Swimming on the Internet

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The Independent Online

Round eight of the Fina World Cup, the first European leg of the series, starts in Sheffield tomorrow.

Round eight of the Fina World Cup, the first European leg of the series, starts in Sheffield tomorrow.

British swimmers have been recording some useful second and third places in previous rounds, but following their progress online is not a straightforward process, as there does not appear to be a central Website for British swimming.

E-mail addresses for the Amateur Swimming Federation of Great Britain crop-up in search-engine queries, but the only sites that appear are for individual clubs.

Fina, the international federation that organises the World Cup, carries news on all sorts of international competition swimming. It also carries full results of the World Cup series, but not meeting reports to flesh out the statistics.

Fina's remit is wide. It covers not only long and short-course swimming, but also diving, water polo, synchronised swimming and more.

A newsletter, for those who race in open water over courses from 10km (the London Marathon swim on 30 September) to 88km (in Argentina on 20 February), is the entrance into a set of pages about marathon swimming from the general concept to competition schedules for this year with the first race on Sunday - a 57km river swim at Santa Fe, Argentina.

The site publishes some biographies of leading swimmers, including Britain's Mark Foster, James Hickman, Karen Pickering and Sue Rolph, with career details including records and titles won.

It also carries news of its own contests (and administration), Olympic swimming and, in a separate section, drugs - a subject that seems to be perennially topical.

Swimmersworld.com bills itself as the leading Website for competitive news and information, but its focus is almost entirely on the United States.

News and results from the American club and college circuits dominate, but international events do get some coverage. A search facility for the archived news articles is useful when searching for information about specific swimmers or meetings.

SwimNews Online, although predominately a taster site for a Canadian-based print magazine, is a better option for coverage of the sport worldwide. It has a World Cup section with reports, results and scores from Sheffield waiting to be filled in. Breaking news is almost entirely devoted to the American domestic scene. Its main advantage is the speed with which competition results are posted.

WebSwim, the Internet's swimming resource, is a useful site for background information. It has been around since 1994 when it grew out of the Frequently Asked Questions of the rec.sport.swimming newsgroup.

It has links to swimming sites that discuss techniques and training and to the homepages of high-profile medal winning, record breaking swimmers, including Britain's Hickman who maintains his own page.

The original FAQ covers everything from explanations of terms used in the sport to how much alcohol you can get away with consuming while training (none) and whether waterproof radios are a good thing (they would be if they worked properly, apparently). Reports and results of World Cup events are listed in the news section.

andy.oldfield@virgin.net

Site Addresses

Fina http://www.fina.org/

Swimmersworld.com http://www.swimmersworld.com/

SwimNews Online http://www.swimnews.com/

WebSwim http://www.webswim.com/

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