Michael Phelps’ World Record Smashing Swim

During my prime of swimming for the University of Lethbridge, my fastest time for the 50 meter freestyle (short course) was 24.59. It’s fun and amazing to watch the world’s best swimmers going four times that distance (and long course too) at the same pace. Even if you’re not a swimming fan, one can’t help but get excited as Michael Phelps shatters a world record.

Phelps broke five world records, including the one above, during the World Swimming Championships last week in Australia. (They ended April 1).

The Washington Post has an interesting article stating that 60% of new swim records have been set in the last two years, while the records set in track-and-field on the other hand, have been much more steady.

The Post’s explanation of how athletes can be improving in leaps and bounds in one sport but not in another boil down to, more funding, better coaching, and an older average age of high caliber swimmers. They say the typical body shape of swimmers has also been changing as of late.

As an aside, a former roommate and teammate of mine competed at Nationals (the Canadian ones) during the same time and won both the 50 and 100 meter freestyle events a seriously awesome accomplishment (even though, it seems to me, he downplays it). Congratulations Richard.


Alumni Meet

I’ve got a University of Lethbridge Alumni swim meet tomorrow morning. Should be loads of fun—I can hardly wait, but I’m not too thrilled about being on deck at 7:20am—At least the events are only 25’s and 50’s.


Canada beats US 15—10 in World Lacrosse Championship

You can’t help but revel in the fact that Canada has beaten the US and after 28 long years we’re finally champions again!

As a side note, I think it’s rather sad that even though lacrosse is Canada’s official sport I never even knew this competition was taking place. Well, at least we won.

life Sport

Three Races

Last week I won an informal race against my friend Stephon doing the 100m IM after our water polo match. He is going back to his home country of Germany today and last night after our last game of water polo he challenged me to a rematch, only this time we would swim something a little longer—the 800m freestyle.

It’s no secret that I am not a long distance swimmer. However, I let my confidence in combination with my unbridled enthusiasm get the best of me and agreed to the race. I figured that if I could average 45 seconds every two lengths (or 100’s on 1:30) I’d be fine.

I loaded up a nice foot long pizza sub from Subway just before the race. I wanted to have plenty of energy for the longest race I’ve ever done. (Well that’s not true, I’ve done longer timed events but never anything that I considered a race against anyone else but myself) As I was sitting there, eating my lunch, I ran into one of the lifeguards who swims quite a bit and told her about the upcoming event. When I explained my plan to do 100’s on 1:30, she warned me that Stephon was pretty fast and that when she swims with him, he does them on 1:25 and that wasn’t even at race pace. Hmmm, this might be a little trickier than I had anticipated.

I actually paced myself pretty well, but towards the end, I could feel that pizza sub wanting to have an unwelcome reunion. Almost needless to say, Stephen really showed me up in the 800m Freestyle. I didn’t even make my goal time of 12:00, but if I had, it wouldn’t even have been enough.

Now the score was 1 – 1. We needed to have the rubber match to determine a true and final winner between Germany and Canada.

“50 Free?”, I pondered. He knew I am a sprinter through and through but he put into consideration that I was quite tired. He agreed, and I just hoped I had enough left in me to still get up to top speed.

It’s not an exaggeration to say I was extremely tired as I prepared for our final showdown, but there’s something magical that happens in the sprint. Getting up on the blocks, preparing for the lightning round, it’s as if my body forgets its limitations and I an unseen power takes over. I don’t know what it is, but when it comes to the sprint I can’t help but swim at 100%. Despite how tired I was, I was excited for the rematch. The moment I dove in I could feel the shortage of blood in my head. I wondered if I had made a terrible mistake as tiny shooting stars streaked across the pool floor. Was I going to pass out in the middle of the pool? I certainly wasn’t going to slow down to find out.

I raced into the first turn and whipped out of it as fast as I ever do. I could see Stephen just crossing under the flags. Though light headed I pressed on pulling and kicking just as fast as ever. It felt like a new record for me, and in the end, it was a solid victory for me. Stephen is a fast swimmer, when it comes to distance, but he’s no match for my sprinting, even when I am on death’s door with fatigue.

So victory goes to the Canadian! :) But as a parting gift I gave Stephon my U of L Horns swim cap. Tonight while he’s flying home to Germany, I’m going to sleep like a baby.


Water Polo Champions

My team is the University of Lethbridge Intramurals water polo champions again this semester! We just won our final game against the “lifeguard” team. Now we’re going out as a team to celebrate.


Water Polo Champions

Here is the photo of my water polo team after winning the 2005 Intramural Finals.

Water Polo Champions
Photography Sport

White Water Kayaking

My brother scanned some old photos he took of me kayaking down the Kananaskis white water and posted them on Flickr. I’m still cold.


Free Stanley Update

I got a response from Philip Pritchard, of the Hockey Hall of Fame. He sent along an attachment from the Globe and Mail which explains why the Stanley Cup won’t be awarded to any team this year even though the NHL isn’t having playoffs.


Keepers of the Cup start to feel the heat

I wanted to voice my opinion that I would like to see the Stanley Cup awarded to the best hockey team this year. I know you realize how important this is to Canadians and it’s a great opportunity to create a historic event.

Thank-you for your time and consideration.



Dear Jeff

Thanks for your e-mail and interest in the Hockey Hall of Fame. I am attaching an article for you that I hope will
answer some of your questions and concerns.
Again thanks for your note.


Philip Pritchard
Hockey Hall of Fame

(See attached file: Cuptrustees.doc)


Globe and Mail

Phil Pritchard, vice president of hockey operations and curator of the Hockey Hall Of Fame, received his first 15 minutes of fame some years ago when he starred in a series of well-received commercials on behalf of MasterCard.

