Escort members wanted for a three month swim in the Pacific

| Invite

Try this on for size if you have nothing to do. 

Escort Crew Members Wanted For 3-Month Gyre Swim

Posted: 25 Mar 2019 08:53 PM PDT

Courtesy of Ben LecomteDiscovery GO

Ben Lecomte attempted a transpacific solo stage swim from Choshi, Japan, starting on June 5th with an aim to reach San Francisco, California after 8,721 km, estimated to take them 6 - 8 months. 

Lecomte did not complete The Swim, but they did spend 5 months and 15 days at sea.

Lecomte and his escort team inched their way across 1,523 nautical miles (2,822 km) in the Pacific Ocean as they encountered storms, relentlessly difficult swimming conditions, and countless marine life from whales to hundreds of dolphins. 

While sharks and turtles were also commonplace, but their daily encounters with plastic and marine trash was most shocking. Part of Lecomte's mission was to collect data for 30 scientific institutes, so the crew obtained and stored more than 1,700 plastic samples of flotsam that they encountered in the Pacific. 

Despite The Swim v.1 ended in a DNF, Lecomte and his team are now focused on plastic pollution on The Swim v.2. Lecomte and 10 crew members will head back to the Pacific Ocean this May when he will swim through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. He reports, "We will focus on dispelling myths surrounding the patch, as well as helping scientists better understand what is accumulating in the gyre. Our production partner Seeker helped with this narrative during our first stage of the ocean crossing, and received more than 1 million YouTube views [see video below]."

"We are now seeking new crazy, fun, passionate and skilled volunteers to help on the next leg of the adventure. We’re looking for new crew members to volunteer on a 3-month swimming and sailing expedition from Hawaii to California. Positions include marine engineers, scientists, sailors, medics, influencers and plastic warriors available from May to September 2019." 

Previous sailing experience is preferred, but not required. Send your CV to

To watch a summary of the first attempt, visit here.

Copyright © 2008-2019 by World Open Water Swimming Association

From World Open Water Swimming Association's Daily News of Open Water Swimming

Start swimming lessons at the age of one-year-old, says American Academy of Pediatrics

| Safety

Kids should start swimming lessons at the age of one. That is one of the new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The guidelines were released in 2019.

Drowning is the leading cause of injury death in U.S. for children ages 1 through 4. But almost 1,000 kids die from drowning every year. That is why the AAP is now recommending kids start swimming lessons at the age of 1.

It says water competency is the ability to anticipate, avoid and survive common drowning situations.

The AAP says there is evidence that swim lessons may reduce the risk of drowning, but the agency says "even the best swimming lessons cannot drown-proof’ a child"

That's why parents should always, carefully watch their kids around water.

Marci Harmon teaches infant and toddler swim lessons in Mishawaka. She believes teaching young kids to float and swim is saving lives.

“They can crawl. If they have any mode of transportation to get to a body of water, they are at risk of drowning or getting in trouble in water anyhow. Any barrier or precaution we can take to help prevent that or less the chance of that the better off they are going to be,” said Harmon, Little Fins Swim School.

The report also says as educators and advocates, pediatricians can play an important role in the prevention of drowning.

There are a ton of recommendations in this report to help parents.

Drowning only takes seconds. Infants are most likely to drown in bathtubs or buckets, and preschoolers are most likely to drown in swimming pools.

Many of these tragedies occur when the child gets unanticipated access to water.

The AAP News report details the death of a 3-year-old named Levi. His mom always had him in a life jacket around water. But one day on vacation he slipped outside and was found face down in the pool.

Kicking & Swimming

| Equipment

* Fun Friday Feature *

Everyone knows that the arms and hands don't aid in propulsion for RUNNING.

These kicking-have-no-benefit articles have sparked a new, patent-pending running-short invention that features POCKETS for the hands. Golly, why didn't I think of this sooner?

