Note from the Chair
reetings fellow swimmers! A new year is upon us and though some
exciting changes are afoot, there is a bit of sadness in my heart. As
you may be aware, John and Jen Carlson have moved out west for their
jobs and as such, have had to step down from their posts on our board.
Our LMSC's team representatives elected me to step back into a role I
previously held from 2010-2014. While I will miss the presence and
leadership of two great friends, I am also excited at what the future
While it seems like only a few years ago, it seems like U.S. Masters
Swimming has changed quite a bit since then. Online tools and
resources are widely available and used by swimmers, coaches and team
administrators. The coach training programs are now getting re-vamped
with updated content, and a new Adult Learn-To-Swim course has been
added. New benefits are added every year and there is even talk of an
As of this writing, I am still processing a few things (including
filling a few positions) for my agenda for the upcoming term. One
thing I know we are good at is leadership. We have rock stars in our
LMSC, having multiple national committee chairs, national committee
members, Dorothy Donnelly winners and even a Ransom Arthur Award
recipient. Given our volunteers today, I can only see our list of rock
stars growing. Which leads me to the one thing I would like to work
on: LMSC growth.
Potomac Valley is the 3rd largest LMSC by number of members, yet the
smallest in geographical area. After several years of tremendous
growth and coming close twice, we are still not yet over the 3000
Recruiting new members is one way to grow, but retention of current
members is an often overlooked method of membership growth. Keep your
existing roster excited by planning new social events and team
outings. Hosting meets is a great way to bond different factions of
your team for a common good, especially if you have multiple practice
sites. Finally, but most importantly, remember that our coaches are
our first line of defense. Their expertise, demeanor and workouts are
the key factors in keeping (or losing) swimmers. Keep them engaged in
the sport and in your team.
I look forward to seeing everyone soon, whether at one of our meetings
(they are all open) or at an event. Please say hello!
Happy Laps! -Jeff
Interview with Patrick McKnight
by Cheryl Wagner
photo by Patrick McKnight
Patrick McKnight is a George Mason Patriot master swimmer, Everest climber, long distance swimmer, sailor, and Statistics and Research Methods professor at George Mason University. He is training for the English Channel and Catalina swims in 2016. Here is an interview with him.
When are you from and how did you start swimming?
Patrick: I was born in California and then moved to New York city where I grew up. My mom is from Helena, Montana and my dad is a native New Yorker. While in McBurney High School, I swam the 500 free, 200 IM, and 100 backstroke. In Notre Dame University I started out swimming varsity but switched to club swimming and triathlons because of my engineering course workload. I trained with the cross-country team to keep fit and did my first triathlon in 1982.
Does your statistics background help with your training?
Patrick: Yes, if you look at my blog you'll see I definitely have the right calling. It does help in my training. I can track training days and know the reasons why I'm not doing well and decrease intensity or adjust.
Tell me about your Everest attempt.
Patrick: My Everest experiences prepared me well for swimming, espeically the mental aspects. As a whole Everest has made me a better person.
In 2015 I was in Camp 1 on Everest when the earthquake took place. My climb had to be cancelled. I also attempted an Everest climb in 2014 when the sherpa's struck. That was 2 years running that I couldn't make the climb. (I was out $40,000 for my expenses.) It was a huge disappointment, but I understood their reasons for the strike. The government gives them no assurances, like life insurance. Sherpa's take incredible chances based on what they make, approximately $20,000 to $30,000 per year. However, they're well-compensated compared to the average Nepali, who makes around $200 per year.
I stayed in the Hotel Yak and Yeti in Nepal in 2015. I noticed a group wearing Fairfax County badges. It was the Fairfax County Urban Search and Rescue team. While chatting with the team members a climber overheard me talking about the English Channel swim and mentioned that if I wanted to do it, his uncle knew all the English channel people. After one and a half weeks in Katmandu I returned home and found an email saying a lot of people wanted to see me do the channel.
How did you prepare for the English Channel swim?
