clinics

High Performance Camp Recap

Contributed by Bill Meier, Simon's Rock PaceMakers Head Coach & NE LMSC Fitness Chair

GREENSBORO, NC -- On the last day of the USMS High Performance Camp at the Greensboro Aquatics Center, I was on the far side of the pool working with Sarah -- who had come from Italy for some last minute pointers in her attempt to break the LCM world record in the 100 breaststroke -- when I was interrupted by a surprising but familiar noise:

"Gimme an H"   ...  "H"

"Gimme a P"  ...   "P"

"Gimme a C"  ...  "C"

"What's that spell?"   ...  "HPC"

I looked up and yes, that was Bill Davis of Charles River Masters in the middle of a group of adult athletes joyfully screaming at the top of their lungs. With a smile, I realized that their spontaneous cheer meant our coaching staff had met an important goal -- to make each one of these swimmers from around the globe realize they were an essential part of something special: The High Performance Camp.

 Happy campers in Greensboro

Happy campers in Greensboro

After serving as one of the three assistant coaches at last year's High Performance Camp, it was an unexpected honor to be invited to serve as the head coach this year. As soon as HPC Director Hill Carrow offered me the position, I started making mental notes of elements I wanted to keep from 2017 and those I thought we could improve.

The first step was to invite three other coaches to take part. Our goal was to find top coaches with different strengths. We got acceptances from three USMS Level 4 coaches: Mike Hamm, world-ranked breaststroker from Coeur de Laine, ID; Lisa Brown, open-water swimmer extraordinaire from Indy Aquatics; and Trey Taylor, who on the second day of camp learned that he will be receiving the Kerry O'Brien Coaching Award at the 2018 USMS Convention -- 'nuff said!

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The cost of the camp for participating swimmers $2,200 plus transportation costs. Over the course of the five-day camp, most of the swimmers commented that the diagnostic activities alone were worth that price. Highlights of these included:

Extensive video recording - Each swimmer was recorded above and below the water for each stroke, doing all turns and starts AND with the addition of a power graph during their best stroke. All video analysis was done in the evening with the whole group watching and all coaches commenting. Although this might sound horrifying to some, the process was actually very productive with all swimmers seeing common mistakes and unique challenges. Additionally, these sessions were an opportunity for everyone to get to know their fellow swimmers even better.

 Bill Davis of Charles River Masters

Bill Davis of Charles River Masters

In depth lectures on each stroke with accompanying drill practice and stoke refinement - On the first full day of the camp, each coach presented their take on one of the four competitive strokes. These were grouped as long-axis strokes (free and back) and short-axis strokes (breast and fly). A practice followed each section with drills shown that focused on the points made in the presentations.

Dr. Genadijus Sokolovas - Dr. G. is a world renowned physiologist who works with the US Olympic Team and Olympians around the world. He has developed software that can show a swimmer definitively the parts of their stroke that contribute to propulsion or create resistance. Along with thorough blood lactate testing and heart rate monitoring, he gave each swimmer a final consultation to explain what the data showed. Swimmers learned if their bodies are better suited to long-distance or sprint distances, what strokes they do best, and where they generate the most power in each element of their stroke.
Besides the testing, Dr. G. presented two lectures that were each too short at 2 hours. He has extensive video documentation of most of the current Olympic Champions. As a student of the sport, it is enthralling to listen and watch an objective analysis of Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky. All swimmers left these presentations with a better understanding of the physiological systems that contribute to a swimmer getting from one side of the pool and back in the most efficient way.

 Emily Cook of Great Bay Masters

Emily Cook of Great Bay Masters

Jen Brunelli, Carolina Panthers Team Nutritionist - Also an accomplished D1 swimmer, Jen offered real-life, rational and down-to-earth advice on good eating habits for the serious athlete. Coming from a professional perspective where optimizing each football player's physical potential nutritionally is scrutinized on a daily basis, this self-described "science nerd" offered our swimmers great tricks to keep healthy and perform at peak levels. If passion for a subject is contagious, then everyone listening to Jen will apply everything she said.

Besides all this, swimmers were analyzed by a physical therapist, got tips from a sport psychologist, and learned how to set realistic goals for themselves. Combine this with copious amounts of good food, a fun night at a local bowling alley and some enthusiastic karaoke performances, I believe that everyone involved walked away feeling that the USMS High Performance Camp set them up for a successful 2018/19 swim season.

NE-LMSC Scholarships for 2018 National Coaches Clinic

The National Coaches Clinic (NCC) is a USMS sponsored event bringing in some of the most experienced and knowledgeable swim coaching resources for a 3-day seminar geared towards Masters swimmers. The clinic provides traditional classroom presentations, opportunities to build community with other coaches and an in water session to further practice skills. This year's Clinic will be held in College Park, MD from October 19-21.

