Tuesday, July 28, 2009

World (pool) Swim Champs ... Joke or Farce?

Into Day 2 of the World (pool) Swimming Championships, and world records are dropping like nine-pins. Even some of the world "record" breakers say the hi-tech suits they're using are responsible, and that they should be banned.

We wonder: what's the point of watching, of paying attention? What's the value of a world record that's artificially supported? How do they compare with the existing records now being broken?

Tell us what you think (hit the comments button below), and vote in our poll (see left) ...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Winter games ...

As winter slowly passes on and I dream of another great season of ocean swims, I woke up in the middle of the night thinking of an idea, as one does. Punters can contribute to a blog to finish the following sentence:-

You know you’ve done plenty of ocean swims when ……. Eg ... You know you’ve done plenty of ocean swims when Siberians take out a salt mining lease on your ears.

Over to you ...

John Bamberry

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Is this a joke, or what?

I am not alone in branding the decision by FINA, swimming's world governing body, to allow all fastskin suits as a joke. What I also cannot accept is their reasoning: essentially, that it's simply too hard to prove that a handful of suits may or may not have particular properties that assist the swimmer through the water.

FINA says all suits will be allowed provided they are available to all. They should have said, available to all who can afford them or have access to them under sponsor constraints. Richer countries and swimmers do; poorer countries and swimmers don't.

The far simpler, fairer response from FINA would have been to ban them all, every last one of them, requiring all swimmers to use just your conventional sluggoes (for blokes) and armless, legless versions for ladies. We have a useful definition in ocean swimming that FINA is welcome to adopt. Then, at least, we would get a contest amongst athletes, not their sponsors and their suits.

World swimming is a joke, a hopeless joke. And that's such a pity, because its athletes, by and large, are wonderful.

And when a sport pays greater heed to sponsors and their money, than to creating the environment for fair and even competition, then it is no longer a sport.

It's good that we in ocean swimming are not constrained by such hare-brained decision-making. No-one is the boss of us.

Vale, pool swimming as a credible sport.