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Jul 10 20

England pools, gyms, team sport and outdoor gigs to return

by ZwemZa

Tollcross International Swimming Centre (Twitter)

Leisure facilities and beauty services in England will be allowed to reopen, the government has announced.

Pools, gyms, nail bars and tattooists will be able to open their doors again, and team sports – starting with cricket – will be allowed to resume.

Announcing the changes at a briefing at No 10, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden urged people to “work out to help out”.

Outdoor performances will also be able to resume with limited audiences.

It came as the UK reported the deaths of a further 85 people who tested positive for coronavirus, taking the total number of deaths to 44,602.

Mr Dowden said “all the data” was continuing to “move in the right direction” despite the reopening of pubs and restaurants last weekend.

He said normal life was “slowly returning” and that this was an important milestone for the country’s performers and artists, who had been “waiting in the wings since March”.

“I’m really urging people to get out there and to play their part,” he said. “Buy the tickets for outdoor plays and musical recitals, get to your local gallery and support your local businesses.”

But the culture secretary warned the measures were conditional and reversible, adding that the government would impose local lockdowns if cases started to spike.

What will reopen when?

  • Outdoor pools and outdoor theatres will be able to reopen from Saturday 11 July
  • Grassroots sport will be able to return from this coming weekend, beginning with cricket
  • Beauticians, tattooists, spas, tanning salons and other close-contact services can reopen “subject to some restrictions on particularly high-risk services” from 13 July
  • Indoor gyms, swimming pools and sports facilities can reopen from 25 July
  • Singing and the playing of brass and wind instruments will be allowed in professional environments and Mr Dowden said specific scientific studies on the risks had been commissioned
  • Small pilots of indoor performances, with socially distanced audiences, will also take place to help work out the best way for them to restart

Not all forms of beauty treatment will be able to go ahead, as some are deemed too high-risk. These include face waxing, sugaring or threading services, facial treatments, make-up application and eyebrow treatments.

Vanita Parti, chief executive of walk-in beauty chain Blink Brow Bar, said that at first she had welcomed the news but then she received an email from the British Beauty Council telling her no treatments to the face would be allowed.

“I’m furious. We can’t reopen,” she said. “This will kill so many businesses.”

Guidance for the reopening of sports facilities has been published, including on cleaning regimes, social distancing and protection for staff.

Measures include limiting the number of people using a facility at one time, reducing class sizes and spacing out equipment. Face coverings will not be mandatory in gyms.

Small numbers of supporters will be able to watch outdoor sports, provided social distancing measures and group size rules are followed.

Each sport will have to submit an action plan to the government of how it will operate safely, with sports where a single ball is used having to show how they can reduce the risk of it transmitting the virus.

The government said a team led by England’s deputy chief medical officer Prof Jonathan Van-Tam had been visiting sports sites to see the sector’s preparations to reopen safely.

When put to him that the restrictions would make exercise “less fun”, Mr Dowden said people would get used to the new measures.

He said: “The judgment we’ve taken with this [pubs] and swimming pools and elsewhere is it is better to reopen with those restrictions than not reopen at all.”

Actors’ union Equity welcomed the reopening of outdoor productions but called for further protection for venues, while Julian Bird, chief executive of the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre, said more clarity was needed regarding indoor performances.

The announcements follow the government’s pledge of £1.57bn to support the arts industry.

BBC News

Jul 10 20

Here’s a reminder to streamline like a Champion today

by ZwemZa

It’s one of the first things we learn, and it’s one of the biggest factors in achieving our top speed in the water. The streamline. Here’s a study that reinforces what your coaches have been telling you since day one—that you should streamline like a beast.

Having a tight streamline is one of the “I know, I know” aspects of our technique.

It’s drilled into us from the very beginning, and perhaps because it’s such an introductory element of swimming technique that it’s passed over in later years.

Part of it is just straight-up laziness too: I’m no saint in this regard, there are times where I’m bagged and that streamline starts to crumble. Our head starts to pick up. The locking of our arms slackens.

But having a killer streamline is critical for a few reasons:

  • Your starts will be faster. Your start is more than just reaction time, but the time it takes for you to get to 15m from the time the starter’s gun goes off. While we might not all have Caeleb Dressel’s explosiveness and world-class start, we can all seek to have the same dialed-in streamline he uses to slice through the water.
  • It’s effort-free speed. We spend a lot of time killing ourselves up and down the black line in order to improve our swimming speed. We play around with different tools—fins and hand paddles—to help our body learn next-level speed. But when it comes to speed that requires no additional work a tight streamline is a total no-brainer.
  • You start out with faster speed. The moments where you push off or dive into the water are the fastest you will ever be in the water. If you dive in and your garbage streamline maxes you out at 1.5m/s, that’s your top speed. If you tighten things up, and your more narrow streamline kicks things up to 1.6m/s, than you are surging into the swim portion of your races and reps at a higher top speed. (Again, without any additional effort.)

Now that we’ve covered the obvious (and maybe not so obvious) perks of locking down a tighter streamline, here’s a study that demonstrates just how much of an impact your streamline has.

