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View Full Version : Andy Seibt G.O.A.T.



lefty
September 18th, 2009, 11:31 PM
I would like to nominate Andy Seibt as the greatest masters swimmer of all time. For those of you who are unaware, Andy swam the Big Shoulders open water race this weekend (it is also the USMS OW National Championship meet) and absolutely destroyed the field. And this was no slouch of a field: two college swimmers - one went a 4:24 in the 500 free in March the other a 3:47 in the 400IM! For comparisons sake, Andy went a 5:06 and 4:43 respectively in those events. Startling, I know! But it doesn't end there. Adam Dawkins, who in March beat Andy by more than a full minute in the 1,000 free and is also an experienced Open Water swimmer having completed the English Channel just 4 weeks ago was no match for our hero. Andy beat Adam by 3 seconds per 100M!!! But it DOESN'T even end there!!! There were two more swimmers in the event who beat Andy by a minute or more in the mile in March. Both of these swimmers were bested by Andy by several minutes.

Just how good was this swim? Well it is not a stretch to say that it was the single greatest swim in the history of USMS. BY FAR. Imagine a 51 year old man going a 15:15 in the 1650 or 9:10 in the 1,000. It is difficult to compare open water events to pool events, but the margin of victory (one and half minutes over 5,000 M) over the quality field cannot be over-stated.

Quite honestly I can see no reason why Andy shouldn't be put in the International Swimming Hall of Fame on this swim alone. I know that John Smith just threw up in his mouth, but until Mr. Smith starts going a 43 in the 100 free he is panty waste compared to Andy. In fact, we all owe Andy a debt of gratitude because we no longer have to view the Smiths with any kind of awe as their collection of swims (as well as the swims of many others) have been so greatly eclipsed by this feat.

This swim should reinvent the sport of Masters swimming. Been stuck in the same rut for 14 years of Masters swimming? A good number of top 10 times per year but never that huge breakthrough. Well here you have it folks. Next year I too will have my 20% improvement. Mark me down for the World Record in the 50M free. Anything is possible, just dream big baby. Although technically why wait a year. Andy improved this much since June.

One ancillary note is we can add to this story is that we can finally put to bed the "late bloomers theory," as postulated by my friend Ion Beza. But that's a whole 'nother story.

(PS: Andy if this posts somehow ends up in front of you I personally want to tell you that I am sorry you have been put through this. But I will continue to be vociferous about the validity of this swim. From all accounts you are a swell guy. But you need to be honest with yourself and recognize that you are not capable of this miraculous feat. That is a tough thing to do, I am sure. But you didn't ask for the error [assuming you didn't cheat] and you don't have anything to be ashamed about. You are still one heck of a swimmer. Just not the greatest of all time.)

swimmieAvsFan
September 19th, 2009, 07:48 AM
dude, give it a rest already... does this really need its own thread? you've already been quite clear that you think andy obviously couldn't have done this swim on another thread. what do you have to gain from lambasting this guy? you didn't even do big shoulders, am i correct???

qbrain
September 19th, 2009, 08:48 AM
In fact, we all owe Andy a debt of gratitude because we no longer have to view the Smiths with any kind of awe as their collection of swims

I care not for the Smiths swimming prowess, but I am constantly in awe of their posts here in the forums.

Brian Stack
September 19th, 2009, 11:44 AM
dude, give it a rest already... does this really need its own thread? you've already been quite clear that you think andy obviously couldn't have done this swim on another thread. what do you have to gain from lambasting this guy? you didn't even do big shoulders, am i correct???

+1 here. Pretty vitriolic for a person who hides behind a nom de plume, eh?

lefty
September 19th, 2009, 02:27 PM
what do you have to gain from lambasting this guy? you didn't even do big shoulders, am i correct???

So when you see something is wrong, you only do something about it if you have a vested interest? If you feel that I have lambasted the guy then I have missed my mark. Because (as I said in the post) I do not blame him and in fact I feel sorry for him. But wrong is wrong.

swimmieAvsFan
September 19th, 2009, 07:41 PM
...If you feel that I have lambasted the guy then I have missed my mark...

the quote below isn't considered lambasting him???


...But you need to be honest with yourself and recognize that you are not capable of this miraculous feat...

i think that is berating him, or if you like, denouncing him vehemently. both the word "berate" and the phrase "denounce vehemently" are synonyms of lambaste. so yes, i think you have lambasted him, and i really don't think you missed your mark- your posts have been rather vehement...

just my :2cents:, from someone who has no vested interest in anything open water...

