England to Allow Full Body Suits in Competition for Religious Purposes

Photo Courtesy: Amateur Swimming Association

New swimwear guidance for competitive swimming will allow more people to participate in events across England.

The ASA has announced a relaxation of Regulation 411 which previously banned swimwear that covered the whole body.

The new guidance means swimmers who wear full body suits for religious beliefs or a pre-existing medical condition, are now able to compete in all ASA licensed swimming meets and national events.

A positive step for swimming in England

Chris Bostock, Chairman of the ASA Sport Governing Board, said: “This is a very positive step forward for competitive swimming in England and one that we hope will encourage many more people to take part.

“We want everyone to be able to reach their potential. Representing your Club at a national swimming competition is very special. By changing these rules we hope to encourage a new generation of swimmers.”

Rimla Akhtar from the Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation (MWSF), said: “Participation in sport amongst Muslim women is increasing at a rapid pace. It is imperative that governing bodies adapt and tailor their offerings to suit the changing landscape of sport, including those who access their sport.

“The MWSF is glad to have requested a review of competition laws in relation to full body suits by the ASA and are extremely pleased at the outcome.

“We thank the ASA for their leadership in this matter. We look forward to continuing to work together to ensure that this ruling is also adopted at the elite level both nationally and internationally.”

Swimwear guidance for competitive swimming already in effect

The new guidance is already in effect. It applies to all levels of ASA licensed meets (1,2,3 and 4) and ASA National Events.

The guidance was developed by the ASA Swimming Management Group following recommendations from the MSWD.

It also covers those involved in running the events including technical officials and volunteers.

Press release courtesy of the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA).

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The Week That Was: World Rankings Shake Up In Indy and Down Under

Photo Courtesy: Melissa Lundie

Swimming across the globe got a lot more interesting this week, with the Arena Pro Swim Series in Indianapolis and the NSW Open Champs in Australia giving swimmers from around the world a chance to test the waters as we begin to creep toward this summer’s World Championships. Read about those meets and more in The Week That Was!

The Week That Was #5 – Indian River Extends NJCAA Streak

njcaa

Photo Courtesy: NJCAA

Indian River extended their streak of NJCAA Championships this weekend, bringing their number of consecutive championships to 43 for the men and 39 for the women. The Pioneer men and women more than doubled the points of their next closest competitors, totaling 1293 and 1210 points respectively. Indian River’s Nicholas Loomis set two new NJCAA records in the 50 (21.27) and 200 butterfly (1:46.10), while Osianna McReed set a new NJCAA record in the 50 butterfly (24.62). You can check out full recaps of all days of competition on our Event Landing Page.

The Week That Was #4 – NC State Men Wins Third Consecutive ACC Title

ryan-held-celebrate-100-fly-acc-championships

Photo Courtesy: Todd Kirkland, theACC.com

The men of NC State joined their women’s team in celebrating a ACC conference championship this week, earning the third consecutive win for the men’s team. Olympic gold medalist and NC State junior Ryan Held had a standout meet, starting it off with a new ACC meet and conference record in the 50 free (18.68). He did the same in the 100 fly (44.79) before setting a new meet record in the 100 free (41.61). Held also contributed to four relay wins for the Wolfpack. All of this came with a full beard, signaling he has plenty left to drop come NCAAs in a few weeks. Held was named Most Valuable Swimmer of the Meet for his performances. You can catch up on all of the meet coverage from the 2017 ACC Championships on our Event Coverage Page.

The Week That Was #3 – Stanford Holds Off Cal At Pac-12 Championships

stanford-men-pac-12

Photo Courtesy: Chuckarelei/Pac-12

The Stanford Cardinal held off a late charging Cal-Berkeley team to win the 2017 Pac-12 Conference Championships, finishing with 784 points over Cal’s 767. Stanford displayed impressive depth across the meet, particularly in the distance freestyle events. That was kicked off by freshman Grant Shoults who threw down a new Pac-12 record in the 500 free (4:10.67), and was joined in the A final by freshman True Sweetser junior Liam Egan, and freshman James Murphy. Sweetser himself would come back to lead a 1-2-3 Cardinal finish in the 1650 en route to setting the championship record, just sneaking past Erik Vendt’s legendary record from 2003. Other notable performances included Cal senior Ryan Murphy reset both of his backstroke meet records, posting a 44.76 and 1:38.07 to win the 100 and 200. Arizona State University freshman Cameron Craig was another standout from the meet, winning the 200 free in the 8th fastest time in history over USC’s Dylan Carter, 1:31.72 to 1:31.98. You can check out full recaps of all days of the meet on our Event Landing Page.

The Week That Was #2 – NSW Open Champs Features Fast Swims

mcevoy-aus-grand-prix-2016

Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr / Swimming Australia Ltd.

The Aussies were joined by a few fellow international swimmers this week at the 2017 New South Wales Open Championships, with several athletes throwing down world leading times. Cameron McEvoy was one of those athletes, throwing down a 48.13 in the prelims of the 100 freestyle before winning the event in 48.66. Both of those times were faster than the previous world best that had been set hours earlier at the Indy Grand Prix meet. Cate Campbell made a similar statement in the women’s event, taking the 100 free in a world leading 53.15 on the heels of announcing that she will not be competing at the World Championships in Budapest this summer. The Aussie also won the 50 free in 24.47. Also notable was Emily Seebohm, who posted a world leading time in the 100 back (59.28). Those should be confidence boosters for all three Australians following this summer’s Olympics, as each went in as a presumptive individual gold medal favorite and were each left off the podium.

