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TheGoodSmith
August 4th, 2005, 11:14 AM
I think I'm going to have to disagree a bit with my Longhorn teamates Mr. Commings and The Raz on this subject. It's not good to rely on someone coming out of the woodwork in years to come or simply counting on cycles of ebb and flow over years in the sport.

I have been to many age group meets with my kids the last 4 years. In Georgia, Colorado.... and my home the Great state of Ohio, and enrollment of young boys (ages 8-14) is down further than at any time I can remember in the sport. Gone are the days when I grew up and boys ALWAYS outnumber girls in the sport, and its not merely because more girls are swimming now. It's because boys are interested in other sports..... many of which are easier training sports in my opinion.

This is NOT good for the future of men's swimming. I have a bad feeling the next Michael Phelps will be lured into Soccer or some other sport over the coming years... if not already. Swimming.... particularly the governing body USS.... does NOT do an adequate job marketing the sport to the general public during non Olympic years. We ride too heavily on the success of our Olympic performances in hopes of expanding enrollment, and then every 4 years it dies out quickly. With the added cuts of men's swimming programs in the NCAA Div. I level the growth and continued success of US mens swimming in my opinion is in jeopardy over the next 8-12 years. Michael Phelps is a lucky find for the US. I strongly suggest you take a look at some heat sheets for age group meets in your area. You will likely find that there are about 1/2 to 2/3rds the number of boys heats compared to girls heats in the younger age groups. It's shocking. You're looking at the future of our Olympic team in these reduced heats. You can't rely on a Rowdy Gaines to come into the sport late (like age 13) and dominate especially when the numbers are down so much.

USS needs to find money for a larger national campaign with TV time. Why is it I have NEVER been contacted by USS swimming to donate money?! Why is there NO marketing campaign to solicit funds from ex US swimmers from the past 40 years ?!

In my opinion, this is an all out war against soccer and the evil Big 3 sports. For example...... Australia is hurtin' if you take away their 2 big guns Hacket and Thorpe, there is virtually no one in the pipeline that will take over. The US is in a similar but lessor position. It was truly embarassing that the US had absolutely NO ONE in the 100 free at the Olympics. Let me say it again....

IT WAS TRULY EMBARASSING THAT THE US HAD ABSOLUTELY NO ONE IN THE 100 FREE IN THE FINALS AT THE OLYMPICS !

We should OWN that event ! The 100 free IS United States Swimming. It is our history! Our 400m free relay should NEVER lose at the Olympics or World Games as it is a reflection of depth and speed in our programs.

Face it, our volume of great sprinters are pretty bad right now and thats a reflection of basic athleticism and talent by taking (stealing) "athletes" from other sports with raw speed. Gary Hall saved his butt and the US in the 50 free at Greece, but let's face it, he's an archeology find and not a reflection of up an coming talent. We're relying on someone that probably peaked 2 Olympics ago in the sprints.

The picture is not good for the growth of US men's swimming, and we definitely need to do something about it.


John Smith

justforfun
August 4th, 2005, 11:23 AM
I'm reposting here what I posted on the Duel in the Pool thread. It seems more appropriate on this new thread.

I hope the more optimistic folks, like Ande, are correct. I'm sure there are a number of very talented youngsters out there. I'm encouraged by the young U.S. women already having success and also by guys like Weber-Gale, Wildman-Tobriner, Grevers, etc. who are just on the verge of breaking through internationally.

What I'm most concerned about is the level of participation, esp. among boys, in the 8 & unders, 9 &10, 11&12 age groups at regional meets. I'm not sure how it compares to 5 or even 10 years ago, but I know it's much less than when I was a young swimmer. I wonder how much this has to do with the parents' perceptions about future opportunities for their boys. Other sports offer greater opportunity to make big money professionally or earn college scholarships.

We all know the great benefits of swimming participation, but maybe we don't do the greatest job relating those benefits to non-swimming parents.

TheGoodSmith
August 4th, 2005, 11:26 AM
Your concerns are warranted.

We need to "sell" the sport better nationally to a younger crowd. Swimming is a VERY hard sport to train for and that can disuade young people these days.


John Smith

scyfreestyler
August 4th, 2005, 11:43 AM
Originally posted by TheGoodSmith
Your concerns are warranted.

We need to "sell" the sport better nationally to a younger crowd. Swimming is a VERY hard sport to train for and that can disuade young people these days.


John Smith It is difficult to train for and the monetary rewards are miniscule when compared to the big three of MLB, NFL, and NBA. You can count the swimmers who make big money on two hands whereas nearly every pro player in the big three makes well into a six digit salary, often times seven. What is USS going to say? Hey kid, come swim on one of our teams and you might get a shot at the Olympics. All the while the kid has visions of playing in the NBA and driving a new F430 Spider.

TheGoodSmith
August 4th, 2005, 12:36 PM
Agreed.

Swimming sucks in terms of financial rewards compared to other sports. All the more reason to implement heavy duty marketing tactics and recruit even harder.

John Smith

tjrpatt
August 4th, 2005, 12:49 PM
You are right that there is no national campaign for getting involved in swimming like they do for other sports.

justforfun
August 4th, 2005, 12:50 PM
It seems to me that one problem is the few chances to showcase great swimmers. Traditionally, the best athletes only try to swim their best two, maybe three, times per year. Many of those events aren't very exciting, either. Over the years, U.S. National Championships have rarely been picked up by any network for TV coverage. Somehow, we've got to get a consistent swimming presence on TV!!!

As Craig suggested on the other thread, perhaps the World Cup circuit could be a partial remedy. These are shorter, more exciting meets than we typically have. There is international competition with points standings and cash rewards. Unfortunately, there's not a great deal of participation by U.S. swimmers because of conflicts with the NCAA season. But, there is potential for post-grad athletes.

Also, maybe the kind of head-to-head, mano a mano matchups Gary Hall tries to promote (and that Biondi, Jager, Spitz et al did a number of years ago) could be helpful. It doesn't seem as though this format has gained much momentum so far.

What do you think?

Peter Cruise
August 4th, 2005, 01:03 PM
Need I point out that it remains a fairly expensive sport to participate in? Yes, I know there are worse, but our sport recently took a quantum jump up for suit costs, not for workouts but for any significant champs kids expect to wear the lastest & slickest suit available. Come to think of it, it is the mens' suits that have increased the greater percentage as the suits gain more fabric compared to what used to be a racing suit.
I'm sure there's a lot more to it; it can't help that every time I come across the border I read that some public pool is under threat of closing, though I realize that shouldn't affect boys more than girls. Maybe the trend is related to one our teachers are noticing in schools up here: that girls are by far the dominant group of achievers these days in school- better grades, more participatory, more scholarships.

Blue Horn
August 4th, 2005, 01:14 PM
Unfortunately, our entertainment shock jock world is becoming less interested in the subtle nuances of a sport such as swimming. Now, if the swimmers were naked and the pool was filled with sharks we would have excellent viewership. With the way our society has become addicted to becoming famous we would probably have a lot of contestants too. Hard work and patience is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

Hook'em
Blue

knelson
August 4th, 2005, 01:45 PM
Originally posted by Peter Cruise
Need I point out that it remains a fairly expensive sport to participate in?

Actually I've always thought swimming was one of the cheaper sports. It certainly isn't gear intensive like a lot of other sports.

I think one of swimming's problems is that it isn't a team sport. I think this is much more a factor than that there isn't money in it at the elite levels. I doubt most parents initially get there kids involved in a specific sport based on how much money the kid could end up making in it!

I think USA Swimming should concentrate on how much fun it is to be part of a team. The sport will always be highly individual, but kids can have a lot of fun with their teammates.

Peter Cruise
August 4th, 2005, 01:58 PM
Au contraire, Kirk. I have a fair number of parents of the local swim teams who shop at my store (& know of my swimming habit) & all I hear is how expensive it is becoming (both of money & parental time) esp. the new suits. Now Nanaimo is hardly an affluent area, so maybe that contrasts with your experience.

scyfreestyler
August 4th, 2005, 02:04 PM
I agree about the expense of suits, I went the cheap way and just bought an Aquablade Jammer(50.00) as opposed to the FSII (150.00). Just the same, it is still cheaper than many other popular sports such as cycling, surfing, snowskiing, snowboarding, water skiing, etc..

knelson
August 4th, 2005, 02:18 PM
Originally posted by Peter Cruise
Au contraire, Kirk. I have a fair number of parents of the local swim teams who shop at my store (& know of my swimming habit) & all I hear is how expensive it is becoming (both of money & parental time) esp. the new suits. Now Nanaimo is hardly an affluent area, so maybe that contrasts with your experience.

I guess most of my experience is from my own age group experience and it was fairly cheap in those days. Perhaps things have changed. However, kids certainly don't need to wear the expensive suits and parents who are concerned about the price shouldn't buy them.

valhallan
August 4th, 2005, 02:19 PM
Better television coverage would help draw in more potential future swimmers by more exposure to the sport. The problem is that swimming isn't as widely viewed as most people would think...Bob Costas stated that not many people want to watch it other than swimmers themselves.

Sponsorship is the fuel to getting exposure and air time...which in turn lures in the kids at a younger age. Back in the seventies, ABC's Wide World of Sports had swimming events televised almost every other weekend. Interestingly enough...people like Gary Hall have the right idea in getting sponsors by all means possible. That Everlast robe of his at the 50 free last summer is good example.

scyfreestyler
August 4th, 2005, 02:25 PM
Originally posted by valhallan
Better television coverage would help draw in more potential future swimmers by more exposure to the sport. The problem is that swimming isn't as widely viewed as most people would think...Bob Costas stated that not many people want to watch it other than swimmers themselves.

