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  1. How do I make sure my record counts?

    by , January 6th, 2018 at 03:07 PM (Rules Committee Blog)
    Swimmers often ask: "What do I need to do to make sure my record (or potential top 10 swim) counts?" There are several things for which swimmers can look to ensure that their swims count for records and top 10.

    Meet Directors and LMSC Officers should be aware of these requirements and provide the necessary resources to recognize official times. However, some meets may require action by the swimmer, so it is good to be aware of the rules and read the information in the meet announcement carefully.

    Is the meet sanctioned or recognized by United States Masters Swimming (USMS)?

    Sanctioned meets are required to follow all of the rules of competition which should ensure times may be used for all official purposes. Times from sanctioned meets are generally submitted by the LMSC for consideration without any further action required by the swimmer, but if you have questions on the status of a record application, you can follow up with your LMSC Top 10 recorder.


    • The meet announcement must have a statement that says "sanctioned by (LMSC name) for USMS, Inc."
    • All participants in USMS sanctioned meets must be members of USMS, so the meet entry process should include verification of membership and a liability release.
    • Times from sanctioned meets must be submitted for FINA world record consideration within 60 days of the swim.


    Recognized meets may also be used to achieve USMS records and top 10 rankings. These are usually meets conducted by other organizations, but the host has agreed to conduct the meet under USMS rules so the times may be used for official purposes. A USMS observer must be assigned to the recognized meet by the LMSC. The USMS observer must submit a written report to the LMSC verifying whether the relevant USMS rules were followed. The meet announcement should state that the meet is recognized by USMS and swimmers could ask the meet director if these conditions have been satisfied.

    Times from recognized meets are not automatically submitted for consideration, so it is the swimmer's responsibility to submit the times and documentation to the appropriate LMSC Top 10 recorder. This may include the need to submit documentation on the pool measurement (see below).

    A few additional notes on recognized meets:


    • USA Swimming sanctioned meets are automatically recognized without the need for a formal application for recognition. USMS members who compete in a USA Swimming meet, as a USA Swimming athlete, may submit their times for consideration, but proper documentation (including pool measurement verification for USMS records) is required.



    • FINA will not accept times from recognized meets for world record or world top 10 consideration.



    • Times achieved by USMS members at events sanctioned by a FINA member federation (i.e., a masters meet in another country) may be submitted without a formal application for recognition as long as the USMS swimmer registers for the meet as a USMS member.



    • Times achieved at FINA World Masters Championships will automatically submitted for USMS record and top 10 consideration.


    Is the timing system sufficient to allow for records and top 10?


    • World and USMS records now require automatic timing (automatic start and touchpad finish). Without touchpads, it is not possible to achieve a record.
      • In the event of a touchpad malfunction, records may also be achieved using a semi-automatic backup system with three, two, or one button(s).
      • If the touchpad and buttons both fail, a single watch may be used to establish a top 10 time, but watches may not be used to establish records.
      • A minimum of two timers is advised in the event that one of the buttons also malfunctions.




    • If touchpads are not in use, a semi-automatic system (buttons) or watches may still be used to establish USMS top 10 times, but a minimum of two valid times are required.


    If touchpads are in use and there are at least two timers assigned to each lane, operating buttons and watches, all swims should count for records and top 10 barring complete failures of all timing systems (extremely rare). If touchpads are not in use and there are at least two timers per lane, all swims should count for top 10 consideration.

    Have the pool measurement rules been satisfied?


    • Sanctioned meets must have a statement in the meet announcement that indicates whether the pool measurement is on file with USMS and is in compliance with USMS rules, so check for this statement. For recognized meets, swimmers may need to check with the meet director if this information is not provided.



    • If a bulkhead is in use, the bulkhead placement must be confirmed with a measurement before and after each session. For recognized meets, swimmers may need to check with the meet director to ensure that this requirement is met and to obtain a copy of the measurement to submit to your LMSC Top 10 recorder.


    Are there enough officials?


    • There should be a minimum of two deck officials for the duration of the meet. There must be a meet referee, a starter, and two stroke and turn officials, but the referee and starter may perform the duties of a stroke and turn judge.



    • Officials must be certified by an approved certifying body (USMS, USA Swimming, NCAA, or High School Federation). The LMSC should verify that these requirements are met, but swimmers could also check with the meet director or meet referee at recognized meets.


    Is the documentation sufficient to accompany the record application?


    • Record applications must include a copy of the official meet results, timing system printout, and a copy of the heat sheet. A copy of the swimmer's birth certificate must accompany the record application or be on file with USMS.



