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  1. Meet 08/07/15: USMS Nationals day 2b

    by , August 7th, 2015 at 09:25 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    My first Nats in the book. Fun and fast swimming, great to meet many from these forums. Full recap to come...for now, I am rocking my Red Sox hat here with my son whilst pounding $1 hotdogs

    Updated August 8th, 2015 at 09:10 AM by rxleakem

    Tags: nationals
    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  2. Meet 08/07/15: USMS Nationals day 2

    by , August 7th, 2015 at 07:54 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Today I decided to sleep in a bit so we checked out of the hotel after I hit the continental breakfast bar up. Lots more cars on this first full day of swimming but I was able to get in and do 800 meters in the big pool. I kept on my square-legged NEM endurance suit for the 400 IM, as all along I have planned to use this event as a continuation of warmups.

    400m IM: 6:00.95
    Said hi to Chad and also met mmlr38 before the swim. I started outside in lane 9 easy and employed DPS fly , then used the back leg to catch my breath a bit. Breaststroke is my least favorite event (because I struggle with it) so everyone passed me by. At the free turn I peaked over and saw someone on the other side of the pool had already pushed off so I put my head down and charged, ending up with 9th place! A little more racing than I planned on doing (and three seconds slower than last yeas), but I was happy to score and extra point for the team.
    37.83 1:21.08 (43.25)
    2:05.49 (44.41) 2:50.08 (44.59)
    3:49.17 (59.09) 4:47.91 (58.74)
    5:25.22 (37.31) 6:00.95 (35.73)

    Afterwards I did an easy 300yds in the totally packed short pool. Since the women still had to swim and then there was a 30min open warmup in the big pool I met up with my son and we checked out Spire Fuel, the cafe on campus. The prices were quite reasonable with most things made to order. I had a half a piece of pizza before we went to check out the vendor area - great prices and deals to be found. I also took advantage of a physical trainer in that area, Andrew, who was there to check out complaints and had foam rollers and other things to try out. My right knee has been clicking more and he took a look, offering some suggestions to help me out. A great service - thanks USMS!

    After watching Sickfish rock the 100 fly (great job, dude), I got in another easy 200yds and then put on my Yingfa for the 50 free. Originally I planned to just swim it, but decided to go after it.

    50 FREE: 27.45
    I was in first of two heats for my age group and the temp started to rise on the deck as the everyone filtered to the shallow end of the pool for the start. Instead of just going all out from the dive I decided to take 5 strong SDK's and then 5 controlled strokes to start off the swim. I was surprised to be in the lead at this point, so then I dropped the hammer. I was able to win my heat with a time that was 0.86 seconds faster than last year! By this point of the meet my aunt from Boston was tuning in online and was tickled pink because I won the heat. I ended up with 8th place as well, so I felt like this was my swim of the meet.

    An wasy 300yds to loosen up, then as the first heats of the men's 2back went off I got in another easy 100yds. I watched Stewart and Kurt battle out a great race, then swam my own...

    200m BACK: 2:35.43
    I was seeded third and entered a time was was roughly two times my 100back from last year plus 10 seconds. I still believe that this is the most difficult event to swim due to the constant demand on the legs to keep the body in position. I planned to take 4 skds off this start then 5 the rest of the way. That sounded fine until I made the last turn, as after two I surfaced to get oxygen! I felt smooth during the entire race and came in third. My legs were trashed as I struggled to get out of the water! To the warmdown pool for an easy 300yds.
    36.49 1:16.68 (40.19)
    1:57.16 (40.48) 2:35.43 (38.27)

    Last up for the day was the men's 4x50 Free Relay, and I did another easy 100yds.. Our time seeded us 6th, and despite being tired from a full day of racing I was ready to toss whatever was left for our team. I went 2nd and popped off a relay-assisted start time of 26.87, half a second faster than my individual event this afternoon Everyone on team New England dropped time and it was a great way to end the meet for me (after 300yds warmdown). The team is taking a picture on Saturday so I'll miss that, but I had a great time at my first Nationals. I will blog tomorrow about some of the peeps I was able to meet for the first time while here. Off to Cleveland with my son!

