Special Event: Rio 2016 Olympics - Swimming and Diving
August 7, 2016 7:44 AM - Subscribe

Jump in here, for all your swimming and diving discussion needs.
posted by LobsterMitten (124 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Just a shout-out for Canada's women's 4x100-metre freestyle relay swim team which won bronze last night. Canada's first medal win so far. It was great to see them win last night.

Also, Katinka Hosszú's world record win for Gold last night was something wonderful to behold. Though, I do have some worries about her out of the pool relationship with her partner/coach. Based on what I've read, it does not seem to be healthy, though that's just based on a few articles that I've read. Many people think that she might be in an abusive relationship. There's quite a bit of buzz about it.
posted by Fizz at 1:50 PM on August 7, 2016

My bigger problem with Katinka Hosszú is not her relationship with her husband/coach, but the media's relationship with him, which seems to pinball back and forth between breathlessly suggesting that he might be abusive and ascribing all of Hosszú's achievements to him. Immediately after her incredible record setting swim the commentators on NBC said something to the effect of "And it's all thanks to her husband!"

Really? Is it??
posted by telegraph at 3:13 PM on August 7, 2016 [9 favorites]

Synchronized diving is too awesome.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:16 PM on August 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

Gaurika Singh is only 13 and is swimming for Nepal (though she goes to school and trains in London). She's the youngest athlete at this year's games and won her heat today!
posted by DarlingBri at 4:22 PM on August 7, 2016 [5 favorites]

And she has braces!
posted by phunniemee at 4:24 PM on August 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

Born in 2002! Amazing.

Every time the divers go, I get scared they're going to hit their heads.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:31 PM on August 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

Sun Yang, dramatic finish in the men's 200 freestyle just now, came from well behind.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:28 PM on August 7, 2016

He's the one they keep describing as a total cad, right?
posted by phunniemee at 6:30 PM on August 7, 2016

Oh, is he? I haven't heard any of the leadup, just tuned in now.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:32 PM on August 7, 2016

Ooh, Sun Yang and Mack Horton have a feud apparently.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:35 PM on August 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

None I've heard today but I'm pretty certain this is the same guy from yesterday where the announcers were really letting him have it. "Controversy follows this guy wherever he goes" or something, with an itemized list of all the unsportsmanlike shit he's pulled over the years.
posted by phunniemee at 6:35 PM on August 7, 2016

omg I love how smug Lilly King is. ❤
posted by phunniemee at 6:46 PM on August 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

KATIE LEDECKY!!!! That was crazy, she was a full body length ahead of her own world record.
posted by CatastropheWaitress at 7:34 PM on August 7, 2016 [4 favorites]

The 4x100 men's relay was briefly a contest until Phelps got in the water there.
posted by zachlipton at 7:57 PM on August 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

So, is the coverage in the US all about Michael Phelps despite the existence of three other swimmers in this relay?
posted by jacquilynne at 8:24 PM on August 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

I love to watch Michael Phelps. Of course the other three count but phelps is such a story.
posted by biggreenplant at 8:55 PM on August 7, 2016

I didn't see the relay with the NBC commentators so I can't speak to that, but, I mean, as I saw it, Phelps came into a neck-and-neck race and finished his leg with the US over a second ahead. It was absolutely a team effort and everyone swam great, but Phelps is the one who really got the job done.
posted by zachlipton at 9:02 PM on August 7, 2016

So, is the coverage in the US all about Michael Phelps despite the existence of three other swimmers in this relay?

That was not my impression of NBC's coverage, at all. Katie Ledecky and Cody Miller got "backstory" pieces with their finals - Phelps got no special coverage tonight. (They may be saving it for his individual events, which start tomorrow I think.) After the US team won the relay, all four of them got interviewed. I don't feel like Phelps got singled out here - if anything I think NBC leaned more towards the two younger guys, one of whom was in tears during the medal ceremony.
posted by dnash at 9:24 PM on August 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

The media may not be allowed to create video gifs of Olympic events, but that didn't stop The New York Times from doing this recap of Katie Ledecky's 400m freestyle for twitter.
posted by zachlipton at 9:28 PM on August 7, 2016 [3 favorites]

Interesting. The Canadian coverage was basically all Phelps, with the only minor mentions of the other swimmers, even when they were actually in the pool.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:15 PM on August 7, 2016

Today I learned that it can take half an hour for the women to get into those unitard swimsuits, and it's so tough to do that they can get blisters pulling them on. Yay for the Australian commentators on the international feed.
posted by not that girl at 4:37 AM on August 8, 2016 [4 favorites]

Not that girl - thanks for sharing that bit about the swimsuits hete as well. That's fascinating if horrific.
posted by biggreenplant at 4:45 AM on August 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Today I learned that it can take half an hour for the women to get into those unitard swimsuits, and it's so tough to do that they can get blisters pulling them on.