Sponsorship is the fuel to getting exposure and air time...which in turn lures in the kids at a younger age. Back in the seventies, ABC's Wide World of Sports had swimming events televised almost every other weekend. Interestingly enough...people like Gary Hall have the right idea in getting sponsors by all means possible. That Everlast robe of his at the 50 free last summer is good example.

I hear what you are saying about sponsorship and Gary Hall. I guess it boils down to whether or not that is the image that USS wants to portray.

dorothyrde
August 4th, 2005, 02:29 PM
Originally posted by knelson
Actually I've always thought swimming was one of the cheaper sports. It certainly isn't gear intensive like a lot of other sports.

I think one of swimming's problems is that it isn't a team sport. I think this is much more a factor than that there isn't money in it at the elite levels. I doubt most parents initially get there kids involved in a specific sport based on how much money the kid could end up making in it!

I think USA Swimming should concentrate on how much fun it is to be part of a team. The sport will always be highly individual, but kids can have a lot of fun with their teammates.

Cheap, right.

55.00 a year to be a member of USA swimming
126.00 to be a member of the Y(my kids team is a Y team).
125.00 per month training fees for the Senior swimmer
95.00 per month training fees for the 12 year old

Every swim meet has fees of 2.50-5.00 per event. 3-day meets, 4-5 events per day, gets costly.

Most meets are too far away to drive back and forth, so a meet weekend cost up to 300 in hotel and food costs(and I have packed a microwave before and done all meals in the room!).

And to address boys, there isn't a lot of places for them to go and swim because of the cut in boys teams. Having a 17 year old boy who quit last year.
1. he said he was burned out, tired of swimming every day, and the time the meets took from his weekends and friends.
2. What could he do with it after HS, hard to find scholarships.
3. Band and band related activities were taking his time.
4. He is old enough to know the cost of it was a source of stress.
5. His HS has no swim team, so it was not even a HS sport for him.

Now, he is thinking of coming back this fall, but it will be his decision if he does, and his decision if he wants to train in the National team, or stay at a lower level just for fitness.

Ironicly, the 12 year old is not near as good of a swimmer, but because she is a girl, the sholarship oppurtunities are much better.

Jeff Commings
August 4th, 2005, 02:31 PM
John, I hope I'm wrong when I talk about a cycle that will end in three years.

And I'm in total agreement about marketing. They have these Olympians going EVERYWHERE to the point that they say it affects their training. But where exactly are they going? Yes, there was the Disney World tour, but that didn't reach lots of people. Photo shoots and small camps aren't going to help, either. They have to be doing national commercials equivalent to what basketball and football players are doing. And do them so training is not affected.

It's a difficult solution, but USA Swimming has people on their payroll to help out with this. There's supposed to be a campaign that they're starting this weekend with the TV broadcast of Duel in the Pool, but will it be a good start? We'll see.

justforfun
August 4th, 2005, 02:47 PM
I think Blue Horn is onto something. Has anyone watched Fear Factor? They have scantily-clad young people doing all manner of stupid things in the water and somehow lots of people watch! I think we have the wrong idea going for more body coverage with full body suits (and not just because it's expensive).

SwiminONandON
August 4th, 2005, 02:59 PM
haha ... I have a friend that called me during the Olympics to ask me where the skimpy speedos went ...

I would have thought swimming was cheap too ... but it's really not ... championship suits are a good $200 and up ... then you have your meet suit about $70 (if you are a girl) ... warmups, caps, goggles, etc. It might not seem like a lot but it adds up ... A local age group team pays close to $200/mo (if I remember correctly) ... then you have meet costs ... and the time factor ...

There aren't many sports that require getting out of bed at 5am to practice then going to practice again after school ... you have to love it ... and the kids that are talented swimmers are probably talented at other sports, too ... I had a friend in high school that played football, basketball, and water polo ... he could have jumped into the pool at any point and qualified for the high school state meet, too ... he went to Michigan and played football there ... he probably could have swum there if he wanted to ... he was that talented ...

The sport needs to be marketed better ... it needs more TV time ... the stars need to be in the spotlight more ... I've read all about all these sponsors they all have but other than Speedo ads I never see any of them ...

Leonard Jansen
August 4th, 2005, 03:01 PM
Even the "inexpensive" sports aren't getting the kids. How many kids want to do distance running? All you need is the odd pair of shoes 2-3 x's a year and some basic shorts/t-shirts. Even so, it's not the $$ (although that doesn't help), it's the fact that the difficult sports are tough sells to an inactive population.

All together now: "You kids don't know what hard is: When I was a kid, we used to run 53 miles to school - each way and it snowed every day and the mountain lions would kill 10% of the class each month. But we were happy to do it." Etc.

-LBJ

SwiminONandON
August 4th, 2005, 03:08 PM
I'll throw this one out there ... swimming is more painful than some of the other sports ... how painful are baseball and basketball? Football my hurt but it's also all over TV all the time ...

Simply put it is painful to swim a 200 fly ... who wants to sign up for that? Plus you always smell kinda funny ... my teammate tells me all the time, "well swimmers are a bit weird."

dorothyrde
August 4th, 2005, 03:09 PM
My daughter swims for fun in the summer with a summer rec league. There are several swimmers(boys, she hangs out with the boys), who would be real interested in year round swimming. Talked to the parents, gave them the information about year round swimming. When they found out the cost, they said no. Cost is a big factor, and year round swimming is very, very expensive.

aquageek
August 4th, 2005, 03:16 PM
I think from a time and expense perspective, swimming is a tremendously expensive sport, for all the reasons listed above.

I also believe there is another expense factor that lends swimming to a smaller crowd, the high need for parental involvement. It requires almost constant parental involvement for swimming - toting the kids to practice at ungodly hours, local meets, away meets and significant financial resources at hand for those. A single parent will have trouble meeting these reqs, especially if there are multiple children in the family.

Many of my closest friends have multiple kids in multiple age groups. It is rare for the whole family to be home on the weekend, one parent is frequently at a meet while the other takes care of the other kids.

Peter Cruise
August 4th, 2005, 03:21 PM
Keather- none of us smell kinda funny; must be something in all that Special K cereal...

justforfun
August 4th, 2005, 03:21 PM
While I agree that expense is a barrier, at the same time I see parents putting their kids into baseball, basketball, and football "select" teams/leagues, summer camps, clinics, and even these "performance improvement" programs to improve speed and power. These things are all very expensive.

I'm sure others are thinking it, so I'll say it. I think a big factor is that age group (USA swimming) swim meets are boring. They are boring for the parents and also for the kids, who sit around most of the day only to swim once every hour or so. There's got to be a way to make these things more exciting and fun for the kids. I think more of them would be willing to put in the work at practice if the reward (meets) were better.

aquageek
August 4th, 2005, 03:34 PM
I agree, swim meets are snoozers. I was at a recent meet with 300 kids. The starter would take 60 seconds between each event to walk around and gossip and jibber-jabber as the next heat was on the blocks ready to go and the timers were ready. It was an indoor meet and it was blazing hot inside. It was infuriating.

aztimm
August 4th, 2005, 03:45 PM
Maybe this is a regional thing, because here in metro Phoenix, it seems most cities open a new pool every year, there are wait lists for swim lessons and city-run teams. There are so many kids interested that there are some that get turned away.

Yes, there are long hours, drives, fees, but yet that doesn't seem to bother people as much here. Is it because 95% of the pools are outside? Is it because 66% of homes built for the past 10 years have a pool in the backyard? Is it because the media reports drownings daily, and parents want their kids to at least learn to swim? Or maybe it is the cities constantly sending out and posting online all of their activities.

The city where I live (Chandler) has 3 high schools. Two of those have pools, the other school only opened in 2004, and a pool is in the future. One of them just had a new aquatic facility completed this year.

Who knows what is going on, but perhaps someone needs to start in an area where swimming is thriving and find out why.

TheGoodSmith
August 4th, 2005, 03:51 PM
1. Boring

"Just for fun" is correct. The sport is boring unless you know someone in the pool competing or do it yourself. A famous SMU womens swimmer once said....... "The only people who care about swimming are swimmers." Meets are a nightmare for parents in general. 3 day events morning, noon and night will scare off even the veterans at times. Then again, Bob Costas talks like an idiot when it comes to swimming.

2. Expense

Yes, it is moderately expensive but it is NOTHING compared to some sports. Hockey is a complete joke in terms of high cost. Swimming never was a lower class sport. To this day you still don't see that much minority or lower income participants. It's still largely a white middle class sport. There should be enough money out there to fork out for this sport in comparison to the big 3 relatively speaking.

3. Hard Work

Damn straight. Swimming is one of the hardest aerobic sports out there..... and yes... I would even pit it against the hours and efforts that triathletes log. It requires absolute and total comittment and frequently mentally burns out kids by the age of 18. Good coaching can help prevent this burnout factor and create a better environment to crank serious yardage. However, I see so many fat kids in my neighborhood today. It really depresses me. I blame the parents. I honestly think Americans are more lazy every generation and this is part of the problem. This one is a hard hurdle to get buy for the sport of swimming.

4. Money and Success

Swimming truly sucks in terms of financial rewards compared to the Big Three. Let's face it, we are a culture of greed and our kids follow suit (no pun intended). Why would a talented athlete at a young age want to make a few million like Phelps when he can make tens of millions like the Big 3 and tennnis?...... Hell... even golf is superior in terms of financial rewards over time. This is a real image problem to overcome when vying for talent of these kids early on.

