Summer is the perfect time to try a new recipe and give your Nutriboost protein shake a new tropical twist. This nutritious dessert has all of the vitamins, minerals, protein, and carbs you need for maximum muscle recovery, as well as flavor. The pineapple helps strengthen your immune system and has anti-inflammatory benefits while the mango helps fight heat stroke and lowers cholesterol. Try our tropical Nutriboost popsicles after your next swim to cool off the nutritious way!
Tropical Nutriboost Popsicles
Makes 6-8 depending on size of popsicle molds
1 cup milk
1 cup Greek Yogurt, plain
3 scoops Nutriboost - strawberry flavor
1 cup fresh pineapple
1/2 cup mango chunks
Pour all ingredients into a blender. Blend on high until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Pour mixture into popsicle molds. Freeze for one hour and then insert popsicle sticks. Then freeze for 2-3 more hours, depending on the size of your popsicle molds. Enjoy!
For more articles about nutrition for swimmers, check out our P2Life blog here!
Paying attention to your nutrition is hard work, but after eating all of the right carbohydrates and proteins, sometimes you wonder if that attention to your diet really pays off? If you've recently started swimming, or have been participating in this powerful sport for years, there's a chance that you may need a refresher on just what to eat to stay in top form.
We've talked to our Masters swimmers like Hall of Famer Laura Val, Olympian Rick Colella, and World record breaker Rich Burns, and they've shared some great ideas with us. These nutrition tips from the world's best Masters swimmers will give you an edge and put you on track to have your best performance yet!
1. Eat Right
She's one of the fastest swimmers in the world, and her International Hall of Fame status proves it. Laura Val advises swimmers to "think about your diet and how you fuel your body. We don’t always get everything we need from the food we eat. Don’t be afraid of adding a supplement to your diet. Women in particular need protein as we age to maintain muscle." She's right - there are many nutrients that female athletes are deficient in, including calcium and iron. Taking the right supplements can definitely help you stay strong and compete with the best.
2. Weight Control
One of our most inspiring swimmers is Rich Burns. He shared that "as we get older, sedentary living adds pounds and inches to our waistlines. Swimming is a perfect way to maintain your body." Nutrition becomes increasingly important as we age. One of the best ways to maintain good habits is to be around other like-minded people at your local club. If you're not convinced about joining a local swim club, read out post here!
3. Proper Nutrition
Not many people can call themselves an Olympian, but Rick Colella is one of those elite few. He says that "proper nutrition becomes more and more important as an athlete as we get older. You probably no longer have the ability to eat anything and everything that you had as a teenager, so a good diet is especially important." And we definitely agree. Although teenagers shouldn't be eating a ton of junk food either, nutrition for swimmers is important at every age.
4. Recovery Matters
We talk a ton about recovery here at P2Life because it's the difference between a good and great performance. Rich Abrahams, International Swimming Hall of Fame inductee and holder of over 60 world records agrees. "Proper nutrition is critical. What you put into your body for fuel cannot be an afterthought. Proper nutrition is the key to be able to train hard and recover fast. The need for the proper post-workout nutrition is well documented and needs to be heeded by any serious athlete." For the best in post-workout recovery, try our Nutriboost shake, which is better than chocolate milk and many of the other options out there. You're sure to see the difference!
5. Vitamins for Insurance
Many of us, no matter how much we monitor what we eat, are deficient in some of key vitamins and minerals, like magnesium and vitamin B12. This is why Masters swimmer Tim Shead, and founder of P2Life, created this product and says, "if you want to have maximum health, you never want your body to need something and not have it. And secondly, you never know what you're gonna need from day to day, and every nutrient needs other nutrients to work. So make sure your body is getting it all." Using nutrition as insurance to make sure your body always has enough of the right nutrients is important. Our Nutriboost shake has everything that your body needs to perform at elite levels, even if you aren't getting it in your regular diet.
So now that you have some great nutrition advice from top Masters swimmers, take a second look at your performance nutrition plan. For more articles on nutrition for swimmers, subscribe to our P2Life blog today!
Staying on top of your nutrition plan is important, like making sure you're getting enough of the key vitamins and minerals to fuel your swim workouts and subsequent recovery. Vitamin B12, magnesium, and iron, and just a few of the nutrients that are important for swimmers, and are also found in our Nutriboost protein shake.
