Tuesday, July 31, 2012

John Leonard: The Cowardly Lion

Yesterday, American Swim Coaches Association (and World Swim Coaches Association) Executive Director John Leonard was widely quoted on the topic of Ye Shiwen. Cited in articles as a "promintent US swim coach", Leonard strongly implied that Shiwen was doping, while prefacing those implications by saying he wasn't implying she was doping. This isn't the first time Leonard has felt the need to insert himself into a debate vital to swimming. In fact, Leonard seems to believe that his opinion is always needed, except on one vitally important topic: sexual abuse by coaches. Leonard's quote's are a reminder once again that swim coaches worldwide should be embarrassed that he is in a leadership position among us. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

London 2012: Ragnarok

The following is a Guest Blog from Tom Duke. For full bios of all our resident guest bloggers, click here. For a slightly less rational take on the same subject, read Craig Lord

To borrow from the mythology of the blogging blockhead of this site, swimming at the 2012 London Olympics has devolved quickly into the ultimate cataclysm of Viking tales: Ragnarok, the event wherein the ultimate battle between the powerful gods and their troll enemies of Jotenheim results in the destruction of the entire world. Such a reaction is only appropriate in the wake of Ye Shiwen's violent throttling of her beautiful, gentle, anglo-saxon ancestried competitors. The conclusion that any simpleton can deduce of such a thorough defeat alongside the breaking of a shiny suit world best despite racing in textile is clear: Shiwen's performance must be fueled Odin himself, or possibly something greater.

Coffee and Swimming

Caffeine is the most commonly consumed ergogenic aide in the world. This natural alkaloid is present in various leaves, fruits and seed. Despite the rise of energy drinks, coffee is still the most frequently consumed caffeinated drink in sports. Caffeine consumption is quite frequent in sports; in fact, it is consumed prior to competition in 7% of elite and international athletes based on doping analysis (Del Coso 2011).

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Mad and Excited: Day 1 Prelims at the London Olympics

Thanks FINA!

I woke up this morning at 4:30 eastern. I was nervous about missing the first prelim session of the Olympics. When your sport only gets meager coverage every four years, you feel guilty for squandering even one second of it. What I saw in the wee hours of the east coast (thank goodness I don't live out west) was both exciting and totally maddening. In that way, it's just like any other swim meet.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Still So Far To Go

Yesterday at practice, a swimmer remarked that he wasn't surprised to read the story that surfaced concerning Rick Curl and an emergency USA Swimming hearing regarding whether he sexually molested a swimmer under his charge almost thirty years ago, then got her to sign away any right to talk about it for money. "Seems like I read something similar every week". Looking at the situation pessimistically, that's a sad state of affairs for swimming. However, it's undeniably a positive that this issue is stepping out of the shadows, no matter how painful it is. The response, however, indicates we still have very far to go. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Olympic Preview: Asia

If you missed it last week, we provided a special Swimbrief primer for the rapidly approaching Olympics. The first entry centered on Europe, and this entry will focus on the Asian continent. Rather than provide an exhaustive preview that you could easily find elsewhere, we aim to provide you with ready made, easy to use talking points to impress your friends while you watch the tape delayed broadcast. In the event that like most swimbrief writers and readers, you have no friends, we have no advice. Anyway, ASIA!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

We're All Too Big to Fail

When I first read that the NCAA going to make a ruling on Penn State this month, I have to admit that I didn't think much would come of it. In my lifetime, the NCAA has seemed for the most part an overly bureaucratic and hypocritical organization. Most decisions that could truly benefit student-athletes seem to get buried in endless committees, while the term "student-athlete" has become a sick joke in many big time sports at big time schools. My feelings were confirmed when former NCAA president Myles Brand (rest in peace) came to the CSCAA clinic as key note speaker in 2008. College swim coaches were mad- our sport was under threat despite being one that actually adhered to the student-athlete ideal. To that point Brand had only the defense that he was trying, but there was little he could do.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Olympic Preview: Europe

Gyurta's textbook form
Here in the US, we have a clear strategy for familiarizing citizens with "America's Swim Team". Trials are the introduction, and in between we do our best to make sure that even casual fans feel like they know someone besides Phelps, Lochte and Coughlin (Franklin?). There is a tendency, however, for even the more serious fan to get to the meet and exclaim "Where did that guy come from?". I'll call this the "Domenico Fioravanti" phenomenon.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Trolling in the Deep: The Best "Under the Bridge" in Swimming

If you follow the most popular swimming websites, it's easy to appreciate what's out there these days. It wasn't so long ago that there was nowhere to discuss swimming, swimming related topics, or even for two former high level swimmers to post their online chats. Now we have all that. That greater opportunity however, comes with a cost. Behold, the terrors of internet fun: trolls.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Catching Up

I go away for a few days, and miss so many bloggable moments. First came the comments from Tyler Clary, which this blog has already covered satirically. Then, in news more tangential but no less important, the Freeh report on Penn State and their handling of Jerry Sandusky. In an attempt to catch up, I'm going to hit on a few of last weeks topic in random, attention deficit fashion. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ooh, The Nerve of That Tyler Clancy!

I'm so mad I could karate kick that Tyler Clancy in the face!

Hi swim fans!  Your favorite Phelps Phan, Ritchie MP Cummins here!  I just had to get on here and say that I just can't take it any more!  Why is everybody dogging on my main man Michael Phelps!?  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Warm Cities, Fast Swimmers

As a kid, I grew up in a middle class suburb in Dayton, Ohio.

Throughout my childhood, I always thought Ohio was a great swimming state. I mean look at the high school national record books and you'll see Ohioans scattered throughout.
However, now that I live in California, I have learned somewhat behind the learning curve, that California is a much faster swimming state.

I know what you're thinking, California is better because they have more swimmers or because the areas I've lived (Los Angeles, San Jose) have a higher socioeconomic class, etc.

These reasons likely tell part of the story, but I'm critical of their full contribution and wonder if perhaps cortical and motor development contributes to the equation.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

"Where's the Viking?" and Other Stories from Omaha

As you recall from my last post, I capped my weekend at Olympic Trials by meeting my nemesis Craig Lord and exchanging pleasantries. As I was wrapping up, Lord blurted out a question (as only he can).

"Where's the Viking?" he asked. When I told him that "the Viking" had been unable to make the meet, a look of severe disappointment washed over his face. Having met me, his mind had immediately moved on to my partner in crime, the "blogging blockhead". He did not inquire as to the whereabouts of Tony Austin.