Jul 222012

Having a wonderful visit here in Novato, CA. Am excited that we will be making our way back to live here. That announcement has resulted in  lots of joyful reunions this week!

In talking to my swim buddies, I’m always struck by the general healthy nature of masters swimmers. We seem to be watching our weight and doing our best to stay healthy. Still, we all have our weaknesses. As I’ve written before, mine would be that killer sweet tooth. I’ve been working on decreasing the amount my cravings beg for, and progress is being made.

Well this week, I found a link to an article that I found fascinating. It’s about our connection to some foods that may exacerbate or even increase inflammation in your body. CNN has the article, written by Julie Daniluk, who authored “Meals That Heal Inflammation”.  Check out the article by clicking the link below. I’m impressed and plan to be even more vigilant.  Completely ditch sugar? Well…no. 🙂

When Food Causes Pain

Jul 162012

You don’t have to compete in swim meets and officially sanctioned open water swims to call yourself a masters swimmer. While I love competition, not everyone does. Did you know that it is fitness swimmers that make up the bulk of the near 60,000 members of U.S. Masters Swimming? Well Fitness Swimmers, stand up and take a bow!

With that in mind, this post is dedicated to the fitness swimmer. Give a big round of applause for those who come out to the pool (or open body of water) and swim on a regular basis to stay fit. It is one of the best forms of exercise and these fitness swimmers are impressive with their dedication.

If you don’t like competition, or just simply can’t fit it into your schedule, there are abundant opportunities to challenge yourself in a wide variety of ways. U.S. Masters Swimming has steadily grown their web segment on Fitness  Swimming throughout the years and they list a few of the postal swims/fitness challenges on their site. You can catch it here.

Many of the fitness challenges allow you to sign up online (generally a very nominal fee) and give you something for attempting or completing the challenge – sometimes a pin, a hat, a t-shirt, etc. Other fitness challenges are sometimes reserved for a club or specific to a region.

It is incredibly fun to try some of these challenges, some of which are zany, and some are more serious. Check some of these challenges out!

The February Fitness Challenge

In this challenge, you are rewarded for swimming at least 5 days each week in the month of February. There are special awards for those who amass 100,000 yards of swimming. Whoa, that is a lotta yards!

The S.W.I.M. Fitness Challenge

This swim “Streamlining Weigh Loss In Masters” was hosted by Illinois Masters. It was a 10-week weight loss challenge that started on Super Bowl Sunday.

The Independence Day Challenge

This was a challenge to swim an 800 I.M., time yourself in each 200, and send your results in on the USMS Discussion Forum.

The Brute Squad Swim

Ah, this is a toughie. Swim a 1650 free (or 1500m if long course), a 400 IM and a 200 Fly. Events can be swum in any order with as much rest between as desired. All three events must be swum in the same 24 hour day.

Davis Brute Squad

Now these guys really put the challenge on the Brute Squad Swim. (And, Davis, after all, was the originators of the Brute Squad.) In their version, you swim the 1650 Free, 400 IM and 200 Fly in any order and back-to-back. You submit your total time to complete the three events (rest time is included). The challenge is to try to keep the rest at minimum. If you are really a brute, you don’t take any rest at all!

The 12,000 Yards of Christmas

Trying to get ride of those holiday calories? Look no further than this 12,000 yard challenge! The goal is to swim 12,000 yards in one week, the week between December 24th and Jan 1st. Sweet! Eat the sweets, do the sets, and perhaps you can meet your quest to burn those calories off.  Of course, better yet, don’t eat the sweets and still do the 12,000 yards and you come out ahead. 🙂

The TAM 1650 Postal Challenge

Swim 1650 yards in the month of January or February, have someone catch your splits each 50, and that’s all ya gotta do for this Fitness Challenge which is hosted each year by the Tamalpais Masters in San Rafael, CA.

