Seattle Swim tip: Step 3 of 5 to a flip turn

Keep working at it!

Another step, 3rd of 5 in our sequence of learning a tight, efficient flip turn for pool training. Help us recruit a swimmer for next September. See you in the water.

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Why Mary Patterson swims – Seattle U Masters

Mary is a swimmer and coach for any season. She will be leading the Seattle U Masters team charge at Seattle Swim 2012!

Health, Fun and Friendships:

I started swimming at the young age of four, following in the footsteps of my father, a competitive swimmer.  For me, swimming was a social and competitive activity.  After I finished my years of competitive swimming, I found that getting back in the pool was a great reason to connect with friends as well as a way to stay healthy.  I have made swimming a healthy habit for life.

My favorite moments spent in the pool have been with my father and my very best friend and twin sister, Genevieve. Summers home from college, winter and spring breaks as well as today,  we love to joke, laugh and swim together.  Swimming has created the opportunity for a lifelong passion and friendships. That is why I swim, to continue a great relationship with my very best friend and my dad!

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Seattle Swim tip: Step 2 of 5 to learn a flip turn

Just take it one step at a time.

Hi Everyone!  Here is the 2nd installment of the 5 step series to learn a flip turn for all of you winter pool swimmers out there.  See you in the water.

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Swimming lowers blood pressure

Lowering her blood pressure with every stroke

Good news for our Seattle Swim participants. Swimming lowers older adults’ blood pressure. Read more.

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Why Susan Mayfield swims

Susan Mayfield is founding board member of Seattle Swim. Her son Caden is also a veteran, a half-miler from last year's event!

When I was 5 years old my Dad put me and my two siblings in swimming lessons.  He planned to buy a boat but wanted his kids to be water safe beforehand.  Years later he found himself with three competitive swimmers but no boat!  Swimming became a family endeavor.  We spent many long weekends at swim meets — traveling across the state and country together.  It was our identity and what our family did.

Not one for socializing in the stands at these swim meets, my Dad decided to become a swimming official.  He started out being a stroke and turn judge and moved up the ranks with experience.  He eventually became a well known starter at local meets and on the National circuit.  Being British – he had a very distinctive voice, and he was known as the starter who would say “TAKE YOUR MARK”  (picture MARK being pronounced more like “MORK”!).

My Dad was a huge proponent of swimming.  He would talk about how it brought people together for a common good and created a strong sense of community.  And he was right.  My Dad passed away 10 years ago from stomach cancer.  I swim now because he instilled a lifestyle of not only swimming but general fitness in me.  I took many years away from the sport after years of training and competing.  But now I swim on a regular basis.  Being in the pool and in the open water bring such a sense of familiarity and comfort.  I love it – and it reminds me of my Dad.

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Seattle Swim tip: Step 1 of 5 to a flip turn

Step 1: Understanding it's not as hard as it looks!

Many of us at Seattle Swim, definitely including yours truly, didn’t grow up on a swim team.  So as we have taken to swimming in our adult years for fitness or a new challenge, we may not have learned some of the basics.

Over the past year, I have worked a lot on a flip turn. We all know its not necessary to do one in the open water in September as we are out there getting it done to fight cancer. But its winter folks, and many of us don’t just swim a few times a year in preparation for Seattle Swim. We like to get in the pool once or a few times per week to stretch, get the old heart rate up, and gain strength all at once.

Speaking for myself, developing an efficient flip turn is one of those little items that makes pool training more enjoyable and allows me to focus more on my strokes and workout, not just turning around every lap.  In that spirit, we bring you the 1st of a 5 step series on a developing a great flip turn from scratch.  Enjoy, and we’ll see you in the water!

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Why we swim – Team TBD captains

Team TBD captains Kirsti, Kristi, & Noel: Seattle Swim 3-year veterans all

Why do we swim?

After a number of years out of the pool, it wasn’t exactly easy getting back in. Thinking about getting to the pool, dragging ourselves through a workout, then driving home solo seemed like an awful lot of work, and an awful lot of time that could be spent doing so many other things … it seemed there was always something else that needed doing.

Thankfully we ran into each other, literally, one day on the street. We had been old swimming buddies who hadn’t seen each other in 10 years. We began swimming together once a week, sharing funny stories about our kids, family, and work on the way to and from swimming, laughing our way through workouts, and knowing that we could set our own pace during the workouts made these evening swims something that we began to look forward to each week.

After a few years, a “friend of a friend”, who was new to Seattle, was introduced to us as someone who “liked to swim”.  Little did we know that she would join us for years to come, most often being the one to bring great workouts and really push us. Over the years, we have continued to add to our little circle of swimmers.

