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Apr 21 18

Former athletes appear at Senate hearing as criticism of USOC and national governing bodies over sexual abuse scandal continues to grow

by ZwemZa

Former American athletes have stepped up their criticism of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and their respective national governing bodies for their failure to prevent sexual abuse in sport during a Senate Commerce Subcommittee hearing in Washington D.C.

Olympic gold medallist Jordyn Wieber and fellow former gymnast Jamie Dantzcher were among those to appear at the hearing, along with former speed skater Bridie Farrell and former figure skater Craig Maurizi.

The Senate Subcommittee is one of the panels seeking answers from the USOC, national governing bodies and Michigan State University as to how they handled sexual abuse cases.

Around 260 people have accused disgraced USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, recently sentenced to 300 years in prison, of abuse under the guise of medical treatment

Wieber, one of the athletes abused by Nassar, told the Committee that the USOC and other organisations were culpable as they had failed to protect athletes.

“To this day, I still don’t know how he could have been allowed to do this for so long,” Wieber, part of the American women’s team which won the Olympic gold medal at London 2012, said in her statement.

“We now know he abused my sister survivor and fellow Olympian Jamie Dantzscher 20 years ago.

“Women at Michigan State University reported his abuse even earlier and they were silenced and ignored.

“If these institutions had done their job, neither of us would be sitting here today.”

US Speedskating, USA Swimming and USA Taekwondo are also being scrutinised for how they dealt with sexual abuse cases.

Farrell was abused by former athlete Andy Gabel when they were both on the national team.

The athletes appeared at the hearing to testify in front of the committee ©Getty Images

Farrell was just 15 at the time, while Gabel, whose membership of US Speedskating was terminated in 2016 as a result of the accusations against him, was 18 years her senior.

USOC chief executive chief executive Scott Blackmun resigned from his position in February due to the growing pressure that they had not done enough to protect athletes.

Blackmun was suffering from prostate cancer but had faced calls to quit.

“Mr. Blackmun also told me that there was nothing the USOC could do – that the USOC did not have such jurisdiction over the national governing bodies,” Farrell told the Subcommittee.

“However, in the midst of the USA Gymnastic shake down the USOC acknowledged the NGB could be decertified and overtaken by the head organisation.

“It certainly seems the USOC wants to pick and choose when to be involved, and it seems only when it favors the USOC.”

Maurizi also claimed at the hearing that he was ignored when he reported the sexual abuse he allegedly suffered at the hands of former coach Richard Callaghan, since been suspended by US Figure Skating.

“I respectfully ask you to find out why the USOC did nothing for decades while reports of child sexual abuse in many Olympic sports were ignored,” he said.

“Who was responsible for this tragedy and how will they be held accountable?”

The USOC, USA Gymnastics and Michigan State are all currently facing several lawsuits as a result of the scandal.

Liam Morgan | Inside the Games

Apr 21 18

Swimming Australia President praises athletes for Gold Coast 2018 performance but warns Tokyo 2020 will be much tougher

by ZwemZa

John Bertrand watches the swimming action in Rio. (Alex Coppel)

Swimming Australia President John Bertrand has hailed the success of the team at the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast as a positive step towards Tokyo 2020 but warned standard at the Olympic Games will be “dramatically higher”.

Australian swimmers dominated in the pool at Gold Coast 2018, finishing well clear at the top of the medals table with a total of 28 gold, 21 silver and 24 bronze.

England were the next best country, winning a total of 24 medals, nine of which were gold.

The Australian monopoly of swimming at the Games led to criticism of the spectacle, with some claiming the host nation’s dominance detracted from the overall quality of the event.

In a President’s message, Bertrand claimed the performance of the Australian swimmers was a “strong building block” on the road to Tokyo 2020.

Mitch Larkin was among the most successful Australian swimmer at Gold Coast 2018, winning five gold medals (zimbio)

“The standard of competition at the Olympics and Paralympics is dramatically higher than the Commonwealth Games, we know that,” he said.

