recaps

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.

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 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.

David Graham's National Coaches Clinic Takeaways

Coach Graham will be presenting a clinic, This is a “DRAG” Clinic, based on his learnings from the National Coaches Clinic on January 27th at Simmons University.

Contributed by David C. Graham, NEM-GSP

I’m not exactly sure when I started thinking about the takeaways from the USMS National Coaches Clinic (NCC) in Maryland. I remember leaving the deck on Sunday from the morning pool session and starting to ponder it. I bid our fellow New England coaches from the Cape a safe journey home (they were driving), and then corralled 3 other NE coaches into my car for a drop-off at BWI. The conversation turned to thoughts about the clinic and we threw around some of the highlights and a few lowlights as well. Once I left them curbside at their respective departure gates, my drive was about 3 hours to my aunt’s house in New Jersey, where I would stay the night and finish the drive home to New Hampshire the next day.

Today, I looked at my notes; not so much the ones that I took at the clinic itself, but the scribbles I wrote on 3 sheets of paper once I arrived at my aunt’s place, and then the 2 more from after I arrived home. I guess the 8 hours spent in the car allowed my mind to wander to the weekend with the topics and notions presented.

It truly was a great weekend: 80+ coaches from all over the country, together for the sole purpose of not only to further their knowledge, but to absorb that knowledge and be able to bring it back to their swimmers to enhance their ability to perform in the water. I got to meet many new coaches from across the country and catch up with some I have not seen in a while. I was particularly excited to see Coaches Tim and Dean, the USMS coaches for 2014 Masters Worlds in Montreal, my first big meet, and I am forever thankful to them both for their support and friendship at that meet and beyond.

Gary Hall, Sr presents at the NCC

Gary Hall, Sr presents at the NCC

One of the things that stood out in my experience at the NCC was the varying approaches that coaches from across the spectrum have for just about anything. Listening to Gary Hall, Sr. speak was mesmerizing, and in his soft-spoken tone, he still commands the attention of the room as folks listen to his every word. The notions that he presents — coupling motions, frontal-drag, vortices, etc. — are truly on a scale well beyond the everyday on-the-deck Masters coach, but he does a great job of taking the information he gathers with world class athletes and bringing it to an understanding level for that on-the-deck coach. I came away with things that I not only need to focus on, but some simple fixes that each swimmer can build into their every lap to improve.

On the flip side of Gary’s information, there was Bruce Gemmell, Katie Ledecky’s coach early on in her career. Bruce did not delve deeply into the science of swimming. His approach was more about a feel for the athlete, how they were doing, and paying attention to the simpler things that I notice and keep track of with all my swimmers: stroke count, stroke rate and tempo. Much of his information was much simpler and more relatable as, I imagine, many other coaches operate on the poolside level as he does.

It was also a great experience to be in the water while Gary ran us through some of the drills he uses for teaching and feeling butterfly and breaststroke. It’s not every day you get to swim a drill set and finish at the wall and look up to see Gary Hall Sr giving you a thumbs up for a job well done. The pages of the LMSC newsletter could not hold all the topics and takeaways from the NCC, but check out my This is a “DRAG” Clinic on January 27th where we will put to paper and practice many of the learned items from the NCC applicable to Masters swimmers, especially how we can reduce frontal drag on many fronts, no pun intended.

I would like to thank the LMSC for providing ample funding and support to myself and all the other coaches whom were able to take advantage of this bi-annual opportunity offered by USMS. I am looking forward to the NCC 2 years from now in the middle of the country as well as bringing this year’s information to our vast expanse of New England Masters swimmers.

Swimming since the age of 14, David is a level 3 USMS & ASCA-Masters coach as well as an ALTS Certified Stroke Technician. David has spent 15 years as an aquatics professional operating aquatic facilities and programs from NJ to MA. David serves as an adjunct faculty member at MWCC and FPU and most recently as an Assistant Coach at Keene State College. He is a member of the Granite State Penguins and has competed at 2014’s World Masters Championships in Montreal as well as a swimmer/ on-deck coach at 3 USMS National Championships since 2015.

