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Castle High School NatatoriumWelcome to the Sea Creatures Masters Group


We are home from Tri-State Athletic Club and beginning our Short Course Season. It's that time again! It's time to plan out the year. As part of my trip to SwimFest '11, I set some goals for myself and the group. One of those goals was to decide how much structure to put on our group and I'm satisfied with where we ended up. Where is that? Funny you should ask...

Masters Group Open House

We had our Open House for current and prospective Masters Group swimmers in the Castle Natatorium Lobby on Tuesday, August 23 starting at 6:00 PM. We looked at the different training plans and asked questions for our short couse season. I was happy to see so many of you come out. Here are the details from the Open House. If you have any questions, email me.

Who are Masters Swimmers?

Anyone over the age of 18. Period. We are triathletes, people swimming for fitness, competitive swimmers, and people learning to swim. This is a picture of my dad. He isn't a Masters Swimmer, but he could be and so can you. Swimming is a sport you can keep for life. In our facility it doesn't matter how hot, cold, rainy, dry, snowy or sunny it is outside. The water is always near 80 degrees and the lights come on. Come on and swim!

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What does the Masters Group have to offer?

  • Adult Learn-to-Swim. If you have always wanted to learn to swim, we can help. Instruction is offered by adults, that are for adults in small group and private lessons. Next lessons begin 11/7/2011
  • Learn to Swim for Fitness. If you've been swimming for a while but, aren't sure if you have the skills to swim with a group, we offer classes that will prepare you to swim for fitness with the Masters Group. Learn the two basic fitness strokes, how to push off the wall, turn at the wall, use a pace clock, and more.
  • Swimming for Fitness. We can offer you professionally designed workouts that are more challenging and fun than swimming laps on your own. You receive help with strokes and support for your fitness goals.
  • Training for Triathlon. Bring your training group! Learn to swim efficiently, receive help with technique, use professionally designed workouts to improve your swim time.
  • Competitive Swimming. Are you interested in training in all four (4) strokes? Would it be fun to participate in meets again? We can support adult swimmers at all levels. Chances are we have someone you can train with.
  • Open Water Swimming. Are you interested in long-distance swimming? The kinds of distances runners usually talk about? Get help training for that 5K, 10K, or even 25K swim. Take advantage of our Open Water Saturdays when we clear the pool, drop the turn buoys, and swim long.

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How do I sign up to swim with the Masters Group?

You have to register in two (2) places; the first is our national organization, and the second is our local club.

1. U.S. Masters Swimming (www.usms.org). Our governing body provides us with a meet schedule, secondary insurance, a nice website with tons of information and tools, and coupons. You must register with these nice folks. The direct link for registration is www.usms.org/reg. USMS registration is by calendar year, January 1 to December 31.

2. Newburgh Sea Creatures (www.swimnsc.org), that's us. Our local club provides practice time during the week, knowledgable and friendly coaching/nagging, special clinics which are free to members, and a darn good time. The direct link for registration is not the same as for the kids, but it works - register for NSC.

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What are the fees for the Masters Group?

Your yearly U.S. Masters Swimming membership is $49, paid directly to them. If you join in the late summer/early fall, there is usually a discount to that membership.

The NSC Masters Group dues are only $30 per month. That includes coaching, ten or eleven practices per week, and any special clinics we may have.

Mary Jo

When does the Masters Group practice?

In general:

  • Monday  - Friday 5:00 AM - 7:00 AM
  • Monday -  Friday 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
  • Saturdays 10:00AM - 11:30 AM as scheduled

However, there may be some days practice is cancelled due to coach availability or facility scheduling. Make sure you check the practice calendar.

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Projects in the Works

The Pensacola Trip

We are going to take a team trip to Pensacola in May. I need something to keep my focus over the long winter and I'm taking my best swimming friends with me. 

Things I need from you:

  1. Commit to the event. Register for the 5K or 10K. There is also a FIN division. Here is the event website : http://www.3milebridgeswim.org/
  2. Let me know you did that by responding to the event on the Sea Creature home page.

Things I will do for you:

  1. Make arrangements. It looks like we can rent a 20-person house on the beach for $1200/day. If I can put 20 people in that house, that's $60/day/person. I'm looking for a little better rate, but that's a ball park. We'll eat breakfast and lunch at the house, so $10/day/person for food. Dinner will be on your own. Approximately $60/person for gas, assuming we go in our own vehicles. Driver(s) do not contribute to gas because we are thankful for the help. Figuring 4 days for the trip, driving down on Friday and coming back Monday, (60+10)*4 + 60 = Approximately $350/per person for the trip plus any incidental expenses and event registration.
  2. Give you a viable training plan to follow.
  3. When December comes and you don't want to come do the long swim on Saturday, I will remind you of how fun Florida will be.


Training Plan Details

If you didn't get to make it to the open house or you want to look at the training plans in detail, here are the google doc links and some extra descriptive text. You'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these documents.

