PHOENIX, Arizona, May 6. IN the final edition of our four-part series on swimming fan sites, SwimmingWorldMagazine.com takes a closer look at Aaron Peirsol Online (APO). In the first part of the series, APO owner/operator Doerte gave us some insight into her background, and in the second part, we looked at Ian Crocker Online. In the third piece of the series, we checked out Brendan Hansen Online.
In the final part, we run the rest of our interview with Doerte:
What do you like the most about running your fan site?
Doerte: It's a way to support the sport and my favourite swimmer, to connect with fans all over the world, talking about what we all share: A love for swimming. I like being in contact with other fans of the sport and of the athletes, to be able to trade information and stories about attended meets or experiences. It's international, and I get a lot of points of view about things. It is very interesting to know what people in different countries are thinking about certain things.
Running a fan site showed me where to find the most reliable sources, where to look for results, where to look for meets (where they are held at and what to do when I want to attend a meet).
What was the most difficult thing you had to deal with when you started your site, as well as throughout the history of your site?
Doerte: Well, both my friend and I started very early on before the other websites started and before Phelps' success increased the interest the media has in the sport. So there was a complete lack of information. And, almost nobody was interested in the websites. In addition, we had no idea about hosting, domains, web design or other issues. It was a bit of a mess, actually. That changed and improved a lot during the last six years.
I started with a free web account, which was enough for the little site I had. That changed after the World Championships in Barcelona 2003. The site was down daily because of the high bandwidth usage. That was the point when I decided to actually buy web space and a domain. It was easier that way. With the growing interest of both media and fans staying updated and online (the bandwidth usage tends to go through the roof during the bigger meets) turned into the main problem. Keeping the bandwidth in check is still an issue sometimes, but these days high usage doesn't result in the site being offline anymore.
What has been the most active story on your site?
Doerte: That actually is really hard to say.
During the Olympics and World Championships things go a little bit crazy.
The site has changed a lot throughout the years, some parts were more active during some times, and others are now more active.
What piece of advice would you give to any other fans out there that might consider starting their own fan site?
Doerte: Well, I could only give them some practical advice about it. Ask fellow website owners where they are hosted and where they get their pics. Also, it's always a good idea to stay in touch with the other fan sites.
It can be a lot of work, especially trying to find news or content to post on the site.
It might actually help to know something about the sport itself and not only about the swimmer (or swimmers) the site is supposed to be about. It is always easier to update or run a site when you know what you are talking about.