I'm guessing this is some horrible combination of the science and engineering of the suits so that they create the least amount of resistance when they hit the water and that they are also designed skin-tight so as to make these swimmers look good on screen.
posted by Fizz at 6:02 AM on August 8, 2016

I'm going to throw this out there. My niece (15) plays water polo at the AU state level. They wear two suits. Both intentionally a size too small. It's close to a daily thing getting in and out of it. She swims in a club that has some representation at Rio. For something seemingly so simple, the women's costumes are a bear to get on and off. And other than the colours and patterns, it has nothing to do with making them look good on screen.
posted by michswiss at 6:47 AM on August 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

There is so much beef between Australia and China at the moment over our 400m freestyle gold medalist Mack Horton calling his Chinese rival Sun Yang a drug cheat. I laughed so hard when I read this hilariously seething syllogism from one of the state newspapers:
"In many serious essays written by Westerners, Australia is mentioned as a country at the fringes of civilization. In some cases, they refer to the country’s early history as Britain’s offshore prison. This suggests that no one should be surprised at uncivilized acts emanating from the country."
I thought, ah well, we won't rise to the bait, we're better than that, but then I just went onto the Rio live blog of our own state funded national broadcaster's Rio live blog and saw that the person commentating had quoted the following message approvingly:
"I loved seeing the Chinese sook have a cry after Macka told the world how it is. Good on ya Macka!!!"
Oh my god, it's kinda hilarious.

I mean, I really do wish someone would actually give a decent overview of the drug Yang tested positive for, and whether he would actually be able to swim if he had the heart condition he said he was taking the drug for. I mean, it was only a three-month suspension, so the drug couldn't have been that potent, right? Anyway, in the meantime, I'm enjoying the white-hot fury of the netizens from both sides. One eye on the swimming, the other on the frothy nationalists trying to tear chunks off each other.
posted by Panthalassa at 7:05 AM on August 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

I read that the drug it's only banned in-competition, but there's no lower threshold for residual accounts in the blood stream, and that it had since been classified as even less serious. So, not exactly the most screaming violation ever. But it was probably handy for the Chinese to be able to make a public announcement about a high profile athlete coupled with a suspension that did not in any appreciable way actually affect that athlete.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:40 AM on August 8, 2016

It blows my mind that Canada's Penny Oleksiak has just won her second medal in 24 hours (silver in the 100m butterfly, after a bronze in the freestyle relay), and she is only 16 years old!

Watch Penny's parents' reaction, and her own delightful delayed reaction as she realizes she's won the silver.

"I'm still a child," she says in an interview with CBC.

Canadian Women's Hockey star and 5-time Olympic medalist Hayley Wickenheiser teases Penny's brother (NHL Dallas Stars' Jamie Oleksiak) that he may need to share the spotlight now.
posted by Kabanos at 9:20 AM on August 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

In case you were wondering about the circular bruising on Phelps and several other athletes, it's basically homeopathy but with more significant bruising. Blech.
posted by mcstayinskool at 12:41 PM on August 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

I can't believe they do that cupping stuff. You'd think athletes at that level would be more science based? Maybe it's like MLB guys being superstitious. With extra bruises.
posted by Justinian at 1:28 PM on August 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

I had no idea people did cupping as a supposed legit muscle therapy. Before two days ago the only contexts I'd encountered it in are a scene in the movie "Dangerous Liaisons," and kink/BDSM circles.
posted by dnash at 2:33 PM on August 8, 2016

re: those suits. The "suit era" is a thing in swimming. Those suits they wear are magic. They're called laser suits or something, and they're specially designed to compress your body and trap air to give you buoyancy. The idk official term but international board of swimming peeps had to put out a ruling a few years ago about exactly how much of the body can be covered by a suit and how many suits you can wear at once (only one) because they make THAT much of a difference to how quick you can swim.

There's a reason swimmers in the last 10 years have just trashed record after record after record, and a lot of it is because they're wearing magic suits from the future.
posted by phunniemee at 3:32 PM on August 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

Cupping is all right, but gua sha is better. And more freaky looking.
posted by emeiji at 4:55 PM on August 8, 2016

phunniemee that would be the Speedo LZR Racer which indeed was controversial when it was released. The suits look less crazy this year but I'll admit I am not quite the expert in this field.
posted by mmascolino at 5:14 PM on August 8, 2016

Steele Johnson. STEELE JOHNSON. Kid better win a medal here because so far he's really disappointing his parents not living up to their dreams of him being a porn star.

posted by phunniemee at 5:21 PM on August 8, 2016 [7 favorites]

posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:35 PM on August 8, 2016

Steele Johnson and his diving partner David Boudia said some stuff about their Christian faith to NBC and now Twitter is going nuts (and because of his name).
posted by zachlipton at 6:31 PM on August 8, 2016

Here for all the swimmers and divers from my alma mater! (IU has 15 current students or alumni in the Games, including 11 in swimming and diving.) Two medals so far (Cody Miller and Blake Pieroni) - now hoping for a third one for Lilly King!
posted by SisterHavana at 6:58 PM on August 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

And Lilly King with the gold medal (and Olympic record) swim! WOW!
posted by SisterHavana at 7:04 PM on August 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Ok, so I've learned that women's suits are a bear to put on (and I guess this explains my earlier laughter in the general thread that the American relay women didn't coordinate their suits). But Lily King's suit, which is sort of see-through except for boob and crotch patches, is definitely the fugliest one out there.
posted by TwoStride at 7:09 PM on August 8, 2016

There has been plenty of fine diving in these games, but nothing really compares to this performance from the 1970s.
posted by usonian at 7:14 PM on August 8, 2016

So much backstage shade between Phelps and Leclois.
posted by phunniemee at 7:17 PM on August 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Not holding my breath for a nice fluff piece on Tom Daley and his equally cute, Oscar winning boyfriend, but it would be nice, NBC.
posted by gingerbeer at 8:24 PM on August 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

The suits are interesting. Prevailing wisdom has changed over time as rules, material science and apparel R&D have pushed and pulled the state of the art in various directions.

