commentary

#Skillskill with David Rodriguez

This week, we return to our normal schedule and interview somebody very close by. David Rodriguez is the head coach of Asphalt Green Unified Aquatics, also known as AGUA, a club that operates on the island of Manhattan.

David and I talk about his journey and some of the bumps along the way, as well as the #skillskill, having no morning practice during the school year and the other unique aspects of running a big team in the biggest city. Enjoy. 

What A National Board of Review Is Like

The National Board of Review. This is the process that USA Swimming has used to adjudicate complaints of sexual abuse that they receive. It's a process that most USA Swimming members know next to nothing about.

In this podcast, Sarah Ehekircher and I discuss her NBOR in 2010, what motivated her to start the process, and the nasty surprises she found when the kangaroo court was actually convened:

Stand Up For What's Right

Today I talk to Dirk Marshal. Dirk was an accomplished swimmer in his day who has taken a different route to starting a unique kind of team. We talk about his club, the Bridge Bats and how he came to form it the way he did.

Later we discuss Sarah Ehekircher and how we've both come to know her and join Sarah's posse. Dirk shares a really good argument on how we can stand up for what's right in swimming. Enjoy.

Hiring Season With Nico Messer

This week a special hiring season podcast with friend of the brief Nico Messer. Nico has been on a lot of the episodes since the pod started back up again, and it's great to have him back once more.

We talk about the season from both the perspective of someone doing the hiring and someone looking for a job. We tell you everything we've learned from getting jobs, and not getting them. Enjoy. 

NCAA Bonus Pod With Mark Hill

Bonus pod! Today I try to extend the excitement of NCAAs by talking with a coach at the hottest team in college swimming, Indiana University. Mark Hill joined the Hoosiers before the start of this college year. He had previously won a men's NCAA title as part of Michigan's squad in 2013.

We talk about the crazy, amazing spectacle that NCAAs is, what he learned in his year away from college swimming, and I formally ask him if there's still space for me on the IU bandwagon. Enjoy. 

Nancy Hogshead Makar: The State of the Fight

Among the revelations of this podcast: there is reason to believe that Susan Woessner lied when she resigned from USA Swimming about her interactions with Sean Hutchison. Also, a group of swimmers led by Olympic gold medalist Karen Moe Humphreys will be speaking out against abusive coach Paul Bergen. 

The guest is one that I've wanted to have for a long time and is so relevant to everything going on in the swimming world right now. Nancy Hogshead Makar is a former Olympic Champion swimmer. She went on to a law career, where he has dedicated significant time to advocacy work, first for the Women's Sports Foundation, and now as CEO of Champion Women. 

Her most recent accomplishment includes lobbying to push the "Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport" act through congress.

The act was recently signed into law, and Champion Women has a nice cheat sheet for those looking to catch up on what it means.

For more information on Nancy and her work visit Champion Women. You can also read this excellent piece where she tells a lot of her life story here.

Rise, Fall and Rise

Eric Kramer currently coaches the Saskatoon Lasers in Saskatchewan, which I'm told is a real place in a real country (Canada).

Eric's coaching story really hooked me in. We talk about how he had international success with a swimmer very early in his coaching career and how that affected him in ways both good and bad.

We talk about the pivotal moment he had looking into the eyes of his swimmers, and there's a lot of learning and honesty along the journey. Enjoy:

The Unicorn

Today's conversation takes us to somebody that I have been a fan of from afar for many years: Janelle Atkinson. Janelle is currently the head coach of the recently restarted program at Stony Brook.

Janelle talks me through her life story, from her early days in Jamaica, to the decision to come over to America for high school and college, and paying her dues in the coaching ranks. We also talk about some of the challenges and frustrations that come with being a person of color and a single mom in high level college athletics, and how she's overcome that. Enjoy.

The podcast was also sponsored this week by Swimnerd Pace Clocks. Check them out. 

Craig Lord on Swimming Governance and Journalism

Craig Lord is the preeminent journalist in the sport of swimming. He has been writing about swimming since 1989, attending countless major international championship meets, speaking out doping in the sport from the very beginning, and generally being unafraid to speak his mind.  Craig is currently the editor and writer for Swimvortex. He also writes for the Times of London and the Sunday Times.

We talked for so long that I had to split the podcast into two parts. In part one, Craig and I dive right in to discuss how he came to be a "swimming" journalist as well as what he's seen change over the course of his career covering swimming from the media side. Then we turn to discuss the IOC's recent decision to ban Russia from the Winter Games and what the state of governance at all levels that affect swimming. Enjoy and watch for part 2 this upcoming Friday.

 

A Little Slice of Middle America: Erik Wiken

This week, Erik Wiken brings homespun, midwestern values to the Swimbrief podcast. We talk about what it's like to be a swim coach in Lincoln, Nebraska. We talk about hiring, socializing as a coach and the pitfalls and advantages of new online communities.

Of course, we also talk Omaha, Nebraska as a loyal Olympic Trials host and why people should be excited to come back in 2020.

Diversity, Inclusion and More with MJ Truex

MJ Truex, who leads USA Swimming's Diversity and Inclusion team, joined me from Colorado Springs to discuss her life in swimming and how she got to that role. I learned a lot in the process and I hope you do too.

We discuss some of the issues that I've brought up in the blog, especially when it comes to gender diversity in coaching, and what USA Swimming sees as its role in tackling a range of issues.

World Champs Redux with Garrett McCaffrey

This week there will be two Swim Briefs! In addition to the regular Friday podcast, I called up Garrett McCaffrey for a special bonus pod to discuss the World Championships in Budapest. 

Garrett and I talk all the big stories, including the Larry Bird of Swimming and what kind of comparison you can make to other sports with Ledecky's 200 free.

Lets Nerd Out About Some Swim Workouts With Nico Messer

This week is the first of many podcasts to come with Nico Messer, where we're going to talk about workouts! NIco runs Professional Swim Workouts, a site where you can share and see other workouts submitted by coaches. You can read more about our partnership here. 

In this opening episode, Nico and I get to introducing ourselves, why we want to have better conversations about swimming, and even tease some of the topics that are coming down the line.

Swim Brief: Garrett McCaffrey on Olympic Trials and Swimming Media

Seven years ago, in the ancient days of podcasting, I gave it a try. There were basically no swimming podcasts out there. Today, there are swimming podcasts, but I couldn't find any featuring what I love in podcasts- people that know each other having a real life conversation, the kind of conversation I have on the phone nearly every day with other people in the swimming world.

For the first podcast, I called up my friend Garrett McCaffrey, the head coach of Phoenix Swim Club. Garrett is more than a coach though, he's been on the media side of the sport for some of the biggest events, and we get into that over the course of our conversation.