Category Archives: Humor

I’ve been selected to represent the U.S. in a new event!

I’ve just learned that I’ve been selected to represent the United States in a new swimming event. This event will be a demonstration sport in the next Olympics, in 2016 in Rio. The hope is that if the event “brings in the crowds,” when 2020 comes around (Tokyo!), the event will become a full Olympic event.

The U.S. Olympic Committee, in their letter to me asking me to be on the team, told me that my years of experience in Russia helped them in their decision process when choosing me. I must say that I experienced quite a bit in my almost three years in Russia. Many, many nights of practice and working out. So glad I’ve finally been recognized for my special abilities.

Below is a video of the Estonian Olympic try-outs for this awesome new swimming event. Check it out!

She rears her head again

Diana Nyad has been in the news again recently. She’s doing a speech in conjunction with the release of her new book, humorously and apparently not sarcastically entitled Find A Way. In the promotional materials for her speech is this wonderful line:

Why, at age 64, was she able to achieve what she could not as a young Olympian?

Funny thing is, she’s never been to the Olympics. She is not an Olympian. After some of us in the marathon swimming community started discussing this falsehood, DN’s team went in and fixed the promotional materials. (Much like they did when we discovered the supposed 7+ hours she went without food or water on night #2 of her assisted Cuba-to-Florida swim in 2013.) Thankfully, a screenshot was taken by a fellow marathon swimmer.

This whole issue has led one of our more scientifically-leaning marathon swimmers to do a little math and come up with a new scientific law.

You can’t argue with science!

You know that feeling?


That feeling you get when you jump into cold water? That shortening of breath, the waking up of your capillaries? The cold feeling on your skin that is almost burning hot? Well, there’s a word for that. And the word is curglaff.

Yes, Mr. Computer, I see that squiggly red line under the word. I know it is not in your dictionary. But neither are so many other cool English words, like dasypygal and groak. Or jirble (which I am accused of often) and snoutfair (which I’m never accused of, sadly). All fun and cool words.

But none so appropriate to the majority of marathon swimmers than curglaff. What a great word.

Welcome home, cupcake!

We arrived home from Croatia on Sunday morning at around 11:00am. First thing I saw was an empty pool. Our gardener decided to wait until last Wednesday (the 5th) to drain the pool and clean it. You know, instead of doing that at anytime the previous three weeks since we left on 18 July. Doh! I mean good on him for keeping it clean, but really. Timing! I asked him yesterday to fill it back up, which he started last night, using the tried and true Kyrgyz traditional way of hooking up the garden hose to the neighbor’s water spigot. This morning, glory of glories, the pool was full! I went to work happy to know that tonight after work I’d swim. Hurray!

So I grabbed my new square-leg trunks I bought in Croatia (in baby blue, truly nauseating, but as my dear reader(s) recall, I blew a hole in my old ones at Raslina), swimp3, goggles, strap and readied myself for a nice hour-long swim. Till I put my legs in the water that is. Holy sh!t is that ever cold. I grabbed my handy-dandy thermometer that had been floating in the pool, under the sun all day and saw that the water temp was…wait for it…58F!  (That’s 14.4C to my non-American readers.) Wow! I hadn’t swum in that kinda water since 2011 for the Dart 10K. My God.

I tried, dear reader(s), I really did. I unstrapped myself after about half a song and went and got my swim cap. A nice black lycra number, hoping beyond hope that sun would beat down on the black of the cap and heat my head up. I actually did laps for a while, breast and free. Which in my tiny pool is about 3 strokes then flip. After a full song, the skin on my back and chest began to burn. No biggie, I just need to swim more. My arms actually felt good, so I thought I’d do a half-hour on the straps then call it a day.

Then for some reason, my ears filled up with the water and BAM! Immediate headache. It was overpowering. I felt immediately sick. I jumped out of the pool, which was a mistake because I almost fell down as soon as I stood up. My balance was way off. The cold must have really hit my middle ear. I ran into the sauna, which I thoughtfully turned on when I went for my swim cap. Nope, not warm enough, and I’m not sitting in a barely-warm sauna waiting for it to heat up. (I know…first world problems.) I turned it off and went inside.

In the end I did about 10 minutes in the cold water. I refuse to turn the pool heater on. I will get used to it and it will warm up with the weather. The water is just cold because it was recently filled up.  Right?

How to tell when an open water event is planned and organized by triathletes

Here’s a handy guide to help you decode open water swim event pages to determine whether or not the event has been planned and organized by triathletes.

