Sarah Asks the Questions

Have you ever listened to one of my many podcasts with Sarah Ehekircher and wished that she could ask me the questions? Well then I have the podcast for you. After many times getting her to bare her soul for all of you, this time she is the one probing.

We go all the way back to 2008, the first interactions I had with USA Swimming and what motivated me to pursue the topics I pursue.

100th Episode: Past, Present and Future of Swimming

Trever Gray asks a two part question that we take most of the runtime to discuss. What was one of my most-read books as a kid? Why were Duke Kahanamoku and Doc Counsilman ahead of their times? Was a John Naber interview the first time I felt the heat online?

That and more on this 100th episode with Trever Gray asking the questions. Plus, Olympic Darkhorse.

Coaching Wellness

This week I am joined by Matt Sprang. Matt and I go about a decade back, and we reconnected in Florida last month. He was there to talk about coaching wellness, and I thought that he had a message worth amplifying.

We talk about his own journey to prioritizing his own mental and physical health while dealing with a pretty tough situation in his club:

Why Don't They Do the Right Thing?

Welcome back to the podcast Sarah Ehekircher. After a long hiatus, Sarah and I get together to discuss a couple of pretty significant investigative pieces that are in the works.

We then follow that up by discussing conversations she’s had with a USA Swimming Board member, USA Swimming head Tim Hinchey and why neither seems willing to do the right thing.

Swimming Agent Cejih Yung

As promised last week, here’s the podcast recorded with swimming agent and all around sport enthusiast Cejih Yung.

I think Cejih has a clear sense of what swimming is as a business, and I mean that in the most positive way possible. For the sport to thrive, the value of what we’re doing needs to be connected to those who can support it, and Cejih has done just that for a group of top level professional swimmers in the US.

Dani Bostick

Dani Bostick is many things. She’s a teacher, a parent, a former mental health counselor. She was also a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of her swim coach. She’s a passionate voice for reform beyond sports.

We split the podcast into two parts. In the first, we discuss the recently released MAAPP, which Bostick has been sharply critical of. In the back half, we discuss the uncomfortable conversations that are necessary about the culture that enables abusers within an organization.

Digging in On MAAPP

Last week USA Swimming’s Safe Sport Division released the Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policy (MAAPP). The release has been controversial, particularly among coaches who have additional responsibilities as a result of the policy.

I begin by assessing the major planks on their own- do they make sense and are they sound policies for preventing abuse? Then I get into a lot of the context surrounding the policies, with questions and commentary.

Michael Andrew, Keto and Race Pace

The lightning rod of international swimming, Michael Andrew, is going on a ketogenic diet. To discuss this startling development, I brought on keto dieter (and race pace trainer) Shawn Klosterman along with resident nerd Trever Gray to hash it out.

We discussed the synergy between the two, and some of the science behind it (and not behind it):

Checking In With Nicolas Messer

Nicolas Messer is always a good hang on the Swim Brief. This time he checks in from a brand new geographic location. We talk about how he ended up there and what his new job entails.

We also get into the topic of streamlines, and I put Nico on the spot on whether he has joined the anti-streamline coalition. Enjoy:

Joel Shinofield

Today the long awaited and teased podcast with the Managing Director of Sport Development for USA Swimming, Joel Shinofield. We trace Joel’s history in the sport, back to his earliest days teaching and coaching up to the present day.

We get into what motivated some of the twists and turns in his career, before finally pivoting to a conversation of his current role and what he’s trying to accomplish right now. Joel even turns the tables on me at the last minute. Enjoy:

What Investigation?

In the wake of the OC Register’s reporting earlier in the week that an FBI Veteran, hired to investigate Sean Hutchison, was very much not allowed to investigate, I called up Sarah Ehekircher.

We go through the article and give context to the names and players involved, and what some of the facts suggest about the broader Olympic sport culture:

Sarah Ehekircher on Fishers and More

Sarah Ehekircher comes back to update on her own saga for justice against her former coach, before we pivot to a discussion of what happened last month in Fishers, Indiana and the fallout from a group of administrators abdicating their responsibility.

We finish by getting a little fired up as we usually do about broader topics concerning creating a safe environment for kids in sport.

A New NBOR For Sarah Ehekircher

A conversation with Sarah Ehekircher about the possibility of a second NBOR (National Board of Review) after the botched one in 2010. We talk about the process of even getting to the point where USA Swimming would consider another one.

All of this takes place with the backdrop of USA Swimming’s biennial “Safe Sport Leadership Conference”, leading me to speculate whether the two are connected. Enjoy:

Grooming Part Two: Athletes

In a follow up to last week’s podcast with Monica Strzempko, I sat down with Becky Finley, a former teammate of Sarah Ehekircher. We discuss what it was like to come up to an “elite” team at a young age (13) and all the kinds of radical behavior that she accepted as normal.

We also discuss at what point she decided that it was not normal for her coach, Scott MacFarland, to intervene in the way that he did:

Lee Sommers On Training Ledecky and More

Lee Sommers got his start coaching swimming athletes with the best in the world, Katie Ledecky. Since then he’s built a business working and advising many more on how to get the best possible training out of the water.

We talk about how he got that start, as well as some of the principals that drive what he does. He also addresses some common misconceptions he sees in dryland training for swimming.