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Oct 21 19

That swimmer doesn’t practice hard, but beats me in races. what do I do?

by ZwemZa

(USA Swimming)

“So, it really frustrates me that ‘X’ doesn’t work hard in practice, frequently skips out of the main set when it gets too hard and then beats me at meets! It’s just not right and it’s driving me bananas!”

I can’t tell you how many swimmers have shared their version of this frustration with me over the years. You know the story – you are a serious and dedicated swimmer. You make all of the practices and push yourself to the max. You listen to the coaches and do everything you can to make yourself better. And then your teammate(s), do exactly the opposite. They don’t do doubles. They consistently skip important practices. They rarely, if ever push themselves in training. Occasionally, they’ll save themselves until the end of a tough set and then go all out on the last 100 or 200. And the killer is that they seem to regularly beat you when it comes to races.

What gives? It is so frustrating that you find you can’t stop thinking about them. This going around in circles between how hard you work and how hard they don’t work is driving you to distraction.

So what can you constructively do about this confusing and seemingly unfair situation?

My advice to you is very simple. It’s the same advice I regularly give to swimmers who find themselves getting much too nervous right before and sometimes during their races. STAY IN YOUR OWN LANE! That is, keep your focus of concentration on you and what you’re doing when you train, and not on what other teammates may or may not be doing.

While these kinds of situations are unbelievably maddening and confusing, you have to learn to tune out how others train and just focus on yourself, on your technique, your walls, strengthening your weaknesses, etc. If you insist on obsessing about how you work so hard and they don’t, yet they beat you when it counts, then you will end up feeling really badly about yourself and totally de-motivated. In fact, allowing yourself to stay stuck over-thinking about these kinds of teammates will undermine both your confidence and desire to work hard, leaving you feeling like, “What’s the point? Why even bother?”

Here’s one of the realities to explain why this kind of thing sometimes happens. Some swimmers are blessed physically and have the body to be able to temporarily get away with inconsistent and mediocre efforts in the pool. They can skip practices, back down when the training gets hard and still go fast under pressure. However, the reality is that sooner or later these kinds of training habits will come back to haunt them. No one can become successful without consistently putting in a full effort. NO ONE! As you get better and the competition gets tougher, swimmers who have poor training habits will ultimately fall behind. They may be able to get away with it now, but sooner or later their bad habits will come back to hurt them.

Whether this happens sooner or later should be totally irrelevant to you because their sub-par training habits don’t have to have any negative effects on you unless you allow them to. Regardless of whether they can beat you now, your job is to bring your focus in practice and at meets back to your own lane and whatever you’re doing. In training, you don’t ever want to waste your physical and emotional energy focusing on these kinds of swimmers. Instead, you want to keep your focus on what you are doing during practice, on your goals, strengthening your weaknesses and giving a full effort!

Just remember, at some point in the future, your hard work and good training habits will pay off. Whether this happens while this other swimmer is still on your team or not is inconsequential. Whether it will pay off with you beating this person sooner rather than later is also unimportant. What is important is your commitment to training, NOT their lack of commitment.

So give yourself a break and keep your concentration between your two lane lines whenever you train and race! Pay close attention to yourself and no one else. Channel all of your frustration and anger into training harder, focusing more on what you are doing and getting better for yourself and to achieve your goals.

Alan Goldberg//

Oct 21 19

ISL debutants impressed by Lewisville show

by ZwemZa

Photo LaPresse – Fabio Ferrari
October, 19 2019 Lewisville, Texas (USA)
2019 ISL – International Swimming League.
in the picture: Team London Roar

Over 100 Olympians are represented by the ISL, including 41 Olympic gold medals from the 2016 Olympic Games.

The first of two days of the International Swimming League’s third match in Lewisville, Texas has wrapped up, and it yielded a lot of excitement as all of the athletes competing were making their league debuts.

After watching the four clubs in Group ‘A’ compete the last two weekends in Indianapolis and Naples, the swimmers were anxiously anticipating getting their chance to race.

“To finally be here, to see everything come to fruition, it’s an awesome time,” said NY Breakers captain Michael Andrew, who swam five times on Day 1 and leads his club with 15 points. “I don’t get nervous for swim meets anymore…yesterday that’s all I felt. The anticipation and the excitement that was coming through was something I haven’t felt in a long time.”

The athletes came in with lofty expectations, having watched the previous matches on television, but the experience was even better than they had imagined.