  • Words: Does the registration page or event description include triathletey words, like IM, or Olympic distance. Is there mention of needing USAT insurance?
  • Pictures: Does the webpage have pictures of skinny, well-muscled athletes? Can you see any of the athletes’ abdomen muscles?
  • Distances: Is the swim 1500 meters?  Or 2.4 miles?
  • Wetsuits: Are wetsuits authorized? Are they voluntary or mandatory at ridiculously high water temps, like 84F?

If you’ve gotten past those tell-tale signs and are actually at the event, here’s how to tell if the event has been planned and organized by triathletes.

  • Other participants: Are the other swimmers lean, mean, athletic machines? Do they look like they could pose in an advertisement for running shoes? Do any of their cars have little stickers with a dotted-M on the bumper? Or an oval with 140.6?
  • Audible cues: Do you hear other swimmers talking about transitions? Do any of them mention how many weeks or months it has been since they’ve last swum? Do any of your fellow swimmers mention they are hoping they can swim all the requisite laps? Do any of them sigh or whine when the race director states the water is too warm for wetsuits?
  • During the swim: Do any of your competitors stand up and walk through shallow areas? Do any of them wear a pull buoy while swimming? Do some of your fellow swimmers cut the buoys? Or hang on the support kayaks?
  • Post swim activities: Do any of the swimmers arrive on their bikes, or set their bikes up at the finish as if they’re going to jump directly on their bike upon exiting the lake? Are any of your fellow swimmers late to the awards ceremony because they ran 10 miles after the swim?

If you answered Yes to any or all of the above questions, then you’re taking part in an open water swim put on by triathletes!

Now, all joking aside, participating in a triathlete-organized open water swim is not a bad thing. In fact, they can be very fun. And entertaining. Everything above I experienced during swims I’ve participated in the past. They’re still swims, and in most cases well organized fun swims. And unless you are an elite marathon swimmer, you probably don’t need to worry about whether the organizers split the results between skins and suits, or if one of your age group competitors cuts a buoy (although that’ll probably still piss you off).

And taking part in an open water swim with triathletes is a good opportunity to advertise the fun that is our sport. Wear a t-shirt from one of your long swims (long in your lingo, not long in theirs). Go skins despite the “cold” water temp of 72F. Who knows, your good attitude may just convert some of them to the most wonderful sport of marathon swimming!

Announcing the World Release of Iron Mike’s Dry Land Swimming Program

A select few of you dear reader(s) know what I’ve been working on the past year or so. To you all, I thank you for maintaining the secret. I knew you were the ones to trust. And without further ado, let’s get on with the announcement!

Today I am pleased to announce the world release of Iron Mike’s Dry Land Swimming Program(), also known as IMDLSP! IMDLSP is an innovative program to improve your open water swimming performance when you don’t have access to a traditional swimming area. Stuck in a land-locked country with unclean water? IMDLSP! Deployed to the Middle East and stuck in your forward-operating base? IMDLSP-Fobbit version! Just too tired to leave the house? IMDLSP with Equipment!

For too long, swimmers were stuck to certain geographical areas of the world, slaves to the elements. IMDLSP opens up the world to swimmers. No longer will you be stuck to living in over-priced beach-side villas, or in the ‘burbs with the accompanying pool and recreation center. No longer do you have to worry about others swimming in your lane (unless you want…more on this aspect of IMDLSP in a moment)! No longer will annoying kids or noodling grandmas take over the only swim lane in  your crappy little 20 yard neighborhood pool. You have been set free! Sure you could just do dry land training, but how many of us have dumbbells lying around?

IMDLSP‘s key is its use in any location. All you need is a DVD player or computer and about two square meters of space. And after you’ve used the DVD program a few times, you don’t even need the disc! (But we’ll give you reasons why you’ll want to keep the DVD for future practices; see below.) The DVD is the basic component of the program, but we here at Iron Mike Products have options in case you want to advance your open water swimming to the next level! But first, let’s talk about the DVD.

The DVD is region-free, meaning anyone, anywhere can use the IMDLSP! Here’s a look at the chapters in the DVD:

  • Introduction
  • Improve your freestyle for open water!
  • The start
  • Swimming in groups
  • Feeding and nutrition
  • Mistakes to avoid

But I’m sure you want to see what you’ll get for your money! So here are some actual screenshots from the DVD.

Screenshot from the chapter Improve your freestyle
Screenshot from the chapter Improve your freestyle
Screenshot from chapter on Swimming in groups


Screenshot from chapter on Feeding
Screenshot from chapter on Feeding
Bonus! Chapter on unique problems in long open water swims, like changing out of your wetsuit
Bonus! Chapter on unique problems in long open water swims, like changing out of your wetsuit

How about that, right?!  Wow! You probably want to order the IMDLSP now, but wait, don’t rush to the bottom of this post. There’s more!

