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Nov 22 14

Ryan Lochte: I have no doubt Michael Phelps will come back

by ZwemZa

Michael Phelps, Ryan LochteRyan Lochte believes longtime friendly rival Michael Phelps will “be ready for Rio.”

“There’s no doubt in my mind that he will be back in the water,” Lochte said Tuesday.

Phelps was pulled over and arrested on DUI charges in Maryland on Sept. 30, announced he would attend a six-week program on Oct. 5 and suspended for six months by USA Swimming on Oct. 6. He will not swim at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, Russia.

Phelps, who came out of a 20-month competitive retirement in April, has not said if or when he will return to swimming competition.

Lochte, a teammate of Phelps at the last three Olympics, correctly predicted two years ago that Phelps would eventually come out of his post-London 2012 retirement.

Lochte believes Phelps will race again with an eye on his fifth Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in two years, because of the same reasons he unretired earlier this year.

“Once you’re in that racing mode, it’s hard to get rid of,” said Lochte, an 11-time Olympic medalist who will swim at the World Short Course Championships in Doha, Qatar, next month. “He missed that excitement.”

Lochte didn’t say whether he has been in contact with Phelps since the arrest.

Natalie Coughlin, also a three-time Olympic teammate of Phelps, said she reached out to Phelps.

“Just to tell him how much we care about him, and we want him to be well,” said Coughlin, a 12-time Olympic medalist who will also race at short course Worlds. “I think he’s taking the proper steps in his life to get his life in order. Hopefully we’ll see him back in the fold. It’s a blessing for us to see him race.”

Nick Zaccardi | NBC Sports

Nov 22 14

Lochte unsure who is world’s best swimmer

by ZwemZa
Ryan Lochte

Ryan Lochte

“Who’s the world’s best swimmer?” was the preeminent question in the sport four years ago. It’s a question Ryan Lochte can’t answer today, 21 months before the Rio 2016 Olympics.

“I honestly don’t know,” Lochte said Tuesday. “There’s so many competitors out there … that have gotten a lot faster in different strokes, it’s hard to tell.

“I would like to think that I’m in that category, if not the top one then one of the top just because I train not just for one event, for multiple events. It’s hard to say who’s the best.”

In 2010, Lochte won four individual gold medals at the year’s major international meet, the Pan Pacific Championships, including both individual medleys and twice as many golds as Phelps.

Lochte and Phelps did not swim in any of the same finals at the 2010 meet, but Phelps’ coach, Bob Bowman, still said Lochte was “the best swimmer in the world this year. No question.”

Lochte also won four individual events to Phelps’ two at the 2011 World Championships, keeping his edge in swimming supremacy.

But at the 2012 Olympics, Lochte won one individual medal of each color, while Phelps had two golds and a silver. Advantage Phelps, barely.

Phelps retired, of course, giving Lochte little competition in 2013. Lochte won two individual events at the World Championships and finished off the podium in two others.

China’s Sun Yang, who swept the 400m, (non-Olympic) 800m and 1500m freestyles at 2013 Worlds, was named FINA’s Swimmer of the Meet, though Lochte won Swimmer of the Year.

This year, a new star broke through. Japan’s Kosuke Hagino swept the individual medleys at the Pan Pacific Championships and won two more individual silver medals at the Gold Coast, Australia, meet.

Phelps won gold in the 100m butterfly and silver in the 200m individual medley. Lochte came home from Australia with a single medal, silver in the 100m fly.

“He’s been coming on every year,” Lochte said of Hagino. “He’s been getting quicker and faster, but it’s not just him. There’s plenty of other swimmers.”

Age must be taken into account. Lochte is 30. Phelps is 29. Sun is 22. Hagino is 20.

It’s unknown if or when Phelps will return to swimming following a USA Swimming suspension that lasts into April and also includes next summer’s World Championships. Lochte moved to a new coach last year and is coming off an injury-riddled season.

Lochte was unquestionably the man to beat going into the last Olympic year. But much has changed.

