Monday, September 14, 2009

My first post for SwimmingWorld.TV!

When it was announced that Garrett McCaffrey was making the move to SwimmingWorld.TV, of course I got excited. Admit it. You did too. With all of their resources, Garrett McCaffrey and Chris DeSantis joining Swimming World is like when Wolverine and Spiderman joined the Avengers.

Still, I couldn’t help but think through the list of everything I missed from floswimming at it’s height. I immediately started hoping that all of their features would make the move with Garrett; and as Swimming World’s new venture develops, some of them just might. I can’t wait to see where it all goes.

The workouts, meet coverages and interviews were mostly Garrett’s domain so I knew to expect great things there. I figured that some of the other contributors, like myself, would make the move over with him. At flo, more and more meet coverages were being contributed by swim fans all over the world. They had so much more that was just starting to catch on, like all of the features attached to the team “locker room.”

The thing that I had really been missing though, the loss that hurt the most, was the flo community. It was a community based on user contributions and comments left on videos and blogs. I have to say that I felt like an addict, and the absence left a void in my life. Seriously, withdrawals and everything. I sometimes go back to floswimming and cry in my office chair over the lifeless husk it has become.

One of my first blogs at floswimming was about
anonymous commenters. I have been conflicted about them from day one. It bothered me that so many people had so much negative to say about everything and nit-picked with so much zeal… but then, hating on the haters was half the fun. Floswimming had a plethora of anonymous cowards spewing haterade and I could not stop myself from constantly checking the activity board to see the blog-fights unfold. Every once in a while I would even get a text or email from a buddy saying “check out so-and-so’s comment on DeSantis’ last post.” I had to tune in to watch the train wreck and even I couldn’t help but make anonymous comments to make all the rest of the herd of cowards look stupid. It sometimes even became a game to see how long people could sneak really rotten comments past the site administrators, timing them to see how long it would take for them to catch it and delete it.

Swimming World has addressed this head on with a pretty major policy that is a little more restrictive than the world we were used to at floswimming. They are expecting us to attach our first and last name to our comments. I have to admit, that made me a little nervous. When I saw this, my comment (logged in as the Viking of course,) was this:

do I really have to use my real name? When they found out Daredevil's secret identity the Kingpin just about ruined his life. And look what happened to poor Peter Parker? When he "came out" they had to start the whole Spiderman series again from scratch. I don't know if I am ready for this new move. :)

I do know of some coaches who would not send their team to floswimming because the comments were not moderated well enough. They weren’t “family appropriate” and it made it hard for me as a coach to send my summer team swimmers links to some of the videos. I understand why Swimming World needs to have a more restrictive system in place, and really, we should be held accountable for the things we say in a public forum. We are in a sport for which the base of the pyramid is age groupers, after all. We can only hope that this does not scare anyone away from making negative comments that might have some value. I am sure it is not those with dissenting viewpoints that Swimming World is trying to weed out. It is healthy to hear both sides of every argument and they can add to the conversation. If you have something that needs to be said anonymously for your protection, run it past the editors. They are journalists. They check up on tips and protect their sources. It is those who hide anonymously so that they can be rude and obnoxious who need to be moderated. No one wants to visit a swimming web site to watch their granddaughter’s race only to read a whole bunch of comments about why nobody likes her because she is stuck up and snotty. There is nothing okay about that. Period.

SwimmingWorld.TV has tremendous potential. I am thrilled to be on board this new ship, sailing toward a new horizon. I don’t really want it to be just like flo… I want it to be way better. I want it to develop it’s own culture. Let’s start leaving some comments and get this new community rockin’. That is the part that is in all of our hands. If you haven’t made an account yet, you are missing what is going to be a great ride. Log in and let us know what you think.


  1. Thanks for keeping up with the drama of flo swimming and the seemingly constant changes. I miss the site and am thrilled to know that the boys may have found a home at last. I for one found such value in the workouts? Interviews and coverage they provide. THANKS Viking for keeping us in the loop.

  2. be sure to check out the latest from chris...covering shaq v. phelps...quality writing at it's best, i see a pulitzer in his future