For a long time less was more - given the difficulty in designing a suit that doesn't wrinkle less fabric was generally seen to be best. Especially for the men. If you think of a flag in the breeze it's entire support comes from wind drag on its wrinkles. For a time very small very tight suits were made of (largely) lycra and worn only a very small number of times. Given any stretch in the fabric and it wouldn't be tight enough to be 'fast' anymore.

Then, for an even shorter time, we had 'paper suits'. I can't speak from first hand experience with the women's suits but these were pretty terrible for the men. I can't imagine they were much better for the women. At the time I wore a size 30 and my racing suit would very nearly fit on my open plan, finger tips to wrist. And felt like it was made out of recycled mattress tags. Hence the nickname 'paper suit'. They could stretch a little but this is misleading. They stretched out just enough to be a size smaller than noted on the tag. You know how a rubber band will stretch and stretch and stretch and then you reach the point where it's just not elastic anymore? Yeah exactly like that.

In the early 90s I had some trouble with my hip. When to a meet, swam prelims, had a massage that involved some A535. Results get posted aaannd I'm in a 3 way swim off. Aaannd it's not going to be early in finals, it's going to be at the end of the prelim session. I no longer have time to take the suit off and will wear it much longer than I ever wanted to. By the time I get out of the swim off the draw string inside the hem of the suit has rubbed the scratchy material of the suit through the A535 compromised bit of skin on my hip and I have, basically, a carpet burn so bad it bled. It still turns a weird shade of purple when I get cold.

Any who shortly thereafter various outfits start experimenting with bespoke fabrics and find that it may be possible to produce a suit with a smaller drag coefficient than skin. An early example can be seen being worn by Ian Thorpe well before the rest of the world got interested. These suits had a really big Achilles heel though - they didn't 'feel' great. In the water that factor, the piece of neurological awareness that allows a swimmer to adjust their body position, the angle of attack on their propulsive surfaces, their drag profile within the surface disruption of bow wave and wake - this awareness of how the water plays both parts of resistive surface to push against and resistive medium to minimize drag (imagine if a cyclist was suspended and moved forward only by the air drag on their tires or, equally spurious, had to ride through brick walls) this nebulous collection of things is called 'feel'. Covering your skin with fabric had better bring a whole lotta benefits to make up for losing all that feel from so much of your body.

And soon the would. Compression aids with recovery and sustainability of extreme efforts, corsets bodies into better streamlined shapes & stabilizes joints reducing the effect of tiring supportive muscle groups. This last one is more important hat one might think at first because swimming (for all it's dependance on strength, fitness and ability to tolerate pain) is this weird sport that (as mentioned above) developed all of it's propulsive power from pushing against the very medium one's body has to somehow slip through. A swimmer has to both maximize and minimize their interactions with the water at the same time. At speed. Under great duress. Dozens to hundreds of times at a high rate. When one begins to tire very fine changes in joint control, which certainly won't be visible on tv without lots of experience and excellent filming, will have devastating effects on the balance of power against efficiency. In short - swimmers slow down before they've actually exhausted the large muscle groups because the small ones can't do their jobs well anymore and the whole isn't terrible efficient.

A really tight compressive suit tailored to be supportive without binding the important range of movements means this effect can be lessened dramatically. So while the kinaesthetic and tactile changes might not be optimal (and, in my opinion, accounts for a lot of the 'floating feeling' when wearing the shiny suits) their benefits simply dwarf any floating that might occur from some minuscule amount of trapped air.

By 2000 their impact on the sport was pretty much universal. This video from the 2000 games shows 7 of the 8 men in the 100free final (if you look very carefully, sorry about the potato. Y2k broadcasts y'know?) are wearing some variation of a high-tech sport. It's noteworthy that the only holdout is Alexander Popov - a truly old school badass. But that's another tangent for another time.