“I think I can pretty much speak for everyone, at least everyone on my team, that it was a fantastic first day. It exceeded everyone’s expectations,” said Cate Campbell, who won the women’s 50 freestyle and was also a key member of the London Roar’s winning women’s 4×100 free relay.

“Met and probably exceeded as well,” said Iron’s Vladimir Morozov, who won two individual events to lead the MVP race with 23 points scored. “I was expecting something like dual meets in an NCAA competition, but this is even more fast-paced. There is even less break in between the events, and it’s one of a kind, something new. So, it exceeded expectations for sure.”

“I think it was even more fun than I expected,” added Iron captain and owner Katinka Hosszu. “A lot of energy, and it was definitely much different than just going to a meet and swimming your event and that’s it.”

Hosszu, nicknamed the Iron Lady, is embracing the ‘team’ aspect the league offers.

“Once I finished with my races, cheering for the rest of the team and just having a team named Iron is really cool for me. I’m really proud of it and (I’m) really happy to be a part of the ISL.”

Campbell and her London Roar teammates had a very successful opening day, leading the club standings with 253 points. The LA Current sit second with 234.

“I think that the team camaraderie that we’ve managed to establish just in the last couple of days that we’ve been together really shone through,” remarked Campbell. “Obviously London Roar came out on top today which is exciting, and I think that there was a stretch in there where we won six races back-to-back. We won races that we technically shouldn’t have, and we scraped a couple of extra places, and you could see everyone was pulling together and swimming for their teams.”

After a relatively light schedule on Day 1, Campbell is looking forward to racing the 8 to 4 to 2 eliminator-style skins race for the first time on Sunday.

“I’ve had a very easy introduction to the hectic ISL schedule today with just the two races,” laughed Campbell. “Tomorrow I’m looking at three or four, with obviously the skins being the last race. So, I think it’s exciting, I’m really looking forward to it. Everyone’s swimming fast, so I think everyone’s going to be in for a good show tomorrow because the field is swimming quickly. To qualify for each round, you’re going to have to be swimming very fast.”

LA Current captain Nathan Adrian enjoyed the cheers he and his teammates got as one of the two American-based clubs competing.

“It’s cool, I guess we’re the home team which is awesome,” he said. “We’re getting a lot of cheers out there; it gives our swims just a little more energy. I think that’s just always fun; it plays off the format really well. From the second we walked in we knew this was something special, having the lights out there, the DJ out there, it’s definitely something new.”

About the ISL: The International Swimming League is a global professional swimming competition launching in 2019 with teams in both Europe (Italy-based Aqua Centurions, France-based Energy Standard, Hungary-based Iron, and London Roar) and the United States (Cali Condors, DC Trident, LA Current, NY Breakers). The inaugural season will include matches in Indianapolis IN, Naples ITA, Lewisville TX, Budapest HUN, College Park MD, London GBR, and the championship finale at the 12,000-seat Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, NV. The ISL aims to create groundbreaking projects, in both form and content, exploring the full potential of competitive swimming while securing sustainable commercial growth in the sport.

Key Dates:

5-6 October 2019 – IU Natatorium, Indianapolis, USA

12-13 October 2019 – Aquatic Swimming Complex, Naples, Italy

19-20 October 2019 – The LISD Westside Aquatic Center, Lewisville, Texas, USA

26-27 October 2019 – Duna Area, Budapest, Hungary

16-17 November 2019 – Natatorium at the Eppley Recreation Center, Maryland, USA

23-24 November 2019 – London Aquatic Centre, Great Britain

20-21 December 2019 – Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Las Vegas, USA


Oct 20 19

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor carves out new path on road to Tokyo 2020

by ZwemZa

Siobhan-Marie-OConnor (Swim England)

It says a lot about Siobhan-Marie O’Connor’s ambition that she has left home comforts behind as the road to Tokyo 2020 begins in earnest.

The British swimmer has relocated to the National Centre Loughborough this Olympic season, having spent 12 successful years with the team at National Centre Bath.

It wasn’t an easy decision to make at such a critical juncture, but the 23-year-old is confident she will thrive in her new home, where she is now being coached by Dave Hemmings.

“I’ve settled in well and everyone has made me feel so welcome, so it’s been a great start to the season,” O’Connor said.

“Traning has been really tough, but that’s what I wanted – a fresh start and a change of environment. I’m really enjoying it.

“I wanted to get the best out of myself this year and in order to do that, I knew I needed to change something.

“I love Bath. It’s my home, it’s where my family live and where my friends are. The people that I trained with and Dave [McNulty] in Bath were like my second family, so it’s hard. But I think it was the right decision.”

