Swimmer's Ear
Newsletter of the Potomac Valley Masters Committee
September 2014

    Newsletter Schedule printed 3 times a year
  • January (deadline: December 15)
  • June (deadline: May 15)
  • September (deadline: August 15)

  Note from the Chair

Greetings to all our members in PV. We have had an interesting year, where we've welcomed new additions as well as said good bye to old friends. We have celebrated a national event with great success, where we watch many world and national records tumble down at University of Maryland. I congratulate all our swimmers who were able to participate in any capacity! The board is looking forward to a great end of the year. We'll be bringing a full contingent to convention and bring news back to everyone. Have a great winter in the water and stay warm! Cheers

-- John Carlson

PV logo

  Articles & Interviews

Natalie Ferdinand
Nationals! Interview with Natalie Ferdinanrd, Co-Director of USMS LC National Meet
by Cheryl Wagner

Natalie Ferdinand was Co-Director of the 2014 LC National Meet and is also the Coordinator of Aquatic Programs at UM, College Park. She's an accomplished Masters swimmer and swam varsity at UM. Here is an interview with Natalie.

Tell me about LC Nationals.
Natalie: I was meet co-director with Carrie Tupper. Overall it was a great meet. 1,025 people registered and it was incredibly inspiring to watch so many generations come out. One of the timers watched a 98 year old woman compete and said, "I want to be her." There were 19 new world records and 26 national records set. People came from Tasmania, Australia, Alaska and other far-off places. Some people came from IGLA and Worlds and then competed here.

How did you start swimming?
Natalie: Growing up in Barbados, I had been going to the beach since I could walk. My Dad would throw me into the waves and I loved the water. My parents had a friend who was a swim coach and he taught me to swim when I was 6. I joined a swim team when I was 6 1/2. But for the first two months I just sat on the side since the water seemed so deep. My instructor finally swam 25 yards with me in the deep end and my swimming career took off. Growing up I did all events except 400 IM and 200 fly. I went to Carifta and other Caribbean championships. As I got older I focused more on backstroke. In 2003 UM, Kentucky, Clemson, and Florida State contacted me but UM seemed like a great atmosphere. I have family in NY and NJ so it was an easy trip to see them. I loved swimming varsity; I had a great time. I'm still good friends with many of the team members.

How did you get involved in Masters?
Natalie: When I was in my junior year, I started coaching Masters. I enjoyed it. Practices are interesting because they love the sport but don't feel like they have to do the workouts on the board. I did it for 3 years. Since then I've done it more part-time than full-time but I still like to interact with the swimmers.

What thoughts do you have about the future?
Natalie: I am Coordinator of Aquatic Programs at UM right now. I am happy where I am. This is an exciting time for UMAC which will be 1 year old on September 2. Terrapin Masters will soon become UMAC masters. I'm excited to see the team grow and want to build it up to 150. It's an all around great club. We're planning to have a SCY 1000/1650 distance meet on October 12. Our goal is to have two masters meets a year on a regular basis. We'll be doing a lot more events and will have a more active presence in Potomac Valley.

Lisa Wolf
Ready to take on a new challenge?
by Lisa Wolf

If you”ve never swum in a Masters Swim meet, it”s a lot of fun, a great way to meet fellow swimmers from around the area and set some personal best times (a definite if it”s your first meet!) Potomac Valley has an array of meets, from the recent Summer Nationals to low key, fun meets.

Many Masters swimmers who did not grow up spending their weekends hanging around the pool at swim meets may feel a bit intimidated by the process. Here is a slightly edited article from the Alexandria Masters website that may help alleviate your concerns in that regard: Remember - your coach can help answer questions and help you get on the road to competition.

How do I register for a meet?
Fill out the online form on the meet website. We all get emails about upcoming meets. All you need is your USMS member number (available at USMS.org if you need to check it) and a credit card to pay for the events. Consider swimming shorter events (50 or 100's) if this your first meet and make sure that you space out your events to allow recovery time from your efforts. Don't forget to order a meet t-shirt for bragging rights!

