Fit to Swim: National Prep Check-in

Fit to swimWith the first long course meter (LCM) meet of the season behind us, it’s time to check-in on our preparations for the National Championships in August at the Mt. Hood Aquatic Center.  While there were lots of great swims and performances this past weekend at the Association Championships there is also a lot of room for training and improvement prior to the biggest meet of the summer.

In January of this year, the Fit to Swim article focused on setting S.M.A.R.T. goals and it may be time to reflect upon and reassess those goals.  Whether you got your LCM racing feet wet at the Association Championships or not, your goals for this year may have changed.  Goals may need updating due to availability of training time, or an injury you are working through.  The important thing to remember is that fine tuning your goals is smart.  Even if you feel that you are right on track, a little fine tuning can make the road to success more manageable.

Since Nationals is a long course meter event, are you getting in any long course training?  Is there a LCM pool near you that has a team where you could drop in, or lap swim times you could attend?  It is very beneficial to get the feel for racing in a LCM pool prior to a big meet like Nationals if there isn’t availability to train in one regularly.

If you missed the Association Championships, don’t despair!  There are more LCM meets on the local swimming calendar.  On May 14th there is the Road to Nationals LCM meet in Bend.  In June, the Tualatin Hills LCM dual sanctioned meet on June 3rd-5th, and for those who qualify, the Oregon Senior Games again in Bend on June 11th.  Open water season officially opens in June as well, with lots of opportunities to get in longer cross-training swims.

While training or competing, keep in mind the National Qualifying Times for your age group and events.  These times can be found on the USMS website; look under the “Events and Results” tab, click on “National Championships” under the “Pool” header, scroll down the page for 2016 events and find the “Qualifying Times” link under the Summer National info.  These times can help you set or modify your swimming goals for Nationals.  Remember the points below, taken directly from the National Qualifying Times FAQ page, also found on the USMS website, and keep training hard!

ANYONE can enter Nationals, and enter up to three individual events, without meeting any qualifying times.

This means everyone should plan on swimming at Nationals this summer!

Swimmers who want to enter more than three individual events must meet qualifying times for those additional events.

This is on the honor system.  If you qualify, you can sign up for a total of 6 individual events.

The requirement is that you have swum the event at the qualifying time within the last two years.  There is no age group requirement.

This means that even if you won’t be able to swim a LCM meet this summer, your times from the past two years might qualify you for Nationals.

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