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Rio 2016 : Phelps laments lack of “clean sport”

Swimmer Michael Phelps says he does not believe he has ever participated in a “clean sport” after being chosen to carry the USA flag at the Rio Games.Phelps, 31, is the most decorated Olympian of all time with 22 medals and the first American male swimmer to qualify for a fifth Games.

“We all want clean sports and everyone on the same playing field,” he said.

“I don’t think I’ve ever competed in a clean sport – but there’s not much other than me I can control.”

Phelps, who was chosen by a vote of fellow team members for Friday’s opening ceremony, has won 18 Olympic gold medals.

“Something needs to change with all sports, not just swimming,” he added.

“As athletes you want to compete on a level playing field – and how many Olympics have we had and been saying this at now? It’s sad someone at the top can’t get a handle on this.”

Phelps retired after winning four gold medals at London 2012, before returning to the pool in 2014.

He was arrested for drink-driving later that year and banned from competitive swimming for six months.

Phelps returned to action in April 2015 at the Mesa Pro Series meeting in Arizona, winning the 100m butterfly, before claiming three gold medals at that year’s US National Championships in San Antonio, Texas.

“I’m honoured to be chosen, proud to represent the US, and humbled by the significance of carrying the flag and all it stands for,” he said.

Swimming World retracts awards of GDR drug fueled swimmers

WSC swimmer

Based on a mix of positive tests, personal admissions as well as doping admissions from their coaches, Swimming World Magazine has stripped Kornelia Ender, Ulrike Tauber, Petra Schneider, Ute Geweniger and Kristin Otto of their World Swimmer of the Year awards from the 1970s and ’80s.

Those five swimmers–along with Barbara Krause, Cornelia Sirch, Silke Horner and Anke Mohring–have had their European Swimmer of the Year awards vacated as well.

Below, Swimming World has provided a full profile of the competitive endeavors of each of these swimmers who took part in the East German doping machine.

In the December 1994 issue of Swimming World Magazine, editor-in-chief Phillip Whitten first broke the news, then provided the first irrefutable evidence–from the Stasi, the German Democratic Republic’s (GDR) secret police–that East Germany’s female swimmers were victims of rampant, systematized doping.

Ever since, the magazine has routinely called for the East German women who were using performance-enhancing drugs to be stripped of their Olympic medals.

These calls to action have continued every time that the International Olympic Committee has elected to strip other Olympians of their medals due to positive doping tests and/or admissions of defrauding the athletic process. Swimming World has always returned the conversation to the East German women, who were part of systemic doping from 1973-89.

For the full story go to Swimming World Magazine

Fina World Junior Swimming Championships off to blazing start

Ruta Meilutyte

Ruta Meilutyte

The 4th Fina World Junior Swimming Championships got under way in style with two championship records being re-written on the opening morning itself.

Australia’s Mack Horton stamped his class in the 400m freestyle with a new record of 3:50.25, bettering the previous mark of 3:50.97 set by Japan’s Fumiya Hidaka in 2011.

Great Britain’s James Guy, who was placed fifth at last month’s 15th Fina World Championships in Barcelona, qualified in second with a time of 3:51.05 while Andrea D’Arrigo of Italy followed with the third best time of 3:51.05.

The second championships record predictably went to Lithuania’s Olympic and World Champion Ruta Meilutyte as she bettered the 50m breaststroke mark of 31.25 seconds set in 2008 by Canada’s Amanda Reason. Fresh from her exploits at last month’s World Championships in Barcelona, the 16-year-old Lithuanian was timed at 31.10 seconds, making her the firm favourite for the gold medal in the finals.

Olivia Anderson of the US qualified in second with a time of 31.49 seconds, while Arianna Castiglioni came in third best in a time of 31.54 seconds. The semi-finals were to be held later on Monday night followed by the finals on Tuesday evening.

Ebrahim Abdul Malek, Secretary General, General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare (GAYSW) was joined by Dr Julio C. Maglione, President, Fina, and Ahmad Al Falasi, President, UAE Swimming Association (UAE SA) at the official opening of the championships.

