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We hope you're having an amazing summer. Don't miss the great articles in this issue and important info about changes to coach designations beginning in the 2016 registration year. And congrats to all the coaches and their swimmers who participated in Summer Nationals in Geneva, Ohio!

Swimming for Life,
Your Friends at U.S. Masters Swimming
Play the Long Game: Incremental Improvement
Coach Dave Clark explains how taking small steps can lead swimmers to big gains
Coach Certification
Coaching is not a single, monolithic profession. For example, age-group and high school swim coaches place a strong emphasis on starts, turns, and technique. Although these elements are important in Masters swimming, Masters coaches may not prioritize them as much as they do aerobic conditioning and other aspects of swim training. That's because Masters swimmers are a diverse group with many different goals and aspirations. And they may need your patient, focused help to achieve their specific goals.

 Continue reading >>>

Got Camaraderie?
Coach Bob Jennings helps you build team unity with this workout
Many Masters swimmers swim with the same lanemates at every workout. They find their group and their lane mojo, and that's it, day after day. This works well for a lot of swimmers who crave routine in their workouts. But there's benefit to mixing up the lane lineup sometimes. This fun workout is a great way to break up monotony and have swimmers interact with teammates they don't normally swim with. It's a fantastic way for new swimmers to learn your team's drills and get to know their teammates.

 Continue reading >>>

Important Info for Coaches
Coach designations are changing in the 2016 registration year!
USMS coach certification logo
Beginning with the 2016 membership year we're eliminating the "Recognized Coach" designation that any coach, USMS-certified or not, was able to purchase. In its place we've created the USMS-Certified Masters Coach designation, which will be available only to coaches who've achieved USMS Coach Certification Levels 1, 2, 3, or 4.

Also beginning in 2016, the $30 annual designation fee will be included in your tuition for Level 1 and 2 for the calendar year in which you complete the Level 1 and 2 course. So if you're thinking about getting certified, check the class schedule

And remember, some LMSCs will contribute to coach certification and training, so be sure to contact your LMSC and find out about any scholarship opportunities that might be available in your area.

Contact Education Director Bill Brenner with any questions.

5K and 10K ePostal Events Winding Down
But! You still have time to take part in this great National Championship event!
The 5K and 10K ePostal events are winding down, but there's still plenty of time to take part. 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 by September 15 in any 50-meter pool and submitted online by September 25 to be eligible for competition. Don't miss out!

Fulfill Your Fantasies with USA Swimming's Fantasy Camp
Get faster with the greats!
USA Swimming Fantasy Performance Camp logo
This camp, scheduled for October 16-18, brings swimmers age 19+ from all over the country to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs to live, eat, and train like a national team athlete. Attendees this year will swim with, and learn from, some of swimming's greatest athletes including Olympians Cullen Jones, Rowdy Gaines, Jason Lezak, Debbie Meyer, and Olympic coach Todd Schmitz.
The cost is $2,500 and a portion of all registration fees will go to support the USA Swimming Foundation. The fee does not include travel to/from Colorado Springs. Space is limited. Register today!
Got questions? Please direct Adult Performance Camp inquiries to Nicole Wilson via email or by phone at 719-866-3583.

What Rule is THAT?!
Kathy Casey, USMS Rules Chair, answers your questions
The Coach Asks: The primary timing system at our last meet was manual timing with two watches on each lane and for potential records, three watches on a lane. In both cases, the fastest of the two or three times was declared the official time. At another meet, the primary timing system was semiautomatic with two buttons on each lane and for potential records, two buttons and two watches were assigned to the lane. At yet another meet, one of the two people officiating was also competing, leaving only one official on deck for part of the meet. Were any of these situations correct?
Answer: No. There should be a USMS Rule Book available at every meet for verifying correct meet procedures. Meet directors should review at least Part 1 of the USMS Rule Book well ahead of the meet. The technology is available at many meets to access the USMS website where the rule book and USMS Guide to Operations can be found (both can be viewed and/or downloaded for free). Use the table of contents and/or the index of the rule book or the find/search feature on the computer to find all references to a particular topic (e.g., "timing", "official time", or "officials").
The official time is the average of two watches or the middle of three watches (103.17.3B), and types of timing systems cannot be mixed for records (103.18.4); it has to be three buttons or three watches, not two buttons combined with one or two watches. The bare minimum officials on deck at a meet, other than nationals, is two people, each serving in two official positions (103.2.1); there is no provision allowing for only one person officiating at any time during a meet. 

