Swimmer's Ear
Newsletter of the Potomac Valley Masters Committee
January 2017

    Newsletter Schedule printed 3 times a year
  • January (deadline: December 15)
  • May (deadline: April 15)
  • September (deadline: August 15)
    Newsletter Editor
  • Cheryl Wagner
  • phone: 202-387-2361
  • fax: 202-478-0948
  • email: cherylw46@yahoo.com

  Note from the Chair

Greetings fellow swimmers!

A new year is upon us once again! While coaches, teammates and long sets may come and go, we still have our friend the black line to bring us in to a new year once again.

As we move into 2017, we (both USMS nationally and us locally) are looking at ways to continue to offer quality programs and also enhance the value for membership. Soon, we should see enhancements to the coaching program rolled out, and the Adult Learn to Swim program is gaining a lot of momentum. I believe a new USMS.org may be coming, and we continue to see good offers from sponsors.

Many of you know our LMSC may be one of the smallest geographically, but we pack a lot of punch. We are usually the 3rd-largest by membership, we have a great local volunteer base and a lot of representation nationally. We'll be looking to bring the summer picnic this year and hoping to get some new ideas into our local community. Please let me know if you'd like to work on something!

I hope your 2016 was a fun one, and that 2017 will be more of the same. See you on deck soon, -Jeff

PV logo

  Articles & Interviews

Michael Phelps and Mike Krzyzewski from Swimming World magazine
Charlie Rose Interview with Michael Phelps and Mike Krzyzewski
by Cheryl Wagner

On September 7, 2016 Charlie Rose interviewed Michael Phelps, champion swimmer in 5 Olympics, and Mike Krzyzewski, men’s USA basketball coach in 5 Olympics and coach of Duke, 5-time NCAA champions. Here is an excerpt (from my informal notes) of the interview.


Photo from: Swimming World Magazine

Rose: What is it like to be the best at what you do? What is your X factor?
Mike K: Michael has it. Great players and teams – it’s much more than physical. The person or team does not have a point of failure. They have interruptions, which knock them back but they never accept failure. They see themselves being great. Certainly they’re talented – but I try to help them find it (“X” factor), to go past the limit they had. It’s an honor to sit next to Michael Phelps. He is as great an athlete that has been placed on this planet. Crazy that he’s done it for 5 Olympics. He’s got the “X” factor.
Michael P: It’s along the same lines as coach said. I competed with my coach for 20 years. You don’t see athletes who stay with coaches that long. Bob and I started at 11. From 11-18, he would say “jump” and I would say “how high?” I stopped playing lacrosse, baseball, etc. I broke my first world record at 15. I was at Michigan for 4 years and I realized I could talk back. In 2006 Bob let me do it my way, and we were not happy campers. In 2007-8, I did it Bob’s way, and it was the best I ever performed. Bob pressed my buttons. As I grew up Bob had to change his approach with me. I couldn’t have asked for a better finish in 2016. I wanted to hang up my suit the way I wanted to do it. In 2012 I just got through it. It was different in 2016. When I came back, I had to do it my way.

Rose: Were there struggles?
Michael P: Of course. Bob was there. I went through a phase – I saw my father 5 times in 20 years. Now we are friends. I’m thankful for things in my life that brought me to where I am today. It’s amazing to have him as part of my family life.

Rose: After 2012 did you think you would come back in 2016?
Michael P: No. For me to be with one coach is incredible. Going through different stages as an 18 – 22 year old. The thing I had with my coach is a shared vision. At times at 18, he saw a vision I didn’t see.
Mike K: It’s not just a shared vision with a particular player but with a group. A lot different with the Duke team. Shared vision is a really important thing – based on trust. Did you ever not trust your coach?
Michael P: When he said at 11, “you can make the Olympic team” – since then I had trust in him. I knew he was the only one I would swim for. At times, we butted heads and I threatened to leave, but it didn’t happen. He taught a goal set – to dream as big as you can possibly be, the sacrifices I made, goals I had, things I had to do to get there. How to set short-term, long-term goals. I just found my goals sheet in the closet. As I got older there were so many people that doubted things I wanted. I believed I could be perfect in 2008. I trained for it and was prepared for it. Something no one else had done in Olympic history. I won a race by 1/100th second. He saw something in me, passion and drive. As a little kid swimming with 18year olds – I made sure I was always first.

