May 2004 archives

« go to April 2004     |     return to homepage     |     go to June 2004 »

27 May 2004

Not many people understand that synchronized swimmers can train up to 12 hours a day at the elite level. The concept of staying in the water six to seven hours at a time is foreign to most people. There are two things I want to point out about this strange behavior. The first is that skin can actually adjust to long periods of exposure to water. I have been asked this question before: �don�t your hands shrivel up after you�ve been in the water that long?� I�ve noticed that after a certain point, your skin doesn�t begin to wrinkle until after about 2 or 3 hours in the pool. It takes some time for this resistance to build, and I have no idea why this happens from a physiological perspective, but it is the case. And after a certain point, your skin won�t wrinkle any more than it already has�let�s say after 4 or 5 hours, the process doesn�t continue to worsen. Anyhow�it is just a strange fact.

Second, I want to discuss the concept of temperature. I�m certain that everyone has been cold before. Usually when a people are cold, they move to a warmer location, or put on more clothes. Well, you can imagine that when you are practicing for very long hours in a pool, these two options are not available. Pool temperatures tend to range from 76 � 84 degrees. Our body temperatures are 98.6 degrees. No matter what you do, you will get cold in a pool eventually because the temperature of a pool is not even close to your body temperature. I cannot stress enough how cold it can get in a pool after hours and hours. Your internal core temperature must go down, although we never tested that theory in practice. The pool water becomes an inescapable, frigid blanket wrapped around every inch of your body. Logic would tell you to move around to increase your core temperature, but if you sit very still, the water about an inch around you warms a few degrees and becomes somewhat comforting. However, when you are at practice, the moments where you are sitting still for any length of time are hard to come by.

It is also amazing that a synchronized swimmer can tell you the pool temperature down to the degree with amazing accuracy. It�s funny the things you learn in life. Now that I�m done competing, it is completely useless information. However, it is fun to know that I learned these things, and it is even more interesting to talk about these things with former teammates. They are the only people in my life that can possibly comprehend what I am talking about...and we laugh.

22 May 2004

Personal security at the Olympic Games is an issue that will need to be addressed at all Olympic Games of the future. I just found a great article on the US Olympic Committee's Security Chief, Larry Buendorf. Hopefully, this story will ease your minds a little as you think about security in Athens this August. Larry is the best there is.

5 May 2004

It is apparent when an athlete succeeds in a competition: a medal is wrapped around their neck during the award ceremony. Oftentimes, the victor's National Anthem is played for a crowd of people. However, not many people know who that athlete's coach was during that successful competition.

Athletic coaches are rarely recognized for their contributions to making athletes not only better competitors, but better people. Without coaches, athletes would have a statistically miniscule chance of succeeding. Athletes need someone to teach them technique and to push them to achieve greatness. This task is not easy, and requires time and commitment. In most instances, coaches make very little to no money for their efforts. Usually, it is out of sheer love of sport, and the desire to make better athletes, that coaches continue their careers.

The United States Olympic Committee attempts to recognize the efforts of outstanding coaches by giving annual awards. Last weekend, Lloyd Woodhouse from the sport of shooting was selected as the 2003 U.S. Olympic Committee's National Coach of the Year. It is unfortunate that only one of the thousands of coaches in the United States can receive this honor, but it is an effort to call attention to coaches and their outstanding achievements.

3 May 2004

The finals of the 2004 Synchronized Swimming Nationals were held last Saturday at Stanford University. The results are posted on the USA Sychro website.

Athletes from around the country competed last week. The US National Team Trials were also held and several athletes qualified for the next phase of the Trials to be held on May 15th.

synchronized swimming insights from an olympic gold medalist