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Swimming Hub


Towleroad Guide to the Tube #1090

SOLAR STORMS: A NASA sciencecast on their surprising power.

THE HOST: Up next from the creator of Twilight.

SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMING: TIME reporter Sean Gregory joins the U.S. women’s Olympic synchronized swimming team for a story.

SIBERIA: Unidentified object falls out of the sky.

For recent Guides to the Tube, click HERE.

Diana Nyad Forced to End Swim from Cuba to Florida


Sixty-one-year-old Diana Nyad, who yesterday set off to break an open water swimming record from Cuba to Florida was forced to give up her pursuit after 26 hours in the water, CNN reports:

Nyad, who is 61, struggled through ocean swells, shoulder pain and asthma Monday before she was forced to give up the 103-mile swim. Strong winds and less than ideal currents played into her decision, her team said.

"Earlier in the evening, she was surrounded by dolphins and a beautiful Caribbean sunset. But strong currents blew her 15mph off course," her team posted on her Twitter account.

The attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida was the second for the swimmer, who said at a news conference Sunday that she is fitter today than she was in 1978, when she first attempted the crossing but was unable to finish.

Said Nyad: "I am not sad. It was absolutely the right call."

Diana Nyad Begins Swim from Cuba to Florida without Shark Cage: VIDEO [tr]

Diana Nyad Begins Swim from Cuba to Florida without Shark Cage: VIDEO


Sixty-one-year-old former world-record holder and out lesbian swimmer Diana Nyad set off on a 103-mile swim today across open water from Cuba to Florida, through the Straits of Florida. Nyad is swimming without a shark cage. If she completes the swim, she'll be the first to do it without the cage.

Nyad played 'Reveille' on a bugle before plunging into the water and beginning her swim.

Nyad2 Said Nyad earlier in the day: "I also want it to be a moment for thousands, and I dare say millions of people my age, who are going to look and say, '60!' The joke is 60 is the new 40, and it's true. We are a younger generation than the 60 that went before us."

The AP adds:

Nyad will be relying on special equipment that surrounds her with an electric current imperceptible to humans but strong enough to keep most sharks at bay. Whitetip sharks are not deterred by the field, so divers will be standing by to gently discourage any of those who get curious - without harming them.

In 1979, Nyad set a world-record for open water swimming without a cage, on a 102.5 mile swim from the Bahamas to Florida.

Watch the beginning of her swim, AFTER THE JUMP....

Continue reading "Diana Nyad Begins Swim from Cuba to Florida without Shark Cage: VIDEO" »

The Deep End of the First Amendment


Ari Ezra Waldman is a 2002 graduate of Harvard College and a 2005 graduate of Harvard Law School. After practicing in New York for five years and clerking at a federal appellate court in Washington, D.C., Ari is now on the faculty at California Western School of Law in San Diego, California. His research focuses on gay rights and the First Amendment. Ari will be writing weekly posts on law and various LGBT issues. 

Follow Ari on Twitter at @ariezrawaldman.

In October, Swimmer magazine profiled out swimmer and former Real World contestant Tyler Duckworth. He would probably be an Olympian by now were it not for a "freak accident" at school that broke his back, wrist and left heel. Still, Tyler recovered, excelled and competed at the Chicago Gay Games in 2006.

Swimmer At least one reader did not like the fact that Swimmer magazine was "promoting homosexuality." Glenn from South Carolina wrote a letter to the editor stating that "[h]omosexuality is akin to thievery, adultery, and other sins that should not be tolerated or accepted ... . Homosexuality destroys lives, individually, as well as that of the society as a whole. I am glad for the obvious success of Tyler Duckworth in the water but saddened to hear of his sinful homosexual lifestyle choice." Swimmer published the letter, right above two other letters celebrating diversity and the inclusion of gay swimmers in the community.

Glenn's letter caused a bit of an uproar. My friend Bradley, a leader of New York's gay swim team and an all-around awesome guy, gathered his friends to action condemning Swimmer for peddling homophobia and racism. He noted that free speech is one thing, but you would never see a magazine publishing a similar letter that spoke so hatefully about Jews or African-Americans, for example. Someone had to remind Swimmer that such language is no more worth publishing than racist diatribes from the Klan. Another friend of mine asked, "What kind of world do we live in where the First Amendment allows this to happen?" Another posted on Facebook, "There should be a law against this s**t!"