Rose: How much is due to your unique physicality?
Michael P: Michael P: I have broad shoulders and short legs – my body was good for swimming. A lot of people are tall but my wingspan is 6’7” and I am 6’4”.
Mike K: The US team is big on culture. When we took over in 2005, it was more of arrogance, no culture. We put 12 guys out there. Now we have built a culture and continuity. I am a West Pointer. Greg Popovich is the best coach I know. This summer he spent a week with us to learn about how we do the “culture”. He’s taking over command. Trying to establish that with USA Basketball.

Rose: What’s the difference between coaching pros and kids?
Mike K: I help them cross bridges of maturity – there’s a bond. In pros they’ve crossed a lot of bridges already. It’s a difference. In college, they have to adapt to me. In pros we adapt to each other. We all own it. How can they feel it? We spend a lot of time with that, include the Armed Forces to understand what it is to represent your country. Shared vision.

Rose: Is changing swimming a goal?
Michael P: Yes, to completely change swimming – in and out of the pool. I wanted the sport to have more attention. We’re the most dominant team in the world. It changed my life. Being out of the pool, the next chapter of my life is happening. Worked in 2001 with Boys & Girls clubs – because drowning is the biggest cause of death for kids. Only reason my mom taught me to swim – to be safe. Turned out ok.

Rose: You inspired people like Katie Ladecky.
Michael P: I felt like a dad at this Olympics. I’ve been on the team so long, my role changed. Katie at 10 – we took a picture together. Olivia Smoliga had a poster of me on her wall as a kid. It was cool being able to watch them grow up. I’m retiring – haven’t signed papers but doing it soon. Thinking back to my first gold medal, the 4x100 relay, swimming with two rookies. On the podium, before the national anthem, they didn’t know what to do and I told them they were allowed to smile, sing, and if you want to, cry. Half way into the song I heard someone crying. Ryan Held let everything go. To be able to represent your country at that level – one of the things I will miss, wearing the stars and stripes. These guys are taking over. Such an honor. I have a beautiful baby boy, starting a family with Nicole. In 2012 I forced it. This year, I saw Chad shadow boxing in the ready room and I wanted the 200 fly really bad, after losing it in 2012 I still haven’t wrapped my head around having 28 medals. I’m just starting to wrap my head around my 2008 wins.

Rose: Pride is a positive quality.
Mike K: What we try to do – working with Knicks, Cavs, etc. Who are the proudest Americans? - military who protect and serve. We incorporate that – important for each of my guys to see and feel (most important, own it). Wounded warriors visit with them. We visit Arlington Cemetery. We meet TAPS (tragedy assistance survivors) families who lost a brother, sister, father. During each exhibition game a TAPS kid was with us. Privately a number of them lined up at half court with buttons showing a picture of a person who was killed. They gave us the buttons.

Rose: How about failures, injuries and rough patches, lessons learned, recognizing that you are not all powerful?
Michael P: To become the person I am today I had to go to the darkest possible place any human being could go. I had the worst 3 or 4 days of my life – not wanting to be here anymore, on an express elevator “down”. I’m learning a lot about myself – there were so many things I didn’t want to let out. I went through struggles, ups and downs throughout my career. I wouldn’t change it. Thankfully nobody got hurt and I am able to be the person I am today with better relationships and friendships. I’m happy almost every day. Being able to see my baby boy every morning, being able to travel, I enjoy myself.
Mike K: As a cadet at West Point I learned failure is never a destination – never go it alone. Be on a team. A couple of times I was down but I had someone strong enough to tell me the truth. In the mid – 90’s I was very sick emotionally and physically and my wife said if you don’t go for help, I’m gone. At that point someone has to be strong. Be with good people – somewhere along the line, you’ll need them. My wife and 3 beautiful daughters tell me the truth.
Michael P: I always felt I could do anything on my own. But it’s ok to ask for help. Wow this is how life is? Great! Pick up the phone and call someone and do not feel bad. Something awesome to learn.

Rose: Your goals now?
Michael P: I’m excited now. 4 years ago I wasn’t ready to move forward. I want to continue to change the sport. I want to work with children. No matter what mood I’m in, put me with kids and you’ll see the real me.

Rose: Hardest thing about wining 5 NCAA championships?
Mike K: You only need one hiccup - one and it’s done. There’s no do-over. How to be really good all the time. A huge thing for me is it’s a different team every year, because of “one-and-done”. Kids can leave and go pro after 1 year. Used to have juniors and seniors, upper class leadership. How to maintain the culture at Duke of going after a national championship. Culture takes over in a competition a lot of times. Take pride in the fact that US swimming is most dominant. It’s part of a great culture. When you go out there and you’re not just competing for you, you have a better chance of winning.