“2011 was one of my best years,” Lochte said, “but that was 2011. Whatever happened that year, it’s all said and done. It’s over.”

Nick Zaccardi | NBC Sports

Nov 22 14

Namibia to participate in Zone 6 Games in Zimbabwe

by ZwemZa
The Namibian swimming team are from left Lushano Lamprecht, Nicolai Flemming, Kiara Schatz, Antonia (Toni) Roth, Zanré Oberholzer, Alexander Skinner, Sonja Adelaar and Molina Smalley.

The Namibian swimming team are from left Lushano Lamprecht, Nicolai Flemming, Kiara Schatz, Antonia (Toni) Roth, Zanré Oberholzer, Alexander Skinner, Sonja Adelaar and Molina Smalley.

Namibia will only participate in six out of nine sports codes in the upcoming Zone Six Regional Sports Competition.

The competition takes place in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe from 4 to 15 December this year.

Namibia will take part in football (boys and girls), track and field, boxing, netball, swimming and tennis.

Roger Kambatuku, a Senior Sports Officer in the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sports and Culture, told Nampa on Wednesday that the team consists of 176 athletes and officials.

The track and field athletes are 30 in total (15 boys and 15 girls); boxing (10 boys); netball (14 girls); swimming (10 boys and 10 girls); tennis (four boys and four girls). Both men and women’s football teams have 20 players each.

The rest of the team is made up of coaches, administrators and medical personnel.

The Namibian team is expected to depart for Zimbabwe on 30 November.

Namibia ended second in the 2012 edition of the Zone Six Regional Spots Competition held in Lusaka, Zambia in 2012.

The next games are set for Luanda, Angola in 2016.


Nov 22 14

I am no magician, says Lopez

by ZwemZa
Besides working closely with the swimmers, Lopez hopes to conduct seminars and workshops to raise the standard of the coaching community here. (DON WONG)

Besides working closely with the swimmers, Lopez hopes to conduct seminars and workshops to raise the standard of the coaching community here. (DON WONG)

As Spaniard Sergio Lopez donned a red T-shirt bearing the Singapore flag for the first time yesterday, he knows that there are high expectations on him to deliver on his track record of developing top swimmers.

As he was unveiled by the Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) as the new national swimming head coach, the 46-year-old, who sports a moustache and beard, said he is not a “magic man”, nor does he have a magic wand to develop “100 Joseph Schoolings” for Singapore.

But he has plans to take Singapore swimming to world standard in the next five years, plans that he outlined at a separate meeting yesterday evening in a session with swimmers, parents and coaches.

Having been the swimming head coach and aquatics director for the past seven years at The Bolles School in Florida — where Schooling was based — Lopez will begin a swimmer-by-swimmer assessment of the national team and invite swimmers for a national training programme, when he officially assumes his role on Jan 2.

To do this, Lopez — who has travelled with the national swimming team to major meets such as the 2011 and 2013 South-east Asian (SEA) Games, the 2012 London Olympics and the recent Asian Games — will work closely with coaches from SSA’s 34 affiliate clubs and conduct seminars and workshops to impart his knowledge to the clubs’ local coaches, so the entire standard of the coaching community will be raised, the SSA said.

“My job is to make you believe how good you are,” he said. “Joseph is an amazing swimmer — you don’t have many of those. I am aware of that and the only thing I need is people who are willing to work hard with me and believe in themselves.

“For the first few months, I have to understand the culture, how people live here and how people think. I think I understand a little now because I have dealt quite a few times with Singapore. Coaches need to understand I am a friend and we can share what all each of us think.”

A bronze medallist at the 1988 Olympics, Lopez is aware he will have the luxury of working with swimmers in a state-of-the-art environment. “The (OCBC) Aquatic Centre is world class and we want to utilise it. We already have swimmers here training, so we want to expand this,” he said.

“The interests of clubs are two-fold — that is money and high performance — so why don’t we get both? I am not here to steal swimmers from their clubs for them to train under me, but to work together to raise the level of swimming nationally, so we can aim to win medals together.”

