Thursday, April 30, 2009
My addiction to ipod/iphone apps just reached new heights. This is kind of old news, but I hadn't seen it before. It's called "Finger Olympic Swimmer 100M" and it looks kind of cool. I am going to look like a total idiot when I am doing this during the diving session at saturday high school meets.
I stumbled upon this Onion-style article in the "Enduring Vision" about adding "acid swimming" to the Olympic games and thought it was going to be kind of dumb. I think it might have been written by someone who knows something about swimming, because they added a couple of lines that made it seem to be pretty relevant satire. Like the following:
In keeping with standard Olympic guidelines, no steroid use will be tolerated in the event. However, due to the acid, additional guidelines must also be implemented.
"If any contestant is found to secretly be wearing a suit of armor, or even fake, acid-resistant skin over their actual skin, they will be disqualified immediately," Schwartzman said. "This event is designed to test the human body's tolerance for sulfuric acid, not some synthetic material."
They also had this gem in their archives about Phelps and his drug use:"We will evaluate whether it will be acceptable for Mr. Phelps to ever compete in the Olympics again," said the president of IOC, Jacques Rogge. "Smoking marijuana may be the greatest offense ever committed by an athlete, ever."
According to the Herald Sun, the Australian Institute of Sport is installing new blocks with an adjustable foot rest so swimmers can get more push from their back foot on the start. They will debut at the Australia vs. Japan Duel in the Pool on May 9 and 10. I am guessing this will be pretty similar to what is used in Track. There weren't any pictures. It apparently doesn't involve a springboard, which was my first concern.
Honestly, this will just add one more dimension to the list of "what makes a fast pool."
Oh well. As long as it takes everyone's eyes off of performance enhancing drugs long enough for me to shoot up before I put on my Jaked, I guess it ain't all bad.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I once heard someone famous say they were sooo excited to finally be made into an action figure like Harrison Ford. I told my girls team once that I wanted an action figure made of me someday, so they cut my face out of a picture and glued it to a naked Ken doll with a cape.
Clever, but disturbing nonetheless.
I think it is really cool that there are so many strange ways your face can be marketed to let you know you are finally famous. We all think of the simple ones, like the cover of a magazine, a movie poster or appearing on Letterman. We might actually enjoy some of the ones that are a little more obscure, like when you are made into an action figure, appear on cereal boxes, cartoons, a whacked out record in the Guinness book, or when you score your first stalker . Then there are the really out there ones…
…like finding your name multiple times in the urban dictionary.
Go ahead. Look up Phelps. You will find crazy definitions for the following and more:
Phellowship, Phelopiandude, phelp, phelp faced, phelpage, Phelped, Phelpian, phelpified, phelpin' , Phelping, Phelpism, phelpistic, Phelpitized, Phelps, Phelps Hit, Phelps Phan, phelps phenomenon, Phelps Photo Op, Phelps Phreestyle, Phelps syndrome, Phelps'd, Phelps-it, Phelps-o-gasm, phelps-style, Phelpsed Out, Phelpsgasm, Phelpsian, Phelpsian Achievement, Phelpsian breakfast, Phelpsian feat, Phelpsianic, Phelpsies, Phelpsin' It, phelpsing
…and the best one Phelpsturbate.
Ouch, man. Maybe I don’t want to win 8 gold medals.
It is nice to see an Alaskan girl get some press for signing. For having such a small population, Alaska seems to produce a good amount of excellent swimmers. I am sure the weather change was a big factor in her choice of school. Fairbanks to New Mexico will be quite a shock to the system.
Congrats to Alyssa Kiell!
And, of course, to add to my confusion, USA Today also seems to think that the X-Glide and the Jaked won't pass FINA's test starting January 1st.
Hey... any press is good press, right?
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Then, I happened upon this article in the Chicago Tribune, which said that FINA standards will require suits to have no more than 50% polyurethane and that the X-Glide and many other suits would be illegal starting January 1st. The author of the article didn’t have all of his facts straight, (he said that Bernard was the first man under 50 in the 100m,) but he might be on to something, and that does gel with my theory that Speedo has a lot of influence in writing the new rules. I have always felt that since Speedo is the biggest suit maker and has the most influence on the world scene I wouldn’t be surprised if the wording came out that the LZR would be safe and most of the other tech suits out there would be banned. There has been a lot of talk lately that makes it sound like the LZR is the normal and everything released since then that seems to be better should be considered cheating.
