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  1. Oct. 1

    by , October 6th, 2008 at 06:08 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    80 minutes at the gym in the morning doing lights weights, core and RC work.

    Afternoon swim:

    I modified one of SwimStud's fav ladder sets to include more kicking and drills:

    600 warm up
    200 drill
    Main set = 3 x (200 kick, 200 swim, 2 x 100, 4 x 50, 8 x 25, 50 EZ). I did it like this:


    200 dolphin kick on back with MF on 3:00 (went 2:20)
    200 free smooth on 3:00
    2 x 100 dolphin kick with MF with board on 1:30 (went 1:05ish)
    4 x 50 single arm fly drill with MF on 1:00
    8 x 25 fast flutter kick with board (ouch!)
    50 EZ


    200 dolphin kick on back with MF on 3:00 (went 2:20)
    200 free smooth on 3:00
    2 x 100 single arm fly drill on 1:45
    4 x 50 IM order (fly-back, back-breast, breast-free, free-fly) on 1:00
    8 x 25 fast flutter kick with board (ouch!)
    50 EZ


    200 dolphin kick on back with MF on 3:00 (went 2:20ish)
    200 free smooth on 3:00
    2 x 100 kick with board and MF on 1:30 (went 1:05ish)
    4 x 50 roll backstroke drill on :50
    8 x 25, alternate EZ and AFAP free
    50 EZ

    200 C/D

    Total: 4100

    Updated October 7th, 2008 at 03:35 PM by The Fortress

  2. Fly Day

    by , October 10th, 2008 at 03:40 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    I'm pretty sore and tired from training. I haven't had a day off since Sept. 26. Usually I take Saturdays off, but last weekend, a beautiful fall day and the lure of the running trail beguiled me. Really looking forward to taking tomorrow off! And I almost never say that. lol

    Today was my scheduled day for doing a fly set to help my 100 fly. I'm trying to take the advice given in the "Training for the 100 Fly" thread. Was deciding between sets given to me by Cream Puff, Jeff Roddin and Greg Shaw. Decided to do Greg Shaw's 10 x 75 fly set. As you can see below, I gave myself a generous interval (as he suggested) to hold form. I used fins because there is no way I can swim that much fly without them without shoulder pain. I did this set in September, but had to alternate fly and one arm fly drill. This time, I did it all fly.

    600 warm up
    200 fly drills
    4 x 25 build

    10 x 75 fly on 2:00 with fins (held 49-50)
    (probably should have done a 25 easy after each 75 rather than hanging on the wall)

    200 EZ

    3 x (5 x 50) on 1:00:

    #1 backstroke:
    1-3 descend
    4, AFAP with fins (27-28)
    5, EZ DAB
    #2 backstroke kick:
    1-3 descend
    4, AFAP with fins (27-28)
    5, EZ DAB
    #3 backstroke:
    1-3 DPS
    4, AFAP with fins (27)
    5, EZ DAB
    100 easy

    Total: 2700

    Updated October 10th, 2008 at 05:40 PM by The Fortress

  3. Great News For New Mexico State University Swimming & Diving

    by , October 24th, 2008 at 07:37 PM (My non-workout blog and random thoughts)
    NMSU is ranked number 2 in the nation for team grade point average! (3.566)!!! They are the top women's team for GPA in the Western Athletic Conference!

    Tessa Bain was awarded Academic All American status for her 4.0 GPA going into her junior year (majoring in accounting).

    Last spring, the NMSU team had 11 women athletes with a 4.0 GPA - and these athletes are not majoring in underwater basket weaving - it's accounting, business, engineering, biochemistry, etc.

    I spoke with Head Coach Rick Pratt and he told me that he prefers to recruit talented athletes who are not top tier, but are motivated to work hard in both the pool and in the classroom. He said that the team helps each other and that the interaction between the team members is just outstanding.

    As we know, all most all college swimmers go on to a professional career outside of sports. These ladies are on the right track to be good citizens and hopefully, future masters swimmers!

    Mea Culpa ---------------------------------------

    When I swam in college, I did not focus on academics until my senior year. I was caught up in the peer pressure to party, party and party. Great for the social life - very bad for the GPA. I barely graduated!

    I went on the earn two masters degrees (statistics and operations research) and a Ph.D. in engineering (major: operations research and minor: computer science). I did the second masters and Ph.D. while working full time (no time for swimming).

