Thursday, December 22, 2011

100 Minutes With Chuck Part 4: The Future

This is the last blog in a four part series after a meeting last week with Chuck Wielgus. I had thought we would have the meeting, Chuck and Susan would have time to respond, and things might continue slowly from there. I was mistaken.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

100 Minutes with Chuck Part 3: Why?

I want to make something very clear from the beginning of this post.  I am about to give my best attempt at explaining why not just Chuck but our board of directors and others failed to do the right thing. I think it's an important endeavor to understand, but not excuse why bad things happen. I'll repeat it simply for emphasis: I want to explain but not excuse.

Monday, December 19, 2011

100 Minutes with Chuck Part 2: My Bias

The following is the second part in a series of blogs about my meeting on Saturday, December 17th with USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus. Click here for part 1.

I spent nearly all of Saturday processing. I was lucky that Kate was with me. Not only did she ask all the questions I would have kicked myself for not asking afterwards, but she was somebody else I could talk to about what had happened. She also probed me to think more about my own motivations than I had before. That afternoon I told her a secret.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

100 Minutes with Chuck: Part 1

On the Tuesday before my meeting with Chuck Wielgus, I couldn't sleep. Saturday morning brought back a lot of bad memories I would rather not relive. There were four of us in the lounge of the Marriot Marquis: Chuck and I with Susan Woessner and my wife Kate. We spoke for roughly an hour and forty minutes, far longer than I expected. If my thoughts before the meeting were tortured, afterwards I almost had too much to process. My opinions about Chuck's actions and leadership are unchanged. In a series of blogs this week, I hope to explain everything as I saw it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Meeting Internet Friends

Bjarnason during Tuesday's warmup
One of the pleasures of writing this blog is that I get to talk to people from all across the country and the world about swimming. One of the hazards is that many of my friends are people I have never met "in real life", whatever that means in 2011. Duel in the Pool this weekend is going to feature some crazy fast swimming in an awesome format. It's also a chance to meet a couple characters I've written a lot about, Jon Bjarnason and Pal Joensen.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Coffee with Chuck

Lest I bury the lead of this post, I'll start with this: next weekend I'm meeting with USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus. If that sounds unbelievable. Rest assured that I am just as surprised.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

All are invited to the /r/swimmer party!

Lately I have become a Redditor.  If you don't know what I am talking about, you are missing out. is a news site where anyone can post text, photos or links and they are ranked with up/down votes by readers. Those posts grabbing the highest number land on the front page.  One of the best things about it is that the comments, like floswimming back in the day, are a free for all.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Nighttime Snack: Just in Time

In a post earlier this week, I bemoaned the lack of track blocks at the Winter Nationals recently held at our home pool. So imagine my surprise when I came to practice on Monday and saw this:

It's here! We couldn't have gotten them a few days earlier? But that wasn't the only thing that was dramatically different. Where our west pool once was the floor has been raised and USA Swimming is building an ambitious set of stands that will put fans right on top of the turn end of the pool:

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Heading to the Chesapeake Pro-Am

Since I am back to club coaching again, I am thrilled to have the chance to go back to Oklahoma City for one of the coolest meets in the midwest.  What is not to like about the Chesapeake Elite Meet?  They offer prize money with bonuses for setting records; they attract some pretty big name national team swimmers along with great clubs and college teams from around the country; and they offer the tournament style "50 free shoot-out" that has proven to be a lot of fun over the years.

Call and Response: The War of Words Between USAS and "Splash"

I had a funny "encounter" with USA Swimming President Bruce Stratton while at Nationals. As he was making the rounds on the pool deck, I made eye contact with him while standing alone. He quickly looked away, as if he was on his way to talk to someone behind me. I followed him with my gaze: no one there. He made eye contact with me again and averted his eyes to something past me a second time. He walked across me a second time. Again, no one there. He made eye contact a third time, then stared out at the pool and smiled for a while, before walking away.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Late Night Snack: Swim Brief on NBC (sorta....not really....)

Makes you tear up a little, no?
So this afternoon while the kids were at school I turned on NBC's coverage of ATT Nationals as I sat and folded an endless barrage of towels (because that's what swim moms do) when....lo-and-behold...who shows up in the background of a Brendan Hansen interview but our very own Mike Gustafson wandering around with nothing but a camera, a USA Swimming All Access Pass and a dream.

Goodbye Nationals!

Is Brendan Hansen all the way back? Is it fair to have seven out of ten finalists at US Nationals be from another country? Is Ed Moses' promotional rap video the worst or best thing to happen in the history of swimming? I answer these questions and more as I look back at Nationals here in my home pool.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

My Team Doesn't Take Bathroom Breaks...

we take smoke breaks.

I am all about reading up on the latest science to help me become a better coach.  Of course, there are a lot of off-the-wall coaches out there spouting some really ridiculous stuff, so I don't buy into everything I read on the internets.  Have you seen those Boomer Chronicles videos?!  Yeah, right!  What a bunch of hooey.  I only  pay attention to articles that use big sciency-sounding words and cite sources and stuff, because that means I can believe every word they are saying.  I like to think I am somewhat of an innovator, and that is why I love it when I stumble upon a gem like this one, in a scientific journal, written by someone like me who really thinks outside the box.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The FS3 Combo Pack

It's been a couple of years now since polyurethane was banned from suits and length restrictions freed our calves, forearms and man-boobs from captivity, but I am starting to worry that we might be opening that door again with the new Speedo gear.  I fear that this new tech could set off a chain of events that could have us all arguing once again about technology cheapening the sport as we head into the 2012 Olympics.