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Happy February! Even though the weather may still be cold and lousy out there, there's a lot of useful and snow-free information and advice below. Enjoy!

Swimming for Life,
Your Friends at U.S. Masters Swimming
Do You Speak Swimming?

Coach Scott Bay says clarity of communication is critical for coaches


There's a lot to love about swimming: competition, camaraderie, and the feeling of being well and healthy. For us coaches, one of the more interesting things we deal with regularly is how we communicate with our athletes. It's not always as straightforward as one might hope, and sometimes, I find that even though we're speaking the same words, the meanings may be different.

 Continue reading >>>

In-Water Cross-Training: Water Polo

Coach Matt Edde says water polo drills can provide fun and challenging cross-training

Playing water polo can help swimmers increase their speed and endurance. Many of the sets and exercises water polo coaches give their players can also help swimmers with their technique. And who knows, you may even find your swimmers and yourself having fun trying a water polo workout! 


Continue reading >>>

April is Adult Learn-to-Swim Month
New initiative to keep adults safe in and around the water

The Swimming Saves Lives Foundation, USMS's charitable arm, has declared the month of April as "Adult Learn-to-Swim Month." State governors in Washington, Nebraska, and Indiana have already issued proclamations in support.


According to the Centers for Disease Control, 37 percent of American adults cannot swim the length of a standard 25-yard pool. When adults can't swim, they often pass their fears and water avoidance behaviors on to their children, thus perpetuating the risk of drowning for another generation. 


Stay tuned for more exciting information about this new adult learn-to-swim initiative as it unfolds, and if you know an adult who can't swim, talk to him or her about taking lessons.
On Deck Coaches and Officials Wanted at Nationals
We need your help at 2014 Spring Nationals in Santa Clara!
Registration for the 2014 Nationwide USMS Spring National Championship to be held in Santa Clara, Calif., May 1-4 is now open, and we need YOU! Apply to be an on-deck coach or meet official and get a front row seat to all the action while helping out your fellow USMS members, coaches, and swimmers. On-deck coaches are given a special T-shirt for their participation and are a huge help to swimmers traveling to the meet without their own coach. Contact Scott Bay for more information. Applications are due by April 15.

Please also let your swimmers know that registration is now open for the meet. All entries must be received by midnight PDT on March 27. Early-bird swimmers who submit their registration prior to midnight PST on March 6 will save $10 off the meet surcharge. 

We have negotiated reduced rates with several local hotels. See all your options for accommodations online, and make your reservations prior to March 31 to ensure the best deals and room availability. We look forward to seeing you in Santa Clara for some super fast swimming!
What Rule is THAT?!
Kathy Casey, USMS Rules Chair, answers your questions
Kathy Casey

Q: Regarding separating the hands for breaststroke and butterfly: is this only on the stroke or on the stroke and pull down as well?


A: None of those things; it's only for the touch at the wall on turns and finishes in breaststroke and butterfly (see underlined language from the emergency notice below).


"The FINA Technical Swimming Committee has issued a clarification regarding the interpretation of the new rules about separated hands at the touch for breaststroke (USMS article 101.2.4) and butterfly (USMS articles 101.3.4 and 101.3.5)."

The complete texts of the emergency notices regarding both the FINA rule changes and the FINA change in interpretation and their impact on USMS rules are posted on the USMS website on the Rule Book page.


Below are the USMS rules that comply with the FINA rule change requiring separated hands for the touch on the wall in breaststroke and butterfly (again with the changes in language underlined).


101.2 Breaststroke

101.2.4 Turns and Finish-At each turn and at the finish of the race, the touch shall be made with both hands separated and simultaneously at, above, or below the water level. At the last stroke before the turn and at the finish an arm stroke not followed by a leg kick is permitted. The head may be submerged after the last arm pull prior to the touch, provided it breaks the surface of the water at some point during the last complete or incomplete cycle preceding the touch.


101.3 Butterfly

101.3.4 Turns-At each turn the body shall be on the breast. The touch shall be made with both hands separated and simultaneously at, above, or below the water surface. Once a touch has been made, the swimmer may turn in any manner desired. The shoulders must be at or past the vertical toward the breast when the swimmer leaves the wall.


101.3.5 Finish-At the finish, the body shall be on the breast and the touch shall be made with both hands separated and simultaneously at, above, or below the water surface.


Stacking the hands, one on top of the other, for the touch at the wall in breaststroke and butterfly is a violation of the new rules. See the photos provided by FINA of various hand positions (allowed and not allowed) with the new interpretation dated 01/24/14 on the Rule Book page of the USMS website.


All rule references are from the 2014 USMS Rule Book. For any questions about competition rules in Part 1, contact Kathy Casey, USMS Rules Chair.

Questions from Coaches
Bill Brenner, Club and Coach Services Director, answers your questions
Bill Brenner
Q: How do I attract more fitness swimmers to my program?

A: Many adults are afraid they don't belong in a "Masters" swimming program. Their fears and concerns must be overcome before they will consider participating. The list of fears and concerns are daunting but can be minimized or eliminated by a genuinely caring coach. Once a coach demonstrates how much they care--rather than how much they know--a partnership between the athlete and coach can begin to form. Ideally, this partnership will develop into one of mutual trust.

I recommend hosting a clinic for the first time Masters swimmer or novice. Many Masters programs around the country host an introductory clinic for new swimmers to meet the coach, explore the pool, and get a feel for the program's dynamics. Advertise the introductory clinic at your facility, the local sports shops, and nutrition stores. Ask your current athletes to refer a friend or family member.


Organizing the clinic by ability level and making each swimmer feel successful during the time they spend with you greatly enhances the chances each swimmer will return. Improvement during this initial clinic should be viewed as a byproduct, not the primary goal; overcoming fears and concerns should be your primary objective of the clinic.


Questions about growing your club, managing club business, or becoming a better coach? Club and Coach Services Director Bill Brenner has answers.

Coach Certification Schedule
Upcoming Coach Certification Classes

Levels 1 & 2

Feb. 24, 2014 Charleston, S.C. - Online Registration

USMS Certification Pin

March 8, 2014 San Diego, Calif. - Online Registration

May 17, 2014 Boston, Mass. - Online Registration

May 31, 2014 Kalispell, Mont.

Sept. 6, 2014 Pasadena, Calif.

Sept. 12, 2014 Jacksonville, Fla. (at ASCA World Clinic)

Oct. 18, 2014 Seattle, Wash.

Nov. 1, 2014 Maryville, Ill. (Near St. Louis)


Level 3 (Level II a prerequisite)          

May 18, 2014 Boston, Mass. - Online Registration

Sept. 7, 2014 Pasadena, Calif.

Sept. 17, 2014 Jacksonville, Fla.


Quick Links and Resources for Coaches

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About U.S. Masters Swimming
U.S. Masters Swimming, founded in 1970, is a membership-operated national governing body that promotes health, wellness, fitness, and competition for adults through swimming. It does so by partnering with more than 1,500 adult swim programs across the country; promoting information via the bimonthly member magazine, SWIMMER, monthly e-newsletters, STREAMLINES, and website,; and by sanctioning and promoting pool, open water, and virtual events and competitions. Nearly 60,000 adults are registered members of U.S. Masters Swimming.
About STREAMLINES for Coaches
U.S. Masters Swimming encourages all U.S. Masters Swimming coaches to subscribe to STREAMLINES for Coaches. However, if you'd rather not receive this update, please do not click the "SafeUnsubscribe" link, as that will remove you from all other USMS National Office mailings. Rather, click on the "Update Profile/Email Address" link to manage your subscriptions to U.S. Masters Swimming electronic communications.
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