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  1. Cool New Stuff (January-February 2013)

    by , January 1st, 2013 at 12:00 AM (SWIMMER Editorials)
    As I write this, two very exciting things are happening at the USMS National Office. By the time you read this, they should both be up and running. (Since huge projects have a way of taking on lives of their own, I write with only a wee bit of trepidation.)

    The first is that we’ve asked our publication partner, Anthem Media Group, to create a digital version of SWIMMER, one that can be read on your computer, tablet, or, if you have a hankering and really good eyes, your smartphone. The digital version is available to any current member, and can be accessed through your MyUSMS account. (If you haven’t set that up yet, visit usms. org/admin/lmschb/usms_create_forums_acct. pdf for step-by-step instructions). In addition, we’re busy digitizing previous issues of SWIMMER, so check the Archive tray on the left side of the screen and watch the library grow.

    We’re not going all Newsweek on you, though; the paper edition will still be delivered to you unless you unsubscribe from it through your LMSC registrar.

    The second project is a redesign of usms.org. If you haven’t visited in a while, you need to—we think you’ll love the new look and feel. Our website has always been a work beast, with many customized tools that have aided our volunteer leaders in digitizing, organizing, and presenting information for our members. It still does all that and more, only now it does it in a sleek and gorgeous new skin. We’re also sourcing new content and have created a video gallery, where you’ll find technique videos, product reviews, event recaps, and more.

    As always, we welcome your feedback. For comments, questions, and suggestions about SWIMMER or the stories and articles on usms.org, you can email me directly at editor@usms.org. For the website redesign, email support@usms.org.

    Wishing you the very best in 2013.

    Updated July 1st, 2014 at 10:39 AM by Editor

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  2. Swimming in Technology (November-December 2012)

    by , November 1st, 2012 at 12:00 AM (SWIMMER Editorials)
    While cleaning out a box of old files, I came across a manila folder—the darker, older kind with a metal, two-hole fastener at the upper right. Inside I found, meticulously handwritten on accounting ledger paper by my father, a complete record of my brief competitive swimming history—1973 to 1977.

    What a difference a generation makes. My son just checks USA Swimming’s Deck Pass app on his iPhone if he wants to know his times. USMS members have digital options as well—we can log in to our MyUSMS accounts at usms.org, view our Swimmer Info pages, and there, like magic, are our times and more.

    As staff writer Laura Jones conveys in her feature on event directors (“Take 5,” page 32), it takes dedicated volunteers to put on a good event—that has never changed. But knowing that meets of yesteryear were run with paper and pencil, and the results hand-printed or maybe typewritten, is hard to fathom. Most meet directors and volunteers I know would not want to go back to life before Hy-Tek.

    In addition to helping events run more smoothly, technology can benefit us at practice. Heart-rate monitors keep you in the zone. You can wear a wristwatch that will keep track of your yardage. And I can’t be alone in my amazement that some of these devices even know what stroke you're swimming. We take a look at these and other gadgets in Swim Bag on page 38.

    Open water swimming has its gadgets as well. You can affix a small GPS unit to your goggle strap and, when you get home to your computer, upload the data and see your swim: how far, how fast, what pace—even a map showing the zig-zags where you had sighting problems. (New contributor to SWIMMER, Kristin Bender, takes a look at the history of GPS in Splashback, page 48.)

    As much as I love the incredible computing power, convenience, and flexibility offered by today’s technologies, I miss one thing: the starter’s pistol. Its clear and commanding report is way cooler than the sterile *bemph* we hear now.

    Updated July 1st, 2014 at 10:43 AM by Editor

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  3. Swimming in Social Media (September-October 2012)

    by , September 1st, 2012 at 12:00 AM (SWIMMER Editorials)
    Love it or hate it, social media has become a part of everyday life. Understanding its impact means more than deciphering those little symbols above the number keys that we never used very much before. #whatisahashtaganyway @MastersSwimming?!

    For anyone born before 1990, the rapidity with which information flies around can be stunning. We now rely on smartphone apps for things we used to have to wait hours or days for: weather forecasts, news, sports scores, all available at the touch of a button. With apps such as Active’s Meet Mobile, how many of us get irritated when the splits of our last race aren’t posted by the time we get out of the warm-down pool? #behonest

    As with any newfangled thing, many people who’ve been around longer than the technology will grumble. Others will try it and find creative ways to use it, discarding what they don’t like. The young’uns will just wonder what all the fuss is about. Some of them will never realize that in the old days, during a dining experience, people faced each other and exchanged information—often referred to as conversation—with those actually seated at the table. y r u lookn at ur napkin?

    Did you follow the Olympics via Twitter and Facebook? Or did you wait until prime time, with the hope that none of your social media–crazy friends would let slip what they saw on their Twitter feeds or post spoilers on their Facebook timelines? NBC didn’t need social media to spoil results when it aired promos of interviews with gold-medalist Missy Franklin when it hadn’t yet aired the actual gold-medal race. #epicfail

    As a 42-year-old organization that hopes to attract members of all ages, USMS is using these tools to encourage conversation and sharing. Ben Christoffel of Liquid Media manages USMS social media platforms: “Social media is not replacing traditional means of communication, but rather enhancing the way we communicate as a whole.”

    USMS clubs are using social media to keep their swimmers engaged. Some coaches tweet pool closures or other last-minute practice changes. Having a Facebook page is nothing new, but using Facebook instead of a club website has become an attractive option for clubs that don’t have the funds or in-house expertise to build and maintain a traditional website.

    With social media tools, says Christoffel, “Masters programs can communicate, encourage and inform by posting real-time updates and media-rich content to keep their members involved outside the pool." Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay.

    Updated September 3rd, 2014 at 11:20 AM by Editor

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