“But the way the team came together, the culture and values within the team, the belief that was generated, are all key positives as we plan for the Pan Pacific championships in Tokyo this August, World Championships next year and Tokyo 2020.”

Swimming Australia has already begun its post-event review following the conclusion of the Games last Sunday (April 15).

Bertrand, President of the national governing body since 2013, revealed they will assess the positives and negatives from the event in order to plan their future strategy.

“We’re now well progressed in our post event review across the entire organisation,” he added.

“What we did well, what we did wrong, how can we improve?

“Again, all we know is the standard of competition and organisation by Tokyo 2020 will be higher on the world stage than it is now.

“History tells us that.”

Bertrand, a former sailor, who won Olympic bronze in the Finn class at Montreal 1976, praised the team for coping with the pressure of being the host nation.

“The pressure on our athletes was immense, something we could never simulate in a typical home country competition,” the Australian sailing legend, who skippered the Australia II to success in the 1983 America’s Cup, said.

“This was one of the key value adds – our swimmers performing when it really counted.”

Liam Morgan | Inside the Games

Apr 21 18

IPC to conduct extensive governance review

by ZwemZa

Sophie Pascoe competes in the Women’s 200m Individual Medley SM10 at the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow. © Luc Percival Photography.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is to launch an extensive review of its governance structures for the first time since 2004 with the aim of strengthening its position as a world leading sports organisation.

The purpose of the review is to assess the decision-making structures within the IPC, and to make recommendations on any changes to the IPC constitution, rules and bylaws.

To conduct the review, the IPC Governing Board has appointed a working group led by IPC Vice President Duane Kale. The eight-strong person group will start work in May and features representatives from all regions, as well as athlete and sport representatives. Independent sports governance expert and sports lawyer Maria Clarke will act as the group’s vice chairperson.

Andrew Parsons, IPC President, said: “When I was elected IPC President, I committed to make the IPC an organisation for all and to fully unlock the potential of the Paralympic Movement. In order to achieve this it is vital the IPC has in place the best and most up-to-date sports governance structures so that it is well positioned for further development and growth in the years ahead.

“We are fortunate that we start this review from a position of strength. The current IPC governance structures are far from broken, but since the last governance review in 2004 the IPC and Paralympic Movement have grown beyond all recognition. With tremendous growth, comes greater responsibility, interest and scrutiny. Therefore, we must ensure that the IPC is an organisation with best practice and robust governance at its core.”

Duane Kale added: “This governance review will go beyond matters of structures, integrity and ethical standards to include other good governance principles such as openness and accountability.

“We have a responsibility to the IPC membership and all the Para athletes that we serve to strengthen the IPC’s position as a strong and highly respected world leading sports organisation.

“To conduct this review we have assembled a very strong working group that will provide input from all areas of the Paralympic Movement. I am particularly happy to have secured the support and services of Maria Clarke, as she boasts extensive experience in this area, having previously advised many other international federations on governance and integrity reform.”

The working group will commence work in May and the proposed framework for the governance review will be presented to IPC members at September’s IPC Membership Gathering in Madrid, Spain. If any constitutional changes are recommended, then it is anticipated that these will be presented at the 2019 IPC General Assembly.

Members of the Governance Review Working Group are as follows:

Duane Kale (Chairperson) – IPC Vice President

• Maria Clarke (Vice Chairperson) – International sports governance expert and lawyer

• Emmanuelle Assmann – President NPC France

• Xavier González – IPC Chief Executive Officer

• Sabrina Ibáñez – President of Association of Paralympic Sports (ASPO) and FEI Secretary General

• Luca Pancalli – IPC Governing Board Member and President of NPC Italy

• Yerlan Suleimenov – Executive Director NPC Kazakhstan

• Josh Vander Vies – Canadian two-time Paralympian and lawyer

Leen Coudenys – IPC Governing Board Executive Assistant is the Group secretary.

IPC

 

Apr 21 18

Jamaica investigating bid for Commonwealth Games

by ZwemZa

Usain Bolt is certain to feature highly in any bid from Jamaica for the Commonwealth Games ©Getty Images

Jamaica is to investigate launching a bid for the Commonwealth Games, it has been revealed.

