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  1. Coaching beyond the workout

    by , May 15th, 2015 at 12:00 PM (Questions from Coaches)
    Q: What should I be doing to successfully "coach beyond the workout" for a Masters program?

    A: In many cases, developing a successful Masters program is more than writing good pool workouts. Good coaches take the time to familiarize themselves with their athletes, learning their names, abilities, goals, motivations, outside interests, and a little about their families. Each piece of information can be used to create the most positive environment and outcome possible for your athletes every day on or off the pool deck.

    Your workouts will be more impactful if you can customize the delivery of the workout to each individual. Are you going to write 30 different workouts for 30 different swimmers? Probably not. However, you can make it a point to speak to athletes individually during practice and ask them to work on something specific to their needs. This could be technique, pace, speed, or effort. Acknowledge success and commitment. Provide feedback. Point out something done well before addressing something that needs to change.

    Take the time to further your coaching knowledge. Read, research and write.

    • U.S. Masters Swimming publishes SWIMMER magazine bi-monthly, delivers monthly electronic newsletters, and maintains a website - - that's constantly updated with articles that provide the reader with valuable information.
    • Attend the USMS National Coaches Conference and learn from several of our organization's most successful coaches. Several LMSCs host regional coaches' clinics for the benefit of their coaches and members. If you're a coach, make sure you're included on email correspondence for information on all LMSC coaching activities.
    • Become a USMS-certified Masters coach. The USMS certification course was developed by Masters coaches specifically for coaches who work with adult athletes. The course is presented in a classroom setting and student participation is encouraged.
    • Consider becoming a member of the American Swimming Coaches Association, the leading advocacy group for all echelons of swimming coaches. Member benefits include a monthly magazine and newsletter. ASCA hosts a yearly World Clinic that brings the leading authorities of swimming to one location. Presentations are given throughout the clinic including several by Masters coaches. ASCA also hosts regional clinics several times a year.
    • Research other successful Masters coaches, make contact and ask if you can visit during a practice. Observe how they manage the deck and look for ideas you can bring back to your program.
    • Write an article and submit it to the USMS Coaches Committee for review and possible publication. Nothing cements an idea more solidly than having to explain it in writing. Share something you're doing successfully so that others can duplicate. The Masters community grows stronger from sharing ideas and stimulating creativity.
    • Read online articles published by services such as SwimSwam and Swimming World magazine.

    Other suggestions for activities outside the standard pool workout:

    • Host a clinic. I recommend a series of clinics each lasting no more than 2 hours. Stroke technique, starts, turns, and open water are all good topics you can cover. Consider a videotaping session for your swimmers. Many swimmers haven't seen themselves on film.
    • Take members of your program to a swim meet. Swim meets can be fun and a great way to measure the progress of each athlete. Make sure you market the meet as a social event with a team sitting area, relays, and a social event for athletes, friends, and family at the conclusion of the meet. Encourage 100% participation.
    • Host a swim meet. If you've never hosted a meet before, start with a 1-day meet with limited events. As you become savvier at hosting meets, you can expand the number of days and events. Developing a support team and group of dedicated volunteers is imperative to running a successful meet. Be in charge but delegate certain responsibilities to others you can trust.
    • Hold open water practices. If you don't have access to open water, take the lane lines out, put makeshift buoys in for turns, and hold an open water practice in the pool.
    • Celebrate accomplishments. Take time during practice to recognize the accomplishments of your athletes. Everyone is a winner even if they don't win a race. Maybe someone did well at a triathlon, swam butterfly for the first time, or competed in a first swim meet. It's up to you to know your athletes and their goals and when they achieve those goals. Having a year-end banquet is another social activity that includes everyone and their families. Don't underestimate the power of celebration and fun. If you don't have the time to organize social activities, appoint a social director. Depending on your program's practice schedule, celebrate birthdays and anniversaries after practice by going out to breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
    • Develop and maintain a website and use social media to attract and retain members. Your program should either have its own website or a page on a group website. Develop a Facebook page, use Twitter, and send pictures through Instagram. Contact the USMS marketing department for more information on how to maximize the benefits of social media.

