Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Funny Polar Bear Plunge Almost Turns Tragic

Just in time for Jan 1st, in case you were planning a polar bear plunge, here's one guy who finds out the truth.  Scary about half way through. 
Fat Guy Lake Cannonball Fail - Watch more Funny Videos

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Calculate the caloric value of your swim workout

I'm sort of a techie nerd and got myself on the mailing list for early this year when it rolled out. If you don't know what wolframalpha is, it is a "computational knowledge engine" - i.e. a search engine that is extraordinarily good at doing calculations. This means that you can ask it stuff and it kicks back replies based on the calculations it does behind the scenes. What does this have to do with swimming, you ask? Well in today's year end newsletter, the web site announced it has a fitness calculator. This is the cool part. I typed in "swimming 55min" and it kicked back a screen showing energy expenditure, fat burned, oxygen consumption and metabolic equivalent. It defaults to a body weight of 160 lbs, but you can enter your own weight and it will give you these results for your profile. If you're across the pond, you can have the results in metric equivalents.

Don't know if this will help anyone for the upcoming holidays, but here's something I calculated that I found useful for my 210lbs profile. WA says I burn 550 calories in my workout (at a leisure pace). That means I can eat two doughnuts at 224 calories each, and still be ahead! Awesome!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mini-Goal Completed - Canadian Border via Great Lakes

Today, I completed one of my mini-goal milestones on my way to swim the distance of the Atlantic Ocean from Leiden England to NYC (the same route our pilgrim forefathers took ... they missed Manhattan). The completed mini-goal was to swim the distance of the Canadian border through the Great Lakes region - Kingston to Thunder Bay - a distance of 1,134 miles (or 36,316 circular laps in a 25 meter swimming pool). This took 735 swimming workouts, begun officially on Jan 2, 2007.

My prior goals and future goals may be seen on the left of this page.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Idea for a gadget to help you swim more efficiently

Do you swim in a straight line? Really? Sure, there are the novice swimmers that snake all over the place, but if you're well practiced, how do you really know? Most peoples' bodies swivel a little bit, and it can really make a difference for that efficient stroke. I try to hold the line but while my eye always follows the line in the bottom of the pool, I'm not so sure my body really does as much as I'd like to believe it does.

I've come up with a concept that some engineers out there might find interesting (or crazy). The solution is cheap and very high tech (i.e. cool factor! yeah, baby!) ... it uses lasers (think sharks with lasers).

Basically, my idea is that if a waterproof gadget the size of a quarter could be created, with an embedded toy laser (like those toys you buy at the pet store to give your cat something to chase) and that gadget was attached to the body (e.g., chest, belly, shoulder, or foot via a Velcro strap), one could see the exact line in the bottom of the pool as one swam, including the variability from center.

To add value to this concept, it could have several settings. Setting #1 would be a standard light that shows the dot on the bottom of the pool as you swim. Keep the dot on the side of the line in the bottom of the pool. A memory chip could be installed and setting #2 could record the track and play back the actual line swum in the prior lap during the next lap. Setting #3 could record the track without showing the track and play it back during the next lap, forcing the swimmer to practice the perfect line without the aid of the laser. The unit could use a proximity indicator, like in an iPhone so it could know when a swimmer has made the turn.

If anyone out there takes this idea and runs with it, please let me know. I want one.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

How Swimmers Repair Dry Skin

Chlorine and sodium bicarbonate can really take a toll on a swimmer's skin. Add in winter dry air and you might find your skin peeling off - and you thought a sun-burn was the only cause of that! I've been dealing with the problem for years and it's only gotten worse as I've aged and my natural skin moisteners have failed me. Of late I've had peeling on my finger tips - last place I ever would have imagined. I tried all sorts of remedies including udder cream - all which helped but none fixed things, then I remembered an old radio ad that promoted a product that Norwegian fisherman purportedly use - I think it was Neutregena Hand Cream. Anyhow, I bought a tube and found that if I put the cream on within about 10 minutes of drying off, it works well and the healing begins. The cream is thick and while moistening your hands it then seems to create a barrier that helps keep the moisture in your hands. If I wait too long, my hands dry out. While the cream helps if I put it on hours later, I don't get as good results. I may be wrong about that, but it's my observation. Vaseline may do basically the same thing but I haven't tried that. The barrier, seems to be key. As for the rest of my body, I haven't tried anything yet. Will post if I find something.