    Updated August 10th, 2015 at 07:31 AM by rxleakem

    Tags: lcm, nationals
    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  3. Meet 08/06/15: USMS Nationals day 1

    by , August 6th, 2015 at 08:29 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Had a good night sleep and woke up before my alarm, mostly because the other swimmers in the hotel lent a hand! haha Grabbed some oatmeal and a coffee from before we hit the road to the pool, getting there a little after 7am. Once on deck, I met fellow New England swimmer Dick and his wife. We had made arrangements last night to count each other's 800, so it was nice to have that taken care of.

    I jumped in for warmups and swam 1000 metter, including one burst and cruise from the blocks while trying out the wedge blocks. After counting for Dick, who had a great swim, I went to the warmup pool (which seemed to have cooled down nicely) for a quick 200yds.

    My goal for the 800 was to take it out easy and controlled then build each 100. This was my first time swimming this event and felt good through the 350 mark before tightening up a bit. I focused on lengthening my stroke out and felt better at the 550 mark and pushed it to the finish. Felt my stomach do some flips for the last 150, so I feel like I left it all out there. Finished with a 10:56.62. I'll be interested to see the splits to see how well I stuck to my plan en route to a personal best

    Updated Splits:
    800m FREE: 10:56.62
    34.83 1:13.41 (38.58)
    1:52.70 (39.29) 2:33.54 (40.84)
    3:15.14 (41.60) 3:57.42 (42.28)
    4:40.43 (43.01) 5:22.64 (42.21)
    6:05.02 (42.38) 6:48.90 (43.88)
    7:31.55 (42.65) 8:14.51 (42.96)
    8:56.93 (42.42) 9:37.63 (40.70)
    10:18.59 (40.96) 10:56.62 (38.03)

    My plan to descend 100's didn't hold up very well, and the middle of my race was a bit slow due to my tightening up, but I am still happy with the swim. Chad from Cali came in first and had an excellent swim, his first Nationals win.

    Afterwards I met some other NEMer's before a 400yd warmdown. Preston and I spent the rest of the day exploring the area - the shortest covered bridge in America is right here in town, took a short walk at Geneva State Park, drove along the lake to Ashtabulah for lunch at Briquettes, then found the longest covered bridge in America (4th in the world), which is pictured below,as we made our way back to the hotel. After a quick pit stop, we drove around a bit, getting a pop at Ree's Soda Fountain in Gevena. I think they say pop up this way. Now I am ready for a busy day tomorrow.

    Updated August 9th, 2015 at 10:19 PM by rxleakem

    Tags: lcm, nationals
    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  4. Workout 08/05/15: afternoon

    by , August 5th, 2015 at 09:07 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Left Vermont this morning and made it to Geneva around 4pm with my son. Traffic was smooth and I took a break every 100 miles or so to stretch out. The facility is pretty awesome, with a deep and cool 10 lane LCM main pool and a 25 yard pool available for warmups. All checked in for my races over the next two days.

    200 free/200 back/200 im drill
    3 x 100 [as 50 kick, 50 drill]
    2 x 50 b/c [first one off the blocks - thanks team Costa Rica for the whistle!)
    200 loosen and out
    (Solo/Spire/1200m/35 min)

    I made it to the pre-event meeting and now back at the hotel after eating dinner. Time to shave - haven't done this since high school! haha

    Updated August 5th, 2015 at 10:18 PM by rxleakem

    Tags: nationals
    Swim Workouts , Masters Swim Meets / Events
  5. Change Can and Does Happen... Here's How

    by , June 5th, 2015 at 03:56 PM (From the Executive Director: U.S. Masters Swimming's Journey)
    July 10, 2015, is circled and underscored on the USMS calendar; it’s an important date for anyone who has interest in USMS’s dry side operations.