Kingston in 1966 is the only time the Games have been staged in the Caribbean and now Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange wants to explore the possibility of bringing the event back.

“I am talking to sports organisations, I am talking to ministers of sports in various countries and private sector sponsors,” Grange told Jamaican newspaper The Gleaner.

“I am focused on bringing some major sporting events to Jamaica, including the Commonwealth Games.

“My intention is to ensure that Jamaica is at the centre of sports tourism and sports tourism is at the centre of brand Jamaica.”

Grange revealed her plan at the the Norman Manley International Airport to welcome home members of the Commonwealth Games team won a total of 27 medals, including seven gold, at Gold Coast 2018.

Former Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) President Mike Fennell is head of a group charged with looking into a possible bid.

The CGF announced during its General Assembly in the Gold Coast earlier this month that countries interested in bidding had to apply by December 31 this year.

A decision is expected to be taken at next year’s CGF General Assembly in Nairobi, where it is possible they could award the 2026 and 2030 Commonwealth Games together.

Canada is favourite to be awarded the 2030 Commonwealth Games to mark the centenary of the event being launched in Hamilton.

Adelaide and Perth in Australia have both expressed a willingness to bid for the 2026 event.

“Until we get to a point where we can make the announcement, all I can say is that we are working on it,” Grange said.

“We have set up a committee headed by Mike Fennell, that’s a bidding committee, and we are going out there to host events.

“As a brand, we are big.

“Usain Bolt is at the centre of it, Bob Marley is at the centre of it and if we are able to put the right infrastructure in place then we can sell Jamaica.”

Duncan Mackay | Inside the Games

Apr 20 18

Le Clos launches academy in Cape Town

by ZwemZa

Chad le Clos (Getty Images)

Four-time Olympic medallist Chad le Clos has launched his new swimming academy in Cape Town on Friday.

Taking a rounded approach to development, the new Chad le Clos Academy aims to transform the way swimming is taught in South Africa, from beginner through to elite level.

The structured and world-class CLeC Academy programme will ensure that swimmers enjoy the learning experience and remain in the sport for as long as possible.

“I’m very pleased that we are launching the first branch of the Chad le Clos Academy,” said Le Clos.

“I really want to see the growth of swimming as a sport, both in SA and ultimately across the world, by helping existing swimmers improve and encouraging beginners to learn our sport and develop life skills. This has been a dream of mine for some time, and today marks the start of what I hope will be a long and productive journey.”

Starting with a flagship venue at the Quadrant in Cape Town, the programme will focus on stroke development and fitness for swimmers aged five through to adults.

Future venues will also implement elite and ‘learn to swim’ programmes by collaborating with the best in class partners and facilities, as the programme expands.

Kathryn Nurse, a CLeC Academy Director, says: “It is a privilege to partner with a sportsman of such high calibre and a gentleman of such true humility. We are confident that we can take his vision and make it a reality.”

As part of its long-term goals, the CLeC Academy plans to expand further by including international venues, in an attempt to broaden its reach as widely as possible and transform the world of swimming.

Chad le Clos board member, Julian Taylor, says: “As South Africa’s most decorated swimmer, Chad le Clos has already ensured he will always be remembered as an icon. Hopefully this academy will be able to play another key role in expanding his legacy at all levels of the sport, both at home and abroad.”

Earlier this month, Le Clos became the most decorated Commonwealth Games swimmer when he bagged five medals – including three gold – at the 2018 Gold Coast Games.

Sport24

Apr 20 18

Gold Coast stars set to shine at national championships

by ZwemZa

Gallagher in action, by Wessel Oosthuizen/SASPA

Some of South Africa’s top swimming talent will be in action at the SA National Aquatic Championships to be held at the Newton Park Pool in Port Elizabeth next week.

The week-long competition will also serve as a selection event for the African Youth Games, the African Swimming Championships, the Youth Olympic Games and the AUSC Region 5 Games later this year.

