Thursday, June 25, 2009
There are now facebook groups to boycott Speedo products and to form an athlete professional organization to take some control of the sport. The Washington Post even cares enough about swimming that they started their own page dedicated to it called reachforthewall.com. Not only is it great reporting, but they have the best list of links to current swim news across the world that I have ever seen. Here is a link to one of their articles about a whole bunch of Speedo sponsored athletes whining that they are at a disadvantage because their 2% advantage has been taken away by FINA's flip-flop.
Also, please tell everyone to take my newest poll. Now that FINA has shown that they are actually listening to the bloggers (at least a little bit), my blogspot might be the perfect place to show them how we really feel with the most important poll in swimming history. According to Professor Hanson (errr, or is it Manson?), my poll is perfectly constructed to be 100% accurate and will give FINA the best data from which to make future decisions regarding suits.
Stay on the lookout for more craziness until the new list comes out in January. I can only see this getting better.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Don’t know who Ginny Fuldner is?… If you are into swimming history, you might know her better as Virginia Duenkel, a former world record holder and multiple medalist at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo. I have had the honor of getting to see Ginny in action for the last twelve years as a coach in our local summer league. She is one of those rare people you meet in swimming whose love for the sport and love for the way swimming can help raise kids to become good people shines through in everything she does.
It is not every day you get to chat with someone who has a pool named after her. In all the time I have known Ginny, she never once brought up her Olympic history. In this vid, you will hear the story she told me the day I finally brought it up myself… and you will also hear how this video interview might be getting her into trouble when she gets home after the meet. Sorry Ginny!
I didn’t ask Ginny for this interview to ask her any of the hard questions. What I was really hoping is that floswimming fans would consider this a treat, and could get a small taste of what it has been like to be friends with one of the darlings of Olympic swimming history. It was nice to sit down with her and just have a conversation about something we both like to talk about: all of the different ways we can fall in love with competitive swimming and appreciate our time spent hanging out at the pool.
To read a great article about Ginny at age 15, click here.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
“For now, more certain is that there will be some uncomfortable moments in Lausanne today; for FINA, for the independent testing team and for suit makers. Feelings boil down to the question of whether it is fair to have left the Speedo LZR and other 2008-09 non-textile apparel in the water when they clearly enhance performance but then cut out things such as the Jaked01 and arena X-Glide when they also enhance performance, if not in a quantifiable way then surely in a significant and undeniable fashion.”
Yeah, I’d say it will be uncomfortable. I can only hope that John Leonard isn’t the one trying to give the suit companies an explanation for drawing their imaginary line at the LZR. The lawyers will eat him alive. In his interview with Garrett at floswim he danced around the answers to the hard questions better than the zombies in the Thriller video. He is on the FINA suit commission and could not give any clue of the testing procedure that got suits taken off of the unapproved list. He made it clear that he knows nothing about the testing. He didn’t even get the head of the testing team’s name right! What’s worse is that he then went on a spiel about air trapping being an issue since 2000 and pointed at the “silver” sheen when someone jumps in the pool with a dry FS1, which is on the FINA approved list. How can you admit that other suits trap air too, but then give no reason for drawing the line where you did? If permeability is not to be addressed until January, there is no justifiable reason to have made the decisions that were made. The whole point of forming the commission was so that we could have an open scientific process through which to make a fair decision. Way to go, guys.
When the buoyancy and thickness standards were printed, I honestly thought the list was going to allow all current tech… and just like I and so many others predicted, current tech met those standards. When the Arena X-glide debuted, it had not yet been approved by FINA. I could almost hear the defeat in Alan Thompson’s voice when he was quoted as saying this regarding Alain Bernard’s 100m free record set in that unapproved suit: “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.”
How then, did we get to where we are?
It looks to me like hiring Prof. Manson was just for show. They “carefully” added the word “may” to the required specs for suit companies to follow so that they can take the scientific stats and throw them out the window if needed and disqualify any suits they see fit. How are they gonna explain that to Blueseventy’s lawyers? Hopefully better than John Leonard explained it to us. This meeting is gonna be a zoo.
Last night I brought my daughters to the pool to play while an officiating clinic was going on. I was still wearing my jammer and drag suit when the clinic ended. I had just gotten out of the pool when four of my swim team parents stopped to chat and say hi to my two year old.
In the middle of our conversation, my daughter decided to grab at me in the worst way possible. She lunged with two hands aiming and ready to clasp at my robin eggs. She grabbed and closed her grip, but luckily my cat-like reflexes took over and I barely escaped certain doom.