The NE-LMSC is committed to supporting the professional development of its coaches and we hope that many will be able to attend the NCC in this and in coming years. Any NE-LMSC coach who successfully completes the 2018 USMS NCC will receive a $100 scholarship reimbursement.

In addition to the above $100 scholarship three NE-LMSC coaches will receive an additional $400 stipend reimbursement to support travel expenses. In an effort to provide ongoing transfer of knowledge from the clinic each of these three coaches will be required to write one article for the NE-LMSC website/newsletter and host one swimmer or coach clinic prior to March 2019 pertaining to the information shared at the NCC. The travel stipend reimbursement will not be provided until these two actions have been completed.

The NE-LMSC coaches chair, Crystie McGrail, will support these coaches receiving financial reimbursement in completing their required clinics and newsletter articles.

Coaches interested in applying for the travel stipend reimbursement can submit an email to NEcoaches@usms.org including the following by midnight on June 22nd (deadline extended!)

  1. A short bio and background of their current coaching endeavors

  2. Why they would like to attend the 2018 National Coaches Clinic and what information they hope to bring back to share with others

A panel of three representatives from the NE-LMSC board will review applications and select the candidates for the travel reimbursement.

Please direct any questions to Coaches Chair, Crystie McGrail.

Additional NCC Info here

USMS to Deliver Free Stroke Clinic in Rhode Island

 Bill Brenner

Bill Brenner

LINCOLN, RI -- USMS COO and Education Director Bill Brenner will lead a free stroke clinic at the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) Flanagan Campus on Saturday, September 30, 2017. This clinic is coming to New England as a result of our LMSC winning the USMS Early Renewal contest in November and December 2016.

The clinic is free (no cost) to current USMS members and prospective USMS members age 18 and up.* Registration is limited to 36 swimmers in the water and up to 12 coaches who wish to gain practical experience working on-deck with Bill. Check-in is from 8:30-9:00 AM, and the clinic runs from 9:00 AM to noon. There will be an optional post-clinic lunch at a nearby restaurant (possibly Ladder 133 Sports Bar & Grill).

The goal of the clinic is to help swimmers improve stroke technique and teach drills that will enable continued stroke refinement. All four strokes will be evaluated and corrected. Swimmers are not required to swim all strokes and may work on only those strokes they choose. All swimmers should bring goggles, fins, paddles and a towel -- fins are necessary to facilitate drills.

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To register as a swimmer or on-deck coach, email Douglas Sayles at NEchair@usms.org or call (401) 633-5756.

Because the number or participants is limited, we ask that (barring emergency) everyone who registers show up.

 

*Prospective USMS members may participate in the clinic by signing a no-cost USMS trial/guest membership form onsite. Former USMS members whose memberships have lapsed must renew to participate in this clinic.

NE-LMSC Coach Scholarship Winners present: Flip Turn Clinic #2

REGISTER

Join NE-LMSC Coaches Todd Whitford and Crystie McGrail for a flip turn clinic on Sunday, March 5th in Dover, NH.  

The clinic will be broken into two sections - Novice Flip Turns for those who don't consistently use flip turns in workouts and Advanced Flip Turns for those who are looking for feedback and a tune up for their flip turns. The Advanced section will also review and practice the backstroke to breaststroke cross-over flip turn.  

Registration is required for this event as spots are limited. Cost is the $7 pool drop in fee.  

Check-In for the clinic will begin at 8:30 AM and we will be in the water from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM.  Immediately following the clinic participants are invited to join a one hour workout with Great Bay Masters Swimming Club from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM. 

This clinic is brought to you as part of the NE-LMSC scholarship initiative to support New England coaches attending the USMS National Coaches Clinic this past fall.

Questions: necoaches@usms.org 

Competition Etiquette... "Competiquette"

Contributed by Crystie McGrail, NE-LMSC Coaches Chair

A few notes on the “lay of the land” for the racing waters we inhabit.

New England does meets like no other. We have two of the biggest, fastest, bestest (that's a word, right?) championship meets every single year. On top of that, we have multitudes of fun mini meets of all styles and a slew of open water events for the truly crazy folks. 

With this many events it’s often evident that a few folks didn’t quite get the memo on the etiquette surrounding some of the rules and common practices of Masters competition. As such, I was enlisted to write a quick article sharing some of the taboo things that happen at swim meets. 

The most common issues surround the enigmatic meet warmup, and that is what this article will focus on.   