    The point of this blog post is simple: the discipline and competitive desire that I learned from swimming stuck with me and I applied those lessons later in life when I was given the opportunity. Competitive Swimming teaches you key life values - the ability to withstand mental and physical hardship, the desire to compete and accept disappointment, the value of rising to a challenge, belief in yourself and your team and probably most important - to never give up!

    See you in the water!
  4. So, am I a Coach???

    by , November 7th, 2008 at 05:21 PM (My non-workout blog and random thoughts)
    Question: Am I A Coach?

    This may be a dumb question, but it is something that has been in the back of my mind for quite some time.

    I posted this in coaches forum and we see what the real coaches think.....

    Primarily, I swim and train myself. I get up at 4:45am and I am in the water from 6:00am to 7:00am M-F and from 7:00am-9:00am on Saturday. Sometimes, friends will join me for sets and we trade calling sets.

    Some of my self coaching activities:
    I write my own workouts
    Keep a training log
    Keep a performance log
    Read all I can about the sport and have a modest library
    Purchased and studied Reese and Marsh's instructional DVDs
    And I've read extensively about anatomy, exercise physiology and kinesiology (biology undergrad; engineering Ph.D).
    I've purchased a Flip Video Camera with the underwater housing so I can video tape my stroke below the water (with the help of a friend).
    And I have library of video recordings of race competitions.

    I use the information to plan my swim season and to correct certain stroke and race faults. I believe that you have to concentrate on controling gross motor movements so that you can correct flaws during practice. I have a list of cards that remind me of the things that I need to fix based on watch my video taped performances. Before these gross motor movements can become automatic, they have to be burned into the proprioceptive memory (muscle memory).

    I plan to conduct a simple velocity analysis on some of my video recordings of my race to find areas for improvement.

    I love competing and have had some success at the national and world masters level - which why swimming has become my adult avocation.

    So, can I call myself a coach?

    BTW, I spent several summers coaching and served as a volunteer assistant coach for my college - back in the ancient days of mens college swimming.
  5. My 3rd Pier Swim

    by , November 22nd, 2008 at 03:16 PM (Mexico to Oregon Pier Swim)
    3 rd. Pier Swim

    On a sunny Saturday morning, November 8, Linda and I arrived at the Ocean Beach Pier for my 3 rd pier swim. The City of Ocean Beach brags that their 1971 foot long concrete pier is the longest pier on the west coast. It may be the longest concrete pier, but it is not the longest pier. The Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf claims that title as it is 2,745 feet long. Now,…what is the difference between a pier and a wharf? A wharf is a structure that projects into a body of water where ships can dock and unload or load. A Pier is a wharf as well, except that a Pier is also used for strolling and fishing and general entertainment purposes.

    Ocean Beach, a funky kind of hippy town , is on the west side of the Point Loma Peninsula which terminates in the Cabrillo National Monument. The main drag in town is Sunset Cliffs Blvd. where I was pleasantly surprised to see 5 churches. The side streets are small and cozy, many small cottages and bungalows, we saw no large houses or mansions although I’m sure there are some .The Ocean Beach Pier has long been the focal point of this beach town since it’s founding in 1888. The pier has existed in several locations, being resurrected in its current location in 1966. We paid 2 bucks for 1 hour parking in a lot about a block or so from the Pier. Our walk to the Ocean took us past a “head shop”, tattoo parlor, and a really funky clothes shop. Reggae music was blaring from a bar that opened onto the sidewalk. All that was missing was the smell of patchouli oil and some Peter Max art work.

    We found the beach and I was delighted to see a glassy Ocean. She was resting and happy, relaxed, not wild and angry like she was when I rounded the Crystal Pier. A dozen or so surfers were plying their trade on the north side of the Pier and a few folks were absorbing the sun on the beach. As I went thru my pre-swim ritual Linda got comfortable in her beach chair.

    Looking out at the pier I could see a small café and bait shop. The Café is about half way out. Beyond it the pier branches out in two opposite directions, each fork extends about 100 feet. From my observations I would guess that the pier is about 25 feet above the water.

    Surfers are restricted to the “real estate” that extends from the Pier to about 100 yards to the right of , or north from the Pier. Swimmers are allowed to enter the water beyond this point and are expected to stay clear of the surfers.