Other outstanding performances on the opening morning came from Russia’s Vsevolod Zanko in the boys 100m breaststroke. Zanko finished just outside the championships record. He had won this event at the European Junior Championships in Poland in July, and will be looking to add the World Junior title to his collection in the finals scheduled for Tuesday.

The US girls 4 x200m freestyle relay team also performed well, finishing just over a second outside the current championships record. The team of Cierra Runge, Quinn Carrozza, Kathryn McLaughlin and Katherine Drabot recorded a time of 8:01.36, ahead of the Australian quartet who qualified second in 8:06.08.

This is the fourth edition of the Fina World Junior Swimming Championships and it has attracted a record number of 753 swimmers from 91 nations. The competition will witness some of the top juniors in the world — girls aged between 14-17 years and boys aged between 15-18 years — competing to make a statement on the international scene.

The championships will run through to August 31, with heats each day from 10 am to 1 pm, and the semi-finals and finals every evening from 6 pm to 8.30 pm.


Coutts and Gandy crush Commonwealth records

Alicia Coutts 11

Former Great Britain Olympian Ellen Gandy has broken her first Australian record, and a Commonwealth record at that, in the women’s 200m butterfly on the final night of competition at the 2013 Short Course Championships in Sydney, with Alicia Coutts also setting a new Commonwealth mark in the 200m IM.

The 22-year-old Gandy who was born in Bromley, England and swam for Team GB at last year’s London Olympics, has had to sit out a year of international competition before being eligible to qualify to swim for Australia, missing this year’s FINA World Championships in Barcelona.

Swimming as part of the team that recently competed at the FINA World Cups in Eindhoven and Berlin however, and narrowly missing the record there, Gandy has trained in Australia since she was 15 under coach Rohan Taylor and is based at the Nunawading Swim Club in Melbourne.

Winning the race in a time of 2:02.88, to take 0.35 of a second off Jessicah Schipper’s previous Australian best swum in a ‘supersuit’ in 2009, Gandy was also under the previous Commonwealth record of 2:03.20 by Canadian Audrey Lacroix.

“I’m so excited. I was so close to it at the World Cups and I really wanted to get it at the second World Cup in Berlin but just missed out, so I’m really happy that I’ve been able to make my mark on the Australian record,” said Gandy.

“I’ve looked up to Jess Schipper for so long so to get her record and the Commonwealth record, just feels amazing.”

A dual Olympian from Beijing and London, and a World Championship silver medallist in 2011, Gandy was presented with her gold medal by fellow butterfly Olympian Geoff Huegill and said it ‘just feels right’ swimming for Australia now.

“It’s been a really strange year having 12 months of no international competition and watching the world championships was quite difficult not being able to participate, but I think it has really made me more hungry and I’m just so happy to be able to swim for Australia now,” said Gandy.

“Swimming for Australia (at the World Cups) didn’t feel strange at all, and it felt like I should have been doing it years ago. It was just awesome being part of the team and everyone welcomed me, and it just felt like I’d been in the team forever.”

Gandy was more than two body lengths and almost six seconds ahead of silver medallist Brianna Throssell (2:08.43) from WA with Sydney swimmer Jordan White picking up the bronze in 2:09.07.

Not to be out done, and picking up her fifth gold medal of the meet and second Commonwealth record, Alicia Coutts returned to the pool to set a new benchmark in the women’s 200m IM.

The 25-year-old, who has been suffering from nausea all afternoon, took half a second off the previous best set by Emily Seebohm a couple of weeks ago to win in a dominant 2:05.82.  Aisling Scott from Nudgee Brothers was second in 2:09.93 with Samantha Wilkins picking up the bronze in 2:11.49.

Coutts rounded out her meet with silver in the women’s 50m breaststroke behind London Olympian Leiston Pickett. The Gold Coaster touched the wall in a time of 30.12 while Coutts and Foster couldn’t be separated, both finishing in a time of 30.55 to claim silver.

