Aquatics Newsletter – Current Issue


Welcome to the Stanford Aquatics quarterly newsletter! This newsletter is designed to keep our recreational swimmers informed of what is happening in Stanford Aquatics, as well as strengthen our aquatic community. Get ready to learn about your fellow recreational swimmers and the staff members that keep you safe while you swim. Improve your swim workouts and find out why there is construction at the pool. All of these topics and more will come to you quarterly in the Stanford Aquatics newsletter. Click here to sign up to receive the quarterly newsletter.

Summer 2015 Newsletter

Stanford Aquatics Adopts New Fitness Pass System // Summer Swim Clinic: Sunday, July 19 // Timed Swims Are “Non-Stop” Fun // Aquatic Staff Bio Blasts

Stanford Aquatics Adopts New Fitness Pass System

Summer is here and Stanford Aquatics has plenty of opportunities to satisfy the community’s needs so get on down to the pool! We have teamed up with the new fitness pass system to offer two aquatic classes to fitness pass participants. They are Swim Conditioning & Yoga and Aqua Zumba. Swim Conditioning & Yoga is a perfect combination of a swim workout and yoga that compliments the muscle groups swimming utilizes. There is no better way to start your Mondays and Wednesdays. Aqua Zumba, offered on Friday afternoons, is a great way to kick start the weekend. Sunshine, lively music, a talented instructor, and moves that will tone and strengthen make Aqua Zumba the workout you have been seeking. Mix up your gym routine and come to the pool! Not interested in a fitness pass but these classes sound perfect for you? No problem. You are able to register for these classes as well. Priority goes to registrants and a specific number of spaces are available to fitness pass users. We are also offering Prenatal Swimming, Underwater Rugby, and Private Swim Lessons this quarter. For information on the fitness pass system click here. For aquatic summer quarter offerings click here. We look forward to seeing you on deck!


Summer Swim Clinic: Sunday, July 19

Come out to improve your freestyle and backstroke and learn various core exercises that strengthen your swimming. The clinic will take place on Sunday, July 19 from 7:45 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at the Avery Recreation Pool. The clinic will include a combination of drills, stroke work, a classroom session, and underwater filming. Registration is open to 30 participants. For more information, please click here.


Timed Swims Are “Non-Stop” Fun

Not far from the cold waters of Lake Erie in Cleveland Ohio there is an amazing swim coach named Jerry Holtrey. During his lengthy his career as head coach of the Lake Erie Sliver Dolphins Mr. Holtrey has coached an amazing number of great swimmers all the way up to Olympic Medalists and World Champions. While his team has produced champions across all events and all distances, he has been well known as a tremendous distance freestyle coach. The reason I bring this up is that Coach Holtrey has a clever
line that he sometimes uses at the beginning of a challenging distance freestyle workout.

“Today we’re going to swim for time…a long time!”

It still makes me chuckle every time I hear it.

I bring this up because there is great value in what Coach Holtrey has planned for that day’s training. Occasionally swimming for a long time can be a really great thing. Yes, I know in my Winter Quarter post I extolled the virtues of getting away from this very thing and focusing on very short speed as a means of improvement. My response is simple…“that’s important, and this is important too!”

How to do it? Well…in this case you’re going to swim for time AND distance!

Many of you actually do something similar to this as your workout every time you swim! You call it “going swimming”! You go to the pool, get in, swim for perhaps 30 minutes straight, and call it a day. That’s tremendous, and as one element of your swim training it’s a great thing. Of course I’d ask, are you doing anything to track your progress? Are you getting faster? Are you challenging yourself to improve?

How can you make it better?

Instead of simply getting in, swimming, and getting out, try this:

  • Get in (the most important part!)
  • Warm up for a 5-10 minutes (100-500m)
  • Stop, rest, and take a moment to collect yourself
  • Wait for the pace clock to start a new minute (“the top” in swimming parlance)
  • At “the top” push off and swim at a strong pace for a set amount of time (more on
    that below)
  • Make sure you keep track of your distance AND the elapsed time (use that pace
    clock or your watch)
  • Stop when you have swum for the chosen time and, MOST IMORTANLY,
    remember your distance
  • Log the swim in your workout journal (so you can keep track of your progress).

This swim “for time” is more than just a long swim for a bit of healthy exercise. It’s also more than just seeing how far you can swim in a certain time. With some tracking and reflection on your part it becomes a means of seeing what kind of shape you are in, how you’re improving as a swimmer, and even how you might want to adjust your training to reach your goals.