The South African swimming team recently shone at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, where they finished third on the medal table with a total of 12 medals — six gold, three silver, and three bronze – and para-swimmer Christian Sadie will be the only medallist from the Games to hit the water in Port Elizabeth.

SA’s women’s 100-metre freestyle record-holder Erin Gallagher will be among the top-class female swimmers at the Championships.

Gallagher was one of the star performers at the Commonwealth Games where she made it into three individual finals and finished sixth in the 100m freestyle final, which included former Australian world-champion sisters Cate and Bronte Campbell.

Gallagher broke Karin Prinsloo’s national and continental 100m freestyle record in the semi-final at the Games, clocking 54.38sec to finish in fourth position and shaving 0.1sec off the previous time.

Gallagher will be swimming in the 50m and 100m freestyle, the 100m butterfly and the 50m backstroke.

She will be up against fellow Commonwealth participants Emma Chelius, Mariella Venter and Duné Coetzee in the various strokes.

South Africa’s youngest members at the Games, Coetzee and Luan Grobbelaar, will be looking to translate their experience at the multi-sport event into title-winning performances at the week-long event.

Grobbelaar will face some tough competition in the 200m breaststroke in Ayrton Sweeney and Michael Houlie, who featured prominently at the Games.

Seventeen-year-old Houlie made a dream debut at the quadrennial showpiece where he finished sixth in the men’s 50m breaststroke final with a time of 27.83. It was a special final with London 2012 Olympic champion Cameron van der Burgh winning his third straight title in the event.

The women’s 200m breaststroke final was also one of the highlights of the Games, featuring three South African women: Tatjana Schoenmaker, who went on to win the title in a new South African record time, with Emily Visagie and Kaylene Corbett finishing seventh and eighth respectively.

The women’s breaststroke races should provide for some of the highlights at the championships even in the absence of Schoenmaker.

Corbett and Visagie will have their work cut out for them with a host of talented youngsters like Aime Canny, Christin Mundell and Rebecca Meder challenging for medals.

FINA Junior World Championships finalist Meder will feature prominently, swimming six individual events including the 200m freestyle, the 200m individual medley and the 200m breaststroke.

The Championships heats session will start at 9:30am, while the finals will begin at 6pm daily.

The staging of this event has been made possible through the support provided by Swimming SA partners, Sport and Recreation South Africa, SASCOC, National Lotteries Commission, Arena and Rand Water.

SASCOC

Apr 20 18

Hosts United States shine on day one of World Para Swimming World Series event in Indianapolis

by ZwemZa

Thirteen-time Paralympic gold medallist Jessica Long secured two podium finishes on day one of the 2018 World Para Swimming World Series in Indianapolis ©Getty Images

Hosts United States claimed 10 medals, including six golds, on the opening day of the 2018 World Para Swimming World Series in Indianapolis.

Thirteen-time Paralympic gold medallist Jessica Long, who competes in the S8 and SB7 category events, secured two podium finishes at the Indiana University Natatorium.

This included gold in the 400 metres freestyle and silver in the 100m breaststroke.

Paralympic bronze medallist Colleen Young and Paralympic silver medallist Tharon Drake won the respective SB13 and SB11 100m breaststroke events, while five-time Paralympian Curtis Lovejoy and Alyssa Gialamas won the respective SB1 and SB4 50m breaststroke competitions.

“This is my first start in the World Series circuit,” Drake said.

“It was an awesome opportunity for a gold.

“Team USA is doing well, and it’s been an amazing meet so far.”

Paralympic bronze medallist Robert Griswold additionally claimed gold in the S8 400m freestyle.

Leanne Smith secured silver in the S3 200m freestyle, while six-time Paralympic medallist Becca Meyers swam to second place in the S13 400m freestyle.

Lawrence Sapp captured the bronze medal in the S14 200m freestyle.

There was also an impressive performance from McKenzie Coan, who set an American record in the S7 400m freestyle.

He swam to fourth place in a time of 5 min 9.49sec.

McKenzie Coan set an American record in the S7 400m freestyle event ©Getty Images

“It felt amazing,” Coan said.