Then I got to the part of the article that really threw me for a loop… Mark Schubert’s quotes: "It's totally out of control,'' "Now we're into speedboat driving.'' "But the saddest thing is we no longer are able to compare generations. Swimming should be about the swimmer, not the suit.''
Mark Schubert has been a part of the great swim suit race since the release of the Belgrade back in 1972. He arguably abused his position with USA Swimming to serve Speedo’s interests in the LZR hyper drive leading up to Beijing, This was the guy who was one of the most outspoken proponents of new technology and fed the hype that put us into this tech-suit mess. He even pushed sponsored athletes to desert their suit makers which in effect may have forced some major companies out of the sport and out of competition with Speedo… and now he’s making an argument about the suits being ridiculous and comparing the sport to speedboat racing? All of a sudden he has changed his mind about tech suits now that there are suits better than the LZR? WTF? His argument about not being able to compare to past generations? That and the outrageous cost were my arguments against tech suits at floswim, and I was in opposition to him! He didn’t seem to care about that when Speedo was leading the tech race and he was laughing his way to the bank! He opened the door to polyurethane suits!
AND I QUOTE (from an older interview, pre-Beijing): “My advice to athletes is, ‘You have a black-and-white decision - the money or the gold medal.' And it's going to be a real test of character." “There is no doubt the suit makes a difference and there is no doubt that there is one manufacturer that's put millions into research while the other manufacturers are more into fashion. Nobody at this level [world-class athletes] can afford to give up 2 per cent. It is not rocket science. ...” -- Mark Schubert.
This is as bad, or maybe even worse than, USA Swimming abusing their position to control rights to media coverage of swimming events. What they pulled with Garrett at Y Nats was embarrassing, and just serves as more evidence that our non-profit National Governing Body has some identity issues that they need to work out. Promote the sport first. We have no room for the interference of misguided interests within the offices of the group that is supposed to take care of us. FINA wasn’t the only organization that mishandled their role in the dawn of the tech suit.
Of course, they might be able to get back in my good graces if they knock the price of the LZR down to about thirty bucks each…
…Yeah, right. Like that’s gonna happen. That is about as likely as TYR sponsoring my blog.
To quote from The Australian:
"There's a new world record application form that came out last month in which you have to list what suit was worn and whether all FINA rules were followed," Thompson said.
"I think it would set a dangerous precedent if this was approved, and everyone will be watching it. It's a bit like the situation when Libby (Trickett) broke the world record racing Michael Phelps and her record was not ratified. That was not an approved event and this is not an approved suit."
The X-glide could be approved for Worlds, I guess. I can't help but agree that FINA shouldn't let the record count, and it's not just because I don't like tech suits. Part of the problem with the suit revolution is that FINA didn't have a good process in place for approval. Their rules were too vague. They let things slip and made some mistakes. Now that FINA actually has an approval process and are being held accountable, it would be a huge mistake to let Bernard and Arena slip through. It would open the door to a whole new level of abuse.
Another part of the article that interested me is this:
FINA is conducting an independent testing process on competition suits, which should rule out those that offer unfair buoyancy assistance.
Thompson said he expected Arena's new polyurethane suit would pass the tests."The procedure has been very open, all the manufacturers know what tests will be done, and I doubt that any major manufacturer would submit a suit that wouldn't get through the process," he said.
I didn't realize that suit manufacturers were in the know about what tests were going to be used. I guess that was naive of me to think they were going to have to do guess work. To me, that means that Craig Lord's mission is doomed. That means that the Jaked, X-Glide, TYR Titan and the rest of the new generation that have proven to be better than the LZR are certainly here to stay.
