Video from Short Course Nationals

If you missed Short Course Nationals in Clovis, CA earlier in May, here is a link for some video footage.

Lots of good stuff here, take a look and check it out!


FINA-approved suits

FINA just published a list of approved swimsuits that conform to it's updated regulations regarding swimwear worn in competition.

If its not on the list, its not legal.

There will be more on this shortly on how this ruling affects US Masters Swimming. Stay tuned...


Results from USMS SCY Nationals

The results are in from last week's USMS Short Course Nationals in Clovis, CA. In the Regional Team category, Arizona finished 4th behind Colorado, Pacific Northwest, and Oregon. Great job Arizona swimmers!


Swimmers in SWEAT

This month's issue of SWEAT Magazine features multiple swimmers.

First, on Page 12, there is a feature on dryland training for swimmers. In it, trainer JR Rosania, swim coach Jonny Tunstall, and triathlon coach Anne Wilson all discuss the merits of dry-land training for swimmers. Great article by some of our notable members.

Then there is the swimsuit section on Page 14. Maureen Rankin from BEST Swim Club is one of the featured models. She, along with the others, models functional and fashionable swimwear that can be worn at workouts. Great job Maureen!

Pick up your copy today or check it out online.


Why We Swim...

Why do you swim?

Simple. Plain. Easy. Right?

Most of us know why we swim, but when asked to communicate these reasons, many of us struggle. To some, the question begged an answer larger than "to stay fit" or "because I do triathlons." Why do you swim? Some responses were short, sweet and to the point, others were nothing less than labors of love. Whether your response was four words or 400, your motivation will continue to affect the way that we think and act. We read every response and moved by the thoughtfulness of some, U.S. Masters Swimming wants to share some of its favorite responses.

"I swim because I feel more connected to who I am and awake for the day."
Jenny Holzaepfel

"I swim because in this technological age, the pool is one spot where the phone doesn't ring, email ding, nor children SING my name at the top of their lungs!! It is one of the last bastions of quiet in a crazy, hectic world ... (the longer the distance, the better!)."
Trish Brown

"Hi, my name is Christine and I am a swimaholic. I tell myself it is a good addiction. However, my hair is wrecked, my skin is dry, I get too much sun, I'm tired by 4:00 in the afternoon, and I itch. I smell like chlorine when I sweat and my shoulders hurt if I lay on my side at night. I look forward to my workout before I get there and I think about how great it was when I am done. It is my time. I swim because I can and I will keep swimming until I can't. I do it because I love it."

"I swim because it's the ‘sanity' in my stressful life. When I am in the water I am in the present moment. Swimming is the thing I love doing the best in my life. I am safe and at peace in the water.

"I swim because it challenges my mind, body and spirit, at age 49. I'm amazingly at my second athletic prime, first being around 30, but at 49!

"I also swim because it is something I can do to actively help nonprofits raise money for their cause, such as the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition.

"I swim as long as I am able to. Hopefully, well into my elderly years! Thank you."

Sally Wiesman

"WHY I SWIM: To stay alive for my kids. I got married very late, have three young children and would love to see them all graduate at least from high school. My youngest is Sedona (14 months) and I will be 60 on May 5. Yipes!"
Craig Bitler

"You ask why I swim? It began when a friend invited me. I went because I have always loved the water. It continued because it calms me and helps me to sleep at night. It's my meditation time just for me and I love it!! I love the opportunity to improve with the help of coaches. One serendipity is that I have lost three sizes due to the swimming."
D. Edwards

"When you dive into the pool and the water washes over you it washes away everything else that is going on in your life. That first rush invigorates your body, mind and soul. The water offers you the quiet solitude that keeps you sane. Masters is the place where you make friends with people you would otherwise have never met. You become a network of support for each other. You will form bonds that go way beyond the pool. Your coach will push you to go farther and faster than you ever thought you could, simply because he believes in you."

