Champion in the Water and in the Fight Against Cancer
Janel Jorgensen, member of the 1988 Olympic team and current member of U.S. Masters Swimming, has pursued a life-long career in the sport she loves. In an interview she speaks about her inspiration, her love for the sport of swimming, and her efforts to help her dear friend and coach, Richard Quick. Richard, one of the most decorated coaches in NCAA history, was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer in December 2008. Swimming is "a part of who I am," said Janel, who has won multiple medals in international competition and held various American records. Janel is one of the many "heroes" within U.S. Masters Swimming and she hopes that the swimming community can rally for a coach that has meant so much to so many of us. Her interview is honest, endearing, and heartfelt.
U.S. Masters Swimmng: When did you begin swimming Masters?
Janel: Last year (2008) was my first year competing as a Masters swimmer.
U.S. Masters Swimming: Why did you decide to get back in?
Janel: Swimming is obviously a huge part of who I am and I missed the camaraderie and team aspect of the sport. A group of my old teammates from Wilton YMCA were beginning to get back into the sport and compete and they convinced me to join them. We swam in the YMCA Masters Nationals in Ft. Lauderdale. The Y Nationals were always such a huge part of my swimming growing up that I thought it would be fun to go back and compete-just a little slower.
U.S. Masters Swimming: Our numbers are at an all-time high, why do you think adult swimming has swept the country?
Janel: I, of course, am partial to swimming, but for everyone it is a fabulous sport for any age. Its affects on your body and your mind are powerful and I think more and more people are realizing this. Whether you swim 300 yards or 3000 yards, the benefits are rejuvenating.
U.S. Masters Swimming: What inspires you to swim?
Janel: The sheer love of the sport. The way it makes me feel free in the water, the sound of the bubbles as I breathe, the friendships and the amazing community of swimmers.
U.S. Masters Swimming: Who has been the most influential coach in your swimming career?
Janel: I was lucky enough to only have three coaches throughout my career. Aside from my father, all three were the most influential men in my life. The first was Chuck Warner who is the most sincere and dedicated coach. I was really young when he was coaching me, but I still remember his lessons. Chuck has been instrumental in getting the momentum rolling around our latest Swim Across America (SAA) event, Swim Quick (Janel currently works for Swim Across America and has been the champion for an event called Swim Quick which will honor Richard Quick and raise money for cancer research). Tim Murphy was my YMCA coach and instilled passion around swimming in a positive way. I was swimming with him when I made the Olympic team. He taught me that there were no barriers that couldn't be overcome. Richard Quick was my Stanford University coach and the coach of the 1988 Olympic team. He was full of positive energy every morning and every afternoon on the pool deck. He helped each and every swimmer realize her full potential in and out of the pool. All three [coaches] were, and still are, an important and profound part of my life.
U.S. Master Swimming: Did you know you would pursue a life-long career in swimming?
Janel: No. After I graduated from Stanford, I spent 13 years in "Corporate America." My job was rewarding, but there was always something missing. That something was the swimming community. When the opportunity to work for SAA presented itself, I just knew the timing was right. My father had also just been diagnosed with cancer so my personal reasons were heightened as well.
U.S. Masters Swimming: How exactly did you get involved with Swim Across America?
Janel: My friend's husband was a co-founder of SAA in 1987. We swam together on the Wilton Y Wahoos swim team back then and she asked me to swim in one of the SAA events. Over the years I've swum in numerous SAA fundraising open-water swims and was also actively involved on the Board of Directors. Then, three years ago, this opportunity for the Executive Director role became available and I have been intimately and passionately involved ever since.
U.S. Masters Swimming: What is Swim Across America?
Janel: SAA is a national organization dedicated to raising money and awareness for cancer research, prevention and treatment. Over 23 years, SAA has grown from a single event in Nantucket, Massuchutes to a national organization that hosts over ten major open-water swims across the entire country. To date, we have raised over $25 million in the fight against cancer. We are hoping to continue to grow and host pool swims as well.
SAA is currently working on an event called Swim Quick to recognize the impact that Coach Richard Quick has had on the swimming community. The event will be held Saturday February 14, 2009 and everyone is invited to participate at his or her local pool. Janel's efforts to create a successful event are motivated by her hopes and plans for SAA and its future as well as her personal friendship and care for her former coach. Janel shared her hopes for the program.