International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics (IGLA) agreed with Bradley, posting a sharp rebuke of Swimmer on its website. Swimmer posted a sincere apology: "We should have used better judgment during the editorial review of Mr. Welsford’s letter. We could have asked him to resubmit his letter and made sure it met with stricter standards for such letters. And if we had deemed the second letter appropriate to print, we should have printed an explanation adjacent to it due to the sensitive nature of the topic. And we could have chosen to ignore the letter. While, again, we do not endorse or support Mr. Welsford’s opinion, we respect his right or any other member’s right to have an opinion on a topic we have introduced in the magazine and have it considered for publication."

I argue that this story is not about free speech -- Glenn from South Carolina certainly has a right to an opinion, a right to write a letter expressing that opinion and a right to be free from any law that would punish him for either having his opinion or writing his letter. But, what is Swimmer's role in all of this? Does it have to give fair consideration to Glenn's letter? Or, is this question of what should Swimmer do, rather than what must it do? Let's consider what rights and responsibilities Swimmer has, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "The Deep End of the First Amendment" »

Watch: Australian Olympic Swimmer Stephanie Rice Offers Tearful Apology for Anti-Gay Tweet


Australian medal-winning swimmer Stephanie Rice held a press conference yesterday to apologize for a tweet she posted ("suck on that faggots - probs the best game I've ever seen - well done boys") following a rugby game. The anti-gay slur in the tweet ignited a firestorm, and caused her to lose a major sponsor, Jaguar.

Said Rice at the presser

"My comments were thoughtless and careless but I can assure you when I made those comments on Twitter I never intended to offend anybody," she told a specially convened news conference in Sydney. I've learned a lot in the last couple of days. I've learned I must think before I speak and this has been a very important lesson. I've also learned that some things you say can mean more to others than they do to you...I felt I've let a lot of people down. I just want people to know how sorry I am. I'm just here to gain people's trust back and show how out of character it was."

Gay Olympic  diver Matthew Mitcham came to Rice's defense on twitter

"I agree, it was offensive & very thoughtless, but being friends with her for 2yrs, I know she is not homophobic...She meant no malice, & she has apologised for her careless comment posted in the excitment of the moment....That's enough for me to forgive a friend...She's not a homophobe. She luvs gays but used very ill-chosen language...I don't in any way support or condone WHAT she said, but her apology & remorse is genuine & we are gd friends."

Watch 10 News' report on the presser and their interview with gay former rugby star Ian Roberts, AFTER THE JUMP...


Continue reading "Watch: Australian Olympic Swimmer Stephanie Rice Offers Tearful Apology for Anti-Gay Tweet" »

Australian Olympian Tweets 'Suck on That F*ggots', Loses Sponsor


Australian Olympic gold medalist Stephanie Rice, who won three gold medals in Beijing 2008 and holds the world record in the 400m indicidual medley, lost a major sponsorship from Jaguar over the weekend for sending out a tweet containing an anti-gay slur, Reuters reports:

"Rice, 22, tweeted 'Suck on that f--gots' after Australia's rugby union team, the Wallabies, defeated South Africa's Springboks on Saturday. The swimmer, who won both individual medleys at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and was part of Australia's victorious 4x200 freestyle team, later apologized and removed the comment. 'I made a comment on Twitter on Saturday night in the excitement of the moment. I did not mean to cause offence and I apologize,' she wrote in a blog on her website. But Jaguar Australia general manager Kevin Goult announced that his company has withdrawn its sponsorship."

Along with the sponsorship Rice also loses a $100K Jaguar she had been driving. Her otter sponsor, Sunrice, criticized Rice's statement but made no move to withdraw.

The withdrawal of Jaguar's endorsement came after outrage over the tweet, which Rice deleted.

Perhaps the most vocal anger came from Australian gay rugby icon Ian Roberts.

Said Roberts: "She is an idiot . . . and anyone who continues to endorse her as an athlete is an idiot as well. And I say that with a very sad tone in my voice. What a fool. And if her sponsors don't do something about it, they're fools as well...Ialso like seeing Australians do well. But it is never acceptable to belittle gay people."

Mitcham Gold-winning Olympic diver Matthew Mitcham defended Rice from the criticism, saying he had forgiven her:

"I know she's not homophobic because we are good friends. It was just an extremely poor choice of words. Some people when they use that language don't realise they are causing offence. But it is an issue for a lot of gay people, who get quite upset about it because they have spent so long trying to change people's mentality about these things. I don't find that term very offensive because of my generation but other people do, and you have to consider everyone."



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