US Masters Swimming
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JUNE 2014

Summer is here! Check out all the great resources below to make this your best season yet.

Swimming for Life,
Your Friends at U.S. Masters Swimming
Triathletes: Save Your Legs
Coach Erica Smith offers advice for improving triathletes' swims without taxing their legs
open water, 4 swimmers
Swimming faster must necessarily begin with swimming smarter. As with most endeavors-physical or otherwise-there is a limit to progress that can be made without continual improvement in technique. When it comes to triathlon, poor technique in swimming has the added consequence of negatively affecting the latter two portions of the race, either or both of which may be the actual specialty of the triathlete. The negative consequence is not only added time, but also poor technique that can cause excessive fatigue, particularly in the legs.

 Continue reading >>>
'Twas the Night Before a Swim Meet
Fitness writer Susan Dawson-Cook explores the world of sleep prior to a big event
For ultra-competitive swimmers, the night before a big race can be filled with hours tossing and turning, worrying about race execution, or having nightmares about stepping on the blocks missing goggles or even a swimsuit. Sometimes the realization that they're not sleeping causes even more anxiety and wakefulness. Will one sleepless night affect performance? And how can swimmers increase restful hours?

 Continue reading >>>
Help Some Swimmers Out!
Sign up to be an on-deck coach at Summer Nats and Convention!
on-deck coaching
If you're already planning to go to Summer Nationals to help your own swimmers, so why not extend your reach to other USMS members who could use a coach at Nats? Sign up today to be an on-deck coach in College Park this August. You'll get a free T-shirt, and you'll have an opportunity to work with some some amazing swimmers from around the country.  Sign up today.
We also need coaches for the 2014 USAS Convention in Jacksonville. Help your fellow Delegates while they are working to help Masters Swimming at the USMS Annual Meeting. There are a variety of options available: distance, middle distance, stroke, sprint or fitness workout or stroke and open water drills clinics. Sign up today
Headed to Your Summer Digs?
Need an updated insurance certificate?
Many programs move to different pools for the summer swimming season. If your facility asks for a certificate of insurance, we can provide one for your registered club or workout group. To obtain a certificate, read the instructions in this document, which can be found in the Insurance section of the Guide to Operations, and send the requested information to Tracy Grilli. She will process your certificate and email it to you.
Volunteer Awards Nomination Deadlines Approaching Quickly
Nominate a deserving volunteer by July 1

Each year U.S. Masters Swimming recognizes the extraordinary efforts of our members beyond the water's edge. USMS's success is a result of the amazing contributions of our talented and dedicated volunteers. Help us identify initiative and performance by nominating people you know who fulfill the ideals of the following awards. The deadline for nominations is July 1; please review the submission instructions for each award and help recognize an amazing volunteer.

  • Speedo/USMS Coach of the Year
  • Dot Donnelly Service Award
  • Kerry O'Brien Coaching Award
  • Club of the Year Award
  • June Krauser Communications Award
  • Fitness Award
  • Open Water Service Award

Let us know who deserves to be recognized!

Last Call for Open Water Safety Webinar
Don't miss this chance to learn more about open water safety
Open Water, swimming, swimmers, race, 1v1, Tropical Splash

This is your last call to sign up for the June Open Water Safety Webinar hosted by the Open Water Committee and Jim Wheeler on Sunday, June 22, 2014, 7 p.m. EDT. This is a 30- to 45-minute webinar providing an in-depth discussion of swimmer safety in open water activities based on the longer webinars presented in March and April. The call will feature a presentation plus a Q&A session with participants. Register for the June webinar online by Thursday, June 19. Please direct all questions to the Open Water Committee.

Open Water National Championship Results Now Posted
And there's lots more racing ahead!
open water, swimmer, buoy
Results have now been posted for the 2.4-mile Open Water National Championship held last month in the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, Tenn. You can also still register for the remaining open water national championship events. See the schedule and links below and have a great open water racing season!
  • July 26, 10 miles. Lake Minnetonka, Wayzata, Minn. REGISTER
  • Aug. 3, 5K. Elk Lake, Bend, Ore. REGISTER
  • Aug. 16, 2-Mile Cable. Mirror Lake, Lake Placid, N.Y. REGISTER
  • Aug. 23, 10K. Lake George, Hague, N.Y. REGISTER
Level 4 Coach Certification Applications Open July 1
Ready to take your coaching to the next level?

USMS has added a Level 4 certification tier for coaches looking to increase their professional development. Regstration for this level opens on July 1 and will remain open until July 15.