“It feels so good to be back out there.

“My first big Para-meet of the season, and I couldn’t have asked for a better final swim.

“It was so much fun being out there with all of them and I’m really happy with that race.

“I have so much pride swimming for the United States, and to be able to come here to Indy and have an amazing meet so far.

“To be able to do that in my favourite event is so much fun, and I feel so lucky to be able to be here and do this.”

Athletes from across the world are competing on US soil for the second stop of the World Series circuit.

The event, which is being held in Indianapolis for the second year in a row, features 198 swimmers from 17 countries.

The World Para Swimming points system is being used at World Series competitions.

All athletes’ results at each event are calculated using a standardised points system.

This will ensure that the overall winner will be the best performing athlete over the duration of the World Series, meaning that every performance counts.

Competition is due to continue tomorrow with the 50m backstroke, 100m backstroke, 50m freestyle, 150m individual medley and 200m individual medley events.

Daniel Etchells | Inside the Games

Apr 20 18

Another year into retirement, Michael Phelps explains why he’s ‘glad’ he’s not swimming and how he channels his competitiveness

by ZwemZa

Michael Phelps (Susan Walsh/AP)

Michael Phelps has conflicting thoughts when it comes to swimming and racing.

Now two years removed from a successful campaign at the Rio Olympics, retired for good (so he says), Phelps says he misses the competition and the races themselves, but he doesn’t miss competing. He likes to be around the pool and the sport of swimming, but has no real desire to jump back into it.

“I’m going to go to a swim meet this afternoon here in Arizona, where a bunch of my old teammates from the Olympic team are going to be,” Phelps told Business Insider last Friday. “And I’m going to stand there, and I’m probably going to come away from it and say, ‘I’m glad I’m not swimming.’

“I love being around the pool, I love being around the sport, but I don’t miss that grind that I put my body through for 25 years to get myself to be ready to be able to compete at a high level. I’m very happy with, I guess, the other side where I get to just watch.”

Phelps, at 32, is now a mentor to the sport, to other Olympians, and to athletes in general. Phelps has recently been more open to discussing his battles with depression and promoting mental health. After the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang ended, Phelps said several winter Olympians reached out to him, asking for guidance in the post-Olympic transition.

He advised Tiger Woods as Woods battled injuries and hit dark times while trying to recover. Phelps said he believes athletes at the top of the game are wired similarly, and he understood what Woods was going through during his struggles. He’s happy to see Woods healthy and back on the course.

Phelps also lent advice to Katie Ledecky, who recently decided to go pro, ending her swimming career at Stanford. Phelps said he told Ledecky to be in control of her career, particularly in the build-up to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

“The biggest thing is you have to understand how important training is,” Phelps said he told Ledecky. “And I know she knows that. She’s the one person I would never second-guess to wonder if she was still going to put the grind in that she needs to be able to as successful as she is.”

And while Phelps is happy to be play mentor to other athletes, he still occasionally gets the itch to compete and push his body to the limit.

Phelps has become an avid cyclist, buying a Peloton, and competing on the network of cyclists under an alias and “hammering” rides.

“I just got off of a 30-day-straight kinda kick where I just wanted to see what it would do and how my body would react to it,” Phelps said. “And that’s another thing where I have the competitive side of me that really comes out … I’ve had somebody next to me racing every single stroke of my life I’ve ever taken in the pool. It’s good for me to kinda be able to push myself.”

Phelps, who spoke to Business Insider to promote the campaign “Every Drop Counts” with Colgate, said his competitive nature comes out in the work he does. He pushed himself to continue preaching water conservation, as well as water safety and mental health and said he’s been excited by the positive feedback he’s received for his work.

Despite being in retirement mode, Phelps said life hasn’t slowed down since Rio. In addition to his various campaigns, he and his wife, Nicole, welcomed a second son in February.

“I can’t really ask for any better way for stepping away from the sport by continuing to do stuff and talk about stuff for me that are meaningful.”

