Tag Archives: swimming

Open Water Swimming Tips

Open Water Swimming TipsOpen-water swimming can be a daunting prospect for the novice, and those who are less experienced often dread the first leg of their event.  Yet it isn’t always that bad.  I recently came across an article that interviews open water swimming veteran John Flanagan about his own advice for those more rookie peers.  Since open-water swimming includes plenty of variables that drastically differ from pool swimming, so he says the best way to get better is to experience it yourself.  But before you jump into the water, here are some tips from Flanagan for open water swimming to help you avoid some of his past mistakes:

Practice sighting: Flanagan says the best way to sight during a race is to lift your head and look forward while you’re turning your head to breathe.  Limit how high you lift your head because your hips will drop otherwise, so go for just below the goggle line, and then take your breath when you turn your head to the side.

Time when you sight: The more you look, the more tired you get, but the less you look, the less straight you may swim.  That’s why you need to find that comfortable balance.  If you’re in an ocean race, be sure to sight as you’re rising from a swell so you’ll be able to see.

Train in open water: If you have the chance to train in the open water, go for it.  It’s not always the fastest swimmers that win these races, but rather the ones with the smartest race and the most experience.

Stay warm: Your body can shut down due to cold, so try avoiding that with everything you can: wetsuits, two caps and earplugs are some things that help you keep warm.

Goggles are vital: Find a pair of comfortable goggles that will allow you to see well.  Don’t wait until race day to try out your pair of goggles, only to find out that you hate them.

Learn the course: You might not always have somebody with you during the race, so check the buoys before your big race.  Look for landmarks like trees or houses that can help guide you in a straight line.  You won’t always be able to sight off buoys in the water.

Have a fast start: Be warmed up and prepared to get out of the gate roaring.  You want to limit as much contact as possible on the start, so get out fast, and you can settle into your pace afterwards.

Learn to breathe on both sides: When somebody is next to you, the best thing to do is breathe on the opposite side.  If not, you might lose your goggles or get hit in the face, which is much worse than a hit to the back of the head.

Draft when you can: Drafting is a part of open water swimming that can both help and hurt you.  You may be able to hang on to a faster group of swimmers, but you could also get stuck behind some and not know how slow you’re actually going.  Be careful how you use it.  It’s better for triathletes that are saving their legs for running or biking.

Eat and hydrate well: Take care of your body.  Ironic as it is, it’s very easy to get dehydrated out in the open water, so drink plenty of fluids.

todd proa navy beats army

Navy Sinks Army to Extend Quarter-Century Win Streak

Army’s stroke of bad luck continues, dropping another meet to Navy in both men’s and women’s swimming and diving by a combined score of 393-207 at West Point. Both navy’s swimming and diving teams beat Army, winning twenty-four of thirty-two events held at the Candall Pool.

Navy’s dominance has been extended to twenty-six consecutive victories for the women’s team and twenty-four for the men’s.

While both teams put on a spectacular show of effort in each event, Navy made it clear that this was their night right from the start. The men’s team won the first four events of the evening, which included the 200m medley relay, the 1000m freestyle, the 200m free, and the 100m backstroke.

After just the first eighth of the entire meet, the Midshipmen led 62-12.

However, the Black Knights women’s team would not be deterred. Despite losing the previous twenty-five consecutive meets, they won the relay by a mere .4 seconds. By the time they reached the halfway point for the meet, the gap had been closed to 85-65 for the women.

Unfortunately for Army, the Midshipmen have far more experience in marine conditions and made sure to make that known in the second half.

The Mids women’s team roared out of the gates in the second half, winning five straight events. This streak also saw Charlotte Meyer tie her own school and meet record (set in 2013) in the 200m backstroke with a time of 1:58.98. More records were broken, with Smith breaking the meet record with a 4:51.53 time in the 500m freestyle. They continued their success through much of the second half of the meet and put up a 147-98 lead before the final three events of the meet.

In nine of the thirty-two individual events, Navy owned the podium, taking first, second and third place. In sixteen others, they placed first and second.

What it Means to Swim

Without a doubt, swimming is a way of life.  You might end up missing things that your non-swimming friends are doing, but Todd Proa what it means to swimswimming is a gift in many ways.  Whether you’re still swimming or haven’t been part of a team in years, there are still plenty of great benefits from being part of a swimming team.  I recently came across an article that talks about the 5 things that you’ll take away from swimming.

1. You’re part of a community: Swimming is pretty much a big, open fraternity where everybody has the same background of two-a-days and countless weekends in countless pools.  This sense of community goes far beyond the pool, however, and even years after retiring from competitive swimming, you’ll still find familiar faces all over the place.

2. You’ll never be intimidated by fitness: Swimming is one heck of an exercise, where you have to use your entire body.  Swimmers have exceptional cardiovascular fitness, more so than any other athletes.