If you act right now (the computer knows when you’ve gotten to this point, so you have only 10 seconds to comply), we’ll throw in one dry land swimming table like you see in the screenshots!

So, to review: You are getting a DVD complete with open water training that can be completed anywhere, anytime! But there’s more. Included in the IMDLSP is one throw, knitted by my grandma, just like in the screenshots.*

And I didn’t want to mention this yet, but I will. Very soon IMDLSP 2 will be available! For the real crazy open water swimmers out there. If you’re planning a 24+ hour-long open water swim, you’ll need to consider things like logistics, advanced feeding, extended exposure to salt water, social media, compiling a team of sycophants, acting, dealing with the media, and turning your swim into an off-Broadway play.

Here’s the best part. Buyers of IMDLSP will get first notice of the release of IMDLSP 2 as well as a 10% coupon! You cannot beat that deal!

So, hesitate no longer! Call today:  +996 01 555 7IM DLSP. Have your credit card ready (we only take Diner’s Card). We’ll tell you the price when you call. Don’t worry, you can claim the expense as part of your crew costs!

*Restrictions apply. Grandma only made one. It may already be sold when you call. Or thrown up on by the cat.

Here we go again

The publishers of Marie Clare magazine have voted on and published the “8 Greatest Moments for Women in Sports.” I rushed off to the website hoping beyond hope that Chloë McCardel’s historic longest ever unassisted swim would make the 8. After all, she swam 77.3 miles without any assistance, wearing only a standard textile swimsuit, goggles and one swim cap. She never touched her support boat. She never had help putting on any shark-deterring suit or creams, she never had help eating or drinking, she never got on her support boat due to sharks or lightening. She swam straight for 41 hours, 21 minutes.

Alas, no such luck. The folks at Marie Clare magazine did include a female open water swimmer in their list of 8 greatest moments for women in sports. Sadly, that woman is Diana Nyad.

Let’s get one thing straight. DN did an amazing thing, both in the water, and in the field of logistics. She did spend an incredibly long time in the water, 53-something hours. She did swim for most of that time, or all that time. Who the hell knows; she didn’t have an impartial observer. But I do believe she spent the vast majority, probably 40+ hours, of her swim actually in the water. If she spent the entire 53+ hours, then she’s probably done the longest assisted swim, or one of the longest. Who the hell knows; she didn’t have an impartial observer & her swim documentation is seriously lacking.

But to put DN in the same list with the likes of Billy Jean King, Nadia Comaneci and Mo’ne Davis is to lessen the accomplishments of the other seven. And why did MC put DN in that list? Crappy journalism, certainly. It takes work to actually read up on the sport of marathon swimming, then researching the spirit of marathon swimming and what that means, the rules, the people. It is much easier to simply search for amazing female swimmers. Why didn’t they find McCardel? Why not Janet Evans and her amazing 800m in 1988 [link Youtube video…ignore the hokey music, but look at her swim!]?

As if you need anymore evidence to their crappy journalism, check out some of these doozies that the editor didn’t catch:

Who could you forget Nyad?

…San Antoni Spurs are so effing lucky.

…she made that ocean her beotch.

This is what passes for journalism nowadays. Oy.

The ice has melted!

This is what my pool looked like a couple months ago.

frozen pool

Dear reader(s) remember that those bottles are Kyrgyzstan’s answer to draining pools during the winter. Those empty soda bottles contract when the ice expands. I paid about $20 for specialists to come in and winterize my pool. Maybe next year I’ll just do it myself. (Granted, I am supporting the local economy, so maybe next year I’ll just pay the 1000 som.)

Well, weather has been pretty nice lately, so here’s what the pool looks like now.


Look at those little guys floating around in the corner. So ready to get them out of there and do some swimming! Although we had snow just yesterday, and I just found this when I looked at the pool really closely.


That looks disgusting. And I don’t think I want to swim in that, even if the water did warm up higher than its current 38F. I’ll have to pay the gardener to get those experts back soon to clean the pool and make sure the pump is working because I’m not sure how much longer I can keep this one from jumping in.


Best commercial ever!

Someone had this posted on their Facebook, and I must say I wasn’t even going to play it. But since it was one of my OW swim friends, I thought it might be worth the two or so minutes of my life that the video will take from me.

I did my best searching the Interwebs for this Marco character. My bet is on this simply being a fictional character, a commercial filmed to look like it was recorded years ago. It’s a cute story and fun, with a bit of OW swimming in it.

But most of all I like it because it features two of my favorite things: Open water swimming and shaving my chest beer! There’s nothing like a Guinness after a swim. Dedicated dear reader(s) will remember that my first stop after my first 10K in Dartmouth, UK, was a local pub, where I think I went through two pints of Guinness. You know, to refuel the carbs I’d lost to that 14C water!