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The History Of Goggles And More

May 16, 2012  - Nick Thierry

Where can you find what follows all in one place? The changing face of NCAAs; the life and times of Sarah Sjostrom, James Magnussen and Jessica Hardy; Julia Wilkinson's Olympic diary from Olympic trials in Canada; the aim of the the Swedish Centre for Aquatic Research and the work of American guru Bill Boomer; the obituary of a man much missed, journalist Randy Starkman; and the development of an essential piece of swimming kit - goggles. 

Answer - the latest edition of SwimNews Magazine. About the issue:

With the Canadian Olympic Trials held only once every four years, it becomes the most important competition for all those dreaming of an Olympic berth. This year the meet was scheduled for 27 March to 1 April in Montreal's Olympic Pool. There was great media interest and because 600 swimmers took part, the stands were full.

Nikki Dryden, a two-time Olympian herself, covered the trials, and we have extensive coverage over 11 pages, including Julia Wilkinson's diary. Julia was one of the stars of the meet with three individual wins and a breakthrough sub-minute swim in the 100 backstroke.

There were 31 swimmers named to the team, 13 men and 18 women. There were only 3 men with FINA “A” times, while 11 women reached that standard. And in the women's 200 back, the first five were under the “A” standard. Selection criteria were the most complex, with FINA having the final say on those event winners with “B” times. There is a 900-swimmer maximum for the London Games imposed by the IOC.

Adam Sioui has a commentary on the vanishing Olympians from the NCAA championships, mostly due to the extended careers of the superstars such as Phelps, Lochte, Hansen, Coughlin, Torres - all competing well past their university years, some in their 30s and beyond.

Lauren Beard has compiled a cross-Canada list of swimming summer camps and all the relevant information regarding date, costs, etc.

Before swimming goggles, swimmers’ eyes were exposed to chlorine and other chemicals causing redness and irritation, especially in the late 1950-1960s when double daily workouts became the norm. Cecil Colwin writes on the development of the swimming goggle during the mid-1960s in Australia and later when Canadians were in the forefront of the manufacturing process. Once adopted throughout the world, goggles made a huge difference for the sport.

Craig Lord writes about two superstars who will make their marks in London. Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) has been a top flyer since age 14 and has now expanded her program to sprint freestyle, with huge plans for London. James Magnussen (AUS) has dominated the 100 free for the past two years and could be the next sprint winner from Down Under in five decades.

Russ Ewald writes on the Jessica Hardy saga. A world record holder in the 50 and 100 breaststrokes, Hardy had made the 2008 USA Olympic Team, only to fail her drug test and withdraw from the team. Her positive was caused by a tainted supplement that sponsored her. After much litigation, her two-year suspension was reduced to one, allowing her to compete by August 2009. She won two golds at the 2011 Worlds and was the fastest time in the 100 breast this year with 1:06.12 until Trojan teammate Rebecca Soni cracked 1:06 this month.

Craig Lord completes his report on the Swedish Centre for Aquatic Research (SCAR) and talks with American guru Bill Boomer and his theories that have helped such top swimmers as Misty Hyman (200 fly winner in 2000), Dara Torres, and Britta Steffen, to name just a few.

On 16 April, we heard the shocking news of the death of Randy Starkman, who had just returned from covering the Canadian Swimming Trials and subsequently fell ill with pneumonia and died at St. Michael's Hospital. Randy was the best reporter on Olympic sport in Canada. Tributes from his fellow sports journalists all acknowledged that he was the very best. His obituary is written by Nikki Dryden.

There were other deaths in April: Victoria-based sport physiologist God Sleivert; Murray Rose, an all-time great and an Australian Olympic gold medallist and world-record holder; Ron Ballatore, a former men's coach at UCLA; and on 1 May, Alexander Dale Oen, the 2011 Norwegian 100 breaststroke world champion. We mourn all those who passed away. 

Meanwhile, TAG times in the magazine include all long-course competitions up to the end of April.

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