Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

New Zealand Emperor Penguin Swim

OK so the Diane Nyad swim from Cuba to FL tanked before it could really get going. My heart still goes out to the old gal. Still, we were all stoked to see this happen so I was beside myself when I found a new distance swim tracking opportunity to share with you guys.

Whoever has seen the movie Happy Feet knows about the cute animated penguin that swam a great distance to save his flock ("flock" is that what a penguin group is called? Whatever). There is a real life Happy Feet emperor penguin that somehow made it to New Zealand. Some good hearts got it in their minds that they ought to take this real life critter and get it back on track to the arctic. They've put a tracking device on it's back (just like in the movie), dropped it into the middle of the sea and now you can track its progress as it moves across the Arctic Ocean to home, we hope.

Here's the link. Click on "Map" when the page opens, then drill down using the "+" sign. Clicking on the points between the blue lines gives you the date and time of the last geo-location tag.

OK, so this isn't the kind of distance swim I usually discuss here, but what the heck. Good luck, Happy Feet!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How to Swim On Your Back in a Straight Line while Outside

I've been getting a number of comments at my outdoor pool about my ability to keep a straight line while swimming on my back, so I decided it might make for a worthy inclusion here.

We've all seen those swimmers who when on their backs weave back and forth across the lane. That's fine if you have the lane to yourself, but just imagine if you are sharing the lane with that swimmer! Until a couple of years ago, I was that weaving swimmer, but I've cracked the nut on how to deal with the problem.

Let's start with why swimming on one's back in an outdoors pool is harder than doing so in an indoor pool. The answer is pretty simple, outdoor swimming offers few cues to allow you to keep track of where you are.

My indoor pools (I visit several each year) have any number of ceiling features that generally line up with the lanes. At my pools there are ceiling panels, ventilation pipes, fire suppression piping (yes, in the pool room!!!), wood planking, etc. All it takes to keep a straight line is to keep yourself in line with the selected feature and you're good to go. If you see yourself going left or right of the feature, you're not swimming straight and you need to make a minor correction. Easy, right?

But outdoor pools, generally offer none of the above except blue sky, if you are so lucky, so what's one to do?

My technique is to swim as close to the lane line as I can without rubbing against it. Every few strokes, I'll allow an elbow or hip to gently brush the lane line, just so I'm certain that I am where I intend to be. That's it. Very simple. It will work in any pool that has lane markers.

A couple notes to keep in mind. Make sure you keep your leading fingertips pointed away from the lane marker - you don't want to jam a finger. Secondly, this technique is solely for training and recreation purposes. For obvious reasons of speed, you don't want to use this approach in competitive swimming as it may subtract from your time, even if it is only for a brief micro-second.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lebron James - 10 Meter Platform High Diver?

This is what you get when you put a basketball court next to a high-dive platform. Personally, If this had been me, I would have been tempted to jump to the side and splashed the DJ guy in the left side of the screen after he started yelling "jump, jump, jump".

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Diana Nyad Calls it a Day Before Dawn

At 12:45am, this AM, Diana called it quits. NYTimes has a good article describing the circumstances behind the decision to end the marathon swim. Apparently Diana developed asthma, shoulder pain, and was nauseated after 29 hours in the sea. Still, 29 hours in the water while 61 years old - no shark bites, too! - I call that lady, one tough broad. Good job, all the same.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Diana Nyad's Cuba to FL Swim has Begun

Diana began her swim last evening. Here is a link for a tracking map courtesy of CNN.

See my prior post for details about Diana's swim quest.

Edit: Here's the tweet feed from Matt Stone who is following along in a boat.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

New Pool Activity - Leisure Diving

Check out this hilarious web site devoted to photos of people doing what people do best at the pool ... no, not swimming (I wish). They like to be leisurely.

Oh, I forgot to mention one key feature ... all photos are of "people of leisure" taken as they are high up in the air after jumping off a diving board (or other), in full relaxed pose.

See the gallery of photos here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"Old" Woman Plans World Record Ocean Distance Swim

Diana Nyad plans to swim from Cuba to FL - a world record swim. Oh, yeah ... she's 61 years old. In this video, Diana shares some of her philosophies on aging, laments and goals. Good luck, Diana and thanks AOL Video for the embed code!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Martin Strel Completes Grand Canyon Swim

What do you do for fun when you've already swum most of the major rivers in the world including the Amazon? How about a dip in 46 degree water for 19 miles down the Grand Canyon? (Best feature ... no anacondas or piranha)

Extreme swimmer, and favorite extreme swimmer hero highlighted in this blog, Martin Strel has another fin to add to his back with this accomplishment.

