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by Elaine K Howley

December 10, 2020

Meet two swimmers who overcame challenges to complete all three SmartyPants Vitamins USMS Fitness Series events

The coronavirus pandemic has made 2020 one of the worst years ever. But some dedicated Masters swimmers were able to roll with the punches and keep up their fitness routines and training plans despite pool closures.

Here are two swimmers who completed all three events in the SmartyPants Vitamins USMS Fitness Series, a 30-minute swim in February, a 2K swim in July (or 30-minute dryland workout), and a 1-mile swim in November (or 30-minute dryland workout).

Working Toward a Goal

Kim Davis needed some help with her fitness goals in 2020.

Although she has several pools near her home, she doesn’t have many Masters clubs she can train with. Not having a structured workout led by a coach made establishing a workout routine, especially during the pandemic, difficult.

She found her solution with the USMS coach–written workouts available to all people who register for the Fitness Series, a six-week training plan to prepare them for each event.

“I love that when you join, you get so much access to workouts,” says Davis, an unattached member within the New England LMSC. “I can download a schedule of 12 weeks of workouts—I usually swim twice a week—and then I’ve got my plan.”

She took her workouts to the pool and followed them, so even though she’s swimming on her own, it’s like she’s got a Masters coach right there, guiding her along.

Those workouts helped her reestablish a habit of regular swimming.

“In order to get stronger as a swimmer, I know I need to do IM and I need to do intervals and all of that,” she said. “And that’s what drew me back to the Fitness Series.”

She’s working hard to get her mile time back under 25 minutes, and the Fitness Series provided some interim goals and checkpoints to help her gauge her progress and keep going. When she learned about the series, she knew it was perfect for her.

“You can attack the year, and there’s something to look forward to,” Davis says. “Even if I fall off the wagon with disciplined swims, I can get back on quickly.”

Pushing Himself

After quitting swimming at age 18, Harold Yount began working and spent much of his days seated. He found his way back into the water in 2012 for health and fitness and loved it so much that he started his own Masters program at his local Y last August.

The group was thriving, but then the pandemic hit in March and his group lost access to the water, taking the wind out of his club’s sails. Even booking a time for himself to swim at the pool regularly became difficult.

During the periods when he wasn’t able to swim, Yount took up running and encouraged his teammates to find a dryland alternative that would keep them moving on the same schedule as their previous swimming workouts had. When he could access the water, Yount used the Fitness Series to help him focus and get back in shape.

“The challenges became my goals,” says Young, a member of North Carolina Masters Swimming. “I said to myself, ‘OK, you’ve got to get back in shape between now and July to get the 2K swim in.’”

He’ll carry that philosophy into 2021 and beyond.

“I’ll keep doing the challenges and working on getting back to swimming four days a week,” he says. “It gives you something to push yourself over and achieve for the year. It pushes you to push yourself more than just a 1-mile swim.”


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