Cap & Goggles

Only a Swimmer Knows the Feeling

Category: Drugs

What We Talk About When We Talk About Drugs

The difference between cheating and partying in sport… 

There’s no honesty here, not on this subject. It can’t be touched by truth because the word itself is draped in unambiguous evil. I’m talking about drugs, of course. The scourge of sport, the athlete’s deal with the devil, the definition of selling your soul…

And it is those things. There’s nothing lower than a cheat. But do all drugs equal cheating? Are you kidding? So, why are athletes still being tested for recreational drugs, substances that hinder not enhance one’s performance, like cocaine and marijuana?

Earlier this week I read about former Gator All-American Omar Pinzon. Seems the Colombian backstroke champion tested positive for cocaine at his country’s national championships this month. (Yes, a Colombian on coke, resist the easy punch line…) Pinzon is one of the greatest swimmers from his continent. He’s the South American record holder in the 200 back (1:56.40) and one of Colombia’s all-time greats in the pool. His positive test will likely lead to a two-year ban from competition.

For a substance that is the exact opposite of performance-enhancing.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Altered States of Swimming

As we enter the post-Phelps era, the sport finds itself reeling between robust health and on-going sickness…

A new Olympiad has begun. Michael Phelps is gone. Ryan Lochte is becoming Derek Zoolander. Missy Franklin continues to resist millions so she can swim in college. That’s the narrative of the big three, anyway. The three short hand stories of the sport that have spread into the mainstream. That’s what your friends in the dry land world know about swimming. They might have also heard about some dark sex scandals, involving coaches and teenage swimmers, but we’ll get to that in a bit…

Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of this blog. It was started last September with a piece entitled The Phelps Effect. It detailed the ways that Michael Phelps’s dominance may have killed off the depth and ambition in American swimming. There was evidence of that back at the World Championships in 2011. At the Games in London, the symptoms of this ‘Phelps Effect’ appear to have been killed off. Just ask Tyler Clary, Matt Grevers, and Nathan Adrian – three American guys not named Phelps or Lochte who raced to individual Olympic gold this summer.

Seventy-five stories later, this site has managed to piss off, provoke, and hopefully entertain and enlighten many in the swimming community. Just what I’d hoped for… And so it seems like a fine time to take a step back and examine the sport in its many altered states.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Scum Also Rises

The loathsome Lance Armstrong finally throws in the towel… Thereby acknowledging what the entire world already knew: that there is no one lower in all of sports… 

It’s late August, the Olympics are over, and unless you’re off racing Prince Harry drunk in a Vegas hotel pool, you’re probably enjoying some well earned time on dry land. So, let’s set swimming aside for the moment and take a dip into some real pond scum.

On Thursday, Lance Armstrong officially ended his doomed fight against charges that he used performance-enhancing drugs. He refused to fight another day for his “innocence.” So, he finally admitted it? Ha. Of course not. This is Lance you’re talking about, the most arrogant sociopath ever to peddle a bicycle. While it’s clear that his lawyers finally informed him that the game was up, he’s still denying it to the end. Check out his self-righteous statement posted on his site. Actually, don’t bother. You’ve heard those impotent raging denials enough.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Steroid-Dealing, Ecstasy-Smuggling, Dead-Body-Burning Swim Coach

I was told to tread carefully. I was told that the man in the headline above could be litigious, and that he had deep pockets. There’s also the matter of him burning and burying a dead body on his own property… During the trial when this dark detail emerged, an attorney said of this coach: “If he has a conscience, it would be a very hard thing to find.” Fair warning. Careful what you write. I’ll just tread in the facts. Here are some greatest hits:

Read the rest of this entry »

Comeback Junkies

He left the press conference for his more famous friend. The one who had more gold medals than any countryman before him. He had a few too, was also among Australia’s all-time greats, but by comparison, his news didn’t feel all that newsworthy. Another comeback. By another Olympic champion. Welcome aboard, Michael Klim. The comeback trail is crowded these days, packed with aquatic icons who can’t quite stay away…

Read the rest of this entry »

Blood, Honor, and Shame

Stamping Your Blood Passport on the Olympic Journey

One fine morning, maybe tomorrow, a stranger will show up at your door and put a needle in your arm. You will not resist. You have no choice. This stranger, who has arrived without warning, will open a bag with a syringe, a few vials, and an assortment of official documents which you will sign with great seriousness. You will roll up your sleeve as he sits across from you. He will lean forward and tell you that you’ll feel a slight pinch. You will wince and look away as the needle breaks your skin. After the vials have been filled with a sufficient amount of your blood, the stranger will pack his bags and leave. You will probably never see him again.

Read the rest of this entry »