I have been a little confused about phase 2 of FINA's suit plan. I should probably go back and read it again. I know that it, or ASCA's summary of it, said that suits will be expected to be designed to not trap air, and even said something about space between polyurethane panels, which made me think that speedo might have had a strong pull in the wording of the rules since that is the difference between the LZR and most of the next generation... but if suits like the Arena X-Glide are being put out there by companies who know what tests are going to be performed, I guess it is a non-issue. Could it be that suit companies don't know the tests for phase 2 and don't care since they currently only have to worry about phase 1?
Monday, April 27, 2009
I really thought Bea Arthur was amazing. Her comedic timing was unbelievable. Check out her uncensored clip where she reads from Pam Anderson's book at her Comedy Central celebrity roast. I am also embedding the opening credits and the final scene from the Golden Girls for you. Enjoy.
Yeah... I used to watch the Golden Girls with my mom when I was a kid. I also went to bingo at the Sons of Norway Hall and watched a hell of a lot of Murder She Wrote.
You got a problem with that?
I hate it when someone is bragging on the hotel they stayed in last night and they say it had an "olympic size pool."
Oh really? They have an 8-lane long course facility at your Days Inn? It's funny how the city of Springield, with the help of two universities, two USA clubs, and six high schools can't seem to come up with the cash to fund one. Days Inn must be doing pretty well.
It bothers me even more when the hotel actually lies to us and advertises an "olympic size pool" and the picture shows a 4 foot deep kidney shaped wader...
so you can imagine the laugh I got when my wife was looking up vacation rentals and happened upon this picture with the caption "swimming olympic size river across from us."
Come on, people! We can do better. Can't we come up with another way to describe your pool? How about fun size?... or does that sound too much like a candy bar? What about "lame size?"
Give me a freekin' break.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
It is a pretty easy assumption in my mind that Michael might be playing around with the straight arm free technique that is becoming more common in world class sprinting. The French seem to have built an entire system around it. If you have ever seen Fred Bousquet bust out an 18 in the 50 free scy, you know it can be something really phenomenal.
Jonty Skinner spoke on this at SwimNews. He made some interesting points about tech suits changing technique on the world scene, and this type of freestyle was a great example. To quote:
"A few years ago, I wrote an article about freestyle in which I argued that, in terms of broad technique, there are two main options, and that our infatuation with short-course yards (SCY) racing was leading us down a path of diminishing returns in long-course (LCM) swimming. My rationale at the time was the fact that, while swimming with a straight-arm catch versus a high-elbow catch was more powerful, it had a greater metabolic or energy cost. Using this technique in LCM seemed, to me, to limit the swimmer’s options beyond 100m free.
A swimmer can be very successful with the straight-arm option in SCY because the actual time spent swimming as opposed to turning was very small (cost issue). That changes dramatically in LCM. Enter the suits and their effect on metabolic cost—it lowers the cost substantially—and suddenly swimmers can sustain straight-arm technique easily over a 100m long course. This past Olympics was a testament to that fact. You used to see the odd high-elbow swimmer in the thick of the 50; now you don’t. They used to be in the thick of the 100; now they’re rare. You used to have 200-meter swimmers competing in the 100m—and in many cases winning that event—but not anymore. 100m races are dominated by straight-arm, 50-meter guys."
I have to wonder. How many other changes like this will come about in the next few years as the sport continues to evolve? We have all seen swimmers with crazy front end speed who never seem to maintain. Haven't there been a few great short course swimmers in the past who just couldn't break through on the world scene because they didn't excel in long course at the same level? Are we going to start studying their technique through different glasses?
I personally can't wait to see Phelps focus on sprints. Even if it doesn't work out to be as spectacular as his 8 gold performance, or as awesome to watch as his 400 IM in Beijing, it will at least add some spice to the world swimming scene. Everyone wants to be the one to beat Phelps at a major meet, and the sprints are still wide open as it stands now. It might take a major change for Phelps to rise to the top in the world of the fast-twitch. Fitness won't be the issue for him, nor will be his ability to maintain technique. Generating sprinting power and explosive speed is where he will see his greatest advances and it will be fun to see what he is doing to reach the next level.
Of course, I am making a pretty big assumption here about the straight arm thing, and we all know what happens when we do that. :)
Now that all of us old school GI Joe fans are all grown up and terrorism is a major world issue... what better time to bring back America's highly trained special missions force and their enemy Cobra, the ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world?