U.S. Masters Swimming: What do you hope to accomplish with Swim Quick?
Janel: We hope to accomplish a miracle. We hope that Richard and his family will feel the collective positive energy and love generated on February 14th. We hope to raise awareness for SAA and our events. We hope to raise money for a cure. We hope to get individuals across the world involved in our grassroots efforts to find a cure for this vicious disease. I received an email from a stranger who heard about our program. She simply wrote to thank us for organizing it. She said she so strongly believes in what we are doing and she has seen miracles like this happen. We are hoping for this kind of miracle for Richard.
U.S. Masters Swimming: What are your goals for the future of SAA?
Janel: To utilize the Swim Quick program as a launching pad for a national pool swim program across the nation. Coaches and swimmers across the nation will see how easy and fun it can be to raise money for the universal cause. We will continue to grow and reach out to the general public-to go beyond the swimming community and get all people involved. We hope to have SAA branded in the general consciousness and for SAA to be synonymous with curing cancer.
U.S. Masters Swimming is proud to share the water with a champion like Janel Jorgensen. To learn more about Swim Across American and its upcoming event, Swim Quick, visit www.swimacrossamerica.org.
Sun Devil Invite Reminder
Is it all in the Water?
The last medical short focused on the importance of maintaining hydration before, during and after a training session as well as at competitions. Is that all? Nope, there is much more than that. While muscles need hydration to maximize their performance, they are not burning water. They are burning carbohydrates. So, what happens if the muscle is not supplied with nutrition? Sadly, the muscle will turn to burning alternative fuel sources, including muscle! While fat is also one of those alternative fuel sources, we cannot ignore this danger, particularly when we consider that fat is not always as readily available.
So, basically, the poorly supplied muscle runs the risk of breaking down and burning protein to meet its own needs. This does not sound good! What would be the signs of a muscle that is breaking down? Muscle soreness, poor reaction time, poor performance and a drop off of power during a set would be some of the signs. The problem with these signs is that they are very non-specific, making it difficult to tell when this is going on. Is the athlete over trained or under-fueled? You also have to take into account that many disease processes (diabetes and thyroid to name just two) place the poorly fueled muscle in a precarious position. Add to that the impact that medication may have, and there truly can be danger ahead.
OK, so let's fix this. As a muscle is training its fuel doors are wide open to receiving nutrition. These doors remain open for at least 30 minutes after the exercise set is concluded. If you have a practice that exceeds 45 minutes, you should consider using this opportunity to supply fuel to your fatiguing muscles while you practice. That's right, while you swim! Having a carbohydrate mixture in your water bottle (a water bottle that, of course, you now have with you, following the last Medical Brief!) only makes sense. This may be in a liquid or a gel form i.e. something easily absorbed and light in your tummy. The result will be that your performance will remain more consistent throughout the workout without the usual fall-off at the end of the practice. You will get more out of your practice and your meet performance will improve as the quality of the training improves. You will also feel much better at work all day without cramps and feeling like your arms and legs are made of lead.
As already mentioned, the best foods to use are simple carbohydrates, either in a liquid or a gel form. Not many athletes can train hard while consuming solid sources of energy. The commercially available gels certainly work, but I would not get into ones with added caffeine (which will drive up your heart rate) or other additives (since no one knows what that even is). Your muscles need what they are burning and that is simple carbs, nothing fancy. The only drawback to the performance gels is cost. Simple alternates would include juices (dilute or regular strength) and the various sports drinks that are available. Once again, steer clear of caffeine and extras that may be advertised. While we worry about drug testing in the elite athlete who may be consuming such products, we worry about the Masters athletes as far as medication interactions or impact upon existing medical problems.
Finally, stay away from concentrations of sugar. While they will give you a boost, they will also lead to a rapid falloff, driving blood sugar and energy down. When the energy drops, your head will find its way to your desktop!
Jim Miller, MD
Past President, USMS
National Team Physician, USA Swimming
A Goal, A Plan, and the Satisfaction of Achieving a Dream
Not the cold, nor the waves, nor the exhaustion could keep Steve Wargo of the Lake Erie LMSC from reaching the finish line: Africa. Steve became the 175th person and the 24th American to swim across the Strait of Gibraltar on September 17, 2007.
