Article image

by Ali Hall

May 1, 2010

Stories of growth in fitness swimming

From Pacific Masters to Maryland Masters, from Federal Way to Wisconsin and New York, USMS athletes are participating like never before in swimming for their fitness. Here’s a bouquet of postcards from around USMS, letting us know that fitness is springing up all over:

Go The Distance (GTD) already boasts over 1,700 participants with a cumulative total of 124,500 miles for 2010, and it’s blossoming monthly. Participants can earn cool Nike Swim Awards and have the intrinsic satisfaction of seeing their yardage pile up into fitness.

One hundred seventeen swimmers are already making their way through the Check-off Challenge. Writing from Federal Way Kings, Jean Blackburn reports on the Bingo Swimming Party her team held to celebrate and document their efforts with the Challenge. Teammates swam together for an hour to an hour and a half and completed all their events aside from the 1000 and 1650 free distances. Then, they happily filled in their t-shirts. Here are some photos.

And, in the latest SWIMMER magazine, we learned about Gold Coast Masters’ accomplishment, swimming all the events in one workout of less than two hours. For some, the secret was getting the 400 IM and 200 fly checked off early.

Lisa Baumann writes in from New York’s Aquafit Masters about their Metro Workout Challenge and Spring Fling. Here’s their Special Event video clip and Photo Gallery (do check out their Biggest Loser contest):

Stacey Kiefer reports on the Wisconsin Water Warriors: “With much thanks to several Wisconsin-based athletic facilities, this year’s Wisconsin Water Warrior two-week swimming yardage contest made history. Smashing past participant numbers with a total of 149 swimmers, this was the first year the contest has ever capped 100 participants, and by a considerable number. The 85 women and 64 men consisting of only 41 registered USMS members completed a grand total of 2,626,708 yards. Awards will be given to the winners of each age group at the upcoming WI state meet.”

Dave Corriea of the Pacific Masters Fremont-Glenmoor group is marveling over his team, that’s grown from one (him) to 50 regulars in just 6 years. He’s also impressed that some members have lost over 40 pounds, and went from swimming a few laps every now and then to putting in 2000-4000 yards during the One Hour Postal Championship.

“I wanna swim like Laureen Welting! And Debbie Santos, and Lisa Ward, and Kerry O’Brien and …!” Well, that’s really out of reach for most of us, but at least we can get incredible coaching from such amazing swimmers. The Walnut Creek Intensive Swim Camp just wrapped up another successful year for 50 hardy souls that chose to dedicate two and half days, under heavy scrutiny, to moving through the water with a little less resistance. “Where’s your streamline!?” was the take-way message. Never did a swimmer reach the wall without some feedback. Well, just once, actually. The right arm crossed over (AGAIN!) and the swimmer looked up from the wall, waiting to be chastised. Silence. Off the hook. Coach Laureen was taking a 5-second yogurt break. No matter, the swimmer knew better. Message internalized.

For Walnut Creek Masters, the fun doesn’t stop when the Intensive Swim Camp ends. All day long, in the beautiful northern California sun, their swimmers are tracking yards (lots of them) for their swimming version of March Madness.

And, in Maryland, the Chesapeake Lighthouse Challenge is in full swing, with more than 70 swimmers each logging yardage toward a 190+ mile one way virtual swim from lighthouse to lighthouse in the Chesapeake Bay.