Monday's Swim Report - Swimming In Kabul



Lane 1 - NY Times posts "In Afghanistan, a Soviet Past Lies in Ruins.  As poignant in its imperial ambition as in its otherworldliness, the Soviet-era swimming pool atop Swimming Pool Hill here is as good a symbol as any of the doubtful legacy of empires.  Dug 30 years ago, it was barely ever used by Kabul’s swimmers, as the hill became entangled in barbed wire, first a gun placement for the Soviets and then the Taliban, before the whole area was bombarded by Western firepower in the 2001 invasion."


Lane 2 - Fox Sports Florida posts "Lochte's dominance the result of hard work.  Former Gator Ryan Lochte has bested Michael Phelps in their most recent head-to-head matchups, leading some to say the spotlight will be on Lochte in London."



Lane 3 - Bloomberg posts "Scene Last Night: Chefs Colicchio, Bouley, Humm Cook With Olympic Swimmer.  The occasion was the Gold Medal Dining Experience, a benefit for the USA Swimming Foundation, which supports athletes in training and teaches swimming to children in underserved areas. Tickets were $1,500; All-Clad was the sponsor, providing frying pans in the goodie bag."


Lane 4 - The Japan Times posts "Tateishi tells Kitajima to bring it on for Olympic qualifying.  Ryo Tateishi laid down the gauntlet to two-time double Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima after obliterating the field in the men's 200-meter breaststroke at the national short-course championships on Sunday.  Tateishi, who broke Kitajima's record in the 100 breaststroke a day earlier, won in 2 minutes, 3.82 seconds, more than 2.5 seconds faster than runner-up Yukihiro Takahashi."

Lane 5 - AFP has "Olympic swim champ Park eyes academic future.  South Korean swimming star Park Tae-Hwan graduated from university Monday and is heading to graduate school to follow his dream of becoming a professor even as he targets more Olympic glory.  The 2008 Olympic 400m freestyle champion, who has been training in Australia as he builds towards the London Games, has managed to squeeze online courses at Dankook University in Seoul around his gruelling training schedule.  After completing his degree in physical education, he is now going on to study for a masters, Yonhap news agency said."



Lane 6 - The Sydney Morning Herald posts "Magnussen takes heed of advice in Games prep.  AMES MAGNUSSEN refuses to trot out the tired cliche that he ''just wants to worry about making the Olympic team''. Of course he wants to make his first Games team, but it's just as important to stun the world.  And while you sense he would also like to have a crack at the 200 metres freestyle, the 20-year-old has also now categorically ruled it out for the Olympic trials, after deciding to listen to what everyone was telling him."


Lane 7 - The LA Times posts "Book review: 'The Swimming Pool in Southern California Photography'.  splashy picture book makes sense for a large-format volume on post-World War II photographs that include swimming pools.  With more than 200 images by nearly 50 artists, starting in the 1940s with Ruth Bernhard and ending with


David Hockney's early 1980s multi-Polaroids, this handsomely printed catalog to a large Pacific Standard Time show at the Palm Springs Art Museum accomplishes that."


Lane 8 - 9News posts "Shark attacks rising, humans to blame: study.  Sharks killed twice as many swimmers and surfers last year than in 2010, with the increase due largely to a growth in tourism and changing shark patterns due to global warming.  There were 12 deaths in 46 shark attacks in 2011, a mortality rate of more than 25 percent compared to an average of under seven percent in the last 10 years, according to statistics from the University of Florida.  Countries that recorded shark attack deaths included Australia with three fatal out of a total of 11 attacks; South Africa, two fatal out of five; the French island of Reunion, two deaths in four attacks; and Seychelles with two attacks both of which ended in death.  Other countries with non-fatal shark attacks included Indonesia (3), Mexico (3), Russia (3) and Brazil (2)"

Sunday's Swim Report - PSA: Not Everyone Should Run In A Speedo

Lane 1 - asks "Should boys be allowed to swim on girls' teams?Should boys be allowed to swim on girls' teams?  What happens when a high school boy breaks a girls’ swimming record?  The governing body that regulates high school athletics in Massachusetts plans to grapple with that question, as more boys are competing on girls’ swim teams in the fall season than ever before.  According to MIAA spokesman Paul Wetzel, one issue is not up for debate. There’s no stopping boys from competing on girls’ swim teams.  Under state laws requiring equal 053536-bsaccess to sports for both genders, if there is no boys’ swimming program at a male athlete’s high school, he can swim for the school’s girls’ team."

Lane 2 - Adelaide Now has "Swim tips with Geoff Huegill.  SWIMMING champ Geoff Huegill explains how to improve your technique and endurance in the pool.  According to Commonwealth Games medallist Geoff Huegill, everyone has the potential to swim well. “It’s not overly complicated, for one thing, and because it’s not load-bearing, people who have had injuries can do it too,” Huegill, an ambassador for Biotherm, says."