    Why? Because July 10 is the deadline for legislation and rules proposals to be submitted for consideration, discussion, and voting at this year’s annual meeting in Kansas City, Mo., to be held Sept. 30–Oct. 4, as part of the 2015 United States Aquatic Sports Convention.

    Every fall, the USMS House of Delegates convenes at the USAS Convention to conduct its required responsibilities: elect officers, adopt the USMS budget, and vote on issues within the USMS Rule Book.

    The Rule Book contains the legislation and rules of our competitions and the HOD—composed of approximately 250 USMS members—meets each year to discuss additions, changes, and deletions to the Rule Book. All USMS members can suggest legislation or rule changes to their LMSCs, which, in turn, will decide if it will sponsor the suggestion to the HOD.

    Some changes can take years to pass. For example, it took five years for the HOD to come to agreement on relay age groups for short course yards. It took two years for the HOD to vote in favor of adding the 18–24 age group.

    Last year, 25-yard swims and 100-yard relays were proposed by the Indiana LMSC and voted on by the HOD. It fell two votes short of meeting the required two-thirds vote to be adopted. Those who proposed the rule were encouraged that it had come so close to passing on its first try.

    To some, the USMS democratic process, which often includes debate among 250 or so passionate volunteer delegates, can be a frustrating process. But in this structure, lies the opportunity for any USMS member to be heard.

    Why do I bring all this up, you ask?

    My contact information is published on and I enjoy hearing from members. Many letters pay compliments to our programs and services and members write to tell me how their Masters Swimming experience has changed their lives. Of course I love reading those emails.

    But I’m also grateful and interested to hear from members offering constructive criticism: suggestions for new programs or benefits, or recommended policy changes. Whether I agree or disagree, I appreciate the feedback.

    One topic that’s been appearing with more frequency in my inbox is the recommendation that USMS implement drug testing for Masters swimmers who are competing at the highest levels. My response to these members is this:

    If you have a piece of legislation or rule that you believe USMS should adopt, please contact your LMSC representatives. They can help you with the process of submitting the suggestion. Just remember to have your submission in by July 10 if you want the House of Delegates to consider it.

    Updated June 5th, 2015 at 04:03 PM by Rob Butcher

    Staff Blogs
  6. Gold, Delivered (July-August 2013)

    by , July 1st, 2013 at 01:00 AM (SWIMMER Editorials)
    Each time Spring or Summer Nationals rolls around, I get excited about the people I’m going to meet. Just walking around on deck at a USMS national meet is a treat—seeing old friends and making new ones—and experiencing a great facility, friendly volunteers, and fast swimming. The media staff stays busy interviewing swimmers for the daily recap videos and, although we’re working hard, we’re having a great time.

    This year in Indy was no exception. Olympic silver medalist Emily Silver joined us for commentary and, in a special project made possible by USMS partner, Silver and the legendary gold medalist and relay anchor extraordinaire, Jason Lezak (yes, that Jason Lezak!), dropped in on the social for a Gold Medal Delivery.

    Silver and Lezak delivered some great swag and made time for autograph signing and photos with Masters swimmers, who lined up for a chance to meet them. As part of the video project, an exhibition 200-yard mixed freestyle relay was planned. We needed two Masters swimmers to pair with the Olympians, and I remembered a story I’d read on about a young swimmer who was battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma but who planned to swim in Indy.

    Esmerelda Perez, just 18, was a graduating high school senior facing an operation to remove tumors in her chest cavity. She’d been through months of chemo and radiation, and doctors had implanted a port in her chest to deliver treatments. Through it all, she wanted to keep swimming. Swimming is what makes her happy. She’ll be swimming at Carthage College in the fall, but her immediate goal was USMS Spring Nationals.