5. No National Marketing in comparison

Who the hell cares about swimming other than on an Olympic year when we are counting medals and swimming saves our ass at every summer games. There must be a better way to rope in bigger dollars and sponsors for national network TV campaigns to grow the sport each year. You can't just have one meet a year like Duel in the Pool and expect to compete with the Big 3. It's got to be huge and pervasive. Big money...... how does US Swimming get a hold of people with Big Money.



I'm telling yah this sport needs a major marketing booster shot to keep it going strong in the future.


John Smith

dorothyrde
August 4th, 2005, 04:11 PM
Originally posted by aztimm
Maybe this is a regional thing, because here in metro Phoenix, it seems most cities open a new pool every year, there are wait lists for swim lessons and city-run teams. There are so many kids interested that there are some that get turned away.

Yes, there are long hours, drives, fees, but yet that doesn't seem to bother people as much here. Is it because 95% of the pools are outside? Is it because 66% of homes built for the past 10 years have a pool in the backyard? Is it because the media reports drownings daily, and parents want their kids to at least learn to swim? Or maybe it is the cities constantly sending out and posting online all of their activities.

The city where I live (Chandler) has 3 high schools. Two of those have pools, the other school only opened in 2004, and a pool is in the future. One of them just had a new aquatic facility completed this year.

Who knows what is going on, but perhaps someone needs to start in an area where swimming is thriving and find out why.

Sounds like a regoional thing. Here the 50 meter outdoor pools are being removed and replaced with zero depth, lazy rivers and slides. This state is losing more and more competition pools every year. 2 years ago the age group state meet was held in Wisconsin. This year the YMCA state meet will be held in Wisconsin. There are no pools available in Illinois the weekend of those meets and Carthage College has a nice facility so everyone has to truck up there. For us, that is a 3 hour drive, for people in Southern Illinois, 6-7 hours.

I got so I would pick separate travel meets to go to per kid. Because they are 5 years apart, it often meant all day at the pool, which is not good for the parents and not good for the kids.
I also have gotten smart in that there is one travel meet in the fall, one in the the January/Feb timeframe, and that is it. It simply is more feasable expense wise.

My husband and I also spend the whole weekend running our home meets, so by the time Monday comes, we often take a vacation day just to recover. 30 hours at the pool running the computer and timing system tends to be a might stressful...and I would shoot a starter who sat and gabbed between heats. Our starters listen when I say we need fly-overs to make the timeline better!

And yes, I have friends with kids in hockey, friends with kids in gymnastics, both much more expensive than swimming.

Peter Cruise
August 4th, 2005, 04:17 PM
Perhaps, since GoodSmith is so adept at starting blazing threads (and standing back & laughing some of the time), we have just the person for USS to hire to attract attention to the sport. Of course Tall Paul would say it would probably be just the wrong kind of attention...

Sam Perry
August 4th, 2005, 04:34 PM
What John is saying is spot on. We are horrible at marketing this sport. I am also one who is amazed that US Swimming has never run a capital campaign to raise money for promotion of the sport.

The question is, once the money is raised, how do you go about promoting it?

I think for one thing, we can follow Golf's example. In the past 15 years golf has become one of the most popular sports and is immensly more popular among kids and adults than tennis is. I think we can all remember in the 70's and 80's how tennis was more popular.

A superstar like a Phelps could definitely be promoted like Tiger has been the past 10 years. Tiger has helped take golf to a wider, more diverse audience. Yes, we have to train a lot more and I know Phelps has been taken away from training since 2004, but I know something could be done with our superstars to promote the sport to an uninformed public.

As a parent myself, I would love for my kids to learn WHY these people are so successful. Hard work, VO2 Max development (I couldn't resist), discipline, mental toughness, and dedication are lessons I want my children to learn. You can't put a price tag on that.

Yes, we would love more TV time, but as it has been said many times before, swimming is boring to most people. Golf was also about 15 years ago, now we have a TV station dedicated totally to golf. I play golf and I think the Golf Channel is pretty boring myself!

This needs to be a grassroots effort to communicate to kids and parents alike the benefits of swimming for life. We are never going to win the money game.

If you want to make meets more exciting, follow the sumer league model. In Phoenix, my kids swim in the Country Club league (they are too young for USS). The meets are on Wednesday night, the kids have a ball and the parents have much social interaction. Amazingly enough, they even serve alcohol to the parents there, so it's kind of like a big party!

A dual meet format such as this with local clubs, schools, etc. really seems to get all people involved.

One last thing. It has been said that swimming is great because you get to train with the girls. I totally disagree with this. Tell me if it considered "macho" among teens for boys and girls to do the same workouts. They don't do it in any other sport. Can you imagine how a co-ed basketball practice might be thought of? I think an all-male swim team looks much tougher, perception wise, and boys will be allowed to be boys more than they could in a co-ed practice. I am not sexist, please understand. I just think teen age boys have an opinion that it is considered more macho not to have girls in the practice.

Just my two cents worth...

Matt S
August 4th, 2005, 07:16 PM
I am down with a lot of the comments here. Yes, we could do a lot more to market this sport and make it more fan friendly, but we have done a number of good things already. Here are some more specific comments, in no particular order:

- You clearly can make TV coverage of a swim meet compelling viewing, with good editing and production. We do it every four years at the Olympics. Yes, an all day marathon of a YMCA age group meet is a snoozer for vitually everyone, BUT for an important national or international meet, you don't have to show every minute of every heat on TV.

- You can pump up interest in swimming competition by using non-standard formats, like head to head duels, focusing on short sprint races, etc. etc. I wholeheartedly endorse adding these kind of events to the mix. However, realize that some of this will come at the expense of running a "pure" competition that gives every swimmer an equal chance of swimming well and winning their events. I hear lots of shouting about making swim meets less boring. Well, the chance that a front runner might crack up and be eliminated from competition, through no fault of his or her own, is part of what generates interest in some sports. Think about the Tour de France, or the NCAA Basketball Tournament's "one & done" format (as compared to the NBA's endless, utterly predictable and unwatchable playoff system). Any time there is a suggestion that some swimmer got some infinitessimal advantage over another, an illegal dolphin kick at the turn, a pool 1 inch short of regulation length, the howls of protest are deafening. Are we prepared to accept a little random unfairness to make things more interesting? I am, but I have noticed others in this sport have turned fairness into a fetish.

- You can make big money payouts for professionals a priority, and drum up publicity by showing more skin. How far do you want to go down that road? I am in favor of some movement in this direction, but before we start, we should talk about what parts of our sport we want to preserve, even if we lose sponsor dollars and TV ratings by sticking to them. I don't want swimming to turn into fear factor (or figure skating), where the contestants are selected more because they are physically attractive, and less because of their athletic ability. I don't want our very best swimmers to begin behaving like the worst examples of professional athletes in the big three. I don't want club level swimming to turn into the sleazy, child-eating monster that summer club league basketball has become.

- Comparing swimming to golf, and suggesting we can do what golf did, is preposterous. Golf has ALWAYS been one of the most absurdly over-televised sports in the history of broadcast TV. Even in the 70s, when golf allegedly was smaller, what other sport would have events on TV, every weekend, for men's professional (PGA), women's professional (LPGA), and MASTERS (?!) profession (Senior PGA, for the love of Pete!) tours? Saying swimming should immitate golf is a bit like those methods for getting rich that tell you first you should inherit a million bucks.

- There is no money in swimming compared to the major team sports. But, compared to swimming in the 70s, there is a ton of money. Now, you can count on two hands the number of wealthy professional swimmers. Back then, you could count them on one finger--Mark Spitz, maybe.

- We have clearly lost participation rate and talent compared to earlier years. One reason why? The attenuation of the Mark Spitz effect, i.e. the age of swimmers old enough to have watched him compete in Munich and be inspired to try the sport. Look at the most populace age groups in any masters meets, esp. Nationals, and the presence of the Mark Spitz generation leaps out at you.

- My personal two bits on the unpopularity of age group swimming: I think it boils down to time demands on the parents. Yes, it is not cheap, but other sports are more expensive. Yes, your chances of turning pro, or even getting a college scholarship, and miniscule, but I haven't heard many parents, and darn few sane parents, consider that as a major factor. The aforementioned endless meets, travel, and having to get the little munchskins to an ungodly number of workouts, often at inconvient hours, and often with the parents having to hang out for a couple of hours at the pool during practice, is simply a lot more of an imposition than even a heavy bill for club dues.

- In a related point, I am not convinced that subjecting young age group swimmers to heavy workloads is the best way to make them faster swimmers in their late teens and early twenties. We like to assume that your chances of being nationally ranked at 18 are better if you are nationally ranked at 8, but does the latter cause or contribute to the former? How many nationally ranked 8 year olds are still there 10 years later? If my doubts are correct, we could do a lot more for the kids by making early age group swimming more about fun and participation, and less about beating everyone else. Fewer injuries, less cause for mental burn-out at in the teen years, more of a reason to want to stick with the sport.

- Therefore, I like the idea of radically reformatting early age group swimming and meets. Why do we have all the age groups swim one event, then the next, etc. etc., and keep hundreds of people twiddling their thumbs for hours in between swims that last 1-10 minutes? Hell, why do we have all age groups at every meet, or so many meets? My ideas are not well formed on this subject; I don't have concrete proposals. But, I think if we challenged assumptions, we could reduce the thumb-twiddling factor, and the resulting boredom problem.