    I entered the water about 100 yards beyond the surfer’s area and headed out to sea. The water felt great and I was immediately in another world, a world where gravity had lost most of his power. The Ocean embraced me and drew me out. Each stroke seemed effortless. Being on the right side of the Pier I had it in my sight on every breath. There were no waves, merely occasional swells. After swimming in the straight out for about 15 minutes, I “alligator-eyed” a resting sea gull who was studying me from about 6 feet away.. I stopped, made goofy bird sounds, and continued on .She was not impressed. Before I knew it I was at the end of the right fork of the Pier where many fishermen were enjoying their time. The flatness of the water was spooky, but such a thrill, way too friendly, greatly appreciated.

    I swung around the end of the fork, took a pic and checked the water temp, 61 degrees. I could feel myself developing goose-bumps, not from the cool water, but from my emotions. The mood I’m in before I enter the water is often magnified while on a swim. Sometimes all my demons, all of life’s troubles seem to surface and consume me. When this happen I swim hard to escape them, to drown them ,to dissolve them in the sea. Today,.I was blessed with a spirit of contentment, a feeling I did not want to swim away from.

    At the half way point of my swim, I rolled over on my back and rested. Not because I was tired, but because it was soothing, otherworldly. I could have easily spent an hour floating there in that aquatic massage parlor.

    After 5 minutes or so, I rolled over and pressed on, building up some speed, leaning into the harness, loving every moment. Turning towards shore just past the end of the opposing branch of the pier I took some more pics and made a determined effort to do nothing but swim hard till I could see the bottom. In not too many more minutes I could see a rocky bottom, sea urchins, sea grass. About 100 yards from shore I was in 2 feet of water, but was unable to stand and walk. The sea floor was rough and craggy, slippery, "potholes" abounded. I stayed in a prone position, crawling I pulled myself along with my hands as my legs did nothing but float behind me. Before long I was in inches of water but was uncomfortable walking as I feared taking a tumble. Linda had walked south, under the pier and I could see her standing on the beach. We walked back under the Pier and headed home, without hitting a restaurant , I might add. :^( Our schedule would not allow it. Poor planning on my part. My next swim will be the Scripps Pier in La Jolla where we will make up for my poor planning by eating at Georges on the Cove.

    My gps says that I traveled .66 of a mile in 32 minutes, but a good deal of the swim was not recorded due to “poor coverage”. “Poor coverage”…there was nothing between me and the satelites except blue sky,..go figure.

    Updated November 23rd, 2008 at 06:59 PM by Ron Lockman


    well, today was cardio cath day at st. peters in albany.... not a day i was looking forward to, but everyone kept reassuring me that the procedure was painless; and for the most part... it was. i spent last night reading the lit that the hospital sent me about the cath and the types of hardware (stents) that seemed likely to be joined with my anatomy. needless to say; there was very little sleeping to be had by yours truly.

    alarm goes off at 6:00 and we are on the road at 6:30. (my sis-in-law is a speed demon so we arrive 1/2 hour early). sign papers - hospital gown and silly socks with grippy bottoms - check vitals - I V drip - off we go to the cath lab holding area. i booked the second appointment of the day (i figure the doc will get warmed up on someone else) its cold in here but being the "non wetsuit" type i choose to tuff it out sans the blankets that are being offered every twenty seconds.

    my turn in the lab. some happy juice is injected into my IV... some shaving (hey be careful down there)... and now some blankets that feel like they just came out of the dryer. there is a monitor near my head so i can watch the cath as it pokes around my heart. its true, no pain, no discomfort.

    good news, you could drive a truck through my arteries, so, no hardware necessary. i'll be going home tonight....all i have to do is clot!

    about 1 1/2 hours post op, i pop my clot while reaching for a pot to piss in... damn i sure can bleed. a nurse is alerted and applies a vulcan death pinch to my groin that she holds for twenty minutes. (thats going to leave a mark) now on top of a hematoma the size of a regulation volley ball a 10 pound sand bag is placed (new dressing of course) only three more hours of lying here.

    well, it hurts like hell when i walk but i'm happy about the clear arteries.
    i will have a talk with my cardiologist tomorrow. i suspect a TEE will be prescribed for me before the bruise in my groin disappears.

    i was told, no alcohol for 72 hours but i found a great website to help me choose a celebratory cocktail (68 hours and counting)
  7. Speed suit withdrawal

    by , December 9th, 2008 at 11:21 AM (My non-workout blog and random thoughts)
    Swam in the Holiday Invite at Long Beach this weekend. The meet is very well organized and well run. I highly recommend it to anyone that want to swim in a short course meter meet. It was very exciting to try some new technology (B70 and Xterra).
    These suits (B70 and Xterra) really have some Zing! My stroke count was lower and the pushoff distance was longer - plus, when you surface, you literally pop up out of the water. They increase bouyancy!