    Don't limit yourself to this list only but use it as a springboard to becoming a better coach on and off the pool deck. Use your ingenuity and creativity to enhance your program for the benefit of your members. The key is to have fun in a positive environment. Once you know your athletes and meet their needs on and off the pool deck, you'll have more fun coaching than ever before.

    Updated June 19th, 2015 at 11:35 AM by Bill Brenner

  2. Backstroke Start Ledges

    by , May 15th, 2015 at 12:00 AM (Rules Committee Blog)
    The Coach Asks: We saw backstroke ledges at nationals in San Antonio and tried them out during warm ups. What are the rules for using backstroke ledges? What else do we need to know about the ledges?

    Answer: The backstroke ledge start rule reads: "When using a backstroke ledge at the start, the toes of both feet must be in contact with the end wall or face of the touchpad." (101.1.2B). Many swimmers are unaware that the rule requires the toes to touch the wall or the face of the touchpad, not just the ledge itself. If swimmers remain unaware of this rule, officials will have to instruct most swimmers in every backstroke heat on the correct placement of the toes when using a backstroke ledge.

    There are several different models of backstroke ledges; some models require manual placement in and removal from the water by officials or timers for every backstroke heat. The model at San Antonio retracted automatically to the deck after the start, causing some swimmers difficulty keeping the ledge in place before securing their feet to it. At this point, not all starters and officials are trained in using and officiating backstroke starts with ledges. See article 107.12 for the dimensions of the backstroke ledge.

    A swimmer is not required to use a backstroke ledge if ledges are available for use in competition. Backstrokers should take advantage of any opportunity to learn to use a backstroke ledge, either in practice or during warm up in a sprint lane, whenever ledges are available for use.
  3. Week 137 - Thursday

    by , May 14th, 2015 at 08:59 PM (After a long rest)
    I landed at love field at around 11:30pm after my delayed flight home from Minneapolis via Kansas City. By the time I got home it was after midnight. Despite being very tired I had a hard time getting to sleep and this morning came about 4 hours too soon. I hauled myself out of bed and headed to the pool for my dry land and swim this morning.

    5x(vasa swim trainer done as 1:30 on the machine, :30 rest)
    10x(leg press, lunges, leg extensions, inclined bench, bench, military press, seated row hands inside, seated row hands outside, lat pull downs hands inside, lat pull down hands outside, lower back extensions)
    2xshoulder bands and light weights focused on rotator cuff on left shoulder joint.
    4x(flutter kick, oblique crunches, leg lift, planks, 90/45/15 leg lifts done as :45 seconds of exercise, :15 seconds rest). And 1min rest between rounds


    400 free with snorkel
    10x50 catchup on :50

    The 90/45/15 leg lifts are still very difficult for me and I will continue to work on this one. As a result of over 20minutes of abs I did not have much time to swim but at least got a nice loosen up swim.
    Swim Workouts
  4. Workout 05/14/15: evening

    by , May 14th, 2015 at 08:25 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I was able to get many errands completed today, including the pre-buy for pellets for next winter. Hit the pool before dinner ...

    200 free/200 back/200 IM drill
    600 shark swim
    200 free with AP
    2 x 100 (50 easy into 50 fast)
    100 back build
    200 back with AP
    8 x 75 on 1:15 with snorkel (kick/IMO swim/fr pull)
    100 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/2600 yds/45 min)
    Working through Monday. Preston has the Junior Prom on Saturday, so that should be fun. It is interesting how for him (and for me years ago) prom is not all that grand of an event, but my wife is really into it and not altogether happy that he is not so excited. Different perspectives I suppose.
    Swim Workouts
  5. 5|14|15 SCY

    Unmotivated day today

    500 warmup with fins doing drills

    20 x 25 on 0:40 breakout drill then eay free

    20 x 25 on 0:40 kick
    • flutter / dolphin / flutter / frog
  6. Thu May 14, 2015 DOUBLE

    by , May 14th, 2015 at 02:58 PM (Ande's Swimming Blog)
    Thu May 14, 2015 DOUBLE

    Lifted weights yesterday

    AM practice SCY
    Whitney coached
    6:00 - 7:30
    scy main pool : ) & diving well : (