Note: Disclaimer ... I am a sample size of one. Your results will probably vary from mine. Neutregena and I have had no direct contact or business arrangement. These are just my observations. Neutregena and Neutregena Hand Cream are trademarks of Neutregena Corporation.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

For my back yard, please

If you know anything about this blog, you know I'm not looking at the building. Check out the blue thing to the left.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Coolest Job in the (Sea) World

Are you skilled at using gravity to show off? This isn't an ad or any of that, but today I was checking out my (this) site to see if all was in order and one of my adsense ads just blew me away. It was for Sea World. The ad was seeking (I paraphrase) skilled spring board and platform divers for SeaWorld Viva show jobs. Having been to Sea World on several occasions, in FL and Hawaii, I got to thinking. Where do they have diving? Well they've got some that dive and assist with the killer whales show. I'm too old and floppy to have ever been a high-diver, but if you've got the skills, here may be your chance to be the envy of everyone who has ever visited a waterpark. Scoll through the adsense links above and maybe the ads are still there. If not, you might try Sea World directly or try googling whoever hires talent for the place. Apparently, they've got some openings that require someone skilled at using gravity to show off. PS I get paid if you click on the link. That's some new law, I have to tell you that. So ok, I've told you.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Danny Kunze - World Record High Dive

Another one for the swimming heros award - I think I need to add a sub-category for the real whack-jobs. This guy seems sane until he starts going higher, and higher, and ... yeah, he's a whack-job, but he is still alive so ... hmmm.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Feeling Fatigue? You May be About to be Awesome

I've heard about bio-rhythms for as long as I can remember, and as I age, I am starting to notice my own body cycles a little bit more. One particular oddity stands out in my mind and one I'm just starting to see as a pattern is in my body's ability to accommodate a hard workout. A week ago, and for the week prior, I noticed a discernible decline in my ability to get through a full-speed workout without giving out half-way or two-thirds of the way in. The workouts seemed to get progressively worse as time went by. Then a couple days ago, things went the other way - I was getting stronger and stronger, faster and faster - and on Tuesday I had one of the best workouts I've had in years. This has happened before but only now am I beginning to discern that indeed it follows a pattern. I need time to define what is happening, if I can. Is it my diet? I have had more protein lately. Is it my sleep? I've had some bad nights and some good ones. Maybe something else? Cue the Twilight Zone music.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Super Family

I think I may have posted this before, but I stumbled across this on the web this evening and had to share it (again?). Enjoy and pass it on (oh, and emulate if you dare).

Monday, November 02, 2009

Does Swimming Pool Temperature Matter?

We have a new pool director at the indoor pool I frequent during the cold season. She has added an innovation to our pool room, an information board. It includes among other things, the names of our lifeguards, the date, the weather (outside), pool activities for the week, and the pool temperature that day. The board is updated daily so it did not take us regulars long to realize something was screwy about the reported pool temperature. The reported figure never varied by but a degree, but we experienced swimmers knew better since the feel (to us) jacked around like a jumping bean. Generally if the temperature was 84 or more (think 85 - 87) the board reported it at 83. Below 83, same deal (though we only got to witness that once, but for a week). I asked a guard about this. The reply I got back was something to the effect that "she" (the pool director) didn't like to report temperatures when they were out of line ... the members just get mad. Well, duh. But we get even more upset when we're treated like stupid imbeciles. I've come to expect the warmer temperatures. The director seems to find it easier to appeal to the dippers rather than the swimmers. I enjoy jumping into warm water as much as anyone, but much after that and you can have it. We swimmers fatigue faster with warmer water. My time to the mile can vary by as much as a minute and a half dependent on the water temp. So given that cooler water temps are out of the question, I've taken to faking myself out by taking a hot shower before my jump in the pool. The hot shower makes my first few laps feel relatively cool, gets me going faster than I might otherwise. I still fatigue out faster than I might in cooler water, but at least I feel like I have some control.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pushing Swimming Pulls

No that title is not a typo - by swimming pull, I mean the pull in freestyle. (swimming pull - kinda cool name, huh?)

