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Why there’s no such thing as a gifted child | Education | The Guardian
"Even Einstein was unexceptional in his youth. Now a new book questions our fixation with IQ and says adults can help almost any child become gifted"



"When Maryam Mirzakhani died at the tragically early age of 40 this month, the news stories talked of her as a genius. The only woman to win the Fields Medal – the mathematical equivalent of a Nobel prize – and a Stanford professor since the age of 31, this Iranian-born academic had been on a roll since she started winning gold medals at maths Olympiads in her teens.

It would be easy to assume that someone as special as Mirzakhani must have been one of those gifted children who excel from babyhood. The ones reading Harry Potter at five or admitted to Mensa not much later. The child that takes maths GCSE while still in single figures, or a rarity such as Ruth Lawrence, who was admitted to Oxford while her contemporaries were still in primary school.

But look closer and a different story emerges. Mirzakhani was born in Tehran, one of three siblings in a middle-class family whose father was an engineer. The only part of her childhood that was out of the ordinary was the Iran-Iraq war, which made life hard for the family in her early years. Thankfully it ended around the time she went to secondary school.

Mirzakhani, did go to a highly selective girls’ school but maths wasn’t her interest – reading was. She loved novels and would read anything she could lay her hands on; together with her best friend she would prowl the book stores on the way home from school for works to buy and consume.

As for maths, she did rather poorly at it for the first couple of years in her middle school, but became interested when her elder brother told her about what he’d learned. He shared a famous maths problem from a magazine that fascinated her – and she was hooked. The rest is mathematical history.

Is her background unusual? Apparently not. Most Nobel laureates were unexceptional in childhood. Einstein was slow to talk and was dubbed the dopey one by the family maid. He failed the general part of the entry test to Zurich Polytechnic – though they let him in because of high physics and maths scores. He struggled at work initially, failing to get academic post and being passed over for promotion at the Swiss Patent Office because he wasn’t good enough at machine technology. But he kept plugging away and eventually rewrote the laws of Newtonian mechanics with his theory of relativity.

Lewis Terman, a pioneering American educational psychologist, set up a study in 1921 following 1,470 Californians, who excelled in the newly available IQ tests, throughout their lives. None ended up as the great thinkers of their age that Terman expected they would. But he did miss two future Nobel prize winners – Luis Alvarez and William Shockley, both physicists – whom he dismissed from the study as their test scores were not high enough.

There is a canon of research on high performance, built over the last century, that suggests it goes way beyond tested intelligence. On top of that, research is clear that brains are malleable, new neural pathways can be forged, and IQ isn’t fixed. Just because you can read Harry Potter at five doesn’t mean you will still be ahead of your contemporaries in your teens.

According to my colleague, Prof Deborah Eyre, with whom I’ve collaborated on the book Great Minds and How to Grow Them, the latest neuroscience and psychological research suggests most people, unless they are cognitively impaired, can reach standards of performance associated in school with the gifted and talented. However, they must be taught the right attitudes and approaches to their learning and develop the attributes of high performers – curiosity, persistence and hard work, for example – an approach Eyre calls “high performance learning”. Critically, they need the right support in developing those approaches at home as well as at school.

So, is there even such a thing as a gifted child? It is a highly contested area. Prof Anders Ericsson, an eminent education psychologist at Florida State University, is the co-author of Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise. After research going back to 1980 into diverse achievements, from music to memory to sport, he doesn’t think unique and innate talents are at the heart of performance. Deliberate practice, that stretches you every step of the way, and around 10,000 hours of it, is what produces the expert. It’s not a magic number – the highest performers move on to doing a whole lot more, of course, and, like Mirzakhani, often find their own unique perspective along the way.

Ericsson’s memory research is particularly interesting because random students, trained in memory techniques for the study, went on to outperform others thought to have innately superior memories – those you might call gifted.

He got into the idea of researching the effects of deliberate practice because of an incident at school, in which he was beaten at chess by someone who used to lose to him. His opponent had clearly practised.

But it is perhaps the work of Benjamin Bloom, another distinguished American educationist working in the 1980s, that gives the most pause for thought and underscores the idea that family is intrinsically important to the concept of high performance.

Bloom’s team looked at a group of extraordinarily high achieving people in disciplines as varied as ballet, swimming, piano, tennis, maths, sculpture and neurology, and interviewed not only the individuals but their parents, too.

He found a pattern of parents encouraging and supporting their children, in particular in areas they enjoyed themselves. Bloom’s outstanding adults had worked very hard and consistently at something they had become hooked on young, and their parents all emerged as having strong work ethics themselves.

While the jury is out on giftedness being innate and other factors potentially making the difference, what is certain is that the behaviours associated with high levels of performance are replicable and most can be taught – even traits such as curiosity.

Eyre says we know how high performers learn. From that she has developed a high performing learning approach that brings together in one package what she calls the advanced cognitive characteristics, and the values, attitudes and attributes of high performance. She is working on the package with a group of pioneer schools, both in Britain and abroad.

But the system needs to be adopted by families, too, to ensure widespread success across classes and cultures. Research in Britain shows the difference parents make if they take part in simple activities pre-school in the home, supporting reading for example. That support shows through years later in better A-level results, according to the Effective Pre-School, Primary and Secondary study, conducted over 15 years by a team from Oxford and London universities.

Eye-opening spin-off research, which looked in detail at 24 of the 3,000 individuals being studied who were succeeding against the odds, found something remarkable about what was going in at home. Half were on free school meals because of poverty, more than half were living with a single parent, and four in five were living in deprived areas.

The interviews uncovered strong evidence of an adult or adults in the child’s life who valued and supported education, either in the immediate or extended family or in the child’s wider community. Children talked about the need to work hard at school and to listen in class and keep trying. They referenced key adults who had encouraged those attitudes.

Einstein, the epitome of a genius, clearly had curiosity, character and determination. He struggled against rejection in early life but was undeterred. Did he think he was a genius or even gifted? No. He once wrote: “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer. Most people say that it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong: it is character.”

And what about Mirzakhani? Her published quotations show someone who was curious and excited by what she did and resilient. One comment sums it up. “Of course, the most rewarding part is the ‘Aha’ moment, the excitement of discovery and enjoyment of understanding something new – the feeling of being on top of a hill and having a clear view. But most of the time, doing mathematics for me is like being on a long hike with no trail and no end in sight.”

The trail took her to the heights of original research into mathematics in a cruelly short life. That sounds like unassailable character. Perhaps that was her gift."
sfsh  parenting  gifted  precocity  children  prodigies  2017  curiosity  rejection  resilience  maryammirzakhani  childhood  math  mathematics  reading  slowlearning  lewisterman  iq  iqtests  tests  testing  luisalvarez  williamshockley  learning  howwelearn  deboraheyre  wendyberliner  neuroscience  psychology  attitude  persistence  hardwork  workethic  andersericsson  performance  practice  benjaminbloom  education  ballet  swimming  piano  tennis  sculpture  neurology  encouragement  support  giftedness  behavior  mindset  genius  character  determination  alberteinstein 
july 2017 by robertogreco
BBC World Service - The Compass, Where Are You Going?, Where Are You Going: Reykjavik
[via: "Simple conceit, great radio. 'Where are you going?'"
https://twitter.com/justinpickard/status/878376504064790529 ]

"Where Are You Going: Reykjavik
The Compass, Where Are You Going? Episode 2 of 3"

In the world’s northernmost capital, Reykjavik, Catherine Carr talks to a swimmer bequeathed a poignant request from a friend, to the shopkeeper who makes beautiful handbags out of fish skin; from the sister who makes an apology to a sibling with fresh pastries, to the roller derby girls walking on thin ice. These portraits capture something of the city’s DNA, its sense of isolation, mythical beauty and rugged adventure."