In 2008, the SSA shut down its four-year Centre of Excellence (COE) programme and SSA Secretary-General Oon Jin Teik said the national training programme would be different from the COE, which faced resistance from clubs then.

“COE was a threat to many of the clubs, but what we are doing now is centralising all our resources to make this programme effective,” said Oon. “Swimmers will still continue to belong to their clubs, and clubs will not lose their income stream. To achieve (things) beyond the SEA Games level, I was quite frank with the coaches that for national interest, we put on the national hat and see how we can hit an Asian Games medal or an Olympic medal.”

TODAY understands the SSA has opened its search for an assistant national coach. The successful candidate will be a Singaporean, with Lopez deciding on the appointment.


Nov 22 14

After years of abuse, USA is finally standing up for its swimmers

by ZwemZa

USA Swimming, the national governing body of competitive swimming in the United States, has had a long and, in some ways, shameful history. In recent years, reports of swimming coaches’ sexual misconduct with their swimmers have made headlines.

Reports of coaches’ sexual misconduct includes secretly videotaping swimmers in showers and locker rooms, and even fondling and raping swimmers. Some coaches repeated the assaults from state-to-state, moving on to new locations when anyone caught on to what they were doing.

The problem has persisted, in part, because there has been no real system in place to hold coaches or USA Swimming accountable.

But now, USA Swimming has created a public list to help swimming organizations more easily check potential new hires.

Image credit: Screen shot - USA Swimming

According to Outside, the list consists of those coaches who have been banned for life, resigned their membership on a permanent basis or are permanently ineligible for membership with USA Swimming:

As of September 1, the list contained the names of 106 members, with at least 73 who were banned for sexual misconduct, often involving multiple victims.

It goes on to report about what part of the problem has been in dealing with coaches abusing their athletes.

Until very recently, most NGBs, including USA Swimming, didn’t specifically ban relationships between adult coaches and athletes of legal age.

In Massachusetts, where the legal age of consent is 16, it used to be permissible for a 60-year-old coach to have sex with a 16-year-old athlete if she agreed to it.

That finally changed for USA Swimming in 2013, when member voters clarified that even relationships between coaches and legally adult athletes are banned.

Since so much abuse has occurred under Chuck Wielgus’s tenure as CEO of USA Swimming, there have been public demands for his resignation. Wielgus has offered an apology, although four years ago he stated he had nothing to apologize for.

In June, The International Swimming Hall of Fame rescinded its invitation to Wielgus to add his name.

Kara Pendilton

Nov 22 14

Free riding in swimming : Take your time

by ZwemZa
Nathan Adrian (

Nathan Adrian (

At the 2012 London Olympics, Nathan Adrian won the men’s 100-metre freestyle final with a personal best of 47.52 seconds, beating his nearest rival by just a hundredth of a second. Three days earlier, Mr Adrian swam first in the 4×100-metre freestyle relay. His split was 47.89 seconds, the slowest time of the four. Ryan Lochte, who does not specialise in 100-metre freestyle, went last, and set the second-worst time of 47.74 seconds. France beat the American team into second place by 0.45 seconds. Was Mr Adrian not trying hard enough?

In an article published in the European Economic Review last year, Michael Neugart, of the Technical University of Darmstadt, and Matteo Richiardi, of the University of Torino, analysed data on 7,000 major swimming competitions held between 1972 and 2009. The huge trove of data allowed the researchers to compare the splits of swimmers who took part both in the individual and relay races in the same competition and isolate the causes of their performance.

The authors found that the highest-ranked swimmers tend to swim first and last in the relay, and the weakest battle through the less glamorous second and third legs. But they also found, rather surprisingly, that swimmers who went first in the relay performed worse relative to their own individual performance in the same competition, by around 0.3%. In Mr Adrian’s case, this would correspond to roughly an extra 0.15 seconds. This difference declined for the second and third swimmers in the relay, until there was no measurable gap between individual and relay performance for the final participant.