I wanted to talk about swimming pulls and pushes today because I am fighting myself to do them properly.

Done properly, the freestyle stroke begins as a pull down to approximately one's chin and following a transition point (the S) turns into a push back towards and to the thigh. Lots of people skip most of the push and bring their arm back up (to begin their reach again) prematurely (before completing the push). This simple error can eliminate as much as 1/2 of the stroke's power potential.

I'm fighting this myself. I naturally want to start my arm back toward the front as soon as I've reached my waist. If I concentrate on it, I can add an additional foot of thrust (push) to each stroke.

Unfortunately, it can be fatiguing if one is not accustomed to doing this additional work. I'm practicing when I go slow, with the hope that it will build the muscle for faster workouts later.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's Flu Season - How Hard Should I Work Out?

A fascinating article in today's NYTimes, titled, "Phys Ed: Does Exercise Boost Immunity", says that scientists have found a correlation between amount of exercise and immunity.

The author, Tara Parker-Pope, says that studies found that mice, exposed to viruses, who ran to exhaustion, were more prone to the negative impacts of the virus than those that exercised more leisurely.

Given the high virulence of H1N1, I highly advise reading the NYT article.

So I guess this is a "Don't feel so guilty this season when I do a half-assed workout" (get-out-of-jail free) card.

Monday, October 05, 2009

If you can't swim maybe you're trying too hard

It never ceases to amaze me how hard people work when they are swimming or trying to swim. We've all seen these people - perhaps you are one of them. They flail their arms and legs, twist their bodies every contorted direction and push water around the pool so much so that a tsunami warning ought to be issued, yet they make little to no progress in propelling their body across the pool. And if they do get anywhere, they are wiped out within 25 meters of doing so. Meanwhile, the guy in the next lane over has gotten down and back in as few as eight strokes. What gives?

Perhaps you are trying too hard. The guy in the next lane can pull off the eight stroke lap because he is using the dynamics of physics to his advantage. If you look at anyone who can pull this feat off successfully, I can almost promise you'll see the following:
1. The good swimmer is keeping his body line straight throughout the stroke - this means as he goes through the water, he cuts through it like a knife so there is minimal resistance (unlike the contorted body swimmer who creates a wall of water between himself and his destination with each stroke).
2. The good swimmer keeps his hands and arms in line with his body - they do not flair out to the side like an owl. Think, which is faster in a dive, the owl or the eagle?
3. The good swimmer has a long pull, from the furthest point in his reach forward, to the furthest point he can reach behind. The flailing swimmer using only a small percentage of the available stroke distance.
4. The good swimmer uses little energy to propel himself. Fact is ... the good swimmer spends a huge proportion of time in the stroke gliding compared to the flailing swimmer. The flailing swimmer does not glide at all.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Leaking Swim Goggles Solution Needed

I wish I had a solution for leaking goggles and am hoping some inventive swimmer out there would like to share his/her solution with the masses (and no, getting another pair is not the creative solution I'm seeking). BTW, I'll give you full credit or the solution!

I've got the problem in two new pair (an older third pair does not have the problem) and it drives me nuts. The leaks are both in the right-hand lens gasket (both are rubber molded frame goggles) which I thought might have something to do with the shape of my face, but I've ruled that out when I found that the seal between my face and the eye cup was at fault. When I wet my face and press the goggles to it to get a tight seal, I hear air sucking into the cup and the goggle falls off my face. This does not happen with the left side which holds a tight seal.

Anyone have a solution?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What to do if an owl falls in your swimming pool

Yes an owl. I know this is something everyone wants to know, so I had to link to it. :) Here's the story. Nice pictures to go with it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

When to Get a New Swim Suit

I had to buy a new swim suit last night after concluding the two I had been swapping between daily swims were both dead and gone beyond hope. How did I decide? If you are a regular swimmer, you know that the typical lycra suit lasts a given amount of time and then it just dies. Seriously, swim suits die. Mercifully, the death is usually quite fast if you know what to look for.

