Amazing Act of Sportsmanship in High School Sports

>> Thursday, February 28, 2013

Did you hear about this recent high school basketball game? It's one of those stories that renews your faith in humanity. You THINK you know how this will turn out, but there's an amazing twist at the end.

Check this out. Don't cry.

UPDATE: that video has been taken down, but you can find it here on The Chive.

Fan. Freakin. Tastic.

You may remember this video from 7 years ago that is similarly heart-warming:

And those also remind me of a race I posted about last year where a track runner helped carry another racer across the line so she would finish the race and NOT finish last. Check that out here.

Call me a sap, but I love stuff like this.


5 Things Learned From My First Swim Meet

>> Wednesday, February 27, 2013

• ONE: I need to work on my kick. I've always known I have a "triathlete's kick." That means "I don't HAVE a swim kick because I want to keep my legs fresh for the bike and the run." I STARTED working on it about a year ago, but I need to do more. In a swim meet, I need to use my legs more!

• TWO: I should have swam more than just the 50 and 100. But I was too scared to sign up for more. But even after my first event, I knew I could have / should have done more. Next meet, I'll (probably) try the 500. Or even the 1000. I WON'T try the 200 right away because I've heard that's like the 800 in track: too far to "sprint" all the way, but not far enough to fall into a nice rhythm.

• THREE: Swimmer's AREN'T jerks. I was afraid that I'd be an outsider because I'd never done a meet. But nobody cared. Everyone was helpful and friendly. No one was walking around like "I'm in the zone; don't f*cking talk to me."

• FOUR: Girl Scout cookies are fine to eat between races. I brought my box of shortbread cookies and snacked on them with Julia and Dominique between my 2 races. Totally acceptable. I'll do that again. (I also had a Powerbar.)

• FIVE: It's possible to hurt your testicles AND your penis while diving. When I posted last week about learning how to dive off the blocks, I noted that I beat-up my testes a bit. Well I forgot to mention something in my race report on Monday. I said that my 2nd race started with a bit of a better dive, but I STILL landed a little awkwardly on the water. I didn't hurt my testicles, but I DID hurt the base of my penis. The beginning of the shaft of my penis must have slapped the water in my 2nd dive, because it was a little sore post race. In fact, Aaron greeted me shortly after I got out of the water, and I said "I think I kinda landed on my d*ck with that dive..." Not cool. It's better than hurting your balls (for the record), but still not cool. It was still a little red when I hit the showers an hour later.

Oh, one last thing.... Remember this?...

I posted that GIF of my horrible dive on my tumblr page as well. I can breakdown all e-mails, tweets, in-person remarks, and blogger comments into the 3 follow categories...

1. There were a few that said:

"Congrats for trying your first swim meet!"

2. There were a few MORE that said:

"I've done a number of swim meets, and I STILL dive like that. So don't worry about it!"

3. And there were EVEN MORE that said:

"My 9 / 10 / 11 year old boy / girl is faster than you! Ha!"

That's true.

And sometimes the truth hurts.

And sometimes it's majorly damaging to a 31-year-old's ego.


Click here for my race report if you missed it.


'Y's Guys Meet:' My First Swim Meet!

>> Monday, February 25, 2013

Saturday was the "Y's Guys Meet" at the University of St. Thomas just down the street from my house. I've been swimming for 7 years, but my only "swim only" event was a 2.5K open water swim race 3 years ago. Now it was time to step it up and try an actual swim meet. Intimidating.

I posted last week about learning how to dive off the blocks and the resulting red chest I got, and really THAT was my biggest concern at the meet: simply entering the water! Once I was in the water and swimming, I knew I'd be FINE. But being I'm new to the start, that was my "x-factor" for how speedy or slow I might be.

I got there just as everyone was starting their warm-ups:

Lots of swimmers.

St. Thomas has some sweet facilities.
I watched this being built a few years back as I was running intervals on their track.

Steve H and Julia pausing during their warm up.

Julia and I had our Coach Jen Harrison water bottles with us. (That's Julia's coach and
the coach I worked with when I attempted a sub-60 at the TC 10 Mile 2.5 years ago.)

