Long Distance Swimming – December 2015


What is the One-Hour Swim?  The basic question is how far can you swim in one hour?  It’s the first USMS ePostal swim each year, done only during the month of January.  It’s the largest stand-alone participation event on the USMS calendar, as more than 2500 swimmers across the nation swim it every year.  It’s the oldest of the USMS ePostal swims, started in 1977.  It’s not only a spirited competition, but also an excellent post-holiday, early-in-the-year fitness event suitable for EVERYONE.  I repeat: EVERYONE!  Did I say EVERYONE?

How have Oregon swimmers and the Oregon Club fared in the past?  Oregon Club swimmers have done very well recently, winning several individual titles and many relays.  But this is one of the few Overall (Extra-Large Team) club championships that we have never won before!  But our club history shows good involvement and placement in previous years, including a second place in the Large Team category last year (we were one swimmer—300 yds—short of winning last year!).

What will it take to win the Club Championship?  COMMITMENT & MASSIVE PARTICIPATION.  There are several other huge clubs in the nation whose single main goal each year is to win the One-Hour Swim, so winning this event will never be easy.  Despite good participation last year, we fell short.  To beat these other clubs and pull this off, we will need…

A commitment from EVERYONE to join OMS/USMS, a prerequisite for entering the event.  Don’t wait—do it now.  You MUST be a member BEFORE you do the swim!  And I urge those swimmers who have previously joined OMS/USMS as “unattached” to consider joining the Oregon Club, as unattached swimmers cannot participate in relays or team scoring!

A commitment from EVERYONE to prepare for the swim.  Spend time at practice during December and January to prepare for your swim and to improve your distance.  Incidentally, swimming during the holidays has been shown to be good for your svelte figure.

A commitment from EVERYONE to seize the opportunity and do it when the time comes.  Club score is determined by adding everyone’s total yardage in the swim.  EVERYONE COUNTS!  Even a 1500-yard performance will help.  4000 & 5000-yard performances will really help—never let your teammates who are capable of big yardage duck this swim!

A commitment from EACH LOCAL TEAM to schedule opportunities for swimmers to swim it.  Schedule several group or even individual sessions if possible so that nobody is excluded.

A commitment from EACH LOCAL COACH & CAPTAIN to encourage and motivate teammates to swim it.  This is the key!  Plan and do the swim as a group effort, and you may be surprised at the symbiotic power of such an effort.

A commitment from EVERYONE to ENTER THE NATIONAL EVENT when you finish.  Every January, we have several dozen swimmers who do the swim (Yay!)  but fail to enter (Boo!).  Now I love the aesthetic of doing the One-Hour Swim for its own sake, yet I’d also love to see everyone who did it pitch in for the larger team effort by entering the event.  If the Oregon Club is to have any chance of winning the club championship, we cannot leave uncounted swims on the table, as we did last year!

Is a championship run feasible?  We’ve won loads of ePostal championships in recent years, but never the One-Hour Swim.  What about it?  We have the pools.  We have the swimmers.  We have the experience.  Do we have the will?  Can we do it?  Of course…if we want!  We rallied to crush the rest of the nation when we hosted the Summer Pool Championships in 2008, and we have dominated the other postal championships since then.  But I estimate that it will take 400 swims to win this thing.  That’s right, 400!  Sure, that’s way more than we’ve ever had before, but that’s less than half of our club membership.  Together, we can do it…if we choose to do it!

Bonus thought:  We’re hosting the USMS Summer Pool Championships again this year.  The best build-up for this meet, which so many of you already have on your schedule, is to develop your aerobic swimming capacity early, so that you can then do your race training on a solid base.  The One-Hour Swim is one of the best tools to develop and measure your aerobic capacity.  Use it that way!

As OMS Long Distance Chair, I plan to send information packets to each team before Christmas.  These packets will include…

An information letter to Coaches, Team Reps, and One-Hour Swim Captains

A copy of the event information

Instructions on how to run a successful group postal swim

Our current OMS One-Hour Swim Top Twelve

A large-print copy of the “Top Ten Reasons to Do the One-Hour Swim”, suitable for posting.

Ideally, I would like to see a swimmer from each local team with four swimmers or more to step forward to be Team Captain for this event and help your coach coordinate this effort and rally the troops.  After all, the most powerful motivation and group effort is local.  Please work it out within your team structure, then tell me who you are (contact me at coachbob@bendbroadband.com).  This would be an enormous help!

But a one hour swim is so long…:  Balderdash!  No whining or flimsy excuses!  Your typical practice lasts for one hour, if not longer.  Just consider that single continuous swim lasting one hour as your practice for that day.

Note to DUCK & other club swimmers:  If swimmers representing these clubs—the other clubs in our Oregon LMSC—are feeling a bit left out in this effort, please don’t be!  Commit to the strategies listed above, and go for it this year!

Good luck and good swimming in your One-Hour Swim!

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