Chris Stevenson
September 19th, 2009, 07:43 PM
So when you see something is wrong, you only do something about it if you have a vested interest?

This reminds me of a legal concept called "standing to sue" which basically says, as I understand it, that you can only bring suit if you are the party injured and if the courts can remedy the situation.

I guess Mollie is saying, and I tend to agree, is: why are you so vocal on this if you really have no stake in the matter? There are no records that were set. It didn't cost you a place in a national championship. If you feel that the race is run poorly, you can elect not to participate in it in the future.

I can see other people in the race might be concerned. I can see members of the Long Distance Committee being concerned if they thought a national championship was not run properly. You've raised questions, fine, but now you are at an impasse. Starting this additional thread does seem a little mean-spirited in that light, even if you didn't intend it that way.

That Guy
September 19th, 2009, 10:32 PM
I don't normally read the OW board so I'm just catching up on all the drama.

- After reading the Big Shoulders race director's post and other accounts of the race setup, it sounds like Big Shoulders was run right and they made sure that the winner was legit beyond reasonable doubt, alien abduction theories aside. I've seen some badly organized events before (for the record they were triathlons, not OW swims) and this wasn't at all like those.
- Think about the greatest race/competition/round of golf of your life. How much better than your normal self were you that day? How easy was it for you that day? How much do you wish you could bring it like that every day? Isn't is possible that for the winner, that Big Shoulders was his greatest day (so far)? The race director said that he had the race of his life and I see no reason not to believe it.
- Lefty, I'm surprised you haven't mentioned PED's or genetic doping. Leave no roid unturned in your quest for... uh, what are you trying to do exactly?
- Great job KNelson!
- This is my fifth bullet point.
- :banana:

jim clemmons
September 21st, 2009, 04:34 PM
I get waxed in OW swims many times by swimmers I beat in pool swims.

So what?

I can't seem to swim a straight line without guidance. A line must be some sort of "enhancement" device and some swimmers don't need it. I, apparently, do. Maybe Andy doesn't.

pkerch
September 21st, 2009, 06:32 PM
One thing to take into consideration is that Andy was placed in a heat separate from the vast majority of "elite" level swimmers at this competition... I watched the race and am surprised that no one has officially (apparently) contested the results of this race... there is no way that Andy Seibt swam the best time of the day. I know of at least two former members of the U.S. national team that participated in that race, as well as a few (current) top NCAA qualifiers... I repeat there is no way this result is correct. Maybe he skipped a bouy or there was something wrong with the timing system? How does a man his age DROP nearly 13 MINUTES from his best time on that exact same course?

lefty
September 22nd, 2009, 12:04 PM
One thing to take into consideration is that Andy was placed in a heat separate from the vast majority of "elite" level swimmers at this competition... I watched the race and am surprised that no one has officially (apparently) contested the results of this race... there is no way that Andy Seibt swam the best time of the day. I know of at least two former members of the U.S. national team that participated in that race, as well as a few (current) top NCAA qualifiers... I repeat there is no way this result is correct. Maybe he skipped a bouy or there was something wrong with the timing system? How does a man his age DROP nearly 13 MINUTES from his best time on that exact same course?


And more to the point all these people who are defending him without using common sense are contributing to him getting away with it*. The idea that some are better equipped to swim in the OW is plausible. But we are not talking about one swimmer beating one other swimmer who is a little bit faster than him. We are talking about Andy beating a collection of swimmers who are completely beyond his level when he has done this race several times and never shown anything remotely to that kind of potential.

Oh and That Guy, it was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the swim was legit. The only thing that has been shown is that he left at 8:10 and came in at 9:06. What he did in between is completely in question. Maybe not by you, but by people who have actually spent time looking into this.

* By getting away with it I mean one of two things: either he cheated or he made an honest mistake. The only problem with the honest mistake angle, though, is that it had to be very very large mistake so I have a hard time thinking he doesn't know.

E=H2O
September 22nd, 2009, 09:13 PM
The only problem with the honest mistake angle, though, is that it had to be very very large mistake so I have a hard time thinking he doesn't know.

I think it is a mistake to believe you can know what a person thinks. I don't know about you, but when I am swimming all out in a 5K OW race my brain cells don't work very well.