    • Formal record applications are not required for swims at USMS National Championships or FINA World Championships.


    If I swim an event and miss the record, can I ask to re-swim the event later in the meet in another attempt to break the record?


    • No, except for postponement or a foul, there are no provisions for re-swimming a race. Time trials may only be conducted at short course yard (SCY) meets, but additional time trials or additional events may not be added to meet once the order of events is published in the meet announcement.


    Can I ask my LMSC to sanction another meet for me to attempt a record?


    • An LMSC can sanction a meet at their discretion pursuant to LMSC policies, but any event offered at a sanctioned meet must be offered to all age groups and both genders. The order of events must be published in the meet announcement at least one week prior to the entry deadline.


    Can my relay leadoff or initial split be submitted for a record application or top 10 consideration?


    • A relay leadoff split may be submitted provided automatic timing is used (touchpads) and the second swimmer does not start in the water.



    • A leadoff split may be submitted provided automatic timing is used and a written split request is submitted prior to the event (for backstroke events) or prior to the end of the meet (all other events).



    • For USMS national championship meets, leadoff and initial splits will automatically be submitted for consideration without the need for a written request (except for backstroke events).
  2. Interpretation of Age Group Rules

    by , February 10th, 2017 at 08:33 PM (Rules Committee Blog)
    Recently some questions have been raised concerning the interpretation of rules regarding age groups at USMS sanctioned meets. For several weeks, the rules committee has researched the current rules, rationale, and historical context in order to answer these questions. The rules committee met on January 22, 2017 and voted to approve an official interpretation.

    USMS 202.1.1G(1) says that "The conduct of a sanctioned event shall be in strict compliance with applicable USMS swimming rules and administrative regulationsÖ" USMS Rule 102.5 says that "Any event conducted must be offered for all age groups and both genders". In the context of 102.5, we mean "a series of races in a given stroke and distance". Rule 102.3 defines the age groups for individual events and relays starting at 18-24 for individual events, 72-99 for relays (for meets held in 25-meter or 50-meter pools) and 18+ for relays (for meets held in 25-yard pools). The rules do not provide for any exceptions to tailor or restrict the age groups at sanctioned meets.

    Therefore, all events conducted at USMS sanctioned meets must be offered for all of the age groups listed in 102.3. A format that limits or alters the age groups from those listed in 102.3 is not in compliance with USMS rules. Sponsoring organizations who are unable or unwilling to offer each and every event to all USMS age groups (as listed in 102.3) are not in compliance with part one rules, as required for all USMS sanctioned meets.

    The attached memorandum explains more about the rationale, history, and context behind this interpretation.

    Charles Cockrell
    USMS Rules Committee Chair
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Files
  3. Caps (and Goggles) off to Coach!

    If you are a Masters swimmer, you know there are a lot of swim meets during the winter months that you can choose (or not) to participate in. In our area, we have a series of meets that start in November and go through March. There is one meet per month. Our Coach, Sue, usually trains our group in such a way that those who wish to compete in the meets are prepared to do so. There is an extra boost to this training that starts in January. That means interval speed training, starts of the blocks, IM sets (or stroke sets-doing something other than Freestyle), and general technique work. Meanwhile, back at the U.S. Masters - national level, there is a competition called the 1 Hour Postal Swim that runs from 1-31 January. Yes, that's right. You guessed it. We are training for meets, but we (many of us, anyway) are going to participate in the Hour Postal, as well. We don't often get much in the area of long swims to prepare for the Postal because we are stroking it out and doing shorter distances to prep for meets. This year, thanks to Sue (and the wonderful management at our pool), we are being given the opportunity to train for the Postal. We are getting an extra hour of practice one day a week for the next couple of weeks to do some long swims. Yay! I am so excited! Wish us luck! And, here's hoping the weather doesn't ruin our long swim training time!
  4. Playing with speed

    I went to the early-morning lcm workout at Asphalt Green. Hereís how it went:

    700 lcm warmup

    400 FR speed play: 6 stroke cycles slow, 6 stroke cycles fast for 1st 100; 5 slow/5 fast on 2nd 100; 4/4 on 3rd, and 3/3 on 4th [I liked thisóit really made me think about where I was generating power from each time I switched from slow to fast, and how increasing tempo helped increase power, as well as the other way around]

    6 x 100 @ 2:20, done as 2 x (75 FL + 25 FR; 75 BK + 25 FR; 75 BR + 25 FR), with ST= long and relaxed, FR =sprinting [my lane only made it through 5 of these]

    2 x 50 FR Sprint @ 1:30 [37, 36]
    100 easy
    4 x 50 FR Fast @ 1:30 [held 38-39]
    200 easy
    8 x 50 FR Fast @ 1:20 [I did odds sprint, evens moderate. I went in the back of my lane and so just got my time to the flags (too many people to get to the wall): 34, 32, 32, 32]
    400 easy [300]
    4 x 50 BR fast @ 1:40
    200 easy
    Then I skipped the last 2 x 50 Fast + 100 easy because my body had had enough fast swimming for one day!