The authors attribute their findings to “free-riding”, the ability to benefit from team performance (a gold medal) without suffering the cost (muscle pain). Since a swimming relay is a sequential team task, only the last swimmer has an incentive to exert himself fully. The first swimmers know that if they go faster, the last one won’t have to work as hard. In anticipation of this, the first swimmer slows down. Such seemingly strategic behaviour may, of course, be entirely subconscious.

American Olympic swimming team coaches appear to have grasped the most important conclusion that arises from the data: the strongest swimmer should go first in the relay, because his free-riding (assuming a flat 0.3% penalty) will have the smallest impact on the team’s overall performance. But the data suggest that coaches still put many strong swimmers last. In fact, in the 2008 Olympics, Jason Lezak, America’s strongest swimmer in the 100-metre freestyle, went last in the relay—though the team did still win the gold medal and set a world record despite this suboptimal sequencing, partly thanks to Mr Lezak’s extraordinary overtake of the French swimmer in the last seconds of the race.

If free-riding can still be detected in such a competitive environment, it is surely far more prevalent elsewhere, suggesting that sequential team tasks require particularly attentive management. Post offices may want to put more responsible postmen on shifts earlier in the week. Experienced truck drivers should probably do the first leg of a long-haul journey. To hit an annual target, the best sales managers should approach new clients earlier in the year. If you want to get the most out of your team, it’s not enough to promise a medal shared by all.

The Economist

Nov 21 14

Lochte and Coughlin ready for Worlds

by ZwemZa
Ryan Lochte

Ryan Lochte

With eyes on their Rio de Janeiro potential, Ryan Lochte and Natalie Coughlin are ready for the Short Course World Championships, held Dec. 3-7 in Doha, Qatar.

“This season has been going a lot better than last season. No injuries so far, so knock on wood,” Lochte said in a teleconference Tuesday, referencing a fan encounter which tore his MCL and sprained his ACL last year. “The training has been going really well. I love short course meters. I love the turns; I love the underwaters.”

Lochte’s line up next month is expected to include 6 events: 200 free, 200 back, 50 and 100 fly, and the 100 and 200 IMs. At the same event in 2012, Lochte won 7 medals. But does he consider himself one of the top male swimmers in the world?

“I would like to think that I’m in that category,” he said. “If not the top, then one of the top. It’s hard to say who’s the best out there. There are plenty of other swimmers out in the world that are learning different training styles and different methods of getting faster and becoming better underwater.”

David Marsh, the Head Coach of the Championship team, as well as at Lochte’s training center SwimMAC Carolina, agreed his training has improved.

“We always keep speed involved in his training,” Marsh said. “This past week in particular, Ryan had his best week of training since he’s been in Charlotte. With that kind of trend, I feel good about the trajectory of where he’s heading and the whole group we have here.”

As far as the next Olympic cycle goes – and what events he might swim – Lochte remains coy: “I’m going to keep you guys guessing for the next couple years.”

Coughlin finds herself in a familiar position – swimming well in smaller meets and being a veteran figure on the international scene.

“I remember all of the swimmers who took me under their wing and I’m eternally grateful,” Coughlin said, adding she was just a senior in high school at her first international event. “I try to pay it forward and do my part. [The younger swimmers] are successful in their own right – they qualified for this team. I’m not going to dole out advice unless it’s asked for.”

She swam three meets in as many weeks in Italy, where she also set the short course American record in the 100 IM. The last time she competed in the Short Course World Championship meet in 2010, she won 4 individual medals. While she’s focused more recently on the sprint events, she mentioned she wasn’t opposed to adding more backstroke events leading up to the 2016 Rio Games.

“I’ve added a little bit more backstroke to my training, just to benefit my freestyle,” she continued. “It adds a better range of motion for my shoulders and it helps balance out that power you look for in freestyle. I think it’s a possibility to add more than just the 100 free, but it’s really difficult to say.”

