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JULY 2015

We have several deadlines coming up for on-deck coaching, check-off challenge bids, Swimming Saves Lives Foundation grants, and more. Check out all the information below!

Swimming for Life,
Your Friends at U.S. Masters Swimming
The Numbers
Coach Scott Bay on volume and intensity for all levels of swimmers

As swimming coaches, we hear the following six things (or variations on them) just about every day from swimmers:

  1. Is today going to be hard?
  2. How far did we go/are we going to go?
  3. When is sprint day?
  4. When is taper?
  5. My (name of body part) hurts. I'm going to take it easy today. 
  6. Is there a lot of kicking? 
Continue reading >>>

Supine Core Progressions 
Chris Ritter on accessing the core from different angles for more stability in the water
Having a strong and stable core provides a foundation for faster and more powerful swimming. Although many swimmers may do "core" work, most of the time they're doing so in a prone or push-up position. But because the core is a three-dimensional segment of the body, running from the rib cage down through the hips, it's important to use different positions to access these muscles during core work. 
Last Call for On-Deck Coaches at Summer Nationals
Help some traveling swimmers get their personal bests
on-deck coaching

If you're already planning to go to Summer Nationals to help your own swimmers, 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 Cleveland this August. You'll get a free T-shirt, and you'll have an opportunity to work with some amazing swimmers from around the country. Sign up today.


We'll also need coaches for the 2015 USAS Convention in Kansas City. Help your fellow delegates while they're 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. More information to come.

Check-Off Challenge Bids Due August 15
Don't miss your opportunity to host this fun and laid-back fitness event
The Fitness Committee is accepting bids until August 15 from clubs interested in hosting the annual Check-Off Challenge event. 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's geographical reach. Check out the Check-Off Challenge event page for more information and to register for the 2015 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!

ePostal and Open Water National Championships
There's still time to take part in these great events!
Open Water, swimming, swimmers, race, 1v1, Tropical Splash
The 5K and 10K ePostal season is in full swing! Coaches: use these events to build team camaraderie and offer your swimmers a taste of national level competition without leaving the comfort of your home pool. Hosted this year by Central Oregon Masters, the 5K and 10K ePostals must be swum between May 15 and September 15 in any 50-meter pool. All swims must be completed by September 15 and submitted online by September 25 to be eligible for competition.

There's also still two more events in the open water National Championships series this summer: 
  • Aug. 29: 1-3-Mile National Championship, (1.55 miles) Lake George, N.Y. - Register Online
  • Sept. 12: 3-6 Mile National Championship, (5K) Lake Michigan, Chicago, Ill. - 

Last Call for SSLF Grant Applications
This year's grant application cycle closes July 24; don't miss out!
SSLF logo no box
Inspired by the positive changes you can make in your local community by teaching adults how to swim? Want to do more? Then apply today for a $5,000 grant from the Swimming Saves Lives Foundation, USMS's charitable arm, to fund your adult Learn-to-Swim program. Applications can be filed online and the deadline for applying is July 24. Good luck!

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

The Coach Asks: At a four-day meet, if a swimmer is 34 the first two days of the meet but turns 35 on the third day, in what age group does that swimmer compete at the meet? 


Answer: The 35-39 age group for the entire meet; "For short course yards, the eligibility of a participant for a particular age group shall be determined by the age as of the last day of the meet." (USMS 102.2.1). That is the opposite of USA Swimming, whose rule for age group competition is the swimmer's age as of the first day of the meet (USA-S 205.2.2). 

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 help organize a swim practice for a group of adult swimmers during lap swim at our pool. I recently registered our group as a club with USMS so we could swim on relays together in a local swim meet. As we grow and become more organized, I foresee the need to begin charging a monthly program fee. How do I transition our group to paying a fee when lap swimming is free?


A: Many Masters programs have evolved over the years from a small group of lap swimmers enjoying each other's company to an officially registered USMS program. Often, the most skilled or dynamic swimmer gets elected the quasi-coach and leader. As more swimmers join the group, more lane space is needed. For the aquatic or facility director, this can be both a positive and challenging metamorphosis. Those swimmers who are participating with the group are happy--which means increased membership and retention rates at the facility--but more often than not, the remaining lap swimmers who may not feel included in the structured workouts can become disgruntled about diminished lane space at critical and convenient workout times.


At this point, establishing a defined USMS registered Masters program gives validity and direction for your adult swim program and the aquatic facility. The key to success will be how open and welcoming your program is to swimmers of all abilities who come to the pool with a variety of goals and motivations. The aquatic facility management likely will not view exclusion practices kindly.


Program fees are a usual and customary expense of participating in an organized Masters practice. The fee you charge should be determined by the expenses the program incurs and the benefits the program provides to its members. While lap swimming is a benefit provided by your facility, is it really free? Countless times I've visited aquatic facilities when lap swimmers are in the pool while many are waiting on the pool deck for a lane to clear. Rarely, if at all, do lap swimmers share a lane with more than one other swimmer. Clearly this waiting for a lane is a waste of time. More importantly, if this wasted time happens too often, it becomes a deterrent for the swimmer returning to the pool.


Sharing a lane with another lap swimmer can have its costs as well. It may not be a monetary cost, but a mental or even physical cost. Sharing a lane with a lap "swimmer" who has no concept of lane etiquette can be extremely frustrating and even dangerous. I generously use the term "swimmer" when referring to the lap lane occupants. On several occasions, I've witnessed more people positioned vertically than horizontally while inhabiting space in the lap lanes. Although many lap swimmers welcome the opportunity to make the lane they share safer and more enjoyable, some may not be willing to take the suggestions offered to practice basic lane etiquette. Swimmers participating in an organized Masters practice with a coach on deck are less likely to incur these lap-swimming costs.


If your adult swimmers have been swimming as a group during lap swim and are now being asked to pay a program fee, make sure they understand the benefits of your program. You may need to increase the benefits the swimmers currently enjoy to justify the program fee. Most adults are willing to pay a fee equal to the benefits they receive. Knowing what's important to your customer/swimmer will help you determine which benefits to provide. These benefits may include:

  • Paid professional Masters coach on deck
  • Preferential workout times at the aquatic facility
  • Increased lane space
  • Lane space in the competition pool (80 degrees F) verses the recreation pool (much hotter!)
  • Additional practice times and facilities
  • Access to open water venues
  • Additional or upgraded pool and workout equipment
  • Digital pace clock 
  • Dryland training program
  • Yoga instruction
  • Seminars with professional nutritionists, physical therapists, and sports medicine physicians
  • Swim clinics
  • Videotaped stroke analysis
  • Organized team travel to swim meets, open water events, and other team identified outings
  • Team website
  • Team e-newsletter
  • Team logo and merchandise
  • Sponsor discounts
  • Organized cross training opportunities with local triathlon, cycling, and running clubs
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Recognition and awards

Once you've established your fee, give your current swimmers a reasonable amount of time before the fee goes into effect. I recommend at least 30 days. You may choose to offer new swimmers a free trial period. After the 30 days or trial period is over and a swimmer decides against paying the program fee, politely point them in the direction of the lap swimmers. 


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 Instructor Certification Schedule
Upcoming ALTS Instructor Certification Classes
Our innovative, one-day Adult Learn-to-Swim Instructor Certification Course begins with several hours of classroom training in how to approach the various types of adult nonswimmers you might 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 of upcoming classes around the country. Please check the schedule frequently, as we're constantly adding new dates and locations.

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, 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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