USMS National Coaches Clinic: 5 Key Takeaways from a Triathlete’s Perspective

 

Contributed by Stacy Sweetser, GSP & Coach of SWS Originally published on her blog, Simply Faster

Presenters: Jack Mcafee, Bo Hickey, Dr. Gary Hall Sr., Dr. Joel Stager, Coach Bruce Gemmell

Presenters: Jack Mcafee, Bo Hickey, Dr. Gary Hall Sr., Dr. Joel Stager, Coach Bruce Gemmell

After an intense two-day clinic filled with captivating speakers, a few Olympians, and a roaring crowd of USMS coaches with impressive backgrounds, my head was spinning with delight on my way home. How could I share what I learned? How can swimmers get faster right now with this information? 

I distilled the hours of lecture, demonstration and pool time down to “Five Key Takeaways.” Ultimately these take aways are real training habits swimmers and triathletes can implement THIS WEEK to become healthier, stronger and faster at any age.  


1) Dryland Warmup  

Shoulder Flexibility Testing

Shoulder Flexibility Testing

Bo Hickey, a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, detailed the importance of a dynamic warm up before hitting the water. This aids in injury prevention and prepares the body before it is loaded in the water. Many runners have a standard pre-run warm up routine and swimming should be no different. Bo details a pre-swim dryland warmup via article and video here

Takeaway: Don’t skip the dryland warmup pre-swim.


2) Reduce Frontal Drag 

Plantar Flexion Exercise

Plantar Flexion Exercise

Olympian Dr. Gary Hall Sr. of The Race Club reminded us we are always moving forward in the water, which happens to be 800x more dense than air! Frontal drag is significant and we have to find ways to work through the water effectively. A very common yet fixable area of drag for many triathletes is toes pointed down or out to the side when swimming. Swimmers with biking and running backgrounds can have limited plantar flexion which can increase frontal drag up to 30%. Working ankle flexibility out of the water can save valuable time in the water. Dryland training can include sitting on ankles with toes pointed inward for :20 - 2:00 at a time daily. For more on ankle flexibility and dryland work from The Race Club, click here. 

Takeaway: Plantar flexibility is a critical piece to reducing frontal drag.


3) Interval Train 

Coach Bruce Gemmell shared great insight into his time coaching Katie Ledecky. In addition to working hard, setting goals and prioritizing self-care, swimmers must know their training zones/paces. Similar to training on the bike using Functional Threshold Power and running using VDOT values, swimmers should be aware of their various working paces (easy, aerobic, aerobic endurance, and anaerobic). Coach Gemmell uses the Jon Urbanchek color system with his swimmers. Each swimmer has detailed charts of their various paces in various work zones. There is an app for that! 

Takeaway: Interval train with specific paces. Perform a threshold test. 


4) Perform Tri Specific Skills in the Pool

Open Water Drafting and Buoy Turn Skills in the Pool

Open Water Drafting and Buoy Turn Skills in the Pool

Jack Mcafee, IMFL Male Winner 2016 and Helen Naylor, USMS National Coaches Committee Volunteer, reviewed opportunities to work open water skills in both the open water and pool throughout the season. These skills can easily be practiced in a pool if open water is not available. Pack swimming, drafting skills, treading water starts, sighting, etc. can be creatively practiced in pools. This video details various ways to draft in open water, and can be adapted for the pool with 2+ people in a lane. Various sighting skills shown here can be perfected in the pool before hitting the open water.  

Takeaway: Open water skills can be practiced in a pool. 


5) Refuel 

Recovery Drink or Quality Whole Foods 30-45min Post Workout

Recovery Drink or Quality Whole Foods 30-45min Post Workout

Joel Stager PhD., Indiana University, spoke of his recovery fuel study. After a pre season build, his swimmers were tired, sick and not improving despite solid training. He instituted a recovery fueling plan using chocolate milk within 45min post practice. The team bounced back into the season healthier and stronger than before. Read the formal study from IU on Chocolate Milk as a Post Exercise Recovery Aid. The body must be refueled shortly after working out to recover well. More information on nutrition secrets to improving fitness here.

Takeaway: Consume a recovery drink (and/or quality whole foods) within 30-45min of your workout.  

