Thursday, January 12, 2012

Laws of Streamline as per Coach Haywood

Classified Job Posting - "Popcorn Venders Not Wanted"

I will explain the Job posting shortly.

Have you ever truely watched a swim meet and not just your own son or daughter?  Have you ever watched as a swimmer moves through the water that behind that swimmer is a wake that follows them up and down the pool?  In the world of swimming in the Mid-West (Ohio - yes I know that Ohio is not that far but for some strange reason, Ohio is considered a Midwest State) we refer to that wake as the "Wall of Water" or W.O.W for short.  Though not that big of a Wall, the W.O.W can still cause many problems for swimmers and is also the cause for many "ship wrecks" in the world of swimming.  Those ship wrecks are better know as slower swimming times. 

The way a swimmer can combat and win the battle with the Wall of Water is very simple - STREAMLINE.  The most important, yet over-looked aspect of swimming is the simple streamline.  So here at X-Cel - Level 3 has adopted the Laws of Streamline - so if you ever hear during a practice Coach Haywood yell out loud that "The Laws of Streamline are in effect" - you will now understand what he is means.

Laws of StreamLine:

1.  When pushing of the wall during practice - a swimmer must maintain proper streamline position:
  • Body is in straight alignment
  • Right hand over left hand or left hand over right hand (whatever your son or daughter prefers) - lock top thumb over the bottom hand to ensure proper hand position
  • biceps should squeeze the ears - not be above the ears or below the ears - the biceps should squeeze the ears
  • push off wall and hold tight body position - using legs to kick.
  • Get Hips to flags before coming up to swim  (if your son or daughter can make that their goal - they will be in perfect streamline position and actually go under the Wall of Water without hitting it or getting slowed down by the W.O.W.
  • Take one full stroke before taking a breath 
    • If the swimmer breathes off the wall without taking a full arm stroke - they loose all momentum gained from pushing off the wall and at that point they might as well stop in the water, float for a second, and then do a spin drill to try to regain the momentum they lost off the walls.
The simple  goal is to get out past the wall of water so that you do not slow down.  By taking one full arm stroke before taking a breath, a swimmer keeps the moment from the start/turn/wall.  The way to make sure that you are past the Wall Of Water is to aim at getting your hips to the flags before breaking streamline and beginning to swim.

Now for our Job posting - "POPCORN VENDER NOT WANTED"

As with all laws, if you break them and get caught, there is a punishment.  If you speed and get caught, you get a speeding ticket.  During Level 3 practice (it is up to the other level coaches if they wish to institute a punishment or not) Coach Haywood has a simple punishment for all who are caught breaking the Laws of Streamline - if caught, the swimmer will be removed from practice and given a big bag of Popcorn and several smaller brown paper bags - the swimmer/law breaker must take the large bag of Popcorn around to all parents sitting in the stands during practice and say to them "Hello, I am a level 3 swimmer that broke the rules of streamline - would you like to buy a bag of popcorn from me."  I figured this is a little more creative then the usual push-ups or sit-ups.  Also please keep in mind that the above is really a joke and just meant as fun, I really will not do such a thing - I just use it to make a point of the importance of streamlining and how I want them to concentrate on streamlining in practice so that it become instinctive and natural in a meet.

Hair Care for Swimmers

Swimming is a fun activity for when the weather starts to warm up or as a sport/hobby. But swimming in a pool of chlorine and other chemicals is bound to have some effect not just on your skin but your hair. Many swimmers don’t think twice about hair care when it comes to swimming, which can make them prone to hair damage and discoloration.
While taking a leisurely dip in a pool may feel refreshing, the presence of pool water on your hair can be very damaging. The very chemicals used in a pool to keep you clean and destroy bacteria can also harm your hair by turning it green (yuck!) and drying it out. If you participate in water sports or are an avid swimmer, be prepared to deal with your hair. Chlorine is a major force to be reckoned with because this chemical breaks down the natural oils in the hair. This causes hair or any type to become dry, brittle, and dull.
Swimmers who color, perm or constantly put other types of chemicals in the hair are also asking for trouble when mixed with pool water. Ever stepped out of the pool and dried your hair to find it crunchy and straw like? That isn’t just a coincidence. If you’re guilty of subjecting your locks to chemical hair treatments and pool water, head to the salon as soon as possible. Perms and swimming will never go together so if you’re a swimmer sporting this hairstyle, immediately change your ‘do. If you love your permed hair, then get used to wearing a swimming cap. It may not look as great as whipping around wet hair, but it’s the only solution to keeping the chlorine’s bleaching effect away from your strands.
For swimmers suffering from green hair as a result of over exposure to the copper found in chlorine, there are a few alternatives to correcting this hair color gone wrong. Try using a shampoo and conditioner specially formulated to tackle “swimmer’s hair.” There are plenty of these types of hair products available that cater to swimmers. For an at-home remedy, try rinsing the hair with lemon juice or vinegar after swimming.
To protect your hair from becoming dry and weak and to avoid breakage, conditioning is key. Before stepping in the pool, apply a generous amount of deep conditioner to your hair. Top it off with a plastic bag and swim cap and you’re good to go. If you can’t stand the thought of wearing a swim cap (although doing so will save you a lot of grief), be sure to keep your hair from coming into contact with chlorine as much as possible and make deep conditioning a part of your daily hair care routine.