We now swim in a number of different pools, and schedules seem to change every week. But it seems that if one of us really can’t find the motivation, and if we really have a million other things we should be doing, there is always someone willing to meet you for a swim and to motivate you. And swimming socially has really become our “swim of choice” as we feel so fortunate to have connected with such a great group of swimmers, swimmers of all different skill levels and backgrounds, whom we now call dear friends.

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Swim tip: freestyle flutter kick

Freestyle flutter kick technique

Since the majority of our event’s swimmers cover the Lake Washington distances of Seattle Swim with freestyle, we will shade our swim tips towards that stroke.

Never fear, however, as we will change it up just like you may want to in order to keep your training interesting.

In terms of freestyle, here is a swim tip video focused on improving your flutter kick.  I certainly learned something. Enjoy!  See you in the water.

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The winter workout

We have a good crew of 7-8 swimmers at a local pool that get up rather early to swim 3-4 mornings per week.  Roughly half are Seattle Swim veterans of our team including one of the founders of the event. The rest we plan to recruit this year, even if they don’t yet know it.

Here was the view of the sunrise over the Cascades after our workout this morning. Kinda made me feel like writing a post.

I was never a competitive swimmer, but since being recruited for my first Seattle Swim three years back, I have been slowly sucked into really enjoying the training and health benefits year-round. I really look forward to seeing folks in the morning, getting in a great workout, and having a clear head for the day. I have become a lot better swimmer and in better shape generally in the process. Much of this is thanks to Seattle Swim.

Thanks for the commitment, all you swimmers out there. I know it’s February, but start thinking about scaring up a team or registering individually for 2012. Sure it’s winter, but we’ll see you in the water.

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Happy 25th, Swim Across America!

Although our Seattle Swim is only headed into it’s 4th season, our parent organization is getting a few grey hairs.  Oh, and along with that grey comes $40m raised to fight cancer.  What an achievement!  A note from the website below, but check out the 25th Anniversary Video if you want to get pumped!

Each of you is making a difference!

Each of us has loved someone diagnosed with cancer, and we have seen family and friends battle its ravaging effects. Now, we pour our hearts into finding a cure. We are extremely proud to announce that, to date, Swim Across America has generated over $40 million towards the research, treatment and prevention of cancer… And we’ve achieved this by banding together and swimming across our nation’s beautiful open waters and pools.

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SeattleSwim tip: breaststroke drag

Nice tip on reducing drag easily

For all of you breaststrokers out there hitting the pool this winter, here is a tip of the week video on reducing breaststroke drag from your head position.  Enjoy!

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Team effort – a heartfelt thank you

Hello All – I am writing all of you who sponsored me, as well as my team members themselves, in the Seattle Swim 2011 race.  I really appreciate your collective support this year.

Teams are fun, teamwork is better

Since I have never been a competitive swimmer, I will have to fall back to a different sports analogy.  A long time ago for a single brief quarter in college, I rowed.  I don’t profess to be a rower, as there are some on this email list who would take offense because they put in the time for 4 years or more (most especially my wife).  But I learned something about the sport and came to appreciate its nuances in at least some small way that fall quarter on the Connecticut River near Hanover, NH.

As in life, much of the time in the 8 person shell is spent without all 8 oars and the associated rowers working together.  One oar is hitting the water early, a few are coming out late, and the boat moves disjointedly along its path, tipping side to side to the frustration of everyone.  And then sometimes you personally “catch a crab”, where the entire boat with all its momentum torques around an oar pinned to your own rib cage, knocking the wind out of you or worse.  We all know what that feels like in different ways.  But you get up each morning keep at it, day after day, for a very few special times when everything is in sync, when everyone is working together, where on each perfectly timed stroke you can feel that boat nearly lift out of the water as the coxswain calls the cadence.  It is a rare and special fleeting few moments, but it always is worth all it took to get there.  Those are the times when the boat sings.
I want to especially thank my team members for Seattle Swim 2011, pictured above just before our swim as the sun was rising.  For the 10 days up to and including the race, everyone worked together.  We had some well attended final open water training swims the Friday before (total darkness as the days get shorter) and the Monday of Labor Day weekend.  Folks worked every day on what they could do to help push the total we were collectively raising for the Cancer Care Alliance.  We had late joiners, 2 milers and 1/2 milers, people sending out words of encouragement, swimmers who normally don’t like fundraising smoking their own keyboards with emails to friends and relatives.  And when we all met at Starbucks very early Saturday morning and later went into the water together, there was a real sense of accomplishment as a team, of having done something good in all of our busy lives.  So for all you members of Team TBD and all of you sponsors out there, a very personal and heartfelt thank you from me.  Because during a brief 10 day span at the beginning of September, I could feel the boat sing.  Rob
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