Why do I swim? I swim because I love the water. I was a diver and loved the adrenaline rush associated with falling, flipping and twisting with a grand finale of slicing through the cool water. It's funny, when you are standing on top of a platform, no matter how many times the announcer says, "Please remain quiet for the competitors," the pool and its surrounding area is composed of a million little sounds and noises, but the minute you enter the water there is an immediate quiet that has the power to separate you from the rest of the world. When I finished my diving career, I never thought I'd experience that feeling again. I was terrified that I'd lose the memory. Well, I did experience the power of the water again and it happened in my first Masters meet. I stood on the block and I could hear everything from the ticking of the clock to the person on the pool deck opening a granola bar wrapper. There was noise all around me, but as soon as the beep went off, I dove in and it was quiet, still. I do like staying in shape, but my love of swimming is the initial plunge into the water. I continue to swim because I long for that feeling of the loud chaos of life mixed with nerves quickly quieted by the cool calmness of the water. Sometimes I find it at practice, other times it takes a race. Swimming, to me, is like living in a memory. Whether it is my memories from diving or being 7 years old at the old country club, I love to dive into the water and "be" wherever and whenever I choose. Swimming takes me out of noisy reality and places me in my most favorite places and times.

So, this seemingly straightforward question is no longer as simple as originally intended. It has forced us all to think, feel and remember why we continue to dive into the cold water, often at times of the day when the earliest of birds are still asleep in their nests, and endure the long workouts and damaged hair. Your responses have reminded us that there is not one single reason that we all swim. We each have our own motivation, reasons and purpose for doing what we do.

Why do you swim?

Email us at press@usms.org and tell us why you swim.


Good luck to AZ swimmers at SCY Nationals!

Thirty four swimmers from Arizona will be at USMS Short Course Nationals in Clovis (Fresno) California. Here is the team roster:

Hop Bailey M 61
Monica M Bailey W 48
Patrick W Brundage M 42
Brigid J Bunch W 45
Kelly C Busche W 24
Gynt Clifford W 70
Susan E Dawson-Cook W 46
Kelsey A Dickson W 19
Kurt F Dickson M 41
Danielle Fazio W 28
Jack R Fritz M 76
Jill D Fritz W 68
Judy L Gillies W 61
F H Ted Haartz M 81
Shannon M Hildinger W 24
Liz Hobbs W 47
Paul D Hopkins M 48
Teri L Lerew W 43
John M Lesko M 30
Mary L Listug W 77
Becki P Major W 45
Joanne Menard W 61
Sandy H Mitchel W 49
Jose Ponce M 26
Dave E Rollins M 24
Scott D Shake M 51
Lou Silverstein M 82
Jim S Stites M 51
Lynn K Stone W 38
Dylan S Taylor M 22
Gordon S Taylor M 57
Daniel Vargas M 48
Joel M Wainwright M 35
Dianne L Wygal-Springer W 43

Good luck to all of our swimmers!


166 Swimmers Get Wet at Saguaro Lake

DCB Adventures pulled off the first of five open water events planned for the 2009 Arizona Open Water series at Saguaro Lake on May 2. 166 swimmers turned out for an even showing in the 2K and 4K events. It was a beautiful Arizona spring day, slightly overcast but warm.

I carpooled a crew from Tucson. The drive to the lake took about 2 hours, not including the backtracking we had to do to obtain the required Tonto parking pass. Future event goers: Don't make this mistake! The sparkling lake was in our sight when we learned we had to turn around, drive ten miles back from whence we came and buy the $6 pass. We weren't the only ones. (Knew I shouldn't have neglected to read that detail on the entry form.) Fortunately, we had time to spare, barely.

At 9:30, we parked amidst numerous boat trailers and speed walked to the shore and site of the race start. Check in went smoothly. We were marked and given nice tote bags full of goo and stuff. There was plenty of shade and picnic tables to store our gear as we stripped down to our suits and lathered on the sunscreen. Someone from Swimmotion was offering open water swimming advice over a bullhorn.

I was a little nervous about the water temperature, ever since a park ranger had told me over the phone that it was 30 degrees lower than the air temperature, so I immediately strode up to a Speedo-clad swimmer and asked if she knew what the temp was. She said she'd been in the week before and it had been 68 and bearable. It had since warmed up to 70--perfect for a long swim by my standards. I stuck my toe thermometer in just to be sure. (I'd brought a wet suit just in case.) It felt very refreshing indeed.