We all got to laugh about it, and I actually told my daughter "sweetie, you almost dropped me to the floor and curled me up!"... but I couldn't shake the realization that I could be humiliated or maimed at any time, and that maybe I should start taking a little more stock in the concept of karma. No one wants to get their bits and pieces squeezed in front of an audience. It is even worse when you know that on some level you deserved it.
To make myself feel better, I am posting a video of some poor sucker getting laid out by a kid with a plastic bat. I am personally going to watch this video and think about how NOT funny it is:
Getting Hit In The Nuts By A Kid - Watch more Funny Videos
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
and then... one for the comic fans. I have never been that into Green Lantern. I am more of a Marvel guy... but I love fanboy trailers. I imagine if I would have remained a film major in college, I would now be unemployed and nerding it up in my spare time by making cool stuff like this.
Monday, June 15, 2009
I feel for him. I have two toddlers in the house. I don't know how my wife is even still alive. She is with them all day. If I were a stay at home dad I would wear a bike helmet, hockey mask, safety goggles, shin guards and a cup all the time. I could easily become a "funniest home video" star once we get to rasslin.
Playing with my girls is the most fun I have ever had in my life. I would never let anyone else abuse me the way they do. I just don't want to have to explain to all my friends about the eye patch I am wearing because a two year old girl beat me up.
Of course, it would be an eye patch earned out of love.
Good luck with the recovery, Matt!
Friday, June 12, 2009
His positive energy was infectious. After his time on stage, he stood out in the hall and took time to speak to anyone who approached him. I caught him to talk about starts for a second. All I can remember was that he took something I said compared it to something he did to help Rowdy Gaines in the early 80’s. I honestly can’t remember the story because the whole time I was thinking, “I can’t believe Richard Quick is taking this much time to talk to little old me.” He spoke to me in a way that was unbelievably comfortable, almost like we were old buddies who had just never had the chance to work together.
Richard Quick was not only an inspiring leader… he was a friend to all who love the sport of swimming.
Coach Quick, you will be missed.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
It's not too hard to copy and paste with one hand, so this is my chance to embed a couple of brilliant recent vids from The Onion. Enjoy.
Obama Drastically Scales Back Goals For America After Visiting Denny's
Police Slog Through 40,000 Insipid Party Pics To Find Cause Of Dorm Fire
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
but that is not why I am blogging about it.
Joel said that he was now doing stand-up, and he did a show in Juneau, Alaska. He said that the audience there was so drunk that they were actually going up on stage during the show to say hi and chat. I don't doubt it a bit.
I am so proud to be an Alaskan.
Monday, June 8, 2009
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
Ryosuke Irie, whose celebration over demolishing Ryan Lochte's 200 LCM Backstroke record was cut short when FINA left his Descente suit off of their list, has taken the swimsuit saga in a whole new direction...
You can't make this stuff up, guys! It's for real! How did the rest of us never think of it? It's brilliant!
All of our "technological doping" problems would be solved, and it would be comedy gold! The drama would be way more hilarious than our current mess, and it is almost a guarantee that competitive swimming would be mentioned on Conan O'Brien nearly every day for years!
There would be multiple sitcoms based on our sport! This would be more valuable to the American comedy industry than George W being elected for a third term!
The only negatives I can see are:
1) the word "buttocks" would have to be removed from the "suits must cover the breasts and buttocks" page in the high school swimming rule book.
2) no one would want to run a stopwatch anymore at meet, simply due to the logistics of it all when the swimmers are taking their mark.
Other than that, the G-string plan is awesome on so many levels!
I have to say Mr. Irie, for a nineteen year old, you have a stellar vision for the long-term future of swimming. I am totally on board with your idea. Do they take write in candidates for the FINA president's job that was left open when Larfaoui stepped down? I would vote for you! We need a progressive thinking rebel leading the way to a pure sport!
You da man, Ryosuke!
This email was sent out to state high school associations this week:
"The NFHS Swimming and Diving Rules Committee, along with your NFHS staff, continue to monitor the evolution of new findings and policies in the swimming world regarding the new technical swim suits that debuted a little over a year ago. These suits are being developed and placed on the market at a rapid rate.
As you may be aware, FINA, the international governing body for swimming, took its first steps last week to regulate the high-tech suits that may be worn in FINA competition. By way of review and approval of individual suit models, the first list of suits that may be worn for FINA competition has been made public. An additional 100 plus suits are pending possible approval if modifications to the suits are made and found to be in compliance with FINA standards. This list is valid only through December 31, 2009 and will continue to be updated during this time period. There will likely be changes in suit requirements to be eligible for use in FINA competition in the new year. In other words, these suits and regulations continue to frequently change.
