Thursday, March 27, 2008

Speedo LZR

The LA Times ran a story today about the new Speedo LZR suit. The suit is a technological revolution a long time in the works. Its release coincides with the run-up to the summer games in Beijing of course. The suit is approved by FINA for competition use however, it is still causing a stir in the swimming world. A lot of people feel violated by the invasion of high technology into the sport, but I love it. I have yet to see this suit in person, but hopefully I will get to try it out in the not too distant future. In fact, I would love to try out/test all the new suits from the varying manufacturers. I find them fascinating. In future posts I will look into the details and engineering behind all the designs, but right now I don't have the spare time. One thing I do know though is that the LZR features ultrasonically welded seams. You might know those from the giant plastic bubble packaging you get when you buy anything from a memory card to an electric tooth brush. It is what makes those packages so damn hard to get open.

The Australia Olympic trials are currently in action and it is prominently featuring the suit. Swimmers are smashing world records left and right. It will interesting to see what happens at the U.S. trials although we have a good bit of time to wait.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tired of Tendonitis

Beginning about a month ago my left shoulder began giving me trouble. Actually, it wasn't so much the shoulder as the clavicle (collar bone). Having previously gone through two years of extensive physical therapy on the shoulder during my teenage years, I was prepared to handle it. I starting with icing the shoulder (unfortunately I am allergic to ibuprofen), but it still seemed to feel worse over time. I think a lot also had to do with the fact that I kept poking at the area. Sitting at work I kept cracking my sternum and shoulder. I finally made it to the doctor yesterday to see if my feelings of a manageable tendonitis flare were correct, or whether the problem was worse. X-rays confirmed no issue with cartilage and my pain was diagnosed as sternoclavicular tendonitis. Pretty much the joint where my clavicle meets the sternum is extremely pissed off. It has caused a lot of discomfort in my shoulder, pulling it forward and causing huge knots in my traps and neck as well. Now at least I also have some anti-inflammatory drugs to take that don't cause me to bust out in severe hives.

I kept out of the pool for a week while trying to rehab the shoulder/clavicle. I kept my workout going by running a lot. I've run many in mile in my day without issues, so I wasn't going overboard, at least I thought. It seems that now my right achilles tendon has decided to join the tendonitis club. I've had plenty of tendonitis issues with that foot, in the top of the foot and ankle, but the achilles has never before been too sore to function. Although, the tendon has always made me twinge a bit when doing calf raises. As of yesterday though the tendon is too uncomfortable to even attempt to stand on the tip toes of my right foot. I couldn't even stand the pressure of my shoe on my heel throughout the day. Not wanting to face the same fate as University of Georgia gymnast Courtney Kupets I have now decided to take a break from everything.

Right now I have too many issues that need to heal. I also have a lot going on with planning a move into a new house. Hopefully it all won't take too long to straighten out and I will come back stronger than before. It just isn't worth it when you have to compromise your technique for injuries. It causes much more harm than good.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Map of Southern California Pools

I will be moving from Marina Del Rey to Long Beach in a few weeks. While researching potential places to swim in the area I decided to just record my findings with a Google Map. I know I have not encompassed every pool around, but thus far, I have listed ones that make sense for me. They all have lap swim times and/or masters swim teams. Scanning around with the satellite view of Google Maps makes finding new pools pretty easy as well, especially in Southern California where they are almost all outdoors.

View Larger Map

Sunday, March 9, 2008

USA Swimming Needs a Wakeup Call

In recent years Web 2.0 websites delivering new media content such as Blogger, My Space and You Tube have shaken up the status quo. Many traditional media outlets and corporations have been unsure how to react. Some have resisted change by shunning and criticizing new media sources, one example being NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams. Others have been quick to realize the monetary benefits and have thus acquired popular new sites, incorporating them into their existing methods, like AOL/Time Warner’s acquisition of Weblogs Inc.

More and more institutions are attempting to ride the Web 2.0 wave. However, the potentials of new media are still difficult to grasp for most. For that reason companies hoping to develop their own media presence are relying on consultants or other outside entities. The problem is that most deals are made simply for the money. The consulting companies might know a bit about marketing and media delivery, but they don’t necessarily know the inner-workings of the industry with which they are getting involved. They apply similar templates to each client without the core knowledge of what features their audience really wants. The most credible and successful new media sites have risen through the ranks because they are run by industry insiders. They are not journalists required to write about a wide array of topics, they are passionate individuals working at the heart of the topics they cover.

Recently there has been a deal made between USA Swimming and Wasserman Media Group. This union falls into the previously mentioned category of the miss guided institution teaming with the media consultant. Wasserman has a range of sports experience, but by no means are they swimming experts. Normally this sort of contract would not illicit much attention from the industry insiders, but the devil is in the details. As put forth in an interview with USA Swimming Executive Director, Chuck Wielgus, and , the contract between USA Swimming and Wasserman gives the organization 50% of the revenue, but it also gives Wasserman 100% control. Traditionally communications groups, such as Wasserman, act as a middle man between the organization and the media. They package news items and deliver them to the right media outlets. This particular deal however, sees Wasserman become the one and only media outlet.

Resulting from the deal, Wasserman intends to produce a website where all swimming media content will be published. The site,, has yet to be launched, but is currently available for viewing in alpha release. In the meantime USA Swimming is already receiving great flack for the handling of the union. Independent swimming media sources are feeling left out in the cold by the organization. Long existing news reporting entities such as Swimming World Magazine and see a huge conflict of interest potential. New media entities such as bloggers like Tony Austin of the SCAQ Swim Club Blog and Garrett McCaffery of, are even being sufficiently hindered in their reporting abilities due to shady tactics in the restriction of fair use laws.

During a the recent Missouri Grand Prix swim meet Mr. McCaffery received media credentials from USA Swimming to gather interview content. The issuance of the media credentials also came with severe restrictions. One of those restrictions was the taping of any swimming footage. It just so happened that while filming a poolside interview Natalie Coughlin chose that moment to break a world record in the 100 m backstroke during the preliminary heats. Part of the race was captured in the background of the interview. After the footage was uploaded to USA Swimming issued McCaffery a letter of cease and desist. They also revoked any future privilege of media credentials. The actual discourse is available for reading on the blog .

Without a doubt USA Swimming believes their actions to be for the betterment of the sport. However, it seems that they are merely naive about new media technologies. Sports become mainstream successes because of their potential for many individuals to make money. The USA Swimming and Wasserman deal leaves potential for only two entities to generate significant revenue. There is no information provided as to whether any finances float down to the swimmers or national team members as well. A system that strong arms the competition and expects the team members to work for peanuts does not work, just ask the Soviet Union.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

GM Next Gen Mild Hybrid

Today in Geneva General Motors announced the second generation belted alternator starter mild hybrid system. Now I might just know a little bit about this project... or I might not... It is very interesting to read people's opinions on the announcement though. It seems that it is perhaps too early still for people to really grasp the concept of the system. I try and read everything I can when it comes to feelings about GM's mild hybrid systems and I also try and find all the information I can about competitors. Not to say though that it might have any effect on future developments... Perhaps I've said too much already.