Thursday, 29 September 2011

Is Pieter Van den Hoogenband Insane or Brilliant?

Craig Lord at Swimnews has published Pieter Van den Hoogenband's 10-point plan, which the Dutch former superstar believes will revolutionise the sport of swimming. Check out the list below and then give your opinion in the comments section below... there are some shocking, interesting and downright outrageous suggestions.

The List

1. Abolish the existing world records set in high-tech suits.

2. Remove the 800m and 1500m events from the pool swimming programme to avoid losing the audience's attention.

3. Get rid of the 50m Fly, Back and Breast events from the World Championships to bring it in line with the Olympics.

4. Give swimmers more power in the upper echelons of FINA. He cites the opportunity Alex Popov has to influence FINA, which still falls short of the power former track and field athletes Seb Coe and Sergey Bubka wield.

5. Change the timing system to three decimal points to avoid ties for gold medals (such as the Men's 100m Back and Women's 100m Free in Shanghai).

6. Cut down medal presentations to just medal plus anthem to keep the flow of the finals session moving in the right direction.

7. Let every nation have it's own colour swim cap to make it easier for the audience to tell which swimmer is which, as well as keeping (and improving) the sliding door entry of finalists that we saw in Shanghai.

8. Improve the advertising that we see from major swim brands. He describes the Phelps and Lochte Speedo ad as childish compared to the slick Puma adverts that Usain Bolt appears in.

9. Have swimmers express themselves post-race in a better way, as well as listening to them on technical improvements that can be made (he cites Aaron Peirsol's suggestion to improve the backstroke starting block).

10. Introduce a more rigid, universal calendar where Olympic qualification takes place in the same week around the world to avoid discrepancies in the world rankings, as well as removing the World Cup Series and instead having a Diamond League-esque series of competitions immediately after the World Championships.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Sun Yang Can Swim 48-Low For 100m Freestyle

According to Sun Yang's part-time coach Dennis Cotterell, the Chinese star can swim 48 seconds low for the 100m Freestyle. If that is the case, and Cotterall doesn't seem like the kind of guy who would misstate these kind of facts, the fall-out is intriguing.

• Firstly, he would become the new Chinese (and Asian record holder) for the 100m Freestyle. The current Chinese national record stands at 48.73, held by Chen Zuo's 2009 effort. The Asian record of 48.49 is held by Japan's Takuro Fujii.

• He would make the Chinese 4 x 100 Freestyle team into potential finalists, although they are still a good few pieces away from challenging for the medals.

• This kind of 100m speed makes Sun Yang not just a contender for a 200m Free medal in London, it sets him up as one of the favourites for gold. Cotterell believes he can break 1:44 in the 200m Free, a feat acheived by only 3 men (Paul Biedermann, Michael Phelps & Danila Izotov) and by only Phelps in a textile suit (1:43.86 in 2007).

The closest anyone has come to breaking 1:44 since the ban of tech suits was Ryan Lochte's gold medal winning effort in Shanghai of 1:44.42. Cotterell backs up his claim by pointing out that Sun Yang's 25.95 homecoming split in the 1500 final at Worlds was faster than both Lochte and Phelps' final 50m in the 200m Free final. For Sun Yang it is simply a case of harnessing his speed and trusting himself to go out fast. The type of confidence breaking a 10 year-old world record gives you...

• The Olympic schedule is friendly for a 200-400-1500m Free treble next year. It would see Sun Yang swimming the following:

Day One - 400m Free heats and final

Day Two - 200m Free heats and semis on (with the possibility of a 4 x 100m Freestyle relay if China qualifies)

Day Three - 200m Free final

Day Four - 4 x 200m Free heats and final

Day Five - Rest

Day Six - Rest

Day Seven - 1500m Free heats

Day Eight - 1500m Free final

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Geoff Huegill Opens Up About Drug Use And Partying While Retired

Below is an extract from Geoff Huegill's new book Be Your Best. It shines a light on the oft-overlooked struggle that elite athletes face when they go from being one of the best in the world in their chosen sport, to being just another person trying to make a living.

"I made the final in Athens on talent alone, and people were justifiably upset with me. I just didn't know where to go at the time. I carried a fear of failure that prevented me from giving my all. It had been too hard to refocus after Sydney, and I was only going through the motions in the lead-up to Athens.