Just kidding! Let's help each other out!

WarmUp TaDas and TaDon’ts

 

NO DIVING  

There are only two instances when it is okay to dive in the pool during a competition - the first is when the starter beeps, signaling the beginning of your race (don’t miss that one; it’s important) and the second time is when the officials have opened specific lanes for sprints.  

Two key words in that sentence are officials and specific. If you are unsure if a lane is a sprint lane, ASK! They may look all official and scary in their pristine white shirts hovering about your lane like sharks… no wait, these are masters meets - they are likely lounging in a chair nearby chatting with other swimmers to catch up on the kids and family.  

 

SPRINT LANES are for sprinting

If you see a completely empty lane during a fairly busy warm up, it is safe to say that it’s probably not some Utopian turn of fate to allow you a perfect warm up - it’s a sprint lane. ASK an official if it’s a sprint lane and if it is - please don’t get in and start doing your normal laps. Sprint lanes only happen during the last 15-20 minutes of a warm up and are usually announced. 

A note about “sprinting”: The definition of sprinting is moving at full speed. Always respect that each individual's “full speed” is very different. You can do this by observing the lane you are going to sprint in to make sure that those before you have the opportunity to finish their sprint as they wish without being impeded. 

 

NO PADDLES 

Leave ‘em at home. No one wants to be whacked with your paddles in the middle of a frenetic warm up pool. Oh, and this is actually in the rulebook - no paddles.  

 

ON YOUR LEFT

Much like life, swimming depends on a lot of non-verbal communication. We can’t very well yell out “ON YOUR LEFT” underwater when passing someone like runners do (though most of us probably wish we could). Make sure you pick up the clues and follow the general rule of thumb that passing happens on the left (similar to driving).  

And don’t hang out in the middle of the lane. If you’re at the wall, stopping in the middle is always bad news; stay to the right if you are stopping.  

 

KNOW WHEN WARMUP ENDS

There is nothing worse than the highly responsible first heat of the meet standing cold and ready behind the blocks, waiting to race, while the officials or meet directors chase up and down the pool trying to clear that last person (or few people) out of the competition pool. Respect your fellow swimmers and clear the pool at the scheduled time. Don’t know what time it is? ASK.

Lastly…

BE FRIENDLY 

99.8% of masters swimmers are super friendly. Be one of them. Many of the notes above say “ASK” because at a Masters meet you will be instantly surrounded with some of the best people in the universe and they are extremely helpful. Don’t feel bad asking questions; it’s a great way to make new friends!  

Got questions, comments, or criticisms?  Track me down at a swim meet and tell me!  Or I guess you could email me: NEcoaches@usms.org

NE-LMSC Coach Scholarship Winners present: Flip Turn Clinic

REGISTER

Join NE-LMSC Coaches Todd Whitford and Crystie McGrail for a flip turn clinic on Sunday, February 12th in Dover, NH.  

The clinic will be broken into two sections- Novice Flip Turns for those who don't consistently use flip turns in workouts and Advanced Flip Turns for those who are looking for feedback and a tune up for their flip turns. The Advanced section will also review and practice the backstroke to breaststroke cross-over flip turn.  

Registration is required for this event as spots are limited. Cost is the $7 pool drop in fee.  

Check-In for the clinic will begin at 8:30 AM and we will be in the water from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM.  Immediately following the clinic participants are invited to join a one hour workout with Great Bay Masters Swimming Club from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM. 

If you don't get a spot in this clinic - don't worry - we will run it again on March 5th.  

This clinic is brought to you as part of the NE-LMSC scholarship initiative to support New England coaches attending the USMS National Coaches Clinic this past fall.

Questions: necoaches@usms.org 

NE-LMSC Annual Meeting Summary

Contributed by Douglas Sayles, NE-LMSC Chair

This fall I had the honor of presiding over the NELMSC Annual Meeting in Waltham, MA. I’ve touched upon some highlights below. Full minutes will be posted on the NELMSC website.

Meeting attendees included 13 of the 15 NELMSC officers, three club reps to the board, our SCM and SCY championship meet directors, and other NELMSC members interested in governance issues. On October 16th, the NELMSC had $48,660 in total assets, over 2,500 USMS members, 23 USMS-registered clubs, 54 USMS-registered New England Masters Swim Club workouts groups and two registered Lifetime Swim New England workout groups.

During 2016, there were 16 SCY, 5 SCM and 2 LCM meets in the NELMSC. Our short-course championships continue to be two of the largest Masters meets in the country, attracting hundreds of swimmers each year. If you have not already done so, mark your calendars and book your hotel rooms for our NELMSC SCY Championships at Harvard on March 11 (distance day) and 17-19, 2017.