[See also:

"Where Are You Going: Hong Kong
The Compass, Where Are You Going? Episode 3 of 3"
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p055v3d4

In a city where East meets West and old meets new, Catherine randomly approaches a man in a taxi queue to ask him about where he is going. A funny conversation about the parcel he is taking to a friend soon leads to a riveting account of his near-death experience. Such is the currency of this series where strangers reveal unexpected details about their lives. Catherine also chats to an exhausted Philippine maid enjoying downtime with her friends, meets the “Lolita Goths” who want to feel like princesses and the devoted gay couple who wooed each other with love letters.

These snapshots of people’ lives, mixed with an evocative soundscape of the city create an audio collage which is an unpredictable and poetic listen.



"Where Are You Going: Brussels
The Compass, Where Are You Going? Episode 1 of 3"
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p054gp23

An interrupted journey is like a portal into somebody else’s life. Catherine Carr interrupts strangers on everyday journeys asks them where they are going. The encounters which follow reveal funny, poignant and sometimes astonishing details about the lives of others.

In cosmopolitan Brussels, she meets a multilingual Bulgarian translator who is mad about dancing and whose wife thinks he’s “a little bit weird” – not least because he is openly gay. In a freezing park, we bump into a choreographer who is doing his best to help a vulnerable young Romanian man. And on the cobbled streets of the European capital, a young couple on a mini-break are starting to realise they are in love."]
classideas  radio  audio  people  cities  reykjavík  hongkong  brussels  2017  catherinecarr  iceland  swimming  swimmingpools 
june 2017 by robertogreco
People Of Color And Being Outside In Nature : Code Switch : NPR
"As the weather teeters between 1997 DJ Jazzy Jeff and 2002 Nelly, we've been spending a lot of time staring out the window, wishing to be anywhere but inside: the beach, the pool, the basketball court, Grand Teton National Park.

Well, maybe not that last one. Truth is, people of color aren't heading to national parks in droves. In fact, according to the National Park Service, last year about 80 percent of all national parks visitors, volunteers and staff were white.

And as this Funny or Die video gets at, REI-inspired activities like mountain biking, skiing and whitewater rafting don't really pull in the POCs, either.

But hold on a sec. People of color hang out outside all the time. Aren't we the champions of cookouts, supreme at summer block parties? Critics of anti-loitering laws say they're aimed at keeping us from hanging outside too much, and Mexicans and Mexican-Americans make up the vast majority of people who work the land for food.

Oh, right. Those last two are where it starts getting complicated. There are real reasons, both historical and contemporary, that can make stepping outside in your free time while black or brown a politically charged move.

At the same time, there are some really interesting organizations and individuals pushing the boundaries of what "being outdoorsy" looks like, and we wanted to know what they're up to.

So join us for the Code Switch Podcast, Episode 2: Made For You And Me, as we explore what it means to be a person of color outdoors. Listen as you hike, garden, or stare blankly at the walls of your windowless cubicle, waiting for the weekend."
outdoors  us  race  bikes  biking  2016  losangeles  sanfrancisco  pasadena  swimming  swimmingpools  camping  nationalparks  immigration  refugees  gardens  adrianflorido  shereenmarisolmeraji  leahdonnella 
may 2017 by robertogreco
The Good Thief by Ian Caldwell | On Being
"I lasted two or three months on my college team before the lesson took full root: I was not the one. I stayed on the varsity squad just long enough to attend one particular team meeting, overseen by the head coach in one of the training rooms by the pool, that turned out to be a proselytizing session by a campus Christian group, Athletes in Action. At the end of it, we were asked to sign up for Bible study. We freshmen, in the spirit of compliance, agreed.

I had arrived at Princeton a confident atheist. Now, twice a week, I was visited by a former college wrestler named Brian, who came to my dorm room with Bible in hand to discuss scripture in an Evangelical framework, teasing the sense from passages in Paul and then recommending books by C.S. Lewis that would help me understand the general thrust. All of this was odious in a way I couldn’t quite put my finger on. To be mistaken for a person who would commit so deeply to something so dubious, on the basis of conversations so superficial, seemed patronizing, except that it was obviously the honest mistake of someone who happened to be such a person himself. Out of fellowship and charity, Brian was offering to me what had meant so much to him. He was capable of looking at me and seeing a younger version of himself.

This was my first taste of the loss. My demotion from student-athlete to mere student came with a great sense of abandonment. So many years, so much struggle and sacrifice: How could it now be invisible? What I had done in the swimming pool, year after year, was surely one of the most important testaments I had written about myself, and, even if it had ended, it remained a guidepost to more invisible, more abiding qualities in me. I felt angry and afraid that a fellow athlete — who must have understood what it meant to be relentless and striving, never satisfied, intent on the hard way — could think I would be persuaded by a hasty reading of a few haphazard Bible verses. I felt compelled to show him his mistake."



"It was my wife who decided the time had come for swimming lessons. The class at the rec center was for parents to stand in the shallow end and raise and lower their infants into the water. This was silly, but I agreed. In parenting a baby, as in training for a distance race, the sets and intervals are really just illusions. They create a tolerable reality out of what is really a long, undifferentiated test of will. Swimming classes are not for the drowning child. They are for the drowning parent."



"Matthew and Luke are believed to have been written around the same time, and both by the same process: weaving together the earlier Gospel of Mark with a second document that recorded Jesus’s teachings. Considering this, the differences between them seemed stark. Matthew had placed so much stress on comparing Jesus to Moses; Luke placed very little. Luke’s audience must have been Gentile, since, in addition to this lack of emphasis on Moses, Luke simplifies or has to explain his “Jewish” material, as if his readers are not familiar with it. Perhaps for this same reason, Matthew’s bitterness and frustration — the gall of abandonment felt by a Jewish Christian toward fellow Jews who refused Jesus — is much harder to find in Luke.

Instead, Luke radiates love. His theme, more than that of any other gospel, is the innate goodness of people, a subject he is able to find everywhere. Eleven of Jesus’s parables exist in no other gospel but Luke, including two of the most famous: the Good Samaritan, about the unexpected mercy of our presumed enemies; and the Prodigal Son, about a wayward young man who returns home in shame, having wasted his inheritance, only to find that his father’s love and forgiveness are bottomless. This optimism and generosity are pervasive in Luke. It is hard not to feel that, in this author, Jesus has found the ideal messenger, a man able to see past misfortunes in order to keep heartfelt faith in a radical, transformative love.