A side effect of the various changes the suits brought though wasn't just the jaw dropping number of world records it was, in part, who was setting them. A big part in the early chapters of Moneyball is this discussion of what a ball player was supposed to look like. From a players face to build to the markers of athleticism that were supposed to be indicative of future success. Anytime you have a situation like that there's some measure of confirmation bias that feedback into the players and becomes just true enough to be self propagating. There's a rather important observation from hockey that shows that when your birthday shows up on the calendar can have an outsized effect on how good you might become. In this case because players play on a team based on their age at the beginning of the season those who 'aged up' early would be older than all of their peers. Ask any teach, coach, parent, anyone how much difference there might be between a newly minted 10yo and one turning 11 next week and it's not hard to see how the older child will outperform their younger peers enough, early enough, to benefit from extra attention, development, opportunity and a how of other selection bias gifts. So, yeah, by the time everyone's 20 and it doesn't matter anymore the kid who was 'better' all the way through growing up has (enough times to be statistically relevant) grown up to be the better player regardless of any inherent ability or potential. their better now because they've always been better and they've always been better because they started with a fortuitous birthday. Certainly that's not the whole story and it doesn't mean that they didn't work hard, or that they didn't require a crazy high level of dedication, work, development, guidance etc. It's just that it's measurably harder if you have a shitty hockey birthday.

You follow? So how does this apply to swimming? Well it's that resistive/propulsive medium thing again. In the past swimmers looked a certain way because, given the rules and equipment of the day, technical forms and training regimens had developed their best successes with those bodies. Lanky, strong but not large, arms and torso longer in proportion to legs, big feet, loose joints. Tall, but not really tall. Then came the suits. An swimmers started being success differently. Stronger, blockier more explosive in some cases. Softer in others. Strategies in the 200s and 400s were turned on their heads with splitting models that would have been preposterous a decade earlier.

And some people didn't think this was such a great idea. Funny how so many of them came from systems that benefited from a plethora of the 'classic swimmer types' or were so themselves. Y'know - men who were typically caucasian, 6'-6'5", 170-190lbs, hyper mobile, possessing a state that invested in coaching & pools, had opportunity to start early. And then all these world records drop. Again and again. And a significant proportion of them come from athletes who might *gasp* be able to be successful at other sports! Who didn't waddle when they walked! Who could catch and trow and lift and push! And were maybe even possible some other shade of colour or variation of shape other than that which was typically judged to be sufficient. If they could best all comers there must certainly be something wrong with the new fangled tech suits not, y'know, like the sport or it's supporting infrastructure or anything.

*Cough*. Ahem. So yeah. Lots of people from the era will shout things like "there were too many world records! it was destroying the sport!". Like somehow advancement and exceptionalism were no a-okay anymore. Or complain about the cost of the suits, which might reach 4,5,6 hundred dollars. Y'know, whilst swimming in a pool worth a hundred million, or having spent 20k on plane tickets to compete in a full world cup tour. Ahem. I know I have presented what might be considered the strongest of the contrary views but, well, it's all moot now.

So after the suits makers engaged in an amazing arms race blitzing past 'smoother than skin!' fabrics through to (essentially) plastic/rubber concoctions that required assistance to put on. Rick Mercer did a great show in 2008, visiting a number of paralympic sports and gets into a Speedo Lzr. Yeah you want to check out that segment. Bottom line is that the technical progress was amazing, not everyone thought that was synonymous with desirable and we are now stuck with (in my humble opinion a fairly draconian overreaction):
Suits made of woven textiles with no fasteners or surface treatments and the must not extend past (men) knees or navel (women) knees or shoulders.
They're also not supposed to be positively buoyant and are held to several other restrictions. All this being said there's no way to look at a suit and determine if it's illegal (unless it's obviously going past the no-go zones) and so every suit made by every manufacturer that might want to sell it to someone who might want to wear it in a sanctioned competition has to provide the bloody thing to FINA (the world governing body of swimming, waterpolo, diving, synchro) for testing. If you're watching in HD you might see suits with a little white patch. It's there, every suit on tv will have one. It's a little logo stamped on the suit which tells an official which revision of equipment rules the suit meets. Yeah, not efficient.

Anyway - swimsuits now look a lot like they did 20 years ago and most of the world records set in the shiny suit era are now broken. It's no shuttlecock but that's what the bad-boys (and girls) of pool racing are wearing today.
posted by mce at 10:48 PM on August 8, 2016 [68 favorites]

If it wasn't the magic suits (I believe you that it wasn't, especially given what we're still seeing in re records getting annihilated), why are so many records getting annihilated over the last decade or so? Is it just confirmation bias or what?
posted by Etrigan at 4:04 AM on August 9, 2016

Lilly King is becoming one of my favorite people.
posted by kevinbelt at 8:25 AM on August 9, 2016

Is anyone else streaming the heats and got a commercial with Bridget Jones' audio and BMW visuals? It was bizarre, but probably an improvement for both of them.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 10:22 AM on August 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh the suits were effective I just don't (personally) believe that was inherently bad nor do I give much creedence to the argument that they trapped significant air and were therefore positively buoyant.

It did take some time but now roughly a 1/3 of the men's and 2/3s of the women's records from that era have been broken. Note that when I say it took some time we're not talking decades or generations - no Beamonesque (or for swimming look up Mary T Meagher!) type quantum leaps here. Support for banning the suits really picked up steam after the Beijing games, rules were hashed out back and forth in 2009 and came into effect Jan 1 2010.

