SWIMNEWS ONLINE: March 1997 Magazine Articles

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Backwash features short clips, gossip, letters and opinions. Contributions are welcome.


Blondal added to Calgary Centre staff

Mike Blondal has been named Associate Coach of the high performance swimming program at the National Sport Centre. The decision comes as a result of "a change in the centre's structure to allow for greater interaction between the centre and the club programs in the Calgary aquatic community," according to the SNC press release.

While maintaining his coaching duties for the club (UCSC) and the university, Blondal, 38, will work in collaboration with the NSC-Calgary Head Coach Jan Bidrman. Interestingly, all the duties that were to be Bidrman's alone (designing of training programs for high performance swimmers, liaison with centre support programs such as sport science, sport medicine, and athlete services, etc.) will now be shared by the two men.

The appointment is certainly a coup for Blondal, who applied for the position of NSC-Calgary Head Coach after the departure of former Head Coach Deryk Snelling, but lost out to Bidrman. His recent success with swimmers like Tara Sloan (Canadian record in the 100 breaststroke at the World Cup) and Chris Renaud, world and Canadian record setter is not only timely, but seems to have led the decision-makers to reconsider his exclusion from a structure that is nourished by Calgary-based swimmers.

Blondal further beefed up his accomplishments when he was named CIAU men's coach of the year and received his first international coaching appointment when he was named to the staff of the Canadian team heading to the 1997 World Short Course Championships in April.

Congratulations, Mike.

Popov of the Web

Alexander Popov is as busy out of the water as in these days. In addition to preparing for the upcoming long course season, the quadruple Olympic champion is working on a swimming video to share his technical savvy with younger swimmers. He is also preparing a project for a book and is even establishing his own web site this month (http//www.alexpopov.com). After a six-month hiatus from competition due to the knife stabbing in Moscow that nearly took his life, Popov eased back in competition at a local competition in Canberra (50 m pool), winning the 50 freestyle in 23.24 and placing second in the 50 backstroke 26.47. Shortly afterward it was off to Paris, FRA, where he was honoured by the Academie des Sports for his achievements. A busy schedule indeed. After the Canberra competition, he and his coach decided to wait until the Mare Nostrum series in May before taking to the block again.

Letter to the Editor:

I just want to thank you for the tremendous job you are doing with the online magazine. For someone like myself who can not attend many of the meets nowadays, it's a fantastic service.

It almost feels as if I'm working in one of those backrooms at the meet, instead of being here in my office at home. Keep up the great work.

Trevor Tiffany,
Almonte, ONT

Letter to the Editor:

I read with interest the article by Steve Buffery in the January edition of SWIMNEWS.

Five years ago, when the dirty details about the East German swim machine were beginning to surface, I couldn't help but wonder what Nancy Garapick was making of it all. I figured she, among all Canadian swimmers who competed in the 1976 Olympics, could offer the best perspective on the revelations, seeing as how East German swimmers finished 1-2 in both the 100-200 backstroke, where Garapick got thirds.

It was in watching Garapick at the 1976 Games in Montreal that I first got interested in swimming. Such spirit, she had. Such presence for a 14-year-old.

Impressed as I was by Garapick then, my regard for her heightened even more when I contacted her in 1992, for an article I wrote for The StarPhoenix in Saskatoon. Her perspective on the Olympic experience, and on sports in general, is truly refreshing.

Bob Florence
Saskatoon, SK

Letter to the Editor:

Congratulation on the fresh and appealing redesgin of SWIM. I believe that you are hiding your light under a bushel when you merely state that "we are changing our name and our cover design to reflect our greater international readership."

To me, and to many in my 'over 70' generation, much of the technical stuff sails right over our heads, but articles such as that by Karin Helmstaedt giving all of the wider interest group "food for thought," and the one by Steve Buffery calling on Dick Pound to 'extract digit' on behalf of Canadian Swimming, reflect the thought-provoking issues that will help maintain, and hopefully increase, the broad support which Canadian Swimming must have outside the more fucussed circles of swimmers, coaches, technicians, administrators and Boards of Directors.

In other words, Nick, SWIMNEWS, is I am sure, going to have a far wider appeal in it;s new format. Keep up the thought-provoking articles, but don't ever abandon Backwash, my perennial favourite. And to feed the nostalgia of we of the "long in tooth" generation, how about the occasional "where are they now" generation. Not only swimmers and coaches but how about some of the characters of the past. Remember, for example, Jim Wales? Just a thought!

Bernard McGrath
Gibsons, B.C.

Letter to the Editor:

I would like to congratulate you on the wonderful quality and layout of SWIMNEWS. It is without a doubt one of the best views of world swimming available to date. It is great to have the additional flexibility of your 'on line' service, which is for anyone needing to have the very latest news "hot off the press" or to access your archives and find "everything you need to know about swimming on one site."

Deryk Snelling,
National Performance Director
Amateur Swimming Federation of Great Britain

Letter to the Editor:

With reference to the article written by Anita Lonsborough "Success does not always bring rewards", I refer to the "metronomic pacemaker" used by Paul Palmer for his Olympic preparation; a couple of points 1) My name is Patrick Miley not Patrick Maloney and 2) The Aquapacer is in fact an electronic programmable swimming training device. It has taken me 5 years to develop. It exists in 2 parts: a programming unit and a sounding unit (pacer). The programming unit can store up to 120 different split and stroke rate times (stroke rate is expressed as time per stroke or stroke rate - strokes per minute - you key in your preference) for up to 20 swimmers; any 1 or up to 4 of these programmes can then be downloaded to the pacer, which is worn by the swimmer on the head (on the goggle strap or under the swim cap).

There is also a facility to download this information to PC (and a PC-to-programmer link is being developed). Rest intervals and "Go Off" times and numbers of repeat sets can be programmed into the unit. The swimmer hears different audio frequencies, "Bleeps," corresponding to the same point on each stroke cycle (or number of cycles) and to the relevant split times set. This unit is designed to be very clear to the swimmer using it, but is not heard by other swimmers in the pool. This gives the Coach COMPLETE CONTROL of the swimmer's performance during training.

An invisible training partner, who never tires and always keeps the swimmer aware of where he or she should be, is invaluable. Also it adds a NEW interest factor for the athlete using it. Without question it will benefit swimmers "Technically, Psychologically & Physiologically" with an intelligent adoption of the new "Aquapacer Methodology."

I hope that this is of some interest to you as the product will be launched at the World Swimming Coaches Association Conference in Birmingham, England in May 1997.

I would love to give more information about this new methodology if anyone is interested.

Patrick Miley,

Remember... It's not true until it has been officially denied

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