Rose: What is the equivalent of what Michael Phelps has done, in corporate America? What you’ve done to win 28 medals in 5 Olympics? Is the first one the hardest?
Mike K: Each of them is hard. Once you’ve done it the first time, you have a confidence level. But are you willing to do what has to be done, again? How did you stay hungry, Michael, over 5 Olympics? In competition, how do you know where the other people are?
Michael P: You can feel it. Middle lane is the fastest lane. In some strokes you can feel their splashes. You can see people underwater. I know if I’m prepared, nothing else matters.

Rose: 100% of the time you’re prepared?
Michael P: In 2008 I was not working at 100%, probably 80%. I broke my wrist before the Olympic trials and had to figure out how to put pressure on my hands. This 2016 Olympics I was 100% for the first time – I had sleep, I was ready. I knew I had to do it that way.

Rose: Can you teach that?
Mike K: I can have a guard outside their room, but it helps if it’s a shared vision. I had 3 kids on my team this year who could be really good. They want to learn because they don’t know yet. I love being in the moment of a great team and player. That’s why I coach. I can be in the moment of a 20-year-old guy who can win his first championship.

Rose: What about visualization?
Mike K: We try to teach visualization. Practice everything. Put a 5 sequence tape on their I-pads. Have them watch it and then see it in their heads. Strong faces, body language, not just play like a great player -- look and walk like a great player.
Michael P: I was taught at a young age, every night before going to sleep to do relaxation and visualization: how race should go, could go, and how I don’t want it to go. Whatever happens, I’m prepared for it. Suit rips? I know I have x amount of time to change. If you have mental, physical, and emotional toughness – that’s what makes you great.

For Heart Benefits, all Sports are not Created Equal
Washington Post, December 6, 2016, Health & Science Section

Researchers analyzed health and physical activity data on 80,306 adults (average age 52) including the frequency and intensity of their participation in various sports. The reduced risk for cardiovasculur death was 36 percent for aerobics, 41 percent for swimming and 56 percent for racket sports. Cycling and running did not reduce the risk of cardiovascular deaths. (excerpted)

Recommended article - from Coach, Wyatt Bradbury

This is an interesting article that could prompt some good discussion: Swimming's Not For You If...




DCAC competes in Edmonton, Canada
photo and article by Christina West
DCAC in Edmonton While many swimmers were focused on Rio in August, 18 DCAC swimmers trekked north to Edmonton, Canada, to compete in the International Gay & Lesbian Aquatics (IGLA) championships. By the end of the 5 day meet, DCAC swam away with the trophy for the medium team category, with almost double the points as the second place team - and placed 2nd among all teams. Beyond the team victory, there were 18 DCAC short course meters records set during the meet. In May 2017, DCAC will head south to Miami to compete in the World Out Games.

Patrick McKnight Swims English Channel, Manhattan, and Catalina.

Patrick McKnight Patrick McKnight completed the English Channel Swim, Manhattan Marathon Swim, and Catalina Swim within 34 days this summer, setting a record.




  Meet News


Swim for Life - Provincetown
Article and photo by Joe Stewart

Provincetown Swim for Life - 9/10/16 Joe Stewart finishing his 26th Provincetown Swim for Life in 57 minutes on 09/10/2016.


Sprint Classic Meet October 30, 2016

PHOTOS: http://www.pvmasters.org/~newsletter/Jan-17/Sprint-Classic/

Winter Solstice Meet December 3, 2016

PHOTOS: http://www.pvmasters.org/~newsletter/Jan-17/Solstice/



USMS Convention - 9/21-25/16 Atlanta GA

photos by Jeff Strahota and Ray Novitske
Convention committee meeting
Jeff, Mollie, Wyatt
Convention social
Mollie, Wyatt, Jeff S., Jeff R., Natalie, Ray

Arlington Masters holiday party
photo and article by Alison Mathey Lambeth

Arlington Masters Arlington Masters had their best attendance yet at the annual holiday party. Thank you to Rachel Brown for hosting us. Shoutout to our coaches Dan Summers and Dawn Stevenson for making this such a great year.