UVRays’ Bedford Notches World, National Swim Records at Leaf Peepers

Story & photos contributed by Barbara Hummel

Leaf Peepers is a meet where world-record setters and USMS first timers hang out together on deck and in the pool. Fritz Bedford (top left) set one world and one national record in the men’s 55-59 age group.

Leaf Peepers is a meet where world-record setters and USMS first timers hang out together on deck and in the pool. Fritz Bedford (top left) set one world and one national record in the men’s 55-59 age group.

UVRay Susan Reid helps swimmers decide which item to take from the renowned awards table filled with amazing baked goods.

UVRay Susan Reid helps swimmers decide which item to take from the renowned awards table filled with amazing baked goods.

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, VT – Fritz Bedford set his ninth lifetime Masters World Record on October 20, 2018 at the 10th Annual Leaf Peepers Masters Mini Meet at the Upper Valley Aquatic Center (UVAC).

During the meet, the 55-year-old Bedford, a member of the UVRays masters team, launched three attacks on the record book.  In his first event, Bedford’s 28.16 in the 50-meter backstroke was half a second off the world record of 27.62, but good enough for a new NELMSC record. In the 50 butterfly, Bedford had more success. His 26.55 set a new national record in the men’s 55-59 age group and was one-tenth of a second shy of the world record. Finally, in his third event, Bedford blasted a 1:00.78 in the 100 backstroke, clipping six one-hundredths of a second off the previous world record.

Arnold Meardon, the meet’s most senior swimmer, set two NELMSC records.

Arnold Meardon, the meet’s most senior swimmer, set two NELMSC records.

In addition to Fritz’s three records, which were automatic NELMSC records, two other swimmers set regional marks. Arnold Meardon of the UVRays set two NELMSC records in the men’s 85-89 age group: 50 fly (1:07.26) and 100 IM (2:28.79). David Vail of Maine Masters set three NELMSC records in the men’s 75-79 division: 50 back (40.88); 100 back (1:29.55); and 200 back (3:20.07).  UVRay Jim Larrick (men’s 35-39) took home “Fastest Man in the Pool” honors with a meet record 12.11 in the 25 freestyle.

Swimmers decide who will take which leg on the Icebreaker Relay.

Swimmers decide who will take which leg on the Icebreaker Relay.

This year’s Icebreaker Relay shuffled 24 swimmers into four random teams, where everyone had to quickly become friends and choose their best relay lineup.  Relay legs included kicking with a pumpkin, swimming with apples, howling at the moon, and partnered swimming with a noodle.  

The Icebreaker Relay begins!

The Icebreaker Relay begins!

Mary Gentry is everyone’s FAVORITE meet director.

Mary Gentry is everyone’s FAVORITE meet director.

Summer Meet & Open Water Result Links

Kingdom Swim Recap

Contributed by Charlotte Brynn, NE-LMSC Open Water Chair

NEWPORT, VT --  The 10th Annual Kingdom Swim was held on July 28th in Lake Memphremagog in Newport, Vermont. The 125 swimmers competed under sunny skies in 72-74F water temperatures. Swimmers raced in the 1 mile, 5 km, 10 km, 10 mile, or 25 km Border Buster event into Canada and back. Masters swimmers from New England represented well in all courses and posted many top finishes.

Winners of the beautifully hand-carved Vermont walking sticks in the 25 km Border Buster race were 25-year-old Anthony Szmul of Queensbury, NY in 8 hours 13 minutes 56 seconds and 50-year-old Charlotte Brynn of Stowe, VT in 8 hours 31 minutes 44 seconds. 

In the 10-mile race, 29-year-old Morgan Grozier of East Orleans, MA and 57-year-old George Boerger of Kingston, MA each won a walking stick, a pound of Brault's Beef Jerky, a quart of Couture's Maple Syrup, and a six-pack of Burke Mountain ski tickets.

Alana Aubin post-10km victory

Alana Aubin post-10km victory

In the 10km race Eric Nilsson stormed away from the field -- to no one's surprise -- finishing first in a time of 2 hours 10 minutes 49 seconds. Alana Aubin completed another strong Kingdom Swim to win the overall female division in a time of 2 hours 38 minutes 48 seconds.