Here's how I know when my suits have died.
1. They don't hug tight to your body when dry. If they are barely loose, they are already dying. If they sag, they are dead.
2. They billow up when you are swimming. These are dead too. Stay in the pool and feel your performance fail you. Get out and watch what gravity does to your tightly toned buttocks.
3. They develop a molting look, generally in the seat area. This is where the fabric has lost its elasticity. If you look closely, you may actually see the broken elastic in the weave of the knitting. This eventually breaks down to the point where the suit is nearly see-through (especially dangerous with any non-black suits).

So, when your suit is dead, do yourself and everyone else a favor and get a new one ASAP.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

One Mean Swim Coach

Here is a man-made pond that I'd like to swim in. Nice, creative landscaping (humor). When going past this thing, I think I'd consider breathing on the other side.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Swimming Boredom Solution? MP3 player that gets wet

I've been wondering about these MP3 players that go in the water and I came across this video today which was embedded in an ad inside Swimming World Newsletter. Excellent presentation and quite informative. No, I'm not endorsing the product - I've never used it. But this video is cool and makes me want to try it. Kind of pricey, though. Hey, Finis! Send me one to try and I'll post a writeup here on this blog.

Free Diving - Details Revealed from the Deep

I just finished a great article in the Aug 24, 2009, issue of The New Yorker about the sport of free diving. It goes into tremendous detail about what happens to the body, mind, and of course, lungs, during a free dive. Excellent reading. Sorry, no link since it is available online only to New Yorker subscribers - I just found that out. Get this issue - you won't be sorry.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Underwater Rugby

Looks like a good way to train - I'm serious.

Check out the cool pics on the website.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

How to get rid of cankles

I'm no physical trainer but I feel I've found a remedy for cankles.

What are cankles? --> ankles that don't slim down below the calf creating the appearance of a seamless area between the knee and the foot. Great name huh?

The remedy? Swim! Put an emphasis on kickboard work. Even if you can't swim, you probably can do kickboard. (No kickboard? Loop a pool noodle end over end and point those ends forward, hold the sides just like you would a kickboard.)

When kicking, try to point your toes higher than your heels as you swim your foot up toward the surface. When you draw down toward or into the water, flop your feet. Try to create a splash.

All this will work the ankle/calf region and tone that area. Do this several times a week for at least 10 minutes. Expect this length of time to be a bit difficult at first - build up to it if you must. You will quickly become accustomed to kicking for distance.

You should start seeing results in a month. Stick with it a year and your legs should start really looking in shape.

For expert advice, ask a physical trainer or swimming coach.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Scared of Swimming? A good reason to not feel bad about that

I found this link under the heading, "Why I'm Scared of Swimming".

Ordinarily I would argue, but in this case, I simply can not. The author has a pretty good argument (pics too).

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

How many lifeguards does it take to guard me?

Woke this morning to the wonderful pitter patter of rain on my west facing window. It's a sound I love and I would have preferred to lie there and just enjoy the sound but my personal drive to not allow much of anything get in the way of my workout won over and I found myself at the pool. The Masters group was just leaving as the sun was coming up and those people (if you can call them that) - like werewolves and vampires - disappear at first light. I digress, anyhow, upon my second lap, I found myself with my own 50 meter pool - just me and (get ready) six lifeguards surrounding the pool (yes I said SIX). I completed about 7/8ths of my workout (about 50 minutes worth) before another person dipped a toe in the water. I really regret keeping my face under water (doing freestyle) that whole time. It really was quite special. I just have to wonder, if I had had trouble, which guard would have jumped in first, or would they all just looked at each other and continued to hug their knees under their towels that was kept the rain off.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pencil This In - How to Make Swimming Easier

I've mentioned the pencil technique in past posts, but it's been a while, so I decided to revisit the concept after overhearing a lifeguard give a struggling (e.g., splashing) middle-age swimmer some advice about stroke motion, that while correct, neglected the rest of his body and surely left the poor man wanting.

