Long Distance Swimming – January 2017


Wrapping up the 2016 USMS Postal Championships, the Oregon LMSC capped another year with a decent showing in the USMS 3000-yard and 6000-yard Postal National Championships, but not up to our usual sterling performance.  Here’s a quick summary:

3000-yard:  49 Oregon swimmers (25 women & 24 men) entered, slightly down from last year’s entry.  Sara Nelson, Colette Crabbe, Pat Sherman, Hardy Lussier, Ralph Mohr, Dave Radcliff, and Willard Lamb each won the national title in their respective age groups—great club strength at the top end!  Four Oregon Club Relay teams won their events, and four more were runners-up.  Oregon slid to third place in the race for the national championship title.

6000-yard:  15 Oregon swimmers (45 women & 10 men) entered, also down from last year’s entry.  Pat Sherman and Dave Radcliff won national titles.  Two Oregon Club relay teams won their events.  Oregon dropped from champion to a distant third place in the national club scoring.

Congratulations to…

Our 7 individual National Champions (USMS Long Distance All-Americans!);

Pat Sherman and Dave Radcliff, our double National Champions;

Our 6 relay team National Champions (USMS Long Distance Relay All-Americans);

Our 3 Oregon Individual Record breakers—Sara Nelson, Pat Sherman, and Hardy Lussier (2x, for the second straight year!);

Those swimmers who accounted for 26 new listings on the All-Time Oregon Top Twelve in these events;

Everyone who participated.  The Oregon LMSC generally does well in overall participation, which is ultimately the bottom line, but didn’t shine as well as usual this year.  Obviously, I’d like to see more Oregon swimmers participating in these excellent fitness events.

Look for the full Oregon results in this Aqua Master.   See page 8

Now it’s time for a new year of Postal Swims, which starts with 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 for this year:

The time frame for swimming the event has doubled!  For 40 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!

How have Oregon swimmers and the Oregon Club fared in the past?  Although Oregon Club swimmers have done very well recently, 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.

Is a championship run feasible?  We’ve won loads of national postal 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 2016, and we have dominated the other postal championships in the past ten years.  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 thought (and ultimately the most important one):  The best build-up for a successful spring and summer season is to develop your aerobic swimming capacity early in the year so that you can then do your race training on a solid base.  Not to mention that the best build-up for a long and satisfying life is to do the same.  The One-Hour Swim is one of the best tools to develop and measure your aerobic capacity.  Use it that way!

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