The contrast between Matthew and Luke hits hardest at the end, where Matthew’s love of Jesus, and anger at Jesus’s death, leads him to those words seemingly bereft of redemption or forgiveness: “His blood be upon us and upon our children.” Matthew does not even change the devastating final words of Jesus on the cross, as reported by the Gospel of Mark: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Rather, it is Luke who changes them. And it is in Luke’s improbable version of the crucifixion that I see Jesus most vividly: as the hero of mercy and embodiment of love; as the man intent on seeing the goodness in us even when we give him no reason.

I see, also, Luke himself: his own mercy and love, his capacity to overlook the horror Matthew could not. As Jesus dies on the cross, crucified with two thieves, Luke adds a final story found in no other gospel:
“Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, ‘Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.’ The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, ‘Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Jesus replied to him, ‘Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.'”

Today I have three sons. The oldest are nine and seven. They are competitive swimmers.

At one of their practices, I recently discovered a group of adults training in the adjacent lane. So I bought a new suit and joined them. For the first time in two decades, I have a practice group.

These days I swim side by side with my boys, separated only by a lane rope. When the old feeling returns, that the pool is infinite and the lap endless, I peer through the murk of the next lane and I wait for a glimpse of them.

How hard they work for every yard. How desperately they want air but force themselves not to breathe. Every once in a while, they catch me watching. And when they do, they try to keep up. Their arms spin faster, their kicks start to beat the water white. Unconsciously, as if they have inherited this instinct, they veer over toward the lane rope between us. They draft off me.

The final words of Jesus on the cross, according to the Gospel of Luke, are: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” I push forward. Stroke on stroke, I try to part the water."
iancaldwell  swimming  srg  edg  education  bible  hypoxictraining  parenting  2017  abandonment  atheism 
april 2017 by robertogreco
Cooling off in the vast and overflowing public pools of New York City
"In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt began to introduce the New Deal, a series of economic and social programs designed to pull the United States out of the Great Depression.

The New Deal era saw an explosion of federally sponsored public works projects. After the construction of highways, the largest share of New Deal spending went to the creation of public parks and recreation areas.

In New York City, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia appointed Robert Moses the sole commissioner of the Parks Department. Moses assembled an army of designers, engineers and construction supervisors and oversaw the creation of hundreds of playgrounds, 53 recreational buildings, 10 golf courses and three zoos in just a few years.

To the great relief of New Yorkers in the sweltering summer of 1936, the city also opened 11 enormous outdoor pools with an average capacity of 5,000 people. These photos from the NYC Parks Department Photo Archive capture the ecstatic crowds that flocked to these urban oases."
nyc  swimmingpools  swimming  1930s  newdeal  us  fdr 
november 2016 by robertogreco
How Racism Kept The World's Fastest Swim Stroke Out Of The Pool | Atlas Obscura
"We've known since 1844 that freestyle is a superior stroke."

"On April 20, 1844, two men from North America jumped into the Bath in High Holborn, a 130-foot pool in London. They were there to show how fast they could go.

The British Swimming Society had invited the two men, Wenishkaweabee and Sahma, Ojibwe people from Canada, to compete against each other for a silver medal. Both times that the two swimmers raced the length of the pool, Wenishkaweabee won; in the first race, he was seven feet ahead. But the contest between the two men was less significant than the speed with which they both crossed the pool, in under 30 seconds.

Far from being wowed by this very impressive time, though, the British press found the two swimmers’ movements “grotesque.” The Ojibwe men hit the water “violently,” one paper reported, with their arms thrashing, “like the sails of a windmill,” as they “beat downward with their feet.”

The real contest that day was not between the two swimmers, but between their style of swimming—what we now call front crawl, or freestyle—and the breaststroke favored by the British.

There’s no clear beginning to the history of swimming: art going back millennia shows people moving through the water. But from the earliest representations of swimming, there has been a clear contest between two major swimming strokes. Either people are doing a dog-style paddle or the front crawl.

Today, there are just four competitive swim strokes—breaststroke, front crawl, back stroke, and butterfly. In the past, swimmers sometimes used sidestroke to race, too. Although the breaststroke and front crawl have probably been around since prehistoric times, they are changing as elite athletes and their coaches study how bodies move through the water.

"The breaststroke and the freestyle that you see today are different than 100 years ago," says George Edelman, a physical therapist, who's worked with the USA Swimming Sports Medicine and Science Network for 16 years.

Breaststroke, in particular, keeps being refined. The butterfly stroke was originally an innovation in breaststroke, and earlier in the 20th century, breaststroke swimmers tried to spend as much time as possible under the surface of the water, before competitive rules were changed to require the swimmer's head to poke out of the water periodically. More recently, says Edelman, breaststroke swimmers figured out how to swim higher in the water, reducing drag.

But in essence these strokes have stayed the same. The task of a swimmer is twofold—maximize propulsion forward, minimize drag against the body—and while tweaks in design can improve efficiency on the margins, there are a limited number of ways to send the human body quickly through water.

Just as cars retain more or less the same, most efficient aerodynamic shape, so do swim strokes. Humans' breaststroke is essentially just a refinement of the basic survival paddle that we learned from animals—it keeps your body moving and your head above water. Front crawl, though, is designed to move fast.

When using a front crawl stroke, a swimmer constantly has one arm pulling against the water, propelling the body forward. Most of the forward motion comes from that work in the arms, but a freestyle swimmer can kick constantly, too. The swimmer is buoyant on the surface of the water and their body streamlined—limbs and torso stay in one straight line.

Breaststroke, by contrast, is wide. The swimmer’s hips are dropped lower into the water, and the arms move not just forward but out, on a horizontal plane. The kick, too, brings the swimmer’s thighs forwards, increasing the surface area of the body that’s moving against the water. All that adds up to increased drag—and slower movement.

Plus, in an efficient breaststroke, the swimmer is neither constantly pulling nor constantly kicking. "It’s pull, kick, pull, kick," says Edelman. The nature and mechanics of the stroke make it slower.

One of the earliest depictions of Europeans swimming, found in Greece, shows the breaststroke. But by 500 B.C. or so, artistic images of swimming indicate that Greek people had learned to front crawl. By the 19th century, though, Europeans had lost that skill.

The British were just starting to swim for sport, using the breaststroke, backstroke, and sidestroke, and they were amazed at reports coming from around the world of people in the Americas and the South Pacific moving quickly through the water using an entirely different technique.

In 1844, the British were not ready to admit that an “un-European” style of swimming could beat theirs. After the second race between Wenishkaweabee and Sahma, a British competitor, Harold Kenworthy, challenged them to another race, the third in 10 minutes. He won—but probably only because his competitors were tired out."
swimming  history  srg  edg  2016  1844  racism  ojibwe  race  olympics 
august 2016 by robertogreco
Pool of Thought - The New York Times
"THERE is no drug — recreational or prescription — capable of inducing the tranquil euphoria brought on by swimming. I do all my best thinking in the pool, whether I’m trying to figure out how to treat a patient’s complicated ailment or write a paper. Why that is is mysterious, but I have a theory.

Assuming you have some basic stroke proficiency, your attention is freed from the outside world. You just have to dimly sense the approaching wall before you flip turn and go on your way. Cut off from sound, you are mostly aware of your breathing. You have to traverse boredom before you can get to a state of mental flow. Now your mind is free to revel in nonlinear, associative thought. Nothing has to make sense. You suddenly become aware that time has passed. You are not sure what elapsed in that strange discontinuity, but the solution to a problem that escaped you on land is perfectly obvious emerging from the water — a rapturous experience.

