Long Distance Swimming – December 2017

What is the One-Hour Swim?  This event resolves the basic question of how far can you swim in one hour.  It’s the first USMS postal swim each year, done only during the months of January & February.  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 postal 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 everyone hear me say EVERYONE?

Two changes in the One-Hour Swim that happened last year but are worth knowing:
The time frame for swimming the event is two months!  For many years, the swim had to be completed in January; now we have January and February to get this done.  Enjoy!

The USMS birthday rule for postals (and open water swims too) now lists your age on December 31 as your age for the year, just like the rules governing pool meets held in metric pools.  As a result, many of you will jump into a new age group for this swim.  Enjoy!

Is a National Championship run feasible?  We rallied to crush the rest of the nation when we hosted the Summer Pool Championships in 2008 and 2016, and we have dominated the other postal championships in the past ten years.  But we’ve never won the One-Hour Swim Championships (we’ve been runners-up the past two years!).  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!  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 think big—that’s less than half of our club membership.  Together, we can do it…if we choose to do it!

Bonus Benefit:  The best build-up for a successful spring and summer season is to develop your aerobic swimming capacity so that you can do your race training on a solid base, and the One-Hour Swim is one of the best tools to develop and measure your aerobic capacity.  This is particularly true as Oregon hosts the “My Oregon Swimcation” next summer—you’ll need to be fit as you tackle THREE National Championship open water swims in one week in July.  Use the One-Hour Swim to jump-start your training!

Another Bonus Benefit:  Even if you simply swim for your own fitness and never compete in pool or open water races, this is still a wonderful fitness challenge for YOU.  Join your teammates, test your fitness, and have some fun!.

Oregon Club Participation:  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; and
  • A large-print copy of the “Top Ten Reasons to Do the One-Hour Swim”, suitable for posting.

Organizing Locally—the Key to Success:  The most powerful motivation for a big group effort is always local, with the folks that you swim with every day.  I urge one swimmer from each local team to step forward to help your coach coordinate this effort and rally the troops.  Coaches, get on board—this is a great team building opportunity including all of your swimmers!  Please work it out within your team structure, then tell me who you are (contact me at coachbob@bendbroadband.com).

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

Note to swimmers from other clubs in Oregon:  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 event and the strategies listed above, and go for it this year!  You reap the same benefits!

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

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