Chasing silverware

O’Connor burst onto the scene at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow when, at the age of just 18, she won a staggering six medals, including gold in the 200m Individual Medley.

Before defending that Commonwealth title on the Gold Coast four years later, she won multiple medals at the European and World Championships, as well as her crowning achievement at Rio 2016.

On her second appearance at the Olympics, O’Connor pushed legendary Hungarian swimmer, Katinka Hosszu, all the way to win the 200m Individual Medley silver medal in a British record time.

O’Connor feels the next two months could be decisive in her quest to return to the Olympic podium in 2020.

“100 per cent [the key is] getting that consistency and getting that consistency at a high level,” she added.

“I have struggled with that in the past with my health problems, so that’s my aim this year – just to get consistent.

“Especially this period through to Christmas, as I haven’t really had a good block of training for a long time, so I’m really excited about hopefully getting a great block that sets me up for the rest of the year.

“It would mean a lot to get a seat on the plane to Tokyo and I just want to give it everything this year and leave no stone unturned.”

Search for glory in Glasgow

O’Connor will be able to somewhat gauge her progress when she competes at December’s LEN European Short Course Swimming Championships in Glasgow.

Returning to Tollcross will bring back fond memories.

“Glasgow is a special pool and the atmosphere in there is great,” O’Connor said.

“It’s quite small and compact, so the noise when you walk out is pretty intense when everyone’s cheering for you. It’s a really good environment.

“I’m really excited. I’m really lucky that I’ve had quite a few opportunities to race in front of a home crowd, and every single time it’s just fantastic.

“It’s a massive springboard for Tokyo. It will be our last short course competition before Christmas, so it’s really important part of our Olympic season calendar.”

The LEN European Short Course Swimming Championships will take place from 4-8 December

Swim England

Oct 20 19

Ex-Bishops teacher also a victim of sexual misconduct incident in 2017 – report

by ZwemZa

Fiona Viotti, 30, resigned amid allegations of a sexual relationship with a pupil at the Bishops Diocesan College in Rondebosch. (Picture: Supplied)

A former Bishops high school teacher and water polo coach involved in a purported sex scandal with a pupil was also a victim of a sexual misconduct incident in 2017, a Sunday report says.

According to IOL, Fiona Viotti, 32, was propositioned by two Grade 11 pupils in 2017 at the elite Bishops Diocesan College, according to information emerging out of an inquiry into the allegations.

The boys had reportedly hacked into the Bishops internal mailing system to send her the emails, and posed as another pupil. They were suspended for a whole term after being caught out.

The report also said Viotti was admitted to a top Cape Town psychiatric clinic, with her lawyer, William Booth, confirming the admission.

Booth requested that the family not be bombarded with media requests.

TimesLive first reported last Sunday that Viotti was initially accused of having an illicit relationship with an 18-year-old matric pupil.

She has since resigned from the school.

This past week, principal Guy Pearson said it emerged that “several boys have been affected over a number of years”. The Weekend Argus on Saturday reported that, so far, three more boys might have been victims, according to the inquiry.

Various explicit videos and pictures of a woman many claimed to be Viotti have been doing the rounds on social media, and last week ended up on a well-known porn site.

The video has since been removed from the porn site, with Booth telling News24 that he was probing the source of the upload.

Booth said the video was posted without Viotti’s consent, and warned that it was illegal and criminal.

An attorney and advocate meanwhile have been appointed to conduct the school’s inquiry.

Compiled by Ntwaagae Seleka

Oct 20 19

Why it’s important to avoid tension on the sidelines

by ZwemZa

(USA Swimming)

“I joke that when my daughter was playing tennis, I was just a chauffeur taking her to practice. And sometimes, that’s all kids really need you to be,” says Dr. Patrick Cohn, a sports psychologist at Peak Performance Sports. He’s only partially joking…most parents could benefit from decreasing their tension and taking a more passive role when it comes to youth sports.

“We tell parents that their only goal is to make sure that their kids are having fun. Your job is to support kids when it’s appropriate,” Cohn adds. With that in mind, here’s why and how to avoid being tense and distracting on the sidelines.

Sideline Coaching

Your goal as a parent may be to see your child having fun, but research has shown that sideline behavior rarely reflects that goal. “Shouting instructions from the sidelines is a major no-no,” says Cohn. Not just because it’s irritating for the other parents, but because it can actually hurt your child’s performance.”

“Remember, the coach is there to coach the kids, and having another person shouting can also make them lose focus, get embarrassed, or feel pressure to perform perfectly for the parents shouting instructions all the time,” Cohn adds.

