Beyond The Lane Lines: Ikee Lends Voice, British Swimming Fights Coronavirus

Get your 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 around the world. Read on and learn something new this week.

#1 Milan’s Pools on Display

Thanks to photographer Stefan Giftthaler, people around the world can combine their enthusiasm for both swimming and art into one outlet with the introduction of the artist’s Milan Pools exhibit.

With many of the photos available electronically here, we are treated to the many architecturally stimulating swimming pools prolific throughout the Italian city of Milan. Many of the pools featured date from the 1960s and 1970s, with a few more present in the array of photographs from as early as the 1930s.

“This is a work about memory,’ says Giftthaler, ‘not a precise memory but something that we all share that emerges from particular situations and atmospheres.

“I didn’t grow up in Milan, but as soon as I stepped into one of these open-air pools, something inside me immediately felt that I already knew that place,’ says Giftthaler, ‘it was the light, the lazy summer morning atmosphere, few people and the way their voices echoed across the water.’

#2 British Swimming’s Chief Medical Officer on Coronavirus Front Lines

Guy Evans, the Chief Medical Officer of British Swimming, is doing his part to stop the spread of the coronavirus in the worldwide pandemic. Working for the National Health Services, Guy is performing COVID-19 clinic work, in addition to his responsibilities as a primary doctor for Premiership Rugby, as well as the swimming federation.

In terms of how Evans got involved with coronavirus endeavors, the man said, “Well I volunteered to do it actually, so I don’t have to do any of it. My wife’s a GP locally, in fact my whole family are doctors: my two brothers are both doctors, their other halves are doctors, my dad is, and my mum’s a retired nurse, so it’s kind of in the family!

“If I’m honest with you, it got to a point where everything was about coronavirus and how it was all going to kick off, and I was thinking ‘how worthwhile is my day discussing with British Swimming where we are going to carry on swimming, when actually the reality is people are dying now’. My background before I went into sports medicine was through general practice, so I got an email saying ‘GP returners or retired doctors, would you like to get involved again’, and I responded to that and said yes I would.”

Regarding his experience in Great Britain’s healthcare system in light of coronavirus, Evans stated, “At the moment the clinics are coping, and they’re not overrun. You wouldn’t want them to be much busier, but there is some capacity in them, which is good. And I guess with healthcare in a pandemic like this, you always need to have some level of capacity left, otherwise essentially the health system fails.

“So we are seeing a steady stream, but it’s not to the point where we have people queuing up, which is good. I think that the hospitals, again, have lots of patients on ITU with coronavirus, but they’re not overflowing too much, outside the contingency plans that have been made. In Italy, the health system crumbled, whereas here we have made lots of contingency plans, and turned recovery areas and theatres into makeshift ICUs and that sort of thing. They’re not overflowed yet. As soon as they overflow, that’s when people die. So I think the NHS is actually responding pretty well, at the moment.”

#3 Rikako Ikee Featured in Digital Media Venture

Former Japanese soccer star Keisuke Honda is launching a new digital media venture involving several well-known athletes from within the nation. 19-year-old Rikako Ikee, who was released from the hospital in December of last year, is among those featured.

Per Kyodo News, voice recordings from athletes will be distributed by smartphone as part of a monthly subscription service called NowVoice, which launches today. Ikee is among 16 athletes participating, including tennis player Kei Nishikori and MLB pitcher Yu Darvish.

#4 Coach Dave Tonge Raises Funds for NHS

We reported how Olympic champion Adam Peaty raised funds for UK’s National Health Services (NHS) via his stationary bike duel with boxer Callum Johnson. But the gold medalist has inspired others to follow suit.

Enter Dave Tonge, former Swim Performance Director at Cardiff Metro, who has also done his part to shoot some money NHS’ way through swimming.

The now-Heathwood head coach swam 21 miles in 12.5 hours in an endless pool, with the time representing that of an average nurse/doctor shift taking care of coronavirus patients.

Tonge said he ‘decided to give a special shout out to all my family & friends who are NHS workers who are working hard on the frontline putting their lives at risk on a daily basis.’

“My wife Charlotte is a health visitor & nurse. My sister Rachel is an A&E nurse. My Aunt Lara is a Nurse. Charlottes sister Sam is a Midwife & her other sister Harriet is a pharmacist. Lots of my close friends & swimmers are doctors, nurses, pharmacists & frontline NHS workers & I really want to try & do my bit & put a shift in for them.

I also miss the wonderful swimmers I teach & coach so this one is for them also as I know they will all be missing their swimming so much.”

To date, Tonge’s fundraiser has amassed over £ 5,000, including a $500 donation from Endless Pools. You can read more about Tonge’s challenge on his GoFundMe page here.

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About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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