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Swimming toward gold

Local athlete gearing up for summer games

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Dustin Sigward, sports, Gay Games, DCAC, gay news, Washington Blade
Dustin Sigward, sports, Gay Games, DCAC, gay news, Washington Blade

Dustin Sigward will compete at the Gay Games in August. (Photo by Kevin Majoros)

This is the first in a series of spotlights on the LGBT athletes from the Washington area who will be competing in the 2014 Gay Games in Cleveland/Akron. Dustin Sigward will compete in swimming for the District of Columbia Aquatics Club (DCAC). He is also a member of the Stonewall Kickball League.

 

WASHINGTON BLADE: What is your swimming background?

DUSTIN SIGWARD: My swimming experience is almost strictly from high school in Florida. I joined the swim team my freshman year and was barely able to put my face in the water. I was raised in Virginia and my experience with pools was limited to the occasional birthday party or the random summer day. Through hard work and playing water polo, I went from dog paddling to competing in the state championships in three years. I would say that puberty had something to do with it, but I am still waiting for the time I can shave every day. I wanted to swim in college at the University of Florida whose roster at the time included Ryan Lochte. Since I put myself through school, it was not possible to work multiple jobs, attend classes and keep up with the two-a-day workouts and mandatory weight lifting that comes with Division 1 swimming. I have been swimming with DCAC for a little over a year and I am faster than I ever was in high school. At the International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics Championships (IGLA) in Seattle last year, I took home six gold medals.

 

BLADE: Did you play any other sports growing up?

SIGWARD: I played water polo for three years in high school. It’s a grueling sport and it really helped me step up my swimming game.

 

BLADE: What events will you compete in at the Gay Games?

SIGWARD: I have not registered for my events yet, but I probably will not be swimming anything over 100 meters unless it is in a relay. I will definitely be competing in the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle and 50 butterfly.

 

BLADE: What will your training regimen consist of leading up to the Gay Games?

SIGWARD: I will be training in the pool three-to-four times a week and lifting weights five days a week. I would like to include some yoga, but do not see that happening with a full-time job, part-time bartending, kickball and the obligatory post-kickball flip cup.

 

BLADE: What is it about swimming that keeps you in the sport?

SIGWARD: Along with the health benefits, swimming is a great full body workout with low impact. If you look at some of the guys on our team, you would think we had found the fountain of youth. I also feel a great sense of achievement when I break a personal record or set a goal and can see measurable progress towards it. It is just a great sport for an introvert. I like to say that I am like a cat; I like to be people-adjacent. I like seeing them, but don’t necessarily want to interact with them for too long. Swimming is incredibly cathartic and it puts me in the zone and gives me a chance to get to know a bunch of new people without getting overwhelmed.  Most of the practice is spent counting laps and singing show tunes to myself.

 

BLADE: Any embarrassing swimming stories to share?

SIGWARD: In high school, I was very shy and the process of getting fitted for my first Speedo was a horrifying ordeal. The female coach inspected our suits for a proper fit and just as she was about to tug at my waistband, I heard a shriek from one of the female swimmers and saw an accusatory finger pointing to the fact that most of my scrotum was hanging out of my suit. I have since grown to love Speedos but I am quite diligent about how neatly put away everything is and a few people on DCAC have commented about my suits being a little too conservative.

 

BLADE: Have you been to the Gay Games? What are you most looking forward to?

SIGWARD: This will be my first Gay Games and I am looking forward to beating a few personal records and maybe getting a team record in the process. Mostly I am going to enjoy traveling with a bunch of really great people.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Fred Dever

    February 28, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    JEAH!

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Sports

Las Vegas Raiders head coach resigns after homophobic emails surface

Discovery made during misconduct investigation into the Washington Football Team

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Courtesy of ESPN

LAS VEGAS — The head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, Jon Gruden resigned his post Monday after an article in the New York Times reported that he frequently used misogynistic and homophobic language directed at Commissioner Roger Goodell and others in the National Football League, (NFL).

The emails were discovered in a workplace misconduct investigation into the Washington Football Team the Times reported, but ended up costing Gruden his job when they also showed Gruden denounced the drafting of a gay player and the tolerance of players protesting during the playing of the national anthem among other issues.

In a statement released by the team late Monday, Gruden said; “I have resigned as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction. Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.”

The sequence of events started last Friday when the Wall Street Journal reported that Gruden used a racist term to describe NFL union chief DeMaurice Smith in a 2011 email to the Washington team’s former executive Bruce Allen.

According to the Associated Press, Gruden apologized for his “insensitive remarks” about Smith, saying they were made out of frustration over the 2011 lockout. But the latest emails sent from between 2011-18 when Gruden was an analyst for ESPN show his use of derogatory language went well beyond that.

A league source confirmed the accuracy of the emails to the Associated Press and said they were sent to the Raiders last week. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the league hasn’t made the emails public.

The New York Times and the Associated Press both noted that Gruden used a gay slur to insult Goodell and said he was “clueless” and “anti-football.” He also said Goodell shouldn’t have pressured the Rams to draft “queers,” a reference to Michael Sam, who was the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team.

Gruden’s abrupt resignation was announced live on the Colts/Ravens “Monday Night Football” broadcast when the NFL ran multiple LGBTQ-inclusive advertisements, including one featuring an NFL logo wrapped in the colors of the Trans Flag and Rainbow Flag Gay City News Editor Matt Tracy reported.