So effective, but not bad nor earth shattering as to put records out of reach wholesale.
posted by mce at 10:28 AM on August 9, 2016

What the hell happened to the diving pool? It was blue yesterday, and today it's green and a bit murky.
posted by clorox at 12:36 PM on August 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

What the hell happened to the diving pool? It was blue yesterday, and today it's green and a bit murky.
posted by clorox

Flagged for advertising.
posted by Etrigan at 12:49 PM on August 9, 2016 [13 favorites]

I noticed that last night, too, like on the little warm up tubs especially. They were much greener and murkier for the men's dives than they were for the women's the day before.
posted by phunniemee at 1:02 PM on August 9, 2016

On the suit front, CBC aired something last night exploring the science of them and it looked like they got a current Olympic-caliber swimmer to wear a suit from some decades ago and to try swimming against the record from that time; I only caught bits and pieces of it, and I'll see if I can find it back. Maybe someone else saw the whole thing?
posted by nubs at 2:26 PM on August 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

What the hell happened to the diving pool? It was blue yesterday, and today it's green and a bit murky.

The BBC is promising that they are going to get to an answer to this question because really everyone watching is just like "Wow it's such a nice arena and aren't those great swimsuits and look how high the boards are and wow they are so syncronised and HOLY SHIT THE WATER IS GREEN?!?!"

And now they've just announced that the Olympic pool committee is going to be making an official announcement about the pool water!
posted by DarlingBri at 2:29 PM on August 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

Wow the Chinese synchronised dive was out of this world.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:35 PM on August 9, 2016

Ah, it was part of an episode of the Nature of Things - The Equalizer (I hope that the CBC doesn't geo-restrict their video). It looks at technology advances in a variety of sports - swimming, cycling, track, etc. and if the record holders of today can beat the records of yesteryear using the old tech. The swimming bit starts at about the 22:00 mark. They get Biedermann of Germany, who debuted the X-Glide (now banned) and shattered the world record in it, to wear a Mark Spitz era swimsuit and go against Spitz's time in the 200m freestyle.

In terms of the green water, my understanding is that there is an algae buildup happening in the pool. Too warm, too dirty.
posted by nubs at 2:40 PM on August 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

In terms of the green water, my understanding is that there is an algae buildup happening in the pool. Too warm, too dirty.

But they just tested the water and announced that they don't know why it is green but the levels are all fine and healthy.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:45 PM on August 9, 2016

Well, I was going off what a reporter talking with the athletes who were in the pool said on Twitter, so I guess all I can do is shrug. It's not like the IOC has a history of hiding or downplaying problems at the games, right?
posted by nubs at 4:07 PM on August 9, 2016

Green cloudy pools can also be due to poor chemical balance. Everything can be 'legal' and safe but the overall balance might not be good enough to avoid all manner of things that can cloud the pool. Here's a decent video running through some measurements and treatments clearing up a home pool: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XtYJFp3qGA.
posted by mce at 4:41 PM on August 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

NBC has a separate video feed that's just a camera in the swimmer's "call room" where they wait before they go out for their events. It's making me incredibly nervous and I'm just sitting on my couch not about to compete in an Olympic final.
posted by zachlipton at 6:34 PM on August 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

MICHAEL PHELPS! What a race. Delighted for him.

(Of course, at the back of the BBC studio, Steve Redgrave is probably thinking "Oh wow, four successive Olympics? Well done... *slow clap*")
posted by DarlingBri at 6:41 PM on August 9, 2016

Michael Phelps' achievements are remarkable and yet... he seems like such an ass. I'm pretty tired of him TBH.
posted by carmicha at 6:47 PM on August 9, 2016 [5 favorites]

I'm the opposite, carmicha. I love that he's so competitive and that even his 20th gold medal means a tremendous amount to him. (And when they won the relay and the rookie was sobbing during the anthem Phelps was really sweet to him at the end).

Chad Le Clos, on the other hand, looks like a major dumbass.
posted by TwoStride at 7:24 PM on August 9, 2016 [4 favorites]

Chad spent a lot of time looking over at Michael during the race. I wonder if it cost him a medal.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:29 PM on August 9, 2016

Have we figured out what happened to make Phelps laugh so much during the medal ceremony?
posted by zachlipton at 7:37 PM on August 9, 2016

Heard rumors on Twitter something about the Orioles O during the anthem?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:54 PM on August 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

Looked over at LeClos sitting miserably in the audience?
posted by Etrigan at 7:55 PM on August 9, 2016

Confirmed now that it was the Baltimore O that Phelps' friends yelled during the anthem. Awesome!
posted by TwoStride at 9:23 PM on August 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Fu Yuanhui's interview from the semi-finals was equally adorable (if not more) and has already inspired dozens of memes on the Chinese internet!
posted by hellopanda at 4:24 AM on August 10, 2016 [6 favorites]

Phelps has tied the all-time record for most individual Olympic event victories. Phelps has 12 such, as did Leonidas of Rhodes in 164, 160, 156, and 152 BCE.
posted by Etrigan at 7:39 AM on August 10, 2016 [11 favorites]

I have been having intermittent opportunities to watch all the swimming (due to time and technological factors) and thank those who posted about Fu Yuanhui. Those interviews were amazing. Such charisma.