Using the pencil technique in a nutshell is akin to swimming like a pencil - nose-to-toes straight like an arrow (point forward), minimal friction (minimal water resistance) on all sides, and side-to-side rolling (as one would turn the pencil from the eraser end keeping the point in the same spot).

The pencil technique is only the start, but if all aspects of the swim stroke include maintaining this one dynamic, I promise you or your swimmer-trainee will find swimming easier than without it.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

You too can use Echolocation

Wired Magazine is reporting a new way to tap into your inner dolphin. Scientists have confirmed that humans can learn echolocation or the ability to make sounds to detect objects in their immediate surroundings. Check out the article for more details.

No word if this would work underwater, so don't start thinking you are going to win all those Marco Polo games now.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Check out the lifeguard station in the bottom right corner. Click link for a huge blowup of the picture (no pun intended ... pretty good pun though, huh?).

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Yard Art

This is just too cool for me to describe in words. Check it out.

Even shows good form!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Heavy Breathing Required

Here's a video of William Trubridge doing a freedive that will absolutely make you feel like a whimp, I guarantee. Awesome. BTW, I may have mistitled this post. He doesn't even look like he's out of breath at the end. Watch how cool he is in his ascent (where I would ... if I could ... be freak'n out to get up).

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Craziest Swimming Pool Trick Ever - I Promise

I am guessing this guy understood the ramification of failure had he done this wrong. Scroll down to the fourth picture.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

How to Clean your Goggles

I get goggle glop, do you? Goggle glop is my term for the cake-like buildup that forms on the outside of goggles around the frame. If you take your fingernail, you can dig it off. If the goggles are wet, you can scrub it off with a firm finger (note, neither is my solution ... keep reading).

I imagine the glop is a buildup of sweat and other body crud (any other theories?). It's very odd, since I don't wear the goggles outside of the pool, aside from a quick trot to the showers. One would think any body excretions would simply wash away in the pool. But no, it cakes up.

My solution is to place the gloppy goggles in a bowl, filled with dishwashing detergent in water (lots of suds), and place the bowl outside in the sun (or a warm, sunny window). The glop, rinses off given a few hours in the solution. Sometimes you must rub it just a little. The sun is to keep the solution warm so there is more energy to break down the glop bonds. A warm lamp near the solution, might do as well (I do not suggest boiling your goggles or anything of that sort).

This works for me, what works for you?

Note: I still haven't figured out how to deal with discoloration (nice clear rubber turning into greenish/yellowish rubber over time - perhaps I need to keep the goggles outside in the light, rather than inside my bag all day).

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Why the Phelps Phenomenon is Not for Me

If you were a kid watching the Olympics late last summer, I'm guessing you probably got at least a small itch to try swimming as your chosen sport. And it may have even stuck with you through the spring-time. How do I know this? Well the number of kids who have joined the premier swim team (the ones who build the Olympic athletes out of the XBox generation) in my city has grown by 25 percent this summer.

Good for them you say? OK, I'll agree, good for them ... but not for me.

I happen to work out at the same time the team practices - dawn - and the coach, flush with cash from his new arrivals, has bought the rights to an additional lap lane in the pool. Until this year, they had always used half the pool. Cool, right? We get half, they get half. Not any more.

Thanks to the Michael phenomenon, they're taking over our space. This forces us early risers (of which there always have been quite a few), we of all varieties of skill and speed, to move over, smile and pretend we loyal members still count for anything.

Thanks for your time and chance to rant.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Cause Linked to Lakes ... please, no!

Last year I posted a topic concerning a parasite that lived in southern waters that you probably want to avoid at all costs (very nasty). Now it's the northern lakes' turn.

It seems that there have been some clusters of ALS(Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), more commonly called Lou Gehrig's Disease, identified around a lake in New Hampshire. Scientists believe it is linked to Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) blooms. This article goes into pretty good depth using terms a layperson can understand.

BTW, this makes me very sad.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Gulf of Mexico Swim Goal Complete

Yesterday I finished my 900th mile since I set a series of goals (about two and a half years ago) to keep myself inspired. Coincidentally that 900 miles is the same distance as it is across the Gulf of Mexico from St. Petersburg, FL (next to Tampa - see map) to Corpus Christi, TX. Google Maps shows the auto route - lots of turns. You can visualize my route on the map below by looking at the two cities (click on the "-" button in the top left corner of the map to see both FL and TX coasts). I went straight.