In OW swimmers make honest mistakes. For an example everyone saw where David Davies, who was leading at the time, took a bad sighting coming down the stretch at the last Olympics and almost missed the finishing chute.

I leave it up to the swimmer to come forward and make any correction, if any, that they deem appropriate. Otherwise it is up to the RD to improve the race next year to regain peoples' confidence in the results.

aquageek
September 23rd, 2009, 10:36 AM
I have to say, this is quite an interesting discussion. I understand Lefty's points as well as the points made by the RD. But, in the absence of anything amiss, doesn't the benefit of the doubt always go to the athlete? I don't think Andy has any obligation to speak up but it sure would make it interesting to read his comments.

Bobinator
September 23rd, 2009, 11:44 AM
The final word should go to the "Official". I have a hard time believing there were no "officials" for a national championship. Bottom line....this is the root of the problem.
If there are no officials then the benefit of the doubt should go to the swimmer! :bitching:

chaos
September 23rd, 2009, 02:06 PM
directing a race is a tough job. those of us who swam the 2 mile natl championship in canandaigua know (as i am quite sure the race directors do as well) that the results (the official revised results) do not reflect reality, but need to take the position that the results are correct. there is no process by which to declare someones time as "impossible" even if the whole world would jump to that conclusion based on past performance and comparison to the field.

we wouldn't expect a thorough investigation in a routine open water event and i guess shouldn't expect it for a USMS national championship either. there just isn't enough at stake.

as a result of these inconsistancies, i will be more likely to enter events that i think are fun and exciting and ignore the "lure" that the added title of national championship are supposed to bring to an event.

ps: when brought to the attention of the director of canandaigua, i was told "you should have swum faster" ..... duh, thanks coach!

SwimPhil
September 27th, 2009, 02:55 PM
I don’t follow the discussion forums. I have more important things to do with my life. But when several friends ask me if I’ve been following the Andy Seibt controversy I took a look. To Lefy: get a life. Slick analyses, clearly you’ve put a lot of time into your self made issue but without all the facts and ultimately for what purpose? At least pkerch mostly takes the high road to suggest things that might be improved in running an OW event. But you want nothing more than a platform to demean and humiliate quite possibly an athlete’s finest moment of his life.

Let’s throw a few more facts into the mix. Andy swam the 400 meters at LC Nats going 4:41.63. 20 hours later he swam the 1st 400 of the 1500 in 4:37.87. I am sure your conclusion is that is only possible if Andy flipped 10 yards away from one turn and nobody noticed. Yes you will now point at that 4:37 pace translates to a 57:45, 5K. However, you are attacking both Andy’s achievement and integrity not the integrity of the race course which is one factor that can explain this curiosity. Nor do you have any facts about Andy’s training and taper focus for this summers’ competitions.

More: in 2000 Andy swam the FINA World Masters 5K in 59:24. Why can’t he swim 3 minutes faster with a stronger training focus, ideal conditions AND superior swim suit technology, especially the latter?

More facts: I swam my best BS 5k time ever in the 12 years doing this event. I beat my time from 2000 (same year as Andy’s :59) when I won the 5K National Championship. The guy I beat in 2000, by a mere 3 seconds, beat me this year by 3.5 minutes to win my division. Maybe I should question his win. I mean how can a 55 yo swim 3.5 minutes faster than he did as a 45 yo? Oh, what a coincidence, that is little more than Andy’s time improvement over the same period. ALSO – I know who the swimmer was that turned at the 1st orange buoy. We were chatting on the beach after the race exchanging “war stories”. This is what he told me. “I would have been faster but, I turned left at the 1st buoy and all of a sudden, there was nobody in front of me. After about 5 strokes I looked around and discovered my error and turned right to head for the orange turning buoy. What I feel bad is for all the swimmers who followed me and did not correct when I did. I wonder how much time they lost?” My friend wore a white cap, and it was not Andy who told me the story.

More: I swam 8 minutes faster than my BS 5K from 2007. Quite an improvement for a 56 yo! I sure am glad I fell under the radar so I would not be swamped with innuendos about cheating.

More: Within hours of his swim, long before goats raised any issues, Andy told me how this may have been the swim of his life and how he did it. Besides training and focus, he also told me how he swam straight between the buoys avoiding almost every swimmer along the way, most of whom veered slightly or a lot too far right.