Short course star Kenneth To has broken his own All Comers record and in doing so successfully defended his 2012 100m individual medley title. To streaked away from the field to win his fourth gold of the meet in a time of 51.24, over two seconds faster than his nearest rivals Travis Mahoney (53.64) and Sam Beinke (53.83) who won the silver and bronze respectively.

The 21-year-old from NSWIS then continued his blistering form by storming home to claim his fifth gold of the meet in the 50m freestyle. To (21.33) saw off a strong challenge from the Sydney University Abood brothers, with Matthew Abood (21.45) and Andrew Abood (21.67) finishing second and third respectively.

Fellow Trinity Grammar swimmer Bobby Hurley picked up another All Comers record in the men’s 100m backstroke, winning in an impressive 50.41 with Josh Beaver second in 51.91 and Bobby Jovanovich from WA third in 52.04.

In other events…

Men’s 100m Butterfly
Nathaniel Romeo has taken out his second gold medal, adding the 100m butterfly title to his 50m butterfly win. Romeo (50.73) narrowly out-touched Southport Olympics’ Christopher Wright (51.11) and David Morgan (51.54) who claimed the silver and bronze medals respectively. Commonwealth and Australian record holder for this event Mitchell Patterson (51.57) finished just outside the medals.

Men’s 200m Breaststroke
Defending champion Jeremy Meyer retained his 200m breaststroke title seeing off a spirited challenge from Westside Christchurch swimmer Lennard Bremer. Meyer (2:07.26) touched the wall just 0.11 of a second ahead of Bremer (2:07.37) to win gold, while the 21-year-old from Palm Beach Currumbin Nikolas Pregelj (2:13.74) claimed the bronze.

Women’s 200m Freestyle
Commonwealth Games relay gold medallist Kelly Stubbins has won the 200m freestyle final narrowly defeating London Olympian Melanie Schlanger. Stubbins touched the wall in a time of 1:55.98 ahead of Schlanger (1:56.24) and Southport Olympic swimmer Amy Levings (1:58.84) who claimed the bronze medal.

Women’s 50m Backstroke
Holly Barratt has won the 50m backstroke final in a thrilling finish beating out SOPAC’s Kirstie Meerteens and All Saints swimmer Adelaide Hart. Barratt, who took out the bronze in the 50m freestyle last night, hit the wall in 26.91 ahead of Meerteens (27.12) and Hart (27.33).

Men’s 1500m Freestyle
Miami’s Matthew Levings has blitzed the field in the 1500m freestyle timed final to win gold. Levings (14:46.90) led from start to finish to claim gold ahead of silver medallist Wally Eggleton (15:22.37) and bronze medallist 16-year-old Lachlan Hansen (15:28.84).

Men’s 400m Individual Medley
Nunawading’s Travis Mahoney has won the 400m individual medley timed final ahead of Nudgee Brothers swimmer Jared Gilliland and TSS Aquatics’ David Morgan. Mahoney built an early lead and maintained the gap throughout the race to finish in 4:09.19 while Gilliland (4:11.70) and Morgan(4:13.71) claimed the silver and bronze respectively.

Women’s 100m Breaststroke Multi Class
IPC world championships team members Amanda Fowler and Kayla Clarke have taken out the gold and silver medals respectively in the 100m breaststroke multi class final. Fowler (1:22.71) successfully defended her 2012 title beating Clarke (1:23.19) and bronze medallist 12-year-old Tiffany Thomas-Kane (1:53.30).

Men’s 100m Breaststroke Multi Class
Paralympian Ahmed Kelly has won the gold in the 100m breaststroke multi class final ahead of Hurstville Aquatic’s Oliver Cox and Campbelltown swimmer Patrcik Donachie. Kelly hit the wall in a time of 1:47.54 to claim gold while Cox (1:18.99) and Donachie (1:13.42) claimed the silver and bronze respectively.

Men’s 50m Backstroke Multi Class
IPC world championship and Paralympic team member Sean Russo has seen off fellow Paralympian Michael Anderson to claim gold in the 50m backstroke timed final.  Russo (27.30) won gold finishing ahead of Anderson (27.31)and Patrick Donachie (31.91) who won the silver and bronze respectively.