- I do think we can turn swimming into a popular spectator sport. The Aussies do it in the face of competition from crickett and rugby. So can we.

Matt

Sam Perry
August 4th, 2005, 08:57 PM
Comparing swimming to golf, and suggesting we can do what golf did, is preposterous. Golf has ALWAYS been one of the most absurdly over-televised sports in the history of broadcast TV. Even in the 70s, when golf allegedly was smaller, what other sport would have events on TV, every weekend, for men's professional (PGA), women's professional (LPGA), and MASTERS (?!) profession (Senior PGA, for the love of Pete!) tours? Saying swimming should immitate golf is a bit like those methods for getting rich that tell you first you should inherit a million bucks.

I did NOT compare golf to swimming, and to say that it is "preposterous" is true. WHAT I SAID is that we could follow their model to make the sport more popular to more people. It has always been televised but has become more popular because they have used people like Tiger Woods to appeal to a wider audience. We could do the same.

We have not always had every weekend covered for golf and no the LPGA and Senior Tours have not always been on. Only since golf has gained greater popularity in the last 10 years has this been the case.

Please read what I say before you make a comment like that.

Paul Smith
August 4th, 2005, 09:15 PM
My "Evil Twin" is very good at identifying controversial and in this case appropriate themes to get peoples attention....as is the case with this post.

Problem is he, along with most others responding have been good at only pointing out the obviouse problems.....not the much hardr solutions!

I will first and foremost challenge anyone reading this thread to share with the group how many phone calls, emails, letters, etc. they have personally sent to the local media asking them to step up coverage of our sport?!

Next, how about some specific point by point plans on how we should market our sport?

Last but not least.....forget about golf...look at the X games and how volleyball adapted their rules to make their sport "tv friendly".

Sam Perry
August 4th, 2005, 09:21 PM
Last but not least.....forget about golf...look at the X games and how volleyball adapted their rules to make their sport "tv friendly".

Great point about the X Games they have done a great job of appealing to a younger audience. I just think a lot of that has to do with the "danger" of the sport. Until we introduce a half pipe swimming event we have to figure out something else.

The reason I used golf as my example is due to the fact that golf has always been considered a Country Club sport as swimming is sometimes thought by uninformed people.

Think back to the Nike Ad and the quote "I am Tiger Woods", if any of you remember that, it was pure genius. The message was any one could golf and the sport was open to many people.

There is no danger or extreme actions in Golf as in swimming and they have not used sex to make it more appealing.

If that is the denominator we need to go to as some have suggested, I for one think that cheapens what we do.

craiglll@yahoo.com
August 4th, 2005, 10:46 PM
Originally posted by knelson
Actually I've always thought swimming was one of the cheaper sports. It certainly isn't gear intensive like a lot of other sports.

I think one of swimming's problems is that it isn't a team sport. I think this is much more a factor than that there isn't money in it at the elite levels. I doubt most parents initially get there kids involved in a specific sport based on how much money the kid could end up making in it!

I think USA Swimming should concentrate on how much fun it is to be part of a team. The sport will always be highly individual, but kids can have a lot of fun with their teammates.

Swimming in Illinois has always been relatively expensive because lessons & pool time along wiht being a member makes it very expensive compared to other sports. Here in galesburg, to participate in soccer, peewee football and baseball, you don't have to pay any membership dues to the Y. During the summer age group is only about 4 weeks of 3 practices a day and it costs over $70. then you have ot get to meets.

Here swimming is rather poplular. Our high school boys is the only sport that hasn't had a losing record for over five years. Unfortunately, most of the guys who swim are sons of doctors & lawyers. It used to be a very community oriented sport. But the high school coach started a summer team at the country clud and that really changed. The public rec team isn't as good as the other. In a town of 33,000 peoplewe have wo age group summer teams.

I really think that the only way swimming is going to gain any real national attention is for it to be on tv. Remeber Wide World of
Sports. It showed recorded swim meets very frequently. In a school promotion & society class I took, I learned that swimming used to be one of the most broadcasted college sports inthe early 60s. That has really changed becasue NCAA's ability to market football & basketball packages to networks.

dorothyrde
August 4th, 2005, 10:47 PM
Originally posted by Paul Smith
My "Evil Twin" is very good at identifying controversial and in this case appropriate themes to get peoples attention....as is the case with this post.

Problem is he, along with most others responding have been good at only pointing out the obviouse problems.....not the much hardr solutions!

I will first and foremost challenge anyone reading this thread to share with the group how many phone calls, emails, letters, etc. they have personally sent to the local media asking them to step up coverage of our sport?!

Next, how about some specific point by point plans on how we should market our sport?

Last but not least.....forget about golf...look at the X games and how volleyball adapted their rules to make their sport "tv friendly".

Actually our swim club(our because I am on the team's board) has made a concentrated effort to get good relationships with the media. This summer we had meet results and blurbs about our local swimmers in the paper every week. We had quite a few pictures and 3 times our swimmers were featured athletes of the week. We keep the media push on, because if we don't they will forget us, because in a Big 10 town, coverage goes to football and basketball.

I think that swim clubs need to give good value for the money spent and the team will grow and kids will come to it. One of the major obstacles our team has is pool space and how expensive it is. The u of I wants to charge us 50 per hour for practice time, other places are cheaper, but the practice times are not practical for kids. Practicing until 10pm on a school night, many from small town that they have to drive to afterwards. It is not a good situation for attracting swimmers. If I manage to talk a prospective parent past the money part(it is worth it, blah, blah, blah), the fact that their 9 year old will be practicing until 9pm at night usually turns them right off. And the fact that the 9 year old probably should attend practice at least 3 times a week, maybe more, and mom and dad are constantly on the road driving to practice.

So to make swimming more attractive, something has to be done about pool time availabilty, and cost of the sport. Parents prefer a sport that is close, that the child can get themselves to by bike. Kids prefer a sport that has their friends from school in, and that allows them to sleep in in the summer. Unless some of these things change, you will be fighting an uphill battle.

Still there is always those little fishes out there that are having a grand time in summer rec(a place I always recommend newbie parents to start their kids out at). If they have a positive experience in a win/win atmosphere like that, then they are more likely to continue.

craiglll@yahoo.com
August 4th, 2005, 11:53 PM
In galesburg duringthe winter, the Y sets aside pool time for age groupers that interfers with my practice. They practie three nights at the Y & two at the high school. Since allof the swimmers pay either membership tothe Y or a nonmember rate the Y makes a lot of money. Our local newspaper has terrible coverage of swimming. There was no article until conference, even though our guys were undefeated. The girls high school didn't do as well and I don't think they got any coverage.

In Urbana, I've tried to swim at the pool at the high school three times duringthe school year. All times I called ahead to see if it was open for adult laps & was told yes. I got there & there weren't any lap lanes open. all age groups.

Also, I get two different e-mail newsletters for Australia. They cover swimming so much more completely. It is amazing,mates. The difference between how Worldswere coverd comred to how it was covered by sport specific newletters here was very different. I think that inAustralia, coaches play a much bigger role inmaitaining there local teamsbecaseu their income is dependent on getting kids in their pools which they generally own. Unlike here where many clubs rent a pool. How many clubs here inthe states actually own their own pool? In Australia, (I think) South Africa and New Zealand, the coach owns the pool. There might be five or six other coaches hired by the head. They have a financial stake in the team being successful.

Inthe newsletter form Western Australia, ther is an article about how specific WA team members did at worlds. the article was very quaint. I don't know how many people get the newsletter here in the states. I really enjoy reading it. Also, the other newletter talksabut the organizationof swimming in Australia. They really pay attention tothe sport. through their organization, swimming hasbecome the most popluar sport intheir contry, beating out Aussie rules & tennis. It is something!

dorothyrde
August 5th, 2005, 05:43 AM
Yep, the reason why you are seeing all those age groupers swimming when you want to swim is there is not enough pools available to swim at. Pools are costly to maintain and the trend is to put in water parks, not lap pools to make money.

Aquachiefs has Urbana(4 of the 8 lanes) Monday through Friday 5:30-7:00 am and 5:30-7:30 pm at a cost of 16 per hour. They have the 6 lane y pool 7:30-9 Monday through Friday. They have all 8 lanes at Urbana on Saturday morning 8-10 and 2-3 lanes on Saturday afternoon 3-5 and 2 lanes at the Y 1-3 on Sundays. This is for over 100 kids.

Urbana is charging the U of I women's swim team over 50 per hour for pool time 8-10 at night when IMPE shuts down because they have no where to practice.

justforfun
August 5th, 2005, 10:43 AM
I have to tell you, we've had a minor swimming miracle here in Omaha, having won the Olympic Trials bid. Lots of media coverage when it happened. Also, there was some actual coverage of the World Champs in the local paper. In the past, we were lucky to get a few results in the "scoreboard" section. I sure hope the momentum carries for 3 more years and beyond the actual Trials dates. I also hope the attention translates into increased participation on local swim clubs. I will certainly do what I can to help it happen.

The sad thing is, though, is that it took non-swimming people to make the Olympic Trials bid happen. If you would have asked any long-time swimming person around here, they would have said, "no way, we can't have Trials here...we don't have the right facility, we don't have enough support, and on and on." But the Omaha Sports Commission, which doesn't really care about swimming, was able to think big, get creative, and figure out a way to make it happen. They are event promotions people. They know how to market events and get a community behind something. All they really cared about was getting a high-profile national competition booked in the Quest Center. It didn't really matter what the event was. But, now people are excited about it. And, they're curious how the arena will look with a 50m pool inside, how they build it, etc. I sure hope we can capitalize on it.

dorothyrde
August 5th, 2005, 11:37 AM
Originally posted by justforfun
I have to tell you, we've had a minor swimming miracle here in Omaha, having won the Olympic Trials bid. Lots of media coverage when it happened. Also, there was some actual coverage of the World Champs in the local paper. In the past, we were lucky to get a few results in the "scoreboard" section. I sure hope the momentum carries for 3 more years and beyond the actual Trials dates. I also hope the attention translates into increased participation on local swim clubs. I will certainly do what I can to help it happen.