Vitamin B12 is important for swimmers and athletes because it helps with important biological processes like protein synthesis, muscle tissue repair, and the production of healthy blood cells. So let's find out more about where this vitamin comes from and how it works with other nutrients in your body to maximize your health and well-being.
What is B12?
B12 is a vitamin that our body uses to form red blood cells, facilitate protein metabolism, and maintain the key functions of the central nervous system. It's made by anaerobic microorganisms, which are bacteria that do not require oxygen to live, and are commonly found in the gastrointestinal tract of animals.
How do I get B12?
The best way to get B12 in your system is through animal-based proteins. Good choices are meat, poultry, clams, eggs, sardines, salmon, and beef livers. After you've ingested your food sources of this nutrient, the B12 is absorbed by your gastrointestinal tract. Including these in your diet is preferable to using a supplement, but if you're eating a plant-based diet, chances are you are B12 deficient.
Are dietary sources enough?
If you're in superb health and eating a well-balanced diet that includes animal proteins, healthy carbohydrates, and the right fluids, chances are you won't need to supplement to get the recommended intake of Vitamin B12.
But if you have any issues with your gastrointestinal system that might compromise absorption of this key vitamin, then you might need to supplement your diet. People with celiac or Crohn's disease should consider taking a supplement. Additionally, swimmers over 50 years old should consider taking a supplement since atrophic gastritis, the case when your body stops producing stomach acid, becomes much more common in this age range. Use our Nutriboost shake to get high quality Vitamin B12 in your diet and avoid the symptoms of a deficiency, which include memory loss, poor balance, tingling in hands and/or feet, or depression.
Ultimately, your nutrition and swimming performance are in your hands, so make sure that you're getting enough of this key vitamin, as well as other nutrients. For more articles on nutrition for swimmers, subscribe to our P2Life blog today!
his is one of the most popular times of year when people look for a private swim instructor, whether for their child or for themselves. While there are many benefits to joining a swim club, some of us would feel more comfortable having the individual instruction and coaching that private sessions can offer instead.
Working with a swim instructor is great for many reasons: you're able to learn at your own pace, you can fine tune your technique with individualized attention, and possibly make a friend for life. Before hiring anyone, here are some things to consider.
1. Professional Certifications
One of the first things you can do to ensure you are getting a qualified coach is to ask for their certifications. On the safety side, you should look for a Red Cross certification in Adult, Child or Infant CPR, depending on who is taking the lessons, First Aid certifications, and Water Safety Instruction, the Red Cross’s designation for a certified swimming teacher.1
Beyond that, ask for the instructor's technical background. Ask them questions about their professional training and experience: did they swim professionally, how many years of coaching do they have, where did they earn their swim training. Feel comfortable asking for a reference, too. Many of the best coaches and instructors will be able to provide you with some names of satisfied clients.
2. Motivation Techniques
While perfecting your dolphin kick or backstroke is one thing, you want to make sure that your swim instructor knows what motivates you or your child and can use related techniques to keep you coming back to future sessions. Sit down with your coach and understand their style: do they motivate by challenging you and helping you to see your potential, or are they more of a drill sergeant type? Choose someone whose style works with you so that you feel comfortable, energized, and motivated to attend class!
3. What's the Content?
Before hiring someone, find out what the lessons are like and what type of content you'll be focusing on during your swim workouts. And make sure you have your own focus and goals too, and bring that up with your instructor. Sit down and put an action plan together and make sure that your instructor has a way to measure your progress at regular intervals.
Also, find out your instructor's area of expertise. Do they specialize in working with children? Or do they have mainly an adult clientele? If they're used to providing content and teaching lessons to 8 year olds, they may not be the best choice for your teenager and vice versa.
4. Personality Plus
You, or your child, will probably be spending lots of time with this new instructor, so make sure that there's a personality match. In the same way that you're not best buddies with everyone at the office, you may not relate
well to every coach out there. This is especially true for your child. Have your child meet the instructor before the first lesson to get comfortable, and observe the first few sessions to see if your child is learning and enjoying themselves. And check in with your child and see how they are liking the sessions, too. Getting their feedback early on will be beneficial for everyone.
