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.

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.

Little did she know that the CEO of the NCAA, Mark Emmert, would soon knock on her door.  The NCAA recently took a "zero tolerance" stance toward all things Justin Beiber.  "This Beaver (sic) fellow," Emmert told reporters, "He just... well, we couldn't take it any more.  Half of us at the last committee meeting have daughters in middle school.  You get those songs stuck in your head, and when you realize what song you were just singing you feel so bad about yourself for the rest of the day.  We just decided that the NCAA should have higher standards and we needed to crack down."

Franklin's mother was well aware of the NCAA rule.  "I looked at this as an opportunity to have a sort of intervention.  I mean, how insane was it for her to pass up all those millions of dollars?  I get it, she is young and money is not the most important thing in her life, but my God!"  She said in an interview.  "This was the only way to knock some sense into her!  If she doesn't care about money, maybe she cares about these silly Justin Bieber posters enough to settle for being a multi-millionaire."

Missy's USA Swimming club coach, Todd Schmitz, added "I have tried to talk to her about this problem before... not about the money, but about the Justin Bieber thing.  Any time I sit her down to have a serious discussion about it her eyes glaze over and she starts quietly mouthing the words to the baby baby song.  There is just no reaching her.  Hopefully some good can come from this.  With the millions she is going to make by giving up her amateur status, perhaps she can afford some real help from certified therapists."

Cal coach Terri McKeever reacted surprisingly well after hearing the news that she is losing her top recruit.  "While it is difficult to lose a talent like Missy Franklin from our incoming class, over the last couple of years we have realized that they call it Bieber Fever because it is an illness.  I support the NCAA zero tolerance policy toward Miss Bieber and am relieved to have learned of this problem before bringing it on campus.  We wish Missy the best of luck with her future professional swimming career, and we hope that it is not too late for Missy to seek effective counseling."


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.

"You's gonna come to my swim meet and badmouth my cinnamon rolls?! Your meet didn't even have a cappuccino machine!"
Three full meals served every day of a weekend invitational would be enough, but noooo......  they have tubs of cookies and bowls of candy just a few feet away from where we coaches park to watch our swimmers race.  Ten steps to an unlimited supply of chocolaty goodness?  Sure.  Why not?  If I used a pedometer it would actually measure my anti-fitness, as it would record nothing but the steps I am taking to and from food.

Sorry kid.  I didn't get your splits.  I had to use my heat sheet as a napkin and I think I accidentally ate my stopwatch.

How do I know they are trying to kill me?  It's the wagon.  They send a kid in to do the dirty work.  A seven year old with a funny Christmas hat, pulling a radio flyer wagon full of sugary drinks and cookies and breakfast burritos and syrup. Oh, you brought a tub of frosting to spread on my bacon?  How thoughtful! Come on, kid.  I am trying to take splits here.  How about I open my mouth and you just spray the whipped cream in, eh?

What?  You don't dress like an elf for the December invitational meets?
Then, to make it worse, it's like the other coaches want to put the nails in my coffin by exploiting my biggest weakness:  hot wings.  "Hey, you wanna hit Buffalo Wild Wings after finals?  There's a coupon in the heat sheet for six free wings if you buy a dozen."

Yeah... because that's what I need.  18 wings and a couple of beers for my fourth meal right before bed.  At least the hospitality room doesn't have beer.  We all know how that would end up.