The sad thing is, though, is that it took non-swimming people to make the Olympic Trials bid happen. If you would have asked any long-time swimming person around here, they would have said, "no way, we can't have Trials here...we don't have the right facility, we don't have enough support, and on and on." But the Omaha Sports Commission, which doesn't really care about swimming, was able to think big, get creative, and figure out a way to make it happen. They are event promotions people. They know how to market events and get a community behind something. All they really cared about was getting a high-profile national competition booked in the Quest Center. It didn't really matter what the event was. But, now people are excited about it. And, they're curious how the arena will look with a 50m pool inside, how they build it, etc. I sure hope we can capitalize on it.


Very cool!

Dennis Tesch
August 5th, 2005, 12:17 PM
What a great thread.... I think we need to develop and provide tools to our age group coaches and aquatic directors on how to promote and educate all the young kids that are taking swim lessons right now. That is were our base is.... I don't know about other LSC or states, but in Utah it seems that we have forgotten how to funnel our swim lesson programs into our swim teams. I don't know a single parent who doesn't want the their kid to learn how to swim. Everyone puts their children into swim lessons, but that is were is usually stops. There is no information on what being apart of swim team is about or what it can do for you. In almost every other sport, your introduction to that sport is being apart of the team. You start off being apart of a league and you compete from day one. With swimming you start off with lessons and then it ends, there is no experience of being on team. You don't even get to determine if you like it or not.

I am sure, from talking with fellow coaches, that the most successful program know how to do this. We should learn from them. I would bet that 90% off all the teams across our great country struggle with how to market and promote their swim team with the lesson program in their community.

Leonard Jansen
August 5th, 2005, 12:51 PM
By the way, since this thread was started about boys' programs being weak, are we saying that the girl's programs are OK, or at least healthier? If so, then many of the arguments presented here would be doubtful since the girls are subjected to the same issues ($, it's hard, etc) as the boys.

-LBJ

Bob McAdams
August 5th, 2005, 01:34 PM
Originally posted by TheGoodSmith
I have been to many age group meets with my kids the last 4 years. In Georgia, Colorado.... and my home the Great state of Ohio, and enrollment of young boys (ages 8-14) is down further than at any time I can remember in the sport. Gone are the days when I grew up and boys ALWAYS outnumber girls in the sport, and its not merely because more girls are swimming now. It's because boys are interested in other sports..... many of which are easier training sports in my opinion.

When somebody tells me that boys' swimming - or swimming in general - is going downhill, I always have to ask them "compared to when?"

When I was in high school, for example, there were no boys on our high school swim team - or girls, either - because there was no high school swim team. There is now.

From the time I was around 10 to the time I was around 14, my family had a summer home near a reservoir in upstate New York, and we had a membership in a swim club at the reservoir. There were also no boys on the swim team there - or girls, either - because there was no swim team. I now live in northern New Jersey, and it seems that every lake and watering hole has a summer swim team for kids.

I certainly don't mean to belittle concerns that boys' swimming or swimming in general may be declining in some areas, but we shouldn't forget that it's something of an accomplishment for swimming to have grown enough that it could decline.


Bob

aquageek
August 5th, 2005, 01:56 PM
I agree with McAdams but my experience may not be indicative of the country as a whole - probably not since I still think grits will be named the national food of the US any day now.

But, here in sunny Charlotte, there are gigantic swim teams in every neighborhood with a pool and every neighborhood has a pool. In our team's division it was normal to have 200+ kids at summer league meets and plenty of those kids are also year round swimmers at one of the many aquatic centers nearby.

I grew up in a small town that had 8 summer league teams and 2-3 year round teams so I don't see this as any departure from 30 years ago but it seems swimming is still strong, in parts of the South anyway. And, with all the yankees (gull80) moving down here (gull80) and learning that a parka is only worn once or twice a year and you can swim in months other than August, the teams are thriving even more.

Bob McAdams
August 5th, 2005, 02:00 PM
Originally posted by 330man
It is difficult to train for and the monetary rewards are miniscule when compared to the big three of MLB, NFL, and NBA. You can count the swimmers who make big money on two hands whereas nearly every pro player in the big three makes well into a six digit salary, often times seven. What is USS going to say? Hey kid, come swim on one of our teams and you might get a shot at the Olympics. All the while the kid has visions of playing in the NBA and driving a new F430 Spider.

Anyone who is trying to sell kids on baseball or football or basketball based on the dream of turning pro is, IMO, engaging in false advertising. Very few kids who play Little League baseball are ever going to turn pro. The vast majority of kids who play high school football aren't going to be good enough to play it in college, and the vast majority of those who play it in college aren't going to be good enough to turn pro.

The value of sports for the vast, vast majority of people is as a path to health, fitness, and longevity through a lifetime program of regular exercise. And swimming is far more likely to fill that bill than football or baseball is. Have you ever heard of a company that had a company football team? Some companies do have have teams that play fake baseball (i.e., softball), but even they rarely play or even practice often enough to contribute significantly to an employee's exercise program. But, as most of us can testify, swimming (even competitive swimming) is a sport in which the vast majority of people can participate for their entire lives.

TheGoodSmith
August 5th, 2005, 02:24 PM
Bob McAdams and Leonard Jansen,

You've got an optimistic view of the future of men's swimming and that's good. Unfortunately, the facts show that enrollment is down on average nationwide for young males. There are regions of the country with better enrollment and that's good, but taken as a whole the sport doesn't look good for the future of male swimming. And to your comment about girl's success..... Yes, of course girls swimming could use some expansion. I won't light the Title 9 debate here (pros and cons) but I will say this. If mens swimming enrollment continues to decline it will ultimately hurt women's swimming programs as well. Like it or not, public viewership is dependent on selfish male audiences who would rather view men's swimming over women's swimming all things being constant. Not knowing anyone in the pool, men will typicaly pay to watch men compete than pay to watch women compete..... a selfish statement but a reality none the less. You've got to have both men and women's enrollments advancing together.


Paul "the evil" Smith and Loser.

I did mention one solution to the problem. I implied that USS should contact all the ex swimmers it can find for yearly donations to the sport. There must be tens of thousands of adult ex swimmers out there since 1960 with decent sized wallets and good memories of the sport they left behind years ago. A hundred dollar donation a year from each would be a good start.

It's about money. Its always about money. Get more money into the right hands to do EFFECTIVE marketing/advertising to raise awareness of the sport. TV spots are the way to go. Our society is glued to it.


John Smith

aquageek
August 5th, 2005, 02:24 PM
McAdams has been hitting the truth serum today, he is correct.

Such a tiny percent of participants in any sport make any money doing it that it's silly to say the pull of money attracts more or less kids to any sport.

Take a look at your most prominent college basketball and football programs. Even on those, it is rare for more than a couple (football) or one (basketball) to go pro. We can all name the 2 or 3 programs that seed the NLF or NBA with talent year in and year out. The other 99.9% of programs and athletes are preparing themselves for life with a good education.

TheGoodSmith
August 5th, 2005, 02:34 PM
Aquageek and Bob McAdams,

You guys are missing the point. It's not the likelihood of a young kid making it to the big money that drives his entrance. We all know that. We are saying that the big money in these sports keeps these icons at the forefront of the media which makes it more likely for kids to keep noticing the players in these sports vs. swimming.

Mega buck deals get noticed and talked about constantly in the media. The kids know the odds aren't good, but the papers keep the various sports subject alive none the less. The media thrives on the mega dollar sports deal and its constantly talked about. Its as if these players are in a BETTER sport because of the money and people start to believe they are BETTER athletes because they make more money. It feeds on itself.

Phelps has done well compared to previous swimmers financially, but its a friggen rounding error compared to other players with his comparable talent in other sports. If you saw dozens of swimmers making big wads of cash with endorsement deals the noteriety of the sport would go up and the kids and general public would notice it more.


John Smith

dorothyrde
August 5th, 2005, 02:42 PM
Originally posted by Dennis Tesch
What a great thread.... I think we need to develop and provide tools to our age group coaches and aquatic directors on how to promote and educate all the young kids that are taking swim lessons right now. That is were our base is.... I don't know about other LSC or states, but in Utah it seems that we have forgotten how to funnel our swim lesson programs into our swim teams. I don't know a single parent who doesn't want the their kid to learn how to swim. Everyone puts their children into swim lessons, but that is were is usually stops. There is no information on what being apart of swim team is about or what it can do for you. In almost every other sport, your introduction to that sport is being apart of the team. You start off being apart of a league and you compete from day one. With swimming you start off with lessons and then it ends, there is no experience of being on team. You don't even get to determine if you like it or not.

I am sure, from talking with fellow coaches, that the most successful program know how to do this. We should learn from them. I would bet that 90% off all the teams across our great country struggle with how to market and promote their swim team with the lesson program in their community.

Our team was missing the boat(or at least our sponsoring agencies who have the lessons) on this. Now that the Y has sole responsibility for our team, they have taken to heart advancing the swim lesson kids to swim team. Last winter, pre-team had 5 little kids, now it has 12 and they are pushing the higher lesson kids to it more and more, gotta build that base.