5. Odds & Ends
In addition to the things above, there's a few other items to consider to make sure you get the best instructor for you. Don't forget to ask about scheduling, access to pools, refund or rescheduling policy, etc. If you're hiring someone for your child, definitely ask about rescheduling policies since there might be last minute academic issues that come up, which might prevent your son or daughter from attending their session.
Once you've made a choice, one thing is for sure - you are doing something positive for your health and fitness. To learn more about nutrition for swimmers and how you can achieve top performance, subscribe to our P2Life blog today!
There are many vitamins and minerals that swimmers should use to optimize their performance, both in the pool and outside of the pool. In past blog posts about nutrition for swimmers, we've talked about the benefits of Vitamin B, why iron is important, and the risks you take when you are not getting enough of these important nutrients in your body.
So how does zinc fit in to your nutrition plan and what are the benefits of this important mineral? Let's explore why it's an important mineral for athletes and swimmers and what can happen if you're not getting an adequate amount.
What is Zinc used for?
Zinc's role in the body and your internal system is important for many reasons. This mineral is in every tissue in the body and plays a critical role in many of its key functions. One of those is controlling the body’s immune response. When zinc levels are low it leads to whole body inflammation and DNA damage that can make you susceptible to serious health problems including heart disease and cancer. Zinc also plays a part in the growth, repair, and recovery of muscle tissue, which is an important part of any athlete's training protocol.
Why should swimmers take it?
Zinc is an important part of cardiovascular fitness, and therefore the sport of swimming, which is an intense cardiovascular activity. This mineral is necessary to make an enzyme called "carbonic anhydrase" that transports carbon dioxide from tissues and carries it to the lungs to be released. When your body doesn't have enough zinc to facilitate this process, there is a negative impact on endurance and athletic performance.
According to a study published in Sports Medicine, mild zinc deficiency is frequently seen in endurance athletes, defined as athletes who participate in a sport for an hour or more. Many swimmers fall into this category, and 'should take 30 to 60 mg daily."1 If you're not getting enough, this can put you at risk for reduced endurance, loss of muscle mass and at greater risk for osteoporosis. In addition, low zinc levels reduce muscle strength and recovery time, so inadequate zinc could affect performance during both during and after your swim workouts.
Am I Zinc deficient?
The daily recommendations for zinc are 11 milligrams per day for men and 8 milligrams per day for women, but if you are exercising, over 50 years of age, or an endurance athlete as noted earlier, you should be getting more in your diet. Also, if you have a vegetarian diet that limits certain foods, like animal protein, are eating an unbalanced and low nutrient-dense diet, eat a high carbohydrate/low protein diet, or are a female athlete, you may be at risk for a zinc deficiency.
Symptoms of zinc deficiency include decreases in cardiorespiratory function, muscle strength, and athletic endurance. And over the long term, a zinc deficiency may lead to "anorexia, significant loss in bodyweight, latent fatigue with decreased endurance and a risk of osteoporosis."2 If you are having symptoms such as frequent diarrhea, memory loss, frequent colds, or thinning hair, check with your health professional and nutritionist to ensure that you are getting the proper amount in your diet.
How can I get more in my diet?
Nutrition for swimmers is always a key component of your overall training plan, so integrating more zinc is something to definitely take note of for optimal performance. Zinc can be found in food sources like protein-rich foods including oysters, beef, chicken, pork and lamb. Non-meat sources include chickpeas, pecans, pumpkin seeds, and spinach. Zinc is also in our Nutriboost shake, which has 35% of your daily recommended value of this important nutrient, in addition to high quality protein.
As always, a well-balanced diet is one of the best ways you can train your body for swim competitions. Don't ignore this critical part of your success in the pool! For more articles on nutrition for swimmers, follow our P2Life blog today!
Participating in a sport at a young age can be a positive part of your child's development. There's the physical benefits, helping them to avoid being part of the childhood obesity epidemic here in the U.S. Then there's also the social aspect, allowing them to make friends outside of school and develop life long relationships. And of course, there's the developmental element, which enables your child to take on more responsibility, understand the value of teamwork, and learn valuable life skills.
If your child has expressed an interest in swimming, and you feel that they are ready to join a swim team, here are some considerations to choose the best team for them.