Patrick: I mentioned to my coach, Cheryl Ward, that I wanted to swim the English channel. I had skipped swim practice in April and had been sleeping in a hypoxic tent to train for altitude. But after getting back from Nepal in May, I knew I had to do a 6 hour qualifying swim if I wanted to attempt a channel swim.
I found a link for a channel qualifying swim in Lake Ontario and contacted the Lake Ontario swim team. The guy who organized the team told me I could do a qualifying swim there and that they had 6 or 8 members who had swum the English channel. I had to pay $10 to cover insurance fees and if I incurred any additional costs they would tell me what to pay. On the day of my swim, half of their team showed up. My wife and son were planning to paddle for me but it wasn't necessry since their team supported me. One person left work early to swam with me, along with paddlers, and other swimmers. They fed my family while I did my 6 hour swim and then we adjourned to one of the member's houses.
When I got to Dover there was horrible weather in the channel and my skipper, Neil streeter, looking out for my best interests recommended against going out. I accepted it graciously since I had had disappointments in Nepal trying Everest. He offered to let me try again and to pick a day in 2016. I had a wonderful time staying in the Churchhill Guesthouse in Dover. The owner, Alistair, was a lot of fun. It was like a reincarnation of Faulty Towers. We went to a wedding in France after that and really enjoyed our trip.
What are your plans for this year?
Patrick: In May, I'm going climbing in Alaska with an adventurer friend. I'll swim until I leave for Alaska. In Alaska I'll climb for 2 weeks. After that I can get in good swimming shape in 6 weeks. (It's good for my head to take time off.)
On July 11, 2016 I'm doing Catalina (neap tide, ideal - quarter moon, perfect day). You start swimming Catalina in the dark. Some people get spooked about that but I know statistically no open water swimmer has ever been attacked by a shark. Right after that, on 18-25 July, I'm going to attempt an English channel swim. I spoke to Kevin Murphy, a famous English Channel swimmer, about whether he was ever afraid of sharks. He said no self-respecting shark would go into the English Channel.
A Drill to Exaggerate the Right and Wrongs of your Catch and Pull
by Wyatt Bradbury
ake your Strokemaker (or similar style) paddles but do not put them on. You will swim holding the paddles by the top or bottom, fingers wrapped over the edge. The paddles will be pressed against your forearms, effectively locking your wrist. Using a normal, perfectly flat style of paddle ensures the water is caught in the correct way and that you wrist is locked. Finis Fulcrum Paddles will not work for these drills.
As you swim breaststroke, you will feel a surge from the paddles launching you out of the water if done correctly. The paddles will press your body up and you will feel yourself being pushed up on the pull phase due to the paddles extending the surface area of your arms/hands. This will only work so long as you do not pause with your hands under your shoulders or pull underneath your shoulders or body. This drill will exaggerate your correct motions.†
This drill exaggerates a correct press. Ensure that you press your chest down fully as you load up your stroke. Feel the paddles engage as you start your catch. You should feel a surge during the pull phase of your stroke. This drill will help keep the elbows in position as you pull through the power phase. Feel the correct hand position (pushing in a straight line under the shoulders) as any S-Pattern or change in pitch will result in slippage.
This will help you lock in your elbow position. You should extend your arms and really feel the anchor as soon as you start the catch. Keep the elbow high and forearm locked as you enter the push phase of the stroke. You will feel a surge of power if you correctly press straight though. If you have an S-Pattern stroke you will feel slippage. Ensure you are feeling the press all the way past your hip to the completion of the stroke. This drill will ensure you feel power when you are making the correct motions.
This drill will help you feel the catch and press. Ensure that your arms are extended fully as you enter the water. Much like freestyle, if you have any sort of a wave or S-Pattern stroke, you will feel slippage. Keep the arm pushing straight past your body after the catch. Feel the surge from the increased surface area.
Please share any feedback or ask any questions you might have. Keep training hard and swimming fast!