Bob McAdams
August 5th, 2005, 02:42 PM
Originally posted by knelson
I guess most of my experience is from my own age group experience and it was fairly cheap in those days. Perhaps things have changed. However, kids certainly don't need to wear the expensive suits and parents who are concerned about the price shouldn't buy them.

I agree, Kirk!

It's actually rather strange for a thread that began lamenting a decline in boys' swimming to have come around to this issue, because boys' suits are a lot cheaper than girls' suits (at least, if parents don't let themselves be taken to the cleaners, which some do).

High tech suits are pretty much worthless unless a kid is going to a state championship or something. What's the point in spending lots of money on a suit that saves fractions of a second when most heats are being won or lost by seconds (or even minutes)?

What I recommend to parents who have a boy who's a competitive swimmer is to buy briefs that sell for $20-$25. I mention that they can also pay about $5 more and get a suit called a jammer that's a little slower than a brief. If you compare that to the cost of a baseball, baseball bat, and glove, or the gear needed to play football or hockey, I think you'll find that swimming comes out ahead. Basketball is probably cheaper.

The primary cost of swimming is the cost of pool time. But football and baseball fields also cost something to maintain, as do gyms with basketball courts.


Bob

dorothyrde
August 5th, 2005, 03:34 PM
Yes, but it does not seem that the other sports(besides hockey and gymnastics)) pass the costs of that maintenance on as much. Perhaps because the fields and such are utilized by a lot of people and the cost gets spread out more.

Girls in the past have not had as many offerings as boys, so therefore more girls than boys, that might change and I see a lot of girls drop out around age 12 when they can do other things, and as their bodies change.

justforfun
August 5th, 2005, 04:05 PM
I think more parents and kids are influenced by the financial rewards than some have suggested. This may not be the factor that decides whether the kid ever tries swimming, but it may help to decide whether they stay in it. Given relatively equal talent in two sports, the greater possibility of earning a college scholarship in one over the other may decide it. People probably aren't so unrealistic to think their kid will earn a living playing a sport, but many of them hope it will pay for their education. There are so many scholarships out there in some sports, say football, that you don't even have to be particularly good--just big (or fat)--to get one. Many football players sit on the sideline for 4 or 5 years and never play a down, yet get a full ride. Please pardon the small rant on a pet peeve.

Bob McAdams
August 5th, 2005, 04:19 PM
Originally posted by SwiminONandON
There aren't many sports that require getting out of bed at 5am to practice then going to practice again after school ... you have to love it ... and the kids that are talented swimmers are probably talented at other sports, too ... I had a friend in high school that played football, basketball, and water polo ... he could have jumped into the pool at any point and qualified for the high school state meet, too ... he went to Michigan and played football there ... he probably could have swum there if he wanted to ... he was that talented ...

You raise some interesting points here.

In 2003, high school swimming coach Art Aungst wrote a book called Long Strokes in a Short Season, in which he chronicled the effects of shifting from conditioning-based coaching to technique-based coaching. In his book, he noted that "Because of our significant improvements over the past four seasons, other high school coaches often inquire what our 'secret' is. When I tell them that a 'big' training day for us might be 4500 yards - most of it done slowly and precisely - they usually seem skeptical."

He adds that "The unusual degree to which we have been able to create success based on significant contributions from athletes who don't consider themselves 'swimmers' has been exciting for me to witness. Swimming misses out on a great deal of potential because it typically holds little appeal for the person who has multiple athletic talents. The good athletes often look at swimming as mainly about 'how much pain and tedium can you endure?' They ask, 'Why should I endure that when I could be playing a game instead?'

"By changing our program from how-far-and-how-hard to a constantly evolving set of challenges involving balance, self-awareness, and exploration of efficiency, we have greatly increased its appeal to a person's general athleticism.

"The 'buzz' this has generated around the school has translated into more good athletes from other sports who view swimming as a favorable choice for off-season.

"Many kids who play volleyball, football, or soccer also play baseball, run track, and play lacrosse in other seasons. Many have outstanding athleticism that could be applied to swimming during a 12-week high school season if they were given the maximum opportunity to apply their athletic talents in the water. By making swimming more appealing through teaching, we have attracted many more of these kids to swim with us. By focusing on teaching and practice, rather than generic training, we have also given them the opportunity to swim quite fast in a brief season, and they have been instrumental to our success."


Bob

dorothyrde
August 5th, 2005, 04:23 PM
That is...if their high school has a team. Many do not.

aquageek
August 5th, 2005, 04:27 PM
Originally posted by TheGoodSmith
You guys are missing the point.

I didn't miss the point at all. I got it loud and clear. I just have a diferent take on it. It's not always so black and white.

Bob McAdams
August 5th, 2005, 04:34 PM
Originally posted by justforfun
I'm sure others are thinking it, so I'll say it. I think a big factor is that age group (USA swimming) swim meets are boring. They are boring for the parents and also for the kids, who sit around most of the day only to swim once every hour or so. There's got to be a way to make these things more exciting and fun for the kids. I think more of them would be willing to put in the work at practice if the reward (meets) were better.

I thought you might have a point until I started thinking about baseball. Last summer, I went to a baseball game in which a boy I know was playing. The coach only put him in for half of the 7-inning game, and during that time he was up at bat exactly twice. He was playing outfield, and the ball only came to him a few times. All in all, he saw less action than a typical swimmer does at a swim meet. Yet baseball remains a popular sport for kids.


Bob

justforfun
August 5th, 2005, 04:37 PM
Bob:
But, how long did the game last?

ande
August 5th, 2005, 04:41 PM
The future of US swimming has relied upon, and will always rely upon, a handful of extremely talented kids who get into swimming in a decent program with a decent coach, at an early age, then train their butts off for years.

It depends upon the swimmer having that rare mix of natural technique, body proportions, and intense desire to become great.

It's one coach or a series of coaches who sees the potential in these young athletes then guides and encourages them to find out what they are capable of.
Like Bob Bowman / Michael Phelps

The future of US swimming relies upon the moms and dads who support their kids, take them to practice, take them to meets, pay for it all, while avoiding pushing them too hard. Some parents relocate to place their child with the best possible coach.

It relies on a child being born into a family who can afford to pay for the child to train.

It relies upon the child deciding that swimming is her sport and the child making the choice to reject other sports, to put in the training to become great.

I don't know if a marketing program will change this

Greatness happens
one person at a time
one dream at a time.

It's a child watching Michael Phelps or Amanda Beard or Natalie Coughlin or Ian Crocker or Aaron Piersol or Brendan Hansen on TV at the Olympics who decides

one day that will be me
if the child has the talent and puts in the work
it could be.

It's a few of these current great swimmers taking a few talented swimmers under their wings and telling them
you have what it takes to go all the way.
If you train hard, one day you could do what I did and more.

Ande

gull
August 5th, 2005, 05:21 PM
Well said, Ande. It's no secret that swimming requires a real commitment, much greater than what is needed to participate in Little League baseball, YMCA basketball, or Pop Warner football. Aside from the fact that none of our society's sports icons are swimmers, there is the issue of delayed gratification, swimming five or six days a week in the hopes of lowering your times after several months of hard work. Contrast that with some of these other sports, where the time commitment is much less and the "results" are more tangible and more immediate--getting a hit, scoring a basket, catching a pass. And for some reason, sitting on the bench doesn't completely overshadow the thrill of dressing (and acting) like your favorite major leaguer. That having been said, if they can make NASCAR appeal to the masses...

aquageek
August 5th, 2005, 05:27 PM
First of all, Ande, that was very nicely worded.

Second, and to you gull80, easy on the NASCAR bashing. I do live in Charlotte, after all. When you come here next January for the meet, I'm enrolling you in the Richard Petty Driving Experience.

TheGoodSmith
August 5th, 2005, 05:35 PM
Ande you're right, but if enrollment continues to drop you have less and less chance of realizing the all things that you've said.

It's a numbers game in the end. The more kids that partake, the more likely you will find another Phelps. You can't rely on a few great talents carrying the National team every year if the sport is in decline. You've got to MAKE it happen and turn it around.

US Swimming needs a wake up call to increase enrollment, and now.


John Smith

gull
August 5th, 2005, 05:39 PM
Originally posted by aquageek
Second, and to you gull80, easy on the NASCAR bashing. I do live in Charlotte, after all. When you come here next January for the meet, I'm enrolling you in the Richard Petty Driving Experience.

Clearly you've never seen me drive.

BTW, I was born in California but grew up in Houston--so I am definitely not a Yankee and will report you to a moderator for that personal attack.

ande
August 5th, 2005, 06:40 PM
thanks

the problem is people aren't likely to die in high speed swimming accidents. In more popular sports there's a certain gladiator like appeal.

plus it boils down to dollars fans and amatuer participants spend on apparel and equipment.

swimming needs more stuff to sell, like
golf does

EVERLAST robes are a start

ande


Originally posted by gull80
Well said, Ande.

That having been said, if they can make NASCAR appeal to the masses...

Bob McAdams
August 6th, 2005, 04:44 AM
I think I've got it figured out! What we need is a good movie about a boys' swim team. Maybe we could call it "The Mighty Dolphins" or "The Bad News Barracudas"?


Bob

Sonic Swimmer78
August 6th, 2005, 07:54 PM
Yes, Swimming needs to be more in the Media, TV, Film and I'll even settle for Saturday Morning Cartoons.

Heck, I've been working on some comics about a swim team since 1994, called the "Sonic Team". It's sad how Swimming has been ignored over the past several years.

