Tag: pool

One Hour Postal Swim!

Hey swimmers, it’s time for another Postal Swim! Seattle Athletic Club Downtown is hosting their annual One Hour Postal Swim (OHP) on January 29th.

  1. *Swim as far as you can in one hour
  2. *No need to count laps (someone else does that for you)
  3. *Submit your laps and splits to USMS (United States Masters Swimming)

Training tips:

  • *Gradually increase overall yardage in a session. Approx 10-20% based on the amount you have been swimming.
  • *Gradually increase overall yardage in a week. Approx 5-10%
  • *Get in 1-3 sessions totaling your estimated yardage you have set out to reach in the hour.
  • *Frequency is more important over total volume in a session so swim often. 4×15-30 minute sessions are better than 1 session at 1 or 2 hours.
  • *Join in on a swim conditioning class at Seattle Athletic Club to mix up your routine and to meet fellow OHP swimmers.

Rules and Regulations here: www.usms.org

Contact Teresa Nelson at tnelson@sacdt.com to sign up.

Swimmer’s basic guide to understanding and avoiding hyperventilation and panic

The most common problem I find with novice and intermediate swimmers is anxiety about breathing. Whether this anxiety is a defining issue based on fear of the water, or a condition triggered by specific situations, the resulting hyperventilation can be a serious issue. In the moment, our brain and body get tricked into believing we need more air when we actually need to exhale more air.

What is Hyperventilation? The condition—a chemical imbalance between oxygen and carbon dioxide—results from having too much oxygen in our system and not enough carbon dioxide (which is a crucial vasodilator, or blood vessel dilator). When we over-inhale, we limit or prohibit transportation of O2 to the soft tissues, causing a sensation of severe restriction through our lungs and muscles. This is when we can misinterpret the distress signals: We feel like we need to breathe in as much oxygen as possible but, since exactly the opposite is true, that only exacerbates the problem. Our body is really telling us to calm down and exhale. This conundrum is even more exaggerated in the water, a medium that is foreign to our body’s preferred land/air environments. It creates anxiety which can give way to panic. Panic and swimming do not mix!

Swimmers who have not mastered breathing throughout their swim cycle (including: distance, sprints, turns and push-offs) are vulnerable to hyperventilation. The signals are pretty clear:

  • A sense of needing more air
  • A sense of tightness or constriction in the chest, shoulders, arms and legs
  • Colors darkening

Here’s what to do if you experience the type of breathing distress described above:

  • Force yourself to exhale slowly and easily (stop swimming if you need to)
  • Coach yourself to inhale in a light effortless manner (like a musician does when taking a breath before playing or singing the next phrase) and exhale at least two beats longer than your inhale.

Finally, here are some suggestions on how to avoid hyperventilation:

  • Make it a habit to always exhale through your nose in a controlled manner while inhaling quickly and effortlessly through the mouth.
  • Make it habit that your inhale/exhale ratio is at 1:2 or better.
  • While breathing for freestyle:
    • Focus on rotating your face out of the water from the chin rather than the forehead
    • Look slightly behind you to keep your neck aligned correctly.
    • Only allow yourself time to inhale while your face is out of the water, all exhaling should happen in the water.
    • Practice alternate breathing patterns (every third, fifth or seventh stroke)

If you think that you may need some help with breathing in the pool or just want someone to take a look at your breathing mechanics please contact Personal Fitness Trainer and Swim Coach Nathan Palmer.

Maximizing Your Swim Workouts – Learning the Coach’s Lingo

Understanding swim lingo can be a challenge. In some cases it’s similar to learning a new language. Instead of spending your quality workout time with your feet on the pool floor we’ve assembled a “user manual” to help guide you to more swimming and less interpreting of a written workout that may be posted.

  • S: Swim-Typically most swimmers resort to “freestyle” or “crawl” stroke during this, but swim truly means swim, just move through the water.
  • P: Pull-arms only (add a pull bouy in between your legs, paddles are used here too IF written in th workout)
  • K: Kick-legs only (with a kick board, with fins, with zoomers, without kick board, so many options)
  • OTF: Other than freestyle
  • DPS: Distance per stroke: getting as much “length” with each arm stroke
  • Drill: There are lots of drills to choose from, choose the ones that would benefit your stroke the best. Just think of the crazy movements your coach has you do all the time.
  • I.M.: Individual Medley: This consists of all four strokes in the order of fly, back, breast, and freestyle.
  • F: fly
  • B: backstroke
  • BR: breaststroke
  • FR: freestyle
  • Descend: Get faster on each one
  • Descend within the distance: Get faster within
  • Bilateral Breathing: Alternating sides that the breath is taken on. This would mean taking a breath on “odd” numbers of strokes. Three, five and seven are most common.
  • Length of a pool: Pools are typically 25 yards, 25 meters, or 50 meters (SAC is 20 yards).
  • Length: One way down, ending up on the opposite end of where you started.
  • Lap: Down and back in the pool, ending up where you started
  • How many laps for a mile: 1650 yards (66 lengths OR 33 laps in a 25 yard pool); 1500 meters (60 lengths OR 30 laps in a 25 meter pool); 1500 meters (30 lengths OR 15 laps in a 50 meter pool). Seattle Athletic Club Downtown is a 20 yard pool. One mile: 1650 yards (just shy of 82 lengths OR 41 laps).

