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MARCH 2015

Has spring finally sprung? We hope so, and we hope you'll find some useful information below to build and improve your Masters program. Happy coaching!

Swimming for Life,
Your Friends at U.S. Masters Swimming
Swimming in a Straight Line

Coach Matthew Edde offers a coach's guide to helping swimmers swim straighter


Most swimmers who train in the pool use both the lane lines and markings on the bottom of the pool to tell them whether or not they're swimming in a straight line. With the visual feedback from these markers, swimmers can easily see when they need to make a course correction. But each time they go off course, they add just a little bit of length to an otherwise standard-length pool. The inability to swim in a straight line can cause even greater problems in an open water race.


 Continue reading >>>
Drylands for Strengthening the Catch
Chris Ritter on how to improve swimmers' strength and coordination in the catch phase
swimming, swimming, high-arm catch, forearm, warm-up, pool, underwater

The catch position and phase of each stroke is paramount to a swimmer's success. Swimmers who improve their catch will automatically increase their power and endurance without any metabolic training. Once a great catch has been established, it can cover up a lot of other technical flaws in the stroke. 


  Continue reading >>> 

Spring Nationals Registration Closing March 23
Deadline is looming, sign up now!
Spring Nationals 2015
Registration for the 2015 Nationwide USMS Spring National Championship to be held in San Antonio, Texas, April 23-26 is closing soon. All entries must be received by midnight on March 23. Late entries will not be accepted.

We have negotiated reduced rates with several local hotels. See all your options for accommodations online, and make your reservations as soon as possible to ensure the best deals and room availability. We look forward to seeing you in San Antonio for some super fast swimming!

USMS National Coaches Clinic
Learn from our best USMS coaches! Nashville, Tenn., Jun. 5-7
The Coaches Committee presents an exciting learning and networking experience for Masters swim coaches. The USMS National Coaches Clinic is specifically tailored for Masters coaches and presented by award-winning USMS coaches. The three-day weekend will include stroke technique workshops, classroom presentations, and multiple opportunities to network and learn from each other. More information is already posted, with online registration coming soon!

April is Adult-Learn-to-Swim Month
What have you got planned for next month?
ALTS Inst Cert Header
Many USMS swimmers might be surprised to learn that 37 percent of American adults can't swim the length of a standard swimming pool. What's worse, 10 people--8 of whom are adults or young adults--drown every day. USMS and our charitable arm, the Swimming Saves Lives Foundation, wants to change these figures, and so we launched the April is Adult Learn-to-Swim Month campaign in 2014, and we're looking forward to an even bigger response in 2015. 

If you want to help, it's easy! Start by finding out if your swimming facility offers adult learn-to-swim lessons. If it doesn't, ask the manager to consider adding ALTS lessons. If your facility does offer lessons, make sure that information is listed alongside your Masters program entry in the  Places to Swim database

If you'd like to establish and run a learn-to-swim program, you can apply for a $5,000 grant from the  Swimming Saves Lives Foundation to get that program off the ground. Applications for the next grant cycle will open soon.

Perhaps the easiest way to help is by donating to the Swimming Saves Lives Foundation, which you can do anytime online. SSLF is a donor-funded charitable organization, and 100% of your tax-deductible donation goes to provide swimming lessons for adults around the country. Let's help more adults learn to swim

2015 Award Nominations Open
Know a deserving volunteer?
USMS Award, gold

USMS presents a number of awards annually to members who have excelled in various areas. The details and recipients of each type of award can be found on our Awards page. Send in your nominations today for Speedo USMS Coach of the Year, Dorothy Donnelly Service, June Krauser Communications, and other awards.

See all the award categories on the Awards page. Nominations for all awards are due July 1 (except the Capt. Ransom J. Arthur Award, which was due on March 15). Recognize a deserving volunteer today!


Who's Going to Nationals?
Easy tracking device lets you see which of your swimmers have signed up
Dive, streamline, underwater, swimmer, swimming
Coaches now have an easy way to find out which of their swimmers have entered Nationals. A link on the Nationals home page leads to a list of current meet entrants. For the upcoming 2015 Spring Nationals that are being held in San Antonio, that link can be found on the event home page

Online Insurance Certification System Makes Complying Easy
Need a certificate? Hop online.
silver-keyboard.jpg, typing

Some facilities require their clubs or event directors to provide them with a certificate of insurance. We now have an online certificate request system. Access information about certificates of insurance and and the online from here.


