Wednesday, August 29, 2012

More GHJ Please (And No More Dave and Gary)

In case you haven't noticed by my semi-frequent hyperlinking, I'm a big fan of Swimswam. It's probably the coolest swimming website to be created in recent memory. It's got great content and great perspective. It's not perfect, of course, but what is. Lately, I can't help but notice that one part of the site is going completely underdeveloped while another mostly just takes up space. I'm talking about Gary Hall Jr, specifically and in both cases. So consider this as an open letter to the all powerful gods of Swimswam: please make a change.

Currently, Hall appears on the truly awful recurring feature "Dave and Gary". The feature, pitting Hall alongside former blogger/athlete David Cromwell in lighthearted internet chat format,  started as a joke and I thought looked promising. I always enjoyed Cromwell back in his "Timedfinals" days, and Hall's personality was always even bigger than his swimming accomplishments as impressive as they were. Unfortunately, it's really terrible, a fact which both Cromwell and Hall seemed to realize fairly quickly. They tried to get in on the joke about how bad it is, but even that isn't funny.

Meanwhile, I've noticed that Hall started chiming in with one sentence comments on various Swimswam articles. Unlike "Dave and Gary", I always found myself wanting more. For instance, under an article about British swimming announcing an inquiry into their disappointing results, Hall commented: "Two words: Pennis Dursley". I can surmise from the comment that Hall doesn't think much of the leadership of recent departed British swimming head honcho Dennis Pursley. But why? What does he know?

Likewise, when Stanford announced the hiring of Greg Meehan as their women's coach, Hall applauded the decision. So did plenty of other commenters, but it's Hall's comment that I want to hear more about. In fact, I find myself wanting to hear Hall's comments on swimming in general. He's a guy who's got opinions, many of which are different from the typical set we hear in the national swimming conversation. The swimming world is desperately lacking in interesting conversation. Even if giving Hall a serious forum to voice his opinions involved opinions like "The Swim Brief sucks and Chris DeSantis is a no talent ass clown", I would still prefer it to nothing.

Maybe Hall isn't interested in doing anything other than "Dave and Gary". Or maybe "Gold Medal" Melvin Monroe Stewart doesn't want that big of a personality on the site. Or maybe Braden Keith has contractually stipulated that he be allowed to produce 99% of all written content for the site. Or maybe actual people are writing Trina Radke with their questions. I suspect, however, that none of those things are true, so maybe we could make this happen? Do it for the children, guys. 


  1. Plus one for everything in this column. I never read the dave and gary's, and I'm a fan of both. Also, I am like you about the Dear Katrina fake questions, though that doesn't really bother me as it is just an intro to a topic she wants to opine on. Huge fan of swimswam.

  2. Moderately dissenting view! I loved that column when it started, both because of how well it matched my own...irreverent? sense of humor - I almost died seeing Gary refer to Nick D'Arcy as Dick n'Arsey. Got a good chuckle out of it now, too. It was just so different from most other swimming-related stuff I read, which was awesome.

    I do think it has gotten a bit stale, and I mostly just skim the articles now. (But I do like reading about how much other people hate them. That's always fun.)

    I do agree that we could use more "serious" GHJ columns - those comments and this column are really interesting and I'd read the hell out of them.

  3. I don't mind the terrible back and forth that is Dave and Gary. No matter how terrible it is, its not the norm and swimming needs more of this.

    I will agree with you, hearing more from GHJr would be great. IMHumbleO, GMM doesn't need to attract too much attention of a certain NGB. Certainly not by having HOF swimmers air out any dirty laundry or burn bridges, yet. Establish the site, gain some leeway in access to the NT and other USA events before delving what people REALLY want to read: Intelligent/Informed Op/Eds from people like GHJr (amongst others, like Ervin!).

  4. completelyconqueredAugust 29, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    Completely agree Chris. More GHJr is a good thing!

  5. Anyone that remembers when Gary used to post his opinions on suits and steroids on the Race club message boards leading up to the 2008 trials knows that he is very opinionated and offered some great insider info. I agree that i would love to see more of that.

