Sunday, April 29, 2007

Do Little Kids Like to Swim?

If you've ever taken a child swimming, you know most of them have a pretty good time playing around the walls and on the pool deck. But since your vision is sort of cloudy under water you never really get to see what they are doing down there. Are they having a good time? It's sort of scary under water for a kid, isn't it? Check this out and you'll never think twice about taking your kid to a pool again.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Swim Center for 2008 Olympics in Beijing (pics)

To make up for the lull in my posting behavior over the past week, here's the second for today - a peek at the new swim center which is under construction in Beijing, for the 2008 Olympic Games. The aesthetic reminds me of the interplay between sunlight and pool water when you look straight down into it. Needless to say, it is pretty cool!

The Minutia of Slipstreaming Technique

If you know this blog, you know I examine some odd things about swimming from time to time. Today is no different. In fact, today I'm going to highlight a lot of swimming's oddity. If you don't know much about speed swimming, this post will enlighten you. Swimmers are known to do some very odd things. The guys wear those skimpy suits few of us wouldn't be caught dead in. Back in the sixties when long hair was the thing, they shaved their heads. If you see any telecast where they interview a group of swimmers, I challenge you to find one with a hair on his chest, much less his arms or legs. Why, you ask? Swimming is a sport of micro-seconds. Championships and records are set in fractions of seconds. The time between two contenders hitting the wall (that means finishing, in swim-speak)can be infinitesimal. All these odd things I cite above are for speed. It's hard for me to imagine shaving my arms would make me any faster, but honestly I don't think I could ever tell if I were 0.01 seconds faster. Maybe some of it is psychological. On Saturday, one of the major TV stations carried the Dual-in-the-Pool, a competition between the USA men and womens teams and Australia's. Together, they hold most of the world records so it was fun to watch. When Cullen Jones, an American was interviewed following his 50 meter freestyle victory, he mentioned having a bubble in his suit earlier and electing to go with another design. When you're competing against the best, I guess you'd rather your competition eat your bubbles than carry the things with you!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Excellent Smooth Swimming Video

Here is an excellent video I found on which demonstrates what the narrator calls "smooth swimming". He recommends visualizing the perfect stroke. This video shows an Olympic Gold medalist doing the freestyle. The ease of his stroke is what I've been preaching on this blog for some time now. What jumped out at me was this swimmer's torso rotation highlighted by the near perfect perpendicular line that runs from his elbow (out of the water) down his arm to the line in the bottom of the pool. I tried it this AM and getting the back of my arm straight out of the water, perpendicular to the bottom of the pool took a lot of effort, but it eventually came. Try it yourself.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Looking Forward

Now that Martin Strel is done with his Amazon swim, I've got to refocus this blog back to its main point - swimming dynamics. Things sort of got sidetracked by the fun part of this blog and apologize to any of you who were seeking illuminating copy on how to make swimming easy. Martin's 3000+ miles in less than 70 days is certainly is one solution - that is, a strong current and more than a little hard-headedness. Sorry, but future posts won't make you go that fast. I'll have to look more at Michael Phelps and others to get some ideas about how to swim fast without a current. Hmmm, that gives me some ideas.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

100 Miles for Moi

After being kicked out of the pool yesterday due to a lightening storm that had already passed (why is that?) I made up some lost time today (pant pant) and hit the 100 mile mark on my crazy journey across the Atlantic (see my goals). That's right miles - not those whimpy kilometers! This was the real, loud, ugly American deal. So in keeping with that visual, allow me a moment to celebrate: I feel good! Do do do do do do, like I knew that I would (Hmmm. Seems like I've heard that somewhere before). OK, so it doesn't translate to Blog speak. Give me a break. Catch you in the wadda.

Na na na na na! Beat this Martin!

Well we haven't heard much from Martin Strel since he set his world record swim (officially still pending) down the Amazon River. He's probably still recovering and we wish him all the best. In the mean time we've stumbled across something that might give him cause to jump back in the water. Check it out. Do I hear another mammal giving him some grief? Nah. Martin you still are the Feeesh Mawn!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Martin Recovering

Martin Strel is better and now recovering from his health scare at the end of his trip. He is staying in a Belem hotel recovering from it all. His site reports he was in near critical condition upon completion of his trip and at risk of a heart attack following a six mile swim to the Brazilian city following completion of his record setting journey. His personal physician who has helped throughout the trip is taking care of him. If swimming the total length of the Amazon didn't harm him, I'd like to think a heart attack could never kill this guy. Glad all is looking up.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Martin Strel Finishes Amazon Swim!

It is with great excitement that we can announce that Martin Strel has completed his world record setting swim (not that he hasn't done that before) down the Amazon River (that, he hasn't done that before, nor has any man). This is a photo from his trip tracking site which shows him arriving at his destination in Belem, Brazil. That's him in the water with his arms raised in victory (you can click on the picture to enlargen it). He was greeted with huge fanfare upon arrival but naturally exhausted was soon on a stretcher with a flag draped around him. His web site, is reporting that he is currently experiencing extreme physical stress - with extreme blood pressure readings. Paramedics are reported to be working to "stabilize" him. We're still with you Martin! Remember, you the "Feeesh Mawn"! This blog will continue to provide updates on Martin's condition as we get word. For more immediate news, go to

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Martin Strel Nearing Finish

Martin Strel is on track to finish his Amazon swim on Saturday. He's covered over 5400km since February 1st! Tidal swells are forcing a change in the routine and cutting daily progress down considerably. Now he swims twice a day to work with the tides. There are also reports he has had chronic dehydration and some delirium - probably due to the sea water - and another less pleasant, more Amazonian type malady called cutaneous larvae infection. If I researched that right, its a hookworm thing in the skin. Good thing Martin's almost through. It appears he's mortal. I almost forgot!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

New Lifeguards for Martin

Martin Strel's website is reporting that Martin is now in the part of the Amazon that empties out into the Atlantic. The river breaks up into narrow channels for a while and it is here that there is apparently the biggest threat of violent piracy. This is a picture of some of Martin's fellas (see what's in the blue shirted guy's hand - click the pic). Don't see much bling but they don't look like the types one wants to mess with. Personally, I preferred Martin's earlier lifeguard who wore a bikini and stood at the bow of his escort boat (picture at top of this post is courtesy of Martin's trip tracking site - Thanks!).

Monday, April 02, 2007

Another Goal Completed!

In past posts, I've commented on the value of setting goals to keep going with your exercise routine. Lap swimming can get very dull so I've set some goals myself. If you ever get past the top post of this blog and scroll down a bit to the profile section in the left hand column, you may note that I've set some fairly crazy goals to keep myself swimming on a daily basis. One of these (my swim across the Atlantic - remember I said "crazy goals"?) goes out more than eight years, at the rate I'm going. At present I'm a little over 2.5 percent complete toward that goal (pant pant). Since it is so far out, a little self-encouragement is in order, so I've set more reasonable goals. Today I finished my second, which was to swim the distance of the width of Lake Michigan from Milwaukee, WI to Muskegon, MI. It took exactly three months to complete that swim - but having completed it, the trip across the pond is now eighty-eight miles fewer.