The Week That Was #1 – Arena Pro Swim Series Stops In Indy

daiya-seto-japan-2017-indy-pro-series

Photo Courtesy: Melissa Lundie

The Arena Pro Swim Series continued in Indianapolis this week, with many U.S. and international stars coming together to post more leading world times on the other side of the globe. In his first competition on U.S. soil, British star Adam Peaty set a new U.S. Open record in the 100 breast in addition to improving his own #1 time in the world, touching the wall in 58.86. Japan’s Daiya Seto was another big winner on the men’s side, posting a world leading time in the 400 IM (4:10.22) that cut more than a second from his previous top ranked time. Canada’s Hilary Caldwell also posted a world leading time in the 200 back (2:08.68), just edging out Emily Seebohm’s top time in the world from earlier in the day. Molly Hannis did the same thing in the 100 breast, just edging out the previous time in the world that had been set by Yulia Efimova in Australia when she won in 1:06.47. China’s Xu Jiayu battled Jacob Pebley down to the wire to best Pebly’s previous world best in the 200 back, touching in 1:55.04. Xu also moved past Matt Grevers’ top time in the 100 back when he won in 53.04. You can see full recaps and results from the meet on our Event Landing Page.

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Hungarian Water Polo Player Dr. András Bodnár Added to ISHOF Class of 2017

Photo Courtesy: Yiannis Gianouris/Waterpololegends.com

The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) announced today that Dr. András Bodnár will join 17 others as honorees who will enter the International Swimming Hall of Fame as the Class of 2017. Dr. Bodnár is the twelfth member of the class to be named for ceremonies to be held August 25-27, in Fort Lauderdale. Previously, open water swimmer Maarten Van Der Weijden, swimmers Wu Chuanyu (CHN) and Takeshi “Halo” Hirose (USA), Georges Vallerey, Jr. (FRA), Alain Bernard (FRA), diver Zhang Xiuwei (CHN) and Laura Wilkinson (USA), long distance swimmer Walter Poenisch (USA), water polo player Osvaldo Codaro (ARG), coach Dick Jochums (USA) and photojournalist Heinz Kluetmeier have been announced.

We are so proud of Andras’ induction,says Hungarian Water Polo President Dénes Kemény. Because after so many Hungarian water polo players in the Hall of Fame (19), we have one more honoree. And there is no doubt about his greatness!”

Hungary is a land of thermal springs and although landlocked, swimming and water sports are ingrained in their culture. This love of water led to an early domination of international swimming and diving competitions in the late 19th and early 20th century competitions.  But in the 1920s, it was water polo that came to symbolize Hungarys unique strengths and individuality.  From 1928 to 2008, the Hungarians have dominated the sport like no other nation, winning 9 gold medals, 3 silver and 3 bronze medals, including back-to-back titles twice: 1932 and 1936 and, 1952  and 1956, and a triple – back-to-back-to back – from 2000 to 2008.

András Bodnár was born on April 9, 1942 in Ungvár, Hungary, a town that today is known as Uzhgorod, in the Ukraine. In 1952, he began swimming and playing water polo for various clubs in Eger until 1962, when he joined the team of the Budapest University Medical Association. In addition to being an outstanding water polo player, he was also one of Hungarys top middle distance swimmers. He was selected for the first of his four Olympic teams as an 18 year-old and would stand on the podium in each appearance, winning a bronze medal in 1960, gold in 1964 and silver medals in 1968 and 1972. In 1973 he was a member of the team that won the gold at the first FINA World Aquatic Championships in Belgrade. Between 1960 and 1976, he played for the Hungarian National Team in 186 international games – at the same time he was pursuing his medical career. Amazingly, he also swam in the Olympic Games in 1960 and 1964, although he did not make the finals.

hungary-water-polo-team-1964

1964 Tokyo Olympic gold medal team of Hungary, with FINA President and ISHOF Founder, R. Max Ritter – Photo Courtesy: Yiannis Gianouris/Waterpololegends.com

In 1968, Bodnár earned his medical degree from the Budapest Semmelweis Medical University. From 1968 to 1985 Dr. Bodnár was Assistant Professor of Surgery. In 1985 he was promoted to head of surgery at Frigyes Korányi Hospital and later National Public Health and Medical Office Supervisor. A man of incredible energy and dedication to his sport, he served as Vice-President of the Hungarian Swimming Federation, water polo division from 1981 to 1989, and as president of the newly formed Hungarian Water Polo Federation from 1989 to 1992. Since 1990 he has been a member of the LEN (European Swimming Federation) Medical Committee and since 2004 a member of the Francis Field Foundation Board of Trustees.

In a swimming and water polo career spanning almost two decades, in which he won four Olympic medals (1 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze), the inaugural World Championship Gold, two European Championships and seven Hungarian Championships, Dr. András Bodnár goes down in history as one of the greatest players of all time and the twentieth player from Hungary to be so honored.  

About ISHOF

The International Hall of Fame, established in 1965, is a not-for-profit educational organization located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Its mission is to promote the benefits and importance of swimming as a key to fitness, good health, quality of life, and the water safety of all adults and children.  It accomplishes this through operation of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, a dynamic shrine dedicated to preserving the history of swimming, the memory and recognition of the famous swimmers, divers, water polo players, synchronized swimmers and people involved in life saving activities and education whose lives and accomplishments inspire, educate, and provide role models for people around the world. For more information contact Bruce Wigo at 954-462-6536 ext. 201, or by email bwigo@ishof.org

Press release courtesy of ISHOF

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Porte's Paris-Nice dreams over after a second day of time losses

If one was hoping for a deep analysis of BMC Racing‘s disappointing performance on stage 2 of Paris-Nice then talking to the riders wasn’t the best place to start.