Candidates for the USMS Masters coach Level 4 certification must register and submit the Masters coach Level 4 application and supporting documents to a designated review panel, which will score candidates based on the criteria set forth by the USMS Coaches Committee. These criteria include leadership, contributions, education, achievement, growth, and retention. There is no classroom instruction for Level 4 certification. Candidates for Level 4 certification must:

  • Be a current USMS member and a USMS Level 3 Masters Certified Coach
  • Have at least five years of Masters coaching experience
  • Hold current certification for CPR, First Aid, AED, and Water Safety for Swim Coaches (or a Lifeguard Certificate)
  • Earn a minimum of 650 total points on the application 

The application fee is $50. Recognized USMS Masters coaches receive a $10 discount. Level 4 certification will be awarded to successful candidates during the 2014 USAS Convention in Jacksonville, Fla., September 18-21. The application is available for download now. Submit your application and supporting documentation to the Coaches Committee between July 1, 2014 and July 15, 2014.

What Rule is THAT?!
Kathy Casey, USMS Rules Chair, answers your questions

Q: What is the front of the block? When some of my older swimmers get on the block, they don't put their feet at the front edge of the block. With balance issues, they feel more secure back a little bit from the edge of the block. Sometimes the starter will make them move at least one foot to the front edge of the block. What is the rule?   


A: The rule is: " least one foot at the front of the starting platform..." NOT at the front edge of it (101.1.1, 103.8.5A & C). The "front of the starting platform" means not the back of the block (seriously!). Since there is no line on the platform clearly dividing the front from the back, the starter has to use common sense in deciding whether or not to direct a swimmer to move a foot further forward. Asking an older swimmer with balance issues to move a foot forward to the edge of the block is probably not a good idea.


There is historical perspective to the definition of "the front" of the block or platform. At one time USA Swimming did not allow swimmers to step to the front of the block until after the command, "Take your mark." The swimmer had to stand "...with both feet the same distance from the front..." of the block (interpreted as the back of the block) until the started gave the command to "Take your mark," and then step forward, bend over, and grab the block. That's a lot to do after the command. The USMS rule was a big difference because USMS swimmers could step to the front of the block before the command, "Take your mark."  USA-S changed that rule for 1999 and no longer requires that the swimmer be at the back of the block until, "Take your mark".


The difference now is a fine point; a USMS swimmer must have at least one foot at the front of the block before the command, "Take your mark," while a USA-S swimmer isn't required to have to have one foot at the front of the block until after the command, "Take your mark."


Be aware that a USMS swimmer cannot step forward after the "Take your mark" command:

  • 103.8.5A: "...take their positions with at least one foot at the front of the starting platform and remain there."
  • 103.8.5C): "...assume a starting position that maintains at least one foot at the front of the starting platform." So once one of your older swimmers places a foot somewhere on the front of the block, that foot cannot be moved until the swimmer dives off the block at starting signal (103.8.5A & C). 
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

Q: I coach Masters at a community pool. The facility doesn't require USMS membership for swimmers participating in my program. What can I do to encourage swimmers to register?


A: Many aquatic facilities across the country don't require USMS membership, but many of those facilities would if they were aware of the benefits USMS provides to the facility, coach, and athlete when each is properly registered. The liability and excess accident insurance provided with membership is one of the most comprehensive policies in the country. With rising litigation nationwide, most facilities would welcome the opportunity to protect themselves and the athletes that use these facilities as well as you, the coach, by adding USMS insurance coverage as an addition to any insurance they currently maintain.


However, just because the facility doesn't require USMS membership doesn't necessarily mean you, as the coach or a member of the club in a leadership role, can't. There are inherent benefits for you, including protecting yourself in the event of a liability lawsuit.


Achieving 100% USMS membership participation in your program can be accomplished in several ways:

  • Programs can mandate USMS membership and require each swimmer to renew yearly.
  • Programs can mandate participation in a USMS-sanctioned event (pool, open water, clinic or ePostal), which requires USMS membership.
  • Programs can offer an introductory fee to participate in the program and proactively register each new member with USMS.
  • Program fees collected by clubs and workout groups can be adjusted upward and prorated to accumulate funds to collectively pay to register and renew all participants' USMS membership.
  • Programs can ask athletes to participate in fundraisers to raise money to cover the expense of registering and renewing USMS membership.
  • Programs can find sponsors within the community that support health and wellness; these sponsors can, in turn, donate funds or provide grants for USMS registration.
  • Many health insurance companies refund membership fees for wellness related activities; encourage your athletes to contact their insurance representatives for more information.
  • Encourage your athletes ask their employers to sponsor USMS membership; healthier employees are more productive and help reduce insurance costs. Some employers might cover your program fees as well.

Working towards 100% participation helps strengthen USMS as a world leader in adult aquatic fitness.   


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

Level 1 and 2

Level 3 (Level 2 a prerequisite)         

Level 4 (Level 3 a prerequisite)

Stroke Development Clinics

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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