At 49 years old, Steve set his sights on the swim that is known for its cold temperatures of 65 degrees Fahrenheit and 4-foot waves. Steve had completed other open water events such as the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim, the Swim Around the Island of Key West, the Alcatraz Island swim and the Swim Around Manhattan, but his motivation to swim from Europe to Africa was two fold: (1) purely because of the challenge and (2) because he knew he could create good publicity for Catholic Relief Services, an organization in which he is involved, by dedicating his swim to the organization.
Steve's great swim journey required a lot of preparation. From acclimating himself to cold water, to understanding how and when to fuel his body, to mentally preparing and visualizing the end prize, Steve spent months training various elements of his mind, body and soul.
Training in Lake Erie helped Steve to familiarize himself with the cold-water temperature that he was expecting in the Strait. "I sought out other methods to get used to the cold water," wrote Steve in a story in which he recalls the swim and the months leading up to it. "I did not use hot water for the 90 days prior to the swim. I took baths in cold tap water with ice cubes," he continued. Steve would force himself to sit in the cold bath water for no less than 30 minutes each day. Steve and his wife Donata, who serves as Steve's biggest supporter, also ventured to Lake Huron so that Steve could train in water even colder than that in Lake Erie. Once confident about his experience in cold water, Steve took time to mentally prepare himself for the dangerous swim.
Every day Steve envisioned successful swims. He recalled, "I said loudly and clearly to myself each day, ‘I believe, I believe, I believe.'" Steve and Donata also devised a plan to help keep Steve positive throughout the swim on the big day. Donata and Steve prepared a white board with various positive thoughts. The plan was that after each feeding, he would look to the white board and take a new positive thought with him for the next leg of the swim. Steve shared his positive thoughts for each leg:
First Leg- My four daughters, Lauren, Marybeth, Amy and Joanna
Second Leg- The song "Go all the Way" by the Raspberries
Third Leg- Mom
Fourth Leg- The Cuando Cuando Girls (a saucy Spanish dance duet from the 1960's, trying to keep the atmosphere light)
Fifth Leg- The Catholic Relief Services and all the people that took interest in my swim
Sixth Leg- My dad (who passed away in 1999)
Seventh Leg- The song "Because We Believe"
Eighth Leg- The finish line
Shortly before leaving for the swim, Steve wrote an email to his friends and family. It read, "I am prepared. I am confident. I am determined." So, prepared, he began his 4 hour and 16 minute swim at Tarifa, Spain, at the southernmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula. Steve remembers the water as "a beautiful deep blue. I could see 15 to 20 feet into the abyss. The water appeared clean." Throughout Steve's swim, as planned, Donata kept stroke count, prepared Steve's food and continued to use the white board to motivate her husband. "My plan was to swim at 60 strokes per minute the entire way across. That would equate to a pace in the pool of 1:30 minutes per 100 yards. My stroke rate reflected a balance between a pace that I could maintain and an effort level that would create enough body heat to keep me from becoming hypothermic," said Steve.
During the swim from Europe to Africa, Steve consumed three 12-oz. servings of a carbohydrate drink, a half a banana, a piece of wheat bread soaked in honey and two Power Gels. Each stop, during which Steve would tread water beside the boat, was under 30 seconds in length. Donata delivered Steve's mini-meals in a plastic container tied to the boat with a rope.
Well into his swim, after multiple legs of his eight-leg swim and as large freighters passed and the number of whitecap waves increased, Steve began to tire. "I could see the beach ahead, but it was hard to tell how far away it really was. I kept swimming, hoping for some communication from the boat," said Steve. Finally, Steve stopped and yelled, "How much farther?" but heard no response, so kept swimming. Again, not sure where he was and how much farther he had to go before he reached his goal, Steve stopped again and yelled, "How much farther?" This time, the guide boat moved its position and revealed Steve's destination: Punta Cires, Morocco, Africa, which was only roughly 500 yards away from Steve's position.