Assess Your Child's Skill Level
Before throwing your kid into the nearest swim team, make sure that the club goals and team match your child's skill level. If your child is a beginner and learning the basics of technique and water safety then it's best not to put them in the squad that's training for a championship season. Take time to speak with the coaches of the local swim team and make sure that your child is physically ready for the team you are considering. There's nothing worse than putting your child in a group where they are struggling to keep up and feel like they are inadequate to the other kids on the team. Do an honest assessment before sticking your child in a club.
What Else is Your Child Interested In?
Just because you or the other siblings in the household love swimming, that doesn't mean that every child will enjoy the sport. Find out if your child really wants to participate in a swim club; maybe they'd rather join a soccer team or dance squad. Or maybe one of their idols is an Olympian swimmer and they want to practice to become just like that athlete. Either way, there's a club out there to match your child; some just focus on the fun and fitness, while other clubs are committed to producing champions. Knowing your child's interest level will help you find a team that fits the commitment level and passion of your child.
Do Your Homework
Ask around the neighborhood and talk to other parents about what swimming teams their children have been a part of and find out more about the clubs. Does the team require a big time commitment from the parents? Will you and the other members of the family be able to actively participate in the team activities? Is the team schedule so demanding that it will cut into your child's academic responsibilities? Learning about other families' experience with the different clubs will help you and your child choose the one that fits best with your needs as a family.
Interview the Coaches
And feel free to interview the coaches, too! There's plenty of great coaches out there, but each one is different and has their own coaching style. Sit down with the coach and inquire about their coaching philosophy. Ask them questions about their own training and swimming experience, how they structure the training, and what they do to prepare your child for competition. If your child is serious about competing and wants to try and earn scholarships, make sure the coach is fine-tuning their stroke technique and other aspects of their performance, instead of just having the team do laps the entire session.
Whatever swim team you choose for your child, they are sure to have a great experience. Stay informed about nutrition needs for your child and other swimming related articles by subscribing to our P2Life blog today!
As competitive swimmers, we put our bodies through rigorous training. There's countless hours at the pool, tiring sessions at the gym, along with the necessity of keeping a healthy diet and sleep regimen. And beyond these factors, most of us are dealing with the demands of school, work, family, or a combination of the three.
To combat the stresses of these factors, and cope with the anxiety and fatigue that can sometimes come with this lifestyle, many athletes and swimmers use adaptogens to effectively manage their health. Let's take a look at why they should be a part of your nutrition plan.
What are adaptogens?
In a nutshell, an Adaptogen helps the body deal with and cope better with stress, whether it be mental stress (like writing a test or staying awake for long periods) or physical stress (like training for a swim practice). It helps the body adapt. Unlike many pharmaceutical drugs, adaptogens are plants that have been around for centuries. There currently are only 4 known true adaptogens. 3 of these herbs are found in our Enduroboost Adaptogens.
- Rhodiola Rosea
- Eleutherococcus Senticosus
- Schizandra Chinesis
- Shitake Mushroom
What do they do?
These natural remedies work to keep your adrenal system, which manages your stress hormones, in balance. When your body is dealing with chronic stress, you may develop adrenal fatigue. Stress is intended to be a temporary state for your body, but in modern times, many of us have chronic stress as part of our lifestyles. Over time, your adrenal system becomes overworked and you develop adrenal fatigue. Symptoms of adrenal fatigue include extreme fatigue, craving for salty foods, weakened immune system, and irritability.
Adaptogens work with your body's adrenal system to counteract the negative effects of stress. One of the adaptogens that we use in our product is Rhodiola Rosea. This herb helps maintain natural cortisol levels, lowers physical fatigue, and increases the use of oxygen. Another adaptogen that we use is Schizandra Chinensis which studies have shown to provide "increased endurance and mental performance [in subjects] with mild fatigue and weakness"1 in addition to having strong antioxidant properties.
Beyond these specific benefits, adaptogens boost your immune system, help balance your mood, and support your metabolism. Integrating them into your nutrition plan can have lasting positive benefits on your overall health.
How do I use adaptogens?
