Beyond The Lane Lines: GOAT, Pellegrini, Sjostrom & The ‘Swim Reaper’

Get your weekly news fix on happenings outside the pool with the latest ‘Beyond the Lane Lines.’ With each edition, we collect personal stories, little known facts and general items of interest from athletes around the world in their non-aquatic habitats, helping us get to know them for more than just an event ranking or time on a board. Read on and learn something new this week.

#1 – The GOAT Sounded the Siren

A longtime Baltimore Ravens fan, 28-time Olympic medalist Michael Phelps has also adopted the NFL team based in his now-home state of Arizona. The Cardinals team hosted the Jacksonville Jaguars this past Sunday, with MP in attendance donning a Larry Fitzgerald jersey. To kick-off the excitement during pre-game, Phelps cranked the ‘Big Red’ siren, which produces the booming sound while accompanying the home team out of the locker room before every game at University of Phoenix Stadium.

The GOAT had the magic touch, as the Cardinals beat the Jaguars 27.24.

#2 – Japanese Legend Kosuke Kitajima Lends Face To Tokyo 2020 Campaign

Whereas in past Olympics, host cities typically acquire the metal resources necessary to create the gold, silver and bronze competitive medals by simply asking mining companies for donations, Tokyo 2020 organizers are taking a different approach. The group is hoping to source its Olympic Games’ medals by recycling discarded smartphones and other small consumer electronics.

Leading the effort is retired Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima, whose face appears on the projects promotional website. Touting the project as ‘the world’s first citizen participatory recycling project’, the unique sourcing hopes to create about 5,000 gold, silver and bronze medals for the Tokyo 2020 Games.

#3 – Meet ‘The Swim Reaper’

Social media has been abuzz over the so-called ‘Swim Reaper’, a grim-looking character popping up on Instagram around aquatic locales as a means to raise drowning awareness. Created by advertising agency FCB, the persona is the product of combined efforts of the ACC and Water Safety New Zealand to target at-risk drowning demographic of young men aged 15 to 30.

So far the campaign has met success to the tune of the Instagram account having been viewed over 2.25 million times, with over 17,000 followers to its credit.

“This group make up a disproportionate amount of all preventable drownings, around a third of the total fatal incidents annually despite being only 14 per cent of the population,” said Water Safety NZ chief executive Jonty Mills.

“Lives would be saved if young males simply made smarter decisions around water.

“We needed to find a way to connect with this audience in a genuine way so they were open to receiving water safety messages.”

U can’t touch this… da na na na… na na… na na… #hotstepper⠀

A post shared by The Swim Reaper (@iamtheswimreaper) on

#5 – Pellegrini Tries a New Look

Multi-Olympian and recently minted 2017 World Champion in the women’s 200m freestyle, Federica Pellegrini of Italy, has recently tried a new look on for size. Her usual light brown hair has been tinted an eye-catching platinum color, still shaped in her famous boyfriend-stealing haircut that’s the envy of women worldwide. Take a look at the before and after looks below:



A post shared by Federica Pellegrini (@kikkafede88) on


❤️❤️??Il bianco è un mondo così alto rispetto a noi che quasi non ne avvertiamo il suono, è un nulla prima dell’origine. (Vassili Kandinsky)

A post shared by Federica Pellegrini (@kikkafede88) on

#5 – Sjostrom & Le Clos Pull a Switcheroo

Good friends and fellow World Cup competitors Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden and Chad Le Clos of South Africa closed out this year’s series with an inside joke. While competing at the Singapore stop, Sjostom donned Le Clos’ red RSA cap, while Le Clos tried Sjostrom’s yellow Swedish flag-adored cap on for size. Nothing could slow these elite winners down, as both athletes went on to claim the respective women’s and men’s overall World Cup titles for 2017.

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The swim reaper is a good message but super cringey with those captions and I wouldn’t call beating the Jags by 3 points magic


Did Phelps give up on the Ravens?

Phelps fan

Probably just demonstrates that he’s a football fan rather than a Baltimore fan. Nothing wrong with it.


If I had to guess, the Cardinals probably knew he was living nearby and asked him to participate. It’s not as though the Cardinals and Ravens and archrivals (different conferences even) so he’d have no reason to decline the offer.

Yeah, plus their territory barely overlaps. Ravens live mostly in the western United States and Cardinals mostly in the Eastern. They overlap a little bit in Central America and in New England, but for the most part they don’t really compete that much in nature.

Joel Lin


Sorry, NBC.

About Loretta Race

Loretta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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