The amount of time doesn’t need to be long. It could be as short as 5-10 minutes, although I would recommend that you try to work your way up to 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or even one hour straight.

Simply tracking your distance for a timed swim that you repeat regularly over several months is a great way to gauge your performance in the water. You can add an additional piece of data to that by figuring out your average pace per 100m for the timed swim. This can be a VERY valuable metric.

Let’s say that you swim for 15 minutes and cover 750m. This gives you an average 100m pace of 2:00. The next time you swim you could do a set of 5 x 100m on a sendoff of 2:30 with a goal of holding a pace faster than your 750m average (perhaps you shoot for 1:55). If you achieve that goal then you could try the exact same set with a 2:15 sendoff, and so forth until you are able to do those same 5 x 100’s holding a pace better than your 750 pace on a sendoff of 2:00 or even 2:10. If you can accomplish that then you are most likely ready to crush your existing 15 minute swim distance! At that point it’s time to “test” again and see where you stand.

You can extend the number of minutes of your test swim as you improve, or you can vary it from one test to another. Swimming for 10 minutes one week and 30 minutes the next might yield some interesting results. Can you hold a faster pace for 10 minutes than you can for 30? If yes, you might want to focus on endurance of speed. If you’re holding the same pace for 10 minutes as you are for 30, then it might be time to work on generating some speed by doing some “quality” swimming (see Winter Quarter post).

If you decide that this kind of a swim is a useful tool for you (I hope you will), you can download a useful chart which can help you determine your per 100m pace based on your timed swims. The chart is set for a 60 minute swim and adjusting for 10, 15, or 30 minutes involves some smile math. You can find the chart at: 

So…Try to mix up your training. Do some long “timed” swims with no rest (great for you), and do some fast swimming with lots of rest (also great for you). One thing I know, there is no single way to train to achieve swimming success. Variety is the spice of life and variety in your training is a sure way to improve as a swimmer.

I hope you’ll occasionally channel the voice of Jerry Holtrey and decide to “swim for time…a long time.” More than anything though, we hope that you will keep coming back to the water (wherever you might be) for a VERY long time!


Aquatic Staff Bio Blasts

Have you ever walked into the Avery Aquatic Center or Avery Recreation Pool and wondered who the awesome staff members were that were working tirelessly to make your swimming experience so pleasant? Each newsletter will feature our outstanding staff members and give you a little background about them. So take a second and read about Maria! Don’t forget to say hi to her the next time you see her or any other of our amazing staffers.

Maria Merentiti

Aqua Zumba Instructor

Maria Merentiti Maria Merentiti joined the instructor staff of Stanford Aquatics in Fall 2014. She teaches Aqua Zumba Friday afternooons from 4:15pm-5:15pm. She is full of energy and extremely passionate about Zumba. If you have seen her on deck you know exactly what we are talking about. Maria was born in Athens, Greece but lived in Volos, a beautiful seaside city. Her family still resides there. She studied law at Greece then got her master’s degree s in international law in Germany and German Linguistics in Switzerland. Her husband is a post-doc at Stanford and they have a 4 year old Maltese dog named Truckee that keeps them busy. She has zumba basic, aqua zumba, zumba kids, zumba toning and aquatic exercise certifications. She is currently teaching zumba, aqua zumba and WATERinMOTION around the area. Her hobbies include dancing, swimming, and preparing choreographies. As long as the music starts she can barely keep her feet off the ground. What keeps Maria dancing on deck at Stanford? She says, “Stanford Aquatics is so much fun. I love to teach my aqua zumba class at this pool. It is a busy pool, full of energized and happy people. The other instructors and lifeguards are friendly and helpful.” Be sure you do not miss a chance to see Maria in her element Friday afternoons at Avery Rec Pool and make sure to say hello.

Sarah Mason

Shift Leader

Sarah Mason Sarah Mason is back for her second summer with Stanford Aquatics, after having returned for spring and winter breaks from Seattle University. She has recently been promoted to the Shift Leader position and we are excited to have her take on this new role. Sarah studies Strategic Communications at Seattle and hopes to go into public relations after she graduates in 2016. When asked why she enjoys coming back to Stanford, Sarah says, “Everything is super organized, and there is protocol for everything. I’ve worked at a bunch of different pools and this one is the most organized.” When asked about her recent promotion to Shift Leader Sarah says, “I’m glad that I have a chance to move up.” In Sarah’s free time she enjoys cooking and making her own recipes, playing with her cat and dog, and the obvious, swimming! If you see Sarah on the pool deck, say hi!