Knowing that his dream was only yards away, Steve began to feel nervous that the conditions might be too dangerous to actually swim to the land covered in rocks. Steve had read other accounts of the swim being cut short by the boat captain with 50 yards to go because of the dangers associated with the waves and rocks. Steve continued to swim, determined to touch Africa. "The water was fairly clear as I approached [land]," said Steve. "A 4-foot wave crashed and then receded from the rocks. There it was, a natural ramp worn in the rocks," remembered Steve. He swam up the ramp and stood on the tip of Africa with his hands held in the air before being thrown back into the sea by a crashing wave. Again, Steve climbed the ramp and held his hands high, and, again, Steve was thrown by the violent waves. Steve climbed up onto the rocks a third and final time before he swam back to the boat and climbed aboard to warm himself.
Steve's efforts and the achievement of his goal to swim the Strait of the Gibraltar are spectacular. When retelling the story of his great swim he offered this advice: "I encourage all swimmers to dream and to be open to inspiration. Follow it."
Schoenfield Award to Whitten
Saving Lives, Swimming Fast and Rocking Out
Damon Tucker of the Southern Pacific LMSC is an investigator for the District Attorney and spends his free time either swimming in the University of California at Irvine pool or leading his rock band at various gigs throughout Southern California. Damon is also a multi-medal winner at the World Police and Fire Games.
In 1996, while competing at the California State Police and Fire Games, Damon learned about a similar competition at the world level. After receiving encouragement from some of his co-workers who had previously participated in the World Police and Fire Games (Dwight Henninger, Barry Aninag and Troy Gielish, who represented Irvine in the team triathlon and individual event), Damon set his sights on the goal. The World Police and Fire Games do not have qualifying times, so Damon spent his time training both in the water and on dry land. He was not only going to attend, but he was going to bring home honors, titles and medals from the Games.
Damon's first Games was 1999 and since then he has added numerous events and awards to his résumé. Damon's experience competing individually and in a team setting is extensive and includes competing on the Toughest Competitor Alive four-man team, which is composed of law enforcement officers from Orange County. Damon and his team is usually the only American team at the world level. Damon has also been on several U.S. triathlon relay teams. He competed with colleagues from the Orange County District Attorney's Office and the LAPD at the World Games in Sweden in 1999 and brought home a silver medal. Damon retained his spot on the American triathlon relay team in 2001 and was able to secure another second place finish, bringing home another silver medal to add to his collection. In 2003, unable to field an American triathlon team, Damon competed on a team with competitors from Quebec. Because the team from Quebec already had a swimmer and a cyclist, Damon completed the 10K running leg of the race.
In addition to many team events, Damon competes individually in the 50-meter backstroke, the 100-meter backstroke, and the 50, 100 and 200-meter freestyles. To add to his many team medals, Damon has earned numerous individual medals, including a gold medal in the 200-meter freestyle in 2007.
Though focused on his races, Damon takes time at each Games to enjoy the festivities at the opening and closing ceremonies. "The ceremonies are a great experience," Damon shares, and continues, "You can meet with teammates from your home country as well as competitors from other nations. Over the past 10 years I have met and competed against people from all over the world and we have developed friendships over those years of competition."
On deck at the World Police and Fire Games, Damon describes the atmosphere as "positive." He explains, "Everyone is usually shooting for personal bests and everyone encourages each other. The atmosphere is more friendly than competitive, but once the gun goes off, there is some serious competition when the swimmers hit the water."
Damon trains specifically for the World Police and Fire Games. He competes at local USMS meets to prepare himself physically and mentally for the Games, but is primarily focused on the World Police and Fire Games, which are held every other year. He swims three to four times per week and runs at least twice a week. He credits his successful training to his teammates and their encouragement.
When Damon is not working, swimming or traveling the world, he serves as the bassist and songwriter in an original alternative rock band called Parkaimoon. He started the band in 1992 with his cousin. Parkaimoon, which has just released a song entitled "The Sum of Our Experience," plays between 90 and 100 shows a year in the Southern California area. Damon and his band have opened for numerous acts, including Berlin, Missing Persons, the Romantics, the Knack, Eddie Money and Quiet Riot, and he attributes his discipline and good time management to swimming. "Swimming has instilled discipline over the years, so time management for the band, my job and competitions is not too difficult. Some days I have very little free time. I go to work as an investigator, train at lunch, go back to work, and then head to a club to play a show. The many years of swimming have given me the strength and endurance to keep up with the hectic schedule," says Damon.