    Back in the pool this morning with no speed suit! Major drag - pun intended.

    I'm back to wearing the old green baggie drag suit - much more comfortable and much more slower. It takes more strokes to swim a length and push off distances are much shorter.

    So it's a kind of withdrawal to swim in the old green monster - but it is good to be back home.
  8. Polar Bear Preview

    by , December 20th, 2008 at 11:37 AM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Five days before Christmas, and many of us here in the Northeastern United States find our wistful thoughts turning to open water swimming season.

    This begins, of course, with the annual Sea Isle City Polar Bear Swim in February.

    Here is footage from last year's pilgrimage to the frozen Jersey shore, with some bonus scenes towards the end of girl on girl scissoring, a great way to limber up for any kind of swimming performance, I must say.

    Apologies to those of you who have already seen this. I hope soon to be posting new video. For now, I hope this helps inspire my subscribers to sign up for a polar bear dip themselves.

    the PG rated musical version:

    the scrofulous version with girl on girl scissoring bonus scenes:

    Updated December 29th, 2008 at 12:03 PM by jim thornton

  9. Aqua V cap sizing difficulties

    by , December 21st, 2008 at 12:53 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    I am looking into getting a slightly better video system than the kind i have now, which, I must say, works well with Skype but not quite so well with YouTube. In any event, if you can endure a certain dyssynchrony of image and voice, which actually reflects the way I am feeling today with my splitting Nyquil hangover, I invite you to watch today's vlog.

    PS I once read that Mr. Rogers made his show purposely slowed down and laconic because he felt that kids in this hyper stressed world of ours never got a chance to just watch something soothing and langorously monotone and, well, . It is in this spirit that I present today's video.


    PS Word of the Day: laconic. I thought I knew what this word meant, but it turns out I was completely wrong. To wit:

    A "laconic phrase" is a very concise or terse statement, named after Laconia (a.k.a. Lacedaemon [Greek Λακεδαίμων]), a polis of ancient Greece (and region of modern Greece) surrounding the city of Sparta proper. In common usage, Sparta referred both to Lacedaemon and Sparta. ...

    I don't always "fact check" what I write, so please use this as a cautionary example of why you should never take what I recommend seriously without at leave three second opinions from actually knowledgable sources.

    Updated December 29th, 2008 at 11:59 AM by jim thornton

  10. Travesty of travesties: all is travesty

    by , December 22nd, 2008 at 11:57 AM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Today's vlog will be best understood by those who take a moment to read Leslie The Fortress Livingston's fascinating blog account of bureaucratic machiavellianism run amuk.

    I would have loved to hire Al Pacino to play me in today's film. Only Al could give the full apoplectic spittle-flying frenzy "You're out of order! You're out of order"/"I oughta take a flamethrower to this whole f-ingplace!"/"Say hello to my leedle fren!" style outrage that this situation deserves.

    Unfortunately, Al was working on another project, so I had to play Jim myself, which is never ideal.


    If, by the way, you have not yet seen Leslie's fourth-45-49-year-old-woman-in-world-history-to-crack-30.00-in-the-50-SCM-fly performance, you can see it by clicking the link atop my vlog.

    * * *

    On a more stereotypically swimming-oriented blog note, my good friend and swimming coach Bill White sent out tonight's practice, which consists of a warm up (6 x 100 on 1:20) followed by a 1650 RACE.

    I replied to him by email:

    Bill, correct my math if you see errors:

    You will average about a 1:10-1:20 pace, which means that your 50s will be 35-40 seconds each.

    Every time you lap me, it will mean I need to add an additional 35-40 seconds onto whatever time you end up doing.

    Thus if you lap me only four times, or every 412.5 yards, this would mean I will need to add between 2 minutes and 10 seconds to 2 minutes and 30 seconds to your final time.

    I am expecting you to break 20 minutes as if it were child's play. But let us just use the 20 minute mark for simplicity's sake. I should be able to finish in 22:10.00 to 22:30.00, correct?

    Using the Bill Time Distance calculator from yesteryear, this would leave me with an average 100 pace of between 1:20.61 and 1:21.82.

    If you, on the other hand, hold a 1:10 or 1:15 pace, you will swim it in 19:15 or 20:37.50 respectively.


    I will let you know how it goes.