But, the swimmers emphasized, the focus right now is on what’s in front of them: the Short Course World Championships.

“Australia and Russia are going to have really good squads,” Lochte said. “Team USA is just going to do what we always do and try to prove to the world that we’re the best.”

Rachel Lutz

Nov 21 14

USA Swimming names Coaching staff for international events

by ZwemZa

USASwimmingLogoUSA Swimming has announced its pool coaching staffs for three major international competitions in 2015 – the FINA World Championships, Pan American Games and World University Games.

“The commitments from a mix of veteran coaches and rising stars on these three staffs position our National Team well for both short- and long-term success,” said USA Swimming National Team Director Frank Busch. “Next summer, our swimmers will be in great hands as they look to excel against top international competition heading into an Olympic year in 2016.”

Headlining the selections are the head coaches for Team USA at the 2015 FINA World Championships set for Aug. 2-9, 2015, in Kazan, Russia. The women’s head coach at the 2013 FINA World Championships, Dave Salo of the University of Southern California and Trojan Swim Club will assume the same role next summer. Dave Durden of the University of California, Berkeley and California Aquatics will serve as the men’s head coach after leading the Golden Bears to three NCAA titles in the last four years.

The U.S. head coaches for the 2015 Pan American Games are Jason Turcotte of Dynamo Swim Club, who will guide the men, and Matt Kredich of the University of Tennessee and Tennessee Aquatics, who will mentor the women. The pool competition in Toronto is set for July 14-18, 2015. Turcotte was the co-recipient of the 2014 USA Swimming Development Coach of the Year Award, while Kredich is a six-time collegiate conference coach of the year honoree.

Leading the way for Team USA at the 2015 World University Games will be women’s head coach Ray Looze of Indiana University and men’s head coach Mike Bottom of the University of Michigan and Club Wolverine. Looze will serve as the women’s head coach for Team USA for next month’s FINA Short Course World Championships, and Bottom also served as men’s head coach for the 2013 World University Games. The 2015 World University Games swimming competition is slated for July 4-11, 2015, in Gwangju, South Korea.

The complete coaching staffs for each event are as follows:

2015 FINA World Championships Coaching Staff
Women’s Head Coach: Dave Salo (USC/Trojan Swim Club)
Women’s Assistant Coaches: Bruce Gemmell (Nation’s Capital Swim Club), Greg Meehan (Stanford/Stanford Swimming), Teri McKeever (Cal/California Aquatics)
Men’s Head Coach: Dave Durden (Cal/California Aquatics)
Men’s Assistant Coaches: Rick DeMont (Arizona/Tucson Ford Dealers Aquatics), Whitney Hite (Wisconsin/Wisconsin Aquatics); David Marsh (SwimMAC Carolina)

2015 Pan American Games Coaching Staff
Women’s Head Coach: Jason Turcotte (Dynamo Swim Club)
Women’s Assistant Coaches: Arthur Albiero (Louisville), Michael Brooks (York YMCA), Erik Posegay (North Baltimore Aquatic Club)
Men’s Head Coach: Matt Kredich (Tennessee/Tennessee Aquatics)
Men’s Assistant Coaches: Bob Groseth (SwimMAC Carolina), Ted Knapp (Stanford/Stanford Swimming), Greg Rhodenbaugh (Missouri)

2015 World University Games Coaching Staff
Women’s Head Coach: Ray Looze (Indiana)
Women’s Assistant Coaches: Steve Bultman (Texas A&M), Augie Busch (Virginia/Cavalier Swimming), Harvey Humphries (Georgia/Athens Bulldog Swim Club)
Men’s Head Coach: Mike Bottom (Michigan/Club Wolverine)
Men’s Assistant Coaches: John Flanagan (Nation’s Capital Swim Club), Kris Kubik (Texas), Yuri Suguiyama (Cal/California Aquatics)

Full rosters for each team are available at

Nov 21 14

Ian Thorpe regrets not coming out as Gay sooner

by ZwemZa
 Ian Thorpe

Ian Thorpe

Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe does not regret coming out in July as gay, he only wished he did it sooner. As for the rumors about him and Ricky Martin, the swimmer says they are not true.