Coach Wyatt Bradbury, UMAC Masters, firstname.lastname@example.org
4 Ways to Mix up your Workouts and Increase your Feel for the Water
by Wyatt Bradbury
UMAC Masters coach, Wyatt Bradbury, describes 4 ways to mix up your workouts and increase your feel for the water.
1. Partner Pull: Simply put one person acts as the head and the other the foot. In sync one person must appropriately do the pull of each stroke and another the kick. It can be turned into a race with partners switching at the 25 and racing teammates in other lanes. 200 IM Partner Pull Anyone?
2. Backwards Swimming: This is exactly as it sounds. You must swim each stroke feet first. The key is not to kick! This can be done as a race or as a backwards backwards 100 IM. Start with Free and going in reverse order swim each 25 backwards. Athletes must really think about what they are doing in order to do it in reverse. Quick way to increase feel and get some great laughs!
3. Sharks and Minnows: This game is timeless! Anything goes so long as no punches, fishhooks, elbows, or knees are thrown. They become a shark when their head is touched above the surface of the water. Last minnow swimming becomes the shark for the next round! This game works underwaters, comfort in the water, breath control, and of course team bonding!
4. Sculling: There are a myriad of sculls out there each serving a different purpose. For recovery or to rebuild feel after a long hard day sculling is a perfect way. Social sculling can help build the relationships and keep people pushing through the pain! Great drill to work into any warmdown or recovery day.
7 Sets to Track Your Progress
by Wyatt Bradbury
eed a way to track your progress over the course of a season? Want to know if you are any faster as you taper for nationals? Use these sets to help!
The goal is to beat your 100 Swim Time in that same stroke while kicking.
The goal is to be as close to best time as possible the whole way.
The goal is to be faster than your 200 or 100 time. This set is a good gauge of what you could go from the blocks in a meet at that point in the season.
- 4 X 200 @ 6:00
- Broken As Follows:
- 50-50-50-50 (:10 rest each break)
- 75-75-50 (:15 rest each break)
- 50-50-50-50 (:10 rest each break)
- 75-75-50 (:15 rest each break)
- Variation: 100s Broken either 25-25-25-25 (:10 Rest) or 25-50-25 (:15 Rest)
Start at your normal training base. Do 5 X 100s @ base. Drop 5 seconds from your sendoff and do 5 more 100s. Keep this going until you miss. Then do one more sprint for time. The goal is to see how long you push through the pain! Try to drop two intervals over the course of a season.
- 100s Fastest Possible Send Off
Leave on the top. Swim 50s on the 1:01 interval making it back by the :60 each time. When you miss, swim one more sprint for time. For that extra challenge, do the set in Main Stroke. The goal is to see how many you can do at max effort with consistent rest.
The goal is to beat your 200 time and maintain speed throughout the set.
Variation: Upchuck --Double the interval and do 100s.
- 16 X 50 @ 1:00 Every 4th 200 Pace
- 12 X 50 @ 1:10 Every 3rd 200 Pace
- 8 X 50 @ 1:20 Every other 200 Pace
- 4 X 50 @ 1:30 Every Single One 200 Pace
Swim a 500 for time. Every second counts as one point. As you swim, count your stroke cycles (every right hand hit) on your even 50s. Each cycle counts as two points. Add the numbers together and see what you get. Try to drop stroke cycle count and time during the first half of the season. During the second half of the season, drop your time while maintaining stroke count. Scoring Example: Time: 5:00, S.C.:13 13 13 13 14 = 300 + 26 + 26 + 26 + 26 + 28 = 432 Score
- 500FR For Time and Stroke Count
I would try to have this person lower their stroke count (or at least make it consistent) while slowly getting faster. Efficiency is the key to success especially in masters swimming!
Build Camaraderie on your team: Host an Intersquad Meet!
by Wyatt Bradbury
Ok, so we all know that there are those folks who travel to everything. They are at every national meet, every zone meet, and every local meet. They attend every board meeting and know everything about everyone. But, there are also those folks who have never been to anything. They feel on the outside looking in. They donít know if they want to fully commit to that level or if they can afford it. This is one way to bring the full team together, swim fast, and have a BLAST!
