SWIMNEWS ONLINE: July 1996 Magazine Articles

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Backwash features short clips, gossip, letters and opinions. Contributions are welcome.
Now for the rumours behind the news.

Snelling leaving: It has been rumoured for weeks but it is now official: Deryk Snelling, coach of swimming at the High Performance Centre in Calgary since its inception two years ago, is leaving Canada for a job back in his native England. He will be taking up a position as National Performance Director for the British Swimming Federation.

One of Canada's most successful coaches, British swimming officials feel Snelling will help to put the shine back on Britain's performances in the international arena.

Over the past thirty years Snelling has placed 71 swimmers on Canadian Olympic teams. The 1996 additions include IM record-holder Curtis Myden, sprint flyer Jessica Amey, backstroke specialist Chris Renaud, and breaststroke veteran Jon Cleveland. Snelling will see them through the Atlanta Olympics before moving on.

The rumoured replacement for Snelling at the Calgary Centre is Chris Martin, formerly of the University of Florida, but this is not yet confirmed.

Foschi banned...again: 15-year-old Jessica Foschi of Long Island has been suspended from competition once again after a hearing in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Foschi tested positive for steroids in the summer of 1995 and the ensuing waffling of U.S. Swimming over whether or not to suspend her (Foschi was put on probation, then suspended, then put back on probation and allowed to swim at her country's Olympic Trials) has been widely criticized in a time when the U.S. anti-doping stance is supposedly at its height.

Foschi's two-year suspension will be taken up again by her lawyer-her case goes next to the 18 member FINA Bureau and then to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

FINA backtracking? Word is that FINA may be backtracking on its decision for a four year ban for a first doping offense. The rule, passed at the Doping Congress in Rio de Janeiro, will not stand in Atlanta, according to Cornel Marculescu of FINA. The penalty for a first offence will be two years, while a second offence will get four years.

Looks like FINA is backing down already to pressure from the IOC Medical Commission. Will catching the cheats really be a priority in Atlanta?

Testing technology: There is a more sensitive drug testing technology ready to go in Atlanta.

A technique called high resolution mass spectrometry can apparently detect a banned substance at one third of its original concentration level, thereby significantly lengthening the time necessary to clear all traces of a drug from an athlete's body.

American medical officials believe that the new testing will generate more positive tests in Atlanta, catching those who have stopped using drugs early enough to avoid detection with conventional technology.

Chinese women out in force: A recent article in Newsweek had some interesting facts and figures on the Chinese Olympic Teams. China will send 310 athletes to Atlanta-200 of whom are women. Their women are expected to be medal contenders in just about every event, while the men will, for the most part, make a good cheering section.

Interestingly, Nils Lindstedt of the Swedish firm International Doping Tests and Management, implanted in China for the past two years with the aim of spot testing China's high performance athletes, feels that there are no concrete results to support the theory of a centralized doping system in China. So how is it that the women are such powerhouses? Admittedly those numbers are hard to accept given China's extraordinary doping record over the last five years. Whether centralized or not, doping is a dark legacy that the Chinese men and women will have to carry as they walk into the Atlanta stadium. The 1996 Games will not only be a test of athletic prowess, but a test of drug-taking and testing technology, and both contests should yield interesting results.

Go Team! The Canadian Olympic Swim Team has pulled out all the stops in their Olympic preparation.

Swimmers have had access to everything from nutritionists to psychologists to various medical specialists. Just over a month ago National Coach Dave Johnson flew in a world-renowned stroke expert from Estonia to videotape and computer-analyze the stroke technique of every swimmer on the team. And if that wasn't high-tech enough, he also enlisted the services of a specialist in "psychocybernetics" to conduct personality profiles of each athlete.

Johnson feels the results are extremely positive and that the greater knowledge of each swimmer's make-up will help in making important decisions as the Olympics approach.

Briefs: Less than two months before the Atlanta Games, sprint freestyler Gary Hall Jr. switched coaches. Hall left Troy Dalbey in Phoenix to train with Mike Bottom, a 1980 Olympian.....South African-born Jonty Skinner, the coach of the U.S. Resident Swim Team, was diagnosed with cancer shortly after the U.S. Olympic Trials. Skinner underwent surgery to remove two lumps in his throat and will start radiation treatment later this summer. Not wanting to leave his swimmers in the lurch, he has been able to resume his coaching duties.....Australia's Shane Gould says she thinks the Olympic Games will self-destruct if the trend towards winning at all cost is not reversed. The former triple gold medalist told The Weekend Australian that the problems of drugs, commercialism, and the pressures to win at all cost were "quite frightening." She said she supported the idea of forming an independent body to challenge FINA if the pace of progress against doping was not satisfactory. "FINA must be made accountable," she said.

Editor: The members of the Richmond Hill Aquatic Club wish their former coach, Takeo Inoki luck and success in his new position as head coach of the Sea Lions Aqua Club, Sha Tin District, Hong Kong.

At this time we would like to express our sincere appreciation for his dedication in coaching our swimmers and developing our program for almost five years. He has brought our program to a new standard, including success at the Provincial Age Group and Youth Championships levels.

Ron Eilath and Janice Hainer
On behalf of the board of the Richmond Hill AC

Editor: What a great suggestion from Bernard McGrath from Gibsons, B.C., and a great opportunity for Dick Pound to put up a scheme to the IOC.

The IOC should make it mandatory for bidding cities to include a ticketing plan that shows seating accommodation will be reserved first in the various stadia for the following categories: Surely the Organising Committees don't care whose bottoms warm the seats, provided they are paid for; but the IOC, which is supposed to have the interests of the athletes and the sports at heart, should be interested. All the above groups are only too willing to pay for seats. Many of them are in the sport for a lifetime and have some right to priority seating, not because they had luck in a lottery or because they know someone in a position of influence.

Yes, let's cater to the athletes first and the sports supporters next. The rest should be decided by lottery or on a first up best dressed basis; or do what the majority do-take the best seat in the house, sit back and enjoy the Games in the comfort of your favourite armchair.

Paul Quinlan
Founding Vice President
World Swimming Coaches Association

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

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