Swim spots we love: Jenness State Beach in Rye, NH

Is there an open water swim spot you love? Tell us about it!

Contributed by Guy Davis, GBM & NELMSC Vice-Chair

I'm very lucky to live within an easy drive to Rye, NH, and have been swimming at Jenness State Beach—also known as Rye Beach—for the last decade. The north section is also known as Cable Beach (confusing, huh?) because it is the place where one of the the first trans-Atlantic communications cables came ashore in 1874. It's a wonderful venue for open water swimming, but of course as an ocean venue, we need to respect and understand the weather, surf and other conditions and take the appropriate safety precautions. 

Getting there: The beach is about a mile long, with the State Beach parking lot at around the midpoint. This area becomes busy during the summer so my pod usually swims from the north end of the beach, where there is access to the beach and plenty of street parking even during busy weekends, though a short walk might be required on those days. Take care to respect the Rye parking notices and rules; your car wheels must be outside the white lines (completely off the road) to avoid a ticket.

The beach: The beach is protected by rocky headlands at either end but, other than a few rocks close to the state parking lot which are well-submerged except at low tide, generally hazard-free. It is lifeguarded during the summer. The water is usually very clean but sometimes seaweed piles up at one end of the beach so we occasionally need to wade or swim through some of it to the clean water.

Water temperature: The water is cool or cold throughout the summer and can vary widely from day to day depending on wind conditions. When there are consistently strong offshore winds the water can drop into the 50s even at the height of summer and the temperature rarely exceeds the mid 60s. A good proxy for the temperature you can expect is the reading at NOAA's Wells buoy.

Most of our pod swims in a wetsuit throughout the season, but we have a few hardy “channel” type swimmers who swim skins for most or all of the year.

Surf: Rye Beach is a popular surf spot. The beach conditions can be checked on the surf cam of the local surf shop. Surf conditions vary a great deal from dead calm to over head-high, so checking ahead is a good idea. When surf is up, we make sure to swim outside the surf line and away from the surfers for calmer water and to avoid any risk of collision. On these days, particular care needs to be taken when swimming out through the surf or back into the beach. Getting through the surf can be challenging, so be sure to swim within your experience and capabilities. Although uncommon at Rye, riptides are always a consideration in ocean beach swimming, so take care to understand these and other hazards of ocean swimming. Consulting with the lifeguards and letting them know of your swim plans is always a good idea when swimming in a less familiar venue.

Boats: Boat presence is very unusual, but on calm days a couple of fishing boats may approach the shore, usually at the ends of the beach.

Wildlife: There has never been a recorded “big fish” incident on NH beaches and I have never heard of any jellyfish problems from local swimmers.

When we swim: We swim fairly regularly on Saturday and Sunday mornings at about 7am throughout the summer. Come join us! (If you need more information, check out the Great Bay Masters group on Facebook.)

Please note: These swims are informal, unsanctioned, and at your own risk.

Is there an open water swim spot you love? Tell us about it!

Call Me Coach: USMS Level 1 & 2 Coach Certification Review

Contributed by Joan Hudak, NEM-CRM

Over 100 USMS members took part in U.S. Masters Swimming’s Boston-area education weekend April 6-7. Offerings included USMS Level 1 & 2 Coach Certification, USMS Level 3 Coach Certification, USMS Adult Learn-to-Swim (ALTS) Instructor Certification, USMS Clinic Course for Coaches, and a USMS Stroke Clinic for swimmers that also served as practical experience for the Clinic Course participants. Read on for newly certified coach Joan Hudak’s perspective on the Level 1 & 2 Coach Certification experience.

MARLBOROUGH, MA — I fell in love with swimming at age six when my mom signed me up for a small summer league with an irregularly-sized pool. I raced through childhood, high school, and college, and by the end of my senior year I was beyond ready for a break. After some time off, some triathlons, and a lot of solo training, I joined U.S Masters Swimming at age 28.