Dripping wet and shivering in the cold conditions, only Nicolas Roche offered up any dialogue as he clambered onto the bus. ‘I feel dead’ the Irishman said after a brutal day of racing that saw Richie Porte‘s chances of winning the race implode after the Australian lost over 14 minutes.

During the morning briefing, BMC and Porte team knew that the weather would play its part, with driving rain and wind once again on the menu. The loss of Michael Schär, who crashed out on stage 1, was a blow but the team truly felt the effects once Porte and his teammates were scattered in the blustery conditions on the road to Amilly.

“It was a really hard day for us. Of course we lost Schär yesterday and he was an important guy for this sort of race,” Valerio Piva told Cyclingnews.

“Without this guy we couldn’t keep Richie in the front. Richie was there but in one moment he was in a bad position and no one was there for us. He was dropped and of course with this weather, and temperature it’s not the best for him.”

Piva was in the team’s second car during the stage but was aware of the team’s situation when race radio crackled into life and confirmed Porte’s predicament.

“We tried to come back, and in the feed zone it was more or less 1:30 to the leaders. But then at the front there were more attacks and we’ve lost the chance today for GC. We will continue but we’ll look forward. It was a bad day but that was the race.”

The question will inevitably be why Porte – a former winner of this race and a genuine contender for the Tour de France podium – was left isolated at such a vital moment in the race. The remaining six BMC riders rallied around their leader but the damage was already done. If stage 1 was a mini-disaster, Monday’s stage was game over in the battle for GC.

Piva pointed to the weather but also the line-up BMC chose for this race.

“This race is very hard in the final and we’ve brought more riders here who can follow on the climbs. I repeat, we had Schar here to do this job and he was there with Francisco Ventoso and Danilo [ed. Wyss] but we know the job Schar does for Greg Van Avermaet in the Classics and missing one guy was the big problem.”

“We knew in the morning that it would be a difficult day to stay at the front. A lot of leaders were a bit in trouble, and everyone was alone, but Richie was too far behind. He had a problem with the cold, and he lost too much time around the feed zone.”

With the yellow jersey out of reach BMC will be forced to turn their attention to stage wins. In Porte, Roche and Alessandro De Marchi they certainly have options.

“Stage [wins] are possible, and we’ll try for something. We’ll show that we’re still a big team.”

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The Phases of Swimming, Defined

Photo Courtesy: Azaria Basile

By Erin Himes, Swimming World College Intern

In the normal life cycle of a career, there are a few phases of swimming most of us go through. While the incredibly talented turn swimming into a career after college, many conclude their competitive career there. Each phase of swimming along the way is categorized by a number of things that make it special. Let’s take a look at the important moments in most swimming careers.

Lessons

kids-sitting-Harlme-YMCA

Photo Courtesy: Chasi Annexy

You may not remember this clearly, but it is likely your parents do. You were either a screaming child who hated the water or you couldn’t be pulled away. Regardless, the best part of this phase is that it got you into the sport you continued!

Summer League

summer-league-swimmers

Often the next step, summer league is characterized by sunny days, snack bar food, and post-meet sleepovers with your friends. This is what made swimming fun and gave you those team values that you likely carried with you from here on out. Summer league has all of the perks of swimming, like team building and racing, without as much of the terribly hard training, which is an obvious plus.

Age Group

mens-11-12-100-back-start

Photo Courtesy:

If you really loved summer league, you might’ve started to swim for a club team. This starts off as equally fun with more competition and quickly begins to fill all of your time. Age group swimming introduces you to some of the best people and makes swimming a core value in your world. This is likely where you began to learn how much you could eat after a hard practice.

Senior Age Group

scottsdale-aquatic-club-junior-nationals

Photo Courtesy: Donna Nelson

The elite levels of club swimming deserve a category of their own because if you made it here it means you didn’t waver at the temptations of playing another sport. At this point, it’s gotten serious and your teammates and coaches are your family. This is worth it for the great friendships you make and the amount of pasta you feel justified to consume. The intensity of club has its ups and downs, but proves itself to be worth it every year.

High School Team

rosary-high-school-state-championship-illinois

Photo Courtesy: Brian O’Mahoney Twitter @OMahoneyPhoto

Balanced in tandem with club, high school season brings about some of those same values that summer league once instilled. Although more intense, the competition reminds you why you love to swim, as does the amount of team building. The bonding and camaraderie that high school swimming can provide allows a nice breather a few times a week from the intensity of club.

College

stanford-team-cheer-pac-12

Photo Courtesy: Chuckarelei / Pac-12

College takes the intensity of club swimming and the team competition and bonding of high school and throws them together. Everything is heightened, in the best way. The stakes are higher, but the friendships much stronger. It’s hard to not bond with a teammate while doing everything together, from downing coffee before your 10 am class to waking up at 5 AM to get on a bus to a meet.

Retirement

Illinois Masters world record relay team

Photo Courtesy: AJ Block

With the end of competition, the possibilities for how to continue your swimming career are endless. Some choose masters swimming, others begin triathlons, and others never want to get back in the water ever again. Whatever your take, swimming will always be there to fall back on.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

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The Phases of Swimming, Defined

Photo Courtesy: Azaria Basile

By Erin Himes, Swimming World College Intern

In the normal life cycle of a career, there are a few phases of swimming most of us go through. While the incredibly talented turn swimming into a career after college, many conclude their competitive career there. Each phase of swimming along the way is categorized by a number of things that make it special. Let’s take a look at the important moments in most swimming careers.

Lessons

kids-sitting-Harlme-YMCA

Photo Courtesy: Chasi Annexy

You may not remember this clearly, but it is likely your parents do. You were either a screaming child who hated the water or you couldn’t be pulled away. Regardless, the best part of this phase is that it got you into the sport you continued!

