioners to trust that these policies can or would be implemented by the same people who let it grow out of control in the first place. With Pope Benedict's resignation the church reboots and the sex scandals become the last Pope's problems. Let's hope he takes some Cardinals with him.

From USA Today: 
VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday that he will retire from his 8-year papal reign, citing age and declining health for becoming the first pope in 600 years to resign the post. [...] 
The last pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII, who stepped down in 1415 in a deal to end the Great Western Schism among competing papal claimants. 

This resignation will allow new reforms to "cement in place." It will allow a new Papacy team some breathing room so as to take decisive actions to get the church back on track in the eyes of the parishioner. The USA swimming board should take note and put their scandals behind them by doing likewise.

[1] Wall Street Journal February 11, 2013, 10:49 a.m. ET

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Did something stupid: Swam a 1,000-meters moderately hard in 84-degree water

Did an experiment with Fran Crippen in mind. I went to L.A. Fitness and did a moderately hard 1,000-meters in a very warm pool. The result was ugly. During the whole swim I felt like I was swimming at higher altitude and my heart zoomed 20% faster than normal. When I finished the set my heart rate was 160-BPM and took much longer than usual to slow down. It has hovered around 92-beats a minutes for the past hour.

At the 500-meter mark the water inside my cap felt hot. My goggles were fogging badly and on my last 100-meters, which was a build into a sprint, I felt as if I had swam 3,000-meters.

This experiment was conducted at an indoor pool with an ambient air-temp in the low 70s.  Fran Crippen was swimming in water that near 90-degrees Fahrenheit with 100-plus-degree air temps. All I can say is that the only people who can appreciate how dangerous open water swimming in hot water is are the open water swimmers and they seemingly have had no say on where and in what conditions they swim.

Heart rate is now 90-beats-a-minute some one-hour-and-twenty-minutes later and I am mot happy.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Rebecca Adlington announces retirement from swimming Feb 2013

UK Swimming is in such disarray. Funding cuts, apathy, and no more inspiring talent to encourage the youth of the country to get wet.

Adlington was a superstar who beat Katie Hoff in 2008 via discipline and professionalism. A moment every Brit was proud of; I am sad to see her go.