Streamlining with Your Head Down Reduces Drag Bigly

Researchers [1] took a group of experienced competitive swimmers and attached them to a tow rope that pulled them down the length of a pool at different speeds (1.5, 1.7 and 1.9 metres per second).

Our test subjects were then tested in a streamline or with their arms at their side (simulating the tail end of a breaststroke pull-out or like when you are swimming into the wall to perform a flip turn). The swimmers were then measured with head positions either down and in line with their spine, slightly head-up, and with their forehead facing forward.


Care to gander how much of an impact a head-down streamline had for our intrepid swimmers?

  • When the swimmers had their arms at their side (short arms), drag went down by 4-5.2% when their head was down compared to the head-up position.
  • And when their arms were in a streamline? There was a decrease in drag by over 10% when they kept their head down.

Those are staggering numbers.

This study puts some numbers on the things you already know—and that your coach has been telling you since your first days in the competition pool: that streamlining is critical to helping you swim fast.

A Simple Drill to Tighten Up Your Streamline

Going back to the basics is what a tight streamline is all about, and this drill is as basic and as simple as it gets.

All you need to do is push-off in your best streamline and see how far you go. That’s it. The further you can push off, the more efficient your form in the water.

Do a series of them at the beginning of your next swim practice to set up a foundation for a tight-streamline-kind of workout. This little drill gives you the immediate feedback you need to show you how good your streamline is in the water by showing you exactly how far your streamline is taking you.

About Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Olivier Poirier-Leroy is a former national level swimmer and the author of the books YourSwimBook and Conquer the Pool. He writes all things high-performance swimming, and his articles were read over 3 million times last year. His work has appeared on USA Swimming, SwimSwam, ZwemZa, STACK, NBC Universal, and more. He’s also kinda tall and can be found on Twitter.

Jul 10 20

Swimming has helped form unbreakable bond between Stipek, Adrian and Grevers

by ZwemZa

The 2012 U.S. men’s 4×100-meter medley relay team brought home gold from London. From left are Matthew Grevers, who is now a volunteer coach at UA, Brendan Hansen, Michael Phelps and Nathan Adrian. Grevers also won gold in the 100-meter backstroke.
Michael Sohn / The Associated Press

Their friendship revolves around swimming. It’s how it started. It’s how they bonded.

Yet, for UA assistant swim coach Jesse Stipek and U.S. Olympic champions Nathan Adrian and Matt Grevers, it goes much deeper than that.

They are family.

Stipek and Adrian met first. Twenty years ago, Adrian was looking for a new swim club that would challenge him. He found one 40 minutes away in Stipek’s hometown of University Place, Washington, just west of Tacoma.

The two quickly became best friends. Adrian would live with the Stipeks in the summers while training.

“An interesting component is how caring his family is,” Adrian said. “They treated me like a son and still do. His dad (Mike) sends me Halloween packages with a card that he draws and decorates. Their thoughtfulness knows no bounds.”

113017-spt-ua swimming busch-p4.jpg
University of Arizona swimming coach Augie Busch, left, and assistant coach Jesse Stipek watch swimmers work out at Hillenbrand Aquatic Center on the UA campus. 

Adrian would go on to swim collegiately at Cal, while Stipek swam at Wisconsin.

Stipek was a backstroker, in both the 100- and 200-yard events. He was a top-10 finisher in Big Ten swimming Championships in his junior and senior year in the 100; and a 2012 Olympic Trial Qualifier.

Adrian was the sprinter. He was a five-time NCAA champion in the 100-meter and 50-meter freestyle and has gone on to win five Olympic gold medals, one silver and two bronzes — and numerous World Championship medals.

Stipek knew early on that Adrian was destined for greatness. “It was pretty obvious. Nathan is obviously a phenomenal swimmer, and he’s always been talented and tenacious.”

And while they weren’t living in the same city — or house — it’s like they didn’t miss a beat. They would hang out during breaks in college and talk a few times a week. They are still very much involved in each other’s lives today despite the distance.

Nathan Adrian, Matt Grevers

Olympic swimmers Nathan Adrian, left, and Matt Grevers chat at the Golden Goggle Awards in November 2015.

“I think a lot of it (our relationship) was just he hasn’t changed at all — he has changed as a person, obviously, but hasn’t changed as far as those core values,” Stipek said, who is finishing up his doctorate in educational policy studies and practice. “I think from that bond, understanding one another there’s never been a position where I’ve questioned anything that he’s ever done or his morals, because I always know he’s going to make the correct decisions. I think a lot of ways (we) complement each other. You grow around people you want to be like and emulate.”

Adrian, 31, has been an elite swimmer for a long time. He made his first Olympic team when he was 19. He’s been competing for more than 20 years — a lot of wear and tear on his body especially for a sprinter where hundredths of a second is the difference between first, second and third. However, Adrian’s approach has always been consistent.

“The thing that always struck me about him is regardless of how he swims, he’s always been the same person. It’s a bad swim, he moves on. It’s behind him; he doesn’t dwell on it and (he) gets ready for the next thing. I think that’s how he treats life as well,” Stipek said.

