Friday, January 29, 2010

Who Doesn’t Love New Stuff? Err That Was Rhetorical

I’m playing with the navigation and design of the ol’ blog a little. I thought this post would serve as a call for comments and suggestions rather than putting up an “under construction” animated gif.

Oh heck, why not… That’s so 1996

Thursday, January 28, 2010

“Dream Girl” – Platform Diving Music Video By The Baldwin Brothers

This is my new favorite music video featuring diving! My old favorite was “In Too Deep” by Sum 41, but “Dream Girl” by a group called The Baldwin Brothers is taking my top spot because it more accurately depicts competitive diving.

The Sum 41 video is fun, but it’s fraught with pet peeves like scores to the tenth of a point and trick dives in competition. Thanks to Justin for sending this video to me!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Looking Into Performance Enhancing Mouthpieces For Swimmers

Are swimmers missing out on performance enhancing mouthwear? A Jockology article led me to investigate the possibility a “performance enhancing mouthpiece” for swimming.

What is a performance enhancing mouthpiece?
The theory behind possible performance gains comes from jaw position and the compression of the temperomandibular (TM) joint. According to UnderArmour’s consumer brochure, you have a natural “fight or flight” reaction to clench your jaw during physical activity. This jaw-clenching compresses the TM joing, which then causes a “release of excess amounts of performance-sapping hormones (like cortisol) that produce stress, fatigue and distraction.”

The mouthpiece separates the teeth in a way to position the jaw to decrease compression of the TM joint. In theory, “unlocking” the jaw will then decreases the release of stress hormones, which will be less of a hindrance on performance.

Since When Do Swimmers Wear Mouthguards?
They don’t. But the snorkel mouthpiece is the closest thing to a mouthguard – which is why, if the proposed performance benefits of such an accessory can be proven, incorporating these types of mouthpieces into training could be beneficial. Also, since swimmers are allowed to wear nose clips and ear plugs in competition, it seems reasonable that a mouthpiece would also be permitted.

According to literature provided by UnderArmour, these custom made mouthpieces aren’t just for sports requiring a mouth guard. In fact, swimming (among other non-contact sports) was specifically mentioned in the consumer brochure as an activity that could benefit from the performance enhancing qualities of the mouthpiece.

What Benefits Are Reported?
UnderArmour literature reports that their mouthwear endured independent testing conducted at some of the nation

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Melissa Wu Shows Her Game Face At 2010 Australian Open Diving Championships

melissa wu

Melissa Wu, the 17 year old diver from New South Wales (NSW), really put her game face on (har har har) for the 2010 Australian Open Diving Championships last weekend. Wu placed 2nd on individual platform with the win going to her synchro partner and team mate Alexandra Croak. Wu and Croak would go on to win the synchro platform event as well.

The duo is something of an odd couple on paper, but they perform remarkably in competition. Croak is a dual Olympian, having participated in the 2000 Sydney Olympics in gymnastics, and the 2008 Beijing Olympics in diving. She is also terrified of heights, and significantly taller than partner Melissa Wu.

Wu is the smallest Australian diver to make the national team. As of the 2008 Olympics, her height was being reported in a range from 4’5″ to 4’11″ depending on the source.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

GoSwim.tv Shows Innovative Use Of Technology For Coaching Technique

GoSwim.tv has some exciting new tech products that will help swimmers and coaches visualize technique corrections. First, the GoSwim iPhone application offers photos and videos of starts, turns, head position – you name it! This application makes technique videos and tutorials portable, for quick on-deck references. Best of all, it’s completely free. As Tony of SCAQ Blog put it: “This app is free, it is fun, and it’s an asset.”

Next, Rob Aquatics recently wrote a post about the new Video Evaluation Service from GoSwim.tv. First, you will need to watch the short tutorial on how to shoot video for evaluation.

Then you can upload your videos to the website for analysis. A coach will “mark up the video, add voice annotations, and give you some ideas of drills to watch” (source).

Exciting stuff, and a great use of technology to give swimmers anywhere in the world access to professional video analysis. Currently, GoSwim is charging $15 per evaluation of one full length of the pool.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Duquesne University Men’s Program Looks To Swimming Community For Aid And Support

duquesne university swimming

Since it was announced on Monday that Duquesne University will be cutting their men’s swimming program after the current season, a web presence calling for donations and support has cropped up online.

According to a press release, Duquesne will be annually reallocating $1 million of Athletic Department money to a “core group of sports” that no longer includes men’s swimming, baseball, men’s golf, and wrestling.

An online presence has already been established in the form of a donations website, and Facebook Group.

It is rumored that the program needs $2 million to save itself – but aside from monetary donations, Dave Sheets has asked for support in the form of a letter-writing campaign, and a grace period for recruiting his swimmers until after Championship season.

There is one comment/point I’d like to make. This excerpt from the press release caught my attention:

“The decision follows an extended period of comprehensive research,” Amodio said. “Although it is an extremely difficult move, it will place the athletics program in the very best position to be successful in the future,” he said, adding that this will better align the programs offered with the department’s operational budget and donor base.

Translation: We’re keeping the sports that have the most active donors. This just reinforces the importance of having a strong alumni donor base. I believe that achieving a high percentage of ‘active’ alumni is important to send a message to any athletic department. Teams in fear of the chop, take notice of this wording.

