The Soak: Lifeguard, Swimmer Turned Lineman Solomon Kindley Goes to Dolphins in NFL Draft

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Former swimmer and Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Solomon Kindley Photo Courtesy: Georgia Athletics

The Soak – Swim News In Brief

Swimming World soaks up snippets from the realm of water sports around the world in a one-stop digest updated each day of every passing week.

If you have a snippet of news for us, let us know: editorial@swimmingworld.com

The Week of April 20-26, 2020

Saturday, April 25

Lifeguard, Swimmer Turned Offensive Lineman Solomon Kindley Drafted by Dolphins

Solomon Kindley’s path to the Miami Dolphins isn’t just fitting since he’s a Florida native, hailing from Jacksonville. Instead, the kid known as “Big Fish,” a relative latecomer to football who swam and worked as a lifeguard, gets an appropriately aquatic-themed new team.

The 6-3, 337-pound offensive guard out of the University of Georgia was picked by the Dolphins in the fourth round (No. 111 overall) of the NFL Draft Saturday. He’ll be protecting a quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama, the fifth overall pick Thursday night, who made news for his invocation of swimming in a less flattering context.

But Kindley’s connection to the sport is very real. The Raines High School graduate didn’t play football until ninth grade. Before that, swimming was one of his sports, specializing in butterfly and freestyle.

“I was a swimmer, and I played basketball,” Kindley told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution this month. “My first thing I did was swim, and then after that I started playing basketball. After I keep going, when I got to 16 and in the ninth grade, I started playing football.”

Kindley’s work as a lifeguard, even when he tipped the scales at 370 pounds, included an instance where he saved a child from downing.

A large child from birth (nine pounds, five ounces), Kindley continued to grow as he turned his attention to swimming, since he was often larger than Pop Warner youth football weight limits. But the redshirt junior found success at the college level in part because of his athleticism, part of the Bulldogs’ “Great Wall” offensive line that included a pair of first-round picks (No. 4 Andrew Thomas and 29th selection Isaiah Wilson).

Kindley’s journey, at least, tracks to the pool.

“I put in a lot of work,” Kindley said. “I love swimming. Swimming gives you a lot of conditioning. You keep going back and forth, back and forth, you get tired eventually.”

And remarkably, it’s not the only offensive-lineman-in-the-pool content of the week, courtesy of Tampa Bay Buccaneers tackle and 13th overall pick Tristan Wirfs:

Peaty To Head To Tokyo 2021 Defence As Father Of A Boy

Adam Peaty will seek to defend his 100m breaststroke title at the Olympics in Tokyo next summer as father to a baby boy after he and girlfriend Eirianedd Munro announced the news on social media.

The pair had intended to reveal the news of their impending parenthood this week once they had learned whether they were expecting a boy or a girl but an article by The Sun newspaper saw the couple bring the announcement forward to Sunday last weekend.

The baby boy is due in September and Peaty will be looking to join an exclusive club of dads that have defended their titles that includes the likes of Michael Phelps, Alex Popov and Michael Wenden.

Kosuke Hagino will also be seeking to make a successful defence of his 400IM title as a father after he became a dad in December.

Peaty posted on social media: “It’s a boy 🖤”

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It’s a boy 🖤 @eirimunro

A post shared by Adam Peaty MBE (@adam_peaty) on

Aussie Swimmers Sirened Out Of Sea That “Needed Lane Ropes” Despite Covid-19

Swimming and Australia go together like Ocean and Waves, so a Saturday morning paddle is the most natural and wholesome thing the nation might care to wake up too. Things are different in COVID-19 season, however, and numbers taking a dip were so great today at Coogee Beach, Sydney, that one swimmer said “you needed lane ropes”.

Life guards were on it and sirens called the swimmers out of the ocean at at 9am local time as social-distancing restrictions were tested by crowds of Australians flocking to the beach for fresh air, exercise and some fun in the sun despite the risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Australia has fewer than 6,700 infections so far, with 80 deaths associated with the virus and a health rate of almost 5,400 confirmed recoveries from illness. Even so, authorities are keen to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus as temperatures fall and winter approaches.

At Coogee, lifeguards had warned beachgoers that they would have to lock down the area if the maximum numbers of people on the sand at one time was exceeded. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that after the sirens sounded “everyone left the area quickly and compliantly”.

The beaches in the eastern suburbs of Sydney are newly opened after a period of closure.  John Griffiths, out for a splash with his family, told the paper that there were so many people in the water “you needed lane ropes”.