To learn more about the upcoming 2009 World Fire and Police Games, visit www.2009wpfg.ca and be sure to check out Parkaimoon's latest releases on iTunes.
Workouts Available to Members Online
How would you like to have workouts delivered directly to your e-mail box?
U.S. Masters Swimming has four coaches who post weekly workouts on our Discussion Forums. As a U.S. Masters Swimming member, you can subscribe to these workout threads and have them delivered to you by e-mail.
To use this feature you will have to first create a Discussion Forums account. To create your account, just fill out the forms here and follow the link that will be sent to you via e-mail in order to fully activate your account.
Once your Forums account is created, go to the My USMS area and log in using your Forum account username and password. At this point you will be able to associate your Forum account with your U.S. Masters Swimming registration number. Confirming your membership will grant you access to members-only services, including the coaches' forums.
Now go back to the Workouts Discussion Forum. There is one sub-forum listed for each coach. You can view the threads online whenever you want. Most coaches post a week's worth of workouts at a time. If you'd like the workouts delivered to you by e-mail, you can subscribe to one or more of the coaches' forums.
To subscribe to a forum, click on that forum title to open it. At the top/right of the page (just below the list of page numbers) select "Forum Tools", then "Subscribe to this Forum." Select your notification type (usually "Instant notification by e-mail"). You're subscribed!
If you ever want to unsubscribe, click on "User CP" from the top of any Forums screen (your user control panel). You will see lists of the threads and forums to which you are currently subscribed. Your subscribed thread list is shown first, with a link titled "Unsubscribe" below each thread title. Following the subscribed thread list is your subscribed forum list. Below each forum title is a link titled "Unsubscribe from this Forum". If you want to unsubscribe from all posts to a workout forum, be sure to unsubscribe from the forum as well as all of the threads.
HQ to Sarasota, FL
Phoenix 500 Postal Swim
This event is designed to be easy to participate in. All entries are online, making sign-up a snap. You can also purchase logo t-shirts for this event as well. Results will be posted online as well after the event is done.
You have between now and May 31st to swim this event. Coaches, you may wish to have this as an event at one of your weekend practices. Go ahead and have fun with it, everybody can swim 500 yards!
There will be additional postal events that we will host throughout the year. This is our first and I highly everybody to participate in it. Tell your friends too, they may enjoy it as well.
UltraTouch is an all-natural cotton insulation that is made right here in Arizona. It is a product made by Bonded Logic in Chandler and sold all over the United States. Check out their website for more information.
USMS SwimFest ‘09
You could learn a lot from them over the course of a weekend. This is the inaugural event and will be held in the Houston, TX area. You can go online to find out more information about this event. Both coaches and swimmers are encouraged to attend this event.
This event is for all types of swimmers. Whether you compete, swim for fitness, do open water events, or just swim for fun, the USMS SwimFest '09 is the place you want to be.
Check it out!
Arizona SCY State Meet
Hmmmm, seems like a good idea.
Get your entries in now and be a part of a fun fast meet at a wonderful pool.
It’s all in the Water
While all tennis players, runners, soccer players know the importance of hydration; swimmers frequently overlook this critical key to performance. Swimmers do not see the fluid loss, so most do not think about it. Here are some questions to consider that will impact how you approach hydration during a typical pool workout.
• How hydrated are you at the beginning of the training session?
• How many caffeinated drinks did you consume during the day, knowing that caffeine serves as a diuretic and depletes you of total body water? As an aside, did you realize that decaf has caffeine in it also?
• How many hours of training have you had today?
• If you are not training routinely, how acclimated are you to training or are you jumping back into the lane that last saw you weeks (months) ago?
• How warm is the water in which you are training?
• Are you having problems with cramping as the practice goes on and on and on?
• Does it seem like regardless of where you are in your season, your last set is the weakest?
• Are you taking any medication that would affect hydration? An easy example for masters would be the commonly prescribed diuretics, but many supplements and herbals may also have diuretic effects, which need to be considered.