Larry Hama's run on the GI Joe comics back in the 80's developed an amazing world of characters. Most people don't realize how intelligent they really were. They weren't as simple as the old cartoon series. There was a lot of political intrigue and Cobra was actually an organization that had a base in how terrorism is really operated and funded. It was a very strange blend of fiction for kids and adults that worked for a lot of different reasons.
Now that I look back, I like to imagine how much better the series would have been if Hama weren't confined to the limitations that go with your comic being primarily a marketing tool for a toy. It looks like this new cartoon series is going to step outside of that box and it could be something really spectacular.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
So when I read about this guy, Jaring Timmerman, the centenarian, and all of the “World Records” he is breaking… let’s just say it rubbed me the wrong way.
To quote from an article: “You know something?," he posed to an interviewer. "And this is hard to believe -- but I broke the 100-metre freestyle world record by one minute, 30 seconds. Can you picture that? That is more than I ever anticipated. I think it's the adrenaline that starts to flow, you know? It seemed to work."
Well of course you are breaking records… no one else is around to swim in the 100-104 year old age group! What a freekin’ glory hound! That is like me taking my 2 year old daughter and just creating a 2 & under age group just so she can have all the records! Plus you were probably wearing a LZR! I can’t wait to hear what Craig Lord has to say about your part of the world record bull run!
That’s it! I have a new goal. I am going to get my crazy training routine on. I am gonna dedicate myself to breaking every one of those damn 100-104 age group world records. Just imagine how fast I am gonna be with another 65 years of training and improvement under my belt. You think my first 15 year swimming career was intense? Well the next 65 years are gonna make that look like beginner step aerobics. Just think, when I am finished with my coaching career and retired, I will have another 40 plus years to train full time with no interference. Two a days plus weights will be my recovery day.
And the best part… even if FINA has approved robotic body parts and performance enhancing nano-technology in the bloodstream by 2074, I am not going to use it. I am gonna break all your records in nothing but a brief. Ha! Stick that in your pipe and smoke it!
Mr. Timmerman’s 50 split on his world record breaking 100 free was a 1:26! I am so gonna whale on that time. Watch out Jaring. I’m gunning for you.
*just kidding, guys. I think it is awesome that he is modeling swimming as the ultimate lifetime sport. I can only hope I am breathing at age 100, much less setting records or pursuing any kind of athletic or healthy endeavor. I hope I get to see you race someday Mr. T! I am in awe.
Haven't we all wanted to try our own techsuit experiment? I know a girl who wore a Blue70 at sectionals and lycra at LSC championships to see how it went, but there was a taper in between that skewed the results.
Aparently, Lennart Stekelenburg got to try it at the Amsterdam Cup. He is under contract with Speedo, so he swam the prelim and final in an LZR. His final was 2nd place with a 1:01.9. During the break though, he busted out a 59.5 in a Jaked suit.
Yeah, that's the Italian suit that Auburn wore at NCAA's; I guess because Speedo couldn't fill their LZR order.
I don't even know what to say. I used to want to find a meet to not shave prelims just so I could come back and see how much difference a shave really made back in the day. This guy took it a step further by running a time trial. That would be kind of like swimming unshaved, then swimming it again shaved, then swimming it again and gluing all your hair back just to be sure the unshaved time was legit.
If only he had done the prelim in a brief... then we might really have some numbers to compare. :)
Monday, April 20, 2009
Since I started working out recently, I have been a little amazed. I haven't really done much work. I have trimmed off a few of the extra calories. I have lost about five pounds, but that doesn't surprise me. Just cutting out fast food every other day could cover that. What has shocked me is the differences in my blood pressure and heart rate. I was almost disqualified because my heart rate went below the acceptable range. It has dropped from an average in the 70's down to the 40's. I actually had to meet with the nurse to explain to her why my heart rate has been gradually getting lower over a three week period.
Apparently, heart rate being too low is a sign of poor health and can indicate that the heart might not handle plasmapheresis. Luckily, the nurse asked the right questions to explain it away. She gave me a pass so that I won't be disqualified in the future if I am out of the acceptable range.