I could flood you with facts about the physiology of swimming in an attempt to convince you of its cognitive benefits. Some point to endorphins — but the idea that exertion causes endorphin levels to rise in the brain seems to be a myth. Perhaps swimming improves brain function by increasing blood flow? Sure, that’s true. It also raises the level of BDNF, a protein that promotes neurogenesis, especially in the hippocampus, which supports memory. But so does nearly every form of exercise that speeds up your heart rate.

And yet, immersion in water up to the level of the heart has been shown to increase blood flow to one of the brain’s major arteries by 14 percent over that which you’d expect on land. So perhaps there is something special about swimming that is distinct from exercise on land.

Some of my psychoanalytically oriented colleagues have joked that swimming promotes an emotional regression — back to “swimming” in utero. I love the notion, but considering that the brain regions central to encoding long-term memory don’t develop sufficiently until around age 1, it’s unlikely.

My love of swimming is as emotional as it is intellectual. My father, who was a great swimmer, taught me to swim when I was very young. We swam together in every conceivable body of water for years, so swimming is inextricably bound to my relationship with my father, who was an engineer and a deeply curious person.

Though we never discussed it, I suspect that he, too, swam not just for health, but to think. He would return from a long swim and disappear into his office, emerging hours later excited about an insight into a new technology or instrument.

A few years back, my husband and I celebrated on our honeymoon by swimming from Europe to Asia across the Dardanelles — the Hellespont of Greek myth. It was about a two-and-a-half-mile swim in some of the most beautiful cool azure water, so I had plenty of time to think.

Halfway across, I looked up and could see the coast of Canakkale, Turkey, in the distance, and realized I had 40 minutes or so more to finish. I found myself thinking of my father, as I often do in the water, and pictured his powerful, graceful stroke. Next thing I knew, I had reached land."

[via: http://www.deliberate.rest/?p=966 ]
swimming  richardfriedman  2016  immersion  euphoria  psychology  nonlinear  discontinuity  beathing  senses  thinking  flow  howwethink  non-linear  alinear  linearity 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Ken Schwencke Maps the Swimming Pools of Los Angeles County - CityLab
"Peering out over Los Angeles from an airplane window, it’s hard to miss the swimming pools. Hundreds of thousands of sparkling blue blobs patch the county’s landscape—though not evenly.

In Southern California, where both space and water are getting rarer by the day, pool ownership rates are a “decent proxy for neighborhood wealth,” writes the journalist and mapmaker Ken Schwencke, who has mapped this familiar story of chlorinated class politics at the data-visualization site The Thrust. Visitors can click and roam endlessly through aerial views of L.A. pools (thinking, maybe, of John Cheever’s famous short story, “The Swimmer,” which forever linked suburban pools with delusions of class hierarchy.)

Sifting through statistics from the L.A. County Assessor’s Office, Schwencke found that L.A. county contains roughly 250,000 swimming pools, 96 percent of which are attached to single-family homes. All told, 18 percent of homes countywide have a pool, and most of them are in more affluent suburban areas, such as the Hollywood Hills and the large swathes of the San Fernando Valley. Schwencke tells CityLab via email that fully 87 percent of homes in Hidden Hills (home to the Kardashians) have pools, while Bel Air and Beverly Hills are at 66 and 60 percent, respectively. But in neighborhoods south and east of downtown L.A., such as MacArthur park and Vermont Vista, ”you can go for blocks without seeing a private pool,” Schwencke writes. “Some of the ones that [do exist], are filled with refuse.”

Pool ownership isn’t just about money; it’s also about race. Across the country, desegregation played an important role in the rise of private swimming pools after 1950, as the historian Jeff Wiltse argues in his 2007 book, Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America:

Although many whites abandoned desegregated public pools, most did not stop swimming. Instead, they built private pools, both club and residential, and swam in them … . Suburbanites organized private club pools rather than fund public pools because club pools enabled them to control the class and racial composition of swimmers, whereas public pools did not.

It would be even better if Schwencke’s map tool included more data on income and racial make-up in pool-dense and pool-sparse neighborhoods across L.A. But virtually diving in and out of the county’s swimming spots still makes for a powerful exercise. Also check out the map of L.A. pool density that Schwencke shared with CityLab, at top."
maps  mapping  losangeles  swimmingpools  swimming  race  class  money  inequality  socal  kenschwencke  data 
may 2016 by robertogreco
Iceland’s Water Cure - The New York Times
"Can the secret to the country’s happiness be found in its communal pools?"
iceland  swimming  water  pools  swimmingpools  2016 
april 2016 by robertogreco
Institute for Computer Graphics: Computer Animation and Visualization of Olympic Swimmers
"A logical extension of current conventional videographic analysis of swimming is threedimensional (3D) computer animation and visualization. Recent advances in computer graphics now make it possible construct realistic, 3D animated computer models of swimmers, which can then be used for a detailed analysis of swimming technique by coaches and athletes. This kind of approach has been used in a variety of domains including biomechanics to analyze human gait. Such an approach would be able to answer questions that 2D video or live action cannot answer.

For example, precisely how is the motion of one swimmer different from another? How do the various body parts move during a stroke? 3D animations could also become an invaluable tool for training athletes. Simple models of fluid forces could also be included into these animated model and used for rapid assessment of various strokes. Finally, 3D animations can also provide body motion data that can be fed into the CFD analysis described above. Preliminary proof-of-concept work in this direction has already been done by the group using body-scan and videographic data provided by USA Swimming, and adjacent figure shows a multi-exposure view of a 3D computer model captured from video of a real swimmer executing a dolphin kick. This model can be made to move precisely like the athlete in question. The model can then be measured and visualized to give a variety of information about the swimmer and this would be difficult to do using conventional video analysis. For instance, the red line in the figure traces the motion of the toe and the animation can also be viewed from any direction as shown in the lower figures in order to examine in detail, the various stages in the stroke.

Currently, several swimming motions such as backstroke are being added to the motion library, and the visualization application has several tools for comparison and analysis of different styles of swimming motion.

Participants: Can Kirmizibayrak, James Hahn"
swimming  visualization  srg  edg 
september 2015 by robertogreco
UNC Press - Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America, by Jeff Wiltse.
"Jeff Wiltse, author of Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America, dives into the untold story behind taking a dip.

Q: How did you get the idea for this book? What inspired your research?

A: The idea literally came to me in a dream over Thanksgiving weekend in 1996. I awoke early Saturday morning in the midst of a dream in which I was writing about the swimming pool I frequented as a child. I immediately wondered what the history of swimming pools was more generally and presumed it must be interesting and worth researching. The first person I mentioned the idea to—my then girlfriend and now wife—laughed at me incredulously. I told her to wait and see. When I soon discovered that no one had previously written on the topic, I knew I was onto something.

Q: Are you a swimmer?

A: I never swam competitively, but I spent countless summer days at the local pool during my childhood. I vaguely understood even then, as I snuck glances at pretty girls and chatted with friends and neighbors, that swimming pools were uniquely intimate and sociable spaces. My most vivid memories from childhood are of time spent at the pool: being thrown up in the air and into the water by my father, showing off to impress girls, beating all comers at pickleball, and trading baseball cards on the pool deck. In many ways I grew up at the local swimming pool.

