TIME swimming

Australian Swimmer Ian Thorpe Comes Out as Gay

FILE - Olympic Swimmer Ian Thorpe Reveals He Is Gay On An Interview With Michael Parkinson On Australian Television
Olympic Swimmer Ian Thorpe Quinn Rooney—Getty Images

"I'm comfortable saying I'm a gay man," he revealed after years of denials

Australian swimmer and five-time Olympic gold medalist Ian Thorpe announced he was gay this weekend after years of denials, in a tell-interview that aired in Australia Sunday night.

“I’m comfortable saying I’m a gay man,” he told British interviewer Michael Parkinson on Australia’s Channel Ten, the ABC reports. “And I don’t want young people to feel the same way that I did. You can grow up, you can be comfortable and you can be gay.”

Thorpe, whose swimming success earned him the nickname “the Thorpedo,” had earlier denied being gay in his 2012 autobiography. “For the record, I am not gay and all my sexual experiences have been straight,” he wrote.

Thorpe now says he had wanted to come out for a long time but “didn’t have the strength,” and was concerned about reactions from friends and family, who were surprised by his news but have been very supportive.

“I’m not straight, and this is only something that very recently — we’re talking in the past two weeks — I’ve been comfortable telling the closest people around me exactly that,” Thorpe said.

Thorpe said keeping his sexuality a secret contributed to the depression he battled, sometimes by abusing alcohol, since he was a teenager. He said he decided to come out because “the lie had become so big” and he “didn’t want people to question my integrity.”

“A part of me didn’t know if Australia wanted its champion to be gay,” Thorpe said, The Guardian reports. “I am telling not only Australia, I’m telling the world that I am and I hope this makes it easier for others now.”

TIME Photos

Feel Good Friday: 12 Fun Photos to Start Your Weekend

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TIME animals

Five-Star Resort for Dogs Opens in Spain Complete With a Canine Swimming Pool

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Getty Images

For the pooch who wants to keep cool while also keeping classy

No longer will your dog have to stand for the injustice of being forced to swim in dirty creeks and shabby inflatable backyard pools. Instead, you can send him to Spain’s Resort Canino Can Jane, where he can enjoy a new world-class swimming pool complete with slides and fountains — all designed specifically for dogs.

This canine resort, situated about a half hour north of Barcelona, was dreamt up by dog lover named Federico Cano, International Business Times reports. He probably realized that dogs are generally much better than people and building a resort for them was a better use of his time than building a normal resort for humans.

Here’s a taste of what your pup can expect:

If that video is to be believed, when your dog visits this pool, he’ll spend his time just cavorting around listening to “Happy” by Pharrell (because dogs don’t get sick of that song) along with charmingly whimsical Spanish tunes, and then you’ll be jealous because his life is a lot better than yours.

TIME fitness

Almost Half of America Can’t Swim, Survey Says

Most Americans think they can swim just fine, but a new survey reveals that 44% don't know basic water-safety skills

Only 56 percent of Americans can perform the five core swimming skills, a recent survey conducted on behalf of the American Red Cross said.

The steps, also known as “water competency,” include jumping or stepping into water over one’s head, returning to the surface to tread water or float for one minute, circling around and identifying an exit, swimming 25 yards to that point and then exiting the water.

The Red Cross said Tuesday that it plans to instruct 50,000 people across 19 states how to swim properly, part of a new campaign to reduce the drowning rate in 50 cities by 50 percent during the next three to five years.

An average of 10 people in the U.S. die from drowning each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It turns out that Americans also think they are more skilled in the water than they are: 86 percent of the respondents to the same survey claimed they knew how to swim. Only 46 percent of those surveyed said they have experienced a situation in which they thought they might drown, and nearly a fifth said they knew somebody who drowned.

“We’re asking every family to make sure that both adults and children can swim and that parents make water safety a priority this summer,” Red Cross Centennial Initiative director Connie Harvey said in a statement.

TIME swimming

Michael Phelps Will Compete Once Again

Michael Phelps comes out of retirement
Former U.S. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps waves to the spectators during a 2013-2014 NBA preseason game between Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, Oct. 18, 2013. Eugene Hoshiko—AP

The 28-year-old Olympian, who retired from competitive swimming in 2012, will compete at an event in Mesa, Ariz. on April 24-26. His trainer said Phelps hasn't yet decided if he'll participate in the U.S. national championship

American Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps is coming out of retirement to compete for the first time since 2012′s London Olympic Games.

The 28-year-old Olympian who retired from competitive swimming in 2012 will compete at an event in Mesa, Ariz. on April 24-26.

“I think he’s just going to test the waters a little bit and see how it goes,” Phelp’s trainer, Bob Bowman, told the Associated Press. “I wouldn’t say it’s a full-fledged comeback.”

Bowman said Phelps hasn’t yet decided if he’ll compete in the U.S. national championship if he qualifies. Phelps, the most decorated athlete in Olympic history, has previously said he wouldn’t compete past age 30.

“He’s really doing this because he wants to — there’s no outside pressure at all,” Bowman said.

[AP]

TIME Accident

Woman Killed in Australia Shark Attack

Australia Shark Attack
A shark killed Armstrong, 63, Thursday, April 3, 2014, as she swam with a group of swimmers off a popular Australian east coast beach, police said. NSW Police—Associated Press

A 63-year-old swimmer was taken and killed by a shark on her daily morning swim off a popular beach close to Sydney on Wednesday. It could be the second shark attack in a week, after the body of a missing diver was found with shark bites on it

An Australian woman was killed by a shark Wednesday while she was swimming off the country’s east coast, in what could be the second such attack in less than a week.

The woman, 63-year-old Christine Armstrong, was taken by the shark as she was swimming from the wharf to the popular beach of Tathra village, 210 miles (340 kilometers) south of Sydney, with a group of swimmers. Local police have deployed a helicopter and a boat to search for her remains, the Associated Press reports.

Armstrong has been swimming at the beach every morning for 14 years with a group of locals, a statement released by her family said.

“Swimming brought her much joy and many friends,” her family said. “She will be sadly missed by all who loved her, especially by Rob, her husband of 44 years.”

Also on Wednesday, the body of a 38-year-old man who had gone missing while diving with friends off Australia’s west coast on Saturday was found with shark bites in it, the Guardian reports. It was unclear whether the shark bites had caused the man’s death.

In recent decades, there have been fewer than two fatal shark attacks per year in Australia.

[AP]

 

TIME study

No, It’s Not Safe to Pee in the Pool, Says Science

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Domino—Getty Images

Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps has admitted to doing it, saying “chlorine kills it, so it’s not bad.” Peeing in the pool is inarguably a gross habit, but now science is telling us that it’s also harmful to our health.

A new study says chlorine doesn’t, in fact, kill the contents of our urine, but rather reacts with it to create potentially dangerous byproducts. The research, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, used a technique called membrane introduction mass spectrometry to measure the presence of dangerous byproducts in pools. Uric acid from human urine mixes with chlorine to create the cyanogen chloride (CNCI) and trichloramine (NCl3). CNCI is a toxic compound that can harm organs like the lungs, heart, and central nervous system. NCl3 has been linked with acute lung injury.

“A common misconception within the swimming community is that urination in pools is an acceptable practice, although signs and placards are posted in many pools to encourage proper hygiene. It is also well known that many swimmers ignore these warnings, particularly noteworthy among these are competitive swimmers,” said study author Ernest R. Blatchley III, a professor of civil engineering at Purdue University, in a statement.

So the next time you’re at the swimming pool, heed those warning signs but also be wary of your fellow swimmers. And it’s probably best to avoid the kiddie pool.

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