“What you see on TV is what you get — very humble, conducts himself very respectable. I remember an interview that was done with him. And the first question he asked was ‘Do you mind if I keep my sunglasses on?’ Because that’s just kind of him in a nutshell. He’s always thinking about who’s around him.”

For Adrian, his relationship with Stipek has always come with ease, and it’s been natural from the beginning. There is an unspoken bond between the two of them. When one needs help, the other is there. They rely on each other.

Last year when Adrian was diagnosed with testicular cancer, Stipek was one of his first calls.Nathan Adrian, Matt Grevers

Nathan Adrian, right, looks at his time with Matt Grevers after competing in the men’s 50 free in a 2013 event.

“There are certain people you want it to come from your mouth, not read it on Instagram, and Jesse is that person for me,” Adrian said. “He’s such a good and thoughtful person. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who gives so much.

“He would take my cancer himself, if he could, but that’s not an option. I’m not someone who needed people to baby me, but he was there if I needed to talk.”

Adrian is under close medical surveillance this year. If nothing shows up, he is clear.

Adrian and Grevers, who is now a UA volunteer coach, met as members of Team USA at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Grevers, who has long trained in Tucson, swims the backstroke, butterfly and freestyle and has won 36 medals in international competition.

South Korea Swimming Worlds

United States’ Matt Grevers reacts after his swim in the men’s 100m backstroke semifinal at the World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, Monday, July 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

This was another quick connection. When they don’t get private rooms for international competitions, they like to be roommates.

“Nathan’s laugh lights up the entire room — he’s always trying to be a positive influence,” Grevers said. “It’s easy to be friends with him — we have similar priorities.”

Grevers was coached by former UA swimming coach Rick DeMont for 10 years. DeMont brought on Stipek to help mentor Grevers. By the time DeMont retired, Stipek had proved he was the right coach for Grevers.

“Jesse earned Matt’s trust — he saw how hard he worked, the effort he puts in whether it was in school, coaching or volunteering (in the past as a tutor for elementary and high school refugees for Social Services of the Southwest),” Adrian said. “There are so many ways he goes above and beyond. He is a person you trust with your career.”

In what could have been a scary time for Grevers — finding a new coach — it was a fairly seamless transition as the two had already formed a bond, both on and off the pool deck.

“Jesse puts in the effort and is always inquisitive, even though he has elite knowledge in coaching,” said Grevers, 35.Peru Pan Am Games

Nathan Adrian of United States competes in men’s swimming 50m freestyle at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano) 

“I’ve always been coached by friends and I love it. It’s important for my swimming. Sometimes it’s hard to just swim for myself. It’s good to have success for a coach and I want to swim for Jesse. He is very generous, caring and very rational. He’s always good at making the right decisions in the right circumstances.

“I’ve always been driven on day-to-day stuff, but I need long-term motivation. Jesse is the planner. … He’s the brains behind it. He lets me turn off my brain so I can focus on swimming.”

Grevers and Stipek have been working together for seven years. To have someone in your corner like Stipek when you are considered an older swimmer, is even more of an advantage.

Grevers now has two children — the youngest was born in December — so he may be lacking in sleep and energy some days and may just need more recovery time. Stipek takes this into account in training and knows when to push and when to back off.

For Grevers, Stipek and Adrian are the ones he turns to in those stressful and high-pressure moments that swimmers face. Grevers said, “They are solid dudes; they are giving; they are smart and mature. They are always teaching me, and they are sturdy in their beliefs.”

Jul 10 20

Melissa Fein joins Swimming Australia board

by ZwemZa

Melissa Fein (

CEO of Initiative and keen swimmer, Melissa Fein, has joined the board of Swimming Australia

The announcement:

Swimming Australia is pleased to announce the appointment of Melissa Fein as an appointed director on the Board of Swimming Australia, effective immediately.

Fein is currently the CEO of Initiative Australia, a global communications agency aimed at building brands through culture, having held the position since 2016 and prior to that was the CEO at Ensemble Australia, a content and creative agency.

Fein’s impressive resume saw her starting her career at NewsCorp in sport, before working for MTV in the United States in an integrated marketing role. She then went on to launch MindShare’s ESP in Australia (the global entertainment and sports partnerships group) and later led Network Ten’s strategic, creative content, digital and social integration division “Generate”.

She has worked with several global and high profile Australian clients with her agency claiming multiple prestigious awards including, Campaign Asia’s ‘Australian Media Agency of the Year’ in 2019, the Media Federation of Australia’s ‘Agency Talent & Culture Award’ in 2019 and B&T’s ‘People & Culture Award’ 2019. Personally, Melissa has just been named Campaign’s Asia Pacific Business Leader of the Year.

Swimming Australia President John Bertrand AO said it was a major coup to have someone of Melissa’s calibre joining the board.

“Melissa has extensive experience in sports broadcast, digital media innovation and brand communications and will bring a wealth of knowledge to the board table,” he said.

“She has worked on several award-winning creative teams in partnership with some of the world’s leading brands, adding to her impressive expertise in the brand and communication landscape.

“I know she will bring robust and passionate discussions to our board, particularly in the digital innovation space which we see as a high growth area for our sport in the future.”