For swimming, I am going to start a new Kickstarter campaign (pun) that includes a BUY BACK PROGRAM for kick boards and fins. Everyone gets to ship me their used kick-boards and fins and pay me for the service of accepting their equipment. Think of the space you'll free up at the pool and beyond.

It is worth it to jettison the worthless. Be the first to ship to 108 S. 12th Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15203-1226 USA. Bitcoins and Cash Preferred! Minimum order $100. 

* Jeff, a little spam tastes better with Heinz Ketchup. *

USA Swimming wants more diversity in its pool of athletes

| Swim

USA Swimming seeks diversity

Simone Manuel made history in Rio's Olympics by becoming the first female African-American swimmer to win Olympic gold in an individual swimming event.

Juan Caraveo, a sports diversity and inclusion consultant for USA Swimming, points to Manuel, as well as Olympic swimmers Lia Neal and Anthony Ervin, who has won two golds in Rio, as evidence that a historically white-dominated sport is now beginning to draw from a wider base.

The U.S. Swim Team competing in Rio is the most diverse yet, he says. "But we still have a lot of work to do."

The USA Swimming Foundation, the philanthropic branch of USA Swimming, is working to help more African-Americans learn to swim. Today, 70 percent of African-American children haven't learned to swim.

"We want the demographics of our sport to be reflective of that of the country," says Caraveo.

But to make that happen, he and USA Swimming must also succeed in encouraging another underrepresented group to join their sport: Latinos.

Nearly 60 percent of Latino children can't swim, compared to 40 percent of Caucasians.

Caraveo and USA Swimming also have another motive in mind: more Olympic medals. By attracting more minorities, he says, "then we've increased our talent pool. Then we're not relying just on the Caucasian community ... . It's better from a competitive standpoint."

So Caraveo and USA Swimming are on a mission to identify the barriers to diversifying their sport and then break them down one by one.

Juan Caraveo, a diversity consultant for USA Swimming, began swimming at an early age, encouraged by his parents. On the right, he was about age 7 when he was swimming in a city pool in Temple, Texas.

Courtesy of Nicole Wilson/USA Swimming Foundation; Courtesy of Juan Caraveo

Cultivating A Culture Of Swimming

"My parents swim," says Caraveo. "My mom always felt that it is important for us to know how to swim and enjoy the water."

His parents, who both immigrated to the United States from Mexico, encouraged Caraveo's interest in the sport, but Caraveo recognizes that many children in Latino communities don't come from a culture of swimming. "Because the parents aren't swimming, the kids aren't swimming," he says.

Indeed, USA Swimming says that if a parent can't swim, there is only a 13 percentchance that a child will learn.

USA Swimming is trying to break that cycle. They have a multicultural team, which includes Caraveo, that is available to help local swim clubs find ways to reach out to different cultural groups.

"We work at the grassroots level," Caraveo explains. "We're having conversations with parents and grandparents in parks in the summer who are not utilizing pools."

One incentive Caraveo points to when speaking with reluctant parents is financial.

In Texas, he says, a high-schooler can make $8 an hour working at a fast food chain or mowing lawns.

"If you're a swim instructor or life guard, those jobs start out at $10 an hour," he says. "In urban areas, ... there is often a shortage of swim instructors and lifeguards because the kids in those communities aren't learning how to swim."

Some local swim clubs do succeed in drawing Hispanic swimmers. Eleven-year-old Emily Lopez-Diaz swims for the YMCA of South Florida Barracudas in the Miami area. Her father, Josue Lopez, estimates that about 30 percent of the team is Latino.

Lopez doesn't consider himself much of a swimmer, but that hasn't stopped him from becoming an integral part of his daughter's swimming community.

"I was surprised because I didn't really know that I was one of the best," says Emily Lopez-Diaz about winning a bronze medal in a regional competition last year.

Naomi Lopez

"I get excited," he says. "Whenever she is swimming, I am cheering for her."