Oh yeah, and as you can see from the corner of that photo above, I wore my "Tutti Frutti" shorts for the meet!

I chatted a bit with Aaron, Marcus, and Pete as things were getting ready to start. When they opened up 2 lanes for "sprint" warm-ups, I tried diving off the blocks. Pete and Aaron saw me dive, and Pete told me it was totally "passable." I told him that "passable is the best I can hope for!" Then I asked him if he saw my first strokes. He smiled. He had seen my mistake. I was still WAY too far underwater to be trying to take a stroke. I needed to hold my streamline position for another 2 seconds. But the dive itself wasn't too horrible. That was a little "confidence boost" that made me feel a little more at ease before my races.

Aaron was in the first heat of the first wave. Here he is (in the black and green suit) showing pretty solid form as he dives off the blocks in the 200 free:

I'll come back to this photo of his butt in the air in a moment....

Aaron on his way to a 2:12 200!

Julia on the blocks (in lane 2)

Julia swimming.

Steve H in the pool.


I figured it'd be good to do the 50 free if for no other reason than to practice a "race intensity dive-start" before the 100. (I was only planning on signing up for the 100, but figured I might as well try the 50 as well.) Julia grabbed my camera to take a video of the entire race. THANKS JULIA! Here's a screenshot from the video of me on the blocks just a second before the start.

When the buzzer went off, I didn't think at all. I just pushed off into the water. And it looked like this:




I'd failed to pop my butt up like Aaron's doing in the final picture of his dive above. I needed to snap my hips up to get my arms to come down so I could enter the water hands first. ....Not "chest first" like I did. Oh well.

After that, it was just time to swim. I didn't think of ANYTHING for the first length of the pool - I was just trying to go fast. Once I'd made my turn for the finish, I had my ONLY thought all race: "don't take too many breaths!" This was a 50 free - I didn't need to take a breath every 3 strokes for the entire race. So I kept my head down and ended by breathing every 4 or 5 strokes so I hit the wall out of breath.

Popping out of the water... I'd MADE it!

Seeing Julia right above me (still catching my breath).

"Hi Julia."

Julia's video ended with 2 awkward crotch-shots of me as she was figuring out how to stop recording.

About 60 seconds after my "chest-first" dive, you can see my chest is already turning
a little red. And that yellow-ish area to the upper-left of my nipple is still
some bruising from learning to dive last week.

So those were all screenshots from the video Julia took. Here's the entire (unedited) 69 second video of my first race at a swim meet:

A few notes from that video:

I love how "fast" a swim meet goes. I was at the meet for over 4 hours (so it's long), but notice we're being called onto the blocks just 1 or 2 seconds after the woman in lane 4 crawled out from the previous heat.

My right foot moved WAY too much on the push-off of the dive. I picked it up and set it back down before pushing off. NOT fast. Not right.

I couldn't see too much of my actual swimming, but 2 people told me after this 50 that my form looked pretty good. I was just churning water trying to go as fast as possible.

Watch the video again and look at lane 7 (2 lanes to the left of me). Aaron put down an estimated time of 0:45 for the 50 free, but he KILLED our heat in 0:25!! It looks fine until I hit the far wall with the 3 or 4 swimmers around me - then you notice that Aaron is half way back already! What a solid swim!

And Julia's laughing at the end as she realizes she was filming my man bits for a bit too long.

So I had estimated that I'd swim a 0:38 50 free. But officially, did my first 50 free in 31:03!!

I snapped this next photo after a few more heats of the 50 free. It had looked like the pool area had cleared out, but really, everyone was just standing behind the starting blocks because EVERYONE does the 50 free!

Aaron taking a break with Kacey in the stands.

A bunch of better splashes than mine.

Steve H finishing a relay leg with the next swimmer diving over him.
(And a super buff, potentially naked man to the right.)

More relay action.

Pete swimming hard! Pete and I are planning on teaming up as a relay for the Gear West Du
this spring. Matt (my brother-in-law and normal relay partner) can't make it this year.