Women’s 50m Backstroke Multi Class
IPC Montreal World Championships medallists Taylor Corry and Maddison Elliot claimed the gold and silver medals respectively in the 100m backstroke multi class.  Corry took out the title with a time of 31.23 while Elliot finished second in a time 36.63. Ginninderra swimmer Ashleigh Cockburn won the bronze in 34.58.

For full results of the 2013 Australian Short Course Championships go to


Fina World Junior Swimming begins Monday in UAE

4th Fina World Junior Swimming Championships that gets under way at the Hamdan Sports Complex from Monday, attracting a record 753 swimmers from 91 countries.

4th Fina World Junior Swimming Championships that gets under way at the Hamdan Sports Complex from Monday, attracting a record 753 swimmers from 91 countries.

The UAE has once again come to the fore in the sporting arena with the 4th Fina World Junior Swimming Championships that gets under way at the Hamdan Sports Complex from Monday, attracting a record 753 swimmers from 91 countries.

First held in 2006 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Fina World Junior Swimming Championships had Italy walk away with top honours with its 16 swimmers winning 17 medals, including nine gold, six silver and two bronze.

Two years later in Monterrey, Mexico witnessed the participation of about 600 swimmers from 66 countries. The USA was the best team overall with their women’s team winning 17 of the total 21 medals on offer leaving Russia in second and New Zealand in third.

In 2011, the third edition of the competition was held in Lima, Peru and this saw 528 swimmers from 58 countries participating. A total of 42 new championship records were set and it was the USA once again dominating ahead of Canada and Japan.

“There’s been a huge increase from the previous three editions of this championships and this is indicative of the increase in interest and growth of competition at the junior level,” said Carol Zaleski, Chairman, Fina’s technical committee.

“I am convinced we will have a very high quality of swimming here and we will be witness to some of the future Olympic champions. I am sure there will be some new junior records set here and hopefully a few world records as well,” Zaleski hoped.


The perfect stroke

Dan Bullock: "Swimming is ­technical and improvement is ­difficult even for advanced swimmers"

“Swimming is ­technical and improvement is ­difficult even for advanced swimmers”

Swimming coach Dan Bullock explains how to make the most of your time in the water.

If you’ve taken the plunge and started swimming, you’re bound to be reaping the benefits of improved fitness, more energy and a leaner, better body. And by improving your technique and stroke, your performance will get even better.

“You’ll see a dramatic difference with improvements to your technique,” says Dan Bullock, swimming coach and Speedo Ambassador. “Given how wrong some movements can be, even small changes, such as making sure water is pushing in the correct direction, will yield great improvements.

“Think of swimming like learning a language or a musical instrument: you need to give it time. Coordination, timing and learning new movements in the water make this a huge undertaking.”

But Bullock firmly ­believes that practice makes perfect. “If someone really wants to make progress, I recommend 14 sessions a month,” he says. “And continuity is important.” As is your choice of stroke.

“Front crawl and backstroke are the least tiring, if done well,” says Bullock. “Backstroke removes the need to time a head turn, so it could be considered an easier starting point, and to do front crawl well you need to put your face in the water.

“Breaststroke might appear simple, but, done properly, it is highly ­technical. Butterfly is ­perhaps the most difficult.

“But regardless of the stroke you choose, confidence, the ability to relax, and timing your breathing should be early aims.”

Swimming is ­technical and improvement is ­difficult even for advanced swimmers, says Bullock, who advocates professional coaching. “A coach will be the eyes you need to guide you and describe the mistakes you make,” he says. “They will help to translate the technical points you might be misinterpreting into fluid movements.

“You can watch good technique, read good technique and picture good technique in your mind, but getting a good coach involved will ensure you perform ­them correctly when you’re actually in the pool.”

Bullock’s top ­advice for swimmers keen to improve their ­performance is not to ­underestimate proper breathing ­technique: “Stroke and breathing techniques are inextricably linked. Good technique will exhaust you less, so you can do more of it at a steadier pace.