I decided to wear two caps as a token of respect for my brain. There's nothing worse than cold pounding into your brain by way of the ears. As it turned out, it was a non issue. I jumped in five minutes before the race and was comfortable in my skin within 10 seconds. I warmed up for a few hundred yards and settled in with the other swimmers, treading water between the green buoys for the start.

The 4K wet suit division had already departed. There were only a dozen or so of us swimming in skin and we listened as the starter, David Benjes, bobbing in the water with us, explained the course. It was straightforward enough, with triangular buoys big and visible. A police boat was patrolling the course to keep curious boaters away, and a few kayakers were positioned to keep swimmers on course. Suddenly we were off.

I forgot to look at my watch. But I wasn't thinking about that. I was trying to set a pace I could sustain the whole way, feeling a bit tight through the shoulders and arms. I attributed it to the cold, and lack of a long warm up. I regretted this instantly. As my biceps started to loosen up, my toes began to cramp. Nothing I haven't experienced before, and much worse, in La Jolla. I flexed my ankles til it went away. At least nobody was kicking me in the head.

Soon I was passing people in wetsuits. We swam through a few places with a noticeable current and wind chop, which stopped some people in their tracks, I noticed. They were doing breastroke. Looking around. Big waste of time. You can't make it up. So, like Dory, I just kept swimming, sighting with my eyes whenever I needed to, rarely having to lift my head out of the water. I was in my stride now, no heavy breathing, just swimming long.

Somewhere around 1000 meters I felt pain in my chest. Is that my heart? I asked myself. Nah, I told myself. Just a muscle. The heart's a muscle, myself told me. Nah. Just a chest muscle. I raised my eyes to see if a kayak was near, just in case. Stranger things have happend. There wasn't a kayak that I could see. So I just kept swimming and the pain went away. Just a muscle complaining in the cold.

Next complaint came from my left wrist. A cramp in my wrist! Never had that sensation before. My hands were both stiff. I tried opening and shutting my fists a few times, without breaking stride, and shaking my left hand around on recovery. After a while, this too passed.

Just before completing the first round of the course, my shoulders were beginning to tire and I remember thinking to myself, this is a hell of a lot easier than swimming the Grand Canyon like those two guys once did back in the 60s. That water was freezing, and they were in it for weeks. They had wetsuits, but they also were latched on to drypacks containing warm clothes, camping gear, food and water. That was really something. I was simply swimming in a lake.

Close to shore, the water got warmer and my mind relaxed at the thought that there was nothing in this lake to fear. Except fear itself. Just then, I spotted off my right shoulder a bright green and pink object. Flotsam. (Or is it Jetsam?) A super soaker tossed off someone's boat, I presumed. Off my left shoulder, something tan floating. A stick? A snake? "They only come out when the water level rises and they're displaced from their desert homes, and they're pissed" a friend had told me. She was swimming somewhere just behind me (my friend, not the snake). Just then, my right hand encountered a huge clump of green algae. I screamed underwater and quickened my pace. Mind games forever. I laughed at myself and enjoyed the adrenalin rush.

The second lap was uneventful. Just long. Surely longer than 4K. Perhaps they'd mismeasured the course, I thought to myself. I passed more wetsuits. I was getting near the finish. Maybe 500 meters to go. I picked up my pace. Started hearing voices. Cheering from the shore. The green buoys of the finish line, and the dock. I showed them my race number printed on my hand. I stopped. My knees ached. A few breastroke kicks to shore and the worst part of the race...climbing out onto the slippery rocks and up a steep hill with wobbly legs. "I hope there are no snakes in here," I said. "Thanks," said the woman in front of me.

That was it. It was over. I have no idea how I did. I forgot to look at my watch and results aren't posted. But I do know that the woman who won, Amanda Barnes, clocked in at 43 minutes plus. My mind can't even fathom it. That's so incredibly fast. Watch for official race results at www.dcbadventures.com. See you at the next event, Lake Pleasant, June 6. It'll be at least 5 degrees warmer. Leave your wetsuits at home. And tell all your friends.

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