The Level 1 & 2 Coach Certification course sold out, with 40 students taking part.

The Level 1 & 2 Coach Certification course sold out, with 40 students taking part.

At Masters practice, one of the first things I noticed was how much more passionate about the sport my teammates were than I remembered being when I was younger. When I raced as a kid, I felt like I was partly swimming for someone else: for my parents, for my coaches, for my teammates. Now, I saw how excited my teammates were to swim for themselves. Many didn’t have the benefit of learning at a young age like I did, and they were eager to try new techniques and learn new strokes. Techniques I found intuitive were completely unknown to some of the newer swimmers, and the more I trained with them, the more I wanted to share my knowledge and experience.

This realization drove me to sign up for the USMS Level 1 & 2 Coaching Certification class. I completed the short reading assignment in advance, but as a kinesthetic learner I wasn’t quite sure how a day in a classroom would translate to the pool deck. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the course was run in a workshop-type setting, with frequent breaks and practical exercises to actively engage us in what we were learning.

After a quick round of introductions, it was clear that the 40 participants came from vastly different backgrounds, and that many were still relatively new to the sport. While some of the students were actively coaching for their respective USMS or USAT programs, others, myself included, were there for the love of swimming and desire to begin coaching following the class. 

Coaches got hands-on experience during the in-water portion of the Clinic Course for Coaches while swimmers got a USMS Stroke clinic

Coaches got hands-on experience during the in-water portion of the Clinic Course for Coaches while swimmers got a USMS Stroke clinic

The day began with a brief review of our 15-page reading assignment: a history of United States Masters Swimming, the values and structure of the organization, and basic business practices for managing a safe, inclusive USMS club. We then dove (pun intended) into some coaching techniques and strategies for teaching adult learners – explaining the what, why, and how of each drill or set will ultimately help improve their swimming the most. We also spent a large portion of the class discussing the different types of swimmers that may join a Masters program, and some of the benefits or challenges they may face there. 

We then moved onto some practical applications, such as strategies for and benefits of writing workouts of differing intensities (aerobic, anaerobic, VO2 Max, test sets) and setting SMART goals with your athletes. We spent time learning the basics of teaching stroke technique and discussed the necessity of being flexible in teaching, working around injuries, tips for correcting poor technique, and some drills for each of the four strokes (five, when you include the streamline!), turns, and starts. We watched several videos (above and underwater) of Masters swimmers and analyzed their technique and what they may need to work on. 

Newly minted Level 3 Masters Coaches Jennifer Passafiume and Pamela Crandall with USMS COO Bill Brenner

Newly minted Level 3 Masters Coaches Jennifer Passafiume and Pamela Crandall with USMS COO Bill Brenner

The class ended with a quick assessment and we received our Level 1 and 2 certificates. Not only did I leave feeling confident to work with my own athletes, but I also felt like my own swimming benefitted from the techniques we discussed. I left wanting to try the new drills, work on my walls, and practice my weaker strokes. Overall, I was pleased with how much I gained from a single day in the classroom, and would highly recommend taking the course if you have the opportunity.

Swim Strong: Multiphase Dryland Series for Masters Swimmers, Phase I

Swim Strong: Multiphase Dryland Series for Masters Swimmers, Phase I

Swimming strong is about building athleticism that compliments the demands of moving through the water efficiently and powerfully. Dryland training, at the pool and at home, is a valuable addition to any swimmer’s routine regardless of age or fitness level. The goal of this series is to increase the swimmer’s range of motion while building strength and mobility. This fundamental movement pattern work aids in injury prevention, tightens connective tissue, and improves swim mechanics and strength.

The Swim Strong Series will present dryland exercises in progressive phases. Each phase builds upon the previous phase. The early phases will focus on range of motion, mobility and stability then progress into strength and resistive exercises.  Phase I teaches the following exercises: Posture Row, Supported Hip Hinge, Toe Sits, Heel Sits, and Plank.