As an athlete, consuming adaptogens as part of your regular diet will mitigate the effects of chronic stress on your body, which will ultimately keep you in top shape and able to perform at your highest level. Adaptogens should always be used as a supplement to a well-balanced nutrition plan and never as a substitute for a healthy lifestyle. Use adaptogens to supplement a diet and training plan that has whole food as its main components, including the right proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins.
At P2Life, we ensure that our Adaptogens are tested safe and are free from banned substances. Each batch is certified by the Banned Substances Control Group to make sure that we are using high quality manufacturing processes so that our products are safe for athletes and swimmers. When using our Adaptogens, our website includes a dosage guide, and as always, you should consult with your regular physician if you have any health conditions.
For more articles on nutrition for swimmers, subscribe to our P2Life blog today and learn how to be the best athlete you can be!
As a swimmer, you spend hours in the pool training, time planning nutritious meals, and in between all of that, try to meet the demands of work or school. But hard work does pay off. Think of how horrible it would be after months of preparation for your big swim event to find out that you've been using a product with banned substances or taking a supplement that isn't high quality and may be manufactured with questionable ingredients.
Here at P2Life, we take athlete safety and health very seriously and only use approved ingredients in our products. We'll cover some of the most common banned substances that are found out on the market, and for more detailed information on each substance that is banned, please refer to the World Anti-Doping Agency website.
1. Anabolic Agents
These lab-produced, synthetic versions of the male hormone testosterone are used by some athletes to boost their performance. This muscle building drug is usually taken orally or injected, and has serious side effects including paranoia, irritability, and ultimately kidney and liver damage over the long term.
2. Peptide Hormones & Growth Factors
Athletes need to be careful about having abnormal traces of these substances since they're used mainly to treat cancer and some pathological conditions. Abuse of these substances is used to accelerate cell production, as well as carbohydrate and fat metabolism. These systems occur naturally in your body and abuse of these substances can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome and diabetes.
3. Beta-2 Agonists
This is a category where athletes need to be especially cautious since some swimmers may use this category of drug, usually inhaled, to help with asthma symptoms. The World Anti-Doping Agency makes some exceptions but is very clear on the amount limits that can be found in an athlete's system, stating that "The presence in urine of salbutamol in excess of 1000 ng/mL or formoterol in excess of 40 ng/mL is presumed not to be an intended therapeutic use of the substance and will be considered as an Adverse Analytical Finding."1Check with your doctor and team physician to make sure you are within the guidelines and not at risk for being penalized. When athletes who don't need them for a medical condition use these drugs, they can lead to heart palpitations and muscle cramps, so avoid them if they're not medically necessary.
4. Hormone & Metabolic Modulators
These substances act to either decrease the amount of oestrogen in the body or block the oestrogen receptors, and are used by athletes to either increase testosterone or counter the undesirable effects from other steroid drugs, like gynecomastia, which is enlarged breast tissue in men. Besides being on the banned substances list, use of these drugs can be dangerous since side effects include venous thrombosis and gastrointestinal disorders.
5. Diuretics & Masking Agents
If you're not taking these under a doctor's care for a medical condition, avoid them. Abuse can not only disqualify you, it can lead to potassium depletion and worst case, death. Athletes use these substances to increase urination for rapid weight loss and to also hide the presence of other drugs. These are extremely dangerous for swimmers who need adequate levels of hydration at all times - losing too much body fluid can put you at risk for adverse effects like electrolyte imbalance and lasting negative effects on cardiovascular and metabolic systems.
Overall, it's not worth it to use any item on the banned substance list to alter your performance. You run the risk of being disqualified as a competitive swimmer, and you'll be doing lasting damage to your body. Enhance your performance with the right nutrition, adequate sleep, and proper hydration. For more articles on nutrition for swimmers, subscribe to our P2Life blog today.
Maintaining the right diet for optimal swimming performance isn't easy. There's the ideal amount of carbohydrates to eat, recommended levels of hydration, and different types of vitamins and minerals that your body needs to keep it going at top levels.
It's no different when it comes to protein shakes. Since your body needs protein to function, to heal, and to build muscle, you want to make sure that you are getting this important nutrient from top quality sources. And paying attention to these 3 ingredients will help you steer clear of brands that are selling something less than ideal for your swimmer nutrition plan.