Lane 3 - CBS the early show posts "Bikini-clad women skip cage to swim with sharks.  Swimming with sharks may be a nightmare for some, but it's a plan for a team of five swimmers in Durban, South Africa.  And what's more? They plan to do their 24-hour swim with sharks in the ocean without the protection of a cage, starting tonight.  They're doing it in the name of science."

Lane 4 - Herald Sun posts "'B-grade' swim star Kenrick Monk ducks charge.  LYING 197055-kenrick-monkOlympic swimmer Kenrick Monk has escaped a possible three-year jail term, with police top brass not charging him despite the fury of frontline officers.  The Queensland Police Union has labelled 23-year-old Monk a "wannabe B-grade celebrity athlete" protected by "Swimming Australia's faceless backroom club" after he avoided charges.  The Commonwealth Games swimmer was fined by Swimming Australia and has received a letter from Queensland Police reprimanding him for his actions."

Lane 5 - The Australian posts "Klim makes strong comeback in 100m freestyle.  DESPITE a timing malfunction on his race, Olympic gold medallist Michael Klim has made an excellent start to his competition comeback, swimming the 100m freestyle in under 50 seconds in his first race in more than four years.  Klim, 34, swam a 100m time trial as part of a 200m freestyle race at a Victorian qualifying meet at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre this morning, but the clock did not register when he touched the timing pad with his hand at the 100m mark, only stopping when he leaned on the pad after 51.03sec."

Lane 6 - Another reason to get one of those mp3swim things via "Pellerin's Crew Tunes In To Water Music. French coach Fabrice Pellerin has kitted out his squad, including Yannick Agnel and Camille Muffat, with waterproof mp3 players loaded with 16128217_BG1the sounds of Hans Zimmer's Dark Knight (Batman), Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Love the Way You Lie with Eminem and Rihanna, the Beatles and Mozart."

Lane 7 - WISTV has "Speedo-clad Santas run for breast cancer. Hundreds of people stripped down in Pennsylvania Nov. 29 for the third annual Santa Speedo Run to benefit breast cancer research."  WNEP posts "Speedo Run for a Cause.  In Columbia County, it was quite a sight to see. More than a hundred people showed up in their swimsuits Saturday to help support an important cause in northeastern Pennsylvania.  It was the third annual Speedo Run, and runners said they love coming back each year."

Lane 8 - They should be swimming vampires!  Chicoer reviews teen lit book "Swim the Fly…There is a bit of romance and self-discovery as well. Matt has agreed to swim the 100-yard butterfly for his swim team because he wants to make his crush, Kelly West, notice him. Although Matt is physically unprepared for this challenge and describes himself as incredibly lazy; he attacks his goal with a determination that he didn't know he had. Giving up is never an option, even when reaching his goal becomes next to impossible."


I wanted to pass along this press release from Jeff Commings about his new book ODD MAN OUT: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY.  I copy/pasted the press release below so read it then follow the link to buy the book...


TUCSON, Arizona – Books written by gay athletes in diving, baseball, football, basketball and ice skating have captivated audiences with their candid and unflinching stories. Now comes ODD MAN OUT: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY, the first book to tell the true story of a gay African-American swimmer. Jeff Commings was the first African-American to win a gold medal in swimming at the Olympic Festival and was the first African-American swimmer to compete at the Pan-American Games, but he went through his swimming career feeling like he was just like everyone else – except when it came to his sexuality. Commings spent all of his teenage years and most of his 20s afraid to live openly as a gay man. Though he was a member of several USA Swimming national teams and competed in two Olympic Trials, his fear of rejection from those he loved and respected severely affected his life socially and athletically. 

In ODD MAN OUT: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY, Commings reveals intimate details of his life, many of which have never been made public. But this book is much more than the story of a man’s journey to discover his place in a world he feared would shun him. It’s also the story of a black swimmer who rose to elite status when he saw very few on pool decks with his skin color.

Growing up in St. Louis, Mo., Commings found a connection to the water as young as three years old. He never strayed from the sport, which rewarded him with travel to places he never dreamed he’d see, a free college education and friendships that will last a lifetime. Commings takes us on a rollercoaster ride in ODD MAN OUT: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY through more than 30 years of triumph, sorrow and love. Equally heartbreaking and funny, this book is an uncompromising portrait of one man’s quest to fit in on his own terms. It tests readers of all walks of life to look inwardly and reflect on their own fears and insecurities.

Here is the ordering information cuz' I know you want to buy the book ASAP:


By Jeff Commings

Paperback – Keywords: Sports, Gay, Swimming – US$20.00 – 208 pages

Publication: May 10, 2010 – ISBN: 1452822050

Available at

Commings is a great swimmer and after reading a little bit of his background I'm excited to read ODD MAN OUT: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY from cover to cover.  Oh and if you are like me and have a Kindle you can get the Kindle edition at

Doh! Clocks

Since I don't need to be up at 5am on Thursday I changed my alarm to a nice 7am so last 51AV9S136QL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA240_SH20_OU01_ night when I went to bed I forgot to change my alarm back.  So I missed swimming.  I could have rushed and made it to the 7:15 but I was too sleepy.  May try to go swimming at the 7pm workout tonight.  Plus I'll do some time with the Wii Fit later. 