Summer League

summer-league-swimmers

Often the next step, summer league is characterized by sunny days, snack bar food, and post-meet sleepovers with your friends. This is what made swimming fun and gave you those team values that you likely carried with you from here on out. Summer league has all of the perks of swimming, like team building and racing, without as much of the terribly hard training, which is an obvious plus.

Age Group

mens-11-12-100-back-start

Photo Courtesy:

If you really loved summer league, you might’ve started to swim for a club team. This starts off as equally fun with more competition and quickly begins to fill all of your time. Age group swimming introduces you to some of the best people and makes swimming a core value in your world. This is likely where you began to learn how much you could eat after a hard practice.

Senior Age Group

scottsdale-aquatic-club-junior-nationals

Photo Courtesy: Donna Nelson

The elite levels of club swimming deserve a category of their own because if you made it here it means you didn’t waver at the temptations of playing another sport. At this point, it’s gotten serious and your teammates and coaches are your family. This is worth it for the great friendships you make and the amount of pasta you feel justified to consume. The intensity of club has its ups and downs, but proves itself to be worth it every year.

High School Team

rosary-high-school-state-championship-illinois

Photo Courtesy: Brian O’Mahoney Twitter @OMahoneyPhoto

Balanced in tandem with club, high school season brings about some of those same values that summer league once instilled. Although more intense, the competition reminds you why you love to swim, as does the amount of team building. The bonding and camaraderie that high school swimming can provide allows a nice breather a few times a week from the intensity of club.

College

stanford-team-cheer-pac-12

Photo Courtesy: Chuckarelei / Pac-12

College takes the intensity of club swimming and the team competition and bonding of high school and throws them together. Everything is heightened, in the best way. The stakes are higher, but the friendships much stronger. It’s hard to not bond with a teammate while doing everything together, from downing coffee before your 10 am class to waking up at 5 AM to get on a bus to a meet.

Retirement

Illinois Masters world record relay team

Photo Courtesy: AJ Block

With the end of competition, the possibilities for how to continue your swimming career are endless. Some choose masters swimming, others begin triathlons, and others never want to get back in the water ever again. Whatever your take, swimming will always be there to fall back on.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

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China Wins Nine of 10 Events at First FINA Diving World Series

Photo Courtesy: R-Sport / MIA Rossiya Segodnya

Chinese divers snatched 9 gold medals out of 10 this weekend in the Beijing Water Cube, as the inaugural leg of the FINA/NVC Diving World Series 2017 took place from March 3-5.

Already building anticipation for the upcoming FINA World Championships in Budapest this summer, Team China was in top form: Olympic champion Chen Aisen took gold in the men’s 10m platform (556.25) and added an other gold to his tally with the synchro 10m (488.85). His partner in the latter event, Yang Hao, came second in the 10m individual event (554.70), while Tom Daley of Great Britain completed the podium with 520.35 points.

Jack Laugher broke China’s dominance on Day 2  of the competition by winning the 3m springboard in 554.00. Xie Siyi and Cao Yuan claimed silver (539.15) and bronze (510.05), respectively and won the 3m synchro as a pair on Day 1 in the event.

In the women’s field, as expected Shi Tingmao, who is a two-time Olympic champion, clinched the gold in the 3m (391.05). Chang Yani was second (330.35) and Maddison Keeney of Australia ranked third (327.85).

Tingmao also won the 3m synchro event with Xu Zhihuan in 319.20.

Si Yajie was the best in the 10m (406.60), while teammate Ren Qian (398.75) and Kim Mi Rae (PRK, 360.25) began this 2017 Series with a second and third-place finish, respectively.

Both mixed events were topped by Chinese pairs.

Other nations on the podium this weekend were Canada, Germany, Malaysia and Russia.

The FINA/NVC Diving World Series is next stopping in Guanzhou (CHN) from March 9-11.

Medallists in Beijing

MEN
3m springboard:
1. Jack Laugher (GBR) 554.00, 2. Xie Siyi (CHN) 539.15, 3. Cao Yuan (CHN) 510.05
10m platform:
1. Chen Aisen (CHN) 556.25, 2. Yang Hao (CHN) 554.70, 3. Thomas Daley (GBR) 520.35
3m springboard synchro: 1. Cao Yuan/Xie Siyi (CHN) 450.39, 2. Jack Laugher/Chris Mears (GBR) 427.98, 3. Evgenii Kuznetsov/Ilia Zakharov (RUS) 419.25
10m platform synchro: 1. Chen Aisen/Yang Hao (CHN) 488.85, 2. Patrick Hausding/Sascha Klein (GER) 419.10, 3. Aleksandr Bondar/Viktor Minibaev (RUS) 415.50

WOMEN
3m springboard: 1. Shi Tingmao (CHN) 391.05, 2. Chang Yani (CHN) 330.35, 3. Maddison Keeney (AUS) 327.85
10m platform: 1. Si Yajie (CHN) 406.60, 2. Ren Qian (CHN) 398.75, 3. Kim Mi Rae (PRK) 360.25
3m springboard synchro: 1. Shi Tingmao/Xu Zhihuan (CHN) 319.20, 2. Maddison Keeney/Anabelle Smith (AUS) 298.68, 3. Kristina Ilinykh/Nadezhda Bazhina (RUS) 294.00
10m platform synchro: 1. Chang Yani/Ren Qian (CHN) 340.26, 2. Cheong Jun Hoong/Pamg Pandelela (MAS) 316.08, 3. Kim Mi Rae/Kim Kuk Hyang (PRK) 313.92

MIXED EVENTS
3m synchro:
1. Wang Han/Li Zheng (CHN) 323.10, 2. Domonic Bedgood/Maddison Keeney (AUS) 305.34, 3. Francois Imbeau-Dulac/Jennifer Abel (CAN) 304.74
10m synchro: 1. Lian Jie/Lian Junjie (CHN) 329.28, 2. Iuliia Timoshinina/Viktor Minibaev (RUS) 305.64, 3. VIncent Riendeau/Meaghan Benfeito (CAN) 302.34

Diving World Series 2017 calendar

1. Beijing (CHN) – March 3-5
2. Guangzhou City (CHN) March 9-11
3. Kazan (RUS) March 31- April 2
4. Windsor (CAN) April 21-23

Press release courtesy of FINA.