View Larger Map

Monday, June 01, 2009

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Long Course Lap Swimming - First Thing, it's not Short

I'm starting my long course season on Monday when my outdoor 50 meter pool - also known to my faithful readers as "heaven" - opens for the season. If all goes well, I'll be out there until September 30th. This brief rest between Friday (yesterday), and Monday gives me pause to consider what changes I can expect. Making this switch from 25 meter indoor pool to 50 meter outdoor pool is not without its challenges.

One of the first things I always notice on day one in the 50 pool is that I feel every meter of it. There is a lot to be said for having a wall in front of you (when you are sprinting), that is always less than 25 meters away. I'm wondering how long it will take to adapt, or if I really will? No matter the pool length, I really look forward to those micro-rests that I get during the flip turns. In the 50, there will only be half as many now, and then they will be longer between them. Oh!

On the positive side, long course swimming is great for muscle building. You've got a longer time to be working a stroke before you have to pause.

A lot of people don't like 50 meter pools for the exact reason of the name - "50 meters". 50 is a long way for some people and they just plain, avoid them. I say, give it a chance. Take it a little easy and work your way into it. I think I'm a better swimmer because of 50 meter pools. I think you can be too.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Serious Lap Swimmer Tries Being Waterboarded - Find out what happens

Here's a story about a guy who was a former lifeguard, free diver, and all around fitness nut (he does those 100 mile run things), who decided to find out for himself if waterboarding was all that bad. I know I for one have wondered the same thing during many a flip turn where I got water up my nose. The author, after ruling out trying it first on the wife and kids (what a family man!), went a bit further than me and tried them for real, exposing himself to increasingly dangerous methods.

I won't ruin the ending, but let me drop a hint ... this guy is one bad-ass, nut job.

Don't try this at home kiddies. Oh, and BTW, I don't endorse any of this.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sound in Water - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

No this isn't about waterproof mp3 players (I'll save that for another day), it's about how sound can influence the body in water.

The pool I swim at is part of a YMCA that recently underwent a massive renovation - except for the pool (never the pool). Seems like the construction guys were drilling or pounding most every day for about a year since they extended the footprint of the building by two, thus having to dig into the limestone rock to create a place to start the foundation.

What's all this have to do with swimming? Well, when they were pounding and drilling, you could hear it through the water. And on the pounding days, I could literally feel it rumbling my rib cage (the bad). I joked with friends that it was like lithotriptsy - which is how calcified kidney stones are destroyed by sending shock waves through a tub of water (the good).

Since the way shock waves travel through water is common knowledge, I'm confused why there is such surprise by the media when dolphins and other sea creatures spaz out where there are ocean shocks (the ugly) - think volcanic explosions, sonar testing (suspected), and other.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Dog Swims Six Miles - Ha Ha Jaws!

Other titles I considered ... "Why Lassie Should Have been a Cattle Dog", or better yet, "Aussie Dog Ready to Star on TV's Survivor".

In this true story, a dog fell overboard and swam about six miles through shark infested waters off the Great Barrier Reef to an island where it dined in rustic luxury waiting for someone to notice.

Very cool story. BTW, Sophie, you've been added to this blog's hero list!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Honey, I'll be doing laps out in the ...

... garage. Yes, a man in Baltimore has built a pool in his garage. Link has full story and pics. I personally understand the man's compulsion. I'd just think he should have used a four-car garage.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Crocodile Training

I'm not sure if I believe this CNN story about a coach in Australia who throws a crocodile into the pool to make his team swim faster, but it sure makes the imagination run wild. Eh, mate?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Possible New Material for Swim Suits?

I've hypothesized that one could make a swim suit even better than those used in the Olympics to break all those world records. Now someone has invented a product that is touted as "super hydrophobic". Using nano technology to create an invisible bubble, it creates super-floating, drag-reducing qualities.

Here's an article in Gizmodo, an online tech web site.