Q: Contested Waters focuses primarily on the northern United States. Why?

A: I quickly realized that the research for this project would require me driving from city to city and town to town searching for sources in local libraries and archives. Limiting the project to the northern United States made this type of on-the-road research more manageable. I also focused on the North because I wanted to tell a coherent story rather than interpret regional variations. As it turned out, what happened at swimming pools throughout the North, whether in Chicago and St. Louis or Newton, Kansas and Elizabeth, New Jersey, was all quite similar.

Q: When and where did the first municipal outdoor pool open? What was its purpose?

A: Philadelphia opened the first outdoor municipal pool that I have identified in the United States on June 24, 1883, at the corner of Twelfth and Wharton Streets. City officials intended for the pool to function essentially as a large public bathtub for working-class residents, who lacked bathing facilities in their homes. The local boys and young men, however, flocked to the pool in order to roughhouse and play in the water, just as working-class boys had done for generations in the rivers around Philadelphia. Four days after it opened, the swimmers waiting in line outside the "bath" rioted when the superintendent told them that they would not be admitted that evening. Enraged, the fifty young men tore the bathhouse door from its hinges and knocked down the fence surrounding the pool. Police officers eventually restored order "with a liberal application of their clubs." This was an apt beginning to the often contentious history of municipal pools in America.

Q: When and why did the rule of showering before entering a pool come into effect?

A: Since the earliest municipal pools were intended to be public baths, the facilities did not contain showers as the pool itself was the instrument of cleaning. Dirty bathers plunged into the water and rubbed their skin clean. Cities first installed showers at pools during the mid-to-late 1890s in response to popular acceptance of the germ theory of disease transmission. Once it became known that the source of diseases was invisible microbes that could be transmitted through water, pools suddenly became obsolete and downright dangerous as baths. Consequently cities added showers to the changing rooms, so swimmers would be clean before entering the water, and redefined pools as sport and fitness facilities. Some cities even hired doctors to inspect swimmers as they exited the showers to ensure they were thoroughly clean and did not show obvious signs of disease.

Q: According to Contested Waters, early pools were often segregated by class. How was this accomplished?

A: Public officials used two primary means to encourage class segregation at municipal pools: location and admission fees. Most often, cities located early pools within thoroughly class-bound residential neighborhoods. Pools located in residential slums attracted only poor and working-class swimmers. Pools located within middle-class enclaves mostly drew swimmers from the surrounding homes. In cases where early pools were centrally located, public officials resorted to admission fees to separate rich swimmers from poor. In some cases fees were used to exclude the working classes entirely. In others, cities implemented graduated fee schedules that separated the classes in their use of the same pool. In Brookline, Massachusetts, for example, the town's poor swam when admission was free, the middle class typically chose to swim when admission cost fifteen cents, and the wealthy swam on the one night each week when admission cost fifty cents.

Q: When and why did pools become segregated by race?

A: During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, blacks and whites commonly swam together at municipal pools in the North. By contrast pools were strictly segregated along gender lines. Municipal pools throughout the North became racially segregated during the 1920s and 1930s, during the same time that cities permitted males and females to swim together. Gender integration was the most direct cause of racial segregation at municipal pools in the North. Most northern whites did not want black men to have the opportunity to interact with white women at such visually and physically intimate public spaces. A secondary cause of racial segregation was increasing concerns among northern whites that blacks en masse were dirty and more likely than whites to be infected by communicable diseases.

Q: You mention that in the early twentieth century, it took ten yards of material to make a woman's swimsuit. By 1940, it took only one yard of material to make a suit. What accounts for the shrinkage of the American swimsuit?

A: In part the shrinking size of swimsuits reflected the more general cultural liberalization of the era, especially during the 1920s. More particularly, the acceptable size of swimsuits shrank between 1920 and 1940 for three main reasons. Young women contributed to the downsizing by persistently wearing swimsuits that pushed the boundaries of public decency. At first immodest swimmers were ejected from pools and sometimes even fined. But, as one public official explained, skimpy swimsuits must be "the trend of the times," and who was he to defy "popular demand for such bathing suits." Second, swimsuit manufacturers spurred the market for skimpy swimsuits during this period through advertising campaigns.

Jantzen, for example, started marketing its mass-produced swimsuits as fashion garments, encouraging women in particular to buy a new suit each year rather than wear "last year's style." For this strategy to work, the company had to create new styles each season. Sometimes it introduced new colors or added a frill, but most often it trimmed the suit down so that it covered less of the body.

Finally, Hollywood movies influenced swimsuit trends and cultural attitudes about proper dress. The swimsuits actresses wore onscreen inspired considerable imitation. Movies also helped refashion cultural attitudes about proper dress by exposing millions of Americans to swimsuits that challenged existing standards. Having already been revealed onscreen, skimpy and tight-fitting styles seemed more conventional when they appeared at the local pool.

Q: When did bathing beauty pageants come into vogue?

A: Bathing beauty contests were first staged at municipal swimming pools in the late 1920s. Typically a dozen or so teenage girls paraded before a mixed-gender crowd of ogling spectators wearing skimpy, tight-fitting swimsuits. The sanctioning of these community events indicates that by the late 1920s public objectification of women's bodies had become socially acceptable in America. The beauty contests also hint at a fundamental change in the meaning of public decency. By the 1920s public decency had come to mean exhibiting an attractive, even eye-catching, appearance rather than protecting one's modesty. This cultural shift was conspicuously apparent at the nation's swimming pools.

Q: What was the most surprising discovery to emerge from your research?

A: When I started the project I did not realize how popular municipal swimming pools were between 1920 and 1950. Each year tens of millions of Americans swam in municipal pools. Many of the pools were enormous, some larger than football fields. San Francisco's Fleischhacker Pool, for example, was 1,000 feet long and 150 feet wide. There is a picture in the book showing a lifeguard patrolling the pool in a rowboat. Fairgrounds Park Pool in St. Louis was a circular pool 400 feet in diameter. According to newspaper reports, 50,000 people visited it one Saturday shortly after it openedÑ25,000 to swim and 25,000 more to watch. In many cities and towns the pools were vital social and cultural institutions that served as centers of community life during the summer.

Q: What accounts for the popularity of backyard residential pools beginning in the 1950s?

A: There are several explanations for the backyard-pool boom during the postwar period. Rising middle-class salaries, a less expensive pool construction technique called the Gunite method, and the proliferation of suburban homes with large backyards all created the material conditions necessary for many American families to install residential pools. Furthermore, backyard pools appealed to suburbanites because they promised to strengthen family relationships by providing an at-home space for the whole family to recreate; they advertised success and upward mobility; and they enabled owners to control their … [more]
books  via:jannon  srg  edg  glvo  swimmingpools  history  us  swimming  race  segregation  desegregation  jeffwiltse 
june 2015 by robertogreco
McKinney, Texas, and the Racial History of American Swimming Pools - The Atlantic
"Backyard pools and private clubs only proliferated after municipal pools were forcibly desegregated."
yoniappelbaum  swimming  us  race  segregation  swimmingpools  2015  desegregation  racism  edg  srg  glvo 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Who Gets To Hang Out At The Pool? | WNPR News
"But as others have noted, this story brings up a decades-old American drama around race and swimming pools, featuring racial gatekeepers who opted to privatize public spaces rather than integrate them. It's worth revisiting that history as we try to make sense of McKinney.