  6. Gary's jab at Dennis Pursley probably reflects the fact that, back in the day, Pursley expected him to actually train (gasp!)

  7. Ah, yes. Because clearly the training Gary did was insufficient for him to rise to the top. Oh wait.

  8. "The Swim Brief sucks and Chris DeSantis is a no talent ass clown"

    Hi, I'm Gary Hall, Jr., former Speedo model and Olympic gold medalist and I approve this message. (a la political campaign commercial)

    Chris, thanks for the critique. Of course, it's not going to change a thing. I want to be the worst journalist in swimming. And I'm enjoying that title tremendously.

    I enjoyed a lot of support through my swimming career and remain appreciative to those who supported me, got my sense of humor and recognized my dedication and passion for the sport. However, arguably more than any other swimmer of my era, I was hated. I was relentlessly accused of being talented and lazy (if only he would apply himself). Hated for my family. A lot of shit was thrown at me. I've been sprayed with spittle and had fingers pressed into my chest from complete strangers. And that's the fascinating thing; all of that hatred came from people I don't know and that don't know me. Anyway, I've developed thick skin as a result. Bottom line: Criticism (or sincere encouragement) isn't going to change me, or my pursuit of "worst journalist ever", at this point. Perhaps I have come to relish the hatred?

    Outside of the sport of swimming I've dedicated my life to charitable pursuits. Point? Counter Point is a refreshing change.

    1. Dammit, Gary... I am the worst journalist in swimming. Have you read any of the crap I have posted here and all over the web? Point/Counter-Point is a nice try but you've got a lot of work to do if you want to try claiming my title. Recommending smoking for age groupers? Check. History lesson about peeing in the pool? Check. Bring it. A video on the blocks taking my mark with my brief crammed up my crack while wearing a Viking helmet? Checks all over that. If you wanna come after my title you better team up with someon e other than Cromwell cause he actually seems to be smart and funny sometimes and your credentials as a world class swimmer make people respect you even when they hate you. I hereby challenge you to a shitty-journalism-off any time, any way... But I have to warn you, I have the advantage here. :)

    2. Yeah Gary I have to disagree with you. Viking is definitely the worst journalist in swimming. That's why I keep him here on my blog- I can't possibly look bad when I get to follow up on his childless, talentless antics.

      You know how I know he's the worst and you're not? You actually got the best journalist in swimming, Mike Gustafson, to do a point, counterpoint with you. Gus has abandoned this site because of how terrible Viking is. Game, set, match.

  9. Gentlemen, I respect you both. Viking, your antics (and beard) are the stuff of legend. Chris, your only problem is that you care about swimming too much. Your passion for the sport is recognized and appreciated, and that goes for the both of yas.

    Anyway, I'm flattered that you take my opinion seriously enough to want more. Here they are:

    1) Lance Armstrong should have his other testicle forcibly removed while being water boarded. Then a life sized bronze statue of him should be prominently erected at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. The base of the statue should bear a plaque with the single word "Cheater" on it. The fall of Lance Armstrong is the greatest thing that has ever happened in sport. Period.

    2) I think that women are much smarter than men.

    3) What's the most important thing in life? Procreation. Because without it all life would die.

    4) I think pleated pants make me look like a flippin' idiot.

    5) I think pleated pants make anybody look like a flippin' idiot.

    Thank you for your (oddly delivered) encouragement, gentlemen. Good day!


    1. I agree with point 2-- my wife has been trying to convince me about the pleated pants thing for years. I have stopped wearing pants in a stubborn fit of frustration.

      So, does this mean that "The Swim Brief sucks and Chris DeSantis is a no talent ass clown" will now be a recurring feature on our site? Awesome to have you on board Gary! You are welcome to post here any time. You just have to let your articles be proofread by our Editor in Chief before you hit the publish button. Our contract with Chris typically includes a "hey, if we ever meet in person we owe each other a few pitchers of beer" but you could probably negotiate for a sweeter deal.
      Catch ya on the flip flop!