“The benefits of swimming are well ­documented, but until the mechanics of your stroke are efficient it will be hard to do more than a few lengths. You’re also less likely to injure yourself if the correct movements are made with the correct muscles.”

Dan’s top technique tips

1. Backstroke

Backstroke• Keep your chin up and head still, or you’ll snake down the lane and sink at the hips.
• To support your body position, use a strong leg kick.

2. Breaststroke
Breaststroke• Tuck your chin into your chest, head down: drive your hands forward.
• Keep leg kick symmetrical. Propulsion comes as legs come together, kicking water backwards.

3. Butterfly

Butterfly• Breathe as low as possible: your mouth should just clear the water when your head comes up for air.
• Attempt two kicks to one arm cycle.

4. Freestyle
Front crawl• Arms pulling with palms down send you up not forward: face palms towards wall you’re swimming from.
• Reduce the size of your leg kick: make sure it doesn’t splay out behind your body.

the guardian


Paralympic swimmer’s hard work pays off

Charles Bouwer

Charles Bouwer

Despite his hectic university schedule, Paralympic swimmer Charl Bouwer walked away from the IPC Swimming World Championships as the hero of Team South Africa.

The 23-year-old racked up an impressive four medals out of the seven won by the team at the event in Montreal, Canada, last weekend.

The visually impaired swimmer took three bronze medals and one silver, and broke an African record in the 100m freestyle.

Team SA ended 22nd on the medals table, a position they hope to improve on at the next IPC championships in Scotland in 2015.

Their only gold came from Kevin Paul, who won the 100m breaststroke final, while the other two medals came from Hendrie Herbst, who bagged silver and gold.

Bouwer wasn’t the only South African swimmer to break an African record. Beth Nothling and Adri Visser also made record-breaking times.

The team returned to South Africa this week. Speaking to the Saturday Star, Bouwer said he was very happy with what he had achieved in Canada and looked forward to competing at the championships in 2015.

“Before every major event I always think to myself, am I going to return with any medals,” he said.

“This time, I said to myself just to bring back the same amount of medals I won in London. I was really surprised when I won a fourth medal for my country.

“It shows that my training for the past few years is paying off.”

Bouwer has had a busy year, trying to balance swimming with studies at Stellenbosch University. “This was a very tricky year for me.”

Bouwer was full of praise for his coaches

: “I attribute my success to my coaches at Stellenbosch and my first coach in Kimberley, where I trained the during the winter.”

“My coaches do so much for me and will do anything to help me. So, I can only say thank you to my coaches for all their hard work and help.”

Bouwer says he lives by the motto “no pain, no gain”, and that his success is due to his hunger to always be the best.

His preparations for his fourth Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016, were “going according to plan”.

“I must keep focus and not let small things get in my way. I love swimming and I love racing even more.”

Saturday Star

Former Swimming Australia executives deny Leigh Nugent’s claim of Stilnox cover-up

Former Swiming Australia president David Urquhart has lashed out at claims of an Olympic cover-up. Picture: Scott Fletcher

Former Swiming Australia president David Urquhart has lashed out at claims of an Olympic cover-up. Picture: Scott Fletcher

Formr Swimming Australia powerbrokers have rejected claims they orchestrated the Stilnox cover-up and believe the costly fallout could have been avoided had head coach Leigh Nugent acted immediately.

Then-president David Urquhart and chief executive Kevin Neil have broken their silence on the four investigations into swimming which cost at least $500,000, resulted in the loss of a $2 million annual sponsorship and public embarrassment for the six relay swimmers.

Urquhart and Neil both strongly reject claims from former head coach Leigh Nugent, who told the Australian Olympic Committee his bosses told him not to investigate the team behavioural issues.

They claim Nugent kept them in the dark until about six days into the competition and they ordered a review to provide transparency to an issue that had been covered up for two weeks.

”(On day six) Leigh told me that they just found out there was a bonding session and there was rumours some Stilnox may have been involved,” Neil told the Sunday Mail.

”It was nearly two weeks after it and I had the shits and I can’t work out – there was 45 swimmers and 30 staff – how come it took two weeks for me to be informed.”