    100 warmdown

    Our coach, Craig Keller, leaves for Sweden at the end of this week to coach USMS swimmers at Worlds, then is headed to Puerto Rico for nats. I think Iíll see him again about a week before I go to Zones, so Iím trying to get all the good advice I can from him this now! I think we will have a substitute coach coming in from out of town to handle workouts during his absence. If anyone reading this is Worlds-bound, I hope you enjoy Craigís great knowledge and enthusiasm. It sounds like you will have tons of fun there!

    I have to figure out what to swim at Zones. Iíd like to do 50 FR/BK/BR, 100 BK/BR, and 200/400 IMs. The only back-to-back events among those are the 400 IM and 100 BK, but thatís a pretty tough one. I could just drop the 400 IM notion and give myself an easier schedule.

    On the swim-every-event front, between the Middlebury and Wilton meets IĒve already swum the following LC events this summer: 100/200/400/800 FR, 50/100/200 BK, 100/200 BR, 50/100/200 FL, and 200/400 IM. Iím ok with skipping the 1500 FR this season, and will definitely get in the other 2 eventsó50 FR and 50 BRóat Zones. If all goes as planned, Iíll also get in 1M and 2M open-water swims this summer. Thatís a happy-making amount of racing, and has helped keep my interest up in training.
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  5. O give me lane, lots of lane, under starry skies above . . .

    This morning I went to early LC workout at Asphalt Green. Hereís what we did:

    400 LCM warmup + bobbing and sinking

    600 reverse-order IM, 100 Swim + 50 Kick of each stroke

    8 x 50 drill: 2 fist, 4 tap drill, 2 dps

    2 Ĺ times through
    300 IM (50 FL, 100 BK, 50 BR, 100 FR)
    3 x 50 kick (1st round FL, 2nd round BR, 3rd round would have been BK if weíd gotten that far)
    3 x 50 easy FR, decreasing # of breaths by 2 on each successive 50

    100 warmdown

    Sometimes the numbers of swimmers in each lane at these workouts works out strangely. Today, there were 8 or 9 swimmers in each of the 2 fastest lanes, and just 2 or 3 in each of the other 2. By speed I would usually swim in the next-to-fastest lane, but today the range of speeds in that lane made efficient clumping unlikely (if the rest of the swimmers stay on each othersí feet, as they often do, I figure it really doesnít matter whether Iím sharing a lane with 2 or 12 others, as long as I make sure Iím not in the middle of the clumping).

    So I scooted over to one of the slower lanes and swam the workout there. That was fine for the drillsóIím a pretty slow drilleróbut on the IMs I was way too fast for the interval. So I compensated by doing double turns at each wall, and doing the vertical-axis strokes as 50 swim/50 kick. If Iíd stayed in my original lane, I would have gotten in more yardage, but this way I got in some additional turn and kick work. Itís a trade-off Iím happy to make.

    Sometimes I do wish teammates were less married to their usual lanes (not to mention their particular position within lanes), but it seems like itís been that way on every masters team Iíve ever swum with. When I coached, one of the least pleasant parts of the job was trying to even out overcrowded lanesóthere were always certain people you knew would have their feelings hurt or be in a snit for the rest of workout if you asked them to move down from ďtheirĒ lane, and who even preferred swimming 7 or 8 in a scy lane to switching. Iím usually happier moving to wherever I can find good space to swim, and luckily in a lcm setup thereís usually somewhere that fits that description. Plus, I get to chat with swimmers I know less well, which is always fun.

    This Sunday Iím headed out to the Wilton Summer Sizzler LCM meet and bbq. Iím signed up for 100 FR, 400 FR, 200 IM, 50 FL, and 50 FR. Iím swimming the 400 free just for the sake of doing all the events (minus the 1500) this summeróI predict that I will negative split it. The other event I donít even have any predictions for, but I know it will be a fun dayóit will be my first pool swim outdoors this season, and the Wilton folks always put on a fabulous event!