Find a weekend practice slot that you can turn into a small practice/intersquad/mini meet. Only allow your immediate teammates to attend. Pick a few events (example below) and have folks sign up ahead of time or on deck. Donít charge for the meet unless it is absolutely necessary. Remember, this is all about practice. Get stopwatches for 4-8 lanes and have folks not swimming that event time for their teammates. Give paper plate awards at the social that is sure to follow!
The goal here is to get everyone involved. It can be as simple or elaborate as you desire so long as all athletes are involved both swimming and serving.
Here is my example:
Three Weeks out from Nationals,
all Athletes traveling are suited up.
I have six lanes of racing and two lanes of warmdown. Depending on availability I might use automatic timing and a starter or I will just run off of watches. I allow for two heats of 50s/100s and one heat of 200s/500. Everyone participates, chooses their events, and swims FAST!
- 50 FL/BK/BR/FR
- 100 FL/BK/BR/FR/IM
- 200 FR/IM
- 500 FR
If you would like times to count, you will need to apply for a sanction and ensure that all USMS and LMSC requirements are met prior to the meet. Remember, the minimum number of officials can be two (103.1); one referee (who must be certified, 103.2), one starter, and two stroke and turn judges, but the referee and starter can both also serve as stroke and turn judges (hence the four positions can be covered by two people). The referee cannot also serve as a starter (103.1.1). If you donít want to apply for a sanction then just do this as simple as possible ensuring that everyone participates and has fun!
Jeff Strahota receives Dot Donnelly Award
U.S. Masters Swimming Recognition and Awards: Swimmer gives back and gets recognized.
We are pleased to announce that Jeff Strahota is a recipient of the 2015 USMS Dorothy Donnelly Service Award. Members of U.S. Masters Swimming donít just confine their participation to the pool. There are many volunteer opportunities for their talent, expertise, and generosity. USMS recognizes the commitment of those who give back with the Dorothy Donnelly Service Award, honoring one of USMS's outstanding volunteers. The award recognizes those whose contributions stand out in service to local, regional, and national programs. Up to 15 people are selected each year with nominations coming from Local Masters Swimming Committees, clubs, and individuals.
Jeff Strahota has been a member of U.S. Masters Swimming for 16 years, during which time he has been engaged at all levels of the organization. He was a longtime member of the UMAC-Terrapin Masters Team and served as Campus Recreation Services liaison for 8 years ensuring the teamís traditions and standards are always upheld. He is involved with the teamís season planning and collaborates with swimmers and coaches to keep everyone working together as the team grows. Jeff also compiles and edits information for the Terrapin Masters Newsletters.
Jeffís dedication is evident in his involvement with the Potomac Valley Local Masters Swimming Committee (LMSC). After voluntarily attending Board meetings and performing meet evaluations, Jeff was elected in 2009 to a 4 year term as Chair. During his tenure, Jeff organized additional Potomac Valley events by offering upfront financial support to teams willing to host a meet. He focused on coachís education and development by instituting a cost match program allowing coaches to attend certification courses. During Jeffís Chairmanship, Potomac Valley began its volunteer and swimmer recognition program and launched an annual picnic for swimmers and their families. Jeff now again serves as LMSC Chair.
Jeff is selfless in taking responsibility for hosting events by advocating for additional meets and often serving as Meet Director, acting as Director for numerous Colonies Zone Championships. On one occasion, when a meetís distance events filled quickly, Jeff quickly arranged another meet, offering the same distance events on the same day, so swimmers could swim the closed events at a nearby venue.
Jeff's Masters Swimming engagement includes years of participation with the National Organization. He has been a member of the USMS Championship Committee for over 5 years and the LMSC Development Committee for 4 years. Jeff is concluding his term as the USMS Colonies Zone Chair, where among other efforts, he has worked to update the Colonies Zone Big Meet Guide.