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How the Best Runners in the World Recover and Prevent Injuries (and a free book)

I’ve always been fascinated (ok, borderline obsessed) with how elite runners train and schedule their running.

After all, if you’re going to learn about running, why not do it from the best runners in the world?

And whenever I get a chance to read about how the elites train, I jump at the opportunity. These books have changed my perspective on running because they offer a glimpse into the world of professional athletes:

So it should be no surprise that combining my two passions – elite training and injury prevention – has me salivating.

Seeing the daily recovery strategies from professional runners is exciting. These are athletes who run up to 120+ miles per week and compete at the highest level of the sport.

For them, staying healthy is a job requirement. Recovery between hard sessions is critical, especially when you’re frequently running twice per day.

And I’m thrilled to announce a new resource to inspire you and give you a few new strategies for staying healthy.

The Little Black Book of Prevention & Recovery

Over the last few months, I’ve been working with a blockbuster group of professional runners to bring you their most tested and proven recovery ideas.

If you’ve ever been curious how elite runners handle all that running without getting hurt every day, this book is for you.

If you wonder what recovery options a pro prioritizes, you won’t want to miss this book.

And the best part? It’s completely free!

Download the ebook here.

Elite Runners on Injury Prevention

You’ll hear from:

  • Dathan Ritzenhein – 3x Olympian, 3x National Cross Country Champion
  • Amelia Boone – 3x World’s Toughest Mudder Champion
  • David Roche – 2x National Trail Running Champion
  • Kelly O’Mara – professional triathlete
  • Ian Sharman – 3x winner of the Leadville Trail 100
  • Devon Yanko – 100k National Champion and 2012 Olympic Trials Marathon Qualifier
  • Joseph Gray – Mount Washington American Record holder and World Mountain Running Champion
  • Andy Wacker – Trail Half Marathon National Champion
  • Max King – US National Ultra Running Champion and 2x winner World Warrior Dash Champion

Each of these world-class athletes shared their favorite recovery or injury prevention strategy – and the responses are incredibly varied.

You’ll hear about post-race recovery, why you should eat a LOT, how to return to running after an injury (and what mistakes to avoid), and the virtues of eliminating busyness from your life.

There’s a lot more than I can include in this post, so get your copy today.

I want you to have every advantage possible in your training – and there’s no better way than learning from the best.

But I have one favor to ask: please apply at least one principle to your own running. Instead of passively consuming this info, do something with it instead!

Only by applying new concepts and training ideas will you reap the rewards.

Using this book you can try a new post-run recovery technique.

Or change how you approach the other 23 hours of the day when you’re not running.

Or even update how you behave at the office (see Amelia Boone’s thoughts on being a runner while working full-time).

Get the book here.

One last thing: it would mean the world to me if you shared this article on Facebook. This book is free and took a lot of time and resources to make for you – I hope you enjoy it!

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The truth about cycling and asthma

As Team Sky continues to crisis manage the fallout from leaked TUE records, David Bradford hunts for the truth about the prevalence, effects and treatment of asthma among cyclists

With Bradley Wiggins and British Cycling in the spotlight over the use of Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE) in relation to Asthma medication, concerns over TUEs providing a grey area for some athletes to gain a performance advantage are once again in the headlines.

In April 2016, Simon Yates was banned after testing positive for terbutaline, a less potent asthma drug but one for which his team had failed to obtain the necessary TUE. All of which poses the question: what’s the deal with asthma and cyclists?

Why do so many riders appear to require medication to help them breathe, and are they really gaining an advantage?

Cycling Weekly spoke to another Olympic medallist cyclist whose asthma- related TUEs were leaked, sprinter Callum Skinner.

We also paid a visit to Dr John Dickinson, the UK’s foremost expert on asthma in sport, to find out if breathing problems really do affect as many cyclists as pro-related stats seem to imply, and if so, whether us normal riders should be getting tested too.

Getting the lowdown

Dickinson is head of the respiratory clinic at the University of Kent, and carries out breathing assessments at Medway Park Sports Centre.

He has tested Olympians and elite athletes from almost every sport, including GB cyclists and members of Team Sky.

His slightly less illustrious job today is to check the airways of CW’s art editor Dan Baines and photographer Dan Gould, while helping us understand why asthma has become such a hot topic in cycling.

The first point for Dickinson to clarify is why such a high proportion of elite cyclists apparently suffer from asthma.

Thankfully doping controls are present at races all around the world

An assessment of the British Cycling team before the 2004 Olympics showed that around 40 per cent had asthma compared to only about eight per cent of the general population. For Dickinson, this discrepancy stands to reason.

“Athletes are far more prone to asthma-related problems, mainly because of the environments they’re exposed to and the conditions required by the sport, such as the high breathing rates over prolonged periods.

“Cycling is done outdoors, often in dry, polluted air — there are lots of reasons for the high prevalence.”