I also am a big fan of Michael Phelps and of Katy Ledecky. And watching from Canada, I have really loved seeing our women medalling in swimming. I even adored watching Penny Oleksiak being interviewed by Ron MacLean. It completely cracked me up that after discussing her amazing swimming that MacLean basically asked Penny to introduce him to her older brother Jamie who plays for the Dallas Stars. I mean, offensive in one way that he's asking about her famous brother during her moment, but in fairness MacLean has been involved with Hockey Night in Canada since 1986 and it completely cracked me up to see him being such a fan boy!
posted by biggreenplant at 10:32 AM on August 10, 2016

Unfortunately, the green water has spread to the water polo pool, and the explanations have been a bit odd, with officials both insisting everything is fine and also saying the filters ran out of certain chemicals. They also claimed yesterday that it would be back to normal today, and, uh, it's not. Apparently, Canada is flying in their pool expert who has offered to help solve the problem.

They are concerned about the water polo pool if it gets any worse, since it will make it hard for the referees to see what's going on underwater.
posted by zachlipton at 12:39 PM on August 10, 2016

The men's 3m synchronized springboard currently on is the first diving event I've watched since the water went green and.....holy crap. It's like a moderately gross lake, especially from the underwater cams. Diving experts: the divers all seem to take a small towel with them under the shower. What's up with that?

I am so happy to see that Allison Schmitt is back (she already won a silver on Day 1 and is swimming in another relay tonight). She's recently opened up about struggling with depression after the London games and the heartbreaking death of her teenage cousin.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 12:42 PM on August 10, 2016

Oh shit I got up for a second and came back to chaos, what is happening with the Mexican divers? They were going to get a re-dive and then didn't?
posted by everybody had matching towels at 1:06 PM on August 10, 2016

Man, Lochte's going for the full Mourinho with that hairstyle.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 7:24 PM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Wow, so with Maya swimming this relay does that bump Missy Franklin from the entire Rio games?
posted by phunniemee at 7:57 PM on August 10, 2016

Missy Franklin has one event left, the 200 m backstroke. Qualifications are tomorrow, I believe.

Also, Missy and the others who swam in qualifying heats for the 4x200 relay this morning are also eligible for medals.
posted by PearlRose at 8:39 PM on August 10, 2016

So, Ledecky's gonna be found to have dosed up with porpoise DNA at some point, right? Because this shit is cray.
posted by Etrigan at 10:48 AM on August 11, 2016 [3 favorites]

Men's 200m individual medley final:
CBC announcer on TV had his lanes mixed up on the last lap. He got all excited. "Lochte is finally going to do it! He's going to beat Phelps!!!"

And then the race ended and the graphics on the screen automatically popped up showing Phelps with the win. Pause from the announcer..... "I apologize...I got the lanes mixed up."
posted by Kabanos at 7:36 PM on August 11, 2016 [4 favorites]

Oh just watch it yourselves.
posted by Kabanos at 7:37 PM on August 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

Penny Oleksiak.

And that is all I have to say about that.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:33 PM on August 11, 2016 [6 favorites]

That's all anyone needs to say about anything, at least from the Canadian perspective.

Penny Oleksiak is amazing, she's going to be a great flagbearer in the closing ceremony. I loved how absolutely dorky and giddy Mark Tewksbury was over the whole thing. Almost as adorable as Penny herself and her reactions.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 10:04 PM on August 11, 2016 [3 favorites]

Canada's Olympics so far ...
posted by Kabanos at 8:29 AM on August 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

I also love the little drama that played out about Penny Oleksiak being unable to get any Drake tickets.
posted by Kabanos at 8:32 AM on August 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

I love the fact that for at least two of her medal swims, Penny has sat oblivious in the pool for quite a while before turning to look at the clock and then being absolutely stunned at the result. I was hearing on CBC this morning that she's a pretty strong contender for flag bearer for the closing ceremony, but because she is 16 she can't stay in the athlete's village on her own, and her parents were planning to head home in the next day or so, so they are trying to figure something out.

She's also the first person born post-2016 to win an Olympic gold medal, and I believe she shared the podium with the first black woman to win a gold in Olympic swimming.

The Canadian Mint needs to bring back the penny.

And, on a personal note, the funniest thing about last night was my son, after watching one of the men's heats making a comment that started "Well, the men are faster and stronger than the women, so -" and I interrupted and said "Before you finish that thought, be aware of the fact that every medal Canada has won so far has been won by women. Every. Medal. So think about that before you say anything." And he decided not to finish his thought.
posted by nubs at 8:49 AM on August 12, 2016 [12 favorites]

Just managed to watch replays of the pool from last night.


But diving's on hold for now, I gather:

The Olympic diving pool has been closed again because of water quality issues...a German diver says "the whole building smells like a fart"
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:49 AM on August 12, 2016 [3 favorites]

She's also the first person born post-2016 to win an Olympic gold medal

She won a medal and she isn't even alive yet? THIS WOMAN IS INCREDIBLE
posted by bologna on wry at 8:56 AM on August 12, 2016 [6 favorites]

Heh. I'm still over-excited. Call it my Friedman moment of the games, and allow me to correct and say born post-2000.
posted by nubs at 8:58 AM on August 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Of course, I knew exactly what you meant. ;) It gave me an excellent laugh!
posted by bologna on wry at 9:12 AM on August 12, 2016

Oh. My. God. Those last 12m. She ate the field. If it had been a 105m free should would have won by a body length. That was insane.

