Australia: Swimming Australia has forbidden the use of Facebook and Twitter by its team members during major competitions in future after suffering a crisis of team disunity at London 2012. One of the conclusions of an inquiry into Australian efforts at the Olympic Games last year was that athletes allowed themselves to be distracted by all that comes with the world of social media and then have it thrown team unity off balance. Head coach Leigh Nugent gave written orders to team members at the Super series in Perth: no mobile phones, no Twitter, no Facebook and strict curfews during competitions. Christian Sprenger, Olympic medallist over 100m breaststroke and best man at the Super Series with a $15,000 prize won for his efforts, has urged his nation to nurture the tri-nation $500,000 event that was held between the hosts, China and South Africa, for the first time in Perth Friday to Sunday. "This sort of thing has never happened in Australia and I think it will be a change in swimming," Sprenger told reporters. "The crowd was so amazing and they just got right into it." Australia won the meet against below-par squads from China (no Sun Yang, for example) and South Africa (no Chad le Clos, no Cameron van Der Burgh).
USA: Olympic champions Ryan Lochte and Missy Franklin put in solid performances to conclude their Arena Austin Grand Prix campaigns at the Joe and Jamail Texas Swimming Center in Texas. Lochte won the 200m medley in 2:00.98 ahead of Olympic 200m back champion Tyler Clary (2:03.02) and world s/c medallist Conor Dwyer (2:03.09), while Franklin took her fourth win of the three-day meet in 1:00.00 in the 100m backstroke. Clary returned to the fray for a s second second place, on 1:59.43 behind Bobby Bollier (1:58.18) in the 200 'fly. Olympic champion Matt Grevers had a clear edge on Eugene Godsoe in the 100m backstroke, 53.75 to 54.75; Chloe Sutton won the 800m free in 8:33.34; and Michael McBroom took the 1500m free in 15:16.41.
Anti-Doping: The UCI Independent Commission, the body set up to consider doping use in cycling with work relevant to all sport, has been forced to delay its procedural hearing by three days because of heavy snowfall across Britain. "Unfortunately, due to adverse weather conditions in London which have caused travel difficulties for the parties, the hearing has been postponed from Tuesday 22 January and will now take place on Friday 25 January at The Law Society, The Law Society's Hall, 113 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1PL at 10am," the Commission announced.
China: Sun Yang and Ye Shiwen, Olympic champions at London 2012, were voted Chinese athletes of the year at the CCTV (China Central Television) Sports Personality Awarding Ceremony at the National Stadium in Beijing on Saturday.
Swimming helps understand the ageing process: Research into the ageing process in humans has concluded: "The adaptation of human organism to environmental stress plays an important role in maintaining good health. The exposure to both low and high ambient temperature may provoke thermal stress and such a condition potentially leads to the excessive production of reactive oxygen species, which may result in oxidative stress." A team at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, noted the importance of swimming in its research, stating: "The purpose of the study was to determine the effect of one session of swimming in ice-cold water and one hot sauna session (performed few months later) on oxidant-antioxidant balance in two groups of healthy volunteers: 21 experienced winter swimmers and 19 people who participated in winter swimming for the first time (novices). The activity of antioxidant enzymes: catalase, superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase was measured in erythrocytes of studied persons. Moreover, in blood plasma and erythrocytes the concentration of lipid peroxidation products was estimated. No statistically significant differences in initial values of antioxidant enzymes activity and lipid peroxidation products level were revealed between experienced and novice winter swimmers. The crucial antioxidant enzyme that neutralizes reactive oxygen species generated as a result of thermal stress seems to be catalase, since statistically significant changes of CAT activity after sauna were observed. Increased TBARS level observed as a result of sauna bath proves that exposure of organism to high ambient temperature is a source of oxidative stress. However, such a stress was hardly noticed in regular winter swimmers." The research concludes: "The regular baths in cold water combined with sauna probably lead to adaptive changes that protect the organism against harmful effects of thermal stress."