By throwing out select circumstantial facts you then attempt to lead us into only two possible conclusions, “I mean one of two things: either he cheated or he made an honest mistake”. I offer two other possible explanations. It is plausible that the timing system messed up. Unless someone has pictures of Andy approaching the finish line showing a clock time of other than 9:06, that remains a possibility. There is also the more realistic possibility that he did the time! I say how dare you attack a person’s integrity with incomplete and flawed circumstantial evidence. If your intent was really: “when you see something is wrong, ………… If you feel that I have lambasted the guy then I have missed my mark. Because ………… I do not blame him and in fact I feel sorry for him. But wrong is wrong.” Then why the vitriolic personal attacks? However, herein there clearly is something wrong that does have to be addressed: it is your personalizing what could be, should be questions of OW events procedures not attacks on Andy.

Finally, and maybe I took the posts too seriously on this issue “I would love to have any training or nutrition tips as to how to improve to that extent” and regarding the list of 20 + questions……... Andy trains very hard and seriously, especially this past season which he survived without injury, for the 1st time in a long time. And don’t be crazy. Why should he give away his secrets to success when he can sell his formula. We are thinking about collaborating on a training book We were going to call it “Age is only a Number” but since that title is taken we are considering “GOAT is Just a Bitter Wantta Be”

Congratulations Andy, I’ve had a few “swims of my life” over the past 45 years, the last one 9 years ago. I still strive and train hard for the next one. You keep many of us inspired with hope that age does not matter.

In the end Andy has nothing to prove but to himself.

sydned
September 27th, 2009, 03:39 PM
"as a result of these inconsistancies, i will be more likely to enter events that i think are fun and exciting and ignore the "lure" that the added title of national championship are supposed to bring to an event."


I agree. Until someone comes along who tells me they want to sponsor me, pay all travel expenses, and says I've got an endorsement fee riding on my swim time, I'm all about it being fun. (So far, no takers on the endorsement possibilities. Can't imagine why they wouldn't want a late-30s, middle-of-the pack gal as their spokesperson.)

lefty
September 28th, 2009, 01:08 PM
To Lefy: get a life. Slick analyses, clearly you’ve put a lot of time into your self made issue but without all the facts and ultimately for what purpose?

So my stats are a "slick analyses," and yours are, what, exactly?


It is plausible that the timing system messed up. Unless someone has pictures of Andy approaching the finish line showing a clock time of other than 9:06, that remains a possibility. There is also the more realistic possibility that he did the time! I say how dare you attack a person’s integrity with incomplete and flawed circumstantial evidence.

As has been pointed out, the timing system was varified. But a fellow competitor saw someone cut the course, and feels very strongly, expecially in light of the data, that it was Andy. Those aren't my words, those are their words. For you to imply that there is no alternative explanation is wrong. That doesn't mean the alternative is correct, but I do find it illuminating that you completly ignore an eye-witness account.

Yes, I have attacked the integrity of this swim. I feel the data presented leaves no other option. You feel that drawing this conclusion makes me the bad guy? Fine, just don't sit back and pretend that you take the highroad. I have objectively concluded that this swim is impossible. Right or wrong that is where I stand. I am attacking Andy based on my statistical conclusions. You are attacking me because you don't like my conclusions. Fair enough.

Let's just move on and see what happens when Andy does the race next year. I'll come on here and congratulate him and profusely apologize if he does anything close to what he did this year. In fact, if Andy Seibt places in the top 5 next year, I will donate $1,000 to the charity of his choice. This isn't blowing smoke, the way I have gone after this discrepancy I feel that I owe it to him if I am wrong. I don't know if that would make up for what I have done, but it is the best I have to offer.

aquageek
September 28th, 2009, 01:14 PM
In fact, if Andy Seibt places in the top 5 next year, I will donate $1,000 to the charity of his choice. This isn't blowing smoke, the way I have gone after this discrepancy I feel that I owe it to him if I am wrong. I don't know if that would make up for what I have done, but it is the best I have to offer.

If you are such a charitable fellow after all, why not give $500 today and then an additional $500 next year regardless of Andy's swim? Why does his swim determine your intentions?

SwimPhil
September 28th, 2009, 08:50 PM
In fact, if Andy Seibt places in the top 5 next year, I will donate $1,000 to the charity of his choice. This isn't blowing smoke, the way I have gone after this discrepancy I feel that I owe it to him if I am wrong. I don't know if that would make up for what I have done, but it is the best I have to offer.

Fine. Give us your name so we can all hold YOU accountable. Time to put up or shut up!