US Masters Swimming
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JULY 2014

Coaches, please review the important insurance information changes presented below. Thanks, and we hope you're keeping cool and having a great summer season!

Swimming for Life,
Your Friends at U.S. Masters Swimming
Beat the Heat
Coach Bob Jennings shares some ideas for keeping cool during a hot workout

There have been numerous articles on the dangers of dehydration and overheating while swimming in the summer months, especially in pools that lack cooling systems. As coaches, we stress hydrating before, during, and after practice; using longer intervals and rest between sets; doing more stroke work drills; and encouraging the use of water-permeable caps to help beat the heat.


 Continue reading >>>
Success Outside Your Goal
Chris Ritter shares some insight on goals that can apply to lots more than just swimming

"Patience is a virtue." You've heard that saying before, but it doesn't make it any easier to enact. Training hard and not achieving your goal can be very frustrating. You may often ask yourself, "How long should I keep trying before I move on?" It's a fair question, and while I don't have the answer to you specifically, here are some tools to help you as your navigate disappointment in the sport of swimming.


Continue reading >>>

30-Day Tryout (Guest Membership) Form and Procedure
New process and guidelines for guest memberships
membership, join, renew, button

USMS offers a 30-day tryout (guest membership) for prospective members who'd like to participate in a couple of workouts before joining a Masters program. Our insurance coverage for this 30-day tryout has changed, and we're introducing a new process and form for these prospective members who may visit your program.

All 30-day tryout participants are now COVERED by the USMS participant accident insurance during their tryout period. (In the past the tryout participants themselves were not covered.) Because they are now covered, USMS must collect and retain the 30-day tryout participants' biographical information and signed liability waivers.

We have posted a new form that is to be used for all 30-day tryout participants in your program. The form must be completed and signed by the participant on their first day of attendance. The coach should make a copy of that signed form for the club to retain, then mail the original signed form to the USMS national office (address is on the form). The form is two pages long, and both pages must be filled out and signed.


  • Tryout memberships are limited to one per lifetime.
  • Tryout memberships are limited to 30 consecutive days in length.
  • Tryout memberships are for workouts or clinics only.
  • Tryout memberships cannot be used to participate in swim meets or open water race events.
  • A Tryout membership provides secondary personal accident coverage to the participant while participating in the USMS activity.

Instructions may be found in the USMS Guide to Operations, registration section.
The 30-day tryout form is available online. Questions? Please contact Anna Lea Matysek, 941-556-6279, or Tracy Grilli, 941-556-6282.

Foreign Guest Memberships
Guidelines for our international guests
world flags

USMS has traditionally allowed foreign swimmers (swimmers who reside in a country other than the USA and are currently registered members of their country's swimming federation) to participate in USMS-sanctioned swim meets, open water events, and Masters workouts that require USMS membership.

These foreign participants are now COVERED by the USMS participant accident insurance while they are participating in any of these activities. Because they are now covered, USMS must collect and retain the foreign participants' biographical information and signed liability waivers.

We have posted a new form that is to be used for all foreign participants who attend Masters workouts that require USMS membership, or who enter a swim meet or open water event via paper entry form. The form must be completed and signed by the participant. The coach or event director should make a copy of that signed form to retain in their files, then mail the original signed form to the USMS national office (address is on the form). The form is two pages long, and both pages must be filled out and signed.

Foreign participants who enter an event online through either the USMS nationals entry system or the Club Assistant online entry system do not need to fill out this form; their information is captured and the waiver is signed during the online entry process. If any other online entry system is used, the event director should ask the foreign participants to fill out and sign the paper foreign guest membership form at the event.

(Event directors must always verify that the foreign swimmer is a member in good standing of his country's swimming federation.The swimmer should be able to provide proof either by a copy of his membership card or a letter of verification from his club or FINA federation.)

In summary, U.S. Masters Swimming provides short-term guest memberships to the following:

  • Foreign swimmers (who are currently-registered members of another country's FINA governing body) who are participating in a Masters swimming program's covered workouts on a short-term basis (less than 30 days)
  • Foreign swimmers (who are currently-registered members of another country's FINA governing body) who are participating in a USMS-sanctioned meet or open water race 

Foreign swimmers who participate in workouts in the U.S., where USMS membership is required, for more than 30 days are required to join USMS.

Information may be found in the USMS Guide to Operations, registration sectionThe Foreign Guest membership form is available online. Questions? Please contact Anna Lea Matysek941-556-6279, or Tracy Grilli, 941-556-6282. 