    PM Practice LCM main pool
    Whitney coached
    NOON - 1:15
    swam with Bob, Boris, &

    warm up
    around 1,000

    Main Set

    drop down 50's (pull or kick with fins)
    AM: SCY started at 1:00 did em FL kick, no fins no board got down to 40
    Noon: LCM started at 1:05 did em 25 fl kick, 25 bk then switched to all back got down to 38 or 7

    20 x 50 on 1:00 go 2 or 3 sec faster than the 50 time you got down to
    AM: SCY kicked no board FL and did 37's, 6's & 5's went 32 on last one
    Noon: BK went 35's & 6 ( done )

    Assigned 1000 ? choice (no garbage yardage)
    Did: 25 easy, 50 skip, 25 FAST IM order

    Next Meets

    July 10 - 11, 2015
    South Central Zone Summer Long Course Zone Championships
    The Woodlands, TX

    Fri 08/14 - Sun 08/16
    SPMS and Southwest Zone Summer Championships
    Mission Viejo, CA
    Swim Workouts
  7. May 12-14

    by , May 14th, 2015 at 02:45 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)

    Did massive amounts of landscaping and gardening again.

    Wednesday: Drylands

    rehab ex
    core exercises, 15-20 min
    explosive leg extension, 105 x 3 x 15
    overhead tricep press + eccentric fall back, 60 x 3 x 12
    good mornings, 65 x 3 x 12
    deadlift, 65 x 3 x 8
    seated row, 80 x 3 x 8
    rear delt flys, 65 x 4 x 8
    calf raises, 75 x 3 x 8

    Thursday: Swim/SCY/Solo @ small Pitt pool


    550 various
    100 scull
    10 x 25 shooters w/fins @ :40
    odds = right side
    evens = back
    100 EZ

    Main sets:

    4 x 25 burst SDK + cruise @ 1:00
    50 EZ

    3 rounds:
    4 x 25 stroke @ 100 pace @ :30 (fly, back, breast by rounds)
    4 x 50 free, descend @ 1:00
    1 x 50 fast flutter kick @ 1:00
    1 x 50 EZ @ 1:30

    150 EZ

    3 rounds w/fins:
    10 x 25 SDK to 15m + cruise @ :30
    1 x 50 EZ @ 1:00
    100 EZ at end

    8-10 x 25 no breath free @ :40
    100 EZ

    Total: 3700


    I tossed and turned all night last night. I woke up tired and with a very sore neck. I didn't have much energy in the pool. I did an aerobic set that I had assigned my team last night and then shifted to hypoxic work. I notice that, for me, underwater work is easier in a warm pool. I guess the cold water doesn't agree with my lungs. I can SDK on my side and on my back from the deep end. But belly SDKs don't work in there.

    The small pool at Pitt is pretty much like Sewy: rather ancient, 6 lanes, warm, 3 feet in the shallow end with an abrupt drop to deep at the 15 meter mark. The only advantage is that it does have digital clocks. The latest update on the competition pool is that the engineers are going to assess whether they can patch the ceiling or have to replace it. They brought in a lift to do that, but it didn't reach the center part of the ceiling. So they need to bring in a bigger lift onto the outside balcony, remove some windows to get inside and then build a ramp to the center ceiling. I think it's fairly inevitable that they will find other problems. I know the college coach is already looking for other pools. Good luck -- there aren't any in Pittsburgh. I'm fairly resigned to swimming in crappy pools all summer, given that I'll be gone for 2 1/2 weeks. Once school is out, the Mt. Lebanon long course pool (very shallow) is open for adult swim from 11-12. So I will probably try to go there and sometimes to North Park, though North Park is about a 40 minute drive. I don't see anything on the Mt. Lebanon site that indicates whether the new high school public is open to the public this summer .... I will call. It still pains me that the public has extremely limited access to the pool that they paid for via taxes ...
  8. 5|13|15 drylands

    Run (80̊F): 6 x 400m on 4:00
    • 2:04 (barefoot)
    • 1:37
    • 1:31
    • 1:31
    • 1:31
    • 1:50 (barefoot)

    Weights and stretching for 1 hour
    • worked torso and rear
  9. Sarasota Y Sharks Masters 5:30 AM Workout 05/14/2015

    by , May 13th, 2015 at 01:04 PM (Sarasota Y Sharks Masters GOLD Workout)
    I am off to Canadian Nationals tomorrow morning, this will be my last post until I return next week.