International Coaching Assignment
Help out the USMS members traveling to Medellin, Colombia
The Coaches Committee is seeking applications for an international coaching assignment at the 2015 Pan American Masters Championship, June 17-27, in Medellin, Colombia. Both assistant and head coach positions are available, and these coaches will be responsible for supporting all USMS swimmers at the meet.

Download the complete job description and online application and submit it by April 15 to Coach Scott Bay.

Last Call for On-Deck Coaches at Spring Nationals
Check the schedule and sign up today
on-deck coaching
Apply to be an on-deck coach 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. Slots are filling fast, so sign up today if you want to participate.

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

The Coach Asks: I'm confused by the messages advertised by swimsuit vendors about one or two logos on a swimsuit and the American version of a suit versus the European version. Are suits with two logos legal or illegal for USMS competition?


Answer: Suits with two logos are legal for USMS pool competition. USMS rules do not address the number of manufacturer logos on a swim suit (102.12.2). FINA rules allow two manufacturer logos on a swimsuit, so European suits are manufactured with two logos. In the United States, high school and NCAA rules only allow one manufacturer logo, so American suits are manufactured with one logo. (USA Swimming rules follow FINA rules and allow two logos.) Shoppers have been able to find the European suits online for purchase; hence, the warning from swimsuit vendors about two logos on a suit being illegal in the U.S. for high school and NCAA competition. The FINA rules exempt Masters from the FINA logo rules (FINA Bylaw 7.1), so USMS swimwear rules do not address the number of logos allowed.


Remind your swimmers that USMS swimwear rules (102.12.1) do not allow modesty wear (no brief, sports bra, or jock strap under the competition suit). FINA approval stamps are not required on swimsuits for USMS competition as long as the suit meets FINA specifications (all textile in one or two pieces, knee to shoulder for women and knee to waist for men, no zippers or other fasteners except for a waist tie). Rules for open water swimwear can be found in USMS 303.7. 


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: I want to start a USMS program at my local Y. What are the most important selling points I can share with my program director?



A: The three most important selling points are diversity, revenue, and community service:



  • Diversity. A U.S. Masters Swimming program provides a platform for a Y to expand its adult aquatic programming. It's a program that celebrates and encourages diversity in age, gender, and ability levels. The single most important component of a successful program is having a coach on deck who understands stroke development, technique, and how to motivate each individual athlete to meet or exceed goals. The Masters coach makes swimming fun. The more fun swimmers have, the more likely the swimmer will stay in the pool and enjoy swimming as a lifelong activity. For many, this leads to adopting a healthier lifestyle outside of the pool. Masters swimming is a social group activity in and away from the pool.
  • Revenue. A Masters program may be financially self-sustaining and generate revenue from program fees, retention of Y members, and the recruitment of new members. Other revenue can be generated from hosting Masters events including swim meets, stroke clinics, and fund-raising activities. USMS registered clubs are eligible to apply for a grant from the Swimming Saves Lives Foundation to develop and expand opportunities for adults to swim and learn to swim. Adult learn-to-swim lessons can enhance adult programming at the Y, while also teaching a lifesaving skill and generating revenue. The USMS Adult Learn-to-Swim Instructor Certification class is a one-day course teaching adults how to teach an adult to swim and become safer in water.
  • Community service. USMS and Ys share similar values of providing resources for the continued health and wellbeing of the members of the communities they serve. Both organizations promote learning, respect, excellence, and fun for the benefit of all. Often, members of Masters programs pledge their time, talents, and financial resources by becoming advocates and benefactors of their local Ys. 
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
Want to become a better coach? Then get certified and up-to-speed on the latest coaching techniques. Our Education Department offers certification classes for coaches who want to become Level 1, 2, or 3 certified in various cities all over the country. See the full list of class dates and locations on our Coach Certification Schedule page. 

ALTS Certification Schedule
Upcoming Coach Certification Classes

In conjunction with our April is Adult Learn-to-Swim Month initiative, USMS has recently launched the Adult Learn-to-Swim Instructor Certification Course. This innovative, one-day course begins with several hours of classroom training in how to approach the various types of adult nonswimmers you may come across while offering lessons. After talking theory in the classroom, all attendees have an opportunity to practice what they've just learned in the pool. At the conclusion of the class, you'll be a certified USMS ALTS instructor, ready to help people who come to you for swimming lessons.


More information about the course is  available online along with a schedule for upcoming classes around the country. Please check the schedule frequently, as we're constantly adding new dates and locations.


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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, usms.org; 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.
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