Tuesday, December 18, 2012

That Turn!

Remember back in the day when we used to have to touch the wall during the backstroke flip turn?  I like to tell my swimmers how lucky they are that they never had to do that.  It was so much slower than what we do now that Mark Tewksbury broke the world record 53 seconds after FINA signed the paperwork saying we can just go ahead and flip without staying on our backs until we touch the wall with our hand.  (Of course, we were allowed to stand on the gutter back then for the back start so I guess we didn't have it so bad.)

Lately we have all seen the bucket turn and the crossover-touch turn coming back with some top notch IM'ers for the transition from back to breast...  my swimmers always comment on it when they see it and we spend a little time practicing it, but the cross-over is really only worth the time for the absurdity because the kids take forever to get it even when I demonstrate.  (Or maybe, because I demonstrate.) It's like watching a blooper reel.  Of course, it is probably not fast enough to justify skipping the open turn or even the standard back flip anyway, right?  I mean, we were pretty good at it back in the early 90's but it was really just a fancy way to go just about the same speed as the open turn...

Then again, none of us were quite the level of athlete Ryan Lochte is.  Watch him break that SCM 100 IM record.  Sorry that the video is a little blurry, but at about 3:29 on the video you will see the greatest back to breast transition ever.  Yes, it is even better than the one Phelps did in London that made you nearly burn up your DVR remote when you re-watched it so many times.  Did he really even touch that wall?

Go ahead... watch it again.

and again.

and again.

And now show it to your swimmers so they can waste a half hour of practice time trying to figure out how in the hell he did that.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Speak Softly and Carry Small Words: One Adult's Guide to Handling Bullies

Andy walked in front of me the whole way home, taunting me and dancing with my hat. I was mad and didn't know what to do. He had taken my hat right after school got out. My feeble request for him to "give it back" had fallen on deaf ears. I was new to school and it had taken Andy the whole fall to figure me out. Despite the fact that I was an extremely overgrown seven year old I wasn't going to overpower him to get my hat back. Feeling emboldened, he seized on my weakness on a daily basis. At the time, I didn't have a good word for it, but now I know- I was being bullied. When, embarrassed, I told my mother what had happened to my new hat, she sent older brother on the walk home with me. Andy didn't seem perturbed and went for my second hat right away. I still remembered his stunned face, and the quick trickle of blood coming out of his nose. As soon as he put his hands on my hat, my brother had punched him directly in the nose.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What Makes the Short Course Worlds so Fun (and Terrible)

Glamour shot of Peter Mankoc? Glamour shot of Peter Mankoc

Today in Istanbul, the 2012 edition of the World Short Course Championships got underway. Depending on which of my multiple personalities I ask, this meet is either more fun than swimming should be allowed, or a total embarrassment. In honor of this year's meet, let's discuss both:

Friday, December 7, 2012

Missy Franklin Gives Up NCAA Eligibility

Franklin gets emotional in London after pop star
Justin Bieber sent her a supportive message via twitter.
December 7, 2012
From Staff Reports

Aurora, Colorado--

When four time Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin came home from swim practice on Tuesday evening, her self-professed "Bieber fever" spiked.  She had received a care package full of t-shirts, CD's, posters, and other memorabilia that would make any Justin Bieber fan uncontrollably excited.  During the Olympic games, Franklin expressed her excitement over a tweet and a video message the singer had sent her, and since the games Bieber has continued to express his admiration.

"Beebs sent me an awesome care package."  She told The Swim Brief in an interview.  "My mom was so cute the way she had laid it out on the table for me to see when I walked in the door.  I just started bawling."

The catch?  Franklin had famously decided to maintain her amateur status, foregoing millions of dollars in possible sponsorships as a professional swimmer, to continue competing with her high school team and with Cal where she has already signed a letter of intent.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Hospitality Table May Be the Death of Me

Free food.  Free food everywhere.  The gluttony never stops.  When I was a young coach I used to put meets on my schedule based on how good the hospitality table was.  Some clubs even get a reputation.  I would email the coaches to make requests.  "Are you gonna serve that yummy fruit pizza again?"  It's almost like some kind of a neighborhood competition you would see on The Real Housewives of New Jersey.  Seriously.  It has gone too far.