US Masters Swimming
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It's a new year and we've got lots of ways to help you help your swimmers and improve your program below. Happy coaching!

Swimming for Life,
Your Friends at U.S. Masters Swimming
Kick Timing 101
Coach Stuart McDougal explains how swimmers can find untapped power with kick timing
Freestyle hip technique

Kick timing is an important but often-overlooked aspect of freestyle. But when your swimmers find the right kick pattern, they can tap into previously unavailable core power to push themselves forward.


I usually describe kick timing to swimmers by comparing it to the more familiar, upright, terra firma counterparts of walking, jogging, or running. When you're walking or running, as your left leg swings forward your right arm swings forward as counterbalance. The same is true for the opposite side: when the right leg swings forward, the left arm also swings forward. We've acquired this instinctive diagonal timing since taking our first steps as infants. 


Continue reading >>>
Shoulder Exercises for Busy Swimmers
Coach Sue Welker offers simple exercises to stabilize and strengthen sore shoulder muscles
Shoulder Pain

"Oh, my aching shoulder! Coach, what can I do for this?"


How many of us coaches hear this on a daily basis? Adult swimmers are so crunched for time that most of them can't properly take care of their shoulders, back, and core muscles. On average, I see my swimmers about three to four hours per week at the pool. For most men and women juggling a career, family, and the commute in and around the Chicagoland area, that's about all the time they can manage to get to the gym. And we all know that no one wants to give up precious practice time, let alone post-practice hot tub time.


 Continue reading >>>
Spring Nationals Coming Up Quickly
Make your hotel reservations now
Spring Nationals 2015

Are you going to the 2015 Nationwide USMS Spring National Championship in San Antonio this year? If so, you'd better get your hotel sorted out now for the April 23 to 26 meet, as spots are filling up quickly. Select from a wide variety of host hotels within 5 to 10 minutes of the Northside Swim Center. Many of the hotels on the list are offering discounted rates for USMS coaches and competitors and the range of hotels means there's something available in every budget. Throughout the meet, select host hotels will have a continuous shuttle service to and from the Swim Center. Check out our San Antonio hotel list for options, rates, and booking information. And be sure to book your hotel early to ensure the best pricing and availability.


USMS Speedo 1-Hour Swim Event in Full Swing
It's not too late to set aside a workout or two so your swimmers can participate
2015 1-Hour ePostal logo
The annual USMS Speedo 1-Hour Swim National Championship ePostal event is in full swing, but you've still got time to help your swimmers participate. The event runs from January 1 to January 31, 2015, and the objective is to swim as far as possible in 1 hour, in any pool 25 yards or longer. Record your splits and submit your results, just for fun, or so you can compare yourself to other swimmers around the country.


This year's 1-Hour is hosted by the Chicago Smelts and is a USMS-sanctioned event. All participants must be registered for 2015 with USMS (or the equivalent organization for non-U.S. swimmers). Foreign swimmers are not eligible for USMS records or All-American status.


Coaches, why not set aside a couple of practice sessions to get your whole club involved? It's great for building camaraderie and provides a killer workout for participants. Lots more information is available online.


Check-Off Challenge
This annual fitness event can help you motivate your swimmers to try new events

The Check-off Challenge is designed to motivate swimmers by encouraging them to swim 18 pool events and an open water swim during the calendar year and is a fun challenge for swimmers of all ability levels. Coaches can use the Check-Off Challenge to motivate their clubs to attend meets or inspire individual swimmers to try new events. Open to all registered USMS members, the entry fee to participate is $25, which includes a custom-designed Check-Off Challenge T-shirt, swim cap, and shipping. Check out the Check-Off Challenge event page for more information.


Do Your Swimmers FLOG?
Urge them to hop online to track all their fitness activities

Your members can track their swimming and other fitness activities via our online Fitness Logs. With this exciting online service--which is also the basis for the very popular Go The Distance fitness event--you can log a wide variety of fitness activities such as swim workouts, running, weights, and yoga on your FLOG calendar and track your weekly, monthly, and annual totals online. Let your swimmers--especially new swimmers who may not be aware of it yet--know about this great tool and benefit of U.S. Masters Swimming membership.


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

The Coach Asks: One of my swimmers cut his hand and had to have stitches. He still plans to swim at a meet this weekend and wants to know if he can wear a surgical glove to protect the stitches. What are the rules for this situation?


Answer: The meet referee has the authority to decide whether or not to let the swimmer wear the surgical glove in competition. Such a glove is not regarded as part of a swimsuit (102.12.1B, last sentence), so a request for a medical exemption for swimwear is not required in this specific situation. It is more similar to tape and bandages (bandages usually include tape), both of which are left to the referee for a decision (102.12.1E and 102.13.9). The swimmer should contact the meet referee or meet director prior to the meet about the request to wear a surgical glove to protect stitches. A meet referee may ask for a doctor's note and after a conversation with the swimmer, will decide if it is reasonable and safe for the swimmer to wear a surgical glove in competition and determine whether or not it would provide a competitive advantage. Be aware that a referee's decision at one meet does not set precedent for subsequent meets (103.6.9), so the swimmer must repeat the request process with the meet referee at each meet.

