Long Distance Swimming – January 2022

Wrapping up the 2021 USMS Postal Championships, the Oregon LMSC capped another year with a strong showing in the USMS 3000-yard and 6000-yard Postal National Championships.  Despite a lower number of participants than usual, clearly due to pandemic restrictions at local pools, the Oregon Club managed to win the club titles in both events and win 12 of the 13 relays entered!  Here’s a quick summary:


3000-yard:  24 Oregon swimmers (11 women & 13 men) entered.  Alexis Higlett, Hardy Lussier, Dan Kirkland, and Ralph Mohr each won the national title in their respective age groups—strong club strength at the top end!  All nine Oregon Club relay teams won their events.  And the Oregon Club won the club title.


6000-yard:  9 Oregon swimmers (4 women & 5 men) entered, also down from previous years’ entry.  Alexis Higlett, Hardy Lussier, and Dan Kirkland won individual championship.  Three of the four Oregon Club relay teams won their events.  And the Oregon Club won the club title.


Congratulations to…

  • Our 4 individual National Champions (USMS Long Distance All-Americans!);
  • Alexis Higlett, Hardy Lussier, and Dan Kirkland, our double National Champions;
  • Our 12 relay team National Champions (USMS Long Distance Relay All-Americans)—remarkable considering our size of entry;
  • Our 4 Oregon Individual Record breakers—Colette Crabbe & Judy Ziemer in the 3000, and Alexis Higlett & Jeanna Summers in the 6000;
  • Our Oregon Relay Record breakers:
  • Mens 55+ 3 x 3000-yd Relay of Dan Kirkland, Scott Sullivan, & Hardy Lussier.
  • Mens 55+ 3 x 6000-yd Relay of Bob Bruce, Dan Kirkland, & Hardy Lussier.
  • Our National Relay Record breakers—Mixed 65+ 4 x 3000-yd Relay of Jeanna Summers, Colette Crabbe, Jeff Piette, & Dan Kirkland;
  • Those swimmers who accounted for 11 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 do that well in this department this year for understandable reasons.  I’d like to see many, many more Oregon swimmers participating in these excellent fitness events, so let’s look to next year!


Look for the full Oregon results in this Aqua Master.

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Now it’s Time to Start Thinking about the One-Hour Swim?  This event answers the basic question, “how far can you swim in one hour?”  It’s the first USMS “Virtual” (formerly “ePostal”) swim each year, done only during the month of January.  You can do it in your local 25-yard or 25-meter pool.  It’s often the largest stand-alone participation event on the USMS calendar.  It’s the oldest of the USMS postal swims, started in 1977.  It’s a great team-building exercise.  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?


Some Changes in the 1-Hour Virtual Swim:  There are four big changes of which you should be aware:

  • The name of this category of swims has been changed from “ePostal” (always awkward) to “Virtual” (as I recommended to USMS in 2008, but the world wasn’t ready yet).  For full event info & materials, see https://www.usms.org/events/national-championships/virtual-championships/2022-virtual-championships/2022-1-hour-virtual-championship.
  • The time window to do the 1-Hour Swim is January.  January only!  31 days!  That’s it!  This is a change from recent years, but a return to the traditional time frame as it was for more than 40 years.  I think that this is a good move because it concentrates our focus, always a good thing for us folks.  Use the 1-Hour Swim to motivate yourself and your teammates:  Get back in the pool after the holidays, work hard to get in shape, and show your fitness improvement with a strong 1-Hour Swim.  Perfect!
  • Swimmers (a.k.a. YOU) must register for the swim before you submit your performance.  Knowing the value of a firm commitment, I’ve already registered.
  • No lollygagging to submit your results.  Last day to swim is January 31.  Entry deadline for individual 1-Hour Swim entries is February 2, not the 10-day window that we’ve had before.


How have Oregon swimmers and the Oregon Club fared in the past?  We’ve done very well recently (including second place in several recent years), but this is one of the few Overall Club Championships that we have never, ever won before!  Considering our prominence in the ePostal/Virtual series of the past 20 years, I find this irritatingly short of our potential.


Is a championship run feasible?  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 ePostal 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 I live by an annoying motto: “Go big or go home!”  Think big!  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 next year so that you can then do your race training on a solid base.  Oh, and I should mention that it’s the best build-up for a long and satisfying life too.  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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