In those spots, the white-gloved Pritchard traveled back and forth around the world, sharing a series of hotel rooms and airplanes with the Stanley Cup, the most revered trophy in the world.

If the National Hockey League lockout lasts the entire season, Pritchard could be thrust in the spotlight again. As the most visible custodian of the Stanley Cup, Pritchard is getting all kinds of letters and e-mails from around the world, from people seeking to play for the coveted trophy. Last week, Pritchard passed on more than 50 of those messages to Ian (Scotty) Morrison and Brian O’Neill, the two trustees of the Stanley Cup.

The majority of correspondents want the Stanley Cup awarded, even if the NHL doesn’t declare a champion, on the grounds that the trophy began its life as a challenge cup and thus should revert to its original purpose if the league doesn’t play any games this season.

How are Morrison, the NHL’s former referee in chief, and O’Neill, a former senior vice president in the Clarence Campbell and John Ziegler Jr. eras, handling the requests?

O’Neill said he received five or six calls to his Montreal office about the Stanley Cup, all of which begin with a flawed premise.

“It’s not a challenge cup anymore,” said O’Neill. “The basis upon which it could revert back to a challenge cup is if the league decided to fold. Then they would turn the Stanley Cup back to us. That’s the way it would be done.

“Or, if you stretched a point and said, they’re not the most prominent professional league in the world, but that would be a pretty hard thing to determine.

“The National Hockey League is not extinct. It’s on a sabbatical. To that extent, it’s still the premier league in the world and it’s the one we have an agreement with. We don’t have an agreement with anyone else at the moment.

“There is all kinds of speculation, but they’ve got to get away from this idea that it’s a challenge cup.”

Morrison added this to debate: “What if you’ve got all these guys over in Europe and (IIHF president) Rene Fasel says, ‘hey Scotty, hey Brian, our league in Europe is now the best professional hockey league in the world and we want to play for the Stanley Cup?’

“Right now, I think our response would be no. The Stanley Cup belongs to the National Hockey League and once the NHL resumes play, that’s when it will be presented.”

But what if there is no 2004-05 season?

“The Stanley Cup just stays in the Hall Of Fame and I guess we just skip ahead and leave that panel empty,” answered Morrison. “Hopefully, that won’t happen.”

Some years ago, O’Neill and Bud Estey, the former Stanley Cup trustee, who died in 2001, amended the trustee agreement to take out the clause that said, “‘in the event that the league goes belly-up, the trophy goes back to the International Hockey Hall Of Fame in Kingston.’ We wanted that out.”

Eric Zweig, a hockey historian and managing editor of Total Stanley Cup, says in 1947, the trustees of the Stanley Cup (P.D. Ross and Cooper Smeaton) granted authority to the NHL “to determine and amend … competition for the Stanley Cup.”

The seminal clause in the agreement states however, “This agreement shall remain in force so long as the League continues to be the world’s leading professional hockey league as determined by its playing caliber. In the vent of a dissolution or other termination of the National Hockey League, the Stanley Cup shall revert to the custody of the trustees.”

In the early days, before the NHL gained control of the Stanley Cup, the trustees held a more active role than they do today and generally favored a team’s right to the trophy over that of a league.

According to Zweig, when the Ottawa Silver Seven withdrew from the Canadian Amateur Hockey League during the 1903-04 season, the trustees allowed them to face Stanley Cup challengers on their own. When the 03-04 CAHL champions, the Quebec Bulldogs, asked that they be recognized as Stanley Cup champions, the trustees refused to do so. Instead, they asked the Bulldogs to challenge Ottawa for the Stanley Cup, a match that didn’t take place. The Stanley Cup followed Ottawa to the Federal Amateur Hockey League (in 1904-05) and to the Eastern Canada Amateur Hockey Association in (in 1905-06).

Almost a hundred years later, what if the owners of AK Bars Kazan, the team that boasts 11 NHL players, including three prominent members of the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning (Vince Lecavalier, Brad Richards and Nikolai Khabibulin), wanted to challenge for the Stanley Cup? Even if Kazan signed the rest of the Lighting players to contracts and went on a barnstorming tour of Europe, they couldn’t do so, if the trustees followed the historical precedent.

In the 1910-11 season, as the National Hockey Association and its players were involved in a salary cap dispute, the players considered forming their own new league. Some players from the Montreal Wanderers petitioned for the Stanley Cup, but were refused by trustee William Foran, on the grounds that the trophy belonged to the club, not to the players.

Thus, if the Stanley Cup were to revert to its original role as a challenge trophy, history suggests that the only man who could petition for its custody, according to Zweig, would be Lightning owner Bill Davidson.

For that to happen, Davidson would first have to break ranks with his fellow NHL owners and the Lightning players would have to agree to go back to work for him en masse. Still, in the unlikely event that that scenario unfolded, then the trustees would have to at least consider letting Davidson have access to the trophy – and in that way, the Stanley Cup would return to its original roots.

It’s not going to happen, but it’s fun to think about – as all of Pritchard’s e-mail traffic would imply.


Richard Goes His Best Time

My roommate is swimming in the Nationals in Calgary this weekend. He is swimming against some big names like Rick Say and Matt Rose. He swam a personal best time this morning, placing 4th and going 23.03s in the 50 Free preliminaries. I haven’t heard how the finals went, but I’m definitely excited for him.

Update: The results are in, Richard went 23.36s in the finals taking 8th place in 50 Free at the Nationals. He swims again tomorrow and Sunday.