I can't describe just difficult a tempo change like that is. If you are only passingly familiar with swimming know that that performance is even more impressive than it looks like on TV..

Teaching the idea of committing to the finish, winning the close race, getting your head down and executing that hero finish (and not because you slacked the rest of the race) is evergreen - a coach's job is never finished. I have pulled out Lezak's relay split over and over again. But this? Yeah I may be biased but I'd rather my kids raced like a girl.

posted by mce at 10:03 AM on August 12, 2016

Just peeked in on the women's springboard prelims, and the diving pool looks less green.
posted by nubs at 12:06 PM on August 12, 2016

Is this where we talk about how Ledecky just destroyed the 800m? I'm agog.
posted by dis_integration at 6:33 PM on August 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Just saw the women's 800 freestyle. Ledecky is so phenomenal. I thought she was going to lap the others.
posted by biggreenplant at 6:33 PM on August 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Holy shit, I think her FEET beat the world record line. That was nuts.
Also the part where she was swimming in the other direction from everybody else.
posted by telepanda at 6:35 PM on August 12, 2016 [5 favorites]

Today's update on the green pool situation: Green Water Lingers in Olympic Pools as the Excuses Pile Up

Today's explanation is apparently: “Chemistry’s not an exact science."
posted by zachlipton at 8:05 PM on August 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

Today's explanation is apparently: “Chemistry’s not an exact science."

Have they talked to Walter White?
posted by nubs at 8:28 PM on August 12, 2016

The New York Times has a great photo of Katie Ledecky swimming the "wrong way" in the 800m freestyle.
posted by zachlipton at 8:43 PM on August 12, 2016 [7 favorites]

I went back to watch Janet Evans races back in the day, and she had comfortable margins but nothing like this.

Also, this cracked me up.
posted by kmz at 9:10 PM on August 12, 2016 [4 favorites]

This Is Why There Are So Many Ties In Swimming

A concrete pool filled with water can change size/shape to the point that one lane may be longer than another by significantly more distance than an Olympic-class swimmer can travel in a thousandth of a second. So they stick with hundredths and let people tie rather than give an inaccurate result.
posted by Etrigan at 11:27 AM on August 13, 2016 [5 favorites]

That diving pool looks like a stagnant lake. The divers should get survival medals.
posted by epj at 12:20 PM on August 13, 2016

Today's green water update. They are blaming a pool worker who dumped 160 liters of hydrogen peroxide into the pool by mistake, which apparently neutralizes the chlorine in the water, allowing things to grow in it. They've started draining the water from the water polo/synchro pool and will pump in water from a practice pool (why the heck didn't they do that four days ago?).
posted by zachlipton at 7:49 PM on August 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Update: an IOC official in Rio is saying that the pool worker's name is Meredith.
posted by phunniemee at 7:56 PM on August 13, 2016 [9 favorites]

The MeFi politics multiverse is escaping the election threads.
posted by zachlipton at 8:02 PM on August 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Not enough chemicals in the election threads; better drain the Internet and refill.
posted by nubs at 11:59 AM on August 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

The end of the women's open water 10K swim was fascinating - the winner (van Rouwendaal, the Netherlands) was well ahead of the others, but there was were 3 people within 10-30 seconds behind her. The two closest to the winner swam up the finish bar (which they had to hit with their hand to officially end the race), and they were super close on the left side to the edge of the gate and the guiding markers. One woman was basically swimming into the (padded floating) side of the bar and there was a bit of kerfluffle and splashing and they both went up to hit the bar, one higher than the other.

They disqualified the woman (Muller, France) who almost swam into the bar for hampering the other one (Bruni, Italy) right after almost swimming into the bar - for essentially launching herself above the other woman and reaching over her to hit the bar and preventing her from reaching up to hit the bar at the same time. The Brazilian, Okimoto, who had come in shortly behind Miller and Bruni (and well ahead of the rest of the field) got the bronze.

In the past two Olympics, the open water races were done in manmade water (the rowing basin; a manmade pool), so this was the first time it was done in a natural body. The English swimmer was rooting for cold and windy, but it ended up being a lovely day, so she got no advantage there.
posted by julen at 10:52 AM on August 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

I love the Geeek synchronized swimmers in skeleton swimsuits.
posted by zachlipton at 10:13 AM on August 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

Good grief, this swimmer robbery thing is getting weirder and weirder.
posted by telepanda at 7:06 PM on August 17, 2016

Two of them got pulled off a plane now?
posted by nubs at 7:10 PM on August 17, 2016

Two pulled off the plane and being questioned by police. A third whereabouts unknown - he checked in online but never showed up. The police scoured the airport for him, nobody seems to know where he is. Lochte back home, claiming he doesn't know anything about all this.

