Wednesday, November 30, 2011

View From the Stands: Swim Fans Rejoice!

                                                   Hip Hip Hooray!

Okay swim fans, is everyone here?  There's A LOT going on, good stuff.  How 'bout Urban Meyer going to Ohio State?  Wait, wrong sport........ sorry.

First up, Speedo is about to unleash it's big secret today, the Speedo Fastskin 3.  Guaranteed to make all you swimmers faster than Michael Phelps during the last 50 of a 200 fly.  It's FINA-approved so it must "look" normal.  I'll never forget everyone sitting around the Today Show in '08 looking like crosses between Aqua Man and extras from some rubber fettish film.   I noticed there's not a lot of media yet (as of midnight the night before) but there's this:

Secondly, Ryan "Jeah" Lochte has been nominated by Kelli Anderson as Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year.  It's a great article.  As a swim fan it makes me proud of "our" athletes who work so hard....usually not for the nearly the same fortune, fame and glory as say, an NFL or NBA player who is always on the cover.  This is great for the sport.  Kelli's article is here:

Lastly, 2011 AT&T Winter National Championships begin on Thursday in Atlanta.  Our very own Chris Desantis and Michael Gustafson will be there so, if not for any other reason, check it out.  They've worked really hard on their mash-up and they've got some some really hot dance moves.  The psych sheet can be found here:

Good stuff!  Yippee!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Contacted by Ben Sheppard (UPDATED)

Back in September, I wrote a post concerning the an article about Ben Sheppard, an Oakland area swim coach who was accused of sending inappropriate messages to his swimmers. Since then, very little has happened- by all accounts Sheppard lost both of his jobs. One was with the Oakland Community Pools and another with USA Swimming. So, needless to say, I was pretty surprised when he contacted me via facebook.

Monday, November 21, 2011

MSU Bears Men take the Northwestern TYR Invitational

Yeah... I know what you're thinking.  Who cares about the Bears.  Right?  I understand that this blog isn't supposed to be my MSU Bears showscase or anything, but as Supreme 2nd Assistant Editor in Chief of The Swim Brief blog, I wanted to take this special chance to rub the win in Mike Gustafson's grubby little face in the hopes of starting an annual MSU vs Northwestern blog fight.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A totally informal interview with Susan Woessner

Yesterday I talked on the phone with Susan Woessner for 50 minutes. I had planned to record the conversation, not to establish a record of everything that Susan had said, but so that I didn't misquote her on anything. Unfortunately, I discovered after the call that my recording had totally failed. In an effort to not let time skew what I remember about the call, I endeavored to write this blog right away so I didn't forget.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Late Night Snack: A Feel Good Post

Sheeeeeesh.  When did things get so serious around here?  I thought I'd throw up a small warm-fuzzy for everyone to say, "WE'RE BACK!"  Happy 2011-2012 season, everyone.

This lovely little story comes to us from Howard County, Maryland.  The Columbia Association has announced a blocked-off time for "Women Only Swimming."  The need for this comes from Howard County's growing Muslim population and the fact that many Muslim women felt uncomfortable swimming in a co-ed situation but they very much wanted to swim.   The Columbia Association felt that not only Muslim women had a need for a "women's only" swim time but other women might also feel more comfortable swimming at these times for other personal reasons.  The reserved times are scheduled during "slower" parts of the day.

New York City Parks and Recreation also has "women only" swim times at the Metropolitan Recreation Center and some universities are also implementing a blocked-off time for women only.  At George Washington, some complained citing concerns over the program "infringing on other's civil liberties."

Personally, I think this is nice.  It brings a population to the pool that would otherwise be excluded.  I have always found the swimming community to be especially inclusive and this is yet another example.  There will be arguments against this, I'm sure.  I just like how the swimming community opens itself up to people from all walks of life.  Water is universal.  So throw on those "burqinis" ladies and get in the pool!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Talk With Susan Woessner

After my last blog, I received a fairly surprising e-mail. It was from Susan Woessner, USA Swimming's athlete protection officer. Susan didn't reference the blog that I had just written drawing parallels between what's going on at Penn State right now and USA Swimming. I assumed that had to do with why she was writing. I was surprised that Susan contacted me because I had the impression that USA Swimming was walling itself off from the outside. Susan disagrees pretty strongly with that contention, and I think that her willingness to reach out is a direct attempt to change that perception. She's already started to do that.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Bears in Briefs: or "Why I Can't keep My Mouth Shut Anymore."

This is the proof that I was there.

Fine. I have been awakened from my stress-induced blog-hibernation. I can't keep my big fat trap shut anymore. Last month I wrote up a blog out of frustration but I didn't post it. Upon re-reading it I decided that I was being petty and I was letting the distant past taint my typically fair and balanced view of collegiate swimming.

The blog I wrote was about my beloved alma mater, the Missouri State Bears, winning the Men's side of the Show-Me Showdown, an early season meet between every college swim team, at every level, in the state of Missouri. My Bears pulled off the upset and beat the nationally ranked Missouri Tigers. Hells yeah!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sound familiar?

There's so much going on today, I struggled to pick one topic. Maryland Swimming is under serious threat, a prospect that is completely terrifying. The first set of College dual meet rankings is set to be released later in the day. But you won't hear about either of those things if you turn on sports center. The sports world's gaze is firmly fixed on State College, PA. But this is a swimming blog! And still it might be the most important swimming topic of the day.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Ian Thorpe Comeback a Total Failure

The following is a guest blog from Tom Duke. For full bios of our guest bloggers, click here

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Today, the illustrious Ian Thorpe made his comeback to swimming. Thorpe, formerly the undisputed greatest swimmer in the Commonwealth (and by default, the world) once dazzled us with his middle distance freestyle virtuosity. Then a large eared american blowhard named Michael Phelps, tempered only by the coaching genius of Bob Bowman, unseated the king. Thorpe retired to a life of tabloid speculation over his waist line and sexuality. As fun as that sounds, he decided to make a comeback, if for no other reason than to get people talking about his swimming for a little. His first meet was today, and I am already declaring his comeback a total failure.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

About those deadlines...

"If you hang up this phone, the offer is gone"

That's the line that many college prospects are facing and have faced over the last few weeks. In the cutthroat world of college recruiting, deadlines are an effective way for schools to get commitments. While the above is perhaps the most extreme example, most scholarship schools use deadlines to varying degrees. If you're a prospect or parent (or even a college coach) you may be wondering why.