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Thread: Is there a typical pattern for USMS workout group session?

  1. #1
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    Is there a typical pattern for USMS workout group session?

    New USMS member, and I suspect others like me might hesitate to show up for USMS group workout session for fear of not knowing enough terminology or the way groups swim together. I'm comfortable circle swimming and have done open water group practice swims, but never having been on a swim team, I'm a bit worried about having that goggles-in-the-headlights look if somebody says, "Now let's do a [insert cryptic sounding swimming numbers here] set."

  2. #2
    Active Member Judester's Avatar
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    Re: Is there a typical pattern for USMS workout group sessio

    I was a USMS member for two months before I got the courage to attend a swim team workout (thanks to the encouragement of other members here in the forums). I didnt know anything about anything before my first workout. I didnt even know what "start on the top" meant. I had no idea what builds, descends, send off times, rest intervals, and negative splits were all about. I was pretty much the epitome of the goggles in the headlights. That was about a year ago and now I write workouts for all my friends.

    I'm not sure what you mean when you ask if there is a pattern to workout group sessions. The only real pattern is that every workout has a warm up, main set, and cool down and some workout group sessions will have a warm up, pre-set (or drill set), main set, and a cool down.

    Don't worry about the goggles in the headlights. The coach won't throw you to the sharks until he or she knows you can handle it. The coach will likely put you in a lane by yourself or in a lane with other less experienced swimmers until the coach can evaluate where you are in your swimming abilities. And you'll catch on to the terminology quickly.

  3. #3
    Participating Member au-girl98's Avatar
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    Re: Is there a typical pattern for USMS workout group sessio

    Quote Originally Posted by Judester View Post
    Don't worry about the goggles in the headlights. The coach won't throw you to the sharks until he or she knows you can handle it. The coach will likely put you in a lane by yourself or in a lane with other less experienced swimmers until the coach can evaluate where you are in your swimming abilities. And you'll catch on to the terminology quickly.
    I would agree with the above. Go for it! I would just get to the workout a little early and talk to the coach before the practice starts and let them know you're new. Most coaches are used to dealing with beginners so try not to worry too much! (and I know how you feel! I had been lap swimming for about 10 years before I went to a coached master's workout and I was nervous the first couple times too!)

  4. #4
    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: Is there a typical pattern for USMS workout group sessio

    Here's something that should help you out:
    http://www.usms.org/articles/article...y.php?aid=1927

    Good luck!

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    Re: Is there a typical pattern for USMS workout group sessio

    most USMS work outs are structured:
    warm up
    main set
    cool down

    "if somebody says, "Now let's do a [insert cryptic sounding swimming numbers here] set."
    and you don't know what it that is
    1) ask someone in your lane or
    2) ask the coach or
    3) do what the people in your lane are doing,
    swimmer see swimmer do will get you through most mysteries

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    Re: Is there a typical pattern for USMS workout group sessio

    I think you will find it is not too hard to figure out the nomenclature at workout. If they say something you don’t understand, just ask - the coach or other swimmers will be glad to explain what to do.

  7. #7
    USMS Membership Director Jayhawk's Avatar
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    Re: Is there a typical pattern for USMS workout group sessio

    We have a whole Masters Swimming 101 series of articles just for you! Click on any of the below titles.


    Masters Swimming 101 Article Series

    How to start swim practice as an adult
    Swimming is great exercise, but practicing with a group can seem mysterious to...

    What equipment do I need?
    Not much! The beauty of swimming is that the water provides all the resistance...

    What are the basics of pool etiquette?
    Safety always comes first, and swimming's first rule is never to swim alone....

    What is a typical workout?

    Like a good play, a good workout develops in three main acts: the warm-up, the...

    Yards and meters
    Coaches will give instructions mainly in terms of distance (or yardage) and...

    How do I use the pace clock?

    A related question would be: Why are swimmers so obsessed with time? You'll...

    More lingo you're likely to hear at practice

    Here are a few more terms you'll likely hear at swim practice. Some of them...

    How do I learn the four strokes? Why do I want to?
    Some swimmers and many triathletes only want to swim freestyle, the fastest...

  8. #8
    Very Active Member __steve__'s Avatar
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    Re: Is there a typical pattern for USMS workout group sessio

    i've only attended one usms workout, back when i was starting out. but i recall there's usually a lane available for those who are just getting their fins wet for the new environment.

    i would just show up a little early and let the coach know what your goals are

  9. #9
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    Re: Is there a typical pattern for USMS workout group sessio

    Thanks for the great answers and for the links. Will attend a session tonight if lightning in area will calm down!

  10. #10
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    Re: Is there a typical pattern for USMS workout group sessio

    Had a great swim with local group, who were as hospitable as you assured me they would be. Thanks again!

  11. #11
    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Re: Is there a typical pattern for USMS workout group sessio

    Find my posts on "pre team". Yes - if you are new then you are most likely in a newer lane with swimmers that felt like you. Ask & watch what they do. We are all new to something at times.

  12. #12
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    Re: Is there a typical pattern for USMS workout group sessio

    I like the 101 Master Swimming Series. I coached a high school swim team, taught learn to swim, life guarding, water exercise and I am terrified to go to a group workout. My point is...knowledge doesn't make motivation easier. The Master Swimming meets at 5:45 am at the state university. I want to start, yet working on building my endurance before starting. I am out of breath after half a mile. Thanks for posting!

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