Given that amateur riders are exposed to as many asthma-triggering factors as the pros perhaps even more in some cases, e.g. urban commuters breathing polluted air — we are just as likely to develop symptoms.

>>> Cyclists exposed to five times less air pollution than those in cars, experiment suggests

Does this mean that all of us should get tested? “Yes,” says Dickinson, “when we work with squads of elite athletes, we test everybody — it clears up any doubt.”

He explains that not all GPs are sufficiently equipped (or informed) to accurately assess asthma-related conditions such as exercise-induced bronchospasm (EIB), and sometimes prescribe medication without adequate investigation of the symptoms.

“[Many athletes] who have been given an inhaler find that it doesn’t stop their symptoms, and then they can get panicky and start to doubt their [athletic] ability. It might be that they don’t have asthma or not as the main cause of their symptoms. We can quantify the severity, and make them more aware of the causes.”

There is a widely held suspicion that athletes get themselves diagnosed as asthmatic in order to access medications that will boost their performance, i.e. as a shady marginal gain.

Dickinson dismisses this theory as illogical and unfounded.

“We know that therapeutic doses of inhalers don’t touch performance, so if you’re a non-asthmatic taking a couple of puffs of salbutamol, it’s not going to do anything for you. We have plenty of research proving that.”

No silver bullet

That research has shown that beta-2 agonists, the swift-acting medications that in asthmatics relieve constriction in the airways, have negligible effect on performance among non-asthmatics.

It isn’t possible to improve your ventilation or induce “super lungs” by puffing on an inhaler, adds Dickinson. “Endurance- wise, there is no advantage.”

He cites one potential marginal gain from these drugs, but it’s one he believes would be cancelled out by the inevitable side effects.

“A couple of studies have shown that if you take the maximum therapeutic doses [of inhaled beta-agonists], there is a potential to improve sprint performance but, to be honest, you’d have to take a shed-load, and the increased heart rate, shakes and palpitations would counteract the advantage.”

What about for someone who does have asthma? Presumably their performance is markedly improved by taking effective medication?

>>> Steve Cummings explains his TUE for asthma medication

“It’s difficult to say because no studies have been done,” Dickinson says, emphasising that the principal goal of asthma treatment is prevention, not performance.

“We’re all about getting athletes to manage their condition. If you have a good prevention plan in place, you should eliminate the need to have a puff on the inhaler while riding. It’s down to education. Good asthma management results in better quality training.”

The commonly prescribed inhaled asthma medications, most of which are allowed without a TUE, would not significantly enhance performance even if they were abused, insists Dickinson.

Harder to resolve are suspicions surrounding the more potent tablet and injected forms of the asthma drugs called corticosteroids (or glucocorticoids), such as triamcinolone — the substance for which Wiggins was granted a TUE before the 2011 and 2012 editions of the Tour de France.

>>> Team Sky doctor prevented Richard Freeman from applying for a fourth Bradley Wiggins TUE

There is no doubting corticosteroids can be effective and necessary treatments for asthma and allergies, but questions remain over whether Wiggins’s use of triamcinolone — a drug known to be performance-enhancing — was clinically and ethically justified.

Dickinson refrains from passing judgement on Wiggins, but admits: “I had to look up [triamcinolone] because I don’t come into contact with athletes who are using it — it is stronger than oral corticosteroids.

If inhalers alone aren’t working, you’d usually go to an oral corticosteroid; the intra-muscular forms are even stronger.”

Such potent injections are prescribed only in cases where the asthma patient is seriously unwell, explains Dickinson.

But Wiggins was nearing his competitive peak. Was he really in a bad enough state to need this medication?

“It’s difficult for me to say, not having assessed him at the time,” says Dickinson,

>>> Bradley Wiggins: corticosteroid use ‘wasn’t about trying to gain an unfair advantage’

“But sometimes I think the medics looking after those conditions think, let’s make sure he doesn’t have the problem [in subsequent training and racing] by using the strongest possible drugs available.”

Prescribing in this way inevitably rouses suspicions, admits Dickinson.

“The difficulty is, should that athlete [once granted a TUE] then be allowed to compete, because we know of the potential performance-enhancing effects of that drug, and we know [given the medication] they might not be healthy enough to compete.

>>> David Millar: ‘I took powerful, dangerous drug thanks to TUE loophole’

From a health as much as a performance point of view, maybe the rules should say, if you’re taking that, you can’t compete for two weeks.”

In Dickinson’s experience, only a tiny minority of riders with asthma-related problems apply for TUEs; nothing he has seen makes him suspect widespread foul play.

“It’s quite rare. I think sometimes stronger drugs are resorted to earlier than they’re really needed, but I’ve worked with only a handful of athletes who have needed an oral corticosteroid.”

Whether Wiggins and his advisers were just being extremely cautious we may never know.

What we do know is that respiratory issues are very common among cyclists, and suspicions over certain rare treatments should not deter anyone from seeking medical assessment and, if necessary, treatment.

And, to back up those words with actions, step forward, Cycling Weekly’s two Dans…

CW gets tested

CW art editor Dan Baines has no previous history of asthma but sometimes suffers from pollen allergies. He figured it would be worthwhile getting thoroughly assessed, if only for peace of mind.

The first test measures the amount of nitric oxide in the breath: levels above 25 parts per billion may indicate inflamed airways, a characteristic of asthma and some allergies. Dan scores 40 — no great shock, given his known allergies.

The next step is to measure the size and speed of his exhalation: the volume of each big breath and the time it takes to get it all out.

After a few big huffs, Dan hits a PB exhalation of 4.94 litres, 85 per cent of which is expelled within one second.