Wearing this, do you think maybe a mortal could beat Michael Phelps record? Remember me when you see this on the rack in your neighborhood sporting good stores. Are you listening Speedo?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ever Dream of Swimming with Dolphins? That's so Old! Try This!

I came across this article tonight, while trolling the news. When I was a kid, I used to swim with my Labrador retriever. She would unintentionally claw me whenever she got near. I can only imagine what this might be like.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Freestyle - It's NOT supposed to be like Butterfly

During my kicking set, I was watching a swimmer in a lane near me do some freestyle. Her technique needed work, but she wasn't a bad swimmer. But her errors were so common, they screamed blog post!

Today, I'll focus on the one that really stuck out to me. Poor energy conservation. Conservation of energy is key to swimming any distance at all without tiring. This is especially true for occasional swimmers who haven't built up any distance in their routines.

In the case of the swimmer I was watching, she was retrieving her arm from its pull, by pulling it out of the water from the back, near her thigh (good so far) and sweeping it forward via a long arc, as one might do with butterfly (think how both arms sweep out in butterfly ... this swimmer was doing this same thing, just one arm at a time). This is where I contend she was wasting energy.

It's natural to do the sweep thing, but not the best way to use one's energy. I contend that for freestyle, it's best to bring the back of one's arm as close to the head as possible, and drag the finger tips across the water. Doing so eliminates the additional weight of holding one's arm out.

You can try this on dry land to see what I'm talking about. Simply hold your arm out for fifteen seconds (feel the weight of your arm?). Now (warning: this is awkward) try holding the back of your arm next to your ear with your hand pointing forward for the same length of time (see, I told you this was awkward! ... it's not so in the pool, really). Feel the weight of your arm now.

Which did you find heavier? If you found the head/ear position lighter, try out that stroke in the pool. You may find that you use less energy over time and can thus go further with less fatigue. Hope this helps. Good luck!

* * * *

Finally, I must apologize for focusing this blog's content of late on the silly and odd. I've not kept to the promised theme of swimming dynamics. Reason, quite frankly, is that it's just easier some times. Writing about swimming dynamics sort of gets old after a while, hence the silly posts. If you've stuck with me through the long haul, thank you!

Friday, February 27, 2009

More on the Mermaid - Nadya's Tail

Here's an article that ran in a UK paper ( More detail and a picture of Nadya swimming is included plus a link to the video embedded below.

I love these quotes from the Mermaid, herself, "A prosthetic is a prosthetic, and your body has to be comfortable with it and you have to mentally make it part of yourself." She goes on to say, "I thought rather than just having it as a plaything, I would take it further." What does she mean by that? Triathlon baby!

By her beauty and upbeat manner, one can tell that Nadya has not let being a double amputee ruin her life. She's made the most of it and now can give hope to others. Cheers!

This second video, where she's swimming in the open water, really makes you see Nadya as a real mermaid, what with the surprise peeks of her tail.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mermaids are now real

My regular readers may recall that I pontificated on the idea of swimming prostheses for double amputees in a prior post after seeing an article about a dolphin that had a new tail made for it.

Well dear reader, my science fiction has come to pass. Check this out! I present the new mermaid.

Just call me Jules Verne or Gene Roddenberry. You choose.

Friday, February 06, 2009

A Jet Pack for the Swimmer

Just when you thought you were too old for water toys, this little thing comes along.

So cool! I know what I want for Christmas, Santa.

What Hasen't Been Said about Michael Phelps and the Pot Thing

You've heard about it all week ad nauseum. Michael Phelps "allegedly" smoked pot. There's a picture of someone that looks like the Eight Gold Wonderkid doing a bong hit, splashed all over the internets. My opinion - Probably is. He's caught crap from the conservative media and some of his sponsors. He's also lost three month's of eligibility in US swim competitions. And as if that isn't enough, now the friends of marijuana legalization are making him their poster boy, saying "If MP can do it, everyone does it. So make pot legal! Now!" Today, the Diggs, Reddits and all the other online opinion aggregators are pushing the envelope in that direction, calling on their minions to boycott sponsor(s) who are pulling their support of MP (think big cereal company).