Julia on the blocks for the 500.

Lap counters for the 500.

I counted laps for Julia for her 500. You're given a plastic flip board of odd numbers so you can count lengths (not laps). So when they start, you hold "1" in the water (that's what they're doing in the photo above). The swimmer gets back to the starting blocks and heads back towards you on their 2nd lap, and you hold "3" in the water. The 500 is 20 lengths, so instead of showing "19" on their last lap, you show a big orange square which means "get back to the wall and you're done!" Julia told me that she was hoping to see orange on her last lap - she'd lost track and was working hard and NEEDED to be done!

I ran upstairs to grab a few photos and to say hi to Kacey.

Julia (in the white cap) talking to Dominique (in the black cap)

Suddenly, I had to get down to the pool in a hurry - they were starting the first heat of the 100 free, and I was in heat 3. "Bye Kacey!"


A little "side race" popped up in the 100 free. Julia and I saw that we'd be racing RIGHT NEXT TO EACH OTHER!! Julia is BY FAR the better swimmer, but in a shorter race, I'd MAYBE have a chance of catching her. I was hoping to finish CLOSE to her. She joked that if I beat her, she'd have to fire Coach Jen! Ha! So if anything, I wanted to catch Julia so I could tease Jen!

The line-up (and predicted times) for Heat 3 of the 100.

When the buzzer sounded, I THINK I hit the water a bit better this time. I realized shortly that I was a bit in front of Julia, but I was trying to go out hard - I was planning on dying before the end.

In the first lap, I had the same thought of "don't breathe too much" like I had in the 50, but I also had the thought of "make sure to lengthen your strokes." My turn-over was so quick that I wanted to make sure I was getting some good "glide" to my stroke. But those were the only 2 thoughts during the race. Ideally, I would have checked that I wasn't over-roating to breathe, that my elbows were high, that I was kicking strong, that I was pulling through the entire stroke, that I was really pushing off the walls, and that I was holding a good streamline for the right amount of time. But in such a short race, it's really all just muscle memory - there was no chance for me to think about what I was doing.

Kacey got a photo of the half-way point of the 100, and you can see I'm about a half body-length ahead of Julia:

I thought Julia would catch me on the final lap because she's better with turns and I thought I might be slowing up. But she never got closer! I ended up finishing almost a body-length in front of her:

Big splash from a final kick!

Julia DID just swim a 6:4x 500, so that MAYBE took something out of her, so I can't really feel like a big stud. :)

By the time I took off, the official 100 results weren't posted yet. But I remember seeing 1:10.xx after I finished! I had put down 1:17, I was HOPING to be around 1:14 if I could be, and anything faster than that would be thrilling. So I'm ecstatic with my 1:10!!!

I tweeted Coach Jen on the way home. I said "Julia says your fired. I beat her in the 100 free." She tweeted back: "Ha. She needs a penis at that distance. What about the 500 ?? that's more fair. ;)" Julia would kill me in a 500, but I'll have to try it sometime. As we were getting ready to climb onto the blocks in the 100, Julia asked "So will it be MUSCLE or FORM that wins?" MUSCLE can (apparently) win a 100, but FORM will kick MUSCLE's ass in the 500.

Julia was sticking around for the 1650 (the final race), but I headed home just before that. I had to get one last photo with my old "swimming buddies" from the Y:

Me, Julia, and Steve H.

I'll be back in a day or 2 with the official results, along with what I'll do differently in my next swim meet. Yes, I'm TOTALLY doing more of these. I'll see if I can improve upon my belly-flop starts, my 31:03 50 free, and my 1:10.xx 100 free. And I'll probably add in another race or 2.



>> Saturday, February 23, 2013

Well, with a title like that... what did you expect?

Back with VIDEO from my first 50 freestyle race on Monday.


Diving Videos and Predictions for Today's Meet

So if I've timed this post correctly, it should be auto-publishing right around the time I should be taking the water for my first swim meet. Keep an eye on my twitter page for up-to-date details.

