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Chlorine Chronicle (Archive)

NMSC Sep/96 Newsletter


(contributed by Cathy Merritt)

At the US Masters Nationals last May in California, awards were given to the top 100 swimmers in each event across all age groups and both genders. Having been ranked at 76th (or thereabouts) in the 200 yd. Breaststroke I went to claim my prize. I felt a little foolish lining up at the prize table along side people who came 3rd or 4th in the event but - hey - who am I to turn down a free prize and besides nobody knew me there.

Anyway, in the package, besides a Team USA swim cap, a bunch of advertising, and an opportunity to purchase a Team USA T-shirt, was a complimentary copy of a magazine called Fitness Swimmer. This is a magazine which seems to be aimed primarily at adults who wish to pursue fitness through swimming or related aquatic activities, more often than not without the benefits of a coach.

After showing it to Don C., we agreed that I should share some of the many "tidbits" for better swimming found in this and a couple of other publications in the NMSC newsletters (hence, this column, "Swimbits"). Under Don's initiative, the club is now subscribing to SWIM Magazine (many of you may have received an earlier copy at World's in '94 at Montreal) as well as Fitness Swimmer. Both of these magazines are American and contain articles on technique, training, personalities, nutrition, health, shampoos (so Doug P. and the guys will have something to talk about in the shower), masters swimming, triathlete and open water swimming, fin swimming, and other aquatic exercise, as well as advertising (and you thought all you needed for this sport was a swimsuit, cap and goggles - think again!).

The subscription to Fitness Swimmer came with a little booklet called 101 Fitness Swimming Secrets, which contains a lot of tips for technique, again mainly for relatively inexperienced and uncoached fitness swimmers, but valuable if you are having trouble with some particular aspect of your stroke (and who doesn't at least from time to time?).

We also subscribed to Wavelengths, a Canadian publication consisting mainly of reprints of articles from other sources (no advertising). Unfortunately it has been discontinued.

The magazines will come to my mailbox; in return for the privilege of seeing them first , beginning in the next issue of this newsletter I will summarize or refer you to some of the articles which I think you would be interested in. If you want to see the entire articles, complete with pictures, the magazines will be put in the equipment box at the pool and we will work out some routine for circulating them among those of you who are interested. Feel free to take or copy the subscription cards if you want your own subscription to keep.

I do not intend to delve into textbooks on swimming and present you with highly technical discussions. I merely intend to point out some ideas which I have read which you may find helpful or interesting. We have four excellent coaches as well as some swimmers with lots of technical knowledge. (I recall Claudia C-S. writing some articles for our newsletter some time ago concerning energy systems.).

To start with, I will try to give you information which will reinforce what the coaches are working on with us. For example, in Bill's group we are now doing a lot of stroke work, freestyle to start with.

It seems that flexibility in three areas is the key to greater freestyle efficiency: hips, shoulders and ankles. In the next issue I will summarize some stretching exercises which can help improve flexibility in these areas. This may help solve the mystery of how Joan T. kicks so fast.

Thought for the day: If you're taking more than 20 [strokes per 25 yard length - make that 22 strokes for 25 meters] by the time you hit your third or fourth lap, at least 80 percent of your potential improvement will be from teaching your body to slice more easily through the water, not from getting in better shape [1]. (Sorry - if you're already efficient it looks like you have to train.)

Quiz: What is the difference between a Masters swimmer and a Fitness swimmer and between a Triathlete swimmer and an Open water swimmer? See the next issue for the answer. (Hint: it has to do with the choice of goggles.)

Reference: [1]. Terry Laughlin, "Every Good Swimmer Deserves a Better Tri", Fitness Swimmer, Spring 1996, p.52.

Note: Other articles by >Terry Laughlin.

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