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.


  1. A perfect plan ... maybe we could even reduce it to only 100 meter freestyle for swimmers of Dutch nationality, or paint everyone green except the favorites from the Netherlands ?

    (a tiny pinch of sarcasm was added to that comment)

  2. Rokur, when I saw that list, I thought 'Biased towards his events much?' (the cutting out of 50m and long distance pool events).

    As for the rest, some are good, like improving the viewer experience of meets, presentation, racing and medal ceremonies. Swimming NEEDS to do this to get more popular. Right now it's just a niche sport that people mainly only care about at the Olympics.

    The swimmers getting media training like the Australians do seems good to me for similar reasons.

    No way to deleting world records. The swimmers at the time were all able to swim in the same suits and we're already seeing world records being broken or close to it in textile e.g. Ryan Lochte at the Worlds. World records should be hard to attain and something that doesn't happen often. Let's leave it as that.

    The timing system I don't have an objection to. It does detract a bit to have 2 equal winners.

    Improving sponsor advertising? Um.. not sure about that.. I'm sure the ad companies do what they can that way.

  3. Btw, I'd like to see the timing system only applied when there are 2 equal medal winners, to separate them, because it'd get tedious using the extra number all the time.

  4. World records should be hard to attain and something that doesn't happen often.----------------------------------

    True. But in 2008-2009, the WRs were nowhere near hard to break.
    Every dime a dozen swimmers were able to jump in and break WRs!

  5. Yeah, but it still happened. It feels too much of a mess to take it away from the swimmers - including the big guns like Phelps - and we'll just see another spate of world records like that happening. I say just draw a line under it and move on rather than agonising over the past and tinkering with it. It's getting truly yawn-inducing at this point hearing people whining on about the 'evil suits'.

  6. Cycling always puts out new record definitions when the technology has been pulled back. Ditto Javelin . when the men's javelins were gong too far & endangering officials they loaded the standard Javelin to decrease distances.

    FINA ought to have wiped the plate -2010 + is the new standard. There were still a few old textile marks that could have been merited.

    I think the 800/1500 should be 1000 mtrs in open water with heats . Stricter qualifying times eg 8.45 /15.20 . At the olympics they could use the rowing course.

    The form strokes 100 is too close to 200. Maybe 50 & 200 .

    All in all too many events for the average person to relate too. 10 events max.

    I was a monster swim fan but even I get bored by day 4.

    Also - Hoogie looks great. I like a man that improves in life.

  7. I see the new world records as a good thing. The suits have made most WR's out of touch, and for the time being are kind of like track and field WRs, where only a handful go down each year.

    Additionally, since the suits kind of exposes "human potential", I also kind of see them as the times swimmers in the past could've swam had they had today's training, because theoretically -someone- in history would've had the conditioning to swim those times had they had today's training. Anyways, a lot of people may call bs over what I just said, but I think half of the World records and within reach in the next 6 years or so, and even if you take away the records, swimmers will aim for them anyways so what's the point?

  8. Take out some events . The 200s .

    Put in mixed 4X100 relays Free & medley.

    All the girls 100 winning times were between 6 & 6.3 behind the men so it the top standards are quite balanced.

    For example

    Gb would go Tancock/Male ?Gandy /Halsall.

    Aust Seebohm Rickard Coutts Maggie.

    Usa - Franklin Soni Phelps Male.

    China Zhao /male /li /male.

    Russia -Zueva / Efimova /Male /Male

    On PBs at worlds - it would be very close. 5 countries within 2 secs.

    I also like an 800 im rather than the 400. Someone like Hannah Miley could do really well -as could Belmonte. A completely different physical stress level than the 400.