Your ‘Cheering’ Style

Showing up with your face painted in team colors while the other parents are in business casual? Try not to stand out too much.

“Pay attention to the cues from the other parents. Parents should be cheerleaders, reinforcing when they’re playing well but not overdoing it,” says Cohn. “Depending on the sport, there are different rules of behavior. Golf has quiet clapping, hockey has more yelling.”

“If you know you have trouble controlling your temper and what you do on the sidelines, I recommend you watch the game from afar where your athlete can’t see you. Watch up on a balcony, or even behind a tree…if you truly want your athlete to have more fun and be more focused, take yourself out of the equation if you know you’re a distraction.”

Handling a Bad Call

Your anger with a bad call in a child’s game may be the same rage you feel on the road, which research has shown is tied to ego defensiveness and a control-oriented mindset. Angry reactions on the sideline often happen because parents make the game about them and take events personally. Even if you think you’re being subtle when you disagree with a ‘bad call,’ your child likely is picking up on it.

“Your tension is extremely obvious to young athletes, and to yell at people around you is actually disrespectful to your kids,” Cohn says. Instead, let bad calls be a learning opportunity for them. If the ref makes a call you don’t agree with, that’s OK.

You won’t agree with every call, and the referee might even be in the wrong. But if you complain every time you disagree, you’re teaching your child that that behavior is acceptable in life. Keep in mind that your child will have to deal with a teacher or boss who isn’t always fair and can’t always rely on you to ‘fix’ everything.

Non-Verbal Behaviors

“Kids are easily distracted during games. If you’re arguing on the sidelines with another parent, they’re likely going to notice, be embarrassed, and even alter their performance,” says Cohn. “If I roll my eyes, my daughter can see from 50 yards away.”

“I try to teach athletes to stay focused on the field or court, but that’s hard. Kids pick up on parents’ non-verbal cues. I’ve heard parents tell me that they got up to use the restroom, but their athlete assumed they had gotten up because they were upset with the child’s performance. If a kid is feeling your tension, they tend to start playing safer and more tentatively, in fear of making mistakes.”


Dr. Cohn concludes, “From a long-term perspective, the athlete won’t have as much fun in the sport [if they’re worried about their parents on the sidelines], because they’re so tuned into what they think their parent is feeling during their game, which can lead to them leaving the sport altogether.”

Bottom line: Knowing how to best support your athlete is key in creating a positive sport experience for not only your athlete, but also for their team and the rest of the parents on the sidelines supporting their athletes.


About TrueSport

TrueSport®, a movement powered by the experience and values of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, champions the positive values and life lessons learned through youth sport.

TrueSport® inspires athletes, coaches, parents, and administrators to change the culture of youth sport through active engagement and thoughtful curriculum based on cornerstone lessons of sportsmanship, character-building, and clean and healthy performance, by creating leaders across communities through sport.

Oct 20 19

8 Ways athletes can resolve conflicts without bullying

by ZwemZa

(USA Swimming)

When athletes on your team are having disagreements, as a coach it’s natural to want to jump in and solve the conflict for them. But while you can help make athletes more ethical, you shouldn’t make decisions for them — you’d actually doing them a disservice by helping them avoid conflict.

Before you can teach how to resolve disagreements, it’s important to understand that conflict and bullying are different things. Conflict is a disagreement where both sides can express their views, while bullying is a negative behavior in which one person has power over another.

Here’s how you can facilitate disagreements among teammates to keep conflict from turning into bullying.

Establish a conflict policy early 

As your season begins, sit down with the team and create a conflict plan or policy: A set of rules and recommendations for how teammates can best deal with conflicts amongst themselves. This might include a journaling exercise, bringing conflicts to you as the coach before hashing them out with a teammate, or setting a weekly team meeting where your athletes can address problems they’re having.

“Set clear rules about behavior and expectations — if you set those expectations for teams early, it makes it clear how things like conflict or bullying will be handled when it does come up,” says Bailey Huston, a coordinator at PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center.

Focus on building team culture

One study suggests that the best way to deter bullying is to create strong team camaraderie. If your team has a strong culture of mutual respect and friendship, disagreements are more likely to be resolved in mature, healthy ways.

As a coach, whether it’s conflict or bullying, you have a big role to play when you see a disagreement —but you’re not going to be the one to solve it. “Talk separately with the students first — that allows you to assess the situation and get both points of view,” says Huston. “If the conflict is still ‘hot,’ bringing everyone together sometimes isn’t the most productive way to get to the root of what’s going on.”