College Club Swimming Makes Waves

Contributed by Jason Weis, NELMSC College Club Swimming Liaison

ATLANTA, GA — Over President’s Day weekend this February, I traveled to Atlanta, GA to participate in the third annual College Club Swimming Summit. College Club Swimming (CCS) is a new governing body that was founded with the help of U.S. Masters Swimming. Now in its second year, CCS serves as a bridge between high school swimmers who didn’t or couldn’t swim on a varsity team in college and U.S. Masters Swimming.

Much like USMS, CCS is led by an Advisory Board consisting of volunteers who are elected to two-year terms and serve as leadership on their local teams. Although CCS is backed by USMS, it is financially independent and almost entirely student-run, with just a small number of CCS alumni and USMS members sitting on the Advisory Board. USMS helps provide infrastructure for CCS to keep swimmers in the sport and aims to transition CCS members to USMS after graduation.

College Club Swimming Summit participants in Atlanta

College Club Swimming Summit participants in Atlanta

This past year, CCS launched a wide variety of enhancements for its members. A new USMS-CCS bridge membership allows CCS members to swim in USMS sanctioned and recognized events while continuing to represent their CCS team in a new College Club Swimming LMSC. Additionally, CCS hosted its first Regional Championship series, with successful meets hosted at Rutgers University in the Northern region and Nova Southeastern in the Southern Region. CCS acquired its first sponsor in FINIS, the title sponsor for the CCS’s second national championship meet. Held at the Ohio State University from March 29-31, the 2019 FINIS College Club National Championships featured online meet entry through Club Assistant and drew 1,863 athletes from around the country. Online meet entry for all CCS meets is scheduled to become available to CCS Clubs in Fall 2019.

Georgia Tech was the 2019 FINIS College Club Swimming National Champion pc: @collegeclubswimming

Georgia Tech was the 2019 FINIS College Club Swimming National Champion pc: @collegeclubswimming

At the Summit, Advisory Board members discussed a wide variety of topics, including best practices for clubs, inclusion and diversity within CCS, and amended rules of the governing handbook. For the first time, all three committees of the Advisory Board (Club Development, Rules, and Competition) met separately to discuss specific challenges and issues within CCS. It was an incredibly productive summit, resulting in improved organization and structure within the Advisory Board while promoting a low barrier of entry to CCS with the goal of maximizing CCS membership.

In the New England area, there are currently about 10 CCS-affiliated clubs, including Harvard, Northeastern, UMASS, UVM, URI, CCRI, Brown, and UCONN, with several more intending to join for the 2019-2020 season.

Jason is currently serving as an alumni-advisor to the CCS Advisory Board and is the chair of the CCS Rules committee. If you’d like more information about CCS, want to register a team, or have other questions, please contact him.

NELMSC Announces Class of 2019 Hall of Fame Inductees

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Contact: Tracy Grilli

(603) 490-3484

NEW ENGLAND LOCAL MASTERS SWIMMING COMMITTEE ANNOUNCES CLASS OF 2019 HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES

BOSTON, March 8, 2019 — The Board of Directors of the New England Local Masters Swimming Committee (NELMSC) is pleased to announce the NELMSC Hall of Fame induction class of 2019. A brief induction ceremony will take place Saturday afternoon, March 23rd, during the NELMSC Short Course Yards Championship Meet at Harvard University’s Blodgett Pool.

The Pool Performance category recognizes members based on outstanding swimming accomplishments achieved as a member of the New England LMSC. 

The Pool Performance class to be inducted in 2019 includes:

  • Michael Ross (MESC)

  • Greg Shaw (NEM)

  • Diann Uustal (NEM)

  • Jacki Hirsty (NEM)

  • Ronnie Kamphausen (MESC)

  • Dan Rogacki (NEM)

The Contributor category honors volunteers who have made significant contributions to Masters Swimming in the NELMSC. This year’s inductees are “Trailblazers” from the 1970s and 1980s who helped build our first three Masters Swimming clubs: New England Masters, Vermont Masters, and Maine Masters.  