Fein said she was delighted to be able to use her knowledge to contribute to a sport she is passionate about.

“Swimming has always played a big part of my life and I’m thrilled to join the Swimming Australia board,” she said.

“It’s a dynamic time for Swimming Australia and I’m honoured to have the opportunity to contribute to the exciting future of this sport.”

Fein also holds a position on the board of the Media Federation of Australia, as well as being a member of the Advertising Week’s Advisory Council and is an avid recreational swimmer competing in open water swimming events in her spare time.

Source: Swimming Australia media release

Jul 10 20

Taking Stock 2020: How Arizona swimming is looking under coach Augie Busch

by ZwemZa

Courtesy Arizona Athletics

We haven’t had college sports for more than three months now due to the coronavirus pandemic, making this the longest offseason ever. Literally, not just figuratively.

But with student-athletes returning to campuses across the country, it looks like our long national nightmare might be over sometime soon.

So now is as good a time as ever to take a look at each of the Arizona Wildcats’ 19 different men’s and women’s programs to see what shape they’re in and what prospects they have for the near future.

To help prepare you for the 2020-21 seasons of Arizona’s 19 different men’s and women’s programs

Over the next few weeks we’ll break down each team and evaluate how it is performing under its current coaching staff, looking at the state of the program before he/she arrived and comparing it to now (as well as looking at this season and beyond).

NOTE: The information in the ‘before’ section has been repurposed from last year’s series to provide continuity.

How it looked before

Swim and dive has been one of Arizona’s most successful programs over the years, producing numerous individual and relay national titles and winning both the men’s and women’s NCAA championships in 2008. Legendary coach Frank Busch ran the program from 1989 to 2011, then left to run USA Swimming, with former assistants Eric Hansen (2011-13) and Rick DeMont (2013-17) taking over

Arizona’s performance at the Pac-12 and NCAA level tailed off a bit under Hansen and DeMont’s guidance. That’s when then-new athletic director Dave Heeke made his first coaching hire by bringing back a familiar face in Augie Busch, Frank’s son.

Augie had been an assistant at Arizona from 2003-11 before leaving to be the women’s coach at Houston for two seasons. In 2013 he was hired by Virginia to run both programs, and in four seasons in Charlottesville he led the Cavaliers’ women’s squad to three ACC titles and a pair of fifth-place finishes at the NCAA meet.

Where things stand now

The men’s squad has certainly seen an uptick under Busch, with the second-place showing at the Pac-12 meet in early March the school’s best since 1996. Junior Brooks Fall, a Tucson product, won the 1,650-meter freestyle and was named an All-American in four different events, while Bjorn Marketin was named the conference’s Freshman Diver of the Year.

Arizona’s women’s squad was sixth at the Pac-12 meet, down a spot from 2018. The NCAA meets were cancelled in March due to the pandemic.

Busch earned $160,000 in 2019-20 to run both programs.

One big question

How will the Olympics getting pushed back affect the 2020-21 season? The UA swim and dive program has developed dozens of Olympic-level swimmers, most recently Kevin Cordes who won gold as part of USA’s 4×100-meter relay team at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Former Wildcat divers Sam Pickens and Delaney Schnell were in the hunt for a spot on the 2020 squad before the Tokyo Games were postponed until 2021.

Collegiate swimming is always a little different just prior to an Olympics, as some athletes opt to focus on preparing for qualifying rather than be part of college teams. Now that’s going to be the case for two consecutive college seasons, while uncertainty about the coronavirus also likely to have an impact.

Jul 10 20

Maro Jokovic: “I’m still nervous before every match”

by ZwemZa

In water polo superpower Croatia, one man has outdistanced all others. Croatia has produced some of the world’sgreatest players. They include Hall of Fame members Perica Bukic and Milivoj Bebic and the likes of Ozren Bonacic, Goran Sukno, Veselin Djuho, Deni Lusić, Dubravko Simenc, Zoran Roje, Josip Pavic, Sandro Sukno. It’s a long and impressive list but there is one man who has amassed more trophies, medals and titles than any other.He is Maro Jokovic – with 54 medals. And counting.

Maro is still active at 32, still playing, and he certainly will not stop adding to his medal tally. We are convinced he will manage a further two per year for two or three years. Of those 54 medals, he has won 20 with the Croatian national team and 34 with three different clubs. There is only one player who has won more with the national team: Andro Buslje has 23 medals for his country but fewer in his club career.

Besides, Maro Jokovic holds another record. He is 2.03 metres (6ft 8ins) in height, which means that he is the tallestmember of the ‘Barakuda’, as Croats call their national water polo team. Jokovic quickly grew to that height, so it’s no wonder that at an early stage basketball also interested him.

“Honestly, it lasted a very short time. True, I was training basketball for a while, but it’s not worth mentioning, though I still like to watch some basketball matches. After water polo, it’s my favourite sport.”

At least there were not too many doubts about which sport you would take on.

I grew up at Mlini, it’s a small town, or rather a village, near Dubrovnik. Immediately in front of our house we had a bay with a water polo pitch set up in it. It looked as if you had a home with your own pool, it was so close. Only this ‘pool’ was actually the sea.