Urquhart said he chastised Nugent for failing to act immediately, sparking a fallout that has only just reached a conclusion 13 months later.

”Of course, there wasn’t an attempted cover-up otherwise I wouldn’t have called the review,” Urquhart said.

“Nobody outside the camp area knew that anything had happened … Leigh dismissed it and didn’t do anything about it.

“I said,  ‘What have you done about it?’ He said, ‘Nothing. I was going to wait until we got back to Australia’. I said, ‘It should have been handled in Manchester, Leigh’. I then decided to call the review.

”For him to come out now and say he was told not to do anything about it is just ridiculous.

”I called the review because if that hadn’t happened then Swimming Australia would have been tarnished because the people in charge of those things did absolutely nothing about it.”

Nugent did not respond to a request for interview yesterday.

When News Corp Australia confronted Urquhart with the Stilnox allegations last September he denied any knowledge of an incident.

“When you asked me that question I hadn’t been told that, I said I was waiting for a report,” Urquart said.

”I hadn’t been told that there was Stilnox involved or anything like that. I was just told there was complaints … the Stilnox business came out afterwards.”

Neil quit last November and has an agreement which stipulates he can’t criticise the sport.

Urquhart said he had since been ”wiped” by the sport and his recommendations during the cultural review had been ignored.

He agreed the Stilnox fallout had been overkill and he attacked the way the swimmers were paraded for a televised confession in February.

”It was ridiculous, that was absolutely ridiculous,” Urquhart said of the press conference chaired by former president Barclay Nettlefold.

”That was just the president feeding his ego in front of the press,” he said.

”The swim team will only be stronger if Swimming Australia supports its stakeholders and that’s the states … to me they’re losing sight of what swimming is about.

”At this very moment it seems to me that the only important things are the people who are on the board and what they can get out of it and not necessarily for swimming.”

Urquhart added he was ”fuming” that coaches had been drinking during the Olympic Games and noted that no action was taken against those who broke the team rules which stipulate a “dry” environment.

”I’m sure it happened because one of the coaches admitted to me that, yes, he had a drink, and he was told when he made his first team it was OK provided that you kept it quiet,” he said.

“I was fuming when I heard that.”


A guide for swimmers breaking boundaries

Lynne Cox 1

Lynne Cox has spent more than four decades swimming past the known limits of human capacity. Driven by an explorer’s voracious desire to do what has never been done, and frankly obsessive about mental and physical preparation, she has completed scores of pioneering swims, most famously the frigid Bering Strait in just a suit, cap and goggles.

Now she has channeled her vast expertise on the dangers, joys and logistics of open water swimming into a new book aimed at the exploding ranks of triathletes and other swimmers who are escaping the safe confines of pools.

The book, “Open Water Swimming Manual: An Expert’s Survival Guide for Triathletes and Open Water Swimmers” (Vintage, $15.95), brings together research and advice from a range of experts, including marine biologists, meteorologists, hypothermia scientists, emergency medical teams and even the famously secretive Navy SEALs. She weaves in details and cautionary advice relating to her own swims and those of others, like Steve Irwin, the Australian environmentalist television star, who died while swimming at the Great Barrier Reef when a stingray stung his chest. (“Applying acid, such as orange juice, urine, or vinegar, does not have any effect on the sting.”) A boy’s plunge into a freshwater lake in Finland results in an ear infection, which it turns out was caused by algae growing in his ears. (“Earplugs might have helped.”)

The publication could hardly be better timed. A steep rise in the popularity of triathlons has been swelling the ranks of open water events. Some 1,100 people dashed into the surf off Los Angeles in early August for the two-mile Dwight Crum Pier-to-Pier Swim, up from 586 in 2000. In New York, more than 200 swam around Governors Island and some 70 people circumnavigated Manhattan in relays this summer.

But Ms. Cox, 56, knows something many of them may not grasp. Venturing into wild water is a high-risk endeavor. The exertion can be intense. The environment – a confluence of wind, waves, sun, creatures and self — is unpredictable. Swimmers can inhale too much water, lose too much body heat, overheat, underhydrate, become disoriented. Exiting an ocean swim through surf can subject the swimmer to a maddening swirl of currents and bone-breaking beatings from crashing waves. These situations, she relates firmly, can be life-threatening.

