SWIMNEWS ONLINE: October 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 Tribute

The Deryk Snelling Tribute Dinner was held in Calgary on September 7, 1996, to celebrate Deryk's extraordinary coaching career in Canada and to send Deryk and his wife, Laura, best wishes for their endeavors in the United Kingdom.

Deryk's Canadian Olympic legacy is impressive. Since 1968, 61 swimmers coached by Deryk were named to Canadian Olympic teams, winning seven individual medals, and 12 swimmers shared medals on relays. During this almost 30 year period, his swimmers set 23 short course world bests and six world records. On the national scene his swimmers won 399 individual and relay national titles, and 69 team titles.

A number of Deryk's past and present swimmers attended the Tribute Dinner. Tom Ponting, Cheryl Gibson, Leslie Cliff, and Mark Tewksbury each spoke of their years swimming on Deryk's teams. Although each had their personal story to tell, the common theme was Deryk's ability to help them believe they could achieve what, to others, appeared to be unattainable goals. Of course, the trademark Deryk Snelling motivational " speeches" were recounted often, as were Deryk's penchants for camera equipment and whistling.

Dave Johnson spoke both of his friendship and rivalry with Deryk. Given Deryk's new position in the U.K., this rivalry now escalates to the international level.

After the dinner, Deryk was presented with a caricature of himself and his individual Olympic medalists, including his most recent, Curtis Myden. He also received a framed collection of team photographs from the six Olympic teams he coached while in Canada. Personal presentations were made by Speedo, by Dr. David Smith, University of Calgary Physiologist, and by Mark Hlady, a former swim coach and current member of the Alberta legislature.

Deryk was given the last word and recounted many of the highlights of his coaching career in Canada, providing a pleasant walk down memory lane for the 140 swimming enthusiasts who gathered to pay tribute to Deryk.

Written by Cheryl Gibson, 1976 Olympic silver medal winner in the 400 I.M.

Short - lived resignation

Tamas Gyarfas was re - elected as president of the Hungarian Swimming Association in late September, after resigning in the wake of the scandal of bogus entry times used in Atlanta by non - qualified swimmers. Gyarfas took responsibility as head of the association even though he was not involved in the bogus results. FINA has supended Jozsef Ruzsa, secretary - general of Hungary's swimming federation for two years for falsifying Olympic entry times. He has been banned from any international activity for two year. Ruzsa had been quoted last August as " every country submits phony entry times, what's the big deal."

Donations sought

Former Hamilton backstroke swimmer and 1956 Olympic diving bronze medalist Irene MacDonald is suffering from Alzheimer's disease. A bank account has been set up to take donations to help pay for MacDonald's nursing home.

About $30,000 needs to be raised to cover the cost of MacDonald's care at the Delta View Habilitation Centre for the next six to nine months, while she waits to qualify for one the government funded beds. Her life savings have been exhausted paying for her care.

MacDonald has been a leader in B.C.'s diving community, and a TV diving analyst for almost 20 years.

Donations are being collected through the

Irene M. MacDonald Care Fund
TD Bank,
2105 West 41st Ave.,
Vancouver, B.C.
V6M 1Z7

Amateur sport on welfare

According to Randy Starkman of The Toronto Star, Conservative MPP Tony Clement announced a new sport strategy to take amateur sport groups in Ontario off the dole. The policy is expected to change the face of sport in Ontario - many fear for the worse.

One key recommendation is expected to remove much - if not all - funding of administration, including executive directors for some 83 sport governing bodies. The number of associations will be reduced drastically. Gone will be such groups as the Ontario Baton Twirling Association and the Ontario Fly & Bait Casting Association.

Overall funding for provincial sports organizations is estimated at $8.1 million, down from a high of $12.4 million five years ago.

Revolving door

Adam Ostry is leaving his post as director general of Sport Canada less than two years after taking over the federal agency. According to Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun, Paul Dupre, the number two man at the Canadian Olympic Association, has been turfed under mysterious circumstances.

COA president Carol Anne Letheren confirmed that Dupre is history. He was a sport and management consultant for four years with the federal government, who became president of Athletics Canada during the dark days of the Ben Johnson scandal. He joined the COA in 1994.