“Start with a one-on-one conversation. You want to get to the core of what’s actually going on before you help them hold a conversation to resolve the situation.”

Help students find resolutions separately

Huston suggests telling athletes to pause and think about the ways in which they would like to see the conflict resolved — what is the outcome they’re hoping for? Younger athletes may not have the emotional ability to calmly work through conflict when they haven’t had time to sit with it.

Try having your athletes do a journaling exercise where they write out the conflict and their preferred resolution. “Putting pen to paper is a great way to do this — seeing things written out can give you a new perspective,” she adds. “It can also help them work through what to say and how to respond to people.”

Teach assertiveness versus aggressiveness

“At PACER, we promote this idea of self-advocacy, which is speaking up for yourself and what you need,” says Huston. “That’s assertiveness, but there’s a difference between that and aggression. Aggression comes off as attacking others or ignoring others’ needs and has negative emotions around it. Being assertive is stating your opinion and thoughts while being respectful of the needs of others.”

Press pause when needed

Teach your students that a conflict sometimes requires more than one conversation to solve. “Try to keep your emotions in check, remain calm, and keep eye contact,” says Huston. “Conversations can get emotional and that’s fine. It’s OK to tell the other person that you need a minute to collect yourself. Just say ‘I want to finish this conversation, but I need to take a minute,’ and then you can talk when it’s a better time.’ Don’t just storm away though — that escalates the situation.”

Practice 5-4-3-2-1

“Teach students this activity to ground themselves when they’re feeling stressed or emotional,” says Huston. “Think of five things you can see around you, four things you can touch around you, three things you can hear around you, two things you can smell around you, and one thing you can taste. It’s a great way to bring yourself back to the present and calm yourself down. Sometimes, conflicts get blown up and can turn from conflict to bullying—where a student is trying to hurt the other — when a student gets overly emotional and out of the moment. This exercise can help to ground them.”

Keep conflict resolution in real life

Urge your athletes to keep conflicts in real life versus allowing the communication to continue online. “In-person is best so you can see the other person’s reaction,” says Huston. “With cyber-bullying, what we see is that it’s easier to say things to a person that you would never say to their face because you’d have to see their emotional reaction. Things can also escalate and easily get misinterpreted when communication is digital.”

Handling group conflict

Unfortunately, team conflicts often end up starting with two people and escalating to team-wide drama. “This is when it’s a good time for an adult to get involved and help unwind these complex relationships,” says Huston.

“With bullying, power can come in numbers: a group of people versus one person creates a power imbalance, so that’s something to watch for. Trying to break conflict resolution into one-on-one conversations is ideal. Try to create a level playing field for your athletes because that’s where conflict will be best resolved. As a coach, if you can balance that power and let those students separate to have those conversations, that’s super helpful.”


It’s important to keep in mind that conflict is okay and it’s a natural thing experienced between people.

“As adults, we know that conflict is part of everyday life. But you have to understand the difference between conflict and bullying,” says Huston. “Strong words can be exchanged, but not all conflict is bullying. Conflict is a great opportunity to make relationships better, and an important part of expressing your needs. It can be stressful, and it can hurt, but a lot of good can come out of it.”


About TrueSport

TrueSport®, a movement powered by the experience and values of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, champions the positive values and life lessons learned through youth sport.

TrueSport® inspires athletes, coaches, parents, and administrators to change the culture of youth sport through active engagement and thoughtful curriculum based on cornerstone lessons of sportsmanship, character-building, and clean and healthy performance, by creating leaders across communities through sport.

Oct 20 19

Sun Yang to face questions from Court of Arbitration for Sport over drug test in rare public hearing

by ZwemZa

Sun Yang won the third Olympic gold medal of his career in the 200m freestyle final in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. AP: Matt Slocum

China’s world and Olympic swimming champion Sun Yang will answer allegations about anti-doping violations in an open court hearing on November 15, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) says.

Key points:

  • Chinese swimmer Sun Yang will face questions over the destruction of vials of his blood samples by members of his entourage in 2018
  • Sun Yang’s open hearing at the CAS will be the first of its type since 1999
  • Sun has an ongoing feud with Australia’s Mack Horton, who has labelled him a “drug cheat”

In a break from usual procedure, CAS said the case would be held in public at a hotel in the Swiss town of Montreux after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) appealed against a decision by swimming’s governing body FINA to clear Sun of wrongdoing in a random drug test last September.