New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard told the SMH:

“I have to express as NSW Health Minister a degree of disappointment and agitation about the fact that some people, when the rules are relaxed [and] we try and do the right thing by giving people the opportunity for outside exercise, people are disregarding the very strong message of social distancing.”

Friday, April 24

Boise_State_Broncos

Photo Courtesy: Boise State Athletic Department

Boise State University is furloughing many of its employees including coaches and athletics staff as the school is putting band-aids on losing money from the partial shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

University president Marlene Tromp announced the furloughs in an email to staff Monday night.

“I hope our swift action now can help us avoid what could be more grave action later and provide for the long-term well-being of both our community and the institution,” Tromp wrote in the email, which was obtained by the Idaho Statesman.

The university said that any employees that earn more than $40,000 per year are required to take furloughs between May 3 and July 31. All three of Boise State’s swimming and diving coaches, Christine MabileJordan Lieberman and Brandon Blaisdell fall under that category.

Coaches will not be permitted to do any work while they are furloughed, meaning that recruiting for Boise State may take a hit in the next couple of weeks.

Australian Sports Banking On $600million Federal Government Funding Lifeline

Team Australia celebrates after winning in the men's 4x200m Freestyle Relay Final during the Swimming events at the Gwangju 2019 FINA World Championships, Gwangju, South Korea, 26 July 2019.

Alexander Graham, Kyle Chalmers and Clyde Lewis. Photo Courtesy: PATRICK B. KRAEMER

SWIMMING Australia is among 49 sports hoping to benefit from an extended $600 million lifeline from the Federal Government to assist their athletes for next year’s rescheduled Tokyo Olympics.

According to a report in today’s Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian Olympic Committee, Paralympics Australia and Commonwealth Games Australia have gone into bat for their member sports.

The group has requested a continuation of funding at 2019/2020 levels for the next three years, in addition to allocations made in the mid-year economic update, to keep elite athletes on track for rescheduled Olympic and Commonwealth Games.

According to the report, Australia’s biggest sporting groups have asked Federal Sports Minister Richard Colbeck for a three-year funding guarantee, as well as other measures, in a three-point plan outlining the need for government assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

And Mr Colbeck has confirmed he had received the submission, and said he was considering the request along with other initiatives taken by other sports bodies for government funding.

The total package over the three-year period is expected to be in excess of $600 million, in a request made on the behalf of 49 member sports, including medal powerhouse Swimming Australia and the Australian Basketball Federation.

Funding certainty is needed to make sure community sports can get back online as soon as social restrictions are lifted, and to support elite athletes whose pathway to the Tokyo Olympics has blown out by another year, says AOC chief executive Matt Carroll.

“The government already provides the funding, so this is really aimed at securing certainty that they will maintain that funding out to 2022,” Carroll told the Herald.

“It means that sports can plan for the next couple of years, they can retain staff and coaches … these sports groups are like companies, they’ve got liabilities, they need certainty to manage things properly.”

The submission was written with the support of and in collaboration with the Australian Sporting Commission, which comprises Sport Australia and the Australian Institute of Sport. Sport Australia looks after sports participation, while the Australian Institute of Sport manages high-performance athletes and programs.

“The AOC, Sport Australia, the AIS, Paralympics Australia and Commonwealth Games Australia are all on one page with this,” Australian Sports Commission chair John Wylie said.

Thursday, April 23

‘The Future of Olympic Movement Must Include Ability for Athletes to Collectively Bargain’

Global Athlete in partnership with Ryerson University and the Ted Rogers School of Management, has released the results of a study on Olympic commercialization and player compensation.

Global Athlete issued the following statement:

The object of the study is to find solutions to improve the lives of Olympic athletes and the well-being of the Olympic movement.

A thorough review of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) financial reports from 2013-2016 resulted in the following key conclusions:

