Long Distance Swimming – November 2022

Review:  Access to 50-meter pools was challenging this summer, so Oregon Club participation in the 5-km & 10-km Virtual (formerly Postal) Swims fell below pre-pandemic levels.  This must have been true across the country as well, as the national entry was low.  Still, we gave a very good accounting.

5-km:  13 Oregon swimmers (9 women & 4 men) entered.  Anicia Criscione, Beth Martell, Arlene Delmage, Hardy Lussier, and Ralph Mohr—great strength at the top end!  All five Oregon Club Relay teams won their events.  Oregon was the runner-up in the race for the national championship title.

10-km:  7 Oregon swimmers (3 women & 4 men) entered.  Alexis Higlett, Gillian Salton, Arlene Delmage, Hardy Lussier, and Bob Bruce won national titles (5 wins in 7 swims, lots of aces!).  Two Oregon Club relay teams won their events, with the other runner-up.  Oregon finished a close third place in the national club scoring.

Congratulations to…

  • Our EIGHT individual National Champions (USMS Long Distance All-Americans!);
  • Arlene Delmage and Hardy Lussier, our double National Champions;
  • Our SEVEN relay team National Champions (USMS Long Distance Relay All-Americans);
  • Our FOUR Oregon Individual Record breakers—Beth Martell, Alexis Higlett, Arlene Delmage, and Hardy Lussier (2x);
  • Those swimmers who accounted for THIRTEEN new listings on the All-Time Oregon Top Twelve in these events;
  • Everyone who participated. Oregon usually does well in overall participation—ultimately the bottom line—but we struggled this year.  Obviously, I’d like to see more Oregon swimmers participating in these excellent fitness events, especially to complement and prepare for the excellent open water season that’s coming your way in 2023 (a bunch of national championships are in store for your swimming pleasure!), and hope that we can rediscover more pool space for these events.


Look for the full Oregon results in this Aqua Master.

Fall Virtual/Postal Swims:  Already in season!

As a coach, I like to plan comprehensively, looking ahead to provide long-term benefits to my swimmers.   Here are three virtual/postal swims that you can use THIS FALL to help you prepare for future events.

  • USMS 3000 & 6000-yard Virtual National Championships (in progress!): Mid-September through mid-November is the season for USMS 3000-yard & 6000-yard Virtual National Championships.  These swims must be completed on or before November 15th.  These swims provide solid early season training swims, great conditioning benchmarks, fun team-building events, and are a must for aspiring distance swimmers.  Use these swims to jump start your 2023 training?

As the OMS Long Distance Chair and head cheerleader, I would like to see you participate, and would love to see the Oregon Club reclaim national titles in both events.  Let’s not sit on our past record of success, but move forward with new enthusiasm!  Find event & entry info at https://www.usms.org/events/national-championships/virtual-championships/2022-virtual-championships,  get your split sheet at http://www.usms.org/longdist/1hr_3000_6000_splits.pdf, and go to it!  Remember that you can (alternatively) swim these events in a 25-meter pool by doing a 3000-meter or 6000-meter swim and converting the time to yards; I know, I know, you gotta swim a bit further, but it allows those who only have access to 25-meter pools to participate.  Just do it!

These swims provide solid training swims, great conditioning benchmarks, fun team-building events, and are a must for aspiring distance swimmers.  I always like to start our training year in the fall with some aerobic work, because everyone—hear that, sprinters?—needs an aerobic base to progress.

  • Postal Two-Mile Relay (UNIQUE & LOCALLY-RUN): This postal relay is done as a sequential relay (you know, the kind we do in swim meets) rather than the cumulative relays that we put together for postal & cable events.  This is hosted by Event Director Jim Teisher & the Tualatin Hills Barracudas, and done in November.  Swimmers—who must be USMS members and follow USMS & event rules—will swim as a two, three, or four-member team in strict rotation for 3600 yards (or 3600 meters, to be converted), approximately two miles.  Timers take splits each 100 (a special split sheet is available in event info: http://barracudas.org/postal-twomile-relay-2022).  After the swim, a team captain enters the team in the event.  See for details and entry.

I plan to run this relay event as a sprint practice a few times.  As all good coaches know, there’s nothing like swimming fast (and practicing dives!) during practice.  Depending on the number of swimmers on a team, the swim to rest time ratio will be about 1:2, 1:3, or 1:4, excellent for sprint training.  I’m willing to bet that practice will be more focused and intense than usual that day!  I think that these relay swims will help our speedwork as we prepare for the short course meters meets later this Fall.

  • Postal 400 Kick for Time: Here’s a different and fun postal opportunity—it’s the 400 kick for time, which must be completed during December.  It’s simple—just kick 400 yards/meters as fast as you can while someone takes splits for you, then enter the event.  The event is hosted by Marcia Benjamin of Marcia’s Enthusiastic Masters team in California.  Alas, information for this year’s event has not been posted yet, but I’ll post this on the OMS Calendar as soon as it’s available.

I have found this postal to be a great challenge by itself, and a strong training tool as you prepare for it.  I’ve done it for the past several years, and preparing for it really helped me ramp up my much-needed kicking performance.  Coaches know that you’re not in shape until your legs are in shape.

As always, the best thing about all of these swims is that you can do them in your local 25-yard or 25-meter pool.  So, no excuses—use them to help spark your training!

Good luck and good swimming!

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