I haven't really noticed much of a health difference from the little bit of exercise I have been getting. I guess I feel pretty good lately, but no big deal. I am really surprised that there has been such a measurable difference in my vitals. I wonder how much of a difference I would see if I hadn't been an athlete in the past? I don't feel like I am in shape by any means. I haven't put in a single swim this year more than 2900 yards, and I have also only jogged twice all year.
I once read an article about how difficult it is to fit exercise into your day. The article said that even if you only have ten minutes to fit in something as simple as a brisk walk, that it was worth doing. They stressed the point that when you hit the ten minute mark you start to burn off triglycerides, and for many people that is a major step toward warding off heart disease. Can it really be that easy?
If I ever make a list of the best tv shows in history, I am not embarrased to say that Sesame Street will be on it. What they do for kids (and their parents) is brilliant.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
I am all for alternative therapies. Acupuncture, rolfing, herbs... but this "cupping" thing just doesn't seem like it would be worth the effort. Plus, in Missouri, the MSHSAA would DQ this girl because her skin markings are something other than the name of her team. :)
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Apparently, German swimming and their gender equity battle is a little more complex than ours.
Title IX enthusiasts oughtta get a kick out of this one...
Quote from the article: "FINA rejected the request. I believe that officials just don't want to see any men in this sport," said Niklas, who shaves his legs and wears women's costumes covered in sequins."
Give 'em hell, Niklas!
Monday, April 13, 2009
I think I'm gonna have to rent this one. :)
Thursday, April 9, 2009
I have to say. This was a pretty cool experience, although I did kind of "Chris Farley" it.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Was anybody else a little thrown off by Kutner's suicide on House? I think that was the first time ever that I have seen a major event happen with no lead-up on one of my shows. I just had no clue this one was coming.
I got suspicious enough to go and google for what really happened. There had to be something going on behind the scenes, right? If there is tension on the set, we usually hear something in the tabloids, eh?
Well, apparently it might be a conspiracy involving Barack Obama. Conspiracy theorists click here.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
I have to say that while this episode of Sportscenter was awesome and I couldn't help but root for him, it probably set mainstream acceptance of competitive swimming back about ten years.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
I have never been so impressed by an April Fools Joke. The 17th Man really pulled off a great one.
I guess there is a part of me that wishes a masters swimmer could someday dupe a foreign suitmaker into thinking they can make the Olympic Team to get a sponsorship. There has to be some company out there that hears places are charging 500 bucks for a swim suit and wants in on the action. There are a lot of people out there who know nothing about swimming that are making swim suits now that the tech revolution has changed the biz. Right?
I have also never seen an April Fools' joke that was so well orchestrated. Four (or more) swim bloggers working together in a masonic level conspiracy. How cool is that?
As a matter of fact. I like it so much, I think I am going to just pretend it is not a joke. I am going to allow myself to be inspired by the delusion of it all. Maybe it will be the motivation that finally gets me to hit snooze only 4 times instead of 14.
I have to meet these guys someday. I want in on the next one!
At a meet about half way through the season, she came up to me and said, "Coach! I can't swim the 100 free! Are you crazy?!"
I replied, "Why not?"
"Because I might die!"
I thought I was being clever when I pointed at a really tall, good looking guy and said, "See that boy there? He's lifeguard certified. If you are about to die, I'll get him to be the one to give you mouth to mouth resuscitation."
Her response? She stormed off and said, "Fine, but he better be rich too!"
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Today I did:
-8x 300 on 4:45 (alt. 100 free/ 50 br k)
-100 cool off
If anyone out there actually were to read my "out of shape" workouts, they might think they are kind of boring. Well, they are. I rotate in a lot of kicking to sets just to keep myself from over-doing it with my shoulder. I had a surgery and I have to be very gradual about how much straight swimming I do. Hopefully I will get into my groove and have a lot more workouts (and progress) to write about.
I was already feeling lousy that my friend Brad is swimming consistently and Jason is doing the P90x program. Then this morning a 42 year old guy announced he is being sponsored by a new tech suit company to train for the Olympics.
My back aches. My shoulder aches. My legs ache. If I don't work out I fall apart. Man, I gotta get with it.