The Turducken Workout

A turducken is a turkey that is stuffed with a duck, which in turn has been stuffed with a chicken. Uhm…Yuck? It helps to enjoy IM if you are going to do this set which involves

4 x 350 @ :30-:40 rest interval

1st 350=100 FL/50 BK/50 BR/50 BK/100 FL

2nd 350=100 BK/50 BR/50 FR/50 BR/100 BK

3rd 350=100 BR/50 FR/50 FL/50 FR/100 BR

4th 350=100 FR/50 FL/50 BK/50 FL/100 FR

On each round do the middle 50 at 200 IM pace; the 50 before it as build and the 50 after it as recovery, and the turkey 100s at the front and back at basic aerobic pace.

 The Butternuts

Now, these guys are nuts. This is a club for anyone who can swim 500 yards of butterfly without stopping. Yikes!

The Check Off Challenge

Our Swymnuts will recognize this as we did this one here in our first year. Basically, you swim every event in a short course yards meet + an open water swim. You can do this in practice or by attending meets and “checking off” the events you swim. For the ultimate challenge do it all in one workout. For the ultra challenge, do it straight, with no rest between sets.

July Swim For Distance Month

Hosted by the Dallas Aquatic Masters, this one involves swimming as much yardage as you can in the month of July. Walnut Creek also has a version of this that they do in March and they title theirs, March Madness. I know a few swimmers who have gone over 300,000 yards. O-M-G!

Those are just a few of the challenges I found while poking around the USMS Discussion Forums. If you know of more, let me know! If you’ve got an idea for a challenge we might undertake as Sywmnuts, let’s hear it. After all, we are NUTS, right?

Jul 082012

I’ve been working on soft, relaxed hands a lot in my stroke, and have posted about that here on Swymnuts. As a swimmer, I’ve always subscribed to the theory that if you have tension in your hands, it marches up your forearm, into your upper arm, your deltoid, and your neck and shoulder muscles. At least, that is what happened to me quite often! Nothing like some major forearm cramps to slow you down! I’ve found that if I slightly separate my fingers, I have a much more relaxed hand. Well, whaddya know, there is no some science defending that! Check out the article link below from Live Science.

The photo you see here, of the relaxed hands, is how I like to think of them as I am swimming. One way to try this out is to stand on deck before you enter the water for practice. Just stand relaxed, with hands down by your side. Take notice of how the fingers are slightly spread and even curled in just slightly.  Hit the water and give this a try! You just might like it.

Fastest Swimmers Make Webbed Hands Out of Water

Jul 072012

Hyped up after all those great swims at Olympic Trials? Try these workouts to advance yourself.

#51 – IM Aerobic

#52 – IM & Backstroke

#53 – Distance Free

#54 – Stroke Blend, Some Sprints

#55 – Middle Distance Free & Stroke

Jul 012012

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been brushing up on dryland training for core stability. As we all know by now, our core is vitally important in almost everything we do in life, and critical in all of our sporting adventures. Swimming is no exception. You want to master body line and balance in your strokes? Want to have quicker turns, better speed, and more endurance? One terrific start is to get working on your core.

I’ve got a few books on my bookshelf covering strength training and core stabilization. One that I really like is pictured below, Complete Conditioning for Swimming – a combination book with a DVD that contains all the exercises in the book. Why do I like this particular book? It is authored by famed swim coach Dave Salo (sprint coach extraordinaire) and Scott Riewald. Dave Salo has coached several olympic medalists such as Aaron Peirsol, Amanda Beard, Rebecca Soni, Jason Lezak, Eric Shanteau and Lenny Krayzelburg. He’s also the head coach of the USC Trojan’s Men’s & Women’s Swim Team.

Dr. Scott Riewald works with the United States Olympic Committee in its performance services division where he provides performance technology and biomechanics support for Olympic-level endurance athletes. Ok, we have some pretty impressive resumes on these two! The book is well written, easy to follow, and the DVD is wonderful. I’ve been able to burn the video to my computer, and now I have the exercises on my iPhone or iPad to use at the gym, or even just here at the house.

Let’s cut to the chase. I’ve found some terrific exercise videos on the DVD. Right now I’m concentrating on three categories on the DVD: Core Stability Exercises, Dynamic Warmups (land based), Flexibility Exercises, and Injury-Prevention Exercises. This week I’d like to a pool-based core stability exercise with you. This involves balancing on a kickboard.

Core Back Balance Drill in Water – Wi-Fi