    WARM UP:
    1 X 200 3:45 3:30
    1 X 100 2:00 1:45
    2 X 50 1:00 1:00
    Three rounds. Round 1 intervals left, rounds 2 and 3 right.

    3 X 100 kick 2:30
    4 x 50 kick 1:20

    3 X 50 fast 1:20
    1 X 50 easy 1:40
    Three rounds, choice

    1 X 400 6:40
    1 X 300 5:00
    1 X 200 3:20
    1 X 100 1:40
    1 X 100 1:30
    1 X 200 3:00
    1 X 400 fast

    WARM DOWN: 4 X 50 easy

    Swim Workouts
  10. Week 137 - Wednesday

    by , May 13th, 2015 at 10:19 AM (After a long rest)
    Yesterday I caught a 6am flight to Minneapolis and as such missed my workout. With customer meetings all day I never made it to the pool and as is usually the way I felt sloth like last night and this morning. It's amazing how I have grown to live by my routine and one change causes me no end of affects. This morning I joined the Twin a Cities masters team at the University of Minneapolis pool. I swam my final big tens here and at least one dual meet as I recall from my college days. The pool was setup lcm which was nice and I really enjoyed the pool. It really is a great facility and I was amazed at how few masters swimmers there were.

    Warm up
    400 free
    300 pull
    200 kick
    100 drill

    main sets
    2x(200 kick/swim by 100 on 4mins, 3x100 kick on 2:15 done as 25 fast, 75 easy, 50 fast, 50 easy, 100 fast, 100 easy on 2mins)
    400 pull negative split on 6mins
    2x200 IM on 3:30 done as 1st round drill, 2nd round build each 50
    4x100 descend 1-4 on 1:45
    8x50 on 1min odds easy, evens fast
    4x100 on 1:45 done as 25 fast, 75 easy, where 25 fast moves from 1st-4th 25 by round

    warm down
    200 easy

    Most of this was swum aerobically. I got into a little bit of a race on the 400 and again on the 4x100s with one of the young guys. We went 2:20,2:15 on each 200 of the 400 pull, and descended from 1:10 to 1:03 on the descending 100s. The young guy got out after the 4x100s but I continued to work the even 50s and went 30s. The workout felt long but I felt good other than a slight pinch in my left shoulder which has been there for a while now and I probably need to go and see an ortho doctor.

    Updated May 13th, 2015 at 02:13 PM by StewartACarroll

    Swim Workouts
  11. 5|12|15 First Swim Outside, SCY

    Water temp @ 75F

    All were from the block

    5 x 25 fr on 2:00
    • 14 - 13's

    2 x 25 (fr/fl) on 3:00 with fins
    • 11 and 12 resp

    3 x 25 fr on 3:00
    • 12's

    The crisp water was almost pleasant. Maybe the added fat layers I've aged in to, is buffering the temp gradient. It did take a few to make a full 25 hypoxic. There's something about hitting cool water off the block that makes me want to breathe

    Updated May 12th, 2015 at 06:02 PM by __steve__

  12. Sarasota Y Sharks Masters 5:30 AM Workout 05/13/2015

    by , May 12th, 2015 at 12:17 PM (Sarasota Y Sharks Masters GOLD Workout)
    4 X 100 2:00
    1 X 200 3:30
    3 X 100 1:45
    1 X 300 negative split

    1 X 200 kick 5:00
    6 X 50 kick 1:20

    1 X 100 IM or stroke 2:15
    4 X 50 stroke 1:15
    Four rounds

    6 X 200 pull 3:15
    1-3: establish good pace
    4-6: descend to fast

    WARM DOWN: 4 X 50 easy

    Swim Workouts
  13. Rediscovering the Descend sets

    by , May 12th, 2015 at 11:24 AM (Chowmi's Blog)
    I am making a huge effort to establish in a new lane.

    I had another epiphany that I don't want to work hard most of the time, only huge effort some of the time. A very little amount of time. Like 10 minutes, cumulative.

