U .S. Masters Swimming offers a rich tapestry of physical, mental, and social benefits unique to adult sports. A regular swimming routine improves attitudes, reduces many health problems - including hypertension and diabetes - increases flexibility, and creates friendships. High -intensity swimming, particularly for older athletes, is now being recognized as a better source of cardiac protection than lon- ger, slower efforts. One of the best ways to simultaneously weave all these elements together is by competing in a swim meet. Each of the sensations, perceptions, and rewards of athletic competition are available to any- one who races, including USMS members with limited mobility When it comes to swimming diversity and inclusion, USMS is the kindest, gentlest organization. Our rule book allows for little-known stroke modifications in backstroke, stroke exceptions in butterfly, and in -water options for racing starts and relay finishes. For the benefit of our mobility -impaired athletes and for those new, and old, to the sport, we'll identify and illustrate each advantageous swim element available for use in meets.


STRATEGIC STARTS

Are you unable, unwilling, or afraid to use the starting blocks? Don't worry - you don't have to; diving off the blocks is completely optional. The forward start for freestyle, breaststroke, and but- terfly may be taken from either the starting block, the pool deck, or a push from the wall. When starting in the water, you must have at least one hand and one foot in contact with the wall. Remember to remain mo- tionless after the "Take your mark" command. You are permitted to face any direction when starting in the water, but you should be looking directly at the starting strobe light (1). Upon the starting signal, inhale quickly while moving your hand first and feet second. Recover the trailing arm overhead as in a free- style recovery and dive forward into a streamline position (2). From that point, the in -water start ends and the swimming race begins (3). Proceed next into the arm and leg sequence for whichever stroke you're racing.
 

 


REALISTIC RELAYS

Too tired after your relay to climb out? Swimmers who cannot exit the water quickly enough at the end of the first three legs of a relay race have the option to hold onto the lane line until all relays have finished, allowing them to exit the pool more slowly or via the ladder at the conclusion of the race. Just be sure to stay away from the touch pad on the wall.

ELEMENTARY BACKSTROKE

Did you know the following backstroke modifications are in place for all levels of swim competition, not just USMS? There are at least two allowable variations of this stroke. First, there is flutter kick with double arms. In this variation, your arms enter pinky first, outside shoulder width (1). Bend and straighten both arms simulta- neously while your legs provide continuous propulsion (2). Next is the whip (or frog) kick with double arms. The proper tim- ing of the pull/kick combination is critical here, as only one set of pulls is allowed per kick. Just as in the breaststroke, the timing is nearly binary. When the arms are on (providing propulsion), the legs are off. And when the legs are on (propulsive kicking), the arms are out of the way (3, 4). If you're racing outdoors and you want your arms to stay warmer, try the double arm stroke. In this variation, your arms will be submerged longer.

  

FUNCTIONAL FLY

Congratulations! You've read far enough to uncover the best -kept secret of Masters Swimming—one that could change your swimming career. So what's this special knowl- edge? Only USMS rules allow the breaststroke kick during a butterfly swim. It may be used exclusively or interchangeably with the dolphin kick while doing the butterfly at any time during a race. However, just as in breaststroke, only one kick is permitted per arm pull. In addition, after the start and after each turn, a single breaststroke kick is permitted prior to the first arm pull. Picture that, and now imagine what a 200 fly race would feel like with some strategically placed breaststroke kicks. Peter Guadagni. recent national champion in the 200 butterfly. supports this option, saying, "Many 00 55 who swim the 200 fly have experienced the 'going vertical' phenomenon. This can happen during the last 50 when you find it difficult Ingot your arms out of the water and your feet sink. The breaststroke kick can provide enough power to keep your body horizontal and help you get your head out of the water to breathe." The technique is the same as single -kick butterfly. The arms complete a normal fly motion above (I) and below (2) the water. For the kick, just turn your toes out instead of pointing them (3) Make your kick small and fast. The timing is not very difficult. Just as in breaststroke, try to keep the arm and leg motions independent of each other. Complete your submerged arm motion with your legs in streamline (4) As you recover over the water, initiate the heel recovery toward your buttocks (5) to that your kick forces your body forward into a full-length streamline position (0) If you've avoided swim meets because you didn't think you could manage diving or certain strokes, try these modifica- tions and give yourself a chance to become an even bigger part of the USMS community. And remember, if you have a disability, please know that USMS rules (see article 103.6.9 of the 2016 Rule Book) grant the meet referee the authority to modify rules for swimmers with a permanent physical or cognitive disability.

 
 

 

 

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