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 Danish Open Water Championships
The Danish Open Water Championships concluded last month, with Oskar Lindholm racing his way to the top of the men’s 5k podium. Swimming two laps around the lagoon at Amager Strand Park, near Copenhagen Airport, Lindholm was able to hold off a charging Ulrik Black Petersen who hit the time pad just 3 seconds later.
Lindholm announced last December his intention to swim for the University of Florida as part of its class of 2025.
The women’s 5k saw Helena Hvid Hansen get it done for gold. Full results can be found here.
#2 Japanese Runners Test Out Olympic Stadium
On August 23rd, some of Japan’s top athletes were in action at the Tokyo Olympic stadium competing in a track meet. In the spectator-less event at the 60,000 seat facility, high jumpers, javelin throwers, and pole vaulters put the facility to the test now one year out from the postponed Olympic Games.
“It’s great to be back at my place of work,” javelin throw winner Genki Dean told reporters.
#3 Chinese Diving Champion Nominated for FINA VP Role
Chinese Olympic diving champion Zhou Jihong has been nominated to become FINA‘s first Vice President. The position would take effect for the period of 2021-25, with elections being held at the organisation’s General Congress taking place in Doha on June 5, 2021.
Zhou has served as the head of the Chinese Swimming Association (CSA) since 2017. The 55-year-old veteran was the first Chinese diver to be inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame. She is also the president of the China Diving Association (CDA), vice-chairperson of the Asian Swimming Federation, and a senior member of the FINA Bureau
#4 Australia’s Kawana Aquatic Centre Shows Off Upgrades
Kawana Aquatic Centre, located on the Sunshine Coast, Australia, completed $1.69 million worth of renovations. The 50m pool saw new tiles and lane markings among the work completed, in addition to an entire replacement of the pool’s filtration system.
Kawana Aquatic Centre Director of Coaching Michael Sage, who is also an Australian Open Water Swimming Coach, has supported elite swimmers from this centre at the 2016 Rio Olympics as well as the 2017 and 2019 World Championships.
“That [upgrades] really helps with accurate timing and race rehearsals, whether that’s through time trials or local competitions,” Mr Sage said.
“Having this facility will help our local swimmers, while further attracting athletes from outside the region, helping to increase the standard of training and competition.
“We have international athletes who train in our program and we hope to attract top-level competitors and teams. Last year we were able to have former Open Water World Champion Jordan Wilimovsky from the US come and train.
“Hopefully we can continue to build that international standard here at Kawana.”
Quotes courtesy of Sunshine Coast Council release here.
On September 2nd, 38-year-old Nerys Pearce of Great Britain completed her 21-mile swim across the English Channel. The feat represents the first known paralyzed athlete to complete the challenge, with Pearce unable to move from her chest down due to a motorbike incident in 2008.
Nerys said, “The channel is a scary beast and I’ve never swum that distance before and there’s a lot that you can’t control. There’s the weather, big ships, jellyfish, and even my body temperature in the water, so the lack of control is always more difficult.
“No one of my disability has completed the channel swim before, so while I’m hoping for a world first, there’s a real chance of not making it across. There are so many able-bodied swimmers that have trained hard and don’t make it. Add my level of disability into the mix and coronavirus stopping us swimming for a period of time, and it puts everything more to the danger edge. But I love the adrenaline roller coaster!”
BONUS #6 – Michael Phelps Joins Online SKILLS
A new online education platform launched this week, giving everyday people the chance to learn from the best in sport, including the most decorated Olympian of all-time, American Michael Phelps.
Entitled The Skills, the platform conducts on-demand classes via computer or smartphone, with subscriptions starting at $69/year. Additional stars included in the instructor list include tennis ace Maria Sharapova, NFL wide receive Larry Fitzgerald, and Olympic volleyball medalist Kerri Walsh-Jennings.
For Phelps specifically, The Skills website reads ‘coming soon’ for his courses, but gives the following description of what to expect:
In this course, you will listen to, and learn from, Michael himself. You will learn everything from the fundamentals of swimming, including the four competitive strokes, starts and turns, to more advanced techniques like the strategy of pacing. You’ll also get to know Michael on a personal level as he talks about some of his favorite life lessons.