What this thing called a seed time?
Seed times represent your approximate guess of times for events you plan to swim. They are used to put you in races with swimmers of similar speeds so you don't get stuck swimming with someone a lot faster or slower than you. If you cannot estimate your times, entering 0.00 or "NT" for no time will place you in the first race, which usually (but not always) has the slower swimmers. It may be worth having a "time trial" at practice with your coach so you can get a realistic idea of a seed time.

What do I bring to the meet?
Don't forget your suit, goggles and cap! Bringing extra towels for warm ups and something to hang out in on deck while waiting to swim is a good idea. Water and snacks if the meet goes longer than a few hours never hurts either!

What do I do when I get there?
The first thing to do is check in at the registration table when you arrive. Pick up your t-shirt here if you ordered one. You also receive a meet program with meet announcements, relay entry procedures, and a schedule of races. Use this to determine when you are scheduled to swim your race.

Do I warm up before the meet?
Suit up and enter the pool area, claim your territory on the pool deck, and swim your warm up. Stretching on deck is recommended. All lanes of the pool are open to swimmers during a specific time prior the meet start. During warm-ups, you can swim laps and drills, but kickboards and paddles are not allowed. After the meet starts, there is usually a lane available for warming up again and cooling down after you race.

Can I practice starts?
Suit up and enter the pool area, claim your territory on the pool deck, and swim your warm up. Stretching on deck is recommended. All lanes of the pool are open to swimmers during a specific time prior the meet start. During warm-ups, you can swim laps and drills, but kickboards and paddles are not allowed. After the meet starts, there is usually a lane available for warming up again and cooling down after you race.

When do I race?
Each event will have several races or "heats" scheduled. For example, the third heat of the 100 freestyle event is the third race for the 100 freestyle. Use the meet program to determine what heat and lane you are assigned to swim in. You do not need to check in prior to your races, and your name will not be called for your race. Pay attention to the meet progress, and when it is time for your race, show up at the starting blocks.

How do I know how I did?
There will be timers assigned to your lane and remember to ask your time at the end of the event. Results are also posted during the meet (find the wall plastered with white papers and where there is always a bunch of swimmers hanging out) and you can see your time and place. Remember in Masters, we may swim heats with a mix of men/women and age groups but your results are based on your age and sex.

Still a bit unsure?
Volunteers are always welcome to time, check in swimmers and other assorted duties. You can watch a meet up close and get an idea of the flow without the pressure of swimming.

After your first meet, you can proudly wear your new t-shirt around and impress everyone that you are now a competition swimmer!

Happy swimming,

Lisa Wolf

12 Pearls of Open Water Wisdom
by Hopper McDonough (published: Active.Com)

Hopper McDonough is the founder and president of SwimVacation and a frequent contributor to Active.com.

I've been fortunate to have received pearls of wisdom on stroke, open water techniques, and safety from a wide array of people, from former Olympic coaches to total strangers at some little race across a murky pond. I've even come up with a few of my own. I've spent some time over the past few days thinking about the best and most useful of these little pearls. Here they are:

1. Don't Go
If you're having reservations about the weather, currents, boat traffic, or your own physical condition, stay on shore. It can be the bravest decision a swimmer makes.

2. Keep Your Head Down
It's almost a cliche now, but I still have to remind myself to do this. It's actually more about finding a comfortable, neutral head position, but for most of us, this means a few degrees down.

3. Be Curious About Your Stroke
Improving your swimming is so much about experimentation, so you have to be curious. What if I pause here? What if I slowed my kick down?

4. Use Video
There's nothing like seeing yourself making some mistake to actually believe it and do something about it.

5. Use Core Rotation as Your Power Source
Once you tie your rotation into your pull, everything changes for the better.

6. Use a Swim Safety Float
It's important to be seen out in the open water. These safety devices might also provide you with the security to explore new places to swim. Bring a buddy, too.

7. Ride the Rails
This is a mental trick where you pretend you are swimming on railroad tracks. Each arm has a rail. This keeps you entering at 11:00 and 1:00, and can help prevent the old school "S" pull.

8. Press Your Chest Down
This, along with having your head down, is all about finding balance, head to toe.

9. Try Dropping the Wetsuit
This would fall under a larger heading of "Mix it Up." Acclimatizing to cold water can be a very rewarding journey.

10. Use Your Alligator Eyes
It's important to do your sighting and navigating with as little effort as possible. By only exposing your eyes between strokes, you can take a glance and save energy for the long haul.

