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Friday, September 23, 2016

The Week in Swimming

Brazilian Paralympic swimmer Daniel Dias
History was made in Rio, with Brazilian swimmer Daniel Dias scoring more Paralympic medals than any male swimmer and China taking home more swimming medals than any country. (Swim Swam)

With 26 Paralympic medals, Spanish swimmer Teresa Perales plans to break Michael Phelps’ record of 28 at Tokyo 2020. (Metro)

A 69-year-old Australian became the second-oldest person to swim the English Channel. (Morning Bulletin)

Should the University of North Carolina have dropped its swimming requirement? (Daily Tarheel)

USA Swimming’s first-ever 18 & Under World 100 ranking features a five-way tie for first place.

Yusra Mardini, the 18-year-old Olympic swimmer for the refugee team, was among the honorees at the UN’s first Global Goals Awards. (Washington Post)

An Indonesian swimmer sparked a censorship debate after her swimsuit was blurred out during a poolside interview. (

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Back to School with Endless Pools

Crimson swimmers using and photobombing the Elite Endless Pool at Harvard University
School’s back in session, and on the pool decks at select universities, including Harvard and USC, that means it’s time for stroke refinement in the Endless Pool®.

Earlier this year, Arkansas Razorbacks' then-Head Coach Sean Schimmel told an interviewer, “We have been getting great facility upgrades with the new team suite and the Endless Pool. Those two things just really help our team's experience and our ability to get better.”

The Razorbacks’ Elite Endless Pool allows Schimmel’s swimmers to swim in place, carefully observing their strokes in the underwater or overhead/backstroke mirror – up to a blistering 0:51/100-yard pace!

Schimmel added, “It is certainly an exciting time to be a part of our Razorback Family.”

A video posted by Razorback Swimming & Diving (@razorbackswimdive) on

At Penn State University, the Lion swimmers love their Elite. "It's a huge help with fixing strokes," senior Nate Savoy told a student reporter last year. "The mirrors really make it easy to see what you're not doing correctly and to be able to fix it."

"It's a great tool in helping us perfect technique," senior Caitlyn Karr noted. "Especially with how close we are to Big Tens, every little thing counts at this point."

In a separate interview last year, PSU Head Coach Tim Murphy told us, “The Endless Pool can teach you efficiency, and it can teach you how you create speed.” He called it “a tremendous tool [that] helps to create a more enhanced learning environment.”

Olympic open-water swimmer Alex Meyer trained in the Elite Endless Pool at Harvard University. He refined his stroke sufficiently to win gold at the 2010 FINA World Open Water Swimming Championship.

Crimson swimmers continue to use it for training and for some friendly intramural competition.

A photo posted by Alex Meyer (@alexmeyerswims) on

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Week in Swimming

Paralympics gold-medal swimmers Yip Pin Xiu and Theresa Goh in Lego form
At the Rio Paralympics, Team USA’s swimmers are racking up medals, while Singapore’s Yip Pin Xiu broke her own world record (Mashable).

Olympic medalist Allison Schmitt opens up about her struggles with depression (CNN, with video) while open-water legend Lynne Cox discussed how she dealt with grief (Press Telegram).

Marathon swimmer Kim Chambers fell short of her planned record-breaking swim to raise funds for veterans with post-traumatic stress. (NY Times)

Next month, elite swimmers hope to test the safety of the Chicago River, well before the official target date in 2020. (Chicago Sun-Times) But the National Triathlon’s cancelled swim raised the question, Will it ever be safe to swim the Potomac River? (Washingtonian)

USA Swimming announced the 66 members of their 2016-17 National Junior Team.

Capitalizing on Team USA’s sterling performance in Rio, USA Swimming has big-budget plans leading up to Tokyo 2020. (Swim Swam)

An abandoned swimming pool is the site of an experimental music performance designed for both hearing and deaf audiences. (The Creators Project)

Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky dominated an American Ninja Warrior on The Ellen Show. (EllenTube)

A photo posted by U.S. Paralympics (@usparalympics) on

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

David Adams: Helping Swimmers Feel at One with the Water

Swim instructor Dave Adams in the Original Endless Pool at Wave Cloud Swim School
“I don’t try to swim anywhere; the end of the pool comes to me. You get in a state of oneness. It sounds totally crazy! I try to get to the highest state of consciousness through swimming. I become the center, and everything moves around me. … Do you know what I mean?”

Well, do you? Surfer/swim coach David Adams may not provide your run-of-the-mill swim instruction. (“My approach is quite unique,” he insists. “I’m fairly certain I’m the only one in the world doing it this way.”) But at his Endless Pools® training facility, Wave Cloud Swim School, he gets results.

The Triathlete Who Couldn’t Swim
“The first time he put his face in water was in the Endless Pool in my house,” Adams says of Dan, a swimming student. Adams finds that the Endless Pool makes an approachable introduction. “It’s not a big, intimidating pool.”

“We start with basics: floating, breathing,” he recalls. “For every action, there’s a breath that goes with it.” All seemed on track with Adams’ organic approach until, as he recalls, Dan told him, “‘I have a triathlon in four weeks.’”