1. Soybean oil
This ingredient is highly controversial because it often comes from GMO sources. If you see this on your ingredient list, make sure that the product is using non-GMO soybean oil, or avoid it altogether. Companies use this, and other emulsifying agents, to thicken the shakes and make them taste better.
2. Hydrogenated ingredients
When you see "hydrogenated" on your ingredient label, it might be best to put it back on the shelf. Hydrogenated whey protein, or other hydrogenated ingredients in your shake, have been heated to extremely high temperatures, and have been denatured. This creates a form of trans fat that you do not want in your body. Companies use this as a way to thicken the ingredients and give more of a "shake" consistency to the product. But beware - trans fat leads to a host of health problems including heart disease, high cholesterol, and obesity.
3. Xanthan Gum
A popular food additive, xanthan gum is made by fermenting corn sugar with a bacteria and is usually derived from a variety of sources such as corn, wheat, and soy. This is often used as a filler, and some protein powders may have this ingredient to give users the illusion of feeling full from the shake, when instead you are full from fillers like xantham gum. And definitely avoid this ingredient if you have an allergy to such food sources like wheat or soy.
When shopping for a quality protein shake, look for:
- Whey Isolate - this has a higher concentration of essential amino acids that your body needs, and usually less sugars like maltose and lactose. It also supports your immune system and helps balance blood sugar levels.
- Casein Protein - this slow-absorbing protein will balance out the immediate effects of the whey protein in your shake. Having both present in your post-workout meal will lead to more effective recovery for swimmers.
- Key Vitamins - there are vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to function, and swimmers need even more than what's recommended for most people. Look for vitamin B, magnesium, calcium, vitamin D, and others to prepare your body for intense training.
At P2Life, our Nutriboost shake is formulated with the highest quality ingredients and is used by everyone from Olympic medalists to Masters swimmers across the U.S.! For more articles about nutrition and performance tips for swimmers, take a look at our blog today.
This week on the P2Life blog, we're talking to Marty Hendrick, Head Master's Coach, a certified American Swim Coaches Association (ASCA) USMS (U. S. Masters Swimming**) Level 4 Coach (one of the first 14 in USMS), who has been coaching at the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex full time since 2005, initially as the Head Masters Coach of the FLA Masters and most recently Swim Fort Lauderdale Masters.
Marty’s experience as a USMS coach includes winning three National Club Championships; 2010 USMS Summer Nationals in San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2014 USMS Summer Nationals, College Park, MD and the 2015 USMS Summer Nationals, Cleveland, OH. For the past 10 consecutive years, his clubs have placed in the Top 10 at a National Championship.
In his tenure coaching Masters Swimmers, Marty has coached 63 USMS Individual All- Americans, 170 USMS Relay All-Americans with over 230 Individual National Championship swims. His teams have also achieved success at the International level by winning two IGLA Small Team Titles in 2008 and 2011 as well as a Top 10 performance at the 2009 Pan American Championships in Vera Cruz, Mexico. His club, Swim Fort Lauderdale Masters was recognized as the 2015 U.S. Masters Club of the Year.
In 2015 Marty was recognized with the Speedo/U.S. Masters Swimming Coach of The Year Award. He was also awarded the 2011 USMS Kerry O'Brien Coaching Award. He was selected to be an Honorary Speaker at the 2014 American Swim Coaches Association (ASCA) World Wide Conference. In addition, Marty has served as a US Masters Convention Delegate, a member of the USMS Coaches Committee. He is currently the Chair of the Florida Gold Coast LMSC and is a member of the Diversity Task Force for US Masters Swimming.
As a USMS Swimmer, Marty has multiple Masters FINA World Top 10 rankings, 52 individual and 82 relay USMS National Top 10 rankings. He currently holds the USMS National record as a member of the 4 X 10,000 relay (Mixed 55+ Age Group). He was also inducted into the Broward County (FL) Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.
Let's hear from this super accomplished swimming professional!
Marty, thanks for talking with P2Life today. Tell us about your background in swimming.
Well I started as a swimmer in a summer league in the Washington DC area and then I went to college as a swimmer on a scholarship from Towson University, a college outside of Baltimore, Maryland. I was a social swimmer; it was one of the many sports I participated in as a child, as an adult. That’s what stood out; it was the camaraderie of swimmers.
