Sep 042014

Two top notch Pacific Masters stroke clinics are coming up soon!

On Saturday, September 27th there is a terrific backstroke-freestyle clinic in Davis led by Davis Aquatic Masters Coaches Stu & Mary Kahn. Not only are they outstanding coaches, they run great clinics. You will get the most current look at changes in the stroke and learn how to maximize your propulsion and minimize resistance. Here is the flyer for the clinic.

2014 Clinic Flyer Davis Free Back

On Sunday, October 19th, I’ll be leading a breaststroke clinic in San Mateo with Coach Tom Reudy of San Mateo Masters. He is an amazing breaststroker and also an excellent coach. In that clinic we’ll have one hour of classroom and two hours of pool time working all aspects of breaststroke including pull downs. Here is the flyer for this clinic.

2014 Clinic Flyer San Mateo Breast 101914

Sep 012014

Here is the latest instructional video from USMS featuring Coach Cokie and Swymnut Margaret De Somma. It is about the role of your hips in backstroke and freestyle and accompanies an upcoming article in the September/October SWIMMER Magazine titled “Get Hip With Your Hips”. The key is to understand the role your hips play and then learn to control the action to help propel you forward by tapping into the largest muscles in your back, your latissimus dorsi! Thank you to Margaret who makes this look so easy.

Aug 252014

Two meets to tell you about. First, HUGE congratulations to Diana Peroni. She was our lone representative this month at the USMS Long Course Nationals in College Park, Maryland, where she competed in 100 and 200 fly in the 40-44 age group. She did fantastic, best times in the past 5 years for both events. In the 100 fly, she took third and in the 200 fly, second place. This is an astounding accomplishment at Nationals where there were many in her age group and about 1,000 swimmers total at the meet.

Next up is the Modesto Short Course meet on August 23rd that six Swymnut women attended. We saw lots of new team records, some lifetime bests, and some personal bests in the age group from all six swimmers.  All the results for the year can be found in the embedded PDF here.

2014 All Meet Results

Aug 152014

i-coach-219192617_std1Ever thought about coaching? Want to learn more about what it takes to be a Masters coach? We are blessed to have local opportunities for just such training this fall/winter 2014.

First up we have the USMS Level 1 & 2 Coaches Certification training. That will be held at Rolling Hills Club in Novato on Saturday, October 4th from 9-5pm (show up at 8:30 for check in). The following day the instructors and coaches in the class will host a 3-hour stroke clinic for swimmers (covering all 4 strokes). That will be held at Rolling Hills Club as well and runs from 9am-noon (again, show up at 8:30 for check-in).

Then, on Saturday, December 5th, USMS is returning to Novato (again at Rolling Hills Club) to bring us USMS Level 3 Coaches Certification training.

If you think there is a chance in the future you might want to coach a Masters team, then seize this opportunity to catch this training close to home!

Cokie will be teaching the Level 1 & 2 class in October, and normally teaches the Level 3 course but will be in Cuba in December.

  • For further information on the Level 1 & 2 Coaching class October 4th, click here.
  • For signing up for the Stroke Clinic October 4th, click here. Cost is $40.
  • For further information on the Level 3 Coaching class December 5th, click here.
  • For more information about USMS Coaching Certification in general, go here.
Aug 052014

Kate Eby was in Oregon this past weekend for some open water swimming. Turns out not just the State of CA, OR and WA are on fire, so was Kate. She drives up to Cascade Lakes Oregon to compete in some open water events. Some you say? How about 4 swims?!? Saturday was the 500 meter and 1500 meter swim. Sunday was the 5K and 1000 meter swim. How’d she do? Holy smokes! First, second, second, third in the individual swims and FIRST overall for her age group.

She definitely fits as a NUT! Way to go Kate, we are all proud of you!

Oh yeah, by the way, on her return home, they closed the freeway she had used to travel from Sacramento to Oregon. That led to a 200 mile detour to get home. All the more time to savor those incredible swims. Kate Eby Cascade Lake OR

Aug 052014

On Saturday, July 19th, Swymnut Mary Sackett competed in an Olympic distance 1500 meter swim off McNears Beach as part of the Marin Swim competition. This was the second annual event for Marin Swim. Mary loved it and did fantastic, finishing in a 29:20. Full results for the Marin Swim can be found here. Congratulations Mary!!

Aug 052014

Four Swymnuts traveled up to Lake Tahoe to swim in the TransTahoe Relay. This is truly one of the best and most beautiful open water venues out there! Despite the reputation of Lake Tahoe being very cold, word has it that this year it was in the high 60s and quite lovely. No wetsuits are allowed at this event! All four said they’d do it again in a heartbeat. Congrats to each of our hearty and nutty Swymnuts!