These are healthy numbers, according to Dickinson, well above the average for Dan’s age (40) and stature (179cm, 76kg), and giving him a ‘lung age’ of 35.

Now for the critical part: Dan must breathe piped, dry air at around 85 per cent of his maximum ventilation rate for six minutes — as though he were riding briskly up a climb.

This procedure is designed to trigger an asthma response in anyone with susceptible airways.

Once the six-minute pant-athon is completed, after a short rest Dan has his peak puff retested, and achieves 4.73 litres, 83 per cent of which is exhaled within one second — only two per cent down on the initial test.

It’s a textbook negative result, confirms Dickinson. If that latter figure (the proportion of air expelled within one second) had fallen by more than 10 per cent, Dan would have been facing an asthma diagnosis.

As it is, he’s in the clear, but there is one more round of huffing for him to do…

Just to test Dickinson’s assertion that asthma inhalers offer no advantage to those who don’t have the condition, Dan takes a couple of puffs of salbutamol, then undergoes the maximal breath test once more.

The result is just as Dickinson predicted: no change from Dan’s initial test — the salbutamol has had no effect.

Dan goes away knowing that his airways remain unconstricted even when provoked by harsh conditions — and, what’s more, the temptation to take a cheeky pre-ride toke on his daughter’s inhaler has been completely quashed!

A picture of health?

Just for fun, we coax CW photographer Dan Gould to the test bench.

He was diagnosed with asthma as a child but in recent years has foregone medication in an attempt to ‘train through’ the symptoms.

In the first test, for exhaled nitric oxide, Dan G produces a result of 100 parts per billion — four times higher than the 25 threshold, indicating significantly inflamed airways.

In the next test, establishing a baseline, he exhales 5.09 litres in total but only 3.29 litres of it, 65 per cent, within one second, which for Dickinson is a conspicuous red flag.

It’s the kind of lung function he would expect in someone in their late 50s. Dan is 28.

Not so confident about training his asthma into submission, Dan takes a dose of salbutamol and resits the test. This time, he exhales 3.71 litres of the total within one second — a 10 per cent improvement.

“This is a significant reversal of airway constriction,” says Dickinson, hiding his bewilderment that Dan has shunned treatment for so long, “and evidence of an asthmatic condition.”

He calmly explains to Dan that taking medication will have multiple benefits: keeping his airways open, improving exercise performance, and quite likely limiting the long-term damage and deterioration that can result from inflammation.

‘Let’s not forget, TUEs are for athlete welfare’

Callum Skinner, who won gold and silver medals at the Rio Games, spoke to CW about the leak of his TUEs and why he responded by publishing his NHS medical records.

Skinner’s TUE certificates, leaked after the Rio Olympics, show that he was prescribed oral prednisolone, a glucocorticoid, on November 6, 2014, shortly before the London round of the Track World Cup; and the beta-2 agonist salbutamol for two days, January 25-26, 2016.

He responded by publishing NHS records showing that he has suffered from asthma since childhood and has four times been admitted to hospital.

Was he aware of the potential performance-enhancing effects of prednisolone before taking it during competition?

“No. For me, the TUEs were purely for health reasons.”

“As my health records show, I was prescribed prednisolone on two or three occasions as a child. It was a substance that had been previously helpful for my health.”

Callum Skinner (GBR) sets a new Olympic Record in the qualifier for the 2016 Olympic track sprint – only to see it broken minutes later by compatriot Jason Kenny

Is it a substance he has also taken out of competition, when no TUE is required?

“I’d have to consult my notes, but maybe. As you can see in my childhood medical history, it was a bit of a go-to treatment, so I wouldn’t be surprised.”

Skinner is quick to point out that at the competition in question, the 2014 London Track World Cup, his performance was “one of the worst of my career” — implying that the prednisolone proved unhelpful, and supporting his reflection that “I should have been tucked up in bed”.

>>> Who is Callum Skinner, Britain’s new star sprinter?

Indeed, Skinner says that in similar circumstances the following year he opted not to compete — despite competitive pressures: “[Missing major events] is quite dangerous in an Olympic year because if you step out of that position as man-three, there is always someone there who is willing to pick it up.”

He is reconciled to the realisation that sometimes rest is the only sensible option.

“That’s the strategy now, where if my chest is compromised, we probably won’t be applying for an in-competition TUE. Unfortunately, we’ll need to step back from competition and recover.”

Is this change in approach partly to avoid further TUE controversy? “No. If there was a TUE that was genuinely needed for my health, I would have no apprehension in applying for it. I think this is where it could get a little bit dangerous for athletes going forward because these [TUEs] are fundamentally for athlete welfare, that’s their first purpose, and it’s important that is respected.”

I moot to Skinner the idea that certain TUEs should come with a stipulation that the athlete take a week or fortnight’s break from competition, for health as well as anti-doping reasons.

“That could be a good step forward,” he says, “but there are lot of complexities in the TUE system, and different people respond to these treatments very differently.

“I think ultimately it has to be at the doctor’s discretion.”

Would Skinner encourage other pro cyclists to follow his example and disclose medical records to help foreground their TUEs?

>>> Callum Skinner publishes medical records to prove his ‘asthma is real’

“I think that’s personal. I felt backed into a corner a little bit [when my TUE] documents were put out with no context attached to them…

“It’s a shame we’re at this point where we have to continually give up more and more privacy to protect clean sport, but if that’s necessary, then for me.

“Clean sport is more important than my own privacy.”

Callum Skinner collecting his Team Sprint gold medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic games

Are asthma meds performance-enhancing?

CW spoke to Morten Hostrup, assistant professor in human and molecular biology at the University of Copenhagen, who researches the effects of asthma medications on exercise performance.