Raiders owner Mark Davis issued a statement which only said that he accepted Gruden’s resignation. In a separate statement the Raiders announced that special teams and assistant head coach Rich Bisaccia will serve as Interim Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, effective immediately.

“Coach Bisaccia will meet with the media at the regularly scheduled media availability on Wednesday,” the team said.

According to ESPN and the Associated Press, Bisaccia has been a special teams coordinator in the NFL for 19 seasons with the Raiders, Chargers, Dallas and Tampa Bay. He has no head coaching experience but his elevation will allow other assistants in the Raiders organization such as defensive coordinator Gus Bradley to stay in their current roles.

Jon Gruden resigns as Raiders head coach | SC with SVP

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Sports

New Zealand university names trans athlete ‘sportswoman of the year’

Laurel Hubbard is first out trans woman to compete in Olympics

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Screenshot via CBS Sports

DUNEDIN, New Zealand — Olympic weightlifter Laurel Hubbard was named “sportswoman of the year” at the prestigious 113-year-old University of Otago and OUSA Blues and Golds Awards event this past week.

The 43-year-old Queenstown, South Island, native was the first openly transgender woman to compete in an Olympics when she competed in the women’s 87kg weightlifting event at the 2021 Tokyo Games.

In a statement to the local newspaper, the Otago Daily Times, Hubbard said she was ‘‘grateful for all of the support and kindness received from the teaching staff and students at Otago University.’’

‘‘It is not possible for athletes to complete at the Olympic level without the encouragement and aroha [a Māori word meaning “love”] of friends, family and supporters.

‘‘This award belongs to everyone who has been part of my Olympic journey,’’ she told the paper.

Hubbard’s participation at the Tokyo Games had provoked controversy as she had prepared for competing as the world’s first out transgender woman Olympian. The director of medicine and science for the International Olympic Committee, Dr. Richard Budgett, directly addressed those who had attacked and mocked the New Zealander and claimed she shouldn’t be competing with cisgender women, saying  “everyone agrees that trans women are women.”

“To put it in a nutshell,” he said, “the IOC had a scientific consensus back in 2015. There are no IOC rules or regulations around transgender participation. That depends on each international federation. So Laurel Hubbard is a woman, is competing under the rules of her federation and we have to pay tribute to her courage and tenacity in actually competing and qualifying for the Games.”

Otago University Students’ Association president Michaela Waite-Harvey told the Otago Daily Times that the Blues awards aim to highlight Otago students excelling in their chosen sport.

‘‘We could think of no-one more worthy of sportswoman of the year than Laurel Hubbard who represented Otago and New Zealand incredibly well at this year’s Tokyo Olympics.’’

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Sports

Gold medalist Tom Daley battled COVID in hospital prior to Tokyo games

An x-ray revealed “blotches” on his lungs, and he was kept at the hospital for 10 hours to increase his oxygen levels

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Tom Daley (Photo by sportsphotographer.eu via Bigstock)

LONDON – British Olympic champion diver Tom Daley acknowledged in an recent interview with British newspaper The Times, that he had been secretly rushed to hospital seven months prior to the summer Tokyo Olympic games after contracting the coronavirus.

Daley told the paper “[my] lungs felt pressurised, as if they had sacks of rice around them”, and added: “Every time I stood up, I felt the room spinning and a blinding white light, as if I was going to faint, and as if I couldn’t get enough oxygen into my body.”

He went on to describe his ordeal in graphic details telling Times journalist Jane Mulkerrins that he gave specific instructions to his husband, screenwriter D. Lance Black one night as he headed off to sleep, what to do in the event he quit breathing.

He also told Mulkerrins he was frightened for their son Robbie if he and his husband both contracted the COVID-19 coronavirus, especially after he was rushed to hospital by ambulance unable to breath correctly.

When his head began to feel like it had “a vice tightening around it” and his “oxygen levels were dropping,” it was at that point Daley said he decided to call 111. [The UK’s emergency phone number]

‘My oxygen levels were dropping’

He was rushed to hospital in an ambulance and put on oxygen. An x-ray revealed “blotches” on his lungs, and he was kept at the hospital for 10 hours to increase his oxygen levels, The Times reported.

“I understood how quickly things could potentially go downhill,” said Daley.

“I had flashes of fear about whether I would be put on a ventilator, and my time being up. I was really terrified.”

He also described his reasons for keeping his ordeal secret so that his rivals in his sport wouldn’t know.

The episode kept the Olympian diver out of training for nearly seven months although Daley along with his British teammate diving partner Matty Lee won the gold with a score of 471.81 in the men’s synchronized diving on at the Tokyo 2021 games.

After tough competition in the Men’s 10m platform diving from China’s Cao Yuan who picked up the Gold Medal and his teammate Yang Jian cinching the number two spot with a Silver Medal, the 27-year-old Daley secured a Bronze Medal win with a score of 548.25.

It was the second Olympic Bronze Medal for the Plymouth, England native, in individual diving completion since he won bronze at the London Games in 2012. Daley and his teammate Daniel Goodfellow won a Bronze Medal in the 10m synchronised at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

The Times interview comes as the paper’s magazine is serializing Daley’s new book, Coming Up for Air: What I Learned from Sport, Fame and Fatherhood, which is due to be published by Harper Collins on October 14.

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