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In This Issue
Really Cool Club Website of the Month
Floswimming Covereage of USMS
I Swim Because...
Confidence: Wearing a Swimsuit
Swimming with a Snorkel
Stop Swimming in Circles
We've Got Spirit
Newbies 101: My First Travel Meet
Calendar Updates
About Us

Click Here for Floswimming coverage of the USMS 1-Mile Open Water Championship:
The Millerton Mile

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Click here to visit Places to Swim.  Click on your state and make sure your home pool's information is updated.

Places to Swim is one of our most popular resources, but we need your help to keep all information updated.

Really Cool Club Website of the Month...

The Woodlands Masters Swim Team

The Woodlands, TX

to our
Go The Distance Swimmers of the Month!

Kevin Hupp, Marie Molinik, Robin Mills and Judy Williams

Click here for more information about Go The Distance and other U.S. Masters Swimming fitness events.

Visit for coverage of the U.S. Masters Swimming Short Course National Championship.  Floswimming coverage includes races and exclusive Masters Swimming on deck interviews.

I swim because...

"I swim because in this technological age, the pool is one spot where the phone doesn't ring, email ding, nor children SING my name at the top of their lungs!! It is one of the last bastions of quiet in a crazy, hectic world ... (the longer the distance, the better!)."

"Hi, my name is Christine and I am a swimaholic.  I tell myself it is a good addiction.  However, my hair is wrecked, my skin is dry, I get too much sun, I'm tired by 4:00 in the afternoon, and I itch.  I smell like chlorine when I sweat and my shoulders hurt if I lay on my side at night.  I look forward to my workout before I get there and I think about how great it was when I am done.  It is my time.  I swim because I can and I will keep swimming until I can't.  I do it because I love it."

"Because I love swimming! For fitness, friendship and triathlon training. My husband and I learned how to swim at 31 yrs and 27 yrs old respectively, in 1974 and have  been swimming with Masters ever since. Nancy Brown was our teacher, mentor and she continues to be our inspiration. We swim bike and run but swimming is my favorite!"

"I swim for fitness and as a stress relief. I can let my mind wander and not become a danger to others - just stay on the black line!!"

"To stay alive for my kids.  I got married very late, have three young children and would love to see them all graduate at least from high school.  My youngest is Sedona (14 months) and I will be 60 on May 5.  Yipes!"

Do you have a story to tell?

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With over 40,000 registered U.S. Masters Swimming members to date, the spring swimming season is well underway.  The U.S. Masters Swimming Short Course Nationals was a big success, SwimFest is right around the corner, Go the Distance is at an all-time high in regard to number of participants and many of you are busy setting goals for the upcoming months.  We hope you enjoy this May issue of Member News from Behind the Blocks as we look forward to the summer months ahead.

Swimming for Life!
Your friends at U.S. Masters Swimming

Wearing a Swimsuit Proudly
by Susan Ingraham

Putting on a swimsuit sometimes becomes the hurdle that makes it difficult to get started with a swim program.  Some swimmers walk out onto the pool deck with a towel or cover-up.  They soon find out that a Masters workout is the most forgiving environment for both men and women to be comfortable in their own skin or suit.  

Several ladies were happy to share about themselves, providing insight as to their own body image and about wearing a swimsuit... Read more

Swimming with a Snorkel-Intermediate and Advanced
presented by the professionals at FINIS

One of the key distinctions in the value of using the center mount snorkel is that it allows a swimmer to learn to perfect technique the way humans are conditioned to learn athletic movements on land. This includes mimicking the motions as specifically as possible with balance, a full range of motion, and in slow and super slow motion.

With that in mind, the snorkel is really the perfect way to do any and every swim drill. It is not unusual to do half of your daily yardage with the snorkel. Certainly do your warm up swim with it, and almost all your prep before the main set. By doing this you will have been preparing yourself to swim as perfectly as you are capable of doing. Then do your main set without the snorkel (or with it if you want an added challenge). However, warming up, drilling, and then cooling down with your snorkel is ideal and can be around half your total workout. Working on technique during those aspects of the practice is crucial to muscle memory. So I recommend to begin and end your practice swimming perfectly!

Snorkel drills (any drill is great, but here are a couple favorites)

8 x 75's  on :30 rest
  • 1st 25, exaggerate with the chin forward water level above eyebrows
  • 2nd 25, exaggerate with the chin and head way down in the water, where your chin is almost touching the top of your chest
  • 3rd 25, find the sweet spot in the middle for the perfect head position. When I do this drill it feels like my neck is growing longer on the 3rd 25
  • Remember the value of the snorkel and swimming perfectly at slow speeds. This should be performed at 70% effort at the most!