On the book note I borrowed a book from the library and decided I need to get myself a copy for reference.  The book is Swimming Fastest (Amazon Link).  It's a hefty book but a great reference tool. 

Don't forget the DST end or begins this weekend so you either set your clocks one hour ahead or one hour behind.  Since I use my iPhone as my clock all the stuff is done automatically.  Setting it's alarm to wake me up at 5am isn't automatic!  Doh!

Heart Rates & Swimming

Next to knowing your swim times in a set like swimming 10x100's a swimmer should know his/her heart rate.  By knowing your heart rate  you will be able to know your training intensity and spot changes in your overall physical condition.  In training one should know the four categories of heart-rate measurement:

1,  Resting Heart Rate
2.  Maximum Heart Rate
3.  Submaximal Heart Rate
4.  Recovery Heart Rate

I know this seems like a lot to know.  And for someone like myself who hates math and can't figure out intervals in swimming 75's this is going to be tough for me.  Does Speedo make an underwater calculator?  I remember in age group swimming our coach would have us measure our heart rates.  It's been so long that I don't remember anything more than putting two fingers to my neck counting my heart beats for 6 seconds and multiply that by 10.  But as I've been reading this past week I keep stumbling upon using the heart rate as a gauge of effort.  In this post will try to simplify How To Use Heart Rate To Gauge Swimming.

Continue reading "Heart Rates & Swimming" »

Cruising Along

I'm skimming through the book "The New Science of Swimming" by swim coach legend James Counsilman and found a couple of pages discussing "Cruise Interval".  According to the book:

Cruise Interval = the fastest departure interval at which an individdual can swim 5x100 repeat swims plus 5 seconds.

For example, if the faastest swimmer can repeat 5x100 is on a departure time of 1:05, his cruise interval will be 1:10.  When he swims repeats of other distances, the cruise interval can be determind merely by doubling that of the 100 for the 200, tripling it for the 300, and so on...

A good time to adminster a set of cuise interval repeats is early in the workout, just after the swimmers have warmed up.

With that said I looked at the handy dandy chart with these words and the "Range For Cruise Interval Departure Times (In Yards)" for an Age Group Swimmer 11&12 or a Masters Swimmer 35-49 for a 100 is 1:15-1:25.  Nice to know the next time the coach tells me I can do it on 1:10.  I do think when given a set like this at the beginning of workout it is usually in the range of 1:15-1:20 so those swims I need to remember this chart and suck it up and swim.  As for the rest of the book or the majority of the book most of the information is way above my head.  Damn scinece and math!  Curses!

This book is out of print but you can buy a used copy for just under 100 bucks.  Amazon Link

The Engine 2 Diet

Rip Esselstyn who holds the USMS SCY 45 - 49 Men's American Record in the 200 back with 1:56.55 is not only a fast swimmer and a fireman but is the author of The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter's 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds.  Rip appeared on the Today Show to promote his book.

The 1650 - Pain Is Your Theme Music

In my book reading adventures I just finished reading John Jerome's "Staying With It: On becoming An Athlete" which is based on his tale of becoming an Master Swimmer.  Jerome is a crazy swimmer like myself who tries to tackle the 1500/1650.  Here is a segment from his book about swimming the 1650:

The first surprise in racing a 1650 - always, every time - is how quick and hard the fatigue comes on.  You think you know about fatigue from training, but this is different (and it can be a little frightening).  The second surprise is that you can swim anyway.  Once you roll into the last 500 yards of the 1650, you begin to learn its surprising little secret: there is a pace, faster than you really believe, that you can hold.  You're getting signals - a leaden numbness, a kind of lazy despair - that seem to tell you that you're folding.  That's it, it's all over, you can't keep this up any longer.  Eventually ou learn that those signals are only the ongoing accompaniment of that particular race.  the are its theme music, so to speak.

12 Months Of Excuses To Go

n my book reading adventures I just finished reading John Jerome's "Staying With It: On becoming An Athlete" which is based on his tale of becoming an Master Swimmer.  Since today is my 39th Birthday marking the last year in my age group I found this little bit from the book fitting:

In late May of my forty-ninth year I competed in my first short -course national championship in Houston, Texas ... Personally the meet was a great success; as far as competition was concerned, I had my head handed to me.  There were a bunch of old men there who could swim very fast ... six other fellows also beat my time, leaving me eighth.  My only consolation was that .. .had just come into the 45-49 age group, and I was on my out of it as quickly as possible.  This is the masters swimmer's final alibi, of course, to be used only when no other excuse cuts any ice.

So now after every swim in the next 12 months I when I get my ass handed to me in the pool by anyone younger than me I can just use that as my excuse.  Hell I don't really need to train hard this year since I have this pre-made excuse at my disposal.