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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!

Swimmers Kick off 2019 with 100x 100s at Harvard University

Contributed by Jessica Stokes, NEM-CRM & NELMSC Board Member

100x100.jpg

BOSTON, MA -- At 8:57 AM on January 6, 2019, the atmosphere at Harvard’s Blodgett Pool was electric as nearly 150 swimmers prepared to start the 100 x 100 Memorial Marathon Swim. Participants swam in twenty lanes arranged by interval, ranging from 1:15 to 2:20 per 100. As swimmers paced themselves back and forth, music pulsed, MC Rick Osterberg provided periodic play-by-play updates, and the scoreboard kept track of intervals and counted repetitions. Volunteers cheered swimmers from the pool deck and kept them hydrated with Heed Sports Drinks and Hammer Gels provided by Hammer Nutrition. “This year, we had the largest turnout we’ve ever had and the greatest number of swimmers who completed all 100 swims,” said Event Director and CRA Masters Head Coach Chris Schenck. “All profits from the swim were donated to the Smith College Scholarship Fund in memory of one of my predecessors, Marly Pineda.” As swimmers at each interval completed their 100 repetitions, lane members selected an MVP, who won a water bottle provided by Swim With A Mission. No matter how many repetitions they completed, every swimmer left with a commemorative event cap and t-shirt provided by TYR and Streamline Events. Schenck reports that next year, the event will be expanded to two facilities, Blodgett Pool and the new CRA facility, Wellesley Sports Center, which is slated to open in the spring of 2019.

NELMSC SCM Championships Recap

by Alana Aubin, NELMSC Communications Chair

Dan Rogacki and Mindy Williams

Dan Rogacki and Mindy Williams

WORCESTER, MA -- Three world records and one national record went down at the 2018 NELMSC and Colonies Zone SCM Championships, held December 8-10 at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

New Englander Fritz Bedford of the UV Rays shaved 0.10 off the world record in the men's 55-59 50-meter backstroke in 27.86. Drew Modrov (CHEL) took .77 off the men's 25-29 400-meter freestyle record with his time of 3:52.83 and Erika Braun (NCMS) bettered her own women's 45-49 100-meter freestyle record of 58.21 with a 57.89. Steve Hiltabiddle (1776) set the national record in the men's 50- 54 50-meter butterfly, taking it from 25.98 to 25.60.

Charles River Masters

Charles River Masters

In individual scoring, Dan Rogacki (NEM-PITY) scored 215 points to win the men's high point award, while Mindy Williams (NEM-GSP) and Ann Louise Onton (CONN) tied for the women's title with 209 points. Kysa Crusco (NEM-GSP) picked up 196 points to take third on the women's side and Mark Keil (NEM-MAMA) and Modrov rounded out the men's podium with 177 and 170 points, respectively.

In the team competition, Charles River Masters beat host Worcester Area Masters and 2017 champ Connecticut Masters in large team scoring, 3340 to 3094 to 2682. In the medium team division, Great Bay Masters (1767 points) beat out Granite State Penguins (1674) for first, while Maine Masters (1385) narrowly defeated SwimRI (1378) for third place. Visiting teams UMAC Terrapin Masters (845), Chelsea Piers Fitness (661), and Landshark Masters (621) turned in strong showings in the small team division. Sarasota YMCA Sharks (290), North Carolina Masters (255), and Nutmeg Masters (246) were tops in the Squad division.