Want to Get on the Summer Nationals Email Updates List?
Just ask!
Summer Nationals is coming up quickly, and we've started our series of email updates that go out regularly to registered participants to communicate all important information and what to expect at the event. Coaches, if you'd like to be added to this list, please email your request to the Championship Committee and you'll start receiving the emails from then on for this year's summer Nationals. It's that easy!
Register for an Open Water Safety Webinar July 20
Log on for important safety information
Open Water, swimming, swimmers, race, 1v1, Tropical Splash

The Open Water Committee is pleased to announce an Open Water Safety Staffing and Emergency Preparedness webinar with Jim Wheeler on Sunday, July 20, 2014, 7:00 PM EDT. This is a 45 to 60 minute webinar session that combines a presentation and an interactive discussion with participants. It is based on the longer webinars presented in March and April. To register, please fill out this online form. Please direct any questions to the Open Water Committee.

Check-Off Challenge Bids Due August 15
Want to host this fun, low-key event?
Masters of South Texas
The Fitness Committee is accepting bids from clubs interested in host in the annual Check-Off Challenge event until August 15. The challenge is a low-key, year-long event that can promote your club while offering a fun challenge to swimmers well beyond your club'd geographical reach. Check out the Check-Off Challenge event page for more information and to register for the 2014 challenge if you haven't already. (You still have six months to swim all 18 events-- that's plenty of time, right?!) The host bid packet is also available online and includes all the details about what to expect as a host and how to apply. Contact the Fitness Committee with any questions and good luck!
Want to Coach at Convention?
Slots still available
on-deck coaching
If you're already planning to go to the 2014 USAS Convention in Jacksonville, Fla., this fall, why not sign up to be an on-deck coach at one or more of the organized workouts that will be running during the meeting? You'll get a free T-shirt, and you'll have an opportunity to work with some some amazing swimmers from around the country. 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
What Rule is THAT?!
Kathy Casey, USMS Rules Chair, answers your questions

The Coach Asks: What are the differences between USMS rules and FINA rules that our swimmers might face at the World Championships in Montreal? 


Answer: The World Championship is run according to FINA rules and policies, so it will not be like a USMS meet. Some of the rules differences are:

  1. The minimum age for competitors is 25 (FINA rule MSW 1.1).
  2. The 1500 free is not offered at this meet (FINA rule BL 10.2.2).
  3. FINA qualifying times are different than USMS national qualifying times (FINA rule BL 10.2.1).
  4. A swimmer may not enter more than 5 individual events (FINA rule BL 10.2.5).
  5. Swimmers could be required to swim 2-to-a-lane in freestyle events 400 meters and longer (FINA rule MSW 3.7). 
  6. All swimmers must report to the clerk of course (marshaling area) at least 15 minutes before their designated races. Report earlier than that for the 800 free in case the 800 is seeded as the swimmers arrive for marshaling as was done in Italy (2012).
  7. FINA officials count laps for swimmers in the 800 individual freestyle and show the remaining number of lengths to be completed (descending order rather than ascending order). Officials only count from the turn end of the pool, not from the sides of the pool (FINA rule SW 2.6.3), and they do not put the numbers in the water when touchpads are in place at the turn end of the pool.
  8. Officials will give each swimmer in each heat of the 800 free a warning signal (bell or whistle) when there are 2 lengths plus 5 meters left for each swimmer (FINA rule SW 2.6.4).
  9. For backstroke starts, when the "FINA high walls" are in place with touchpads extending 0.3 meter above the water surface, the toes can be placed above the surface of the water because there are no gutters on which the toes can be placed (FINA rules FR 2.4.3 and SW 6.1).
  10. FINA requires notification of disqualifications only via posted code in the meet results (FINA rule MSW 3.10). 
  11. Times achieved at Worlds which are slower than the qualifying times will not be posted in the results but will be shown instead as NT (no time).
  12. Filing a protest costs money (100 Swiss francs or its equivalent, which is refunded if the protest is upheld; FINA rule GR 9.2.2[d]). 

For a more complete list of FINA rules differences, see pages 154 -156 in Appendix B of the 2014 USMS Rule Book which can be viewed or downloaded at


FINA rules and regulations can be viewed at


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, Education Services Director, answers your questions
Bill Brenner has recently launched a blog hosted on the USMS Forums where all his past Questions from Coaches columns are now available. 

Q: How can I make my program more welcoming to new swimmers?


A: Most experienced Masters coaches can size up a new swimmer with a high degree of accuracy the moment the swimmer walks on the deck. Most of us can tell quickly whether a new swimmer looks fit from various clues. Is the new swimmer wearing a bathing suit from the set of Magnum P.I.? Did he bring goggles bought from a discount department chain--if he has them at all? Did he bring a bag of swim gear purchased from a store that sells "dollar" items? 


Regardless of your initial assessment, you need to acclimate new swimmers into your program beginning on day one. If they don't have a positive experience right off the block the first day, the likelihood they will return diminishes. 