Organize a swim team reunion and bring your check books, ask the coach if there are any immediate costs that need alleviating. As a recent graduate, I understand that money is tight – but by staying involved and giving what you can, your dollars do more than pick up the tab at Olive Garden, they send a message to the department that you want to stay involved.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Former Wright State Swim Coach, Matt Liddy, Dies At Age 50

I was flipping through the Dayton Daily News this morning (skipping the high school basketball front page story) and found a familiar face in the side column. The thumbnail portrait belonged to Matt Liddy, former Wright State University swim coach of 16 seasons, along with the headline: Revered ex-WSU swimming coach dies.

On Monday, January 25th, Liddy “suffered an apparent heart attack while at a drive-through pharmacy of a grocery store” (source).

Liddy is survived by his family, and his impressive coaching record. During his 16 seasons as the WSU Raiders swim coach, Liddy totalled 7 men’s conference titles, 9 women’s conference titles, and 228 combined dual meet wins. Liddy personally mentored 170 individual conference champions and 65 conference relay championship teams, and was the league’s Coach of the Year 11 times (source).

Monday, January 25, 2010

Frank Busch To Speak At Ursuline Academy Hall Of Fame Induction

frank busch

I got an email from Sue with some information of local interest. She took the time to write a little bit about the induction of the Ursuline Academy 1991 State Championship swim team into their Sports Hall of Fame, along with some background on the nationally and internationally renowned coach, Frank Busch, who will be speaking at the event.

Rather than re-wording her synopsis, I’ll post what she wrote:

On Saturday, April 17th, Ursuline Academy in Blue Ash will induct their 1991 state championship swim team into their Sports Hall of Fame. What may be of interest to your readers is that the featured speaker will be Frank Busch.

Frank is in his 21st year at The University of Arizona and has a long history with Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Swimming. Many, many people in the local swimming community know and love Frank. Busch began a four year career with the Northern KY Piranhas (1974-1978), followed by a year with the senior program of the Cincinnati Marlins. He began his long service in the coaching ranks at the University of Cincinnati (1980-1989), where both teams broke into the Division I Top 20.

In 2008, Frank became only the second coach in NCAA swimming history to coach both the men’ and women’s teams to national championship titles in the same season.

Coach Busch has been named NCAA Coach of the Year six times and is an 11-time Pac-Ten Coach of the Year. In 1998, Busch was named Coach of the Year by both USA Swimming and the United States Olympic Committee. He has been selected by United States Swimming to serve on numerous coaching staffs, including the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.

Admission includes cocktails and heavy appetizers. For tickets and sponsorship information your readers can contact Sue Mackey, Ursuline Sports Hall of Fame Chair at 513-583-5614 or 884-4266.

Thanks for the info, Sue! If anyone else has some relevant swimming news, announcements, or press releases they would like to promote, email me at erict@kastawayswimwear.com. (Hint: If you write something in press release format, I can just copy and paste it).

Also, feel free to share links on the Kast-A-Way Swimwear page on Facebook.

Monday, January 25, 2010

In Brief…

kast-a-way swimwear in brief

> WeAreHandsome take swimsuit graphics to the next level SCAQ Blog
> NeroTX Approved by NCAA SwimTechGeek
> Revival of the Husky Invitational The Screaming Viking!
> Fueled by fat: Fat burning 101 The Science Of Sport
> The Marge Simpson of my team The Screaming Viking!
> High School Senior describes what it is like to swim with Michael Phelps! SCAQ Blog
> FINA Bureau Votes to Keep Swimming World Records Swimming World Magazine
> What Made the Hi-Tech Suits Effective? Swimming Science
> Embed Instagram into Blogger

Monday, January 25, 2010

‘Most Difficult Dive Ever’ Article Hypes Incorrect Degree Of Difficulty

tom daley diving

Through a post on SCAQ Blog, I came across a DailyMail article titled: Tom Daley seeks to master the most difficult dive ever… and win gold at the London Olympics. Although I love when diving gets some media hype, the article boasts some incorrect facts that should be addressed for the sake of ensuring that online diving reports are accurate.

So in short, ‘The Twister’ isn’t the name of the dive, it isn’t the hardest dive ever done, and the degree of difficulty was incorrectly reported because it was changed as of September 15, 2009. If you want more of a breakdown, read on…

The article mainly talks about how British diving sensation, and current FINA World Champion in the Platform event, Tom Daley is preparing for the London 2012 Games. Tom has become something of a teen idol in England because of his success in diving – which is phenomenal – but all the more reason to be thorough when researching a report.

First, the author renames the back 2 1/2 somersault 2 1/2 twist in pike (5255B) ‘The Twister.’ Now, I’m not sure if Tom and his coach call it The Twister for short because it is the dive he was working on for a while, or if the author just didn’t want to write out “back 2 1/2 somersault 2 1/2 twist,” but The Twister is not the name of the dive.

Second, the article makes it sound like Tom Daley will be attempting the hardest dive ever done. While the 5255B was the dive used to score the highest single dive total in an Olympic competition (Matthew Mitcham, 2008, for 112.10 points) it is surely not the hardest dive ever performed. It was, however, the dive with the highest DD at the FINA World Championships, where 7 of the 12 finalists completed it successfully.

For the record, the forward 2 1/2 somersault 3 twist pike (with a higher DD of 3.9) has been performed in competition 3 times in the past 12 months, according to DiveMeets.com

Third, with the release of the updated FINA Degree of Difficulty table, the 5255B isn’t even the dive with the highest degree of difficulty. In fact, the dive’s degree of difficulty has been reduced from 3.8 to 3.6.

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