Adams felt confident that he could prepare Dan for his first open-water swim. “The Endless Pool gets them used to the current. They already know what to expect. It’s a truly amazing tool. I just love it!”

“His first time out [in the open water] and he’s swimming across the river. He’s so focused on his breath. It was the first time he’s ever not able to touch the bottom. Literally, after eight or nine hours of swimming in the Endless Pool!”

Mr. Universe Used to Sink
Not all of Adams’ students approach swimming quite like he does. His clientele includes people he describes as “all gym-ified. They want to go quickly. I tell them what we’re doing is more like ballet than football. It’s not a sport.”

Perhaps his most ‘gym-ified’ client is a former Mr. Universe. “He’s never been able to swim,” reports Adams. “He’s a bit embarrassed.”

So how do you teach someone who has the opposite of a ‘swimmer’s build’? Adams quickly decided that freestyle was not the correct approach.

“He’s not able to get enough purchase with his forearms. … We’re going straight to butterfly purely because he’s a bit like a dolphin: just pure muscle – and he doesn’t float!”

Of course, that was before he worked with Adams in the Endless Pool. By now, expect that Mr. Universe feels at one with the water.

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Week in Swimming

Team USA Paralympic swimmer Jessica Long
The Paralympic Games kicked off yesterday in Rio. Thanks to Swim Swam for this Beginner’s Guide to Paralympic Swimming, already underway.

Get inspired by these profiles of blind swimmer Brad Snyder, already a two-time Paralympic gold medalist (Washington Post) and a 90-year-old prostate cancer survivor who swims daily (WSJ).

Would an anti-doping boycott of the 2017 World Championships push FINA and the IOC to change course? The American Swimming Coaches Association thinks so. (Swimming World)

The “swim-proof” Apple Watch Series 2 launches a week from today. (Ars Technica)

LifeHacker shares guides to start swimming for exercise and to pick the perfect goggles.

VIDEO: An Austin, Texas, doctor just finished swimming every day for 10,000 days to raise money for kids’ swimming lessons. (KXAN)

For pre-race motivation, try this Spotify playlist from gold-medalist Simone Manuel. (ESPN)

The author of Swim: Why We Love the Water, Lynn Sherr explores the politics of swimming. (

A video posted by Michelle Konkoly (@michellekonkoly) on

A photo posted by Rudy Garcia-Tolson (@rudygarciatolson) on

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Krige Schabort Aims for Paralympic Gold

paratriathlete Krige Schabort winning the 2014 ITU World Championship
“My life has changed in a second,” says Krige Schabort, and that’s been true more than once. As he prepares for his sixth and final Paralympic Games, the 2015 ESPY Award winner reflected on the improbable and inspiring path that may well lead him to Olympic gold.

Lemons into Lemonade
While serving in the army for his native South Africa, Schabort lost both legs in a surprise bombing in 1987, during the Angola War.

After learning that Schabort had been a lifelong athlete, enjoying basketball and swimming, his occupational therapist introduced him to wheelchair racing.

“I was tickled when I saw these guys going at those speeds on the track,” he recounted in an interview earlier this year. “And then, I decided I want to see if I can get a racing chair and start track events.”

After overcoming “the only tough part,” actually acquiring a high-priced racing chair, Schabort participated in five Paralympic Games as a marathoner. He earned a bronze in Barcelona and silver in Sydney. He then made a major switch.

Paratriathlete Krige Schabort, with his wife, Caron, after winning the 2015 ESPY Award for Best Male Athlete with a Disability
Paratriathlete Krige Schabort never gives up! Surviving a bomb in Angola and a hit-and-run near his Georgia home, he continues to compete and inspire. In 2015, he won the ESPY Award for Best Male Athlete with a Disability (here with his wife, Caron). This week, he competes in his sixth and final Paralympics. The silver and bronze medalist could leave Rio with his first Olympic gold.

Discovering Triathlon
“In 2008, my sponsor for my racing wheelchair went to Kona” for the IRONMAN World Championship. “‘You should do this,’” he recalls being told. “‘You will love it.’” Apparently, his sponsor knew him well.

Adding swimming to his repertoire seemed a natural fit. “I grew up on the ocean,” he recalls. “I used to swim a lot. A big part of me is attached to water.

“I did my first half-IRONMAN [70.3 miles total] in 2009.” The following two years, he qualified for Kona. He won both events, each with nearly identical times: 9:26 and 9:24.

Besides winning his own division, “I was #300 overall,” he says proudly; that’s an impressive achievement for a race that garners some 2,000 triathletes!

Training at Home
For convenience and to train in open-water conditions (against a current, with no flip turns), Krige had his own High Performance Endless Pool installed in his yard.

“It’s been great,” he says. “I love it – right out my backdoor, I jump in, it’s clear water.”

He finds that the Endless Pool has added benefits. “It’s good for our family, it’s good to have in winter. My boys are swimmers, they are triathletes.”

In-place swimming in the Endless Pool affords opportunities for real-time feedback; with Endless Pools’ underwater swim mirrors, he’s observed progress in his technique, particularly in “the initial part of my pull. I used to go too deep; I did not have a high elbow lift. I’ve been working on that in the Endless Pool.”
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