When's the last time you invited the guys over for "Swim Night" for the Bar-B-Q T-Bones and Raw Veggies with Ranch dipping sauce, just to watch the Olympic Trials or some other swimming event that would (rarely) be on TV?

Guys, when's the last time your wife got mad at you for going to the sports pub just to see Michael Phelps do that 200 Butterfly or Ian Thorpe do a 400 IM?

Why watch football when swimming's on TV?

ahhh... such a rare treat, to watch your favorite swim team go all out, just to make it to the finals.

See what I mean? More televised events, more stories about the sport, even a Saturday morning cartoon show on Cartoon Network or some other TV station!

dorothyrde
August 7th, 2005, 08:49 AM
Watched a little bit of Duel in the Pool yesterday. Had it DVR'd, so almost missed the USA swimming commercial. I thought it was well done, and aimed at boys. Now they need to show it during football and basketball games, and Saturday morning cartoons!

craiglll@yahoo.com
August 7th, 2005, 12:27 PM
Swimming will probably not gain any poplularity with in the next 10 years. One major reason is that NCaa is too poweerful and it makes too much money from basketball. does anyone remember when the NCAA basketball tornament was sold to markets? Then in the late 80s, NCAA sold it to networks. In DC there was a very small UHF chanel that got the local broadcastiing rights for many years. Most people couldn't get the station. Then DC started to get cable. Still few could get the tournament. Then it was sold to networks and everyone was happy.

NCAA will never get behind swimming and promote it. Even if Ntionals were shown in every market, it woudl never make money. Swimming is almost unwatchable to the American public. Wide World of Sports used to show swimming recorded and heavily edited. Now with all of hte heats and concilation (sp) heats, few coudl maintain interest through the program.

As for golf. It has had brief flurries of popularity. those flurries almost always echoe Tiger Woods succes. Though, golf sales haven't reached the area they were when big Bertha was introduced. It is still not as popular as it was up to 1972. Its promise lies inthe fact that you can easily show what is happening. I reeally think that is hte most important facet for television showing of a sport. So little of swimming is "seeable."

aquageek
August 7th, 2005, 12:48 PM
Originally posted by craiglll@yahoo.com
As for golf. It has had brief flurries of popularity. those flurries almost always echoe Tiger Woods succes.

I'm not sure where you are getting this info. Golf has been very popular on TV for 30+ years now. I guess if you consider the sport has been around for hundreds of years, that could be considered a brief flurry.

Every single USGA and PGA event is televised, regardless of Tiger's participation. The you have the pro ams, the match play events, battle at Bighorn, etc. The Senior circuit and LPGA is also televised heavily.

craiglll@yahoo.com
August 7th, 2005, 01:53 PM
Golf is on TV yes. but actual participation in golf has been dropping since 1972. It had a brief flurish once Tiger Woods began to win but it has begun to drop again. Golf sales makes a larger percentage of total sporting goods sales only because it is expenseive, not because they sell so much golf supplies. Just because people watch golf, doesn't mean thye shoot it. By far more peole swim than golf.

Peter Cruise
August 7th, 2005, 04:26 PM
someone said about golf "...a good walk spoiled", but of course, a lot of courses now encourage motorized carts being used to speed up play...

Sam Perry
August 7th, 2005, 11:24 PM
someone said about golf "...a good walk spoiled", but of course, a lot of courses now encourage motorized carts being used to speed up play...

Funny you should mention that. "A Good Walk Spoiled" was a book written but what I believe to be one of the best sports writers around, John Feinstein. He is an active masters swimmer in the Maryland with Ancient Mariners. Used to come on our local sports talk show once a week in Phoenix, and would sometimes promote swimming. One time I remember him promoting one of their masters swimmers at the 2000 Olympic Trials as being the oldest person to qualify for the meet.

He is someone who could definitely provide some insight to this. IMHO...

justforfun
August 8th, 2005, 10:22 AM
A small bright spot for U.S. male sprinting over the weekend. Ben Wildman-Tobriner wins the 50 free at LC Nationals in 22.13 over world champ Roland Schoeman. Of course, Roland was a half second slower than his winning time in Montreal. But, still, 22.1 is nothing to sneeze at.

craiglll@yahoo.com
August 8th, 2005, 11:23 AM
Aquageek, if you don't think homophobia plays a HUGE part in men not wearing Speedos, perhaps you should do a little research.

The above quote was inthe speedos thread. I know about 10 boys between the ages of 16 to 9yrs old. Three of them are sons of guys who swam in college and two are nephews of guys who swam in college. Almost all of them think that swimming is a gay sport. I like to point out that for obvious reasons their thinking might be wrong. Once at a public pool two of these boys wondered why there weren't private areas inthe locker room to change in because they thought that other peoe would look at them.

If this image doesn't get changed rather fast, men's swimming inthe US is lost. I think that as fewer & fewer guys go into swimming, htis image is going to be the dominate one held by most young boys and a major reason why they won't go into swimming. I will mention that here in Galesburg, our high school men's team is larger than it has been in years. It has also been very successful for about three to four years while our football and basketball teams have had losing records for about 10 to 12 years. Most of the boys I know live in the Champaign-Urbana area or far northern Chicago suburbs.

dorothyrde
August 8th, 2005, 11:28 AM
cRAIG YOU ARE right about that. My children go to a school without a swim team. I remember JR High age, my son telling me some of his friends were questioning him "Do you REALLY where those speedos?' and saying no way would they.

That group of boys in Galesburg are a year older than my son. They have been swimming together since they were 8 and under, and have been a fast bunch. At YMCA champs, my sons group would win when it was his up year, and the Galesburg group would win when it was their up group. I wonder though, if there is another group that will follow. Here there is, but groups of swimmers that bond so well and swim so well together don't happen all the time.

lefty
August 8th, 2005, 11:35 AM
Originally posted by Sam Perry
Funny you should mention that. "A Good Walk Spoiled" was a book written but what I believe to be one of the best sports writers around, John Feinstein. He is an active masters swimmer in the Maryland with Ancient Mariners. Used to come on our local sports talk show once a week in Phoenix, and would sometimes promote swimming. One time I remember him promoting one of their masters swimmers at the 2000 Olympic Trials as being the oldest person to qualify for the meet.

He is someone who could definitely provide some insight to this. IMHO...

Golf is a good walk spoiled was originally said by Mark Twain. Feinstein was borrowing for his book title.

The swimmer Feinstein was promoting as the oldest at the 2000 trials was Wally Dicks, who was a masters teammate of his.

And I agree, Feinstein's books are generally great and he is really entertaining on the radio. He does a weekly spot on Sporting News Radio and once he said that he was calling from the pool deck of the USMS National Championships.

jswim
August 8th, 2005, 11:38 AM
Saw the duel in the Pool segment they did on Phelps. This may have already been covered on the forums, sorry if I'm repeating, but he emphasized promotion of the sport and had dreams of bringing it up to a status closer to the other major sports. (he of course realized that this might not be possible, but that he still wants to do what he can).

I think that's really important, and with some hope and encouragement perhaps he and other top swimmers can do something to get swiimming on the map. ???

I just thought it was nice to hear him say that, and it was inspiring. Made me think of this particular thread. Did anyone else see that little blurb? what do you think of it? I don't know much about any past efforts by popular U.S. swimmers to promote the sport and how it has turned out.

aquageek
August 8th, 2005, 11:59 AM
Originally posted by craiglll@yahoo.com
Aquageek, if you don't think homophobia plays a HUGE part in men not wearing Speedos, perhaps you should do a little research.

Please send links to study that show homophobia is impacting popularity of swimming in US boys. I'd be interested in reading a real study on this.

The US is experiencing great times in swimming and you are saying we are about to lose the sport. C'mon, that's a little overly dramatic.

Sam Perry
August 8th, 2005, 12:15 PM
I feel pretty dumb. Sounds definitely like a "Twainism". I just thought I'd mention his name as someone who knows sports and could really provide some insight to promoting ours. Like John said earlier, he is one of many talented people that USA Swimming could consult to learn how to make swimming more popular.

Don't think we'll see "I am Michael Phelps" commercial a la Tiger Woods, but little blurbs on TV once or twice a year like last weekend is definitely not going to do it. Just seems like they are making a very weak attempt to promote and just betting on the fact that a few stars will shine in the future to keep this sport THE PREMIER Olympic sport it always has been.

If my kids were exposed to the lessons this sport teaches, that is priceless to me. They will be because of me, but how many other parents are missing out on the great benefits this sport provides? Not to mention the stats many of us have seen regarding GPAs of swimmers and graduation rates. Swimming ought to show those comparisons to the "Money Sports" and I think it would definitely turn some heads of parents who actually care about their kids education and future.

But as Paul Smith said earlier a Half Pipe swimming event with blood and broken bones couldn't hurt. Did anyone watch the X-Games this weekend? Those guys were AWESOME!

gull
August 8th, 2005, 12:49 PM
"I am Michael Phelps." Works for me.

Peter Cruise
August 8th, 2005, 12:56 PM
C'mon Craig, I just covered my monitor with milk & cereal...

jswim
August 8th, 2005, 02:47 PM
Here here!.. or is it Hear hear?

dorothyrde
August 8th, 2005, 02:49 PM
That is bad<looking over my shoulder to make sure no one saw!>.

Guys, you have to try and remember what it is like to be a Junior High or HS boy. <I cannot!>, and then add to it the fashions of today where shorts have to be big and below the knee.

