March 9, 2018
You may now notice Long Course swim meets now available for registration on the team website. Please see below regarding any questions you may have about Long Course swim meets. PLEASE MAKE SURE TO SIGN UP FOR MEETS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE AS THESE MEETS FILL UP VERY QUICKLY!!!!
Summer Long Course FAQ
What is Long Course?
Long course is swum in 50 meter pools. This is the same size pool you see in the Olympics! The Long Course season lasts from April-July. Most meets during this time are contested in the 50 meter pool.
What's the difference between Long Course and Short Course (regular) swimming?
The pool is 50 meters long vs. the 25 yard short course pool. There distances of the races are still the same as the short course meets. 50 meter swims of Fly, Back, Breast, and Free are offered, as well as 100 meter and 200 meter lengths of each race. In fact, the 500 yard freestyle is replaced by the 400 meter freestyle (actually a shorter race!), and this occurs for the 1000 yard freestyle (800 meter) and 1650 yard freestyle (1500 meter). LONG COURSE DOES NOT MEAN LONG DISTANCE!!!!!
Can I still swim for my Summer League Team?
Yes, you can still swim for a summer league team, and most Long Course swimmers do. Long Course meets are on the weekend and should not conflict with most area summer league meets.
Do I have to go to all the days of the meets?
No, you choose your events and therefore you also control when and how much you swim. While many swimmers choose to swim both days of meets it is not required (same as short course season).
Do I have to swim the meets or can I just practice to stay in shape?
We encourage all of our Long Course swimmers to swim as many meets as possible, and encourage them to swim at least 1 meet and championships if they qualify.
The Benefits of Long Course Swimming
The biggie: long course swimming is straight-up tougher. You don’t need me to tell you that. For swimmers going from short course yards to long course meters the difference is even more profound. Without the walls to save you every dozenish or so strokes it forces you to maintain the rhythm, stroke length and stroke rate over more than double the distance.
Trains you for the big races
If you have aspirations of competing at the elite level of the sport at some point you will be racing in the long pool. This is unavoidable. Although training long course certainly isn’t a prerequisite of fast swimming—an example including backstroke great Aaron Piersol is detailed below—training long course can give you the confidence to swim fast. Here’s another way to think about long course swimming, the 50m pool is also the same one that the Olympics are competed at. If you want to swim against the Franklins, the Lochtes, and the Campbells, eventually you are going to have to step into the same pool they race in.
Exposes the weaknesses in your technique.
Short course swimming can help paper over technique flaws. When you have strong walls and underwaters you can hide the soft spots in your swimming with long underwaters. Consider that short course races can be performed up to 60% using underwater dolphin kicks , and you realize that the importance of swimming technique is diminished in the small pool compared to the long pool where only up to 30% of the race can be swum underwater. Butterfly races in particular get a whole lot tougher when the amount of arm-saving turns gets cut in half.
Gives you more time to really work on stroke
Long course swimming gives you longer opportunities to hold on to desired stroke corrections. I have always found that when trying to make stroke adjustments it requires a few stroke cycles to get into the rhythm of it. Whether it is doing regular old swimming or dropping some freestyle drills having the added length of the pool means that you latch onto the adjustment, and have a chance to drill it down a few times before you have to launch yourself into a flip-turn. A shortcoming of short course swimming is that seemingly a couple moments after you hit the rhythm and technique you want it is time to turn, forcing you to start over after another push off and streamline.
It’s a new challenge.
For most swim programs the long course training and racing season comes after six months of short course swimming. Switching to the big pool is an easy way to switch things up. Racing long course is different, and requires different strategy.
More pool space.
And now, probably my favorite aspect of long course training.
10 swimmers in a short course lane is a bubbling cauldron of arms and legs; the same ten swimmers in a long course lane suddenly feels like you have all the space in the world