The Contributor class to be inducted in 2019 includes:

  • Carol Limanek (VERM)

  • Sandy Potholm (MESC)

  • Henry Southall (VERM)

  • Dennis Willmott (VERM)

  • John Woods (MESC)

  • Enid Uhrich (NEM)

  • Debbie Alsofrom (VERM)

  • Jean (Hotchkiss) Archibald (VERM)

  • Sharon (Forney) Battistini (MESC)

  • Joyce Brown (MESC)

  • Jim Edwards (NEM)

  • George Erswell (MESC)

  • Ted Haartz (NEM)

The NELMSC Hall of Fame was formed in 2010 by the NELMSC Board of Directors. The first class was inducted in June 2011 for pool performance. Those inductees were Fred Schlicher, Petey Smith, Clara Walker and Win Wilson. This was the first (and only) induction class until this year.    

NELMSC Hall of Fame honorees occupy a special place in Masters Swimming. We proudly recognize and record their achievements for Masters swimmers yet to come. Congratulations to all! 

About USMS & NELMSC

U.S. Masters Swimming (USMS) is a membership-operated nonprofit headquartered in Sarasota, Florida. Founded in 1970, USMS is the premier resource for adult aquatic fitness in the United States. Its mission is to promote health, wellness, fitness and competition for adults through swimming. The New England Local Masters Swimming Committee (NELMSC) is a volunteer-run, nonprofit subsidiary of USMS that serves as the regional governing body for USMS-registered clubs, workout groups, coaches and swimmers in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The NELMSC Board of Directors consists of elected officers and appointed swimming club representatives.

Downloadable announcement

Great Bay Swimmers Return to the Pool

by Alana Aubin, NELMSC Communications Chair

How did you get started with Masters Swimming? This month, we hear from two athletes who recently returned to the pool. Melody Miller, age 24, joined Great Bay Masters in September 2018 after taking 5 years off from competitive swimming. Sarah Weeman, 38, also joined Great Bay Masters this fall. "When I found the Durham group, I went for a practice to see what it was like. Coach Todd Whitford was very welcoming and the work out was fun. I had to sign up." Read on to learn more about their journeys back to the pool and competition.

What brought you back to swimming and competing?

Sarah Weeman

Sarah Weeman

Melody: After 5 years, I really missed working out with a group and was craving time in the water. Since I was involved with a club team growing up I knew Masters Swimming was an option, so I reached out to GBM see if I could join a practice. After that first day in the pool I realized how much I missed swimming with a team. 

Sarah: My daughter swims with a team at the same facility, and this made my return to swimming very convenient. The dynamic workouts and the tips from my coach keep me focused and interested. I decided to go back to competitions because that was always the fun part for me as a kid. I also like the idea of keeping track of my improvement.

Were you nervous about anything on your return? How is that going?

Melody: I was very nervous to return; at the time I could only compare my skills to when I was heavily active on a club/high school team. I knew I wouldn't be able to start off swimming again with the same skill level, but I surprised myself with how easy it was getting back into the pool. Everyone on the team is so supportive and despite the tough practices, we still have fun. The environment GBM creates really helped calm my nerves. 

Sarah: I was definitely nervous to go back. I’ve always been comfortable in the pool, but I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to keep up or that the workouts would be too hard. I still get a little nervous before each practice - what if I can’t do it? Or fall behind? But every practice has been the right amount of challenge and fun. Everyone has been welcoming and as we all suck wind together, it is great camaraderie.

What is your favorite thing about Masters Swimming?

Melody Miller

Melody Miller

Melody: My favorite thing about Masters Swimming is how we all support each other no matter what. If you have a big win, people are there to cheer you on; if you have a bad race, they are there to pick you up. The fact we all just love swimming is emphasized, where growing up on competitive teams that can be lost. It's really refreshing to be excited to go to practice. 