8 x 75's Fishy Drill on :30 rest
  • Same as the drill above except your hands are at your sides and you are kicking through the water.
  • I call it the fishy drill because you're pretending you are in Hawaii looking at fish, just trying to find the perfect body alignment.
  • For kicking drills with snorkel it's OK to kick hard.

4 x 75's  Body Surf Drill on :30 rest
  • Use the snorkel, alignment board, Zoomers fins
  • Push off and go into a streamline with the alignment board, kicking hard with the Zoomers on
  • Put your chin up so that your arms are still out in front with the alignment board, and lean to the left for five yards, then lean to the right for five yards.
  • Continue to kick hard with the Zoomers to maintain a good pace

Again, any drill is fantastic with a snorkel, but mixing and matching with different pieces of FINIS equipment is a great way to elicit new responses and create good new habits.

Are you a beginner and not sure how to use the snorkel?  No problem!  Click here for beginner tips and drills regarding incorporating a snorkel into your practice presented by the professionals at FINIS. 

Stop Swimming in Circles
by Terry Laughlin, Founder and Head Coach of
Total Immersion Swimming

The hottest development in swimming is unquestionably swimming in the open water, not just because it made its Olympic debut in Beijing, but also because every week hundreds of novice triathletes and swimmers are taking the plunge.  Open water swimming presents new challenges, various distances and diverse conditions distinct from pool swimming.

Terry Laughlin, founder and Head Coach of Total Immersion Swimming, provides a breakdown of various elements of an open water swim so that you, too, can master swimming in the open water.  Terry explains The Goal, The Tune-up, The Start, Stealth Racing and Finishing... Read more

Click here to register for the
USMS 5k and 10k Postal National Championships
registration begins 5/15/09

We've Got Spirit!

The 2009 U.S. Masters Swimming Short Course National Championship and 1-Mile Open Water Championship were full of spirit.  Here are a few pictures from the events.

Old lady at Nats     Joel Brown at nats

Tonya Lane at Nats      open water champs

To see yourself, your coaches, or your program featured send us a photo that displays outstanding spirit to

Newbies 101: My First Travel Meet

by Ashley Gangloff

Of roughly 50,000 U.S. Masters Swimming members, only about 25 percent choose to compete in a U.S. Masters Swimming sanctioned competition.  What does this mean?  "Newbies" make up the majority of the USMS population.  Newbies sometimes view competition as scary, intimidating or just "not something I'm into," but this doesn't mean that competition is out of the question.  

I am a self-declared fitness swimmer.  I swim one to two times per week.  If I actually resist hitting the snooze button at 5 a.m., I will swim with my local Masters program.  If my fingertip is drawn to the snooze button with magnetic force (as it usually is), I swim at 8 p.m. after the age-group team has finished its program.  I swim when I want, as far as I want and as I want.  Fins, kickboards, freestyle, doggie-paddle or whatever other method strikes my fancy.  I am a fitness swimmer, but I attended the U.S. Masters Swimming Short Course National Championship in Clovis, Calif., last week.  Did I compete?  Heck yeah, I competed ... and I loved every minute of it.  This is what I learned competing in my first national championship...Read more

Visit Today!

Calendar Updates:

Deadline for swimmers to be registered to receive the July/August issue of USMS SWIMMER

Election Committee accepts nominations for any positions without candidates

SwimFest '09

Coach of the Year nomination packets due to Kris Houchens (

Kerry O'Brien Award nominations due to Mo Champbers (

Cut-off date for LMSC registration/delegate entitlements to the 2009 convention

Approximate mailing date for July/August issue of USMS SWIMMER

Postmark deadline for LC Nationals, Indianapolis

Article ideas for November/December issue of USMS SWIMMER due

Last call for requests for Delegate-at-Large appointments due in writing to President (Rob Copeland;

Open Water: Winter Workouts for Summer Success

About U.S. Masters Swimming

U.S. Masters Swimming, founded in 1971, is a membership-operated national governing body that promotes adult health, fitness and wellness through aquatics.  It does so by partnering with more than 1,000 adult swim clubs across the country that offer swim/fitness programs, promoting information via a bi-monthly member magazine and, and sanctioning and promoting pool, open water and virtual competitions.  Nearly 50,000 adults are registered members of U.S. Masters Swimming.

About "Member News from Behind the Blocks"
U.S. Masters Swimming encourages all U.S. Masters Swimming members to subscribe to "Member News from Behind the Blocks", however if you would rather not receive this update, please do not click the unsubscribe button, as that will remove you from all other U.S. Masters Swimming National Office mailings.  Rather, please click on the "Update Profile/Email Address" link at the bottom of this email. Here you can select to discontinue your "Member News from Behind the Blocks" service or sign up for the U.S. Masters Swimming coaches' newsletter, "News from the Deck" and "Featured Articles," a weekly update.