Documents leaked to the media claimed that Sun questioned the credentials of the testers before members of his entourage smashed the vials containing his blood samples with a hammer in 2018.

The 27-year-old has denied any wrongdoing.

The hearing will examine why the vial of blood was destroyed.

“With the agreement of all parties, it is intended to livestream all or parts of the hearing on the CAS website,” CAS said in a statement.

It is only the second time in the history of CAS that a hearing is held in public. The earlier case involved Irish swimmer Michelle Smith De Bruin and FINA in 1999.

Triple Olympic champion Sun served a three-month doping suspension in 2014 for taking the stimulant trimetazidine, which he said he took to treat a heart condition.

The substance had been banned a few months before Sun failed the test.

A second doping violation would bring a tougher sanction and rule him out of next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Australia’s Mack Horton refused to stand on the podium next to Sun Yang at this year’s Swimming World Championships. (AP: Mark Schiefelbein)

The swimmer became the centre of controversy at this year’s world titles in Gwangju, South Korea, where Australia’s Mack Horton refused to share a podium with him after his win in the 400m freestyle event.

Britain’s Duncan Scott refused to shake Sun’s hand after his win in the 200m freestyle final, resulting in the Chinese world champion shouting and gesturing at his rival.

Swimming’s world governing body FINA issued warning letters to Sun, Horton and Scott after the incidents.


Oct 20 19

Swimmer Lee selected for Australia’s team at Tokyo 2020

by ZwemZa

Kareena Lee will compete in the women’s 10km marathon swimming event at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

Swimmer Kareena Lee has been announced as the fourth member of Australia’s team selected for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Lee will make her Olympic debut in Japan’s capital in the women’s 10 kilometres marathon event at Odaiba Marine Park.

The 25-year-old, who finished seventh at the Gwangju 2019 World Aquatics Championships in July to earn a quota spot, was nominated by Swimming Australia and officially selected by the Australian Olympic Committee.

Ian Chesterman, Australia’s Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020, stated Lee’s selection was well deserved after an outstanding international season in 2019.

“It is fantastic to officially announce Kareena to her first Australian Olympic team,” he said.

“This is a day to celebrate a remarkable achievement, not just for Kareena, but her entire support crew of family, friends, coaches, team mates and Swimming Australia who contributed to this milestone.

“Kareena has performed to such a high level on the global stage, including seventh at July’s World Championships, silver in February’s Marathon Swimming World Cup in Doha and taking her first 10 kilometre national title in January 2019 [in Adelaide].

“I look forward to following Kareena’s performances in the upcoming season as she builds towards Tokyo 2020.”

After narrowly missing out on the Rio 2016 Olympics, Lee is elated at her selection.

“When I qualified at the Worlds, the first kind of emotion I had was relief,” she said.

“Now I think about it, I’m just so excited.

“It’s something I’ve wanted since I was a little girl – I’m just really happy.”

Lee added: “After just missing out on Rio I wasn’t too sure if I was going to continue the sport.

“I had a bit of a break and a long think about it, and I knew I wouldn’t be happy within myself if I left the sport.

“My heart was still in it and I really didn’t want to leave on a low, so I knuckled down and I trained very, very hard.

“I’m obviously really happy I didn’t leave.”

Marathon swimming made its Olympic debut at Beijing 2008, with just seconds often splitting the top competitors, despite almost two hours of racing.

“I think everyone’s goal is to get on the podium at Tokyo,” Lee said.

“That would be the absolute dream, especially as it’s something Australia hasn’t done yet, but with everyone in this event so close on that finish line, it can really be anyone’s race.”

Being one of the first athletes selected on Australia’s team for Tokyo 2020 means Lee has nine months to plan.

“It’s really amazing being selected this far out – it allows me to narrow the focus to just the Olympics now,” she said.

“I don’t have to worry about qualifying close to the event, so I will just concentrate on training and selecting races I want to focus on without the extra pressure.”

Swimming Australia chief executive Leigh Russell is thrilled to have the national governing body’s first athlete confirmed for Tokyo 2020.

“Kareena’s selection on the Olympic team is the start of a very exciting year for swimming,” she said.

“All of us at Swimming Australia congratulate Kareena and wish her all the best in her preparation for the Games.”

Lee is just the fourth of an expected 480 athletes set to be selected for Australia at Tokyo 2020.

Further opportunities for Australian marathon swimmers to qualify will come at the International Swimming Federation Olympic Marathon Swimming Qualifying event in Japanese city Fukuoka in May 2020.