Skin Care for Swimmers

You may swim for recreation in the summer months or you may hit the pool to train rigorously for competitions. While spending a lot of time in the pool may be a great workout, it may also be a recipe for skin trauma. If you take care of it, your skin does not have to suffer from swimming.
Shower immediately before and after a swim. It will help reduce the amount of bacteria circulating in the pool and will potentially help reduce the amount of chlorine that is absorbed into both your skin and hair. Also, when your skin is wet (after showering or swimming), avoid rubbing the towel over your body with too much vigor. The friction may remove your skin's moisture barrier. Rubbing may also irritate your skin cells. Instead of rubbing, try gently patting yourself down with your towel


When your skin is constantly in the bright sun and being immersed in chlorinated or salty water, you need to find good-quality bath products that will moisturize it well. Use a chlorine-out product designed for swimmers. A good product will be able to remove chlorine residue and moisturize your skin simultaneously. Try to find a waterproof, sweat-proof moisturizing product that contains vitamins E and A plus natural extracts.
Do not spend too much time in or around the pool without sufficient protection. If you plan to sit next to the pool, wear sunglasses, a hat or visor, and maybe even a sarong. Always use sunscreen and apply it as frequently as directed. Make sure the sunscreen has had time to absorb into your skin before you jump into the water. (Many sunscreen products recommend waiting 10 to 30 minutes. Read the label.) 
Drink Water
 It is easy to become dehydrated when you are spending active time in the sun. Drinking lots of water will help your body restore its natural moisture. Staying hydrated will also help your body flush out contaminants brought in by pool chemicals. Experts on recommend that a competitive swimmer should drink 17 to 20 ounces of water before swim practice, and then continue to drink small amounts (5 to 8 ounces) every 10 to 15 minutes during practice to stay sufficiently hydrated. Current recommendations for the average person are eight glasses of water each day. 
Not all expensive skin care products are necessarily high-quality products, but many inexpensive skin care products are definitely low-quality products. Avoid products that contain unnecessary preservatives and fragrances, as they may contribute to skin damage. The TRISWIM brand is a good example of a well-balanced and healthy product line.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Hydration During Training

Most swimmers only replace 30%-70% of fluids lost during training; 1-3 litres of sweat per hour can be lost in public pools.

A 1% loss in body weight through fluid brings about deteriorating performance - anything over a 3% loss and the participant's health is at risk.

It is therefore vital that swimmers have at least 500mls of fluid 1-2 hours before training or competition and another 250mls/500mls in the immediate 30 minutes prior to training/competition. Aim for swimmers to have at least 200-250mls every 20 minutes of high intensity training.

It is important that swimmers - regardless of age or level bring a water bottle with them to practice - and it is important that they drink during practice and after practice.  There is a water jug on deck that they may use to fill their water bottles or there are water fountains located on the top level of DeNunzio and on the pool deck at Dillon in which swimmers may fill their water bottles. 

Please make sure that your swimmer has a water bottle as we move into the new year.


Just because you’re in the water it doesn’t mean you don’t need to drink water.

After 30 minutes of swimming, dehydration can occur. Environmental factors contribute to a swimmer’s dehydration—warm water temperature and warm, humid air around the pool can increase the need for fluids. The National Association of Athletic Trainers recommends drinking about 2 cups (16 ounces) of water 2 to 3 hours before a workout or swim meet with another 1 cup (8 ounces) 10 to 20 minutes before diving into the pool. Most workouts are long and strenuous, so drink about 1 cup of fluid every 10 to 20 minutes during your workout. Keep a sports bottle filled with water at poolside so it is in easy reach.