I have noticed though, HS track was quite popular last year among the guys(new coach that is really making it fun), and they are wearing singlets that are every bit as tight as a speedo.

TheGoodSmith
August 8th, 2005, 03:49 PM
With the posting of that photo.... I feel this thread is deteriorating rather quickly.

Perhaps we should wrap it up and start another controversial hot topic to argue about?

I have a few thoughts....



John Smith

Peter Cruise
August 8th, 2005, 04:44 PM
John, I picture your thoughts as hand grenades...

Bob McAdams
August 9th, 2005, 08:12 AM
Originally posted by justforfun
Bob:
But, how long did the game last?

It lasted a couple of hours, which is also about how long a typical summer swim league dual meet or high school swim team dual meet lasts.

Are there swim meets that last longer than that? Sure! But they are usually big meets involving a number of teams. The equivalent in baseball would be the Little League regional playoffs, which last several days.


Bob

aquageek
August 9th, 2005, 08:20 AM
Originally posted by Bob McAdams
It lasted a couple of hours, which is also about how long a typical summer swim league dual meet or high school swim team dual meet lasts.

Are there swim meets that last longer than that?

You are lucky. Our summer league meets last 3-5 hours, twice a week. These are duel meets, not the championship meet at the end of the season.

Bob McAdams
August 9th, 2005, 08:41 AM
Originally posted by craiglll@yahoo.com
I know about 10 boys between the ages of 16 to 9yrs old. Three of them are sons of guys who swam in college and two are nephews of guys who swam in college. Almost all of them think that swimming is a gay sport.


Originally posted by aquageek
Please send links to study that show homophobia is impacting popularity of swimming in US boys. I'd be interested in reading a real study on this.

I agree, aquageek.

Keep in mind that when boys today say that something is "gay", they usually don't mean that they literally think it's homosexual. And, as Craig himself notes, there are pretty obvious reasons why they should know it couldn't be in this case.


Bob

Bob McAdams
August 9th, 2005, 08:50 AM
Originally posted by dorothyrde
cRAIG YOU ARE right about that. My children go to a school without a swim team. I remember JR High age, my son telling me some of his friends were questioning him "Do you REALLY where those speedos?' and saying no way would they.

I can remember some boys saying that about 15 years ago. And I can remember some boys saying that about 25 years ago. And I can remember some boys saying that about 35 years ago. (Ulp! Did I just admit to being that old? :eek: )

The bottom line is that teenage boys who have never worn speedo-type briefs have always imagined that they must be unbearably embarassing to wear. The teenage boys who actually wear them know it's not like that, and try to explain that to their friends, but the message never quite seems to get through.

Still, it's been that way for a long, long time, and during that time, competitive swimming has grown in popularity for both girls and boys!


Bob

Bob McAdams
August 9th, 2005, 09:01 AM
Originally posted by aquageek
You are lucky. Our summer league meets last 3-5 hours, twice a week. These are duel meets, not the championship meet at the end of the season.

It would be a real problem if they took that long here, because many of them start at 6pm, and if they lasted 5 hours, that would mean they'd finish in the dark. Many of them are held on lakes where there's little or no artificial lighting.

The length of the summer swim league meets is held down by the fact that they are composed purely of sprint events (200 freestyle relay and 200 medley relay are the longest events they have), and by the fact that there's only one heat for each sex and age group.

The length of the high school meets is held down by the fact that they don't have age groups, and therefore there is only one boys' and one girls' heat for each event.


Bob

aquageek
August 9th, 2005, 09:31 AM
Originally posted by craiglll@yahoo.com
The above quote was inthe speedos thread. I know about 10 boys between the ages of 16 to 9yrs old. Three of them are sons of guys who swam in college and two are nephews of guys who swam in college. Almost all of them think that swimming is a gay sport.

I know a whole lot more than 10 young men. None think swimming is a "gay" sport. What is a gay sport by the way? Do they also think Lance Armstrong and cycling is "gay" because they wear tight little outfits also? What about football and their tight little pants, do they find that gay also? Let's not forget that baseball might also be a gay sport because their pants are usually tight. Same for all track and field.

Please don't assume your limited experience with a tiny group of boys is indicative of all youth. It would help if you could substantiate your claim of homophobia by passing along studies that bear this out, not your small isolated sample of personal experience.

craiglll@yahoo.com
August 9th, 2005, 10:08 AM
Originally posted by aquageek
I know a whole lot more than 10 young men. None think swimming is a "gay" sport. What is a gay sport by the way? Do they also think Lance Armstrong and cycling is "gay" because they wear tight little outfits also? What about football and their tight little pants, do they find that gay also? Let's not forget that baseball might also be a gay sport because their pants are usually tight. Same for all track and field.

Please don't assume your limited experience with a tiny group of boys is indicative of all youth. It would help if you could substantiate your claim of homophobia by passing along studies that bear this out, not your small isolated sample of personal experience.

I think to boys is a pretty big sample especially since they all have basically the same conclusion. They don't think football is a gay sport. I think underneath their opinions are true, society-wide ideas about homophobia in young men. I haven't seen any studies about homophobia in young men. I can tell you that from there attitudes, to me, there seems to be a real misunderstanding about swimming and sexually that is probably held by a large number of boys in there early to midteens.

All of these boys live in a university town where there is no team in the uniersity but all of the high schools have very strong teams including the small and new Catholic schoool. Plus the Y has had a strong influence on swimming inthe community for at least twenty years. Because of this, I thought it odd that they had such negative attitudes towards swimmers & swimming. I've asked them why they think this, and they almost all echoe the attitudes and dedication of the boys they know who swim, the way boys look in speedos, and the way swimmers' parents are constantly talking about their hard working kids. I will say that all of these boys are very good baseball players and are on at least onetraveling team and one league team.

I think this would be a great study. If you woudl liek to fund, I'll do it.

aquageek
August 9th, 2005, 10:24 AM
So, the research you did is talking to 10 boys in some small college down in Illinois? From that you draw some conclusion about all boys and all swimming in general.

If that's the sum total of the research you are stating I need to do then I have you trumped, having spoken to many more than 10 boys in a large metorpolitan area, none of whom hold this attitude. I also grew up in a small college town and never experienced this gay thing you find so prevalent about swimming. So, 10 boys from an isolated small area is no sample and is not indicative of swimming or gayness or whatever you are thinking. I'm not even sure what gay has to do with swimming, just swim.

Rob Copeland
August 9th, 2005, 10:28 AM
Craig,

So you’re saying your surveyed sample, thought swimmers were gay because of the “dedication of the boys” and because the boys parents are proud of them???? Dude, find a better representation of youths. They may be good baseball players, but they exhibit a very fragile grasp on reality.

gull
August 9th, 2005, 10:57 AM
Perhaps we can conclude that 10 year old boys in Galesburg, IL who are very good baseball players (and know Craig Johnson) view swimming as a gay sport.

I thought I'd killed this thread already. I may have to post another photo of geek.

Sonic Swimmer78
August 9th, 2005, 11:04 AM
Originally posted by Rob Copeland
Craig,

So you’re saying your surveyed sample, thought swimmers were gay because of the “dedication of the boys” and because the boys parents are proud of them???? Dude, find a better representation of youths. They may be good baseball players, but they exhibit a very fragile grasp on reality.

Yeah, seriously. Swimming is FAR from Gay. Maybe it's the wearing a Speedo, (which I really don't mind in the slightest) but whoever thinks Swimming is Gay ought to get their head checked. :mad: :mad:

craiglll@yahoo.com
August 9th, 2005, 11:47 AM
The sample is not from Galesburg but where the University of Illinois is located. In Galesburg, most of the ouung guys I know are swimmers. I really don't know what there attitudes towards swimming are. also, I don't know them vewry well. The boys I do know all have a surprisingly negative view of swimmers. None of them are swimmers. I think that is very important.

I'm not the message only the messenger. I'm only saying the attitude I notice. I do though think that from the universality of these boys' attitudes that there are probably many young boys with the same attitude. Rmember, I've asked these boys why they think the way they do. I was very surprised. Some of these boys had fathers who swam in college. They live in an area of the state where swimming seems to be a big sport that is well funded by the school systems.

We must wonder why these boys gave such negative responses. This thread is wondering why men's swimming is in truble. The young boys got this idea from somewhere. Also, these boys go to a pool almost every day duringthe summer to mess around.

gull
August 9th, 2005, 11:55 AM
Originally posted by craiglll@yahoo.com
I do though think that from the universality of these boys' attitudes that there are probably many young boys with the same attitude.

I agree with you on one point--that view is universal among the ten boys you questioned. By the way, did you question them individually or collectively?

aquageek
August 9th, 2005, 12:00 PM
Since Illinois is appently the center of all thought on matters gay or otherwise, my sample of 1 from this area has weilded different results. My step-monster is a farm girl from Illinios who did undergrad at the U of I or IU and then went on to Berkeley. She is pretty darn tolerant and liberal and has never accused me of gayness because I swim.

Baseball players also think Skoal is OK so I don't put a lot of weight into their opinions on much of anything.

But, gull is right, any more discussion on this and he'll feel compelled to show another picture of himself.

Frank Thompson
August 9th, 2005, 12:48 PM
Geek, Gull, or anybody know this guy. I went back to where this picture came from and its was some guy named Mark from Maryland. He goes by freedivemd. He posted it of himself to show its ok to wear the speedo at anytime and anyplace. Since it was 2 years ago he posted this, he has never posted anything else. Maybe we should stop posting this picture so much because he is becoming famous for it. On the other hand anybody that sends a photo of himself like this is fair game to the USMS posters.