Jeff Wiltse, the author of the book Contested Waters, told NPR in 2007 that the early 20th century saw a boom in public swimming pools, which were originally intended for bathing and hygiene. These new municipal pools were enormously popular, but they were separated by gender over fears of sexual impropriety. And like so many other public resources, these new pools were concentrated in white neighborhoods.

"There has always been fear, in terms of using swimming pools, about being exposed to the dirt and the disease of other swimmers," Wiltse said. "And back during the 1920s and 1930s, and ... continuing on even further up from there, there were racist assumptions that black Americans were dirtier than whites, that they were more likely to be infected by communicable diseases." (There's a famous story about the time Sammy Davis Jr. swam in a whites-only pool in Las Vegas, prompting the manager to immediately drain it afterward.)

But those big public pools eventually became mixed-gender pools, unleashing even deeper-seated fears about what might happen if black men and white women went swimming together. "Whites in many cases literally beat blacks out of the water at gender-integrated pools because they would not permit black men to interact with white women at such intimate public spaces," Wiltse writes. "Thus, municipal pools in the North continued to be intensely contested after 1920, but the lines of social division shifted from class and gender to race."

Campaigns by civil rights groups like the NAACP to integrate public pools often turned very, very ugly. "Groups for and against segregation threw rocks and tomatoes at one another, swung bats and fists, and even stabbed and shot at each other," Wiltse wrote.

Even after Brown v. Board of Education ostensibly desegregated America's schools in 1955, a federal judge sided with Baltimore's pro-segregation argument that pools "were more sensitive than schools." (That decision was later overturned.)

But what happened in Baltimore next was instructive for what would happen more broadly throughout the country: White folks stopped using public swimming facilities altogether, instead opting to join private swimming clubs or for pools in their backyards. As The Atlantic's Yoni Appelbaum writes, the popularity of private pools and members-only pool clubs exploded in the postwar years:
"Before 1950, Americans went swimming as often as they went to the movies, but they did so in public pools. There were relatively few club pools, and private pools were markers of extraordinary wealth. Over the next half-century, though, the number of private in-ground pools increased from roughly 2,500 to more than four million. The declining cost of pool construction, improved technology, and suburbanization all played important roles. But then, so did desegregation."

Appelbaum points to Marshall, Texas, where 95 percent of local residents voted in 1957 to have the city sell off its recreational facilities; the pool's new private owners reopened it as a whites-only space.

It was during one of these fights that the famous photograph at the top of this post was taken. It shows James Brock, a motel manager in St. Augustine, Fla., pouring muriatic acid into a pool filled with black kids who were participating in a protest against whites-only pools. J.T. Johnson and Al Lingo, two of those protesters, talked with StoryCorps last year about that moment.
" 'Everybody was kind of caught off guard,' J.T. says.
" 'The girls, they were most frightened, and we moved to the center of the pool,' Al says.
" 'I tried to calm the gang down. I knew that there was too much water for that acid to do anything,' J.T. says. 'When they drug us out in bathing suits and they carried us out to the jail, they wouldn't feed me because they said I didn't have on any clothes. I said, "Well, that's the way you locked me up!"'"

Wiltse theorized that the disproportionate number of black Americans who can't swim and are more likely to drown is in part due to this historical lack of access to regular places to swim. Once white folks fled to the suburbs and built their own pools, he explains, public pools fell into disrepair and began closing. "As a result of that pattern of discrimination, swimming did not really become a significant part of ... black culture," he told NPR's Michel Martin back in 2007. Because swimming never took root in black communities, he said, fixing swimming pools was not much of a priority when black politicians began winning elective office in the 1960s and 1970s.

Which brings us back to the incident in McKinney, Texas. The details about what happened on Friday are still coming out: who lived in the neighborhood, who was just visiting, to what extent it matters. But as Appelbaum and others have been saying, it's important to remember that the rise of private swimming spaces like this one is all tangled up in attempts to desegregate public ones."

[See also: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=10495199
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-vegas-hotspot-that-broke-all-the-rules-165807434/ ]

[posted at this URL too: http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2015/06/09/412913702/who-gets-to-hang-out-at-the-pool ]
2015  genedemby  history  swimmingpools  us  segregation  race  swimming  edg  srg  glvo  jeffwiltse 
june 2015 by robertogreco
The Next Bond Money Fight: Swimming Pools - Voice of San Diego
"San Diego Unified is still in the midst of a court battle over millions of bond dollars spent improperly on stadium lights, but that’s not stopping officials from plunging into a similar endeavor: building swimming pools.

The district is forging ahead with a Pools for Schools initiative that’ll build 10 or more pools on or near school campuses. District officials have floated a $20 million price tag.

But the pools plan is remarkably similar to the district’s use of bond money to fund new stadium lights – an approach the Fourth District Court of Appeal rejected. The taxpayer group that successfully sued over the field lights has put the district on notice that it plans to sue again once a drop of bond money is spent on the pools.

That’s not the only factor that could complicate the initiative: The bonds the district wants to use are tax-exempt and must be used for a public purpose. It could be fine if they jump through the hoops of various tax laws, but renting out the pools too often and putting any of them on private property could call the funding into question.

The district’s in-house counsel, Andra Donovan, did not respond to several inquiries.

The district’s bond counsel, Mary Collins of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, declined to discuss the pools and referred me to district officials.

“The ‘plan,’ as you call it, is still being developed. No work has been done yet,” Cynthia Reed-Porter, a spokeswoman for the district, said in an email. “The district is working closely with bond counsel to ensure that the plans that are developed meet the requirements for expenditure of bond funds, and that the tax-exempt status is preserved.”

Lee Dulgeroff, chief facilities planning and construction officer for the district, said the pools are still a go.

“Our legal counsel is confident, and that’s our opinion,” Dulgeroff said. “Our goal is to make sure our kids are water-safe.”

♦♦♦

The district announced the Pools for Schools initiative in May 2013, just two months after being told by an appellate court that it could not spend bond money on field lights because they were not sufficiently disclosed to voters who passed Proposition S, a $2.1 billion school bond measure, in 2008.

This time, the district would use funds from another school bond measure, the $2.8 billion Proposition Z, passed in 2012, to build pools throughout the district. The YMCA would maintain and operate the pools as part of a joint-use partnership. Win-win, says the district.

The pools would provide students, YMCA members and paying outside parties the space for competitive swimming, water polo, physical education classes and recreational use.

A presentation made to the school board showed several schools getting a pool on campus, including Mira Mesa, Madison and Patrick Henry high schools, and Roosevelt Middle, while several others would get to use pools built by the district at nearby YMCA sites.

Lincoln High students would use a pool at the Jackie Robinson YMCA, Point Loma High students would use a pool at a future YMCA site at Liberty Station and Scripps Ranch High students would use a pool at a future Scripps Ranch YMCA site.

The district inked a preliminary deal late last year with the YMCA of San Diego County to operate and maintain the pools once they’re built, and again listed YMCA sites among the pool locations, although district officials said exact locations have yet to be finalized.

