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!

NELMSC Presents: Winter Fitness Challenge Grand Prize!

Want to win a Freestyle & Fitness Clinic led by Coach Bill Meier? Participate in the 2019 USMS Winter Fitness Challenge!

What It Is:

The Winter Fitness Challenge is a 30-minute swim. It can be done in any manner desired: straight through, as a member of a relay, or even with fins! Challenge proceeds benefit the Swimming Saves Lives Foundation and Adult Learn to Swim Programs.

What You Do:

  1. Register here today.

  2. Encourage your teammates to do the same.

  3. Complete the swim between February 15 and 28!

Bill Meier is a USMS Level 4 Coach, ALTS Lead Instructor, and was the 2018 High Performance Camp Head Coach.

Bill Meier is a USMS Level 4 Coach, ALTS Lead Instructor, and was the 2018 High Performance Camp Head Coach.

How You Win:

The NELMSC club with the greatest percentage of Winter Fitness Challenge registrants will win a Freestyle & Fitness Clinic led by Coach Bill Meier.

The Grand Prize:

The clinic includes freestyle stroke progression, video analysis, and swimmer specific nutrition information and exercises. The winning team will host the clinic and is responsible for pool fees and scheduling. Pool time is approximately 2 hours, and classroom time is approximately 1.5 hours.

Register today

 

Questions? Email Emily Cook, the NELMSC Fitness & ALTS Coordinator.

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.

“This is a DRAG clinic” with Coach David C. Graham Registration Open Now!

New England LMSC Presents “This is a DRAG clinic”

January 27th, 2019 3:00pm – 6:00pm
at Simmons University Sports Center
With Coach David C. GrahaM

Register Online

24 swimmers max, USMS Membership Required
$30 for NE-LMSC Members
$60 for non-NE-LMSC Members


Clinic Details: 

Own your Walls - We will be focusing on both ends of the wall, the in and the out. It is common for so many swimmers to set up their turns on the approach which leads to the decrease in speed as we approach a pivotal point in your race along with focusing on increase distance and efficiency as we leave each wall. 

Killer Streamlines - We will be looking at the 4 common types of streamline we are seeing nowadays along with analyzing which one works best for you.

Reducing Frontal Drag - We will be discussing as a group, the common ways and things that are slowing us down in the water when it comes to frontal drag. Once in the water, we will play with some broken swimming vs more aligned/streamlines positions and practices to aid in reducing front drag.

***Coaches - Would you like to gain experience by supporting this clinic on deck? Please email Crystie at NEcoaches@usms.org to learn more.


About Coach David Graham

David C. Graham -- A native of NJ, he now calls southern NH his home and works at the Town of Swanzey in the Finance Department. David serves on the adjunct faculty list at both MWCC and Franklin Pierce University and this fall, as a volunteer Assistant Swim Coach at Keene State College. 

Swimming since the age of 14, Coach Graham has been an avid supporter of masters swimming since returning to the pool 10 years ago and competes regularly as a member of the Granite State Penguins at local meets as well as 3 USMS National Championships and the FINA World Masters Championships hosted in Montreal in 2014. 

Coach Graham is a Level 3 USMS and ASCA Masters Coach and has previously worked in the aquatics arena as a professional for more than 15 years. This year he was awarded an Appreciation Award by the LMSC and was selected as the LMSC Coach of the Year in 2015.

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.