    Updated December 29th, 2008 at 11:56 AM by jim thornton

  11. Food psychology and winter weight gain

    by , December 23rd, 2008 at 11:10 AM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    For those who don't want to read my blather, here's today's movie, which actually has some production values thanks to my wonderful son Jack, who produced this for the Men's Health video channel!


    Now, the blather:

    Yesterday's practice, it turns out, was different than I thought because I misread the date. We actually do the 1650 "race" on Friday. Yesterday, we did instead:

    10 x 100 on 1:25 warm up
    20 x 50 on :40
    10 x 50 on :35
    10 x 50 on :40
    6 x 50 on :35
    7 x 100 on 1:25 cool down
    steam bath

    This was not easy, in fact, I still feel like there is food tickling my epiglottis, trying to escape.

    Anyhoo, it got me to thinking that before Friday's 1650 in-practice race, it would really help if I could lose a smidgen of the winter weight gain that has crept up. Today is Tuesday 10:30 a.m.. Goal: 17 lb. weight loss by Friday 6:30 p.m.

    Tip: break this down into manageable units. To wit, if I can just lose .21 lb. per hour between now and then, I will achieve my goal.

    Today's vlog is a video I made for Men's Health with the considerable help of my son Jack. It was based on an article on Food Psychology I wrote a year or two back. If any of you would like to read the article itself, feel free to send me your email and I will dispatch a copy of this in .pdf form.

    My email address is

    Please also send me a jpg file of you in a swimming suit for my "calendar" project, which may end up being a movie instead.


    Here is that link again!

    Updated December 29th, 2008 at 11:49 AM by jim thornton

  12. Relaxation: My present to fellow swimmers

    by , December 24th, 2008 at 02:12 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Merry Christmas and assorted other secular, religious, and Druid holidays to one and all. I am hoping to get a better camera soon, so please do not give up too soon on my Vlog simply because of its piss poor production values and generally uninteresting subject matter to date!

    Improvement is possible!

    Who knows what the next year will bring?

    In any event, today's Vlog represents my Christmas present to my fellow swimmers. If you watch this, and I hope you do, I know it will be easy to dismiss the recommendation therein as the groggy advice of a narcoleptic well into his dotage.

    Resist this urge!

    Please, allot yourself 8 minutes at the end of your next practice to try out my recommendation, which blends the best of swimming, with the best of Karmic meditative Bhuddhism as such is understood by me, a fellow with no understanding of it.

    Then let me know if you do, indeed, find this to be as deeply relaxing as I and my follower have. (Note: one my New Year's Resolution is to up the number of follower to plural. My other New Year's Resolution is to not lose the follower I do have.)


    Updated December 27th, 2008 at 06:39 PM by matysekj (Embedded YouTube video directly)

  13. Open Water Season A' Comin'

    by , December 29th, 2008 at 12:25 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    It has been a couple days since last I vlogged. Thanks to Jim Matysek's suggestions, I now know sort of how to make preview stills of my vlogs appear on the vlog site proper, and I suspect you will find this as exciting as I do, which is to say multiple exclamation points exciting!!!!!!!!

    For regular posters on the threads, I did one version of the photo calendar montage set to music, but was unable to upload this, and thus am redoing it. I can no longer call it a USMS calendar. The main reasons here are A) USMS is a registered trademark upon which the likes of me, like the rattlesnake on some currency, have been advised "not to tread", and B) it is no longer a calendar.

    Stay tuned for what it is, though I am not quite sure myself yet what this is.

    I also plan to post a new vlog soon that might up viewership slightly by adding a visually stimulating guest to the site. But the time for this has not yet come.

    These are just two of the many reasons to stay tuned!

    In the meantime, I do not want my 3 or 4 regular vlog viewers to forget who I am. Thus I am now presenting another film on open water swimming to whet your appetite for the cold wet season to come!

    A short explanatory preamble: last September, I traveled with my friends Jocelyn Smith (one of the comely scissorers in Captain's Plunge, the scroffulous version) and Jeremy Cornman (a former Sea Isle City lifeguard and extraordinarily talented amateur triathlete who I can nevertheless beat at distance swimming) to the Jersey Shore. We were supposed to do an open water event at Cape May, but we got there at midnight, and registration was a 6 a.m., and we decided to sleep instead of paying the $30 to freeze.

    The next day, I decided to create my own open water swimming event in Ocean City. It was the day before the 56th Birthday of me and my twin brother John. The event, which is now going to be held on an annual basis, is knows at the Pre-Birthday Open Rough Water Shark and Snapper Blue 2-Mile Swim.