    Perez’s quiet maturity and deep love of the sport was inspiring to us all (her 25-something split on the relay was pretty amazing as well). She was thrilled at the opportunity to participate with these swimming heroes, but it was pretty clear that the Olympians were honored to swim on her relay.

    The relay lasted only a few moments, but created a lasting impression. Silver led off, followed by Jon Shope, a local meet volunteer and lifelong swimmer. Perez swam third and, of course, Lezak was the anchor. Don’t miss the video at

    The project turned out to be more meaningful than we ever could have imagined and it brought together the best elements of a USMS national meet: sponsor support, great swimming, amazing venues and volunteers, and inspirational stories. Gold really was delivered in Indy, by all who participated.

    Updated July 1st, 2014 at 11:36 AM by Editor

    Staff Blogs
  7. Come fly with me to Omaha

    by , May 6th, 2012 at 03:08 AM (Bad Ass Blog)
    taken from

    There is nothing that scares me more on this earth than an expanse of water that is 8 feet wide and 50 meters long. I have had some hard-bitten dudes point firearms at me in Guatemala. I have rappelled 100s of feet down into black holes in the ground. I've ridden a mountain bike off of stuff that would give a billy goat vertigo. I am no stranger to dumb-ass nail biter stuff. Having said all that, there is nothing that weakens my knees like standing on the starting blocks at one end of a long course meters pool. I (mostly) don't do the other dumb things anymore... but I still get on those starting blocks. I still feel my stomach turn to water. Nothing is as intimidating (for me) as looking down the length of that 50m. Conversely, there ain't nothing that thrills me more....

    if you want more check out the rest at
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  8. Olympic Moments (May-June 2012)

    by , May 1st, 2012 at 01:00 AM (SWIMMER Editorials)
    Few things are as emotional as watching a swimmer look to the scoreboard after touching the wall in the race of a lifetime. The sheer tonnage of toil spanning years— the missed vacations, the freakishly scheduled adolescence, the pain—all add up to a single moment and, by the looks on their faces, these swimmers would do it all over again. That single moment seems to make all the sacrifices worth it.

    These moments of glory are not limited to Olympians—you can see it in swimmers at B meets, developmental meets, high school championships, Masters meets—pretty much anywhere swimmers race. And depending on the circumstances, it may be one of many “races of a lifetime.” After all, the road is long—and advances in training, nutrition and sports science have extended the run for all of us.

    But watching the elite athletes in our sport can be an out-of-body experience. Many of us know what it feels like to swim efficiently: We train hard, we compete, we cut back on beer and chocolate during our tapers. But seeing the elites swim (thanks to advances in underwater videography) can be like seeing the strokes for the first time. The words “grace,” “beauty” and “freakin’ fast” seem inadequate at best.

    USMS counts a number of Olympians—from all over the world and from different sports—in its current and former membership rolls. (For a list, see usms. org/hist/oly.) And this year, more than a dozen USMS members have made Olympic Trials cuts and are eligible to compete in Omaha.

    With more than 1800 swimmers vying for 52 spots, odds of an Olympic berth are long for everyone. As fans and members of the greater swimming community gather to cheer for their favorite swimmers, we're especially thrilled to celebrate the accomplishments of those who've been part of the USMS family.

    Three days later, some of us will jump into that same water in Omaha and reach for our own “Olympic” moments. Although most of us won’t ever share our moments with millions of television viewers, we get to share them with our teammates and loved ones, which makes all our sacrifices—dietary or otherwise—so worth it.

    Updated July 1st, 2014 at 11:48 AM by Editor

    Staff Blogs
  9. Happy Anniversary, USMS (July-August 2010)

    by , July 1st, 2010 at 01:00 AM (SWIMMER Editorials)
    The Georgia Tech Hotel and Convention Center was the scene for the 40th Anniversary celebration that functioned as this year’s meet social at the 2010 Short Course Nation al Championships in Atlanta. Longtime USMS members gathered with brand new members to celebrate 40 years of competition and camaraderie.