I showed some nasty battle wounds from learning to dive earlier this week, and I'm hoping things go better at the meet! As I noted in the post where I learned to dive, I had looked at some YouTube videos before meeting with Andrea at the Y. Here's 4 quick videos I'd looked at:

ONE: Good pointers in this one - he breaks it into 3 main areas: starting position, in the air, and the entry. One of his final points about keeping your legs straight as you enter the water is something I CAN'T do.

TWO: This one REALLY breaks it down step-by-step: foot placement, where your hips should be, where to be looking, etc. This is the video where I learned not to point my arms down as you leave the blocks, but to point STRAIGHT OUT instead. This one really shows all little details from different angles. I think this was the best video full of "newbie pointers" for me.

THREE: This video is a little funnier / less professional (made by some high-school kids as part of a video class), but it DOES show some "do this" and "don't think this" pointers. AND I liked seeing another newbie going through all the same issues that I knew I was about to go through as I was learning to dive for the first time.

FOUR: Finally, this video is NO HELP to a beginner, but it's nice to see another good looking dive (her back leg is too far back in this video according to the points made in the 2nd video above, but she found a way to make it work). This one REALLY over-simplifies things, and there's a sarcastic comment on this video that points that out... someone said "and to swim all you do is move your arms and legs in water."


• I'll be the last one off the blocks. When Andrea would shout GO as we were practicing diving, I always hesitated for a half second until I felt ready. My reaction time off the blocks will be horrible.

• You won't see a single dolphin kick from me. I first tried dolphin kicking a week ago before my diving lesson, and it felt like I was trying to hump the lane line. I tried it a few more times and got a little better at it, but being it's still new to me and I don't know if it's faster or not, I won't be doing it at the meet.

• I won't be doing flip turns. I don't do flip turns - I've just really never learned. The good thing is that Andrea said it's less of a big deal when I'm only hitting the wall 1 or 3 times (in a 50 or 100). If I were doing the 1000 or 1650, THEN it'd be important to have a good flip turn because I'd be hitting the wall so many times. I'd never really thought about it like that before.

• OK.... here they are: when I registered, I put down my predicted times as 0:38 for the 50 free and 1:17 for the 100 free. I really have NO idea what I can do, so these times are total shots in the dark. The 50 is SOOO much about the start, so a horrible start could easily push me over 0:40. At the same time, a good start could get me around 0:35 or 0:36. Maybe. Who knows. I really think I can get under 1:17 for the 100 free, but again, I have no clue. (I told Andrea and Julia that I'd love to be around 1:14!) I don't want to be the guy who puts down slower times just to "win" his heat, but I also don't want to be the guy who puts down super fast times and then can't live up to them. It's a "lose / lose" situation. I think 0:38 and 1:17 are safe guesses.

I guess we'll find out shortly!!!!!!.......


Friday Funny 480: Swim Meet

>> Friday, February 22, 2013

So my first swim meet is tomorrow. Hopefully I can hit the water and NOT make my chest turn THIS red when I'm in front of a large audience. That would be nice.

When I registered for the meet, I added this little note:

I was pleasantly surprised when that actually got a response:

I wrote back with what my thoughts are on the meet:

So they're going to "try to be gentle with me" tomorrow, but really, I know I'm just in for a good ass-kicking. Here goes nothing.....


Friday Funny 479: Annoying Guys at the Gym

I actually think I need to try that move he's doing at the 0:45 mark.

Someone left this comment on the video:

How about "the Spectator". The guys who just watch everyone else hungrily.
Some actually believe that just watching others work out will yield results.
Some believe that anyone else lifting similar or more weight is challenging them.
Some like to watch people lifting less to compensate for their own insecurities.
And some are just creepy sh*ts who are mentally undressing you (male or female).

Reminds me of this video of "awkward runners."


Friday Funny 478: More Puns

I posted some puns 4 weeks ago and again 2 weeks ago. I think it's time for a little more word-play:

Finally, can you guess what this one is?

It's a "bass solo." Fantastic.

Remember, you can always find "funnies" at



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