Competitive swimming was still in my blood, but I was clearly losing motivation and was completely unable to make the transition to a productive life outside the pool.

Pretty soon after Athens everything seemed to fall apart, and that next year, 2005, would be a total waste of time.

If I was going to stay in swimming and move from Queensland, the only two coaches I wanted to work with were Grant Stoelwinder and Jim Fowlie, but neither of them was available . . . this added to my uncertainty, but I decided to come down to Sydney anyway.

In Sydney, there was a lot of partying going on and swimming wasn’t my main priority. I’d train for two or three weeks, often with the guys at Sydney University, then I’d have a month off. I couldn’t go on like that. The writing was on the wall and I finally called it quits . . . I was 26.

Sun Yang Posts A Jaw Dropping 3:40.29 at Chinese Nationals

"I believe I can break the 400m world record sooner or later. I believe I can win over Park Tae Hwan in 400m next time when we meet. I believe I can be better and faster in London."
At Chinese Nationals, Sun Yang has become the third fastest man ever in the 400m Freestyle. His time of 3:40.29 missed Paul Biedermann's world record by just 0.22 seconds (and Ian Thorpe's textile best time by 0.21 seconds).

That is an astonishing time. To get so close to the world record at this stage of the season is remarkable. It also reaffirms the fact that there really is no way of knowing just how fast Sun Yang can be in the future. The scariest thing for his competitors is that he doesn't seem to be close to reaching his full potential yet.

There is now just one question mark hanging over Sun Yang's head, and that is whether he can handle the pressures of a major championship final when he has a race on his hands. He didn't fare so well at Worlds when he came up against Park Tae Hwan in the 400 Free final. We won't know the answer to that question until London 2012 rolls around.

Here is what Sun Yang had to say after the race:

"I planned to break the Asian record and I tried my best during the race. But my target for this meet is not to rewrite the record, but to get ready for next year's Olympic Games. This meet is not important at all. My biggest disappointment in Shanghai words was that I lost to Park Tae Hwan of South Korea in the 400m because I lacked experience. I want to prove to myself that I can swim faster than that. I was too eager to show myself that I forgot to keep my own pace, especially as it was the first day of the swimming competition in Shanghai. I've learned a lesson from the defeat in worlds.

The Asian record is a new beginning for me. I believe I can improve myself through the following training. I plan to to train at altitude after this meet, then go to Australia on December for at least eight weeks.

My form remains at a relatively high level. I guess it's because I've been trained for many years under my coach Zhu Zhigen. I have not swum up-and-down in recent years. I want to be as stable as possible.

I believe I can break the 400m world record sooner or later. I believe I can win over Park Tae Hwan in 400m next time when we meet. I believe I can be better and faster in London."

Video clip of the race and the post-race interview

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Janet Evans Comeback Update Part II

Janet Evans Comeback Update: Presented by Dodge Speed Endurance Swimming Blog

Here are 3 new Janet Evans videos for those keeping track of her return to the sport. They kind of get you thinking.. What will constitute a successful return for Evans? Qualifying for the US Olympic trials? Making the 800 Free final at trials? Making the US Olympic Team?

The Comeback

Monday, 19 September 2011

USA's Clark Burckle Is A Real Storyteller

I could be mistaken, but I'm 99% sure that the guy in the video below is USA National team member Clark Burckle. His story telling is electric.

Is it him? Burckle attends the University of Arizona, the video was from Fox Phoenix... the "reality hits you hard bro" line... just way too much of a coincedence.

You be the judge (he's the guy sitting behind Mike Alexandrov's left shoulder in the video below).

Upcoming Dates in the 2011 Swimming Calendar

It's been a relatively quiet time since the World Championships finished back in late July, but the year still has a lot of offer. Here is a rundown of what swimming fans have to look forward to for the rest of the year.