    Good luck to everyone doing the Charlottesville swim this weekend! Stay cool and swim fast!
  6. A fun and quick little story:

    So last weekend I swam at the Badger State Games in Appleton Wisconsin. It was my first LCM Meet where I did sprints. You all have seen the times from my previous post Where the @#*& is the @#$8#@$* Wall?!?! So we all know - they weren't really that good.

    So because there was no one else in my age group for any race except the 50 free and my relay won, I was able to achieve 3 gold medals and 1 silver medal for the meet.

    So the other day I get an email saying "results are up from the badger state games!"

    Naturally - I'm excited so I check the link: Results and even as of 9:20 AM on July 2nd, they most certainly are not!

    However I was playing around the website and I see this:
    Did you win a medal at The Badger State Winter or Summer Games?
    If so, you may qualify for the State Games Of America!

    In order to qualify for the State Games of America, participants must have won a gold, silver or bronze medal in a SGA sport in their local State Games in a qualifying year (2009 or 2010 Summer, 2010 or 2011 Winter). The State Games of America will take place in San Diego, August , 2011. For a complete listing of sports and more information visit www.stategames.org.
    So following a few links I found this:
    California State Games/State Games of America

    So August 5th-7th in 2011, I guess I'll be swimming in San Diego! Hopefully by then I'll be a much better swimmer - maybe I'll even be able to give [ame="http://forums.usms.org/member.php?u=18385"]U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums[/ame] a run for her money in the breast stroke!

    Does anyone know anywhere in Illinois where I can consistently train in LCM?
  7. Creating your own day spa at meet venues

    Today was gorgeous here, so I walked over to Asphalt Green for the noon workout again. I wanted to work on some stroke and some sprinting today, and ended up totally highjacking what was meant to be a freestyle aerobic set to get what I wanted out of it. Hereís how it went:

    500 warmup plus bobbing and sinking

    9 x 100 FR (3 kick, 3 drill, 3 swim) @ :20ish rest

    Freestyle set:
    10 x 75 @ 1:15 [I did 3 as 25 FR/ 25 ST / 25 FR, 3 as 25 ST / 25 FR / 25 ST, 3 as all ST (rotating through FL, BK, and BR for the ST on each of these sets of 3), then 1 as 25 FL / 25 BK / 25 BR]
    10 x 50 @ :45 [I did these all FR: 3 desc., then the rest concentrating on various pieces of sprinting: 1 working pushoff and breakout, 1 working turn, 1 working finish, 1 working breakout, 3 working turn]
    10 x 25 @ :30 [I did 3 1/3 x (2 easy, 1 sprint)]

    200 warmdown + sinking and bobbing

    I really hadnít done any much sprinting since nationalsóit felt really good today to go fast.

    The only bad thing about workout today is that I somehow lost a contact in the pool. That hadnít happened since I stopped playing polo, and I wasnít even sure when or how it happened today. Although extra contacts are on my bring-to-meets list, theyíre not something I always keep in my pool bag, so I had to get myself home with only one good eye. (Iím terribly nearsightedómy prescription is in the double digits.) It worked out ok, except that I had absolutely no depth perception, so stepping up and down off curbs was a little exciting. From here on Iím keeping an extra lens in my bag. (Of course, I could have just taken a taxi home, but it was really too pretty a day to be stuck in a cab in traffic.)

    My last two meet experiences have convinced me that more is more when it comes to stuff. Iíve decided to re-write my meet pack list to accurately reflect all the comfort items I like to surround myself with when Iím hanging out at long meets. In addition to all the usual things like extra caps and goggles and warm clothes, this includes:

    --a stretching mat (I like Kieferís stretching mat, which is cushier than yoga mats. Inflatable camping mats also work well too. I try to scout out the venue first thing to find a pretty, out-of-the-way spot to set up my stretching mat. I generally leave my swim bag and spend most of the meet sitting nearer the pool, with teammates or friends, but like having a little retreat set up away from the action.)

    --an actual towel (The synthetic ones work fine for drying off after events, but a real beach towel laid over the stretching mat makes it way more comfortable to lie on, plus it looks festive. In a pinch, a hotel towel will do.)