And also security footage showing them coming back to the Olympic village looking pretty chill, definitely with cell phones intact and maybe wallets too.
posted by telepanda at 7:25 PM on August 17, 2016

Welp, it'll only get weirder. I'm sure somebody will ask Trump's opinion on the matter.
posted by nubs at 7:32 PM on August 17, 2016

What's a plausible reason to make up a robbery? The only one I can think of is insurance fraud.
posted by dis_integration at 7:39 PM on August 17, 2016

Well, remember that they didn't go to the police or any other authority including US Olympic Committee people. Lochte told his mom they got robbed and she was the one who started making noise about it. So the theory goes that after they left the party they went and engaged in, uh, unsavory (but legal in Brazil) activities and Lochte made up being robbed to explain why they were back so late or weird charges on credit cards or something. And then the story got out when his mom went public and it snowballed. Also remember Lochte is widely known not to be the brightest bulb in the bulb patch.

Seems farfetched to me but that's the theory. It at least isn't completely insane.
posted by Justinian at 7:46 PM on August 17, 2016

It's not completely insane, but the more likely explanation is that the Brazilian authorities want to cast doubt on the story and are blaming the victims because it looks better than admitting that a bunch of people with police badges robbed Olympians in the middle of the night. Who had more incentive to lie here: the swimmers or the Brazilian police?

At this rate, John Kerry is going to have to fly out there again though.
posted by zachlipton at 8:35 PM on August 17, 2016

I think "told a lie they thought would get them some cred with other athletes or get them out of some other trouble and it got out of hand" is at least as plausible as "this really happened but the Brazilian government is covering it up instead of investigating it". There's not a lot of reason to believe they could successfully cover it up, so being seen to diligently investigate the problem and fit someone up for the crime would be the better PR move. But it is kinda all speculation, really.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:08 PM on August 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

plausible reason for making up a robbery? spent all money on illegible substances, got caught somewhere not supposed to be, get sympathy from women, general dumbassery - people make up crimes for all sort of reasons that make no sense to any one WITH any sense. Still happens though.
posted by domino at 8:02 AM on August 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

Apparently this is the reason?

If true, Lochte is as much of a doofus as I thought.
posted by dis_integration at 8:13 AM on August 18, 2016

I think he might actually be dumber than I thought, which is a feat on par with his swimming.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:17 AM on August 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

This is getting incredibly weird. The ridiculous part is that at least two other Olympians have been robbed during the games (and nobody's accused them of faking their stories), but everyone's attention is on Lochte and co.
posted by zachlipton at 8:57 AM on August 18, 2016

spent all money on illegible substances,

This is the best typo/autocorrect error/ whatever I have seen in some time.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:15 AM on August 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

Looks like lanes 5-8 were consistently faster than lanes 1-4 (or possibly lanes 4-8 were faster than lanes 1-3).
posted by Etrigan at 9:24 AM on August 18, 2016

There once was a swimmer named Lochte
Whose tale of a robbery shochte
But when people inquired
About what transpired
It turned out the whole thing was a crochte.
posted by KathrynT at 9:47 PM on August 18, 2016 [9 favorites]

What's a plausible reason to make up a robbery? The only one I can think of is insurance fraud.

Stupidity seems like the real answer here. The case for that being laid out as follows:

The tweet from the reporter: Meanwhile, pretend you're dumb. Like, sea-cucumber dumb. Now, let's discuss Ryan Lochte.

Then the article itself:

Don’t trust Ryan Lochte with a cover story, it’ll never end well: Arthur

At this point, it’s OK, right? We’ve all done stupid things while drinking, while young, maybe even when 32 years old, with peroxide-bleached hair. Nobody in the media knows what happened. The gas station seems cool, you paid them. You got home with your phones, your wallets, your credentials, your watches. All good.

OK, back to having the intellect and strategic acuity of a sea cucumber. It is at this point that you talk to your mom. You are well known for partying. You had a reality show called What Would Ryan Lochte Do? There was some partying. It didn’t last the season, but parts of the memories last forever.

So here’s the plan: tell your mom you were robbed. Maybe that you lost your wallet, even. They pulled guns on you at a gas station and you lost your wallet. Dude. Sure.

OK, let’s stay smart, since being dumb too often can become a habit. It is at this point that a smart person might ask, why tell the story? What are you trying to cover up? If your mom asks what happened, go with this: We partied, got a little dumb, had to pay for a door. They pulled guns, can you believe it? But we’re fine.

Or: a story about being robbed, which your mom tells the media, which you then repeat to NBC. Not only that: you render your younger teammates as cowardly, sidewalk-hugging goofs, while you stand and face down the barrel of a gun and say, like, whatever. You are the hero of this tale, bro.

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:04 AM on August 19, 2016 [4 favorites]

So the answer to how they could possibly have thought any of this was a good idea is, as I suspected all along: Ryan Lochte. JEAH!
posted by Justinian at 1:39 PM on August 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Local TV anchor says Lochte offered a big mega culpa. Wow, that's a huge culpa!
posted by sylvanshine at 10:52 PM on August 19, 2016 [3 favorites]

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