Friday, March 9, 2012

Christian's First Junior Olympics/Florida Age Group Championships (FLAGs)

Exciting news! At the very last minute/swim, Christian qualified for JOs in the 50 Breast!

What is JOs? Junior Olympics! Now it is called FLAGs but us old timers still prefer JOs.

This is a very high honor and what the age group swimmers train for. It is especially important for Christian because he turns 11 in May and the qualifying times get even harder. He is the first from his team to go and we are all so proud of him!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Insight #3

This is not what I had originally planned for my next insight but it's been awhile since I posted.

As a young swimmer, Bree was at the top of her sport. She dropped time consistently and placed high if not first in each race. By age 10, she had earned multiple Junior Olympic cuts.

Then came the plateau. Occasionally, she dropped time. 9 times out of 10 she added … & A LOT.

She tried everything. She trained harder. She trained less. She changed her diet. She tried different sports drinks. Nothing helped.

In Sept. 2011 at age 13, Bree started training with Oxygen4Energy. She used it after dryland and again after swim practice.

Then came the drops. Drops on races she hadn’t dropped on in 2-3 years. Not just fractions of a second that are normal at Bree’s age and level. She dropped whole seconds. This continued. One meet she dropped on every race. This is something she had not accomplished in 5 years of racing. She now beats girls that had once left her behind.

Why is that? When you workout, your breathing increases in order to try to get the extra oxygen that is needed by your muscles. When not enough oxygen is available, your muscles increase lactic acid production to fuel your muscles.  The acid levels rise when produced faster than your body can remove it. This causes the burning feeling felt while working out.

How do we as athletes stop that burning feeling? Increase our oxygen intake. Lactic acid production and muscle fatigue will be slowed, allowing for longer and harder workouts.  After working out, oxygen is needed to metabolize the lactic acid. The faster you get oxygen to your muscles, the faster your muscles can recover.

Athletes have use hyperbaric chambers for years to speed recovery. Michael Phelps, 16-time Olympic medalist, is currently using one in his preparations for the 2012 Olympics. There are downfalls to the chamber. Like Phelps said, it’s hard to watch TV. The chamber is also expensive and hard to transport.

And apparently, it is not the best idea to treat a horse in one. Just last week, a hyperbaric chamber used to treat horses exploded in Marion County, Florida when the horse licked the side of the chamber.

Oxygen4Energy is inexpensive and easy to transport. It is $10/can, lightweight, and fits in your purse, pocket, or saddlebag. Each can contains about 50-55 shots of 95% oxygen.

Oxygen4Energy allows easy and inexpensive access to the oxygen needed to slow the production of lactic acid, which will slow muscle fatigue. This will allow you to work out harder and longer. After working out, Oxygen4Energy will help speed up the metabolism of lactic acid, which speeds up the recovery time for your muscles.

Are you ready to Get on it or get left behind?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Insight #2

 Be prepared!

Whether you’re going to practice or a meet all you need is a suit and goggles, right? WRONG! Swimmers actually need a lot of gear. I sometimes feel like we’re moving when we go to a meet. Here is a rundown of what to pack.

1- the swimmer(s)
    No explanation necessary.

2- swimsuits
    More than one should be packed. My daughter’s suit was torn in a very bad place on accident by a teammate goofing off. She hadn’t packed a back up suit. Embarrassing!

3- goggles
     Again, more than one pair should be packed. Straps break at the most inopportune times. I highly recommend bungees. They adjust easily, don’t break easily, and my daughter’s goggles haven’t slipped since we bought them. They run about $6. You might also want a clear and tinted pair of goggles. Tinted goggles can make it hard to see in indoor pools but are great for sunny days. If your child wears glasses, prescription goggles can be purchased for under $20.

4- caps
     Yet again, pack more than one. They also tend to break at inopportune times. Caps come in latex and silicone. My children prefer the silicone caps. They are sturdier and don’t pull hair as much when being put on and taken off.

5- towels
     I pack one for warm-ups, one for each swim, and one for changing after the meet. They can also be worn as headgear.

6- sunscreen
     We don’t want crispy swimmers, do we?

7- parka
     These are wonderful when it’s chilly. We prefer the Speedo parka.

8-extra clothes
    Things get wet when you’re around a pool. Also, the weather can change during the day. You might want to pack some for yourself esp. when you have to count for long swims.

9- swim bag
     All this gear has to be carried somehow. They are also great for autographs.

10- food/drinks
     Swimmers get hungry! I give them something with protein right after practice. Light, healthy snacks are perfect for meets. Swimmers dehydrate even though they don’t feel the sweat. Water is fine. We also like PureSport. It is a nutritional performance sports drink with protein. Swimmers under 15 years can half the workout amount and do not need the recovery product.

11- entertainment
     This is mostly for meets. They can last for hours. Books, games, and portable DVD players are just a few suggestions.

12- sharpies/highlighters/pens
       Sharpies are used to write meet info on the swimmer. Highlighters are for marking your swimmer in the heat sheet. Pens are needed to write down your swimmer’s times.

13- chairs
       Not all pools have enough seating.

14- tent/shade
       Not all pools have enough shade/cover.

It is a good idea to research the pool the meet is being held at. You might not need to pack chairs and a tent. I hope this helps make your first meet more enjoyable.


Monday, March 7, 2011

My First Blog

Water Wings is here for you when your child is ready to leave their water wings behind and fly into competitive swimming.

I have been a “Swim Mom” for almost 5 years. My daughter started swimming two days after her eighth birthday and is about to age up for the third time. My son started swimming at the age of six. We have been to so many swim meets I have lost count. Hopefully, you can learn from our experiences and avoid some of the mistakes I have made.

Insight #1~
Swimming should be fun!
I chose this as my first insight because as a former swimmer and highly competitive person it is easy to get caught up in the moment and forget that these are kids. If swimming becomes a chore and no longer is fun, they will want to quit. Yes, they need to go to practice. Yes, as a parent, you always want them to have their best race. BUT... there will be days when they don’t want to practice. There will be slow and/or “bad” races.

As far as not wanting to go to practice, I suggest asking your child why they don’t want to practice. Do they have too much homework? Do they not feel well? Are they having a problem with the coach? Are they burning out? Obviously, if they want to compete well they need to practice but a day off here and there might be more beneficial.

The best advice I can offer pertaining to races is hugs. Hug them when they swim well. Hug them when they don’t swim well. There will be more races and nobody can swim a new best time (NBT) every swim. Not even Michael Phelps!