Long Distance Swimming – September 2017

Let’s chat about Fall Postal Swims.  As a coach, I always like to plan comprehensively, looking ahead to provide long-term benefits to my swimmers.  Here are three postal swims that you can use THIS FALL to help you prepare for future events, along with ways that I—always a coach—plan to use them to help my team.

  • USMS 3000 & 6000-yard Postal National Championships: Mid-September through mid-November is the season for the annual USMS 3000-yard & 6000-yard Postal National Championships, to be completed by November 15th.  See http://www.usms.org/longdist/ldnats17/ for event & entry information.  The Oregon Club team has a long-standing record of great success in these two swims, and I hope that we can keep this streak alive this year too.

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.  And, of course, why not use these swims to jump start your training for 2018?

  • Postal Two-Mile Relay (NEW & UNIQUE): We haven’t seen an event like this offered in many years, a postal relay done as a sequential relay (you know, the kind we do in swim meets) rather than the cumulative relays that we usually put together for postal events.  This will be hosted by the Event Director Jim Teisher & the Tualatin Hills Barracudas, and done between October 1st and November 30th.  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), which is approximately two miles.  Timers will take splits for every 100 (a special split sheet is available in event info).  After the swim, a team captain will enter the team in the event.  See https://www.clubassistant.com/club/meet_information.cfm?c=2416&smid=9347 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 1:1, 1:2, or 1:3, 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 NW Zone SCM Championships in Hood River in November or our own COMA All-Around Meet in December.

  • 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 the month of December (maybe running into January too).  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 out.

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 two years, and preparing for it really helped me ramp up my kicking performance.  Believe me, I need all the help I can get, since I’m not blessed with Michael Phelp’s size-16 feet or Mark Spitz’s hyper-extended knees!  Coaches know that you’re not in shape until your legs are in shape.

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

Good luck and good swimming!

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