Link to Martin's web site and lots of pictures.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Question About Goggle Sting

My well-sealed goggles burn my eyes (not the chlorine). Any ideas why and/or how to fix?

My trustworthy clear goggles that have served me well since September have started to split at the gasket, given me fair warning that I should be looking for a new pair. Given that, this AM I wore the pair I use outdoors which have a blue sun-glasses like tint to them. They are a good pair given they fit snug and have no leaks, but today when I wore them (first time all indoor season), my eyes began burning (and still are) as if I were soaking them in a chlorine bath. I had no such problem with the older clear goggles, and I recall having the same trouble with these blue goggles last summer, though at the time I blamed the pool chemicals. Perhaps I misplaced the source of the problem? Now I'm fairly convinced that the problem lies with the goggles.

Question: Has anyone else had burning associated with their goggles? Important, mine aren't leaking yet apparently make my eyes burn!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Best Above Ground Pool Ever

Like all above ground pools, there are drawbacks. They can fall apart. pic and story

Rebuilt, filled and ready for laps : Best above ground pool ever

Source for 1st pic:
Source for 2nd pic:

Monday, May 02, 2011

Why You Don't Screw Around at the Pool

Screen shot below says enough, but you might want to watch what leads up to this. I have no idea if the guy is ok. I'm guessing some back trouble may be in his future.

Swimming Pool Toss-In Fail - Watch more Funny Videos

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Little Boy SavesTwo-Year Old Sister with CPR

Great story, great hero ... but what's the deal with the reporter standing in front of a crappy hotel pool when it appears this happened at someone's house shown in the video.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Solution to Swimming Slow Like a Snail

Sometimes I feel like I swim like a snail. Here's a solution I found online to overcome the problem on my slower days. I imagine anyone could do this. Check out this gif here to see.

Source: Unknown. If original source known, please advise so I can provide credit.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Rest Period to Include All Swimmers Says Govt Health Official

A new law hits swimming pools across the nation this summer that will impact swimmers of all ages and abilities.

Citing the success of 10 minute rest periods for children, starting summer 2011, all swimming pools will be required to enforce rest period for all persons, regardless of age. The new law, written at the close of last year's season, hit the books April 1st. "We believe this will enhance the economy by stimulating the snack bar business," said a Government spokesperson who asked to remain anonymous.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

When Lifeguards Have the Day Off

Check out this link to see what happens when illiteracy, lifeguard inadequacy and parental stupidity mix together.

Sorry, I don't have a credit. If known, please advise.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Prediction ... Breathing Liquid Air is Our Future

Expert believes that breathing liquid air is not only possible, it's been proven to work, and he believes he knows how to make it practical and has plans to do just that. Oh, by the way, the expert is a retired heart lung physician.

Check out the article by Jerome Taylor, from The Independent.

For anyone who wants to hear what smart, albeit less experienced, persons think about this topic, check out the link with an interesting discussion of the topic.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Zen of Water ... Be the Water

I saw this, laughed, and knew I had to post this right away ... A master (of another discipline) speaks of the zen of water.

If you are too young to know who this is, it is Bruce Lee. BL, now deceased, brought the martial arts to the consciousness of the western nations back in the early 1970's before it was all faked in the movies using CGI. The guy is an amazing athlete. If you want to see more, just go to and see dozens of videos about him.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Yesterday's Tsunami Event in San Francisco Bay

If you were an open water swimmer in SF Bay yesterday, this is what you may have encountered. Thanks to the publisher of this clip.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Tsumani Watch Live - California Coast

Here are two sites I found that are useful for tracking the tsunami warning for the California Coast. This first one is a Live Blog: Bay Area. The second is a web cam view of Half Moon Bay shot from Sam's Chowder House. As of this posting things are pretty calm. We're praying for you guys!

If waiting and hoping for nothing to happen is too boring, here's a mini-tsunami that hit Half Moon Bay back in February, all caught on video. Watch it here. Warning, this one is a bit graphic.

Edit: For anyone who thinks I posted this out of pointlessness, check out this video what happened in Japan from the same event. Amazing and awful. Credit to SkyNews for the source.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Importance of Lung Capacity to Swimming Well

Your lung capacity can have a huge impact on your swimming dynamics. This post discusses the hows and whys of maintaining good lung capacity while swimming and how a beginning swimmer can learn this trick with ease.

To anyone who thinks at all about swimming dynamics, this post is fairly self-evident. If you are like most casual swimmers, you probably haven't given this much thought, but it can be one of the many keys to becoming a better swimmer ... so pay attention!