When did you play for a national team for the first time?

In 2006, and indeed if I look at it, it’s been 15 years. Only Buslje and I have been playing for Croatia for so long. We have won a lot. Looks like we’re a productive generation (laughs). The most interesting thing is that I can recall a lot ofmoments. In fact, everything.

Even your first matches for Croatia?

That was in Novi Sad, Serbia. We played a World League tournament, against Spain. Only a few minutes, but it was just a beginning.

Then came the 2007 World Championships where you, barely 20 years of age, scored the equaliser in the last moments, forcing the extra-time in which Croatia managed to claim the title.

I didn’t play a lot of minutes even then, but it was the first time I felt what athletes often said: we gave the last atom of our power. Well, that’s how it was for me, but also for every team-mate on that day. In every second, in every contact, in every shot, every block … I pulled out everything, the maximum. After that match, I sank, completely. But yes, that was a match, the competition when I was noticed for the first time. What followed later was a need to improve. You know, once you get ‘captured’ in sports, when you come out of anonymity, then your rivals start analysing you, following you. So then there is a need to push some boundaries. What you did yesterday, everyone knows today, so you have to do something new, something different.

Is it possible to upgrade yourself continuously for 14 to 15 years? Is that even possible when you are at age 32?

We all have to do it, no matter how old you are. I still do that today. Now, as the years go by, the upgrade is a little different. How to make the best, bigger deal possible with less expenditure. It used to be different. When you are younger, you can work harder at speed, power, shot strength… Each career period carries something of its own. Now I handle some things with experience. It’s just important to think about this upgrade because if you don’t work on yourself after the initial burst, you will remain only a potential big player. You will remain average.

You joined the famous club Jug quite late, at 14. But there was someone who played a key role in shaping your career.

Yes. He was Ognjen Krzic. He is the sport director of Jug today. Even though he is twice as old as me, he was my first room-mate when we were in training camp, or when we travelled for away games, which was strange to many people. He guided my first steps in the senior team, although I was barely 16 at that time. To make it easier for a young athlete, you must have an older, more experienced person who is willing to give you advice and who does that selflessly. Well, Ognjen was just like that. He used to push us, the younger ones, all the time. Constantly, all day long, for months and months. What he said made a lot of sense, but you had to listen to him in the hotel room, during training and matches, even when you sat down for a coffee… I was in constant mental training. Since I am a left-handed player, just like him, Ognjen took on the task of ‘introducing’ me to the senior world of water polo. I really learned a lot from him. Some of the things he was saying to me at that time are still applicable even today, and I am now forwarding them to the younger ones.

Your sporting achievements are known to the public but there are some that are unknown. For instance, you were an excellent student and even as a top athlete you graduated at the Faculty of Economics in four years, flawlessly. Does the credit go to you or your parents?

I’m already thinking about my kids, who are little now, but I need to foresee how I will raise them when they start attending school. Yes, my parents were responsible for my school progress. In my opinion, the high school period is crucial. This is the period of first dates, enjoying the company of friends, going for drinks… I had a great work ethic, but it was my parents who positively insisted on having school as the primary goal. I will try to pass this on to my children as well. First of all, it requires a good organisation of time. It’s not easy today, all the time and commitments take time, from school, sports, friends, but if the time is well managed… everything can be done.

What did water polo give you?

I’m not going to talk about what everyone says, like I got to know the world, a lot of cultures, different customs… It is true, OK, but the basic thing that water polo gave me was that I could cope with the defeats in life more easily. Matches lost, but never battles. These are all things that happen. You fall, but you rise again. Then the next big thing that sport gave me is relying on team work. We can all be great individuals, but the whole world is based on team efforts. These are again some values that I will strive to convey to my children. Sport generally teaches you to cope with stress more easily,because I’ve been through stressful situations a million times. It is easier to navigate through life when you have been in sport for a long time, where there is first of all discipline, organisation, people you depend on, but also people who depend on you.

Is there anything that can make you upset all of a sudden?

I’ve never been impulsive. I am a Libra in horoscope, so I always value something, I estimate. Maybe sometimes I miss things because of weighing them up too much. The only thing that can anger me is human stupidity. Sometimes big things go wrong just because someone is lazy, nonchalant, doesn’t want to engage anymore to make it good or better for everyone. It can make me angry when I see someone acting outrageously while myself and the people around me give everything they have. One who also makes a living from it but behaves carelessly. Uh, those things can upset me pretty much. But in a water polo game… now, almost nothing.

For every Olympic winner, the most magnificent moment in life is probably winning gold at the Olympics, but what was the hardest for you? Was it in 2009. when you had a thrombosis in your hand, when you had to stay in the hospital for a long time, when many things were questioned?

The worst feeling was not because of that thrombosis, but the possible consequences. You watch your team on TV, at the World Championships, you watch them play, even play well, and you’re gone. That’s the worst. So you’re wondering if this might be the end of your career… Questions and questions pop in your head.