  • Collective bargaining/leverage: Athletes should be appropriately compensated for preparing and attending the Olympic Games. Currently the majority of athletes and their families financially subsidize years of training, travel and equipment to compete for a multi-billion dollar industry of the Olympic Games.
  • Unbalanced distribution of funds: Athletes who sell the Olympic Games currently only receive 4.1% funding directly from the Olympic Movement revenues through scholarships, grants, and awards for successful competition, numbers which athletes cannot negotiate. The IOC annual revenues exceed $1.4 billion.
  • Prioritization of funding: Instead of the IOC spending its privately earned revenues compensating athletes, the majority of these funds go towards financing the many internal and external organizations affiliated with the IOC including funding of: International Federations, Continental Olympic Committees, National Olympic Committees, Olympic Channel, Museum and Olympic Studies.
  • Olympic Charter Rule 40: The IOC relaxation of Rule 40 which prohibits athletes from profiting from their association with the Olympic Games does not go far enough. To date less than 10 of the 206 National Olympic Committees have relaxed Rule 40 for their athletes. Rule 40 should be abolished in place of collective bargaining.
  • Professional Sport compared to Olympic Sport: Despite the IOC’s claim of a non-profit status, the IOC reliance on broadcast rights and revenues makes the Olympic movement much more closely resemble a professional sports league. Yet the 5 largest professional sport leagues in the world pay between 40-60% of their revenues directly to players. The IOC has spent a mere 4.1% on athletes.
  • Lack of transparent financial reporting: There must be mandatory open financial reporting for all members of the Olympic Movement. This must include the financial compensation provided to athletes to train and compete at the Olympic Games.

Global Athlete is committed to working with athletes and athlete groups to develop a more collective approach to how sport is being run. Our interest is to help sport flourish for all parties involved.

Amidst the current economic hit sport is taking with the Covid-19 virus, athletes can play a crucial role in shaping the future direction of sport.

  • Download the executive summary and conclusions here.
  • Download the full study here.

Wednesday, April 22

Rhondda Polar Bears SC Mourns Volunteer Becca Evans, Victim Of COVID-19

Rhondda Polar Bears disabled swimming club beccaevans

Happier times, Becca Evans, inset, and the Rhondda Polar Bears swimming club crew on a day they celebrated a community honour for one of helpers, Linda Thomas – Photo Courtesy: Wales Online

Becca Evans, a 28-year-old who volunteered at the Rhondda Polar Bears disabled swimming club in Wales, died at the Royal Glamorgan hospital earlier this month, after testing positive for novel coronavirus COVID-19.

Her passing came with a double edge of sorrow:  Becca, a keen dancer, and her mother Leigh were forced to leave their Rhondda Cynon Taf home during Storm Dennis in February.

Her friend Jacqui Onions told the media in Wales that the family had “lost everything” but had recently moved into a new house, and were starting to get their lives back together when the 28-year-old was admitted to hospital with symptoms of the virus.

Described by her family as “beautiful inside and out” and “a selfless young lady with a heart of gold”, Becca was involved in the girl guiding movement and was a volunteer helper at the Rhondda Polar Bears disabled swimming club. Onions told Wales Online:

“Everyone she met, she touched their lives in some way and everyone loved her. She was so widely loved by so many people. I’ve had so many messages from people saying they’ll remember her smile and her willingness to help anybody.”

Tuesday, April 21

Coronavirus Message May Be Included In Tokyo Opening Ceremonies

Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic organising committee President Yoshiro Mori is considering including an inspirational message about overcoming the coronavirus at the opening ceremonies in 2021.

The Olympics are scheduled to run from 23 July 23 to 8 August next year with the Paralympic Games set to go ahead between 24 August and 5 September.

Mori told Kyodo News that while the preparations are almost complete for the ceremonies, a reference to the pandemic is being considered – although it is notable that he talks of whether the Games “can be held” with there still being no guarantee Tokyo 2020 will go ahead and some doubt in certain quarters.

Mori said:

“If the Tokyo Games can be held, it will be a proof that we overcame one of the largest disasters that humankind has faced.

“We have been tasked with something very challenging.”

Monday, April 20

Penny Oleksiak To Be Part of Canada’s “Stronger Together” Benefit

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Penny Oleksiak will be among the dozens of Canadian entertainers and athletes who’ll come together this weekend for a coronavirus pandemic charity benefit.

Oleksiak, the four-time Olympic medalist, was announced on the bill for, “Stronger Together, Tous Ensemble,” a one-hour benefit on April 26 to salute staff that are helping Canada battle COVID-19 and raise funds for Food Banks Canada. The special is a collaboration between Bell Media, CBC/Radio-Canada, Corus Entertainment, Groupe V Média and Rogers Sports & Media.

Céline Dion, Shania Twain, Bryan Adams, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Alessia Cara are among the headliners of the event. Other athletes slated to attend are tennis player Bianca Andreescu, hockey players Hayley Wickenheiser (also an IOC member) and Connor McDavid, Paralympian Rick Hansen and ice dancer Tessa Virtue.

The show, in the vein of last week’s “One World” show, will air Sunday at 7 p.m. across two dozen television stations and streaming platforms.

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4 comments

  1. Lyne Lévesque

    Valerie Gervais Sophie Gervais : “Stronger Together” Sunday 19h00.

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