Announced as GQ’s Man of Influence and unveiled as the cover boy during a VIP event at the Ivy Ballroom in Sydney on Wednesday night, Ian talks of what he really thinks of being a “man of influence.” For him, he is not comfortable about it at all, never mind the fact that he is a five-time Olympic gold medalist. Even though he’s used to being admired for his swimming chops and modeling gigs, he was never one to love the attention of many people, watching him what he does and says, let alone being a role model.

One thing he is not uncomfortable with now is embracing his sexual orientation. He came out to Michael Parkinson back in July and now says to GQ that he wished he was not too afraid to have come out even sooner. ‘I’m a little bit ashamed that I didn’t come out earlier, that I didn’t have the strength to do it,” he tells GQ. He said he was not strong enough then to break the convenient lie that he was living in.

When he came out to Parkinson, he said he had to live a lie for quite some time.  He also said he did not reveal he’s gay earlier because he personally could not accept it at first, and fear that his own country would not like it. He said he went through a difficult time accepting himself, saying he did not want to be gay but still found himself one at the end of the day. He also feared judgment from his family, his friends, and the nation.

Speaking to on the same event, Ian Thorpe said there’s no truth to the rumors about him and Ricky Martin. He said he’s currently not seeing anyone and they were not even friends when the reports broke out. “I’ve spoken to him a few times and that’s it,” shared the swimmer.

Nov 21 14

Gyurta seeks to continue winning form at FINA worlds

by ZwemZa
Daniel Gyurta

Daniel Gyurta

The world-record holder in 200m breaststroke, Hungary’s Daniel Gyurta, will be in action in Doha during the 12th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) that will be held at the Hamad Aquatic Centre from December 3 to 7.

The dominant but unassuming Hungarian is fresh from a victory at the FINA Mastbank Swimming World Cup series, where he finished second in the overall points table.

Gyurta is showing that he is ready to take on the world and has not lost the winning form which saw him take the gold at the 2012 London Olympics.

When asked about his strategy for the World Swimming Championships, the Hungarian kept his cards close to his chest but hinted at the desire to set a new world record.

“I never reveal my aims — they remain my secret. Of course, I always try to improve my results and get better and to have a good race where I feel comfortable in the water. World records are set to be broken and everything can happen as a result of a good race.”

The Hungarian has been winning fans in the Middle East for many years following numerous appearances in Doha and Dubai.

He made waves in Qatar earlier this year when he set a World Cup record in his signature 200m breaststroke at the first meet of the FINA Mastbank Swimming World Cup, which also took place at Hamad Aquatic Centre.

The Olympic champion’s rivals have come and gone over the years but he has managed to remain at the top of his game.

“We have not changed anything in our preparations based on how others are swimming at that time because what we have been doing in the past has shown that we are on the right track. My coaches are continuously refining my training and preparation but before a major competition, we already know how we want to swim the race and only small things will be altered. I do not follow what the other swimmers are doing to prepare, I focus on my technique and try to do the best that I can.”

Daniel Gyurta is just one of more than 1,300 of the world’s best swimmers who will compete at the 12th FINA World Swimming Championships in Doha. Previous victors include US Olympic Gold medallist Ryan Lochte, who took home six gold medals at the last Championships in 2012.

Olympic champion Chad Le Clos of South Africa and multiple world-record holder Katinka Hosszu of Hungary are some of the top names who will return to Doha next month.

In addition, Cameron Van Der Burgh (RSA), Ryan Lochte (USA), Mireia Belmonte (ESP), Inge Dekker (NED) and other key athletes from Germany, Italy, Russia, China, Japan and the Netherlands are expected to bring their best to the competition.

Tickets for the event start at QR10 and are available at Virgin Megastores. They can also be purchased online at Morning heats start at 9.30am and the finals kick off from 6.00pm.


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