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  1. SmartyPants Vitamins USMS Fitness Series

    by , February 13th, 2018 at 03:14 PM (Questions from Coaches)
    Q: Why should I encourage my swimmers to swim in the SmartyPants Vitamins USMS Fitness Series? All of my swimmers can already swim for more than 30 minutes and longer than 2,000 meters or 1,650 yards.

    A: As coaches, we aspire to inspire the athletes under our care. We motivate each individual to improve, reach his or her goals, and have fun every step of the way. The rewards for self-identified success are many, and we should all take pride in doing our very best to help others do their very best.

    Coaches are proverbial givers and the beneficiaries of coaches’ efforts are the athletes. Participating in the Fitness Series should be promoted as an opportunity for the swimmers to become givers. The time spent swimming the challenges should be used as time to self-reflect upon how grateful we are to be able to swim. Give thanks for our coaches, teammates, family, and friends who support us in our passion for the water. Give thanks that we are not fearful of the water and can enjoy the sanctuary the water provides. Give thanks that we can help others not as fortunate as we are by supporting the USMS Swimming Saves Lives Foundation, which provides grants to teach adults to swim and become safer in and around the water.

    My challenge to you: Inspire your swimmers to swim, celebrate what they love about swimming, and support our foundation that brings the love of swimming to others.

    The challenge is not: Can you swim a time or distance faster or farther than others. It’s what can you do with the time while you’re swimming.

    (If you have any questions, check out our FAQs page for coaches. You can also sign up your club or workout group to host the Winter Fitness Challenge from Feb. 15-28.)

    Updated February 14th, 2018 at 10:55 AM by Bill Brenner

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  2. Do you supply the spark?

    by , June 15th, 2015 at 01:00 PM (Questions from Coaches)
    Q: Do you supply the Spark?

    A: I always look forward to the fireworks display on the Fourth of July. The brilliant explosion of colors and the sounds that follow ignite my memories of displays I've enjoyed with family and friends in the past. While the public displays with their lengthy and large bursts of colorful lights are fascinating, it's the fireworks my friends and family detonated ourselves that make me smile the most. Maybe it's because you strike the match, you light the fuse, and you anticipate the outcome of your actions.

    Sometimes I get the same feeling when I light a spark in one of the Masters swimmers I coach. The shouts and smiles of success and accomplishment renew my passion for our profession.

    Ask yourself: Do you deliver a spark to each of your swimmers every day? Do you teach them a new skill, create a new challenge, or help them establish a new goal? Do you display a passion for coaching by not just writing a good workout, but by delivering it with a smile and burst of energy?

    Disney and hundreds of other theme parks conclude each day with a magnificent fireworks display as they send us out their gates smiling happily, albeit tired, looking forward to our next visit. Well, I think we all know a few Masters swimmers who are really just grown-up kids loving the energy and excitement of the fireworks a Masters coach brings to every practice and leave yearning for more.

    I challenge you to be the spark!

    Updated July 6th, 2015 at 11:43 AM by Bill Brenner

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  3. April is Adult Learn-To-Swim Month!! What Will You Do?

    We at our Masters club (the Columbia Masters in Howard County, MD) are very excited that the Swimming Saves Lives Foundation has declared April Adult Learn-To-Swim month. We think that many adults would like to learn how to swim, but maybe haven't had an opportunity to do so... Until now. We are using this nationwide campaign as the impetus to develop programs we can use to get interested adults in the pool. And, we hope to expand the opportunities to swim that we already offer. The ability to bring this life (and lifesaving) skill to an adult population is exciting and something we are eager to do.

    Has your club offered adult learn-to-swim lessons? Is it a Swimming Saves Lives Foundation partner? If so, what types of programs have you offered. What types of programming is the most popular with your population/in your area?

    I would love to hear from you about your Adult Learn-to-Swim successes! Thanks! ~Angie AngieKozBlogs
  4. What gets me to the pool

    I just did a little swimming at my Y today— just my regular 1000 warmup—before going upstairs to stretch a bit. Sometimes I get in too much of a perfectionist mode, and get discouraged if I’m not able to go over to the fancy pool to do a team workout or if I don’t have time to get in long swim session, and I end up choosing not to swim at all. I try to remind myself that even getting in the water for a little bit is worthwhile—I always feel happy when I finish a swim in my Y’s ancient, narrow-laned pool, even if it’s just for 15 or 20 minutes, and even if the lane situation isn’t ideal for doing a real workout.

    I was thinking today that one thing I really appreciate about blogging and reading others’ blogs is that it helps me feel like part of a community of folks who swim even when things (health, pools, teams, weather, hours in a day) aren’t ideal, simply because swimming is part of who we are and what we do. So thanks to everyone out there who writes about how they persevere—I’m glad to have your examples to follow on those days when it seems hard to drag myself to the pool!

    Another motivation trick I’ve come up with lately is this: I took my nice shampoo and shower stuff over to my Y locker, and replaced it more ordinary products at home. So now if I want to use the fancy stuff, I have to go shower at the Y, and as long as I’m there I might as well get in a swim and/or a workout. So far this has been working pretty well!

    After a longish workday, at sunset I went down to the little Riverside Park track and plyoed. Here’s what I did:

    2 x 220-yard laps warmup—mix of jogging, skips, and striding out
    3 x 40-yard sprints—1 @ 80%, 1 @ 90%, 1 @ 100%
    1 x 40 skipping (warmup)
    2 x 40 skipping for height (1 right leg, 1 left leg)
    2 x 40 skipping for distance (1 right leg, 1 left leg)
    1 x 40 skipping for speed
    1 x 40 warmdown

    After each of my 40s I walk slowly around the rest of the track, so I have plenty of rest between efforts. It was a beautiful night, and I was really enjoying watching the sun set over the river while I was doing all this. On my 3rd sprint I got to outrun some bikes on the river path next to the track—it reminded me of those yahoos at the TdF who run along the road by the cyclists. I plan to stick to the sprinting and skipping variations for a few more weeks, then gradually add some jumping into mix.