Despite our championship meets’ popularity and the many other meets held across New England each year, most of our mini meets are quite small (10 to 70 swimmers) and our aggregate meet attendance is slowly decreasing. Collectively we can easily reverse this trend by rallying our swim mates and entering one or two mini meets this season. These events need our support if we want them to continue.

In both USMS sanctioned meets and recognized meets, times swum by USMS members are usually official for USMS purposes. The main differences are that sanctioning provides insurance liability coverage for the swimmers, volunteers and event host and requires all of the swimmers to be USMS members.

During 2015 there were 10 sanctioned and 20 recognized meets in the NELMSC, accounting for 25 percent of all recognized meets nationwide, substantially more recognized meets than in any other LMSC and proportionally far fewer sanctioned meets than most large LMSCs.

At the USMS convention this past September, the House of Delegates voted to impose a new $100 fee on each recognized meet in 2017. This fee will be charged to the local LMSC. The primary rationale was that recognized meets were benefiting from USMS and LMSC meet promotion, creating more work for volunteer Top Ten recorders and otherwise receiving USMS benefits for free.

Consequently, at the NELMSC meeting we adjusted our subsidies and policies to incentivize sanctioning over recognition. At the same time, we want to avoid alienating meet directors who prefer recognition because if they walk away from USMS altogether USMS members’ times from those meets will not be recorded in the USMS database.

A meet host can now apply to the NELMSC for a sanction at no cost (we fully subsidize the $50 USMS fee) or else pay $50 for meet recognition (we partially subsidize the USMS $100 fee). We now also allow sanctioned meet hosts the option to offer non-USMS members a $15 one-event USMS membership, which can be applied toward a full USMS membership within 30 days of the meet. We had previously only allowed one-event memberships for open water events.

During our meeting we also reviewed several successful NELMSC-subsidized coaching initiatives from the past year, including swimmer clinics, coaching clinics and certification courses, Adult Learn to Swim instructor certification, and National Coaches Clinic scholarships. We have budgeted for similar initiatives in 2017. On a similar note, at convention we learned that USMS officials training will soon include an online certification option.

During the NELMSC meeting, we formally voted Alana Aubin onto the board as the new NELMSC communications chair. She took over this position several months ago from Christina Dwiggins, who I want to publicly thank for her contributions and able stewardship of the monthly NELMSC e-newsletter. This is a natural transition for Alana, who deserves credit for recent website improvements and for launching the NELMSC Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. In September, she and NELMSC Registrar Tim Lecrone also ran a very well-received social media workshop at the USMS convention.

Other topics covered during our meeting included bestowal of the NELMSC Coach and Contributor of the Year Awards (congrats to WAM’s Alford Green), the forthcoming introduction of a new NELMSC awards process, ideas for raising awareness and Masters Swimming opportunities for para athletes, promoting open water swimming, and other steps the NELMSC can potentially take to increase USMS member value in New England and at the national level.

In an effort to offset the $2 increase in 2017 USMS membership dues and reduce our NELMSC cash balance, we voted to reduce the NELMSC annual membership fee from $7 to $5 and approved a deficit budget for 2017. If we incur all $32,400 in budgeted expenses (which is unlikely) and realize $13,000 in forecast revenue, our cash balance will decrease by $19,400 in 2017 while still leaving a healthy reserve.

At the national level in September, the USMS board of directors and new CEO Dawson Hughes presented an updated strategic plan and infographic. Key 2017 initiatives included the aforementioned recognition fee to promote meet sanctions, allocating resources toward developing a new fitness swimmer program, upgrading the USMS website including enhancing Places to Swim and developing an open-water event results database, supporting college clubs to attract younger Masters swimmers after graduation, ongoing training of USMS coaches and Adult Learn to Swim instructors, and expanding swimmer clinics nationwide.

On behalf of the NELMSC board of directors, thank you to all of the swimmers, coaches, officials, organizers and volunteers who contribute to the vibrant Masters Swimming community that enriches all of our lives.

And if you haven’t done so already, don’t forget to renew your USMS membership before December 31st to receive special merchandise discounts from Speedo, TYR, FINIS, SwimOutlet and other USMS partners.

Happy Holidays and New Year!