Officials, though, are relying on near identical ballot language to rationalize the construction of swimming pools that a court said was insufficient to justify the field lights paid for with Proposition S funds.

Just like the field lights, the swimming pools are only explicitly mentioned on the ballot in a section near the bottom that shows “other costs incidental to and necessary for completion of the listed projects.”

For the district to justify the pools, it’ll have to sell the notion the pools are necessary to complete other projects listed on the ballot.

What Proposition Z does have that S didn’t is the district’s plan to pursue projects at all sites that “improve physical education, athletic facilities,” “expand or develop joint-use athletic facilities” and “Develop or improve education, recreation and/or community resource facilities for joint-use to support students and neighborhood families.”

Whether that broad language is enough to defend the pools may be left to another court to decide.

The same taxpayer group that successfully sued the district over the field lights – and is seeking a court order to get the district to repay its bond fund $2.6 million – plans to sue again if the district proceeds with using bond funds for pools.

“Someone needs to challenge this, because this is not what the voters voted on,” said Ron Anderson, president of Taxpayers for Accountable School Bond Spending.

“Why the push for these controversial projects? If there was such a need for them, why weren’t they front and center on the bond measure?” Anderson said. “Nobody is against kids learning how to swim. If there is an intent to build pools, then float a bond and put it squarely in there, stating that the money will be used to build aquatic centers.”

Anderson said he opposes any plans that use public money to improve private property.

“It is too early in the process to comment on the plan and its successful outcome,” said Loni Lewis, spokeswoman for the YMCA of San Diego County.

♦♦♦

There’s also a separate issue that could pose legal obstacles.

Proposition Z bonds are tax-exempt so long as they are used for tax-exempt purposes.

To avoid being reclassified by the Internal Revenue Service, the district will need to make sure it’s using the bonds according to laws that limit the benefits afforded to non-governmental entities, including nonprofits like the YMCA.

“This would have to be done carefully,” said Darien Shanske, a professor who teaches public finance and federal, state and local tax courses at UC Davis School of Law. “There are very detailed regulations about how much non-governmental use is permitted for tax-exempt bonds. I would hope with good advice, they can make this possible.”

Perry Israel, a Sacramento-based municipal finance tax attorney, said the district would need to follow rules for qualified 501(c)(3) bonds if they want to build pools on YMCA property. Such bonds generally require that the “facility must be used 95 percent of the time for governmental use and nonprofit use,” Israel said.

For pools on school sites, Israel said the district has another option and may follow rules for governmental bonds that generally require at least 90 percent government use and meet other requirements in the YMCA management contract.

While the details of the pools deal will be hammered out as site funding becomes available, the memorandum signed with the YMCA in December says the district “desires to have sole and exclusive use during school hours while school is in session” and preferential use at other times.

It also says “The Parties will jointly develop a schedule of proposed uses, programs, hours of operations, and fees to users (such as swim lessons, private practice lane rentals, special competitions, etc.) that generates the maximum potential use of the pool and facilities, minimizes District funding and expenses, and sustains the operation of the facilities.”

How much the pools are rented out, however, is something the district will need to consider and likely restrict.

If the pools are frequently rented out to paying parties, that could interfere with what’s known as the public purpose doctrine, a principle built into state constitutions that generally restricts government resources from benefitting private parties.

Proposition S and Z are general obligation bonds backed by the taxes, and as such “have to satisfy a public purpose,” said Clayton Gillette, a professor of local government law at NYU School of Law.

Still, what constitutes a “public purpose” is an “extraordinarily flexible notion,” interpreted differently by the courts throughout history, he said.

“The more it (the pool) is open to all students the easier it is going to be to satisfy a public purpose requirement,” Gillette said. “The more that members of the YMCA have preferential access with fees, the more it would raise a public purpose question.”

Gillette also said the YMCA’s religious affiliation might raise questions about “an improper mixing of the state and religion,” but since the pools are “for a non-religious purpose, it shouldn’t be a problem.”

Former school board member Scott Barnett, who helped put together the Pools for Schools plan before leaving office last year, touted the partnership as a prudent cost-saver.

“I didn’t want the district to get into the business of operating, maintaining and staffing pools, because that’s not the primary task of the district,” Barnett said. Nor did he want the pool programs to be vulnerable to budget cuts.

He said he recalls some discussion about using a lease-leaseback method to build the pool at the Jackie Robinson YMCA, but he doesn’t recall looking at the field light decision before forging ahead with the Pools for School plan, and strongly objects to any comparisons.

“To in any way equate the language in Prop. Z with the language in Prop. S is absolutely reckless,” Barnett said. “The bond has thousands and thousands of bond expenditures that are not mentioned in the bond language at all. The specific plumbing and drainage of the fields,” for instance.

“Anyone can sue over anything that they aren’t happy with.”"
sandiego  sdusd  schools  pools  swimming  swimmingpools  bonds  funding  srg  edg  glvo  2015  ymca  schoolbonds  propositions  propositionz  education 
april 2015 by robertogreco
This Is Katie F-​-​-ing Ledecky: A Thesis About Kicking Ass «
"Yes, that is Katie Ledecky lapping two swimmers en route to the gold medal. Did I mention that she laps people?

She laps people.

IN FINALS.

OF INTERNATIONAL SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS.

The thesis is that that is utterly wonderful.

You might be wondering why I’m writing about her now, in a non-Olympic year, when she’s back at school and not even swimming in a major event. I have an answer for anyone who’s wondering that, and my answer is this: Pipe down, Horatio; amazing doesn’t keep to your clock. I am writing about her now because lately it’s been too easy to forget that sport is supposed to be a window onto marvels. Katie Ledecky is 17 years old, and she’s one of the best athletes — it’s not an exaggeration — in the history of the world. She is a marvel. Tell me, do you need another reason?"
swimming  sports  2014  via:sldistin  srg  edg  katieledecky 
october 2014 by robertogreco
The Art of Swimming (1587) | The Public Domain Review
"Illustrations from Everard Digby’s De Arte Natandi (The Art of Swimming) published in 1587, considered the first English treatise on the practice. Divided into two parts, the first is largely theoretical (Digby wrote in Latin, though it would be translated into English by Christopher Middleton eight years later). The second part is concerned with practical demonstration borne out in a series of 40 beautiful woodcuts, all composed from five landscape blocks into which swimmers in various positions have been placed. The work was hugely influential, not just providing a practical guide to staying afloat and different strokes but also in its attention to issues of safety. As the Wellcome Library blog notes: “The work is alive to the dangers of swimming outdoors: Digby makes careful note of the safest methods of entering rivers, warning against jumping in feet first (particularly if the water has a muddy bottom to which your feet would stick) and advocating a slow and patient entry. Swimmers are also advised to have a companion with them, to help if they get into difficulties. Digby also advises on the different kinds of water that can be swum in, advising against swimming in murky ponds (in which animals may have been washed).” Born in 1550, Digby was an academic theologian at Cambridge University, though in 1587, the same year as his swimming treatise was published, he was expelled from his college of St John’s partly due to his habit of blowing a horn and shouting around the College grounds."
art  swimming  history  edg  srg  1587 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Submerged - The Morning News
"Every four years, the world rediscovers swimming—that pleasant recreation turned into a furious race of hulks. But not everyone watches simply as a fan. The former competitive swimmer is never fully a land-bound mammal."