Here are some important ways you can make your workouts more inviting to new members:

  • Introduce yourself and shake hands. Repeat the new swimmer's name when he introduces himself. Call him by name frequently during practice. 
  • Don't overwhelm the new swimmer with too many questions. If he has a positive experience, there will be plenty of time to understand his goals and motivations for swimming later. Simply ask him, "What brings you to the pool today?" In most cases your answer can be "You've come to the right place." If possible, let the new swimmer know others swim in your program for the same reason. 
  • Ask how the new swimmer found out about your program. Knowing if there is a friend or family connection is important. Also, knowing how swimmers find out about your program is a valuable marketing metric. 
  • Ask if he has swum before and when. This will help you gauge a new swimmer's fitness level, and whether he understands "swim talk" and swim etiquette. Make him aware that you are on deck as a resource for questions and concerns.
  • Before the swimmer enters the water, ask if he is a current USMS member. If he is, you can verify that membership on the website. If he is not a current USMS member, and you offer a trial or guest membership, have the swimmer complete a Guest Membership application. Guest membership to USMS may be used for up to 30 consecutive days and only once in a member's lifetime. Direct each nonUSMS member to the website for membership benefits and registration.
  • Make sure the new swimmer knows he can stop whenever necessary. If the new swimmer is sharing a lane, show him where it's best to stop. This will help reduce anxiety and increase safety for all in the lane. If the new swimmer doesn't swim all four strokes, let him know he can use whichever stroke is most comfortable.
  • Assign the new swimmer to a lane where he will experience the most immediate success. Attempt to reduce the frustration and fear of failing to perform the workout or the assigned tasks.
  • Introduce him to each of his lanemates. Most coaches know who is more welcoming to new swimmers than others. Connect the new swimmer with this "welcoming committee" as soon as possible. Often, new swimmers are less intimidated to ask a teammate a question than the coach.
  • Praise the new swimmer often. Tell the athlete what you see that he is doing well, even if that might be difficult to identify. Ask the swimmer how he feels and if there is anything specific he would like you to look at concerning his stroke.
  • Don't let the new swimmer exceed his workout capability. A good coach manages the athlete's expectations and ability levels. Keep the swimmer safe and comfortable. There will be plenty of time to challenge the athlete's will to succeed and improve later.
  • At the end of practice, congratulate him for finishing his first workout. Tell him you hope he had fun and invite him to return. If he does return, give him a welcome package complete with your program's information and team logo marketing materials (most often a cap). Better yet, include USMS marketing materials--bag tags, caps, stickers and brochures, which can be ordered from USMS (for free, with only a small shipping fee).
  • Lastly, never underestimate the power of a smile. Remember, you're a Masters coach. The first rule in making a practice fun for swimmers both new and old is to look like you're having fun and enjoying your time on-deck.
Questions about growing your club, managing club business, or becoming a better coach? Education Services Director Bill Brenner has answers.

Want to read past questions? Then check out Bill Brenner's Questions from Coaches blog, and see if he's already found solutions to your coaching quandaries. 
Coach Certification Schedule
Upcoming Coach Certification Classes

Level 1 and 2

Sept. 5, 2014 - McLean, Va. (Note: this is a Friday) - Online Registration

Sept. 6, 2014 - Pasadena, Calif. - Online Registration

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

Sept. 27, 2014 - New York, N.Y. - Online Registration

Oct. 4, 2014 - Novato, Calif. - Online Registration

Oct. 11, 2014 - Detroit, Mich. - Online Registration

Oct. 18, 2014 - Seattle, Wash. -  Online Registration

Oct, 25, 2014 - Dayton, Ohio -  Online Registration

Oct. 25, 2014 - Albuquerque, N.M. - Online Registration

Nov. 1, 2014 - Maryville, Ill. (near St. Louis) -  Online Registration

Nov. 8, 2014 - Minneapolis, Minn. - Online Registration

Nov. 14, 2014 - Salt Lake City, Utah (Note: This is a Friday) - Online Registration

Nov. 22, 2014 - Lenexa, Kan. (Kansas City area) - Online Registration


Level 3 (Level 2 a prerequisite)        

Sept. 7, 2014 - Pasadena, Calif. - Online Registration

Sept. 17, 2014 - Jacksonville, Fla. - Online Registration

Sept. 28, 2014 - New York, N.Y. -  Online Registration

Nov. 15, 2014 - Salt Lake City, Utah - Online Registration

Dec. 6, 2014 - Novato, Calif. - Online Registration


Stroke Development Clinics

Oct. 5, 2014 - Novato, Calif. - Online Registration

Oct. 19, 2014 - Seattle, Wash. - Online Registration

Nov. 2, 2014 - Maryville, Ill. (near St. Louis) - Online Registration

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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