This summer, a 34-year-old British woman, Susan Taylor, died after collapsing near the end of the 21-mile crossing from England to France. In 2010, a 26-year-old Pennsylvania man, Fran Crippen, died near the finish of a 10-kilometer swim in the warm waters off the United Arab Republic.

So Ms. Cox, the product of an artist mother and a father who was a Marine, tempers vision and enthusiasm with methodical, unstinting effort.

“I could think that I could do it, and that’s a great way to help prepare,” she said at a recent lunchtime talk at Google’s New York headquarters. “But if I don’t physically train to do it, then mentally I’m not prepared to do it, and physically and mentally I can’t do it.”

So she includes training advice for beginner, intermediate and advanced swimmers, starting with “shorter” swims of one to three miles and beefing up the miles and intensity for those aiming at the Catalina channel or the Strait of Magellan.

What makes for a trusty crew for distance events? One crucial factor: there must be one person in charge at all times, though the role can be serially occupied. If a swimmer is in jeopardy, whether from the perilous water conditions, physical exhaustion or threatening critters, there must be no arguing among the crew over what to do.

Almost 30 pages are devoted to marine organisms to look out for, including what to do if a swimmer is afflicted by jellyfish, stingrays or tiny irritants that cause so-called seabather’s eruption.

Sharks get their own chapter. Good advice: Be careful what you wear. If swimming near seals or sea lions, don’t wear a black suit, or a predator might mistake you for dinner. Jewelry or metallic swimsuits can attract sharks, too.

The book also includes the Navy SEALs’ five-page Risk Assessment Worksheet, which rates the likelihood and effects of 14 hazards, among them “swimmer-induced pulmonary edema” (seldom, critical) and even “ambulance stuck in sand” (seldom, catastrophic). Part of the point is real safety, and part is clearing the mind, she said. “If you think about the energy you use being anxious,” she said, “just think about how much faster you could be in your race!”

You don’t have to know Ms. Cox long to discover that she relishes  her time in the water, and even the moments of danger. In the opening chapter of the manual, a paean to outdoor immersion, she writes of “water song,” the music of breath, body, wind and waves.

And she offers a benediction, elegant in its simplicity, to readers who take up the challenge to leave water within walls and head out into the unknown.

“For many of you, the open water will become a haven, a favorite place to visit, and many of you will discover that no matter where you are in the world, it will always be a place where you feel at home.”



No further punishment for swimmers

Aussie relay 1

A group of Olympic swimmers who took sleeping drugs and “pranked” their female colleagues in a bonding ritual ahead of the London games have avoided further punishment from the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC).

The AOC said the fines handed to the six members of the men’s relay team, including newly-crowned world champion James Magnussen, by Swimming Australia were “proportionate and sufficient.”

But AOC boss John Coates warned any further conduct which brings swimming into disrepute will result in them being banned from the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“This is the yellow card,” Coates told reporters in Sydney.

The exact amount of the fines handed out to Magnussen, Eamon Sullivan, Matt Targett, James Roberts, Tommaso D’Orsogna and Cameron McEvoy is confidential but Coates says they were docked a percentage of their athlete support payments.

McEvoy and Magnussen were hit with a fine of 50 per cent, while the others had to hand over 25 per cent of their payments.

“The AOC considers that the financial sanction imposed by Swimming Australia is proportionate and sufficient in respect of each of those swimmers,” Coates said.

Coates said the swimmers had been under the “misapprehension” they could take Stillnox at a bonding camp in Manchester nine days before they were to compete.

But the AOC considered the “boorish, selfish, obnoxious and disrespectful” behaviour of the swimmers towards female team members a serious matter, he said.

“It upset the female swimmers… and it certainly affected moral at the time,” the AOC report said.

The report also found the men liable for the cost of the investigation and report, estimated to be about $150,000.

But they will not have to repay the money unless they’re caught breaking the rules again and banned from the Rio Games.



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