Through his dedication and expertise, Jeff is the ultimate ambassador for U.S. Masters Swimming.
2015 Lesley Evans Award Winners
by Mark Walters
The Lesley Evans Award has been presented annually to one male and one female Germantown Masters swimmer who is a role model for others during GERM's coached workouts. Lesley Evans, who inspired the award, was a workout role model before she and her family moved to Arizona in 1999. This is the final year the award will be presented in her name; the plaque is now full. The 2015 recipients are Amy Cooley and John Landry. A new, as yet unnamed, award will be started for the 2016 winners.
Natalie Taylor elected Colonies Zone Chair
by Wyatt Bradbury
big congratulations goes out to Natalie Taylor who was elected Chair of the Colonies Zone at the 2015 USAS Convention. An even bigger congratulations and thank you goes out to Jeff Strahota who is the outgoing Zone Chair. Jeff did a great job leading one of the strongest and fastest zones in all of USMS the past few years. If anyone can fill those big shoes we know that Natalie is up to the task!
Deborah Malafsky new Secretary of Potomac Valley LMSC
by Cheryl Wagner
ongratulations to Deborah Malafsky who was elected to the Potomac Valley board as secretary.
Bill Shipp completes Triple Crown
by Wyatt Bradbury
photo by Bill Shipp
eammate Bill Shipp completed his 20.2 mile swim of the Catalina Channel in 11:47.26 last month. This successful swim also allowed him to complete the triple crown of swimming. The triple crown requires the successful completion of the English Channel, the Catalina Channel, and the Manhattan Marathon Swim. He is one of only 124 individuals to do this in the world. Well done Bill! Just keep swimming!
Mary McCall Finishes the Cozumel Ironman
by Wyatt Bradbury
photos by Mary McCall
ongratulations go out to Mary McCall who finished the Cozumel Ironman, November 29, in a time of 16:16:01. She placed 15th in her division and should be proud of her HUGE accomplishment. Way to go Mary! If anyone has any quetions about training for an Ironman Competition let me know as she would love to have folks to train with!
Blake Holden 50th at USA Swimming Nationals
by Wyatt Bradbury
asters Swimmer Blake Holden competed 12/4/15 at the AT&T USA Swimming Winter Nationals. He swam a 17 year best 1:05.04 in the 100 M Breaststroke. This time eclipses his swim from the 2000 Olympic Trials and just misses his personal best from 1998 Summer Nationals. This time ranks him as #1 in the United States for his age group this year and #6 in the world all time! Way to go Blake!
| Sign in a shoe repair shop:
"We will heel you. We will save your sole. We will even dye for you."
|| Sign on an electrician's truck:
"Let us remove your shorts."
| Sign on a plumber's truck:
"We repair what your husband fixed."
|| Sign on another plumber's truck:
"Don't sleep with a drip. Call your plumber."
2016 Tropical Splash
Alexandria Masters would like to announce that the 2016 Tropical Splash meet registration is now open! Get your coconut relay ready, and head over to http://www.alexandriamasters.com/meet/ for sign up. The 500 freestyle is limited to the first 28 entries received. One full heat is already gone! Please remember that swimmers must renew their USMS registration for 2016 before they can enter the swim meet. We look forward to seeing everyone on Sunday, January 31st!
Farewell to Jen and John Carlson
Farewell to John and Jen Carlson who moved to the west coast for their jobs, stepping down from their positions on our Potomac Valley board. Their hard work and dedication will be missed. Here are photos of Jen with her coach, and Jeff at her final PV meet and board meeting.
Arlington Masters Holiday Party
by Alison E. Mathey
photo by Alison E. Mathey
Arlington Masters want to thank Rachel Brown for hosting their annual holiday party, and give shout-outs to our coaches Dan Summers, Dawn Stevenson and Mike Stevenson for all of their efforts. Coach Dan did not disappoint and trumped his last outfit with a snowflake suit.