This document describes what a typical swimmer would look like coming into each section of the program and then what goals and objectives I have for each group Goals and Objectives. To use this, look at the descriptions on the first page and decide which one comes closest to describing your current status. If you don't fit those descriptions exactly, that's okay. I sketched those out looking across everybody I'd seen this year. Then you can look at the next pages and see my goals for each group over the next year. Remember, the goal isn't to be exclusive but to match a training plan to you. Anything you don't know, we will be happy to teach.

As I look across the roster, I see five general kinds of participants.

  • Novice/beginners. A novice would have few swimming skills and starting at the beginning. A beginner would have rudimentary skills in 1-2 strokes, few/no skills in turns. Their primary focus is technique, and the secondary focus is conditioning. They would be in lessons 2 - 3 times/week and do not register with the Masters Group until they have completed the Learn to Swim for Fitness class.
  • Fitness. Fitness swimmers would be proficient in 1 - 4 strokes, may or may not have skills in turns, their primary focus is conditioning, secondary focus is technique. They may practice 3 - 4 times/week.
  • Triathletes. Triathletes may be proficient in 1-2 strokes, may or may not have skills in turns, their primary focus is technique and secondary focus is conditioning. They practice 2 - 3 times/week
  • Competitive. They generally have skills in 3 -4 strokes, have some skills in turns, and their primary focus is in improving technique and speed. They may or may not compete and will practice 3 - 5 times/week.
  • Open Water. Skills in: at least 2 strokes, turns. Their primary focus is technique and endurance, secondary focus is mental skills. They practice 4 - 6 times/week.

Here are the annual plans for each group:

Triathletes. If you are going to be mostly participating in tri's next summer, this is a good plan. The volume requirements are minimal and will suit you if you're training for a sprint, half or full Ironman. We can tailor your plan to fit your important competitions.

Fitness. If you are swimming to improve your fitness and don't have any particular competition plans, the fitness group might be a good spot. This plan won't peak and taper for any competitions, but will improve your fitness over time. You can still choose to go to meets and be fine, but it isn't the focus of your efforts.

Competitive. If you are looking forward to working in all four strokes and you want to attend meets, this plan builds and tapers for major competitions during Short Course and Long Course season. You don't have to compete, but if you're working this hard.... why not? If speed is your thing, this could be the plan for you.

Open Water Swimming. This will be the first year we train for the longer-distance open water swims. This plan features the higher volume necessary to complete and be comfortable swimming a 10K. It's mostly endurance- and strength-based with a taste of speed here and there. This plan is targeted to peak in time for the competition season starting with the Pensacola Bridge Swim, but  you should be able to enjoy open water swimming all summer with the base you'll build over the winter.

Questions I heard during the Open House:

Can I do meets even if I just do the Fitness /Triathlete/Open Water Plan?

Yes. You will have the technical skills to participate in meets, but probably in a limited list of events. We'll go ahead and teach starts for anybody who wants to learn. Watch the practice calendar for Starts Days. I am encouraging triathletes especially to enter the 800yd/m and 1650yd/1500m swims available throught the winter.

What if I want to do tri's over the summer but I'm training for the Pensacola trip?

It'll work. You'll be prepared to take on any distance swim. The triathlete plan lets those who only want to train for tri's get the maximum benefit for their event in the least amount of practices.

I'm going to be continuing my tri training over the winter, which will mean biking and running, so I won't have as much time for swimming. Can I still train for the Open Water/Pensacola trip?

It depends. There are several factors in play for those longer swims.

  • Aerobic Conditioning. If you're already putting in the volume on your bikes and runs, then you will probably be okay with 4-5 swims most weeks and 3 swims some weeks.
  • Swimming Strength. Strength is movement-specific. Gotta put the time in with the paddles and fins to be prepared to make the repetitive motions of freestyle for hours and hours.
  • Mental Game. There is something just odd about having your face down in the water and not communicating with other people for hours and hours. Therefore, there is no subsititute for the weekly long swims and completing the mental skills exercises.
  • There is no faking a 10K. Most experienced swimmers and triathletes with good swimming skills can muddle through a 5K, but there is no faking a 10K. If you are going to try the 10K, you have to put in the 30,000 yard weeks.

All that said, if you still have questions send me an email and we'll chat.

Can I start any time?

Some things, sure. You can start a Fitness plan any time because there are no event peaks. You could start the Triathlon plan anytime because the season is pretty far out. The Open Water plan you should begin as soon as possible, to catch the gentle build in volume. The Competitive Plan you could start anytime, but realize you won't have the benefit of the full season of preparation for meets and we'll have to make modifications for volume and intensity if you start it late enough in each season.

Do the practices assume I'll be there all 5 days?

No. The practices assume you'll be there for as many practices as are in your plan's guildlines.  Each week has a focus so we can pick and choose the workouts you'll do in each week.

Isn't this kind of complicated?

For you, ultimately no. You pick a plan that suits you, get the practice you need from the coach on deck when you come in. What this does is take the complexity we used to have on deck and moves it back to my office where it belongs.

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As always, if you have any questions feel free to email me at heather@swimnsc.com.

Updated 02/06/12