Sarah: My favorite things about Masters Swimming are being part of a team again, having a coach again, and having organized workouts. I haven’t been on a swim team in 20 years, and while I have kept up swimming occasional laps (boring), or across the lake in the summer, it is far more engaging to be coached through a challenging workout with your team.

Do you have any advice for someone who's interested but apprehensive to compete?

Melody: My advice is to remember in the end it's about having fun and improving your times for yourself. You don't need to compare your performance to anyone else. Masters Swimming invites people with such different backgrounds that you can't compare yourself to everyone else.

Sarah: I would assure a newcomer that competing isn’t mandatory, but is a really fun way to keep track of your progress and get to know your teammates. It is a great time to hang out on deck and cheer for everyone. It has been invigorating to meet people from all over the world with a shared love of swimming. 

Thank you to Todd Whitford for your help coordinating communication for this piece.

Are You a Long Distance All-Star?

Each year, the USMS Long Distance Committee recognizes excellence in long distance swimming by naming an All-Star Team. To qualify, compete in at least three national championship long distance events, including one open water event and one ePostal event. Gain points for every Top 10 finish. Accumulate the most points in your age group to be name a Long Distance All-Star!

2019 is a great time to go for All-Star status because New England is be hosting TWO USMS Open Water National Championships! Get started early by swimming the 1-hour ePostal this month.


Open Water Events

Sprint: 8/16, Lake Willoughby, VT

2-mile Cable: 6/15, Eagle Creek Park, IN

Middle: 6/1, Lake Berryessa, CA

Long: 8/17, Lake Willoughby, VT

Marathon: 9/22, Knoxville, TN

Ultramarathon: 7/7, Portland, OR

ePostal Events

in any pool of the appropriate length

1-Hour: 1/1-2/28, 25-yards or longer

5K: 5/15-9/15, 50-meters

10K: 5/15-9/15, 50-meters

3000-Yard: 9/15-11/15, 25y or 25m

6000-Yard: 9/15-11/15, 25y or 25m

Winter Fitness Challenge Starts This Week!

Contributed by Emily Cook, NELMSC Fitness & ALTS Coordinator

Bill Meier

Bill Meier

YOUR LOCAL POOL -- It's time for the 2019 SmartyPants USMS Vitamins Winter Fitness Challenge! The Winter Fitness Challenge is a 30-minute swim done in any manner desired: straight through, as a relay, or even with fins! The $12 registration fee benefits the USMS Swimming Saves Lives Foundation.

In 2019, the NELMSC club with the greatest percentage of Winter Fitness Challenge registrants will win a Freestyle & Fitness Clinic led by USMS Level 4 Coach Bill Meier. Meier is a USMS Level 4 Coach, ALTS Lead Instructor, and was the 2018 High Performance Camp Head Coach. The 3.5 hour clinic will include freestyle stroke progression, video analysis, and swimmer-specific nutrition information and exercises.

Fix Your Turns before the Big Meet

The New England LMSC SCY Championship is just a month away, and you know what short course yards means... turns! U.S. Masters Swimming maintains a large collection of articles on all sorts of swim topics. Check out these relevant articles to brush up on racing and turns before the meet:

Award Nominations Due March 1

Contributed by Tara "TMack" Mack, NELMSC Awards & Recognition Chair

Do you have a teammate, coach, official, volunteer, or someone else who has made an impact on your swimming life this year? The NELMSC wants to recognize this special person... but you have to nominate them first!

Here’s how: 

Coach of the Year

Contributor of the Year

Distinguished Service Award

Appreciation Award

Frank Wuest Open Water Swimming Award

  • Complete the nomination form - be thorough and fill out each part

  • Submit the nomination on or before Friday, March 1st, 2019

  • Attend the NELMSC SCY Championship Meet to celebrate the winners!

Please help us celebrate someone special this March by completing a nomination today. Also, look out for a new e-award to celebrate other incredible members of our LMSC. Thank you, keep swimming, and see you at the pool!