Oct 7 - Nov 13 - World Cup Series (Dubai, Stockholm, Moscow, Berlin, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo) (SCM)
Oct 15 - Oct 22 - Pan American Games (LCM)
Oct 18 - Oct 19 - Michael Phelps swimming at the Moscow World Cup meet (SCM)
Oct 31 - Nov 1 - Trofeo Internazionale di Nuoto "Nico Sapio", Genoa, Italy. Feat: Laure Manaudou & Natalie Coughlin (SCM)


Nov 4 - Nov 5 - Ian Thorpe's return to competitive swimming at the Singapore World Cup meet (SCM)
Nov 11- Nov 13 - Minneapolis Grand Prix (LCM)


Dec 1 - Dec 3 - US Winter Nationals (LCM)
Dec 8 - Dec 12 - European Short Course Championships (SCM)
Dec 8 - Dec 10 - US Short Course Junior Nationals (SCY)
Dec 16 - Dec 17 - Duel in the Pool (SCM)

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Filippo Magnini Gets Beaten By A Dolphin... Lets Down Swimmers Everywhere

It's been a pretty quiet few weeks for Filippo Magnini since Shanghai. He's just had the usual "getting caught hooking up with Federica Pellegrini, relationship destroying, friendship destroying love triangle tabloid feeding frenzy" couple of weeks.

Today Magnini had a chance to redeem himself as he represented all of mankind in a race against two dolphins. When I heard about the race, my first thought was that it was clearly unfair. I mean sure, dolphins have talent, but from what I've seen they are lazy... they don't put the work in, they splash about during training just doing flips all day long, plus they are all about "garbage yardage". Swimming has moved on, its all about cross training now... just no way Magnini loses this race.

Well, Magnini lost

Not only did he lose, he got lapped. Good job Filippo, way to represent swimmers all over the world.

PS. Is it just me, or does Ryan Lochte not lose this race?

Monday, 5 September 2011

Qualifying Times Announced for British Olympic Trials

Next year's British Olympic Trials represent the best chance for 99% of the British public to see inside the London Aquatics Centre in 2012. With Olympic Swimming tickets being worth more than their weight in gold, the trials offer a great chance to get a taste of the Olympic experience either as a swimmer or spectator. If you intend on swimming at the trials though, it will not be an easy task. The Open qualifying times for most events require you to be in the top 30 in last year's British rankings.

As an Olympic test event, the trials will also be open to foreign swimmers. They will not be able to compete in the main finals, but instead will have their own finals at the end of each evening session.

Qualifying Times
Event Schedule
Ticket Information

This Week in Swimming

10th All Africa Games, Maputo, Mozambique, Sep 5 - 10

(Feat. Kirsty Coventry, Cameron Van der Burgh, Roland Schoeman, Chad Le Clos, Darian Townsend, Graeme Moore, Suzaan van Biljon, Wendy Trott)


Commonwealth Youth Games, Isle of Man, Sep 7 - 13 (Open to Ages 14-18)

(Feat. Kotuku Ngawati, Ieuan Lloyd, Matthew Johnson,  Sycerika McMahon, Molly Renshaw, Leah Neale, Te Haumi Maxwell, Rachael Kelly, Georgia Hohmann, Elena Sheridan, Sophie Smith)


Marseille Aquatic Show, Marseilles, Sep 10

(Feat. Laure Manaudou, Fred Bousquet, Camille Lacourt, Fabien Gilot, William Meynard)


Friday, 2 September 2011

Brett Hawke Writes Off Fred Bousquet's Chances in the 50 Free

Tomorrow's Morning Swim Show features Auburn Head Coach Brett Hawke.  As always with Hawke it is an interesting 10 minute interview, but one thing stood out. At 6:15 the discussion moves on to the 50 Free:
Peter Busch: "On the 50 side, can you see anyone touching Cielo right now?"
Brett Hawke: "No. Not really. If I'm going to be honest, Cesar is built for that race and he loves that race, and to win that race with all the nonsense that was going on in the lead up to the World Championships... I was really proud to see him win that..."
Peter Busch: "Do you ever miss training him?"
Brett Hawke: "Absolutely, it was a great time in my life training him."
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Hawke currently training Cielo's arch rival Fred Bousquet? The fastest man ever in a textile suit. I don't know what the decision making process was for Hawke in making this statement.... but I can't imagine Bousquet is going to be happy when he watches this clip.

FYI - I honestly believe that if Bousquet had not had the disastrous heat swim that he did in Shanghai, the 50 Free final was his for the taking.