Geoff Gowan will be receiving tributes and accolades upon his retirement as President of the Coaching Association of Canada, October 18, after 24 years.

An original member of Canada's centralized sport administration, he admitted that the model is a mistake. It cultivated paper pushers rather than athletes and coaches.

His legacy will be the increased professionalism of coaching in all sports. Gowan is better known for his work as a CBC track analyst at major internationals competitions since 1976.


With reference to your recent article by Karin Helmstaedt, titled " Everyone trains hard, Smith trains smart," the article is inaccurate in a number of respects. The author seems to be implying some conspiracy between our Association and Michelle Smith to deceive FINA. As the author should know, swimmers are required to inform their Association of their whereabouts, who in turn informs FINA. That is and has been the extent of our Association's involvement in this issue. A simple phone call would have avoided the false impression being given.

The author also suggests that Michelle Smith's claim to have been tested many times is false because no one has records of tests. For the record, Michelle Smith has been tested by both FINA and our own Olympic Council on at least four occasions, and records of the tests are held on file by the IASA and FINA. All of these tests have proven negative.

Later in the article it is suggested that our Association might be protecting Michelle Smith. That is untrue. Our Association has a policy of encouraging and supporting FINA Drug Testing procedures. Testing takes place at our National Championships. More testing would be done if our Association had the finances to do so.

I trust that you will publish this letter so that the slur on our Association can be erased.

David McCullagh,
Director of Swimming
Irish Amateur Swimming Association


I am writing to tell you what a super Olympic issue you published. That issue puts all others back into the also - rans. I have read it over and over. Since I was too ill to even watch on TV, it made me believe that I had been to Atlanta.

I'm still having health problems, so I've had to sort of lay back a little on keeping up with swimming. The September issue arrived yesterday. Another gold medal effort.

Al Schoenfield,
Los Osos, California

From the Editor

Mr.Schoenfield was the long - time editor / publisher of Swimming World in the U.S. A member of FINA's Swimming Technical Committee during the 1980s, he is now retired from active journalism. I learned much from him during the 1960s, eventually working at his magazine in 1972 - 73.


Your Olympic issue has got to be one of the best, if not THE best, of the world's swimming publications covering the Atlanta Games.

My congratulations to you and your excellent staff on producing such a colorful, accurate, and descriptive publication.

The fact that it was in the hands of the swimming public well ahead of other magazines made it even more precious. I especially appreciated the event - by - event accounting, along with superb photos. This will be a treasured accounting of the Centennial Olympics, and one that I am sure many aficionados will re-read over the years.

I also want to congratulate your writers - they have become quite masterful at reporting on the concerns, personalities, and developments of our sport. Cecil Colwin continues to inspire coaches and swimmers alike with his insightful reporting, and Karin Helmstaedt has become a mature and compassionate journalist. I trust that you can continue to print their articles each month. I will be remiss if I did not also heartily congratulate your expert photographer Marco Chiesa. His pictures captured the essence of the sport so vividly that I felt I was almost in attendance at the events he has so beautifully reproduced on film.

Keep up the good work, Nick. I know that all of us in the swimming world deeply appreciate the tremendous work that you have performed over these many years.

Jack Kelso
School of Human Kinetics, U.B.C.
Vancouver, B.C.


I want to congratulate you on the great issue of your fine publication covering the Atlanta Olympics.

You have really done a fantastic job and I am also impressed with the fine work of your photo editor Marco Chiesa. He is certainly doing some great work. It is always nice to read your publication, the rest of the swimming world must take notice of your fine work.

My daughter Lynn (Fowlie) showed me a scrapbook of clippings from the printed media in Australia from the Atlanta Olympics, and I cannot believe how involved and critical they get - even when they have some great success.

Jim Fowlie is over here on a holiday in his native Prince George where he is really been looked after. We recently had an Aquatic Alumni BBQ here a few weeks ago. I took Ted Reynolds with me and we met some wonderful people from the past and their young swimmers for the future.

Kind regards,

Tor Bentson
West Vancouver, B.C.

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

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