My ah ha moment came in the bathtub two days ago. I was suffering from a cold and wanted to soak in a warm bath so I'm lying there trying to get as deep as I can in the shallow tub when I notice my body rising and falling with each breath. Now I don't mean my chest was rising and falling ... I was actually floating and sinking with each breath. With nothing better to do, I took deeper breaths and noticed that I could really float well if I just breathed in a bit deeper and I could maintain that float by letting out and breathing back in only sips of air (rather than the full in/out thing). I then recalled that this is how I swim. I don't take huge breaths with each stroke. Instead, I take these sips, maintaining the air in my lungs so I can keep afloat better.

I've been cognizant of the importance of lung capacity for years, but this little self-evaluation showed me just how easy it would be to demonstrate the importance of good breath control to beginning swimmers. By doing this in a tub, you can practice your breath control in a safe place.

OK, now go ahead and try it. No one is watching!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Lightening and Open Water Swimming

In case you were wondering why you've got to get out of a large body of water (e.g., lake) in a lightening storm when all that nice lightening is going to be attracted to the trees on shore, think again. Check out this picture. Thanks lohengscorner!

Edit: It appears that this has been taken down.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

To "S" or Not to "S", that is the question

Should you use the "S" pull technique or not?

A locker-room regular who was trained in an elite youth swimming program and is now getting back into swimming as an adult told me today that he understands the going theory on freestyle pulling is to pull straight through rather than using the old stand-by "S" pull. I had not heard this before. I've certainly noted the differences ("s" uses only a little more than half the stroke the sequence following the "s" motion and can lead to a faster stroke down to the hip ... after the "s", while the straight pull uses the full motion of the stroke*), but am not familiar with the research.

Anyone care to enlighten the group?

* These are my observations.

Friday, February 25, 2011

New Template

After five years of writing this blog, I finally took the plunge (there's a good word for it) and updated this blog's template to something more blog 2.0ish. Hope you like it. Let me know if you find any problems. Thanks for everyone's support!

Friday, February 04, 2011

Your Spouse Wants a Sun Room - You Want a Pool

What's a rich guy to do. The wife wants a sun room and you want a pool. How about a sun room where the floor sinks down at the touch of a button and gives you a pool?!

Check out this web site from Hydrofloors.

Oh, but what about the wet floor? "Honey, can you throw me another towel, please."

Is Swimming Under Water Faster than Surface Swimming?

Is Swimming Under Water Faster than Surface Swimming? Hill Taylor, aka Dolphin Man, from the University of Texas, proves that yes it is. It's just not technically legal in an NCAA sanctioned swim meet. In this video, he beats the world record in backstroke by a full minute (cough cough).

Like my last post, I got this from the Wired feed. Don't know what's up with these geeks. Are they suddenly cool to be around?

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Water Jet Packs - How Rich People Have Fun Above It All

Here's a video I found on Wired's RSS feed showing what the rich do when they get bored on the yacht. Yes, this is another jet pack video - Enjoy.

Friday, January 21, 2011

How to Make Your Swim Goggle's Lenses Like New

You can make your swim goggle lenses so they are like new again by following the simple steps in this post.

When you use a new pair of swim goggles for the first few times, you'll find they improve your vision under water dramatically over your old scummy goggles. But over time, pool chemicals and water scum (white film) builds up on the lenses. Try this tip and you'll probably find you see a lot better underwater without forking out another $10 - $20 for a new pair.

Tools: toothbrush with soft bristles (tougher bristles might work, but could scratch the lens ... try at your own risk) and toothpaste (I used Crest paste with whitener).

Just apply a dab of toothpaste to the toothbrush and scrub for about thirty seconds, rinse and enjoy. Be sure to do both sides of each lens.

What's happening? The toothpaste has a mild abrasive which removes the built up scum that will not come off with regular soap and washcloth.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Martin Strel Announces His Next Challenge

Just finished listening to Martin Strel on a BBC audio stream (listen here) discuss his Guinness World Record breaking Amazon swim where he swam the infamous stretch of water from end to end. Martin's portion of the clip runs for about 10 minutes, beginning at about the 11:30 mark.

Featured in the BBC discussion, Martin talks about what started him swimming in the first place (sad story here); why he prefers swimming in fresh water over salt water (I figured the latter would be easier ... he says no and why); How the Amazon swim was his dream accomplishment (no surprise there); what he thinks got him through the Amazon swim alive and kept safe (touching story); how the whole trip came to a near disaster on the final day (didn't know this and I've followed this guy every day during the swim); the diseases he caught; his 24/hr a day elixir (this still makes me laugh); how swimming is a mind game; how long he took to recover; and most exciting ... his next challenge.

Well worth the listen!