    I'm really tired (literally and figuratively!) of going in the fast lane on a 1:30 base interval. It's just harder than I want to work. And there isn't a rule that says I have to swim a certain speed with certain people just because i'm "fast".

    I really like the 1:40 and 1:45 base (SCM). Instead of grinding my way through a set of 100's on 1:30 with 10 to 15 seconds rest in the funnel of faster up front people and fin wearing/pull bouy paddler people all around, it's so much nicer to go a more modest interval and descend down to great effort.

    This issue is on longer sets, you end up lapping the people at the back. I think i'll just have to play around with switching to stroke or doing a broken thing when that happens.
  14. Workout 05/11/15: morning

    by , May 11th, 2015 at 09:43 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Had a great time at the Drive-Ins with the family and it was fun to experience it with our exchange student. He said that he had only every seen the big screen under the sky in the movies, so we were able to share the real deal with him. On Sunday I helped to cover a friend's nursing home ministry and was home to spend the day with Lena and relax a bit.

    Quick swim this morning ...
    200 free/200 back/200 im drill
    1 x Noah's Ark with snorkel
    600 shark swim
    100 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/1800 yds/35 min)

    I was able to sneak in an extra piece of cake with breakfast this morning before heading off to work! Yum!
    Swim Workouts
  15. May 11, 2015

    by , May 11th, 2015 at 08:11 PM (Workout Swimmer)
    YMCA Nats this weekend -
    did best times on 200 free, 100 IM, 100 breast and better than recently on my 50 free and 100 free.
    So I'm swimming my 500 free, doing fine, when suddenly at the 100, I can feel myself shift from race to workout mode. And I didn't care! WTH! So weird. What's even more frustrating, is I know I could've done well, but for some reason, I subconsciously chose not to! I feel like I've made vast improvements in my attitude towards racing (I've gotten past the fear of going all out, and thus now actually no longer dread racing) but I've obviously got a long way to go. Personally I think I need to have a meet every month, but there isn't that availability in my neck of the woods, and when there is a meet, I frequently have a conflict, family or otherwise. Not to mention the fact that I can't afford to travel so much - when am I going to do my grocery shopping and laundry?
    Anyway, I know what I need to do to train for the time I want to do, the only obstacle is the fact that it is a lot harder to go that speed than I wish it was.
    Goal times:
    500 free 5:50
    200 free 2:15
    100 free 1:04.9
    100 IM 1:15
    So I'm planning on trying to make 10 x 100 (LCM) @ 1:30 holding a 1:20 or faster on each one. I can't decide if it would be better to start with 100's on a slower interval so I can do a 1:20 over and over, or if it is better to go on the 1:30 from the get go, and just work at getting more and more of them at the pace I want. Currently I go about 1:24, 1:26, 1:27 etc just making it, for a total of 6.

    Updated May 12th, 2015 at 06:13 AM by Celestial

  16. 5|11|15 LCM

    256M free in 12.8M area with snorkel

    10 x 25.6 free on 1:00 hypoxic

    • 18 down to 15's

    30 x 12.8 on 0:20 breakout drill + 1 more stroke

    4 x 25.6 dive from side free on 2:00

    • 15's down to 13

    2 x 25.6 dive from side free on 2:00

    • 16 and 14

    50 free fast with fins and couldn't view clock

    2 x 50 kick on 2:00

    • flutter / Dolphin
  17. Monday, May 11

    by , May 11th, 2015 at 04:54 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)

    Swim/SCY/Solo @ LA Fitness

    Warm up:

    600 various
    100 scull
    5 x 50 fee w/paddles @ :50
    50 EZ

    Main sets:

    20 x 50 w/fins @ :50 done as:
    25 fly @ 100 pace + 25 EZ
    50 EZ

    10 x 100 flutter kick w/fins @ 1:30
    -- goal to be 1:05 or under
    -- went 1:00-1:02, second 5 were faster than first 5
    150 EZ

    8 x 25 w/chute & paddles
    100 EZ

    Total: 3500 x .944 (3304)