"Were I to lose my legs, I’d ask the lifeguard to wheel me to the side of the pool and dump me in. I’ve even tried to see how far I can swim with my eyes closed, in the event that I suddenly lose my eyesight—if I count my strokes correctly, I can make the flip turn without missing the wall. What is it about the water that keeps us coming back? What so entices us that we’ll offer up our shoulders and knees, not to mention sleep, a cup of coffee while we read the news, morning sex with our spouses?"

"The monotony and isolation that novice swimmers find so boring…is the aspect of swimming I like best."

"The water is like that: The z-axis that joins memory with imagination."
willardspiegelman  davidmcglynn  robertlowell  olumpics  2012  swimming 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Swimming in L.A.
"This is an ongoing chronicle of the many and varied public, semi-private and private pools of the Los Angeles area, as well as other swimmable bodies of water.

It is intended as a resource for those avid swimmers out there who want the low-down on where to go (and where not to go) for some acquatic action in our fair city."
losangeles  pools  swimming  swimmingpools 
july 2011 by robertogreco
La Jolla Cove Swim Club
"The club is an informal organization consisting of people who enjoy ocean swimming. The club has no regular meetings but tries to sponsor an activity approximately once a month. The larger events are the Polar Bear Swim on New Year's Day, the 2.5K Pier to Cove Swim (1.5 mile) in late June, and the Tour of Buoys (5 mile and 1.5 mile) in early August. For the first time in late September 2009, the Swim Club sponsored a 10-Mile Relay fundraising event that was originally organized to benefit the American Diabetes Assocation. The club also supports, but does not sponsor, the La Jolla Rough Water Swim on the second Sunday in September. This includes one mile and 3 mile races for adults and a 250 yard race for children. See www.ljrws.com for information.

Club members and non-members swim here daily, regardless of weather and water temperature, throughout the year. Some swimmers only swim ½ mile or less once a week, some wear a wetsuit even in summer, and some wear fins…"
swimming  oceanswimming  lajolla  sandiego  srg  edg  lajollacove 
july 2011 by robertogreco
The Revival of Marathon Swims Comes to New York - NYTimes.com
"That wave of enthusiasm is rolling through New York City, where new or revived races are scheduled most summer weekends. In August, six competitors will try a 17-mile swim from the shores of Kips Bay in Manhattan to Coney Island in Brooklyn, a route that 17-year-old Rose Pitonof breast-stroked 100 years ago, to the cheers of 50,000 spectators, according to news coverage at the time. Deanne Draeger, the organizer of this year’s event, swam the course solo last year."
srg  edg  nyc  swimming  sports  exercise  glvo 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Essay on in the insights that come with immersion in the deep, cold sea: Change Observer: Design Observer
"Once you’re drinking what the fish drink and hearing what they hear, you notice phenomena inconceivable on land."
barbaraflanagan  swimming  oceanswimming  oceans  santabarbara  california  totalimmersion  2011 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Total Immersion: How I Learned to Swim Effortlessly in 10 Days and You Can Too
"Swimming has always scared the hell out of me…Despite national titles in other sports, I’ve always fought to keep afloat…I’ve tried to learn to swim almost a dozen times, and each time, my heart jumps to 180+ beats-per-minute after one or two pool lengths. It’s indescribably exhausting and unpleasant.<br />
<br />
No more.<br />
<br />
In the span of less than 10 days, I’ve gone from a 2-length (2 x 20 yards/18.39 meters) maximum to swimming more than 40 lengths per workout in sets of 2 and 4. Here’s how I did it after everything else failed, and how you can do the same…<br />
<br />
Kick boards? Tried them. I barely moved at all and — as someone who is usually good at most sports — felt humiliated and left.<br />
<br />
Hand paddles? Tried them. My shoulders will never forgive me. Isn’t swimming supposed to be low-impact? Strike two…"
swimming  totalimmersion  learning  howto  education  timferriss 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Competitive Swim Team Loses In City Funding Game | KPBS.org
[Sophia quoted in radio piece on the CSDS (City of San Diego Swim) Blue Team by Katie Orr]

"Twelve-year-old Sophia Greco has been swimming since she was little and has made her way up through the recreational levels. She doesn’t plan to stop any time soon.

"I used to be on Silver, and now it’s Blue," she said. "It’s a level up and it’s kind of more competitive, when you want to start getting dedicated to swimming.""
family  glvo  srg  swimming  sandiego  2011  funding  money  civics  activism  ego  proudpapa 
june 2011 by robertogreco
CC Monday - 6/6/2011 [San Diego City Council Meetings Archived Videos]
Lizette, Sophia, & Enzo at City Council Meeting (just past the 1:49:00 mark) regarding the CSDS (City of San Diego Swim) Blue Team.

Index here: http://granicus.sandiego.gov/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3
glvo  srg  lmg  edg  sandiego  ego  swimming  civics  family  activism  proudpapa 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Academia de Natación Viña del Mar
"La misión del Club es fomentar y desarrollar la práctica de la Natación, en sus áreas Formativa, Recreativa y Competitiva, otorgándole a sus deportistas, todos los medios técnicos que requieran para su preparación, y así poder proyectar sus talentos a niveles de Alta Competencia, en un ambiente sano, de respeto y amistad."

[See also: https://www.facebook.com/academianatacion/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/academiadenatacionvinadelmar/ ]
chile  viñadelmar  swimming  edg  srg  sports 
april 2011 by robertogreco
CALL TO ACTION AT MEMORIAL POOL: The City continues its rampage of vengeance against the Memorial Pool ["As those of you know who read the article in La Prensa March 4 [2005], there are serious problems going on at Memorial Pool.]
"[T]he City Aquatics Director, Marilyn Stern, undertook a series of actions against parent volunteers & children there that were clearly discriminatory. She did this in order to retaliate against them for seeking help because Ms. Stern was obstructing their access to a $5000 donation the city was supposed to be managing for them. Ms. Stern was angry that a member of Park & Rec Board had intervened on their behalf w/ City Manager’s office. With no authority, Ms. Stern ordered children & parents not to speak Spanish during practices & during swim meets. She refused to approve a design for team shirts because it was too Mexican, & “We aren’t living in Mexico.” When parents went ahead & paid for shirts themselves, Ms. Stern ordered that no one could wear those shirts during official events. She threatened team coach, Fernando Gonzalez, when she found that he had worn a shirt to pool, & he was continually being written up & threatened that he “could lose his job over this.”"
sandiego  spanish  citypools  discrimination  language  2005  fernandogonzalez  swimming  memorialpool  marilynstern  racism 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Tim Ferriss: Smash fear, learn anything | Video on TED.com
"From the EG conference: Productivity guru Tim Ferriss' fun, encouraging anecdotes show how one simple question -- "What's the worst that could happen?" -- is all you need to learn to do anything."
learning  language  self-directedlearning  swimming  japanese  timferriss  productivity  tango  ted  fear  lcproject  deschooling  unschooling  languages  lifehacks  glvo 
april 2009 by robertogreco

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