One of those players who suddenly had to end their career early is your team-mate Sandro Sukno. A close friend, colleague, and now he is the assistant coach of the national team of Croatia. In one way, he is one of your bosses. How did you approach this situation?

That’s exactly what I was wondering, how to handle this, when I came to the first training where Sandro acted as the assistant coach. Sukno and I were room-mates, both with the club and in the national team. We were playing together. He hasn’t changed much. At the pool, of course, everybody knows exactly who is in charge. If I do something wrong, I expect him to tell me that I was wrong. And that’s what happens. No matter that he’s a little younger than me. He is now a coach, he is there to lead 13 players, along with the head coach, and I fully respect all his decisions. On the contrary, I am glad that he is here again, among us, since he was forced to end his career so abruptly.

How do you fill your free time during the preparation period, travelling, tournaments?

I’ve been reading a lot more in the last few years. All the things I didn’t do before, because ‘I didn’t have time’. People are constantly talking about living faster today. I would say that today we are living more stupidly. How much time we spend daily, looking at our cell phones, searching for some bizarre news, looking for photos, videos… We have even stopped communicating with each other, just stare at the cell phones. It’s actually a waste of time. I follow two or threewebsites, no more. I read books a lot. The last I read was ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ by (Gabriel Garcia) Marquez. It struck me terribly. Like his ‘No One Writes to the Colonel’. I read six or seven Hemingway books when we were in Australia in December 2019. Then even ‘Don Qujxote’. Now I’m reading Sun Tzu’s ‘Art of War.’

Since you are already among the ‘senators’ on the team, do you notice any differences in behaviour, interests of the young players and your generations?

Yes, but not only in sports. This is the case throughout the society. My generation really had more fun, we hung out, whereas now everything has moved on to some stage of a fictitious social platform that is all between influencers and everything is in the cloud. Of course, I have to follow it a bit too, because if you don’t follow it you stay outside and getleft behind.

Does this scare you, through the prism of being a father of three little daughters who’ll be growing up in such a world?

Yes, it scares me. Only because of the kids. I’m scared by the alienation of people. There are fewer and fewer people who are ready to help and then I look at it through the prism of my three little girls who have yet to tackle this world. I worry about the digital age as the modern monster of humanity.

The best answer is still… sport?

Recently, when we were in Australia, we visited one school and there a poster read: ‘Why it is good for children to play multiple sports?’. From not getting tired too early to learning other sports, developing motor skills. So yes, that is the answer to your question as well. Everything can be fixed.

You have won all the competitions, all the championships, leagues and cups that exist. What more can you do?

Win the next match! As long as I’m in the sport, I want to win. You know the famous words of Baron Coubertin: ‘It is not important to win, it is important to participate’ (Ed: quote usually runs: ‘The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part’ but Jokovic was close enough and those were his words), those words are noble and beautiful, but of worth only for those who are fourth! For those who have to leave empty-handed. Despite all the titles I have won, I am glad that I still have the will and desire to win again. It still happens to me, even before matches I know we will win by 10 goals, with no chance of losing, and I still feel a slight nervousness, some cramps in my stomach. While I am having them, it makes me feel good. So when I seem to reach the maximum age… I’ll endure longer… Maybe for 10 more years (laughs).

*This article can be found in the FINA Magazine. To access the online version of the magazine (2020/3) click here

Dean Bauer, FINA Aquatics World Magazine Correspondent (CRO)

Jul 9 20

Emily Seebohm: ‘I didn’t really think I’d be that good’

by ZwemZa

Emily Seebohm celebrates setting a world record of 27.95 seconds in the Women’s 50m Backstroke final during the 2008 Australian Championships (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Ever wondered what your favourite sportspeople were like before they were super-mega-famous? Every week Tokyo 2020 will give you a glimpse into what life was like for some of the world’s greatest athletes before they were stars.

The deets

  • Name: Emily Seebohm
  • Age: 28
  • Nationality: Australian
  • Profession: Swimmer

What has she achieved?

Emily Seebohm is known as one of the greatest backstroke specialists in the world. She has won medals at all three Olympic Games she has participated in (Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016).

At Beijing 2008, she won gold in the 4x100m medley relay when she was only 15. While she didn’t manage to qualify for the 200m event, she eventually made her way to the semi-final of the 100m, missing the final by only one place after finishing behind the French Olympic champion Laure Manaudou.

In London, she claimed gold in the 4x100m freestyle relay, as well as silver in the 4x100m medley relay and 100m backstroke.

During Rio, she once again won silver in the 4x100m medley relay, and finished seventh in the 100m backstroke final.

Surprising fact

At the age of 14, Seebohm was already being hailed as a future star of Australian swimming – something she was well aware of.

“It’s pretty cool to have people talking about you. I reckon I could be the next big wave in the pool and I hope to do that sometime. It doesn’t have to be Beijing, it could be London. It could be after that. It could be anything,” she told the Olympic Channel.

Back then, she had already gained international racing experience, finishing fourth in the 2007 World Championships 100m backstroke in Melbourne.

“My coach probably told me that I could do it, but I didn’t really think I’d be that good. I was really happy with the time I did.”