And his daughter is thriving. In a regional competition last year, Lopez-Diaz won a bronze medal for the 50-meter backstroke.

"I felt like I was really accomplished and I was proud of myself," Lopez-Diaz says. "I was surprised because I didn't really know that I was one of the best."

It may seem unsurprising that Miami, with its large Hispanic population, would have a swim team that succeeds in attracting a more diverse group of swimmers.

But there are other parts of the country where large Hispanic populations remain mostly separate from swimming culture.

According to Merari Chollette, the diversity chair of Potomac Valley Swimming around Washington, D.C., of 11,533 athletes swimming in clubs under the PVC umbrella, only 76 identified themselves as Hispanic. This, despite the fact that Hispanics make up 14 percent of the D.C. area population.

She knows that the true number of Latino swimmers is likely higher since many choose not to identify ethnicity on forms. But it is still far from where she would like it to be.

"We want every child to feel that this is a sport they can participate in," she says.

Chollette is finding that for some non-English speakers, language is a barrier — people are hesitant to become part of a community where they can't speak with others.

For some, the financial commitment may be a challenge. To address that barrier, Potomac Valley Swimming set up a grant program for this upcoming year.

"Training in this sport can be very expensive. It can cost as much as $1,500 to $4,000 a year for swim team fees in the Washington metropolitan area," says Chollette.

But she also says that swimmers shouldn't be discouraged by the financial hurdle. Some clubs like YMCAs charge significantly lower fees and many clubs have funding to offer scholarships and financial assistance.

Promoting Pool Access

All successful competitive swimmers have one thing in common: access to a pool as a kid.

The USA Swimming Foundation is making swimming more accessible through their Make a Splash Initiative. The program provides funding to local swim lesson-providers to raise awareness about water safety and offer swim instruction to children who otherwise couldn't afford it. More than 3.4 million children have received swim lessons through this program.

For children who want to take the next step and swim competitively, USA Swimming has an outreach program that offers need-based discounted memberships.

Helen Garcia began her swimming career at the age of 5 when her family moved to South Gate, Calif., from East Los Angeles.

Helen Garcia is the head coach of Albany Armada Aquatics in Calif. Her parents encouraged her to swim as a child even though they didn't know how themselves.

Her parents, who grew up in Mexico, didn't know how to swim, although her father has since learned from watching Garcia and her three brothers.

There was a pool in their new neighborhood that offered affordable programming, so her father signed his children up for lessons.

Garcia feels lucky that her family happened to move near a pool. "There aren't a whole lot of indoor 50-meter pools out here," she says.

She also feels lucky that she happened to fall into an elite swimming program. When she was 12, her local team merged with another that was more competitive. In the first week, her new coach said that he saw her going to Junior Nationals in a year.

"I didn't even know what that was," she says. "There was a whole other level of swimming that I hadn't even tapped into."

Garcia did go on to compete at Junior Nationals at 13 and again at 14, when she broke the record in the 200-meter breaststroke. She later progressed to Senior Nationals and earned a scholarship to swim for the University of California, Berkeley.

Garcia is now the head coach of Albany Armada Aquatics in Albany, Calif., and owner of Helen's Happy Swim School in Oakland, Calif.

As she progressed in competitive swimming, most of her teammates were white. Now she's a member of the coaching community, which is also predominantly white.

USA Swimming has a mentoring program that helps coaches from or serving underrepresented groups to strengthen their coaching skills.

Caraveo is Garcia's mentor. He has visited her team and worked with her to troubleshoot training challenges.

"Just to see his enthusiasm about our team was just so wonderful," she says. "It's amazing to have that kind of mentorship and guidance."

Swimmer Cristina Teuscher Fabbri (third from left) with her family and coach John Collins (right) at the 1994 World Championships in Rome.

Identifying Role Models

"[Young swimmers] need to see somebody like them. A star. Somebody they can relate to," says Caraveo. "When I was growing up, it was Pablo Morales, a gold medalist. His family was from Cuba. For me, it was that his last name was Morales, and I could identify with that."