Registration for the 2019 Kingdom Swim opened September 1. With only 30 spots in each event, register early to secure your spot and chance to enjoy a weekend of friendly open-water competition in the scenic Northeast Kingdom!


Top 5 Finishers

25 km Border Buster

Female
1. Charlotte Brynn 8:31:44 
2. Martha Wood 8:45:43 
3. Daniela Klaz 9:05:25 
4. Melodee Nugent 9:19:14 
5. Emily Boerger 9:51:43

 Male
1. Anthony Szmul 8:13:56 
2. Bill Shipp 9:00:36 
3. Michael Pollanen 10:14:39 
4. John Batchelder 10:22:06 
5. Andrew Wallace 10:25:55 


10-Mile

Female
1. Morgan Grozier 4:46:19 
2. Molly Lunn Owen 5:13:02 
3. Keone Weigl 5:15:24 
4. Britt Hulbert 5:21:22 
5. Puranjot Khalsa 5:24:36 

Wetsuit

1. Carol Shuford 6:13:14 
2. Joanne Navilliat 7:37:50 

Male
1. George Boerger 5:51:15 
2. Leopoldo Gomez 6:37:51 
3. John Gale 8:06:15

Wetsuit

1. Andrew Westbrook 6:06:38 
2. Damase Olsson 7:01:35 


10 km

Male
1. Eric Nilsson 2:10:49 
2. Sheldon Katz 2:54:29 
3. Peter November 3:01:58 
4. John Hughes 3:12:39 
5. Kevin Joubert 3:12:51 

 

Female
1. Alana Aubin 2:38:48 
2. Melissa Andrews 2:40:33 
3. Joan Hudak 2:43:19 
4. Vera Rivard 3:01:13 
5. Holly Donnelly 3:14:42 

Wetsuit
1. Lee Ann Banks 3:17:29
2. Patricia Lambert 3:28:07 
3. Robyn Shiely 3:49:15 
4. Cheryl Coletti-Lawson 3:52:28 
5. Sally Kidd 4:37:07 

Kingdom Swim 10 mile start.jpg

5 km

Female
1. Katharine Dunn 1:10:21 
2. Laura Kenny 1:21:41 
3. Madeline Craig 1:24:11 
4. Tori Lamphere 1:24:35 
5. Julie Bosak 1:24:11 

 Wetsuit
1. Jody Goodrich 1:33:50 
2. Melissa McEvoy 1:35:09 
3. Katherine Ruffin 1:37:00 
4. Cindy Rodd 1:41:46 
5. Katie Hudon 2:00:36 

Male
1. Lawton Harper 1:25:27 
2. Jesse Marshall 1:29:37 
3. Jimmy Wu 1:42:27

Wetsuit

1. George Randall 1:52:15 
2. Victor Yanessa 1:52:22 


1-Mile swim

Male
1. Robert Hrabchak 26.03 
2. Josep Garrison 28.39 
3. Hermes Cabellero 28.48 
4. Will Golec 29.02 
5. Denis Beaudry 30.58 

Female
1. Louise Davies 29.04 
2. Judith Ebsary 29.12 
3. Rachel Gagnon 30.43
4. Quinn Manion 31.26 
5. Anne Hrabchak 35.05 

Pan American Masters Championships Recap

Contributed by Sue Jensen, CRM & NE LMSC Secretary

pool.jpg

ORLANDO, FL -- The 2018 Union Americana de Natacion (UANA) Pan American Masters Championships were held from July 25 to August 8 at the YMCA Aquatic Center in Orlando, Florida. More than 2,200 athletes participated across five disciplines -- swimming, diving, synchronized swimming, water polo, and open water swimming -- making it the largest UANA Pan American Masters Championships ever held. Over 1,700 pool swimmers hailed from 30 swimming federations (most from North and South America) and broke 65 FINA world records, 136 UANA records, and 38 USMS national records in long-course meters events.

Fred Schlicher

Fred Schlicher

New England swimming legend Fred Schlicher, who recently turned 70, set world records in the 200 free and 200 fly. He also set UANA records in the 50 back and 200 back. Two weeks earlier, at the 2018 South Central Zone LCM Championship meet in Texas, Fred bested the world record in the 100 fly, as well and set national records in the 200 IM and 400 IM. Congratulations Fred. You are an inspiration to all masters swimmers!