The full interview is below, along with quotes from her former coach Matt Brown in 2007.

Emily Seebohm (Getty Images)

What’s she up to now?

Seebohm is still competing at the age of 28, and has her sights firmly set on Tokyo 2020 where she’ll be hoping to claim her first Olympic gold medal in an individual event.

She recently switched coaches in order to optimise her chances in Japan, after failing to make the cut in the qualifiers for the 2019 World World Aquatics Championships.

The move paid off at the FINA Swimming World Cup 2019 in Doha, where she won gold in the 200m backstroke, ahead of her young compatriot Kaylee McKeown. However, McKeown did beat Seebohm at the Australian World Trials before winning silver in Gwanju in the same event.

Jul 8 20

Shamed Olympian Ryan Lochte dishes on his new documentary

by ZwemZa

Ryan Lochte and his family in “In Deep with Ryan Lochte.” Peacock

The new documentary, “In Deep with Ryan Lochte,” chronicles the Olympic swimmer’s rise, fall into scandal and efforts to make a comeback.

“A lot of people have a different perception of me, and this documentary is going to basically show you the real me — the downs I’ve had in my life, the ups and how everything has shaped me into who I am today,” Lochte, 35, tells The Post.

Premiering July 15 on Peacock, NBC’s new streaming platform, “In Deep” covers the now-infamous incident at the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil when the bleached-blonde Lochte — a 12-time Olympic medalist — falsely claimed to have been robbed at gunpoint.

He was subsequently dropped by his sponsors and was suspended by USA Swimming for 10 months from competing in domestic and international competitions. In 2018, he was slapped with a 14-month suspension by the United States Anti-Doping Agency for allegedly receiving a “prohibited intravenous infusion” (which he denied).

“I want people to see all that hard work and dedication that I put into my sport to get to where I’m at,” says Lochte. “A lot of people think because I’m such a jokester in life that I just got by by talent. That isn’t the case at all. I busted my butt every day and worked hard to get where I’m at. So you’re going to see a little bit of everything.

Ryan Lochte on Day 5 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Ryan Lochte on Day 5 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.Getty Images

“I don’t have any regrets [about the 2016 scandal] just because I really believe that everything happens for a reason,” he says. “And that was someone saying, ‘Wake up and smell the roses. It’s time to grow up. It’s time to change certain things in your life, because you’re headed down the wrong path.’ [The scandal] was something that was a part of my life, but it helped change who I am to the person that you’re going to see now.

“It took a lot of courage for me to talk about something so dramatic had such a big impact on my life,” he says. “I was able to move forward and I’m still moving forward and trying to better myself every day.”

In the ensuing years, Lochte married former Playboy model Kayla Rae Reid and started a family (son Caden, 3, and daughter Liv, 1). It’s a facet of his life covered in the documentary.

“It is so much fun [and] it’s a lot of hard work being a dad and trying to compete at the highest level in sports,” he says. “My son is like a little mini-me and my daughter is like the cutest thing ever. It’s so much fun. Every day it’s something new.”

He’s also still training for the Tokyo Olympics, which were moved to 2021 due to the COVID pandemic. If Lochte makes the team, he’ll be 36 — the oldest American male competing in Tokyo.

“I was upset that [the Olympics were moved] but the main thing for everyone to be safe,” he says. “They didn’t get cancelled, just postponed, I have to look at the positive side to this — that I get another year of making myself better in and out of the pool. So I think this is a blessing for me.

“But age is just a number,” he says. “If I start feeling old, then it’s going to show. My kids are keeping me young and energetic.”

Lauren Sarner | The New York Post

Jul 8 20

Conor Ferguson: Northern Ireland swimmer has sights set on Tokyo Games

by ZwemZa

Conor Ferguson represented Northern Ireland at the 2018 Commonwealth Games

Northern Irish swimmer Conor Ferguson says his full focus is on the rescheduled Olympics Games after recovering from mumps and a family bereavement.

The 20-year-old was diagnosed with the virus which kept him out of full training for five weeks.

“It was one of the worst things I have ever experienced,” Ferguson told Sportsound Extra Time.

“My hunger is still there and I’m going into next year a lot more confident.”

For the first time since lockdown was implemented, swimmers were able to train in pools in Northern Ireland from Monday.

Ferguson, along with Paralympic champion Bethany Firth and Olympic hopefuls Jordan Sloan and Danielle Hill, returned to Bangor Aurora after travelling to Dublin while the Northern Irish pools remained closed.

“The Tokyo Olympics are going to be my goal and nothing will change from what I did this year,” added the Larne swimmer.

“I had a pretty rough year last year. My uncle passed away and I picked up the mumps virus, which knocked me out for two weeks and it took a further three weeks to get me back up to full strength.

“To turn back up and possibly be in the best shape I have ever been in my life fills me with confidence.”

Ferguson says it will be important to “get the feel of the water” again in Bangor after being away from the venue for so long.

“The Olympics were cancelled, which was upsetting, but it was completely out of my control and I can’t spend any time thinking negatively because that would be a waste of time.

“I’m in no rush to get back in and thrash back up and down the pool.