What are the effects of injected corticosteroids such as triamcinolone on performance?

There are acute effects after having an injection, including a glycogen-sparing effect, which would be good in an endurance race such as a stage race, because it would boost fat oxidisation and release more glucose from the liver into the bloodstream. That would last for several hours.

These drugs have a central effect as well, inducing a feeling of euphoria or improved mood, which may blunt fatigue.

David Millar claimed that triamcinolone had a powerful effect on reducing his body fat. Is that feasible?

Yes, these substances mobilise your fat stores and increase your oxidation of fats, particularly if used in combination with other drugs such as beta-agonist asthma drugs, which boost energy expenditure.

Would Wiggins have benefited from the injections he had before major stage races in 2011, 2012 and 2013?

It depends on the way he took it and how much he took. If he did use it, it may be that he had some advantage, but it’s highly individual, so it’s difficult to say.

He followed the rules, so I wouldn’t want to speculate.

Are the current rules governing the use of asthma medications sufficient, in your view?

The current regulations are in some ways lenient, in that, out of competition you are allowed to use [glucocorticoids] as you wish.

If you want to use them in competition, a TUE is required, but it’s known from former dopers that they got a TUE to use, say, a skin cream but then just got it in intravenous or intramuscular form.

For sure, you can misuse the current regulations; this is how it will always be with doping restrictions — grey areas on the edge of what’s ethical.

What about the more common asthma drugs for which no TUE is needed, could these enhance performance?

With inhaled medications, 70-80 per cent of the drug will at some point reach the systemic circulation through the capillary network around the lungs, and will be distributed to your entire body. The effects depend on the dose you inhale.

A study we did this year showed that four puffs of a substance called budesonide, if taken daily for 14 days, causes a 17 per cent increase in skeletal muscle ion transporters, which may affect muscle endurance.

This was interesting because it showed that only four puffs was enough to induce a systemic response. It’s a misconception that when you inhale a drug it stays in the lungs.

As regards inhaled glucocorticoids, only two or three have been studied to find out if they can enhance performance. What we know is very limited.

More research is needed?

Yes, it is important for me to emphasise that there is not much research in this area. For instance, compared to blood doping, where there is maybe 100 studies [on the performance effects], there is only a handful of studies on glucocorticoids.

Are you breathing right?

Not all exercise-related breathing troubles are caused by asthma — as John Dickinson explains.

“Quite often, the problem is an athlete using too many accessory muscles to breathe; they switch from using breathing muscles in the chest to shoulder-breathing.

“This increases breath frequency but reduces the amount of air per breath and restricts chest wall movement.

“With these athletes, we work on generating a fast breath that is also a deep breath. Usually within four to eight weeks, we can correct a breathing dysfunction problem, or at least make some gains.”

Is there an optimum breathing rate?

It depends on the fitness of the individual, but even at VO2max, it should be somewhere between 45 and 60 breaths per minute, usually 50-60.

That’s at the very top end of exercise. If someone’s breathing at too fast a rate, they may experience dizziness, seeing stars — that’s an indication of over-breathing, breathing off too much carbon dioxide.

Any other common problems?

Sometimes it’s a laryngeal obstruction — when you hear people with a respiratory wheeze, that is usually the cause.

This is more to do with the way you are activating your breath. Lots of education needs to be done, more than anything.

Where to get tested

If you think you’re experiencing asthma-type symptoms during or after cycling, going to see your GP is not a bad first port of call, but don’t take it for granted that he or she will get to the root of the problem.

“Generally GPs will measure baseline lung function and sometimes just a peak- flow test,” says John Dickinson.

“Asthma can get missed. Our research suggests that going on baseline lung function alone is 50 per cent inaccurate.”

Assessing exercise-induced issues requires a respiratory test that involves or simulates exercise, adds Dickinson.

These tests can be carried out on the NHS but only in certain areas.

If you’re willing to pay, £400 gets you the full test (as detailed in this feature) plus assessment by a respiratory consultant at the Centre for Health and Human Performance, in Harley Street; email: info@chhp.com.

The test alone can be carried out for £216 at the University of Kent Respiratory Clinic, Medway Park Sports Centre, Gillingham; email: J.W.Dickinson@kent.ac.uk.


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Two days, two races, one missing bike: one rider’s hectic transfer from Strade Bianche to Paris-Nice

Orica-Scott’s Jens Keukeleire on his hectic transfer from Strade Bianche to Paris-Nice

A few weeks ago, after crashing on a training ride in Spain, it looked as if Jens Keukeleire could be out of action for much of the spring, but after he was given the all-clear on a suspected broken collarbone, the Belgian rider has been going full gas.

On Saturday the Orica-Scott rider took to the start line at Strade Bianche in Italy, and after being one of many riders to abandon the race, hot-footed it to northern France to make it to the start of Paris-Nice on Sunday.

In what perhaps wasn’t the best way of recovering from a tough race, Keukeleire took two flights on Saturday night, firstly from Florence to Rome, and then from Rome to Paris, and although the rider himself safely made it to the start line, one crucial piece of equipment wasn’t quite so lucky.


Watch: Paris-Nice stage one highlights


“Everything went very smoothly,” Keukeleire told Het Nieuwsblad before the opening stage of Paris-Nice.

“I did not have to rush and we even arrived earlier than expected in Paris. I was hoping to be in bed by 00:30, but at the baggage claim it went wrong.

“My luggage was present but not my bike. So I had to fill in many forms and still lost some time.”

Unfortunately Keukeleire’s bike is still missing, with the 28-year-old currently riding a spare bike that his team had brought to the race from Belgium.


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