3. Discipline and mental toughness: Long after you’ve stopped swimming competitively, you’ll still enjoy not having to get up at 4:30 AM for practice every morning.  Nonetheless, the discipline you garnered through such a strict regimen will serve you well later in life when you find something else that you’re passionate about.

4. “What if” syndrome: Every time you watch competitive swimming, “what ifs” inevitably start to run through your head.  It’s important to avoid this passing sense of regret by leaving everything at the pool, so that you don’t feel yourself thinking like that again when the Olympics roll around.

5. The pool is home: No matter what, you will always be a swimmer.  Unlike football or basketball, it’s a sport that most people don’t talk about until the Olympics.  But for those who are swimmers, they will always have swimming, regardless of age.


97 Year Old Swimmer

Todd Proa Anne Dunivin

Anne Dunivin

Getting old is tough; your body gets weaker, you’re often not as sharp as you once were and nothing is the same as it used to be.  While some old people resign themselves to such facts, others refuse to do so, and instead try to make the most of their short time on earth while they can.  One such woman is Atlanta’s Anne Dunivin.  Born in 1916, Anne used to swim almost every day as a child, since the Grant Park Pool used to allow children under the age of 12 to swim for free before noon.  As she got older, however, Anne lost touch with swimming, as she got married and started to raise a family, and she had little time for distractions.

After her children grew up and Anne’s husband died, she started thinking about swimming once again.  She would see older people swimming, and not just swimming, but swimming competitively.  Anne was interested in taking up her old passion once again, and at the age of 93, she joined the US Master’s Swimming.  With US Master’s Swimming, you compete with people in your age group, and Anne, who is now at the age of 97, is an exceptional swimmer.  She has a great career in elderly competitive swimming, and holds national records.  And being involved in the water has allowed Anne to overcome many problems that face old people, such as breaking her hip.

The story of Anne Dunivin reminds me of another woman who didn’t let age get in the way of living a full life, the late (and controversial) German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl.  Leni Riefenstahl started out as an actress in the 1920s before she quickly got involved in filmmaking.  Her career as a filmmaker was rather controversial, however, since during her time in Nazi Gemany, Leni was involved in making Nazi propaganda films.  Due to this negative association, Leni was blacklisted, and lived in relative obscurity until around the 1960s and 70s, when she got into photography.  Through her work photographing African tribes, Leni Riefenstahl became famous once again, although by this time she was in her 70s.  She later became involved in underwater photography, and when she was in her 90s, Leni lied about her age so she could get a scuba diving license.  She was committed to underwater photography, and continued to publish books on the subject until dying at the age of 102.  While Leni Riefenstahl was without a doubt a controversial figure, one can’t help but admire her spirit.


Missy Franklin

Say what you will about the likes of Phelps of Lochte, but there are few swimmers out there with more endorsement appeal than the young Missy Franklin.  Just two years out of the 2012 Olympics and Missy Franklin is already the confirmed face of 2016.  There was a lot of talk about her decision to forgo the pro path after London and attend college at Cal, but in the end, it made her that much more admirable; it gave her an interesting depth of personality.  Missy and her parents had no intention for her to swim through the four years of her college eligibility.

Missy Franklin

Missy Franklin, shown here with a medal.

I recently came across an article about Missy, that describes her as a “sponsor’s dream”.  True, she may not have the epic record of Phelps in her future, or the model look of Lochte, but she does have a lot of things that neither one of them do possess.  Indeed, she is that rare athlete who is also relatable, down-to-earth and yet still retains an accomplishment-defying humility.  Like all high-tier Olympians, she very well may be a “mutant” of physical excellence, but also possesses an unaffected star power rooted in appreciation.  In many ways, she’s like the Jennifer Lawrence of swimming.  Meetings have already begun in earnest among top agencies who are trying to woo Franklin to their star athlete stables, such as CAA, IMG, Legacy and Octagon.  It’s safe to say that no matter where she goes, she’ll do just fine.  Hopefully, in less than a year’s time, Missy Franklin will be a millionaire.

Anything an athlete makes in endorsement income, the agent keeps about 20 percent, so agencies will be especially keen to scoop up Franklin while they can.  For instance, let’s say that Franklin does a $5 million deal with Kellogg.  Whatever agency has her will then collect a million for their work.  Missy’s refusal to turn pro in the aftermath of London could actually help her, provided these years proceed without any serious hiccups or injuries.  She’s a proven quantity on the Olympic stage as an athlete with her priorities in order, yet hasn’t endorsed anything.  The Sports Business Journal hails her as the most sought after Olympian for agencies in more than a decade.  Lucky for Missy, she has a set of competent parents.  Her father, Dick Franklin, has spent a large portion of his career as a sports business executive, working for Reebok and Head tennis.  The irony is that what makes Missy so valuable is that, despite all the prospective dollars in her near future, she seems to be properly motivated.