Sunday, March 27, 2011

What to do when workouts get "Cozy"

UPDATE! 30 swimmers on Saturday, March 26!
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WOW! During the month of November we reached a new milestone at the Santa Barbara YMCA pool, with 29 swimmers in the water for what would be termed as a “cozy” workout…CONGRATULATIONS, THAT’S A NEW RECORD! It’s exciting to see all the new and returning swimmers joining us for workouts, and with our numbers on the rise, it’s likely you’ll see faces you haven’t seen before. Please take a few moments to introduce yourself to your fellow lane partners…swimming is a lot more fun when you get to know the face that belongs to the feet you may be following =)

As our Master’s Swimming program continues to grow, the one and only drawback I’m sure everyone will notice is that the workouts may get a bit crowded at times, and the water conditions may be somewhat more choppy than what we’re normally use to. There is also a good chance you’ll get bumped every once in a while, as well as do your fair share of bumping…all the more reason of getting to know those in your lane. Although there’s not too much we can do about the choppy water, we can minimize the minor bumps and collisions common in all swimming workout settings by keeping in mind the following “DO’s & DON’TS OF CROWDED POOL WORKOUT SWIMMING”:

DO swim in a counter clockwise circle pattern at all times, and stay as close to the lane line as comfortably possible. Kind of like driving a car...stay on the right side of the little black line.

DO push off the wall on open and flip turns in a direction that will get you back over to the right side of the lane quickly.

DO swim with high arms and elbows (always practice good technique!).

DO be aware of the location and speeds of all the swimmers in your lane, and place yourself in the rotation accordingly.  Let others pass if you see them making the attempt.  Swim at a speed and stroke consistent with others in your lane. In other words, if others in your lane are doing a choice swim, it is not going to help with the lane flow by making your choice kick-only.

DON'T pass others in mid length while swimming. This can be VERY DANGEROUS! It is much safer to pass at the walls, or cut at the flags.

DON'T TAILGATE!  Remain a few feet behind the swimmer in front of you unless attempting to pass. If you wish to pass, gently tap on the foot of the swimmer in front to let him/her know you would like to pass. NOTE: If someone taps your foot, please do not use this as a signal to swim faster. Let the person pass…and then pick up the pace so that you can then tap on their feet =)

DON'T block or impede other swimmers by stopping in the middle of the lane during a set. Allow all swimmers in your lane to start and finish strong. If you must stop, move as close to the lane line as possible to allow others to go by.

Finally, DON’T get upset if someone should accidentally bump into you while swimming, this kind of thing can be expected to happen every once in a while regardless of there being 2 people in the lane, or 6. GO

GO WITH THE FLOW!...rarely do injuries result from these minor collisions, and in most cases swimmers are able to continue swimming without even breaking stroke. Whoever said swimming wasn’t a contact sport, never swam in a Master’s Swimming workout – Take it in stride!

Developing a little WATER AWARENESS goes a long ways in ensuring an acceptable comfort level during crowded workout conditions. However, this is not to say that with this experience, we are now going to start packing in the swimmers. In general, to ensure that a quality workout level is maintained for our swimmers, the maximum number per lane in most cases is about 6 for a 25-yard pool (plus or minus 1 or 2 depending on the type of workout).

Although it is very exciting to see so many people interested in swimming in our program, our goal will never be to see how many sardines/swimmers we can squeeze into the pool at the same time. Rather, our goal is to do everything we can to provide an optimal swimming experience for everyone joining us in the water. From the athlete swimming with us for the first time, to those participating at an elite level of competition, you'll feel right at home as part of the CIM swimming family.

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