    If you would like to pre-register for next year, send me $29.00 and I will have my lawyer draw up an ironclad waiver form for you to sign and notarize. This will include, but not be limited by, the truncation of assorted appendages and other body parts by razor sharp, recursive teeth.

    On this note, I present for your viewing pleasure: Sunk.

  14. Wet Beauty

    by , December 31st, 2008 at 09:38 AM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Here is a vlogging gift to my fellow swimmers, and an homage to 2008--a year the likes of which only our centenarian comrades have likely seen before.

    I tried to include pictures sent by the generous posting community on the forums, plus I shamelessly pilfered the photo albums of my swimming friends on Facebook. You may notice a disproportion of pictures of me and Dara Torres. I used the former for filler and the latter (which I took last January when I swam with and interviewed her for a story--pdf available on request!) as inspiration for all of us to keep striving regardless of our respective stages on the aging curve.

    Over the course of 2009, please feel free to email me swimming photos, which I will save and use to compile another assemblage. Email address:

    Better yet, consider joining Facebook, which now has tons of our swimming comrades amongst our ranks. It's free and simple. Befriend me at James Scott Thornton (Pittsburgh) and I will refer all our USMS swimmer friends as Facebook friends.

    Happy 2009! Thanks to all the contributors, including those who intended to contribute and those who didn't!

  15. John is Real, Really

    by , January 2nd, 2009 at 10:04 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Thanks to the 353 (and counting) of you who viewed my last Vlog. The one criticism I received most consistently about this heartfelt homage to my fellow masters swimmers across this great pool-dappled country of ours was this:

    Great assemblage, Jim, but why so many shots of other people? Why not just concentrate only on yourself and people who look sort of like you personally?

    As one of the small handful of artists working in the rarefied medium of Masters Swimming Vlog Art, I could very easily have turned my back on such criticisms, shrugging the hues and cries of the "audience" as merely the jejune wimperings of the masses.

    But I am not like this!

    I appreciate my audience, though God knows that some of the members therein probably are so jejune they don't even know what jejune means!

    Forgive a moment of private chortling over a certain befuddled Aryan Nation friend in Arizona.

    Okay, composure regained.

    As regular readers of this vlog may eventually learn, I have a somewhat sickly nature, though I rarely mention it and never complain about it. I have been sidelined from the pool today due to a fear of explosive emissions of pretty much any stripe imaginable save the one most women who know me actually like to imagine. Thus no swimming to report on today, other, that is, than the swimming of my head. I can say without equivocation that it has Gone the Distance today!

    So what I propose to offer you today is a Vlog in the spirit of Partially Swimming Related Subject Matter, if by partial you accept the definition "not very much if at all." Instead, I am including an homage to my wonderful brother John. He is the mind behind the Leslie Livingston SCM butterfly Travesty of Travesty video, the Polar Bear Plunge (both scroffulous and musical versions), the epic Sunk, and pretty much anything you will see on this Vlog that is actually kind of good.

    John and I are identical twins, though people who have not met us in the same room often think I have made John up. Some who have met us, while acknowledging some familial resemblance, nevertheless don't think we are identical twins. However, according to the University of Minnesota Twin Study's David Lykken, Ph.D., we definitely are.

    One of is is the Good Twin; one the Evil Twin. Perhaps the hard turns my life has forced upon me accounts not only for the discrepancy in our character but in our looks.

    John no longer swims, but holds the family records for the 100 freestyle and backstroke, and probably butterfly, too. Neither of us can complete a 100 breaststroke in the alloted time frame, i.e., the length of the entire meet.

    If you are of a liberal persuasion, I strongly urge you to visit John's YouTube Channel, Rustyscupperton. If you are frothy-mouthed conservative, and for some reason you miss a swimming practice, you can still get your heart rate up to the target zone by similar visitations.

    It is all, as they say, good!

    And here is my homage to John, with a little of me in there too, satisfying the earlier request, which I shall briefly recap here again:

    Great assemblage, Jim, but why so many shots of other people? Why not just concentrate only on yourself and people who look sort of like you personally?

    Just as Trenton makes, and the world takes--so is it that You ask, and Jimby gives!

  16. Don't think about the cold, think about the fun!

    by , January 3rd, 2009 at 01:01 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Q & A with Jim Thornton

    --by Jim Thornton

    Q. Hi, Jim. Would you like to say hello to our audience?

    A. Hello to you, Jim, along with our fellow masters swimmers, RSS feed subscribers, the CBS viewing audience, and my good friend Mr. Martin Scorcese.