• Do you have a medical problem that would affect your hydration status? Here a great example is diabetes as well as many of the metabolic diseases, which affect the ability of kidneys to respond to hydration requirements.
All of these questions may point to dehydration as a key factor that will affect the success of your training and performance.
So, how much should you drink during a typical practice? Typically, an athlete may loose between 1-3 pounds of water per 1-hour training session, unless you have to compensate for one of the questions already posed. If any of these questions suggest that you are already in trouble, you may be lower than even 2-4 pounds already!
One to two large water bottles will help to keep your muscles maximize their performance. Start the first sips during warm-up and do not wait until you are thirsty. That is too late. You know that you have been successful if you need to urinate following practice and that urine is clear in color.
Finally, use only your own water bottle that you bring for your own use. Wash it out every day at home. Leave it open and let it dry out between sessions.
Remember, it is all in the water!
Jim Miller, MD
Family Practice and Sports Medicine
National Team Physician, USA Swimming
USMS SCY Nationals
You can sign-up online or download the form and mail it in. The 1-Mile Open Water Championship is also going to be held there. You can get more information about that event by going here.
Hopefully your training is going well and you are getting ready for this event. It should be a good one and I wish everybody success in their events.
Glenn Mills is the man behind GoSwim, which is a great site to visit. He has a lot of videos that contain footage of top swimmers like Aaron Piersol, Brendan Hansen, and many others.
We will feature some of these drills and content from this site on the website in the near future. For now, bookmark and visit GoSwim.
A New Year, a New You: SwimMAC Masters Teams Up
SwimMAC Masters operates out of two pools separated by approximately 20 miles in the Charlotte, N.C., area. With the ringing in of 2009, SwimMAC Masters saw an opportunity to combine New Year's resolutions with social and professional networking between its groups, and developed the "SwimMAC Masters' Weight-Loss Challenge" modeled after the television program, "The Biggest Loser."
On January 5, 2009, SwimMAC Masters weighed in (privately) and reported their weights to the designated record keeper. Of 120 registered SwimMAC members, 66 have weighed in and are on board for the eight-week challenge. On Tuesday, January 13, 2009, SwimMAC Masters will host a "Draft Party" at a local restaurant and invite all participants from the North and South pools to witness the random drawing of names to determine teams of two members per team. Each team will include one participant from the North location and one participant from the South location. Each team member will use his or her teammate for support and encouragement throughout the duration of the eight-week challenge.
Kari Lawerence and Jay White, Olympic Trials 2008"We have so many new folks at both locations, and this challenge will be a great way to foster interaction and social networking between the two groups," said Jay White, SwimMAC Masters member and Weight-Loss Challenger coordinator. "Our members that compete often times travel and swim with people from the opposite location, but only about 25 percent of our members actually compete. The Weight-Loss Challenge will give the entire group, fitness swimmers and competitive swimmers, an opportunity to meet one another, socialize and network."
The SwimMAC Masters Weight-Loss Challenge is not only about losing weight. At the "Draft Party," after teams have been drawn, Megan Hepp, a registered dietician, will be presenting healthy weight-loss tips, appropriate dieting for athletes and other nutrition information necessary for the members of SwimMAC Masters while taking the challenge. "We want our members to be informed so that they will have a better opportunity to be successful during and beyond our eight-week challenge," said Jay. Patty Waldron, Head Masters Coach, added, "it is about a lifestyle. We are trying to connect the dots, not only with working out, but really looking at what kind of fuel we are putting in our bodies to maximize the benefits of exercise."
At the conclusion of the challenge, February 27, 2009, all of the participating teams will gather at a central location for a final weigh-in. Results will be calculated based on the total percentage of weight lost by each team. The top three winning teams will receive prizes: the first-place team will receive a one-hour private clinic with Mark Gangloff, two-time Olympic gold medalist, and Jeremy Knowles, three-time Olympian; the second-place team will receive gift certificates for a one-hour massage; and the third-place team will receive gift certificates for a local restaurant.
Between text messages back and forth and under-the-table wagers, the members of SwimMAC Masters are busy slicing and dicing fruits and veggies and squeezing in 15 minutes of extra cardio. "It is fun because everyone is excited and committed to making this challenge successful," said Jay.