Scott Davies | Business Insider

Apr 20 18

Angela Marina wins gold, breaks Canadian record at World Series Para swimming event

by ZwemZa

Angela Marina (Swimming Canada)

Angela Marina of Brantford, Ont., won the gold medal in the women’s 200-m freestyle and set a Canadian record for her disability group on Thursday to open the second stop on the Para World Series swimming circuit.

Medals are awarded for each stroke based on best performances from all the disability categories combined. Canada won five medals on the day: a gold, three silver and a bronze.

Marina, who competes in the S14 class, clocked two minutes and 18.65 seconds for the victory. Leslie Cichocki of the U.S., was second in her category in 2:26.66 and Miori Heneault of St-Eustache, Que., third in 2:28.60.

It was a big day for Gord Michie of St. Thomas, Ont., also an S14 swimmer, as he collected silver medals in the 200-m freestyle and 100-m breaststroke.

In the men’s 200-m freestyle, Koki Sakahura of Japan was the victor in 2:02.78 with Michie earning the silver in 2:04.93 while Lawren Sapp of the U.S. was third in 2:07.50.

Alexander Elliot of Waterloo, Ont., topped the field in the S10 400-m freestyle while Zach Zona of Waterford, Ont., was second in the S8 400 free. The Canadians ranked second and third overall all categories combined and collected silver and bronze.

Zona was a member of the Canadian team at the recently completed Commonwealth Games in Australia where Para swimming events are part of the official program.

‘’There definitely was a fatigue factor there but I felt really good about my performance,’’ said Zona. ‘’I took it out really well and I didn’t fade and managed to keep strong and consistent throughout.’’

Also of note that Tess Routliffe of Caledon, Ont., ranked second in the SB7 100-m breaststroke while Sabrina Duchesne of Quebec City ranked second in the S7 400-m freestyle.

Competition continues through to Saturday.

Full results: https://www.iunat.iupui.edu/content/Other-Information/LiveResults/index.htm

Apr 19 18

The Bell Bouy bekons…… 43k up for grabs

by ZwemZa

SA’s bravest swimmers get ready to tackle this year’s Jendamark Bellbuoy Challenge (Zports)

The toughest Indian Ocean swim in the world happens right here in Algoa Bay when the 2018 Jendamark Bellbuoy Challenge takes place on Saturday morning from Pollok Beach, Port Elizabeth with a record entry of over 130 entries.

A daunting 5km ocean swim which sees some of South Africa’s bravest open water swimmers heading 2.5km straight out to sea to round the nautical bellbuoy directly off Pollok Beach. Whilst usually an easy swim out to the buoy, the currents around the area make for a very tough rounding and return to shore which in some instances can see swimmers return times double that of their outgoing time.

Local SA 3km open water swimming champion, Ian Venter, has announced that he will retire from open water swimming at the end of the season to take up a swimming scholarship in the USA and having won the wetsuit category of this event for the past 3 years he will be keen to finish off his season on a high note.

Of concern is that Venter will be swimming the SA Nationals in the pool from the Monday and needs to determine whether the sea swim will affect this in any way.

Daniel Jones, a two times winner in the swimsuit category hasn’t done much open competitive water swimming this season so leaves this category wide open this year. This is also the case with the Ladies swimsuit category with last year’s champion Kirsten Marriott also out of the scene.

Prolific ladies open water swimmer, Amica de Jager, won the wetsuit category last year and will be extremely hard to beat should she enter again.

The Jendamark Bellbuoy Challenge is the Eastern Cape’s richest open water swimming event with an overall cash prize pool of R43 000 up for grabs with prizes shared equally between the swimsuit and wetsuit categories.

With the increased number of entries, organisers of the swim have taken an unprecedented step to increase the safety of the swimmers this year by insisting that all swimmers have to swim either with a highly visible swim buoy or have a personal second paddling alongside them, both measures ensuring that appointed water safety will be able to see the swimmers much more easily on the 5km route.

The swim on Saturday offers a fantastic spectacle from the shores of Pollok Beach where spectators can watch the entire race unfold in front of them.

Race start is at 08:30.

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