  • Stacey Ellison – who swam on The Pirates who were in the Open Division. Their relay finished in a time of 4:29.40
  • Cathy Stone & Terry Powers – who swam on A Family Stone who were in the Mixed 180+ group and finished in a time of 5:17.48 (Cathy, hubby Mike, their kids and Terry who is adopted now into their family)
  • Erica Sutherland – who swam with The North Bay Nautigals group who were also in the Open Division. They finished in a 4:38.48

Next year we’re planning on targeting this as a team effort, so let Coach Cokie know if you are interested. In 2015 the date for TransTahoe is Saturday, July 18th. Ideally, you’ll drive up Friday, swim the event Saturday and either come home Saturday night or add another night in Tahoe and make it a weekend!

Full results of this year’s TransTahoe can be found here.

Stacey Ellison TranssTahoe 2014

Stacey looking relaxed before her leg of the relay


Terry and Cathy tagging to exchange in the water

Terry and Cathy tagging to exchange in the water

Terry and Cathy Tahoe

Terry and Cathy on the boat while someone else is doing the hard work!

May 192014

Six Swymnuts traveled to Stanford to compete in the 2014 Bay Area Senior Games at the BEAUTIFUL Avery Aquatic Center. Our team swam very well with everyone medaling in their events. Mary Piel found out she was a distance swimmer with a terrific 500 Free (and a new team record). Cokie swam 50 Breast for the first time in a few years, setting a new team record. Germana swam four events and never stopped smiling, getting two new Masters best times in two events. Nancy also swam four events with solid times in all four and a strong 200 Free. Jane had a good meet (all 4 events) and would have had a best time in the 100 free, except that somebody moved the wall, costing at least 3-4 seconds when she had to return to touch the dang thing! Nick Winer had an eerily similar experience in his 100 Free, just getting a toe touch on all 3 turns. Still, he managed a 58.16, his second best time this year. Makes me wonder what his time would have been! His 50 Free was just off his best time he set at Nationals two weeks earlier. We had fun in the sun! Full team results are listed below.

Swymnut Masters with some serious hardware. L to R: Nancy Applegarth, Mary Piel, Germana Fabbri, Cokie Lepinski, Nick Winer, Jane Mothersill

Swymnut Masters at the Bay Area Senior Games (Stanford) with some serious hardware. From left to right we have Nancy Applegarth, Mary Piel, Germana Fabbri, Cokie Lepinski, Nick Winer, Jane Mothersill

2014 BASG Stanford 051814

May 052014

Top of the Top Hardware for EricaWow what an incredible 4 days at the USMS 2014 Short Course Yards National Championships held in Santa Clara May 1-4. There is no possible way to convey everything that we saw and did at this meet. We laughed and cried (with joy), danced, jumped up and down, yelled and screamed for our teammates, swam our bodies into exhaustion and just simply had a wonderful time. To be able to have Nationals in our own “backyard” was such a blessing. We took 20 swimmers to the meet, swam 73 individual events and 5 relays and, frankly, the results far surpassed anything we coaches thought we’d see for this young team. I’ve got pictures up on our Facebook site and will get them up on our team photo site asap.

Some of the team accomplishments were:

  • This was a first time Nationals meet for 15 of our 20 swimmers
  • 11 of our 20 swimmers came away with a total of 16 medals
  • All 5 of our relays set new team records
  • 36 new team records were set in individual swims
  • 37 lifetime bests (in Masters) were set by our swimmers
  • 45 personal bests (in their current age group) were set by our swimmers

There were so many highlights to those individual swims and relays:

  • Rebecca Arnold medaled in her 50 Breast with a 35.70 for 9th place
  • Cassandra Coffee had a strong meet with season bests in all her swims and a blistering 29.21 in her free leg on the relay
  • Kayla Coffee (first Nationals meet) had great swims, especially her 50 Back where she was 8th (a medal!!), her 100 Back (11th) and her 50 Fly (12th)
  • Margaret De Somma got a new lifetime best in her 50 back and with it, the team record!
  • Kate Eby medaled in the 1000 free and hit a lifetime best in her 500 free (crying with joy after that one!)
  • Germana Fabbri in her first Nationals did great with lifetime bests in 50 Free, 100 IM and 50 Back. We discovered she has an awesome dive start!
  • Anice Flesh, 77, wowed us with her medal placement and her free leg on the relay (a 44.70 for a 50 free!). She took 2nd in the 100 Breast, 3rd in the 200 Breast and 3rd in the 100 IM
  • Coach Cokie Lepinski was thrilled with her performances this weekend, getting season bests in all 6 swims, medaling in two events (200 Breast, 200 IM) and having a stellar 50 Fly on the relay
  • Michael Lessin had his first meet with Swymnuts and his first Nationals meet swimming the 100 free in his best time and discovering just how brutal the competition is in that event
  • Jane Mothersill had her own t-shirt “See Jane Swim” and it seemed to provide some good luck in her 100 Breast with a 4-second drop in time and a new team record. She was also solid in her 100 Free, 200 Breast and 100 IM
  • Jack Naylor competed in the 50 Breast in a good time (not his best but still, a 30.77?!?!) and also provided an even faster split on the relay (30.22). Thanks Jack!
  • Crystal Pinkston is still on Cloud 9 with her 1000 Free 7th place medal (and a 10 second drop in time) along with a huge drop in her 500 Free and under 8 minutes for the first time ever!
  • Coach Susie Powell wowed us with her stamina in the 400 IM and set team records in that and three other events. She also walked away with two medals (400 IM – 7th and 50 Fly 10th)
  • Bob Reed had a nice drop in time in his 50 Free (26.78)!
  • Lea Reizman was on fire – four swims, for lifetime bests, 4 team records and a 7th place medal in her 50 fly!
  • Jana Strycker is our Fly Queen – no doubt! She had a 1:11.59 (12th) and a 30.29 on the 50 good for a medal (9th). She also has a pretty wicked start!
  • Erica Sutherland was impressive as always. Let’s start with her #1 finish in the 50 Back in a lifetime best of 30.87. That means she is the National Champion for the very first time (there will be more, trust me). She also had a lifetime best 100 Breast for a new team record and a medal for 9th (1:19.04); a strong 50 free (28.63) and a strong 50 fly (31.43)
  • Mimi Willard at her first Nationals scored a 10th place medal in the 100 Back and had 5 of her 6 swims in her best times, setting team records in two of them and narrowly missing a medal in her 200 Free (2:44.69, 11th). She just keeps getting better and better!
  • Nick Winer was THE MAN in the freestyle events. He had lifetime bests in the 50, 100 and 200 Free. He dropped 1.6 seconds in his 50 free going 25.99; dropped a WHOPPING 6 seconds in his 100 free (56.31) and swam a very fast 200 Free in 2:12.10 (his first ever 200 Free). He was grinning all meet!
  • Marlon Woolf set new lifetime bests in all 6 of his swims, setting team records in the process. Blazing fast 50 free (25.23), 100 free (56.46) and 200 free (2:07.35 a 3 second drop).

The support this team gave to each other was phenomenal. We had an absolute blast and it is a meet I will forever treasurer.

Coach Cokie


2014 Nationals SCY

Apr 092014

taper-timeYahoo! Swimmers are practically doing back flips because we have reached Taper Time. Beginning Sunday, April 13th, we start the 3-week taper for the Nationals held May 1-4 in Santa Clara.

A taper can be anywhere from 2-3 weeks long. I start our taper 3 weeks out in concept more than in design. For those on the team, you will have received our Swymnut Taper Guide by email (if not, drop me an email). The Taper workouts are constructed to work for both those actually tapering and the rest of the team not heading to the meet. As we progress through the taper weeks, you’ll notice those on taper exiting the pool earlier than the rest of you. Dang, don’t you wish you were going to the meet now? Either way, our non meet goers will not be forgotten. We’ll take good care of all ya all!

The first week of taper keeps our yardage totals pretty close to our normal 1-hour practices where we usually see total yardage (including warm up and warm down) in the 2800-3200 range. In fact, the whole idea of a taper is to cut volume incrementally to about 60% of pre-taper values just before the big meet. The first week of taper is about sharpening our focus on race strategy and stroke technique. We have some longer rest periods in that week, but need to maintain our aerobic base. We begin to bring down yardage week two and reach that 60% mark in the third and final week.

We need to maintain intensity of training, which is why you see a lot of sprint work or speed work indicated. The good news is that we allow much more rest in our sprint sets. Intensity also comes in the form of focus, so there is a lot of emphasis on good push offs, quality stroke technique, race finishes, and lots of time to work starts and turns.

It is important to swim frequently the weeks before and during taper. While we do want you to listen to your body and rest it as needed, we also need you to maintain your feel for the water. Come to practice and we will work together to analyze what you need that day. Just stay in the water to maintain your connection to it!

Distance swimmers (doing 500 or more) can add a little more yardage to the taper workouts. Remember, the key is “what is your 60%” yardage value?

And don’t forget, this whole Masters Swimming is all about having fun and staying fit. Don’t take yourself too seriously! Don’t analyze things to death. Don’t worry. Go, enjoy, and swim the very best you can that day, that event. Relish in what you are able to do not in what you didn’t do. Your well being and happiness are not dependent on the outcome of your race, so don’t beat the crap out of yourself when you stumble in an event or even at an entire meet. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, learn from your experience, and know that there will be many more swim meets down the road. It took me years to realize this and it is one of the most important lessons I’ve had to learn. Meets are now much more enjoyable than ever before and I hope they are for you as well!

Soreness often comes into play during taper. To understand why, check out this article from the Swim Sci folks:

Why am I Sore During Taper?