“It is about enjoying being back in the water and enjoying being surrounded by my team-mates.”

The new normal

With social distancing and new hygiene guidelines in place, Ferguson says he has had to learn how to adapt his training.

“As soon as you are in the door the hand sanitiser is on and you are getting your temperature tested,” he said.

“You have your own personal space to to a land warm-up, and once we’re in the pool we are a lane apart and we are staring at different ends.”

Conor Ferguson

Swimmers now start at opposite ends of the pool for training

He added: “Before, once you stopped you could chat to your mates but you can’t do that anymore.

“I’m used to my coach being there and giving me my splits but now they are just shouting from afar.

“I’m not sure how long it is going to be like this but I think it will be the new norm and we are going to have to get used to it.”


Jul 8 20

What athletes over 60 should know about working out

by ZwemZa

Tackle the basics and then train to increase speed and strength and improve your technique

Is improvement in performance and conditioning possible after you turn 60?


What are the keys to this seemingly daunting task?

This answer is complex.

First, the Basics

The first stage of this quest has to do with maximizing your health, regardless of your underlying medical conditions. The basics are simple to identify but can be difficult to execute.


As basic as this sounds, few adults pull this off. Start with the healthy basics of fresh fruits and vegetables. Add to that fiber and healthy protein. Protein is not the core of a healthy diet. Protein can be plant based or animal based, but you’ll want to be selective. Plant-based proteins carry triglycerides, and animal-based proteins carry cholesterol. So, understand the pros and cons of your protein choices!

Consider nutrition as fuel for your engine. Fuel when your engine is running hot and slow down your fueling when you slow down. And your grandmother was right: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Weight control can be a problem if the bulk of your calories are at the end of your day. Spread out your fueling. Remember that nutrition includes before, during (if longer than 30 minutes), and after your training.


This is easy and hard at the same time. Consider yourself hydrated if your urine is clear by mid-day. Yellow means you’re dehydrated, unless something is imparting color to your urine. There are vitamins and other supplements that can cause urine to be dark, so consider taking your supplements later in the day so you can see if your hydration is adequate.


Restorative sleep is critical to repair and rejuvenation. Although different people require different amounts of sleep depending upon the efficiency of their sleep cycles, no one pulls this off in five hours per night. Optimal is seven to eight hours, and this is NOT with your electronic devices pinging and ringing at your bedside.

Underlying medical conditions and medications may affect how you approach these three cornerstones of nutrition, hydration, and sleep, but usually not by much. If in doubt, consult your medical practitioner and make a plan. Chances are you’ll need less medication the healthier you become.

Next, the Training

Now, how to enhance your training, get faster, and enjoy your training. Remember that none of this works unless the above rules of the game are followed.

Train Speed

In order to swim fast you have to train fast.

Your engine has several types of muscles: slow twitch (type I muscle fibers; mostly aerobic; used predominantly by distance swimmers), fast twitch (type II muscle fibers; mostly anaerobic; used predominantly by sprinters), and fibers that are more flexible and can function as either, depending upon how you train them. Regardless of your age, you can stimulate fast twitch fibers to develop. True, this transition is much faster at age 20 than at 60-plus, but it isn’t impossible. You have to plan to recruit fast-twitch fibers.

If you, like many Masters athletes, are swimming the same aerobic set with short rest, then you’re training slow aerobic muscles to swim slowly. Yes, maybe you have an open water event or a triathlon that requires you to swim a long distance. But do you want to do it slowly? And how do you cope with the sprint at the start, around a buoy, in a cross-current, in a crowd, or at the finish? Easy answer: You can’t if you haven’t trained correctly.

The message here is train all muscle types, which requires planning. You need a plan not just for some practices, but all practices.

Train Strength

In addition to swim training, strength training is critical for the 60-plus athlete. So which muscles should you train? Answer: the swimming ones and the muscles that support the swimming muscles. The swimming muscles are the ones that surround the rotator cuff, scapula, and core. This FINA video outlines the process.

Train Technique

So, you’re a 60-plus athlete and you’re training the right way and supporting that swim training with strength training. What’s next? Technique.

Swimming is an incredibly technical sport, and you’re training horizontally in a denser medium than air. This means that it can be difficult to know where your hands, arms, legs, head, core, etc., are while you’re swimming.

The key here is find a coached workout. Without a coach guiding you, your technique and your stroke efficiency slowly deteriorate. This can lead to injuries, doctor bills, time out of training, and surgery. A coach is your best investment.

Enjoy, swim fast, get healthier, and have fun. The more candles on your cake, the longer this takes to accomplish, but, with patience and planning, you can do it.

Jim Miller, M.D., is a family practice and sports medicine physician and associate clinical professor at the University of Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University. He serves on both the USMS Sports Medicine and Science Committee and the FINA Sports Medicine Committee. Miller is also the sports medicine co-editor for FINA Aquatic World Magazine. He has served as the chair of the FINA World Sports Medicine Congress, national team physician for USA Swimming, chair of the USA Swimming Sports Medicine Task Force, and on USA Swimming’s Open Water Development and International Relations Committees. Miller also served as USMS president from 2001–2005.

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