Tropical Splash Meet - Jan 29

Tropical Splash Meet - Jan 29 - Alexandria Masters - George Washington Recreation Center

VMST David Gregg III Memorial Meet Feb 4 - 5, 2017

VMST David Gregg III Memorial Meet Feb 4 - 5, 2017
Short Course Yards - NOVA of Virginia Aquatics Center - Richmond, VA

Maryland Masters Winter Distance Meet March 5, 2017

Maryland Masters Winter Distance Meet March 5, 2017
University of Maryland Baltimore County - 1000 Hilltop Circle - Baltimore, MD

2017 Colonies Zone SCY Championships April 7-9, 2017

Friday April 7 - Sunday April 9, 2017 at George Mason University, Fairfax, VA http://www.patriotmasters.org/ColoniesZone2017.htm

Jim McDonnell Lake Swim May 27 - 28, 2017

Jim McDonnell Lake Swim May 27 - 28, 2017
Open Water - Lake Audubon - 2070 Twin Branches Road - Reston, VA

USMS Coaches' Certification Clinic - April 8

USMS Coaches' Certification Clinic - April 8 Level I & II - Washington, DC http://www.usms.org/coach/certified/futurecourses.php

Adult Learn-to-Swim Instructor Certification Course - Feb. 25, 2017

Adult Learn-to-Swim Instructor Certification Course Sat., Feb. 25, 2017
Classroom instruction
Courtyard Baltimore BWI Airport
1671 West Nursery Road
Linthicum, MD 21090

In-water instruction
Coppin State University
Aquatics Center
2500 W. North Ave. Baltimore, MD 21216

Future Saints program at Marymount University - Volunteers Needed

We would like to disseminate information about our Future Saints program at Marymount University. We are trying to fill the void left when Nadar Por Vida ceased to exist. We invite children of low income families to Marymount University every Saturday night ( except holidays ) for swimming lessons.

Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional deaths for children ages 1-4, the second leading cause of unintentional death for kids 1-14. Studies show that Latino and African American children drown at a rate 3 times higher than white children, and if neither parent can swim, the rate is 9 times higher.

We use volunteer instructors from Marymount University Swim Team, the Clark Swim Club, and other local high school swimmers, but would love to have some more adult swimmers involved.

We will resume classes on January 14th.

I know there are some Potomac Valley Swimmers that would be very interested in helping out. We have a SignUp Genius on our website, http://www.clarkaquaticfoundation.org.

2017 Jon Steiner Postal Pool Mile

Jon Steiner Postal Pool Mile.
Swim anytime between January 1 and February 28, 2017.
50% of proceeds donated to the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation:


USMS August Membership Drive.

Thank you to all PV club reps who supported the USMS August membership drive. Potomac Valley had 118 members register in August. That compares to 32, 34, 47 for 2015, 2014, 2013, respectively. In other words, more this year than the past three years combined! Three PV clubs had at least 10 members register in August:

  • L4S (47 members)
  • ARMS (16 members)
  • ANCM (14 members)

A special congrats to L4S for winning an award from USMS for this membership drive. You may read more about the award and their accomplishment on the USMS website at this link:


Here is a snippet from the article:
"When it comes to deciding what to do with their new clock, Marcinkwoski says the club will try to identify which facility has the “largest number of swimmers with poor eyesight that could most benefit from the large, beautiful, digital display, but being in Washington, we can expect biased surveys, voter fraud, suspect lobbying efforts, and even faked eye exams that will continue at least until after the elections, er, the selection of the workout location that gets the pace clock,” he laughs."

USMS Marketing Resources

Here is a link to the USMS Marketing resources page. Clubs are eligible to receive a Co-Branded USMS/Team Logo Banner every calendar year. There is also all manner of USMS Swag available for free if you only pay shipping to get it. http://www.usms.org/content/coachresources?utm_campaign=top_nav&utm_medium=local_programs.

Registration Notes
  • This past registration year Potomac Valley swimmers donated $4235 to the Swimming Saves Lives foundation and $944 to the International Swimming Hall of Fame ($5179 total donations vs $4992 in 2015).
  • Geographic breakdown of our membership by state:
    • Virginia: 51%
    • Maryland: 28%
    • District of Columbia: 16%
    • Other: 5%
  • We registered 2830 swimmers in 2016 and have been relatively flat since 2010. Gender breakdown was 51% male, 49% female. 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).


Private Swim 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. I’m excited to be able to offer private lessons again and I hope this can benefit you.

Clay Britt http://www.claybrittswimming.com

PV LMSC Meeting Minutes - October 30, 2016

October 30, 2016 minutes



USMS Sponsor Partner Benefits

Because of the time, energy and resources our partners dedicate to USMS, we’re able to provide valuable membership benefits. For more information see: http://www.usms.org/merch/sponsors

Private Swim Instruction

Clay Britt http://www.claybrittswimming.com

  Photo Credits


All photos by Cheryl Wagner unless otherwise noted.

  Events Calendar



Pool Event Calendar



Long Distance/Open Water Calendar