Douglas Sayles

Chair, New England LMSC

Additional Delegate Needed for USAS/USMS Convention Next Week

The New England LMSC is looking for a last-minute replacement delegate for the USAS/USMS convention next week at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. Arrive Wednesday 9/21 -- or Tuesday 9/20 if attending the open USMS BOD meeting on 9/21 -- with all-day delegate working sessions Thursday morning 9/22 through Saturday afternoon 9/24. Saturday night is the annual joint awards banquet where each governing body -- USA Swimming, USMS, US Water Polo, US Diving, US Sychronized Swimming -- reviews accomplishments and bestows achievement awards, including USA Swimmer of the Year (who will it be?). Depart Sunday or, if necessary, skip the banquet and leave Saturday after the last House of Delegates meeting, which is scheduled to end ~5pm. The NE-LMSC will reimburse the conference registration fee, hotel room (already reserved), airfare, $20/day food stipend, and transportation to/from the airport. If interested contact me immediately at NEchair@usms.org or (401) 633-5756. The other NE-LMSC delegates are Douglas Sayles, Crystie McGrail, Tim Lecrone, Alana Aubin, Bill Meier and Laszlo Eger.

Conference schedule and info are posted at http://www.usms.org/admin/conv/2016/.

Applications Open for Scholarship to 2016 USMS National Coaches Clinic - Due Aug 19

The NE-LMSC has approved three $500 scholarships to help defray expenses for coaches to attend the 2016 USMS National Coaches Clinic (NCC) in San Mateo, California on November 11-13, 2016. 

For more details on the Clinic please click here: http://www.usms.org/content/coachclinic 

In return for financial assistance, each of the selected coaches must do the following:

  1. Write two articles for the NE-LMSC website/newsletter about a learning from the NCC -- e.g., a technique or series of drills -- in a manner that allows others to share and implement the knowledge;
  2. Run a swimmers clinic sharing material from the NCC.  These clinics will be open to all LMSC members and provided at no cost to LMSC members (other than any applicable pool drop-in fees).  Clinics can be run during a normal workout time.
  3. Support the other NCC attendees' clinics.
  4. Provide at least two photos or other visuals from the NCC to share on NE-LMSC social media or website.

How to Apply

In order to apply for this scholarship, applicants must have achieved the USMS Level 2 coaching certification and must submit the following via email to NE Coaches Chair at NEcoaches@usms.org by 5 p.m. on August 19th:

  • Their name and 2016 USMS membership number.
  • A short essay describing why they want to attend the NCC.
  • A description of how and where they will run a clinic following the NCC.

The Coaches Chair will also attend and adhere to the above requirements.  In addition the Coaches Chair will help support implementation of the free swimmer clinics.

A three-person subcommittee of NE-LMSC board members, including the Coaches Chair, will review and select the scholarship recipients by 5 p.m. on August 26th.

Remember, the scholarship application deadline is 5 p.m. on August 19th.

Karlyn Pipes Clinics Huge Success!

Contributed by Crystie McGrail, NELMSC Coaches Chair

Throw out everything you ever knew about swimming. That is what I did Saturday, during a long and exceptional day of learning at the hands of Karlyn Pipes of Aquatic Edge.

Karlyn is an extremely versatile swimmer, having set over 200+ Masters World records, including at least one in each stroke. She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2015. Add that to running her own company of presenting swim technique clinics all over the world, and you've got one impressive resume!

We were fortunate that Karlyn was able to make herself available for three separate modules in just ONE day:

  1. Coaches Only Workshop - Karlyn shared two presentations, the first on how to promote self-awareness in swimmers and the second on reasons for power failure. 
  2. Faster Freestyle Swimming Clinic – Swimmers were introduced to techniques through Karlyn's Go Swim DVD on Freestyle and then moved to the pool. During this clinic participants from the coaches workshop were on deck to help facilitate and apply the principles they learned earlier. 
  3. Multi-stroke Swimming Clinic – During this clinic, the other three strokes were explored. Again swimmers were first introduced to concepts via Karlyn's Go Swim DVD on All Strokes and then moved to the water. 

The presentation of material was awe-inspiring in the number of A-HA moments, simple techniques, and easily implemented tips! I left feeling ready to change swimming lives for the better and with every tool I needed to do it!

I also want to acknowledge Karlyn's incredible spirit - this day included 9 hours of presenting and facilitating technique content! Karlyn presented with vibrancy and grace the entire time! Though you could buy her DVD's, I highly suggest that attending her clinic in person because it is an extraordinary learning opportunity! Or maybe if you are lucky you can visit her in Kona, Hawaii and get the full Aquatic Edge experience!

 In true Masters fashion, we relocated to the hot tub!

In true Masters fashion, we relocated to the hot tub!

Links referenced at the clinic:

1 - swimming muscles engaged: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rQ8iEGd2jk

2 - Faster Freestyle with VASA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTQpF_mmg44 (there are actually 4 segments to this, if you look at the video list on the right they should appear)