If you follow the sport of swimming, you can't escape Craig Lord. To call him polarizing would miss the point entirely: within his body of work almost anyone will find something they love absolutely alongside something else they hate just as much. Whether you're enjoying (or hate reading) Lord is irrelevant. Craig Lord stands alone as a journalist in swimming.
I wrote that last sentence knowing that I'll probably get a comment from Lord disagreeing with it. He'll be the first to tell you that there are many others involved with his former (Swimnews) and current (Swimvortex) project than just him. For all the bombast you often find in one of his 10,000 word broadsides, Lord is actually a kind and humble person. So let me clarify what I mean when I say Craig Lord is swimming's only journalist.
There exist swimming media sites that ostensibly do journalistic work. I have written for both of them, so any criticism I level is at least as much directed at myself. They are not as much journalistic enterprises as much as they are content factories. They report every college commitment relentlessly. They report on meets big and small. They occasionally feature quality commentary.
Despite their small armies of writers, no other sites combine the reporting, writing and sheer attention span of Lord. When Craig Lord goes after a topic, his attacks are so ferocious and sustained that they transcend comedy. I know because I once tried to create a satirical version of him called Tom Duke. It was never as entertaining as the real Lord getting on his soapbox.
Like any human being, Lord has his blindspots. Those blindspots are often where I've gotten into disagreements with him before. But ultimately they aren't in any way disqualifying. They are evidence of a greater problem: we need more Craig Lords.
What I mean by that is we need more people who go after the important topics of swimming (of which there are many) from more angles, with different blindspots. We need reporters willing to develop and tap sources on a consistent basis. We need more passionate, fact checking, voices like Lord.
And maybe we can get Lord an editor. And pigs can fly.