Upon graduation I stopped swimming and tried other things: the gym, aerobics. But when I turned 28, I realized I liked swimming and got back into it and joined a Masters swimming club. It was a great compliment to my corporate life. Swimming was my after work “happy hour”. It was kind of a joke with my colleagues – if there was a bad day after work, I was at a “martini swim”.
But really the personal benefit kept me honest and feeling better. Periodically, I signed up for local meets, or Nationals, and sometimes got very competitive. Swimming was also a way to unwind and with the social aspect mixed in it was perfect for me. I worked for a company in the 90s and it was there that I realized the importance of going to swim practice. My boss made an interesting observation. There were days he would say, “I don’t think you’ve swum in a few days. Go to practice.” It obviously impacted me in many ways.
Sounds like a great boss! How did you make the transition to coaching?
In 2004, we sold the company and I semi-retired. I wanted to give back to the sport. In May 2004, I started volunteering at my swim club, Fort Lauderdale Aquatics. The head coach, Duffy Dillon, would have me cover practices. I was the “yes man” – I would do anything. Duffy, now the International Marketing Director for ASCA, kept trying to hire me on as a coach and after his constant recruiting, I decided to do it in 2005. I was with Ft. Lauderdale Aquatics(FLA) and then in 2011 FLA left complex and in January 2012, we started Swim Ft. Lauderdale.
Through the 80s and 90s, a lot of programs didn’t have a dedicated coach. When I
was in DC for just a couple of years, we coached ourselves, and in Florida, I would
volunteer to coaches to help cover practices. I enjoyed doing it. I enjoyed making up
workouts when we did not have a coach on deck.
Awesome! What are some of the rewards of coaching?
Personally, I like to see the camaraderie among team members. I’m from a large family and one of the things my 90 year old father loves is to sit back and watch the family get together and enjoy each other’s company. That’s what the sport of swimming gives us. I like to watch the groups not need me to keep them cohesive. I love that!
How do you foster that team spirit and cohesiveness?
I foster it through delegation and I allow others to step up. I’m always encouraging that. I have a certain way of coaching, but I learn from watching others, too. I want them to be comfortable with taking on responsibility. For example, I used to set up a casual breakfast after practice. Then I purposely started not going so that they continued the breakfast without me. I like tapping into those interests.
Sounds like a great team environment. On the flip side, what are some of the challenges of coaching?
As a Masters swim coach, you are dealing with varying levels of expertise within any given workout; it’s a very broad audience. From an extreme novice, to an elite swimmer, and everything in between. This could also include levels of physical abilities, disabilities, and what brings each person to practice. A good coach will try to understand why each individual is there. You can’t have one set workout since every practice is made up of individuals.
Swimming is a rewarding sport. But what’s great about the US Masters Swimming experience?
What’s unique about Masters swimming is that each one of our swimmers is there because they want to be there. Not because of their parents or college applications. There’s always outside influences pushing us towards something, but the individual comes on their own accord. They drive themselves – they are self-motivators. Bottom line is, one of the hardest things for a first time swimmer is to step onto the deck for the first time. The rest we can work on together.
Definitely! How do you share nutrition advice for your teams?
We haven’t done anything formal with nutrition, but as a coach, I can tell you that we tell swimmers, especially if they’re doing races, that the prep they do in the water is just as important as eating and fueling for their bodies.
I’m also an advocate of nutrition companies that sponsor the sport. I pay attention to who’s on deck at Nationals. Also, more education is great. Reading the blogs, like the P2Life blog is a great way to get educated. As adults, we think we know about nutrition, but it’s one thing I’m sometimes uncomfortable with and learning about good hydration, proper meals, etc. is a good way to stay informed.
Glad you're enjoying the blog! Do you have any closing thoughts for our readers?
I think that what keeps people in the water is a personal goal. Make sure your coach is knowledgeable of your goals. And the swimmer should be flexible since the coach may broaden their goals. If you’re too shortsighted, a goal is better than nothing. If they’re not working with a coach, someone needs to know your goals. Always work towards a goal – it’s what will keep getting you in the water.
Thanks, Marty! Looking forward to seeing you at the next event!