All rule references are from the 2015 USMS Rule Book. For any questions about competition rules in Part 1, contact Kathy Casey, USMS Rules Chair.

Questions from Coaches
Bill Brenner, Education Director, answers your questions

Q: Do you have any tips on integrating a slower swimmer into the swim practice?


A: Integrating a slower swimmer has its challenges, especially when practices have fewer lanes and more swimmers per lane. Adding a slower swimmer to a lane of teammates who are substantially faster can create frustration and safety concerns for everyone involved. Many swimmers may improve with enhanced stroke technique and a commitment to training; however, this takes time and is not an immediate remedy.


As a Masters coach, it's important for you to manage slower swimmers' expectations and help them understand the lane dynamics of swimming with faster swimmers. If you educate every swimmer-
-both fast and slow--where and when to pass each other and where a slower swimmer should stop on the wall, you will give all the swimmers the best chance for a safe and enjoyable practice.


Slower swimmers and swimmers who lack endurance can be managed by:

  • Increasing their speed. Adding training aids such as fins, a snorkel, or a pull buoy will, in many cases, add speed and correct stroke and kicking deficiencies. While these aids may help with the initial problem, I hesitate to recommend the continued use of these aids for the entire practice. Being able to swim without these aids should remain a goal.
  • Decreasing the distance. Trimming the amount of yardage for repeats allows the slower swimmer to train the same amount of time as their lane mates. Depending on the speed of everyone in the lane and the number of swimmers in the lane, most repeats of 75 yards or less reduce the problem of slowing the faster swimmers down. Remember, what's important is not the amount of yards any swimmer swims, it's the quality of the yards that are swum. Reducing the number of repeats for the slower swimmer may also be beneficial.
  • Improving stroke technique. Have the slower swimmer work on stroke mechanics 25 yards at a time while staying clear of the other swimmers in the lane. Many novice swimmers welcome the opportunity to work on technique as a form of active recovery.

An important trait of a good Masters coach is to be flexible and create a positive environment for all swimmers in a practice. Celebrate each swimmer's accomplishment every day, no matter how small. Be creative in managing the deck, have fun, and smile often. 


Questions about growing your club, managing club business, or becoming a better coach? Education 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 & 2

Jan. 24, 2015 - Phoenix, Ariz. - Register online

Feb. 21, 2015 - Coeur d'Alene, Idaho - Register online

Mar. 7, 2015 - San Jose, Calif. - Register online

Mar. 28, 2015 - Dallas, Texas - Register online

Apr. 11, 2015 - Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. - Register online

Apr. 18, 2015 - Hartford, Conn.

May 2, 2015 - Las Vegas, Nev.

May 16, 2015 - Pittsburgh, Pa.

May 30, 2015 - San Antonio, Texas

June 5, 2015 - Nashville, Tenn.

July 25, 2015 - Portland, Ore.

Aug. 22, 2015 - Raleigh, N.C.

Aug. 29, 2015 - Philadelphia, Pa.

Sept. 26, 2015 - Oklahoma City, Okla.

Sept. 30, 2015 - Kansas City, Kan. (at USAS convention)

Nov. 14, 2015 - Jackson, Miss.


Level 3 (Level 2 a prerequisite)  

Feb. 22, 2015 - Coeur d'Alene, Idaho - Register online

Sept. 19, 2015 - Chicago, Ill.

Sept. 30, 2015 - Kansas City, Kan. (at USAS convention)

Oct. 17, 2015 - Los Angeles, Calif.

Oct. 31, 2015 - Seattle, Wash.

Nov. 7, 2015 - Charlotte, N.C.

Nov. 21, 2015 - Philadelphia, Pa.

Dec. 5, 2015 - Austin, Texas 

Stroke Development Clinics
Feb. 22, 2015 - Coeur d'Alene, Idaho - Register online
Sept. 27, 2015 - Oklahoma City, Okla.

ALTS Instructor Certification Schedule
Upcoming ALTS Instructor Certification Classes

Feb. 7, 2015 - Orlando, Fla. - Register online

Mar. 15, 2015 - Phoenix, Ariz. - Register online

Mar. 17, 2015 - Denver, Colo. - Register online

Mar. 21, 2015 - Los Angeles, Calif. - Register online

Mar. 22, 2015 - San Jose, Calif. - Register online

Mar. 27, 2015 - Atlanta, Ga.

Mar. 28, 2015 - Dallas, Texas - Register online

May 16, 2015 - Seattle, Wash.

Sept. 30, 2015 - Kansas City, Kan. (at USAS convention)

Date TBD - Chicago, Ill.

Date TBD - Washington, D.C. area
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
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