11. Be a Flexible Breather
Bi-lateral breathing is great, but sometimes it's best to breathe on just one side due to chop, sun, or to eye a competitor. Improve your weak side, and become a better swimmer.

12. Do Some Backstroke
All this crawl stroke can shape your body into a capital C. Doing backstroke builds muscle on your opposite sides, and can keep you straight.



Congratulations to all swimmers at LC Nationals.

  Hviid, Frederik C (GERM) World Record 2:11.13 - 200 back


  • #4 Lane 4 Swimming
  • #6 Reston Masters
  • #7 Terrapin Masters
  • #9 Germantown Masters
  • #12 Montgomery Ancient Mariners
  • #19 Alexandria Masters Swimming
  • #26 DCAC
  • #28 Arlington Masters
  • #34 Patriot Masters
  • #49 DC Rec
  • #51 National Capital YMCA
  • #71 SportFit Lab
  • #77 DC Masters
  • #108 Fort Belvoir Masters
FULL RESULTS: http://www.usms.org/comp/lcnats14/results/

Potomac Valley Masters - Award Winners

Potomac Valley Masters is pleased to announce the recipients of the annual PV Awards. The awards were presented at the June 1st picnic at Seneca Creek State Park which featured a cookout and local craft beer from the Pub Dog brewery.

Congratulations to:

  • Allyson Adams (TERR) - Inspirational Swimmer Award
  • Lucas Amodio (DCAC) - Male SCM Top Performer
  • Michael Bazylewicz (FXCM) - Male SCY Swimmer of the Year
  • John Buechler (FXCM) - Male Go the Distance Award
  • Jennifer Carlson (RMST) - Female LCM Top Performer
  • Jon Christensen (SPRY) - Male LCM Top Performer
  • Diana Corbin (TERR) - Female Go the Distance Award
  • Cathy Gainor (ANCM) - Outstanding Mentor Award
  • Peter Galan (TERR) - Male LCM Top Performer
  • Mollie Grover (TERR) - Female LCM Top Performer
  • Blake Holden (TERR) - Male SCM Top Performer
  • Jennifer Johnston (FXCM) - Female Postal Swimmer Award
  • Jeanne Lappin (GERM) - Female SCM Top Performer
  • Leslie Livingston (GMUP) - Female SCY Swimmer of the Year & SCM Top Performer
  • Katie McWilliams (ALEX) - Female Long Distance Swimmer of the Year & SCY Top Performer
  • Debbie Morrin-Nordlund (TERR) - Outstanding Volunteer Award (posthumously)
  • Margot Pettijohn (ANCM) - Female SCM & LCM Swimmer of the Year & SCY Top Performer
  • Hugh Roddin (ANCM) - Male SCY Top Performer
  • Jon Wilkinson (FXCM) - Male Long Distance Swimmer of the Year
  • Neill Williams (DCAC) - Male SCM & LCM Swimmer of the Year & SCY Top Performer
  • Jane Woo (UNAT) - Female Postal Swimmer Award
A link to the list of award winners is also posted on the PV website www.pvmasters.org under Announcements. Also there is a link for the recognition of swimmers who have reached major milestones in the number of years of their registration with PV Masters!

Please contact Jen Carlson at pvawards@usms.org with any questions.


Congratulations to all PV swimmers at SC Nationals.

PV Swimmers' Results:




  Meet News


Albatross Open Meet - March 15, 2014

PHOTOS: http://www.pvmasters.org/~newsletter/Sep-14/albatross2014.htm

Colonies Zone Meet April 14-16, 2014

PHOTOS: http://www.pvmasters.org/~newsletter/Sep-14/Colonies2014.htm

Potomac River Swim, May 31, 2014
by Cheryl Wagner

The Potomac River Swim took place on May 31, 2014. The weather was beautiful but the high waves and wind caused a course correction. Swimmers competed in 2 courses: 11 miles or 5.5 miles (around two channel buoys). Katie Pumphrey did a double crossing having hired her own boat, and completed 15 miles. For complete results and more photos, see:
Potomac Swim Results

Top finishers:

11 mile course

Male No Wetsuit
1. Devin Wahl 4 hr 48 min
2. Paul Brabson 5 hr 28 min
Male Wetsuit
1. Patrick Donahue 4 hr
2. David Speier 5 hr 8 min
3. Jeff Redden 5 hr 10 min
Female No Westuit
1. Annette Holmgren 5 hr 8 min
2. Lauren Au 5 hr 36 min
5.5 mile course
Male No Wetsuit
1. Gerard Whalen 2 hr 56 min
2. Tim Methric 3 hr 2 min
3. Maxwell Adams 3 hr 7 min
Male Wetsuit
1. Jason Tipton 2 hr 46 min
2. Christopher Stevens 2 hr 56 min
3. Chris Moorman 3 hr 8 min
Female No Westuit
1. Michele Walters 3 hr 11 min
2. Christine Moats 3 hr 17 min
3. Lauren Gallo 3 hr 39 min

15 mile course
Female No Westuit
1. Katie Pumphrey 8 hr 45 min

Swim for Life, July 12, 2014
by Christina West

We had a total of 230 registered participants swim a combined total of 617.6 miles! Donations totaled $31,000 excluding registration fees. Our total expenses will be about $12,000. A portion of the donations will have to be used to cover expenses. We are very appreciative of PV's continued support of this event.
Beneficiary organizations:

  • Chester River Association
  • Heart to Hand
  • Quality of Life Retreats
  • Metro TeenAIDS
Results are available here: http://swimforlife.swimdcac.org/swimforlife/2014_Event.html
Photos are available here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/MDSwimForLife/

Best, Christina West, DCAC

USMS Long Course Nationals, August 13 - 17, 2014

PHOTOS: http://www.pvmasters.org/~newsletter/lcnats



USMS Web Developer Job Opening
Web Developer job description can be found here:

For more information email: rbutcher @ usms . org

In Memory

"In memory of Debbie Morrin-Nordlund (1962 - 2014) who was one of the original lunch-time Terrapin Masters swimmers at the University of Maryland College Park in the early 1990's. She soon joined the Potomac Valley LMSC board and served there until her passing. She also served as Colonies Zone chair and on numerous committees at the national USMS level. She was a tireless promoter of USMS, and served the swimming community in many ways through volunteering and inspiring others. We will miss her." - Potomac Valley LMSC

NYC Swim Eliminating Many Open Water Events
This will likely be the final season for many of NYC Swim's shorter events due to the increasing complexity and expense of organizing them. We love these swims and all of you and greatly appreciate your support. For more information click http://hosted-p0.vresp.com/214637/1ec3901a20/ARCHIVE. See you in the water!

Swimming Saves Lives Foundation

In 2010, U.S. Masters Swimming established the Swimming Saves Lives Foundation http://www.usms.org/giving/ as its charitable arm. The purpose of SSLF is to advocate and raise awareness, and to serve as a resource for programs providing adult learn-to-swim lessons. We solicit charitable contributions and provide grants to SSLF program providers.

Our hope is that once an adult learns to swim or improves their swimming skills, they will have the confidence and desire to continue swimming in a Masters Swimming program and experience the lifelong benefits of swimming.

Through the generous contributions of USMS members and other supporters, SSLF has awarded more than $65,000 in grants to programs that are providing adult learn-to-swim opportunities.

The next grant application cycle for SSL will open March 17, 2014 and close May 30, 2014. Email Claudia Woods at cwoods@usms.org
Debbie R Malafsky

Swim for the Potomac, 3K, 5K, 10K, September 14, 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014
National Harbor, Maryland
Swim Distances: 500 meter, 3K, 5K, 10K
More info: http://www.swimforthepotomac.com/

Pan-American Master Championship

June 17 - 27, 2015
Liga de Natacion de Antioquia
Carrera 72 No.48-100 | Medellin, COLOMBIA
Tel: 430 13 30 Ext. 1020-110-11
More info: http://www.nadamejor.com.co/

PVLMSC Meeting Minutes - March 15, 2014


PVLMSC Meeting Minutes - July 20, 2014




Bonzai Sports

All things Triathlon -- rental & retail

Swimming Workout Generator

The Random Swimming Workout Generator is now available at:

  Photo Credits


  • Photos by Cheryl Wagner unless otherwise noted.

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