Friday, June 03, 2011

USMS SwimFest 11

I know, I know, it's been a really long time. Quick update: I'm still trying to learn a good butterfly stroke. I'm definitely getting faster. I survived Coach Katie's spring training, and now we're onto summer practices with Coach Erica. The outdoor pool is open for the season, and I'm one happy swimmer. I just REALLY enjoy swimming outside. Give me the sun anyday! I did have one bump in the way. I was sick for nearly 3 weeks in early May with pleurisy. Talk about wiping you out! I still haven't gotten all my endurance back, but I'm working on it. The puppies are all happy and healthy, and their blog is growing by leaps and bounds. They get more mail than Casey and I do!!

I had a GREAT opportunity come my way in May. The club paid for me to go to USMS SwimFest 11. It was held this year in Jonesboro, GA. Not a bad drive from home, at all. Anyway, this is the first USMS clinic that I've ever been to, and I was unsure of what to expect. Well, it was everything I had hoped and more.

The early morning was spent in classroom sessions. We had the "History of Swimming" with Coach Bobby Patten. Then we went to "There's a Drill for That", where we broke down stroke flaws and identified drills to correct the problem with Coach Cokie Lepenski. The next session was all about dryland work. It was held by a physical therapist named Alan Tyson. Dr. Tyson has worked with Cullen Jones and Mark Gangloff. He focuses on making you more flexible to achieve better form in the water, which in turn makes you faster, without needing more strength. Just the few little tweaks and tricks that he demonstrated made a huge difference. He is certifying folks in this method. For more info, go to

About mid morning we started our pool portion of the day. First we went to video taping. We were allowed to tape 3 strokes (they all could be the same, if there was something we really wanted to work on). Upon exiting the pool, we sat down with one of the top coaches to have our strokes analyzed and forms filled out with suggestions. I really lucked up. I was analyzed by Cokie Lepenski. She holds the titles of Kerry O'Brien Coaching Award and the 2011 Pacific Masters Coach of the Year Award. I chose to do a freestyle stroke and two backstroke. This was the first time that I've been taped, and I was pleasantly suprised that they didn't have much for me to improve on either stroke. In fact, I received a fabulous compliment from Cokie. She told me that I have one of the prettiest backstrokes that she's ever seen. Talk about feeling over the moon for the rest of the day!! I just wish we could have gotten copies of our videos.

After the videotaping, we moved onto FINIS equipment testing. We got to test out some of their very best products. It was SOOO much fun! I love swim equipment! On the day's list was the: Tempo Trainer, Forearm Fulcrums, Foil Monofins, Z2 Gold Zoomers, Bolster Paddles, the Tech Toc, Alignment Kickboards, and my personal favorite the Swimp3 Player. I really enjoyed testing all the different equipment. It was interesting to see what worked for me and what didn't. My favorites were the Z2 Gold Zoomer, the Foil Monofin, the Tempo Trainer, and the Swimp3 Player. After the testing was over, we had the choice of buying any of the equipment for half price. I went home with my shiny Swimp3 Player for half price!! I've already gotten a lot of use out of it. I was also THRILLED, when I realized that we had a set of Forearm Fulcrums and a Tempo Trainer to take home in goodie bags! I'm planning on ordering the Zoomers soon too!

After the testing session, we broke for lunch. They had lunch catered in and it was yummy! The planners had kept us well plied with snacks and drinks all day long. There was even a session on Open Water and Distance Swimming, while we ate. I'm not into open water, but it was interesting to hear all the tips and tricks.

The afternoon session, we were back in the pool. It was the time for all swimmers and coaches for all strokes and drills. The coaches led us in each stroke and had drills for each part of the stroke. It was really interesting with that many swimmers in the water, but we got it done!

It was a great weekend, and I sure hope that I'm able to go next year! Here a some shots of the day!

Me during the drill portion of the day.

Coach katie (She's on the right with the auburn hair and glasses)and the rest of the coaches helping during the drill portion.

A side view of a portion of the coaches and swimmers. Me, Katie, and Erica were the last ones on the left.

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