What should you drink? Try these 5 choices and switch up your drinks for variety.

1. Water is best for most athletes. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, ask mom or dad to slice up lemons or limes to drop into your water bottle for a fresh taste.

2. Sports drinks are a good choice when you have long, hard workouts or have to race many times during a meet. Stick to the basic tried and true sports drinks….like Gatorade or Powerade because they provide a good balance of carbs, sodium and potassium to replace losses.

3. Light sports drinks or zero-calorie sports drinks. These beverages, like G2 or Powerade Zero provide the same amount of sodium and potassium as regular sports drinks. These are good choices when you are trying to get lean or when injured and you are not able to train as hard or as long. These drinks contain artificial sweeteners, so drink them in moderation (1-2 servings per day).

4. Diluted fruit juice. Why dilute fruit juice? Fruit juice is too high in natural sugars to be a good fluid replacement. Fluids that have more than 6 to 7% carbohydrate (fruit juice has about 10% and some fruit juices even more) takes longer to leave the stomach so fluids don’t reach your working muscles as quickly.

5. Low-fat milk is a good pre-workout and post-workout drink because it provides carbs, sodium, potassium (like sports drinks) with the added benefit of protein for muscle recovery and calcium for strong bones. Choose fat-free or 1% milk to lower the fat content; and it is OK to choose low-fat flavored milk like strawberry or chocolate if you prefer the taste.

Staying hydrated can help improve your performance and keep you healthy. Develop an individualized fluid plan and don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink…stay ahead of thirst so you don’t get dehydrated.


Red Bull, Rock Star, Amp, Monster Energy—enticing labels for a tired and thirsty swimmer. Energy drinks are one of the fastest growing segments of drink sales in America and their popularity is growing, especially among youth. Athletes use energy drinks to rehydrate after a workout, boost attention and focus during school, “wake up,” or as a routine beverage at meals. Don’t be misled by something that sounds too good to be true—while an all-in-one drink is tempting, it carries some serious considerations for young athletes. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children and teens should avoid energy drinks.

Confusion exists about the difference between a sports drink and an energy drink, so let’s clear this up. A sports drink contains a small amount of carbohydrate, minerals, electrolytes and flavorings and is designed to replace those nutrients lost through sweating after exercise. Gatorade is an example of a sports drink.

Energy drinks contain stimulants including caffeine, guarana and yerba mate (herbal stimulants) and taurine (an amino acid). Ginseng, if present, enhances the effects of caffeine. Other elements may be added to energy drinks, but their benefits, safety and side effects are questionable.

An average energy drink contains 70-200 mg caffeine per 16 ounces. Some energy drinks can contain up to 500 mg of caffeine, the equivalent of 14 cans of soda. For children and teens, caffeine consumption should be limited to 1.25 mg per pound of body weight (for a 100-pound swimmer that’s 125 mg caffeine per day). More than 100 mg of caffeine per day in adolescents has been associated with higher blood pressures.

Growing children and teens should avoid excess caffeine consumption. Excess consumption of caffeine is associated with agitation, anxiety, poor sleep, rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure and altered mental states.

Too much caffeine can mask fatigue. Gauging fatigue is important to staying fit, healthy and in the pool. If jacked up on caffeine, swimmers may miss the body’s signal for rest.

Caffeine can alter mood and behavior, resulting in physical dependence or addiction. How do you know if you’re a caffeine-addict? Without caffeine, you experience withdrawal symptoms such as headache, tiredness, depressed mood and nausea.

If that’s not enough to make you re-think your drink, here’s some more food for thought.

Energy drinks contain sugar—up to 30 grams per cup (almost ¼ cup of sugar). Limiting sugar consumption is a healthy practice, for any growing child and teen, whether an athlete or not.

Energy drinks are dehydrating. Due to the concentration of caffeine, energy drinks encourage frequent urination, and energy drinks with higher sugar content can compound the dehydrating effects of caffeine.

Feeling tired, losing focus and struggling with low energy? Rethink your nutrition, hydration and sleep program. No magic bullet replaces a nutritious diet of real, wholesome food, adequate water and other healthy liquids, or a good night’s sleep. And that’s no (red) bull.