Through the scientific testing being conducted by FINA, the rule codes of other organizations may be impacted by the findings. The NFHS, at this time, is not adopting an approval list of high-tech suits, similar to that of FINA. Our position remains that the NFHS does not perform scientific tests on any specific items of equipment or apparel. Based on the information available to the NFHS at this time, the high-tech suits are not currently prohibited under Rule 3-3-2. Individual state associations may consider more restrictive action at this time if deemed appropriate for your state. The NFHS continues to monitor this situation and any change in our position on the high-tech suits and/or rule changes shall be communicated immediately to our state associations."
I guess I can understand why they might hesitate until FINA has finished their process before deeming anything illegal. It is basically the same stand that USMS is taking. My biggest concern with that is: are high school times no longer going to be allowed in the SWIMS database? I really doubt that USA officials are going to show up at our conference and state meets with barcode scanners to determine who had a "USA legal" swim. I am sure it will be all or nothing, because if a state does not decide on it's own to adopt the USA Swimming policy wording on suits they will not be granted an approved high school meet sanction. It will be all or none regarding times that can be used as qualifiers for USA meets. I hope that this difference in policies doesn't extend into the fall and beyond. This could be tough on a lot of kids.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
The Screaming Viking! June 4, 2009
ROME, ITALY-- Speedo Corporation, a subsidiary of Warnaco Group, Inc., has announced today at a press conference that they are initiating the second phase of their global marketing plan, “Operation Monopoly Man.” The announcement comes during a time of turmoil within the world of competitive swimming. The introduction of hundreds of swimsuits from various companies based on neoprene and other “non-permeable” fabrics has caused rifts between national swimming federations and has split the core demographic of the sport down the middle. On the one side, supporters of the new technology consider “technical suits” to be a natural part of the progression and advancement of the sport and liken it to advances in sneakers, tennis rackets and other such equipment in various mainstream sports. Those who resist consider the modern age of swim suits to be “technical doping” and are outraged that swimming’s international governing body, FINA, allowed them to enter the market without proper testing to determine whether they were performance enhancing or aid flotation, which would have rendered them immediately illegal.
Phase one of Speedo’s plan involved the secret infiltration of political and corporate offices to broaden Speedo’s influence and gain support to place legislation on technical suits that are biased toward Speedo technology. An international commission of coaches met in May to determine the standards to which swimsuit companies must comply. That commission included several coaches who are employed by Speedo, which effectively meant that all suits submitted must meet Speedo criteria for competition. Once the legislation was passed in Laussane, Switzerland the door was opened to begin phase two operations which includes forced compliance of all nations to the FINA approved list and the demolition of several factories involved in the manufacturing of swimsuits for rival companies such as Blueseventy and Arena. Numerous suits from organizations such as these were left off of the list of approved suits, even after meeting the published standards set forth by the commission. This has caused many businesses to cry foul as they are pushed to the brink of bankruptcy over what has been called a subjective decision rather than one based on scientific evidence of performance enhancement.
Speedo has already set troops, including a squadron of technologically advanced Michael Phelps clones, in place aboard aircraft carriers outside of Italian and Japanese cities awaiting orders to aggressively occupy major ports of interest should those nations continue to allow non-conforming swimsuit technology to be worn in competition or allow records set in such technology to stand.
Head Coach for the United States Swimming and FINA commission member Mark Schubert released the following statement: “We are pleased to be able to finally restore the integrity of the sport of swimming and we are excited about the opportunity to be a part of the peace-keeping force that will maintain the new order. Swimming suit technology has gone too far. It is time for us to get back to our comfortable threshold of two percent performance enhancement. Anything beyond the regulated two percent will be met with swift military action.”
Japan and Italy are currently in talks to reach a cease fire agreement before the upcoming World Championships in Rome. France is also in negotiations to free sprinters Fred Bousquet and Alain Bernard who were imprisoned with their reputations tarnished after they swam just too freakin’ fast at French Nationals in gear not approved by Speedo.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
I once hired a lifeguard who had the strangest habit of jumping in to save swimmers who really didn't need the help. It had to be pretty annoying for the "distressed" swimmer, but I didn't want to kill her enthusiasm for her job so I just let it go. It was kind of funny.
If I were that lifeguard watching Michael swim, I just don't think I could help myself. I would have to jump in and save him. It would make for a hell of a story and I guarantee he would never forget me for the rest of his life!