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?

Mar 242014

We had quite a few Swymnuts do the One Hour Swim in January 2014 as part of the USMS National Postal Event. What this means is that a swimmer swims non stop for one hour, getting in as many laps (or yards) as they can. No fins, snorkel or  paddles allowed – just cap, goggles and a swim suit. Some elected to formally enter the event, others did not. No matter, all Swymnut participants received a medal from their coach for their participation!

The ladies scored 4th in the nation out of 144 teams in the small team category (1-9 swimmers) with 9 swimmers sending in their results. For the guys, only 2 of our guys entered, so in the same small team category with just 2 guys, they ended up 61st out of 105 teams. Awesome Swymnuts!

2014 USMS One Hour Postal

OHP Medal

Mar 242014

In 2013 the Swymnuts competed in two USMS Postal Events. What’s a postal event you might be asking? That is simply an event that you get to swim in your own team’s pool. No travel, nothing fancy, just you and a friend with a stopwatch. Check out how our team did in the “Brute Squad” in November and in the 400 Kick For Time in December.

Each participant received a medal purchased by the coach. She figures if you put yourself through this kind of pain, the least we can do is acknowledge with something special!

2013 KFT & Brute Squad


Feb 102014

Swymnuts showed up in force for the USF Short Course Yards meet held in the beautiful indoor Koret Hall on the campus of the University of San Francisco. We had 24 swimmers in 68 individual events and 5 relays. In those 68 swims, we had 19 swims qualify for the Short Course Yards Nationals (May 1-4 in Santa Clara). We also had 52 new team records set and a slew of personal bests or USMS lifetime best swims.

Race videos are up on our Swymnuts YouTube channel (you’ll need an invite to get in) and below are the meet results for just our team.

For the entire USF meet results, click here.

Upcoming meet opportunities that enable you to try for qualifying times for the USMS Nationals (May 1-4).

Entries for Nationals close on March 27th. Get your qualifying times at these meets:

  • Salinas Splash n’ Dash in Salinas, Saturday, Feb 22nd. Meet info here.
  • Cal Aquatic Meet at UC Berkeley on Sunday, March 9th. Meet info here.
  • Rinconada Meet (Palo Alto) on Saturday, March 15th. Meet info here.
  • A meet in Southern California (Simi Valley) on Sunday, March 23rd. Meet info here.

Pacific Masters Championships are held in Pleasanton this year and run March 28-29-30. Meet info here. Entries for Champs close March 19th at 11:59 p.m.

USMS Nationals Meet Information here. Entries for Nationals close at 11:59 p.m. March 27th.

2014 USF 020914 by Cokie Lepinski

Jan 262014

Swymnuts were outstanding at the Fog City Meet in San Francisco. At this meet they have just four events: 500 Free, 50, 100, 200 Free. But, what is cool about freestyle is that you can swim any event you want in a freestyle race. Many of us did that at this meet to prepare for the short course yard season. The absolute star of the meet had to be Marlon Woolf who took first in all three of his events – the 50, 100 and 200 free, setting lifetime bests and team records. Check out his times along with all the other Swymnuts. Congratulations to Kate Eby and Mimi Willard for their first swim meet as a Swymnut. It was great to cheer you on and watch you both race and swim so well. I took some videos and will see which ones I can upload to our team Facebook page.

2014 Fog City 012614

Jan 262014

Kate Eby traveled to San Francisco to swim in the meet hosted by the Olympic Club on 1-25-14. This meet consists of just one event, the grueling 1500m swim (short course meter pool). Kate did fantastic, holding very steady splits and coming out with a lifetime best Masters time, and team record, in her swim. While 29, in FINA rules for SCM and LCM meets, your age for those meets is how old you are at the end of the year (Dec 31st). So Kate bumped up into the 30-34 age group at this meet. Nice job Kate!

2014 TOC 1500 012514