New Englanders who attended reported that the meet was friendly and very well-run even though the hot, humid weather made for a challenging meet environment. With events spread over seven days and no New England relays able to be formed, there was a shortage of team camaraderie.

Here are reflections from some of the NE-LMSC swimmers who attended:

Szekely, Mareb, and Estel

Marian Coakley (NEM), 81, who describes herself as a "very young 80 year old," was pleasantly surprised with her 3rd, 4th and 5th place finishes usually in a group of eight. This was Marian's first meet in several years because of a couple of hip replacements. Marian goes to the pool every day of the year - but for an hour of power water walking (for rehab), not swimming. She decided to go to the meet because it was close to where she now lives in Florida. "People were really friendly, and I was glad to be a part of it." If all goes well, Marian plans to attend both Spring and Summer USMS Nationals in 2019. It is great to be back "in the swim again."

Harvey Ottinger (NEM-BASS), 61, had just returned to competitive swimming after a 40-year layoff. Harvey swam the 50, 100 and 200 breaststroke, placing 7th in the 50 and 100 and 8th in the 200 while improving on all of his seed times by a good amount. Harvey commented that, "Orlando was great and the venue was very nice. Hotels were abundant and very reasonable. Food was everywhere and fun. Everyone was treated very well, and I made many new friends. Quite honestly, I had a complete blast."

Crusco, Mareb, and Estel sporting some serious hardware!

Crusco, Mareb, and Estel sporting some serious hardware!

Beth Estel (NEM-GSP), 62, had a great meet including setting new UANA records in the 50 and 100 breast. "I was very happy with my results," said Beth. "My breaststroke friends aged up and showed up, so that made it challenging and exciting, even one from the UK. Peggy McDonnell, another breaststroker - not competing - came to cheer me on. Beth did comment on the lack of team camaraderie from New England during the day, however, felt she had great quality times with her swim buds (Karen MarebIldi Szekely, and Kysa Crusco and family), in the evening, going out to dinner and sightseeing, including a dinner at Disney, and at a Greek restaurant where Karen danced with the belly dancer.

Maria Stotts (NEM), 36, swam three pool events plus the 1.5k open water race in Daytona Beach. This was her first international meet ever, and also her first time in Florida. She found the meet very organized, and enjoyed meeting participants from around the world. The aquatic center was located in an area with plenty of things to do nearby - restaurants, shops, aquarium, wax museum, giant observation wheel and a 450-foot swing ride. She enjoyed the trip very much and hopes to go to either Mesa, Arizona or Mission Viejo, California next year for Spring and Summer Nationals.

daytona beach.jpg

Dave Bright (NEM), 65, competed in his second Pan Am Masters meet after attending the one in Sarasota four years ago. "Orlando may not have been my first choice for a location. It was hot and humid, and there were lots of tourists and traffic gridlock, but it had what we needed for the meet, and I thought things went well. One of the things that happens in these big meets is that we tend to get to the pool, warm-up, swim our race and then leave. Sticking around to watch your teammates may mean a 4-hour wait in the bleachers. So, there is not as much team unity as we see at a regional or national meets. Personally, I felt the absence of having access to any 50-meter pools to train in here in Maine." Dave swam four events - one per day and then came back home at the halfway point of the meet. He was very happy with his finishes - 3rd in the 800 free, 2nd in the 400 IM, 3rd in the 200 back, and 7th in the 100 back. Both the 200 back and 400 IM were New England records! Hopefully some will hold up for US & FINA Top Tens.

CONGRATULATIONS to all swimmers from New England.

Mark your calendars for the the next Pan American Masters Championship meet, to be held in Medellin, Colombia in Summer 2020. The Colombian Swimming Federation will host this meet at the Atanasio Girardot Sports Complex, a world class aquatics facility with two long-course competition pools and six warm-up/warm-down pools. The open water event is tentatively scheduled be held in Guatupe, a wonderful small town north of Medellin. Going forward, UANA will host the Pan American Masters Championships on even-numbered years and FINA will host the World Masters Swimming Championships on odd-numbered years. 

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.