Daniel Etchells | Inside the Games

Oct 20 19

Suit alleges California swim club ignored child sex abuse allegations against coach

by ZwemZa


Canyons Aquatic Club board members repeatedly refused to act on allegations of sexual abuse against a swim coach at the club who was later arrested on child sex abuse and child pornography charges, according to a lawsuit filed against the Santa Clarita club in Los Angeles County Superior Court Wednesday.

David Kuck, a former head coach at the Canyons, alleges in the suit that the club’s board on multiple occasions failed to pursue allegations that another coach, Jeremy Anderson, was sexually abusing young boys at the club. When Kuck persisted in pushing the board to fire Anderson, the club withheld bonuses guaranteed in his contract and terminated Kuck in July, the suit alleges.

Kuck also alleges in the suit that USA Swimming, the sport’s national governing body, was aware of previous allegations against Anderson but did not pursue them. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office charged Anderson with 19 counts of lewd acts with a child and possession of child pornography in December 2018

Anderson fled the country before he could be arrested. He was eventually arrested in Costa Rica this past June 13 by the U.S. Marshal’s fugitive task force. He died eight days later while hospitalized and awaiting extradition. Anderson had at least 11 victims, according to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department’s special victims bureau.

The suit describes Kuck, a former All-Big Ten swimmer at Ohio State, as a “coach and whistleblower who persistently tried to persuade the club to protect its members from a predatory fellow coach whose rampant verbal and sexual abuse of the club’s young athletes had been largely ignored by the club and its governing bodies (including USA Swimming and Southern California Swimming.)”

Kuck is suing the club for wrongful termination and breach of contract.

The suit comes as USA Swimming is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service and the California attorney general’s office for its handling of sexual abuse allegations and financial practices related to the organization’s legal exposure related to sex abuse cases.

A Southern California News Group investigation last year found that USA Swimming prioritizing success at the Olympic Games and World Championships and the sport’s branding over athlete safety for decades, ignored, covered up and enabled the sexual abuse of hundreds of young swimmers.

In at least 11 cases either then USA Swimming executive director Chuck Wielgus or other top USA Swimming officials declined to pursue sexual abuse cases against high profile coaches even when presented with direct complaints, documents showed.

Tim Hinchey, who was hired as USA Swimming’s executive director after Wielgus’ death in 2017, told a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee in May 2018, “While we cannot change the past, we will learn from it and we will do better. Our commitment to preventing child sexual abuse and providing a safe and healthy environment for our athletes is constant and long-lasting.”

But the SCNG reported in July that Hinchey, Lucinda Roberts, the organization’s chief counsel, and Susan Woessner, then USA Swimming’s director of SafeSport, had direct knowledge in 2017 of sexually explicit SnapChat messages sent by a 19-year-old Stockton swim coach to a 13-year-old female swimmer he was coaching.

The coach, Marco Villanueva, acknowledged the messages as well as other violations of USA Swimming and SafeSport guidelines to Woessner, who characterized the behavior as “concerning and very inappropriate,” according to USA Swimming emails and letters.

Yet Villanueva was not suspended but instead given a written warning that allowed him to continue coaching young athletes, according to USA Swimming documents.

Kuck was hired as Canyons’ head coach in July 2017. He soon became concerned about Anderson’s verbally abusing young athletes and parents, and potential inappropriate behavior toward young boys, the suit said.

Kuck met with Canyon board president Garry Helgeson in October 2017 about his concerns about Anderson. Helgeson refused to support Anderson’s firing, the suit said.

A month later Kuck, having obtained statements from club parents detailing Anderson’s misconduct, met with Kim O’Shea, the executive director of Southern California Swimming, USA Swimming’s local association. O’Shea suggested Kuck contact Woessner, which Kuck did.

Throughout November and December 2017, Kuck continued to raise his concerns about Anderson with the Canyons board to no avail. At one point a board member acknowledged to Kuck that USA Swimming had been aware of previous allegations of inappropriate behavior with young boys against Anderson but declined to act because the complaints were anonymous, the suit alleges.

With Kuck continuing to push USA Swimming and Southern California Swimming to suspend Anderson, Woessner in December 2017 finally reported allegations of inappropriate behavior by Anderson to law enforcement in Santa Clarita, the suit said.

The board continued to reject Kuck’s requests to terminate Anderson, telling the coach the club didn’t want to “appear heartless” by firing him before Christmas. Kuck was finally allowed to fire Anderson on December 27, 2017.

