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by Linda Shoenberger

March 1, 2010

Tips for the check-off challenge

Once upon a time there was a swimmer who didn’t want to compete in swim competitions. She just wanted to do fitness swimming and enjoy the camaraderie of a USMS workout group.

But she also wanted to swim all the pool races offered in USMS competition. She couldn’t imagine herself racing the 200 butterfly in front of a bunch of other swimmers, coaches and spectators. But she could imagine herself swimming the 200 butterfly in practice at a leisurely pace without the pressure of being at a swim meet.

The 400 IM sounded intimidating but she thought she could do it. She knew she could do the 50 freestyle, the 50 breaststroke, the 50 backstroke and the 50 fly. The 100 free, breast and back were easily within her capabilities.

So one day her very creative and astute coach said, “Hey gang, let’s try the CHECK OFF CHALLENGE!”

So they all went to the USMS website and signed up for the CHECK OFF CHALLENGE at

Each practice the coach incorporated one of the events in the CHECK OFF CHALLENGE in the daily workout.  The swimmer was delighted.  She did not have to compete in front of anybody.  She could swim each event and succeed all by herself.

Her coach was happy to give the team an interesting challenge and watch their delight and success at the same time.

And then they all went out to pizza together on a Saturday night and lived happily ever after.


How to Sign Up?

The CHECK-OFF CHALLENGE is designed to motivate swimmers to complete 18 “pool” events and an "open water swim" during the 2010 calendar year. It challenges all levels of swimmers. Novice swimmers can swim new events. Experienced swimmers can try for their personal best times in as many events as practical. Simply “Check-off” each swim on your t-shirt when you complete the event.

Where and when do I accomplish the Check-Off Challenge?

The events may be swum in practice or in meets, in yards or in meters, any time during 2010. The challenge is to complete all events or try new events. COACHES: Sign up your entire team and use the event as a team challenge. Spread out the events over a period of time during practice sessions, progressively building up to the tougher events. The entire team can work together, completing all of the events. The event is open to all registered USMS members. Enter by filling out the entry form or enter online.

How do I score the Check-Off Challenge?

“Scoring” is simple – just mark the event on the "BINGO" card on the t-shirt.

When do I receive my T-shirt?

Entry deadlines are: Jan 31 for shirt delivery in Feb, Mar 31 for shirt delivery in Apr, May 31 for shirt delivery in June and July 31 for shirt delivery in Aug.

If you miss the entry deadline and are still interested in purchasing a shirt, or have other questions, email Jean Blackburn.