NBC4 Health & Fitness Expo, Washington D.C. Convention Center, January 9-10, 2016
photo by Christina West
The DC Health & Fitness Expo, hosted and promoted by NBC4, has been recognized as the best-promoted, best-attended, consumer wellness expo in the nation for over two decades. Leading healthcare companies including CareFirst, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Amgen, Washington Hospital Center, Children's National Medical Center and over 200 additional companies of all sizes, attend.
Potomac Valley Swimming sponsored a booth for the first time. Thank you to Christina West, PV Fitness Committee Chair, and all others who volunteered.
2016 Colonies Zone SCY Championships
2016 Colonies Zone SCY Championships
Friday April 8 - Sunday April 10, 2016
George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
Club Tribe Masters Classic - March 19
Just wanted to let you know about Club Tribe's new meet -- The Club Tribe Masters Classic -- March 19 in Williamsburg, VA https://www.clubassistant.com/club/meet_information.cfm?c=2298&smid=7127 . The format is relay-friendly (including a 100 Medley Relay!) Three full weeks before Colonies Zones, so come on down.
Best, Kyle Ahlgren
Oxford Bellevue Sharkfest OW Swim May 21, 2016
The Oxford-Bellevue Sharkfest Swim will be a 1500 meter swim across the Tred Avon River from Bellevue Park to the beach at the Tred Avon Yacht Club in Oxford. It will be coincide with slack tide to allow everyone to make the crossing. The swim course follows the route of the historic Oxford-Bellevue Ferry. Water temperature should be in the high-60s to mid-70's and the swim will be ahead of the dreaded nettles season.
Registration information can be found here: https://raceroster.com/events/2016/5853/2016-oxford-bellevue-sharkfest-swim
USMS Levels 1 and 2 Coaching Certification
Saturday, March 12, 2016
Homewood Suites by Hilton Richmond South - Chester
12810 Old Stage Road
Chester, VA 23836
Registration closes at midnight Pacific time on Friday, March 11, 2016, or when the course enrollment reaches 40.
Who should attend?
- Current full-time, part-time, and volunteer coaches, or anyone interested in becoming a U.S. Masters Swimming coach
- Anyone interested in supporting their existing club and coach
- Anyone interested in starting a U.S. Masters Swimming program
- Current USMS membership required.
- $180 for Levels 1 and 2 Certification
- $100 for Level 1 or Level 2 only
- Check-in: 8:30-9 a.m.
- Classroom training: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Lunch: 12:30 to 1 p.m. (provided by USMS)
- Dominic Latella, Adjunct professor, health and fitness, American University; owner of SwimBox.
- Mel Goldstein, former Head Coach, Indy Aquatic Masters
Check with your LMSC for scholarship availability.
Course registrations are nonrefundable and nontransferable to another individual. However, you may transfer your registration to a course at an alternate date and location.
Private Swim Instruction and Clinics
There is information at http://www.claybrittswimming.com/masterstriathletes.html about lessons, Masters workouts and how to arrange a private clinic for your team or friends. Iím excited to be able to offer private lessons again and I hope this can benefit you.
Clay Britt http://www.claybrittswimming.com
by Jeff Roddin
- Welcome SWIMSPIRE as our newest Potomac Valley Masters club!
- This past registration year Potomac Valley swimmers donated $3628 to the Swimming Saves Lives foundation and $1364 to the International Swimming Hall of Fame ($4992 total donations vs $4357 in 2014).
- Approximate breakdown of our membership by state:
- Virginia: 53%
- Maryland: 26%
- District of Columbia: 15%
- Other: 6%
- We registered 2847 swimmers in 2015 (down from 2960 each of the past 2 years). Gender breakdown was 52% male, 48% female (same as last year). We are the smallest of the 52 LMSCs in the country from a geographic standpoint, however, we are the third largest in terms of registered swimmers (behind two of the California LMSCs). See below for our registration history since 1997:
Thank you to Peter Lee, Jeff Strahota, John Carlson, Tim Timmons, and all others who contributed to the Potomac Valley by-laws update.
PV LMSC Meeting Minutes - October 25, 2015