    The first national Masters swimming championships were held in Amarillo, Texas, in 1970, when Masters swimming was first being organized. Capt. Ransom J. Arthur, a Navy doctor who envisioned swimming as a way for adults to stay physically and mentally fit as they aged, collaborated with John Spannuth, then president of the American Swimming Coaches Association, to hold that first meet.

    The meet social developed as a tradition over the years. This year, more than 300 athletes and guests were treated not only to a delicious catered meal, but also an interesting history lesson. Robert Beach with St. Petersburg Aquatics presented a slideshow highlighting some of the early days of Masters swimming. Beach, 79, one of the original members of USMS, has amassed a sizeable collection of memorabilia and was happy to share his reminiscences.

    Beach is also the founder of the longest running short course Masters meet in the country, and quite possibly the world. After consulting with Ransom Arthur and Richard Rahe, another Navy doctor and early organizer of Masters Swimming in 1970, Beach organized what was originally called the Southern Short Course Championships, which later became the St. Petersburg Short Course Championships. The first meet in 1970 had 17 competitors, but these days the meet averages about 300.

    Swimmers who love pool meets owe a debt of gratitude to these pioneers of Masters swimming: Arthur, Spannuth, Rahe, and others like June Krauser, Hal Onusseit, and Buster Crabbe. And their supporters—the early meet organizers, volunteers, and athletes, who showed up, swam, and worked to put down the foundation for the organization we enjoy today. Some of these athletes are still competing and were on hand to help celebrate in Atlanta, including Beach, Ted Haartz, Paul Hutinger, Jane Katz and Bumpy Jones. If you are fortunate to meet any of these members, be sure to thank them for their contributions to our great sport.

    Updated July 1st, 2014 at 11:54 AM by Editor

    Staff Blogs
  10. Spring Is in the Air (March-April 2010)

    by , March 1st, 2010 at 01:00 AM (SWIMMER Editorials)
    It is said that in spring, a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love; so wrote poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson. I would posit that for USMS members, a young (and we are all young) swimmer’s fancy turns to competition. As Spring Nationals looms, we have included technique articles to help you prepare for Atlanta: Craig Keller at AGUA Masters has broken down relay transitions for us, Olympian Rada Owen gives us a quick tune-up on head position, and Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen reminds us of some critical training points.

    On many swimmers’ minds, however—the elephant seal in the living room—is the demise of the tech suit. Neros, LZRs, and the rest of the gang’s last hurrah is coming (at least for this year) and everyone has a different opinion. As I pondered what I might write on the subject, I remembered a thread on our Forums where members have posted their thoughts. Some are eulogies to their suits, others express good riddance, and some are creative haiku and poetry. There is even a full-length holiday song, “T’was the Night Before Zones.”

    With apologies to Lord Tennyson, enjoy in good humor.

    • “Tech suit you were so good to me. You helped me keep it together when I was falling apart. Despite the rips and wardrobe malfunctions, we had some pretty good times together and it’s sad to think you’re really gonna split …” –Ande
    • “I hate you tech suit. You hurt me. You were so sleek and pretty, full of promises. You made me look good. Together I thought we could go where we had never gone before. It was a lie. You are a liar. Maybe I share some blame. I thought that money would keep us happy, but you and your ilk weren’t satisfied … We weren’t a team, you owned me … I was addicted to you. I couldn’t be happy without you. It was wrong. I see you crumpled up in the corner like a lost soul. I hear you tempting me. I miss your snug embrace. I think we can still be friends.” –Stillwater
    • Dear LZR, It is said that death is life’s way of saying you’re fired. Well you’re fired. –Lefty
    • Tech suit, I am glad I never knew ye. –Couroboros
    • Ah FINA had to mess
      With the tech suits for the rest
      But for me, the big dipper
      They took away my zipper –Swimshark

    Updated July 1st, 2014 at 11:55 AM by Editor

    Staff Blogs