Canyons officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Scott Reid | Southern California News Group | The Mercury News


Oct 20 19

Swimming, China and an interesting Juxtaposition of events

by ZwemZa

The Court of Arbitration for Sport says it will live-stream the Nov. 15 hearing for Chinese star Sun Yang over a 2018 incident with anti-doping agents. Photo: via SwimSwam / Mike Lewis/Ola Vista Photography

Increasingly in sport, most roads that do not lead to the Middle East lead to China and its huge market of 1.3 billion people, a growing proportion of them highly aspirational and middle class.

But under President Xi Jinping, this vast nation seems to be becoming more assertive; organizations requiring access to this market are having to be careful what they do and say.

Last week, I wrote about this theme in the context of basketball and that tweet by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey – expressing support for protesters in Hong Kong.

Now an interesting juxtaposition of events is looming in another big Olympic sport: swimming.

On October 4, the International Swimming Federation (FINA) disclosed that the second edition of its Champions Swim Series would be staged exclusively in… you guessed it, China.

The series would comprise two legs, both in January 2020, with the first in Shenzen and the second in the capital Beijing.

For context, the inaugural 2019 edition comprised three meets in China, Hungary and the United States, respectively.

I can see a logic behind the 2020 decision, and it is not solely related to money, or even expanding the sport’s reach among that enormous population.

Yes, as a senior swimming official advised, the China Swimming Association (CSA) has been “very supportive” of FINA for many years.

As I have sought to explain before, FINA’s finances are a lot less dependent on the International Olympic Committee handout from the Olympic Games than many sports, and fast-rising partnership rights and fees from world championship host-cities are part of the reason.

But, at least as importantly as any financial incentive, 2020 is Summer Olympic year.

Consequently, as the official outlined, athletes were keen a) for the 2020 series to take place early in the year and b) to have a chance of competing in high-level events in a similar time zone to Tokyo. Despite the fact that when the Tokyo 2020 swimming finals eventually come along, they will be held during morning sessions.

China is also said to produce good spectator support for top swimming events.

Finally, staging both meets in one country, as well as in rapid succession, ought to make travel logistics simpler and easier for athletes commencing a big year.

So far, so relatively sensible – and I should throw in at this point that FINA, perhaps under pressure from the upstart International Swimming League, whose inaugural events have been unfolding this month, does genuinely seem to be trying harder nowadays.

This year, I am told, the organization will distribute over $10 million in prize money, and not far short of the same again to developing federations through its development program.

Now, back to that interesting juxtaposition of events. It was confirmed this week that the appeal filed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) against Sun Yang, a Chinese swimming star and three-time Olympic champion, and FINA will be heard at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on November 15.

It will be a public hearing, so initially, at least, it seems destined to be a true media bunfight with extensive global coverage.

What I am wondering though is this: given this hearing date, is it not possible that the judgment might be published at around the time of that 2020 Champions Swim Series in mid-January?

And if it is, and if it is bad news for Sun – and let me underline vigorously at this juncture both that he is innocent unless and until proven guilty with all appeal rights exhausted and that I have absolutely no opinion about what the CAS verdict might be – how do we think the Chinese might react, bearing in mind that he is one of the biggest sports stars in the country?

In particular, might it herald problems for this China-based series, and conceivably for the short-term future of the sport in China?

It would be an outrage, clearly, if it did: the dispensing of justice in any field needs to be held in respect if the system is to endure. This is especially so in international matters such as sports law, where there is a risk that somebody’s patriotic feelings may be hurt with almost every ruling.

It would also be darkly ironic in this case, since WADA, to repeat, is appealing against both Sun and FINA, after a decision by the latter’s Doping Panel whereby, in CAS’ words, Sun “was found not to have committed an anti-doping rule violation following an out-of-competition doping control”.

The panel instead issued the swimmer with a warning following allegations a blood sample was smashed during the control. Sun denies wrongdoing.

I must admit, though, the extraordinary reaction in China in the recent basketball affair hardly inspires confidence.

Nor, frankly, does this extract from a recent column by Gideon Rachman, one of our clearest-sighted foreign affairs commentators, in the Financial Times.

“The [European Union] once dreamt that the whole world would move towards a law-based system, similar to the EU method,” Rachman wrote. “But a world order, shaped by Xi Jinping’s China and Trump’s America, will be based on power rather than rules.”

Rachman paints on a far broader canvas than the world of sport, let alone one particular appeal – however interesting – to be heard in the genteel lakeside jazz town of Montreux.

But if he is right, there is a great deal for sport, along with many other sectors, to think about.

Republished with permission from

David Owen | Inside the Games

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