    Q. So, your output lately has really been astonishing. I can't believe you are posting more, so soon! People sometimes ask me, Jim, do you have a life?

    A. Excellent question! I do have a life, but it has been on hiatus for quite a while now. At the risk of overloading you with vlog material, and perchance exhausting your appetite for all things Jim and Jim-like, as if such might be remotely possible!, I am nevertheless adding the latest swimming-related video made entirely by my DNA. That is to say, by John.

    Q. John? Refresh my memory here.

    A. Those who have been thrilled by "John is Real, Really" recently know that John, my identical twin brother, likes to make movies. Today's vlog is on a subject that many masters swimmers have either A) participated in personally, B) considered participating in but have heretofore postponed the actual impulse to the future, or C) find this quaint hibernal passtime an embarrassment for our great sport of swimming.

    Q. Surely, you're not bringing up those Palin girls again?

    A. Of course not! I refer, of course, to the Polar Bear swim concept, wherein a bunch of tubs o' lard like me and John partially denude ourselves and go into some incredibly frigid sources of moisture in the hopes of losing massive winter weight gain. Speaking from experience, you don't really lose any weight. But you do lose, massively, the appearance of weight from an area of the body that can easily be mistaken for midriff bulge tugged downwards by gravity.

    Q. Always, those Palin girls find their way back! Okay, Jim, one last question before watching John's excellent polar bear swim film. You mentioned several blogs ago that you were going to swim the 1650 in practice. How did that go?

    A. Hard! I ended up swimming an average pace of 1:14.41, give or take, for an overall 1650 time of 20:33. This was in full hair exposed mode, no body suit, no dive, and water temperature of 85 degrees.

    Q. Yikes! Did Bill lap you, as expected, four times?

    A. Actually, Bill almost evaded swimming it entirely, but I taunted him into it. He swam a 19:27 after I got out, and we calculated that he would have only lapped me once, though with a 5 second head start (had we been circle swimming) almost twice.

    Q. How's that make you feel?

    A. I am not sure yet. I am still checking various age-grading programs from programmers in the US, Finland, and the UK. When I find one that provides me some reason to celebrate, I will let you know, Jim.

    Q. I have heard that Latvian age-grading is particularly lenient for 56-year-olds like you, and harsh for 38-year-olds like Bill.

    A. I have "nyet" yet looked into it! But on this perfect segue, i.e., Ivan the Russian Bear slowly morphing into John the Identical Twin Polar Bear, the Thornton genes gives you today's vlog...


    Updated January 3rd, 2009 at 01:35 PM by jim thornton

  17. Part 1. Visualizing My Temporarily Non-Video Swimming Vlog

    by , January 4th, 2009 at 08:57 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    (Note: Just found out while attempting to preview this that I can only use 10 emoticons at a time, so must divide today's vlog into three mini installments. Sorry for the bother. --Jimby)

    Okay, no footage today, no still photography, no cartoons, no hieroglyphics. I am trying to figure out the cheapest, most portable, best, and least easily stolen & destroyed camcorder to buy, and it is proving surprisingly difficult.

    So, today's vlog will be made up of words and emoticons.

    I swam a meet today after having awakened from uneasy dreams and drunken three mugs of . I should have eaten a because I tend to get foot cramps a lot, especially when the water is and I don't drink enough . I was how I would swim, because for the past four days I had been feeling , laid low by in my inner ear, that caused a certain nausea and need to to the bathroom fairly frequently, plus I had a sore throat. In fact when we arrived at the meet, i actually had to to the bathroom. But maybe this is more than you care to know.
  18. Part 2. Visualizing My Temporarily Non-Video Swimming Vlog

    by , January 4th, 2009 at 09:00 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    (Sorry for making you read this backwards. --Jimby)

    In any event, I the previous record holder of the 100 I.M. from the #1 spot in our league , which was something of a pyrric victory, because it was --embarrassing for a humble guy like me to to admit--my own record.

    This was followed by a mediocre 50 fly, an okay 25 free --a staple of our league, since we aren't so as to think such a distance is beneath us!

    But then I swam the 400 I.M., setting a new record (not my own!) by 9 seconds, with a rather pathetic 5:11 in the 55-59 age group.