    --a pillow (I travel with a small pillow anyway, so carrying it back and forth from hotel to pool is no big deal)

    --an eye mask (to block out light, or signal to teammates that youíre enjoying a me moment)


    --a cooler packed with a sandwich, snacks, and iced tea (because you never know what food youíll find at meet sites, and nutrition is too important to leave to chance. I have a soft-sided cooler I can pack, or have sometimes bought a cheap hard-sided cooler for longer multi-day meets once I arrive)

    --a stretching rope

    --a self-massage tool (I travel with this mini one and work pressure points in my back with it)


    --ipod (I actually donít use this much at meets, but if I get nervous or down itís a sure-fire way to jolly myself back up)

    --a YA book (I find these are about the right reading level for masters meetsóeasy to slip into and out of, not too disturbing, and often quite funny. At Middlebury I plowed through one of the ďDiary of a Wimpy KidĒ sequels, which had me in stitches.)

    --toe socks to keep feet from getting chilled when wearing flipflops


    --a hat and scarf to ward off chills during downtime

    --I donít yet have but want to get a compact foam roller. One of my friends brings his to meets and lets me use it, but Iíd like one of my own.


    --and of course a rolling duffle bag to carry all this stuff, because you donít want to tire yourself out by toting it around yourself

    Did I leave anything out?
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  8. Rowing + Summer meet planning

    Today I went over to the Y to try a rowing workout with Mr. Addict. Everything felt good, and hereís what we did:

    6-minute warmup
    3-minute easy/rest
    4-minute piece [2:25.8 avg. pace]
    3-minute easy/rest
    4-minute piece [2:19.5]
    3-minute easy/rest
    4-minute piece [2:16.5]
    3-minute easy/rest
    4-minute piece [2:14.2]
    3-minute easy/rest
    1-minute piece [2:04.4]
    3-minute easy/rest
    2-minute piece [2:21.1]
    3-minute easy/rest
    1-minute piece [2:01.4]
    3-minute easy/rest

    I started out pretty easy then descended, and things felt good and fairly comfortable the whole way. I was pretty happy with my times on the 4s, especially considering that it was 7 @ 2:16 pace that made me want to cry a couple of weeks ago. Today that pace felt relatively easy, although I was only holding it for 4 minutes rather than 7. I gave myself a get-out time on the first 1-minute piece of 2:05 and beat it, but ended up feeling guilty going easy on the following 2-minute piece while Mr. Addict was still working hard, so I cranked it up again for that last 1-minute row at the end.

    Iíve also been working on my summer swimming and travel plans this weekend. One thing Iím really excited about is the NE LCM champs in Middlebury, VT in a couple of weeks. Iíve really wanted to go to this meet for the last couple of summers, but other plans have gotten in the way. When I scheduled my surgery for early June, I thought it would nix that meet this year as well. Luckily, my recovery and return to swimming has been way ahead of where I thought it would be, and late registration for the meet doesnít close until this coming Friday, so Iíve decided to go. I donít think PRs will be in the works, but it will be great to spend a weekend up in Vermont swimming a long course meet. Plus, thereís a clinic by Bill Boomer leading into the meet that should be very interesting.

    At Middlebury I plan to swim longer stuff and off events (probably 200s of all four strokes, and an 800 FR and 400 IM), because I havenít been sprinting at all and donít have enough time between now and then get things sharp enough to swim shorter events well. One plus to doing this is that it gives me a shot at swimming all the LC events this summer (or at least all except for the 1500óalthough this meet allows you to swim both of the distance frees on the first day, Iím sticking with just one. And Iím not sure Iíll want to swim a 1500 later on in the season, even if I get an opportunity to. In fact Iím pretty sure I wonít.]

    So, here is my tentative meet and OWS schedule for this summer. Events in parentheses are iffy:

    Friday June 25 Ė Sunday June 27: NE LCM Championships at Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT [preceded by Bill Boomer swim clinic on Thursday and Friday]

    Sunday July 11: Wilton LCM meet, Wilton, CT [BBQ after]

    Sunday August 1: Governors Island 2M OWS [This is probably my favorite of the NYSwimís summer series. It will be followed by a 10K Pro swim, along part of the same course.]

    (Saturday August 7: NY Aquarium 1M Swim [Thereís also a 5K swim, but 1 mile will be plenty for me.])

    (Sunday August 8: Jason Nessel Memorial LCM meet, Rahway, NJ)

    Saturday August 21 Ė Sunday August 22: Colonies Zone LCM Championships at College Park, MD

    Sunday September 5: John Daly 1M Ocean Swim, Long Beach, Long Island [The traditional season-ending OW swim in these parts.]

    We also have a couple of trips planned, to Lake Placid and to Victoria BC (both very easy places to get in swim workouts), so it will be a busy summer! I was toying with the idea of doing a rowing camp weekend this summer, in order to learn on-water rowing, but that will have to wait for fall, or another season altogether. I figure I should do all the LC swimming I can while I have the opportunity!
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