Other common errors in running meets include: failing to measure the pool or measuring a bulkhead pool, finding it short, and running the meet without readjusting the bulkhead to the required length (105.1.6&.7 and 202.1.1A[3]); missing the deadline for submitting record documentation (105.3.8, 90 days after the end of the season as stated in 105.1.2); and a bra top, or any modesty wear, cannot be worn under a racing suit in competition (102.12.1C).  

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'm an avid Masters swimmer who has an interest in coaching. Is the Masters coach certification class something I should consider or is it only for professional coaches?

A: The USMS Masters Coach Certification Program was developed by Masters coaches to provide an educational product for enhancing the Masters coaching experience. Over time, the program has grown to meet the needs of not only professional Masters coaches, but also volunteer and part-time Masters coaches, age-group swim coaches, aquatic instructors, triathlon coaches, club leaders, and individual swimmers.

The objective of the certification program is to provide education centered on the seven pillars of technical competence, experience, performance, community involvement, business management, risk management, and leadership, all of which are addressed across the four levels of certification.

Level 1 covers the basics about understanding the adult learner and developing a coaching philosophy, and is taught with Level 2, which digs into the technical aspects of all four strokes and turns. Level 3 introduces leadership skills, club administration, and much more. Level 4 is for career coaches who are not only coaching their own clubs but who are contributing to the Masters coaching profession overall. (The full outline is included in my Questions from Coaches blog post for this month).

Levels 1 through 3 are taught in a classroom setting, maximizing the opportunity for students to interact and network with the instructors and the other students in the class. Questions and the sharing of ideas are encouraged during the classes. Level 4 requires no classroom participation; rather, candidates submit documentation supporting their application for Level 4 certification.

So what kinds of coaches and athletes take USMS coach certification classes?

Experienced coaches. One of the strengths of the certification program is the diversity of students in each class. Seasoned Masters coaches share valuable insight, institutional knowledge, and years of experience with less-experienced coaches. Although many seasoned coaches enter class thinking they won't learn anything new from the course, they're often surprised at the varied and creative way adults are being coached and recruited to Masters programs, namely from open water and triathlon. Many of the more experienced coaches say they leave class with a renewed enthusiasm for coaching Masters.

New coaches. Many part-time and volunteer Masters coaches have no coaching background other than how a Masters coach has coached them or how they were coached as an age-group swimmer. The certification course gives each participant the skills and confidence needed to become a better coach, thereby providing an enhanced experience for themselves and the athletes they train.

Age-group coaches. More and more age-group swimming programs are adding a Masters component to their programming for a variety of reasons, incudling additional revenue, increased on-deck hours and pay for coaches, retention of age-group swimmers, and an increased volunteer base. Age-group coaches with no previous knowledge or experience working with adults find the Masters coach certification course helpful in understanding the differences in teaching and coaching an adult verses a child.

Triathletes and triathlon coaches. It's not uncommon to have professional triathlete coaches account for 25 to 35 percent of the students in a Level 1 and 2 class. Most triathlete coaches come from a triathlon background, meaning they participate or have participated in triathlons. Very few are experienced track or cross-country coaches. Very few are experienced track or road cycling coaches. Even fewer are experienced swim coaches. Although swimming might the shortest distance in a triathlon, it might be the most difficult discipline to learn, perfect technique, train, and compete in. Triathlon coaches who take USMS certification courses continue to offer positive feedback as to the overall value the course provides to their professional development.

Club leaders. Does your Masters program have a good coach? Many club leaders attend the certification course to learn what the traits are of a successful coach and program. In Level 1, club leaders gain knowledge of how they can evaluate and provide support to their coaches for the betterment of the program and its members. Although many Masters coaches manage all facets of their program, many rely on others to provide leadership and support in areas of administration, marketing, volunteerism, and social functions. The sharing of responsibilities provides a sense of ownership to more members and strengthens the club.

Swimmers. Many Masters swimmers are self-coached and don't swim with a club or workout group. For these swimmers, attending the Masters coach certification gives them the tools and resources to become better swimmers and feel connected to the Masters Swimming community. Many seasoned athletes attend the class to learn modern stroke technique, drills, workouts, rule changes, and the use of training devices such as the snorkel.

Attending the Masters coach certification class might help you decide if you want to consider coaching Masters swimming. As an avid swimmer, the class will enhance your swimming knowledge and help make you a better athlete.  

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.
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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