    If I were not a teetotaller, I would have to propose a to my personal best post-diarrhea/nausea/sore throat performance in a pool measuring 18" deep (in the shallow end; I literally scraped my knuckles during warm up!)
  19. Swallow

    by , January 7th, 2009 at 12:02 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    There are many fluid media in our world today. Obviously, viewers of this vlog are most interested in the aquatic medium, which is at once natural and foreign to us. We spend the first 40 weeks or so floating about in a sea of our own urine, possibly sporting gills for a short while in the "ontology recapitulates phylogeny" process.

    Fascinating but possibly off the subject explanation:

    [Note to those who took Science for Dummies
    TM in college and somehow escaped learning this magical phrase. What it basically means is that our development in the womb, or ontogeny, repeats, or recapitulates, the evolution of ever more complex life forms, or phylogeny, of earth's animal life. We start off as one-celled organisms, progress into something a bit more like a sponge-like ball of cells, progress even further to the gilled salamander stage, etc. until we come out as humanoids 9 months later.

    If you ever want to make someone think you are either smart or pompous, you can't do better than to memorize "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny" and use it at every possible opportunity.]

    Back to fluid media

    Only during this womb submersion in the amniotic brine are we totally at home as sea creatures. Once born, we become largely terrestrial life forms, dependent on air, unable to swim without lessons at the Y that once again recapitulate a certain phylogeny--starfish, guppies, eels, pikes, sharks, dolphins.

    Fascinating but possibly off the subject reverie:

    [More fodder for digression. How many of us did, in point of fact, learn to swim at a Y? I can remember like it was yesterday the half century ago when 6-year-old Jimby took his first breaststroke-like pull in the tiny basement Sewickley YMCA pool, achieved propulsion, and quickly taught my twin brother John how to swim! I don't know what was more satisfying? As the surgeons say, "See one, Do one, Teach one!" To this day, I credit teaching my brother how to swim as one of my signature life achievements.]

    Penultimate desperate attempt to justify today's video:

    We never regain our vestigial gills, alas; never again regain that amphibean-like blind cave frog nature, the blissful subconsious memories of which, I am convinced, are the chief cause for the return to the womb fantasies guys like me chronically suffer.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, I try to return to the womb every chance I get.

    Where was I?

    Wrapping things up quickly here, let me restate today's vlog's central theses:

    1. We are born from tiny seas of our own creation
    2. I taught my brother how to swim
    3. Air is also a fluid medium
    4. Swimmers like to flock together
    5. Please enjoy my twin brother's latest charming and short YouTube film, narrated by the irrepressible Cameron, who students of this vlog will recall pronounced me "Sunk" during my inaugural open water swimming event.
    6. Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.


    Updated January 7th, 2009 at 12:08 PM by jim thornton

  20. The apogee of a dilettante

    by , January 9th, 2009 at 06:01 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Stardate 1-09-08.

    Your exhausted, wizened, and sore-throated vlogging correspondent, with the considerable help of his robust, young, handsome, identical twin, cross-dressing brother, present to you what may very well become the video anthem for every mediocre competitor who has the AUDACITY
    to stuff his stuff into an overly tight Speedo racing costume and aspire to the record books.

    I can take credit for only a small part of this wonderfully inspiring motion picture--i.e., the writing, starring, audio, and obligatory semi-nude cheesecake shots of me.

    My impossibly good-looking identical twin, whose allure is evident in both his male and female morphs, to the point where I would entertain having a three-way with him if it weren't so obviously wrong, anyhow, my brother John deserves much of the credit for this film.

    If Hoosiers could be remade without the basketball stuff, and set instead in a small town swimming hole, and furthermore if Gene Hackman could be placed squarely into this hole, well, I am pretty sure you know exactly where I am going!

    As someone--who knows whom?--has already posted on the RustyScupperton YouTube video channel, the host of this gem of a talkie:

    Absolutely wonderful! This film is not
    just about one man's tenuous claim
    on swimming glory; it is about
    Mediocre Everyman's striving
    for recognition in a world
    that says back to him,
    No! Not you! Not now! Not hardly!

    One final note: so compelling are the visual effects of this film that it is easy to get caught up in the visuals alone, ignoring completely the voice of the narrator. It is for this reason--plus a myriad more!--that
    Jim Thornton--Swimming's Glory demands not just to be watched and rewatched and rewatched again. No, it cries out for so much more!

    Word of wisdom to the would-be wise: if there be only one movie all year that you opt to watch 100 times, let this be it. You will not be disappointed.

    I, and by I I mean the film, am-is just that good!

    And on this note, I now invite you to enjoy as you have never enjoyed a swimming movie in your whole life.

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