    With Pitt closed for repairs, I just went to LA Fitness. No official word on how long it will be closed. I heard via hearsay that it might be 2 weeks. It is really difficult to coach with 25-30 people in 3 lanes ... and my slowest swimmers do not have very good lane etiquette. (I was so ticked off at a repeat offender last week that I almost kicked him out of the pool!) I wish the outdoor pools were open now ... it's certainly hot enough.
    Swim Workouts
  18. Mon May 11, 2015 LCM DOUBLE

    by , May 11th, 2015 at 03:05 PM (Ande's Swimming Blog)
    Mon May 11, 2015 LCM DOUBLE

    Decided to go to Mission Viejo SPMA Zones instead of Nats. Fri 08/14 - Sun 08/16 We're going to fly out & take the train home, LA to San Marcos, we've never done a train ride like that. Booked the train, need to enter meet & book flights, hotel, & car.

    Whitney coached
    NOON - 1:15
    swam with Dale, Bob, & Marshall
    LCM main pool

    warm up
    Assigned 1,000
    Did 600

    Main Set

    Assigned: 20 x 100 LCM on 2:00
    Odds FAST pick a pace
    Evens easy
    DID: 20 x 50 LCM on 2:00
    Odds: FAST from a dive
    (4 fr went 29's & 28's )
    (4 bk went 30's & 31's )
    1 fr 28,
    1 FL 27
    Evens: easy

    there was more but I skipped it.

    Next Meets

    July 10 - 11, 2015
    South Central Zone Summer Long Course Zone Championships
    The Woodlands, TX

    Fri 08/14 - Sun 08/16
    SPMS and Southwest Zone Summer Championships
    Mission Viejo, CA
    Swim Workouts
  19. Sarasota Y Sharks Masters 5:30 AM Workout 05/12/2015

    by , May 11th, 2015 at 01:21 PM (Sarasota Y Sharks Masters GOLD Workout)
    WARM UP:
    2 X 150 2:45
    5 X 100 1:45
    8 X 50 1:00

    6 X 50 kick 1:20
    1 X 100 easy swim

    8 X 100 2:15
    50 stroke/50 free

    1 X 300 free 5:00
    1 X 200 IM 4:00
    2 X 100 kick 2:30
    Two rounds

    WARM DOWN: 4 X 50 easy

    Swim Workouts
  20. Mon May 11, 2015 LCM & SCY

    by , May 11th, 2015 at 12:38 PM (Ande's Swimming Blog)
    Mon May 11, 2015 LCM & SCY

    Trained Sat May 9th SCY at UT
    shortened the practice
    did some speedwork

    Decided to go to Mission Viejo SPMA Zones instead of Nationals
    We're going to fly out & take the train home, LA to San Marcos

    Today Whitney coached
    6:00 - 7:30 (in fact every morning practice this week is during the same time)
    swam with Mike V, Lindsey & Ned beside Todd, Tyler, Kristy,
    main pool then diving well

    warm up
    1000 LCM

    Main Set

    20 x 100 LCM on 2:00
    Odds FAST pick a pace (did em, dive, 50 fr, 50 bk held 1:09's)
    Evens easy

    moved to diving well
    500 (done 100 fr mod 25 FL fast) did (50 easy 50 skip 25 FL fast)
    rest 30 sec to 1:00
    400 (done 75 fr mod 25 bk fast) did (25 easy 50 skip 25 bk fast)
    rest 30 sec to 1:00
    300 (done 50 fr mod 25 br fast) (4 x 25 br fast )
    rest 30 sec to 1:00
    200 (did 25 fr mod 25 fr fast)
    rest 30 sec to 1:00

    100 (as few breaths as possible,
    I did it in 3, no breath on length 1 then 1 breath on lengths 2, 3 & 4)
    Tyler did it in 1)

    did a few sets of Pull ups after practice
    like (5 or 6 sets of 4 or 5 pull ups on 1:00 to 1:30)

    Next Meets

    July 10-11, 2015
    South Central Zone Summer Long Course Zone Championships
    The Woodlands, TX

    Fri 08/14 - Sun 08/16
    SPMS and Southwest Zone Summer Championships
    Mission Viejo, CA

    Updated May 11th, 2015 at 02:54 PM by ande

    Swim Workouts