Here's what's not been said ... Michael, you were stupid. Pot is, if nothing else, smoke. Put it in your body and it goes into your lungs, where some of it stays there. Your lungs are what got you to the finish line first, more times than I'll ever count. Your lungs are as important (if not more important) as your big feet, long arms, and long torso.

Keep up the partying and you can wave goodbye to all that glory, for the sport will pass you, fast. You can count on it.

My final words ... Grow up buddy, and start thinking. By the way, I hope your coach kicks your butt.

Monday, February 02, 2009

NYC to Bermuda Swim Goal Completed

I completed another of my mini-goals today, which I started at the beginning of 2007. This one was the distance from New York City to Bermuda. Sure I did it over 517 swim days, but there it is - 775 miles.

I've set up these goals to keep me going. Seems to be working so far.

Onward to London!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Picture of Michael Phelps Spitting Water

Kidding ... still, does anyone know of anyone who was swimming when one of these water spouts came along? Amazing picture. Oh, are those two spots open-water swimmers?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Feesh Mawn wins one for Hollywood !

The documentary called "Big River Man", which featured Martin Strel's (also known as the "Feesh Mawn" by his fans) amazing swim down the Amazon River has won an award for cinematography at the Sundance Film Festival. Here's the entire list of winners. Scroll down to see "Big River Man".

Congratulations guys!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Two Swimmers who Challenge the Arctic

Hate cold pool water. Read these and you'll never complain again.

Here are two articles about swimmers who are challenging what it means to swim and thrive in cold water. What's cold? Try the South Pole and the North Pole.

This first one (about Wim Hof) appeared in The Telegraph UK last December. I had planned to post it in honor of Jan 1st's polar bear jumpers, but was out of town.

This second one (about Lewis Gordon Pugh) is in this month's (Jan '09) issue of Readers Digest. The only thing I didn't like about this story, is that Lewis is a lawyer. He already had ice in his veins.

Both are perfectly fascinating.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Martin Strel Goes Hollywood

I haven't posted much on Martin Strel in a while. If you are out of touch on my fascination with Martin ... he's the guy who among other minor achievements, swam the Amazon from the Andes to the Atlantic two summers ago. Anyhow, they made a movie about it and it is to be shown at the Sundance Film Festival later this month - I'm guessing documentary?

If you have missed any of the posts I've put up about Martin here's a great article that tells you all about him and fills in a lot of detail I may have missed. You can see my posts by searching my site with "Martin Strel".

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

How to Find a Pool When Away from Home

I found this, ugly, yet awesome Swimmers Guide website this past November and have intended to create a post for it for some time. Better late than never. After you read this, you may be p.o.'d at me for not having posted this amazing resource before the holidays.

The site says "Swimmers Guide contains the only international, descriptive directory of publicly-accessible, full-size, year-round swimming pools available. There is no resource available in any format with as many pool listings or as much information about each pool as you'll find on this Web site ... This 143rd monthly update of the database since May, 1996, lists 18,507 facilities with 19,742 full-size, year-round swimming pools in 10,521 cities and towns in 165 countries."

If this database is even half of what it says it is, it is still amazing.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Lifeguard failure? No, a hero!

It's pretty much accepted practice that our heroes are only given the grand title when they are successful, or when they die trying. Today, I read an article I found on, which ended in neither. Yet I come away astounded by the heroics the individual exhibited.

Austin Hearn, a lifeguard at a YMCA in New Jersey, happened to be riding his bike near a pond, when he witnessed a woman fall through the ice. He first fought to break the ice to create a path to the woman. When that proved impossible, he attempted to step out onto the ice to commence a reach rescue and fell in himself in waters over his head. Fortunately, there weren't two deaths that day, and Austin saved himself.

I'm guessing, Austin is kicking himself for not succeeding. Similarly, I imagine others may not give Austin the credit he deserves for trying. That's another tragedy, since to anyone who knows cold water, understands that Austin went over and above the call of duty. Oh, yeah, Austin wasn't on duty! He did it out of the goodness of his heart!

From a former lifeguard ... All the best Austin! May you have peace of mind.