Swim sets defined:
10X50 “on” 1:00
Defined: You start a 50 every minute and repeat 10 times. This includes your REST period.
If you swim the 50 in :45 seconds you get :15 seconds rest.
If you swim the 50 in :55 seconds you get 5 seconds rest.

10X50 with :10 seconds rest
Defined: You swim 50 yards and take :10 seconds to rest and then do it again. Repeat this 10 times.

Descending sets:
5X100 descend :10 sec rest
Defined: Get faster on “each” 100.
Ie: First 100 1:45,
Second 100: 1:40
3rd 100 1:35
4th 100 1:30
5th 100 1:25
*all with 10 second rest after each one
*This is an example of descending by 5 second per 100.
*The first on is slow and the last one is fast.

5X100 descend within the 100 with :10 sec rest
Defined: Getting faster “within” each 100. The first 25 yards is slow, the middle two get progressively faster and the last 25 is FAST. There is 10 seconds rest after each 100.

5X75 going 25 drill/50 swim with :10 sec rest
Defined: The first 25 of each 75 is a “drill” of your choice unless specified, the last 50 is regular swim. There is a :10 sec rest period after each 75.

If you have any questions on your swim workouts or need some variety in your training or even a lesson. Please contact Aquatic Director/Multisport Coach Teresa Nelson.

Chlorine vs. Bromine in Pools and Spas

Water-recreation facilities are a real boon to any athletic club. From providing a hot, relaxing soak after a workout to enabling competition-level training, pools and spas round out the options at your favorite gym. While the use and enjoyment of these facilities should be easy and care-free, there are several aspects to the maintenance and operation of a pool or spa that are critical to bather health and wellness. The purpose of this article is to address the importance of sanitizer in the water, and to discuss the differences between the two most commonly used sanitizers, chlorine and bromine.

Sanitizer, for the purposes of pool and spa chemistry, is any chemical that kills or inactivates germs, viruses and bacteria in the water. Proper maintenance of sanitizer levels is how you avoid catching the cold that the other person in the spa with you has. Chlorine and bromine belong to a class of chemicals called halogens, which work by forming acids in the water that attack and kill microscopic water-borne organisms. As the sanitizers do their work, they become gradually less effective, necessitating the constant renewal of their levels in the pool or spa water. As the water undergoes this cycle of sanitization and renewal, there are some differences between the way chlorine and bromine interact with the water chemistry.

While the chemical reactions can be fairly complex, the end result is simple: properly maintained, sanitizer in a pool or spa creates a hygienic bathing environment. For the user of a water-recreation facility, there are very few noticeable differences between chlorine and bromine. One of the biggest differences is odor. As chlorine becomes “dirty” by binding to contaminants and organisms, it produces the distinctive chlorine smell that many people associate with public pools. Contrary to intuition, being able to smell the chlorine is not an indication that a pool is highly sanitized; in fact it is a good sign that the levels may need adjustment. A properly maintained chlorine-sanitized pool will have little to no chlorine smell, as the form of chlorine that does the work has no odor.

Bromine, on the other hand, has very little odor even when “dirty,” this is one reason why it is often preferred for spas, where the concentrations of contaminants can be much higher. What odor bromine does have, however, is much harder to shower off. Bromine is also more complicated to use, requiring additional chemical processes to maintain its effectiveness. For this reason, it is more costly to operate and maintain a bromine-sanitized pool or spa.

Most frequent users of water-recreation facilities have experienced a rash at some point after bathing, particularly individuals that use a number of differently maintained facilities. This has led many bathers to speculate upon possible chlorine/bromine allergies or reactions. The truth is that, while some individuals are especially sensitive to chemical irritants, actual allergies to halogens are extremely rare. The vast majority of rashes that develop after use of a pool or spa are a skin condition called folliculitus, caused by a variety of Psudomonas bacteria. This results from improper maintenance of sanitizer levels in the water, and the particular type of sanitizer used has no bearing on whether a rash develops. If you should ever develop a skin condition after using a pool or spa, notify the facility’s operator.

At the Seattle Athletic Club, we use chlorine exclusively to sanitize our pool and spas. The primary reason that we use this method is simplicity: with fewer chemical reactions to undergo and less equipment to fail, it is comparatively easy to ensure that safe sanitizer levels are maintained at all times.

While there is more risk of developing a noticeable odor with chlorine, we feel that the advantages over bromine outweigh this potential pitfall. Additionally, as mentioned above, chlorine does not produce much smell when the levels are maintained correctly, and the daily attention paid to our pool and spas by the Facilities staff is more than adequate to prevent a buildup of the “dirty,” smelly type of chlorine.

In summary, selection of a sanitizer is a choice that must take into account many factors, not all of which are detailed in this article. The end result for the bather should be the same regardless of which chemical is used: a safe, hygienic bathing experience. The real key to a clean, odor-free pool is diligent attention by trained, certified and knowledgeable staff.