Another athlete who has served in that role is Cristina Teuscher Fabbri. She won gold at the 1996 Olympics in the 4x200 meter freestyle relay and bronze at the 2000 Olympics in the 200-meter individual medley.

Teuscher Fabbri, whose parents are from Argentina, grew up in New Rochelle, N.Y., with Spanish as her first language.

"I just took to swimming at an early age," she says. "When I was a baby and fussy, my mom would stick me in the kitchen sink with water. It's just something that calmed me."

She didn't have Latina swimming role models growing up. Her heroes were Janet Evans and Summer Sanders. "You identify with the part of yourself that's like [them]," she says. "For me, I was born in this country, I swam with this team, I represented the United States."

And so on some level, Teuscher Fabbri didn't miss having Latina swimmers to look up to. "Someone doesn't have to be your same skin color to be a role model," she says.

But she also wonders whether the lack of other Latina swimmers in her world made it harder for her to embrace the strengths that she associates with her Latina identity.

"My strength was laughing and connecting with people when I got up on a block. I didn't do that at first," she says. "I was trying to be what I thought a tough American swimmer was supposed to be."

Looking back, she thinks John Collins, the coach who brought her to the Olympics, would have understood her better if there were more Latinos on the team. His coaching style was tough. When she first started swimming for him, he told her they couldn't be friends.

"But whatever," she says. "We took him into my family. That's just the Latino way."

Foot flexibility for swimmers. Student study in 1982-83

| Equipment

Grad School Research

While at Baylor University in grad school, 1982-83, as a Physical Education graduate assistant, I had a keen interest in researching flexibility. With our swim programs, we had done a lot of partner stretching and a few routines were favorites and were taught to the swimmers on the teams that I coached.

Prior clinics had exposed me to a Canadian swim coach, Derrick Snelling. His exercises sparked my interest and turned this into a bit of a passion for around the pool deck. 

The research subjects included the the undergraduate students in a few of the swimming classes that were part of the physical education requirement at Baylor. As graduate students, we taught those classes. Furthermore, the B.U. men and women swimmers at Baylor were tested. And, testing occurred at a NCAA swim meet that Baylor attended along with five other college teams, men and women. 


1) Swimmer / athlete sits on floor.

2) With a straighten leg and without knee bend, and heel of the foot was set upon a wooden block. Its height was the width of a standard lumber 2-by-4. 

3) While keeping knee straight (not elevating up with a bend), and while keeping the foot in a straight line with hip/knee/ankle, a measurement was taken from end of the nail on big toe to the floor in millimeters. with a metric ruler. 

4) Both feet were measured.

5) The  first attempt counted. No re-do. No warm up. No pre-limbering nor stretching. I discovered that re-test measures within the same session didn't hold significant differences. The flex test results were able to be radically improved upon by those with poor foot-and-ankle flexibility after some pre-stretching. Those with poor results could improve to normative ranges. Rather than trying to control for the warm-up period, the measurements were taken at first blush. This made the test quick and easy to administer and also gave a larger diversity of results from best to worse.


All of the best kickers and fastest swimmers (top 10%) were the most flexible. 

If the swimmer could make a toe-point measure of 12 or fewer millimeters from floor on the measurement, that person's flexibility would be in the top 25% of the squads.

Of interest: That meet's high-point swimmer had the most flexible toe point.

The measurement goal for swimmers to striving for was < 10 mm. Anything better than 10 mm was not causing much of a distinction in kick-speed performances. 

Those with average, below-average and poor ankle flexibility were never the top 10% in kick performances. There was no significance among their misery with lack of swiftness. 

If you desire more insights, email me,

Long-term awareness

In the end, I discovered for myself that there were dozens of reasons why researchers are wise to avoid hanging their hat of professional advancements on the grossly-vague endeavor of researching human flexibility.