Menlo Masters workouts are fun and challenging, full of camaraderie and high heart rates. You'll hear a lot of laughter as well as a few groans. You'll test yourself against high energy teammates and have a few grumpy early mornings. So just show up and see what happens!
The pool is 11 lanes, 25 yards. We sometimes use fewer lanes, sometimes all of them. You will typically find from 3 to 6 people per lane.
Choosing a lane
To help you choose where to swim, we mark the lanes with cones according to 6 levels with Level 1 the fastest. Often we have more than one lane for each level (especially 3-4) so you can choose to swim with the "fast fours" or "slow threes," for example. Once you get to know your teammates, you will be able to choose where to swim according to who shows up at the workout and what the workout emphasis is for that day. You can always ask the coach for guidance.
Coaching and the sets
Menlo Masters workouts are all coached with well-defined sets. The whole pool does the same workout, just with longer intervals and fewer yards in the slower lanes. Each workout starts with a warmup and then the lane is given the first of the main sets. When you're done with that, the second set is introduced, and so forth.
Workout emphasis varies. You may do drills, stroke, or sprints. Or long distance free, pulling or kicking. We keep meets and open water swims in mind, providing opportunity to build up to those events. And look out for those relays! Check the calendar for upcoming workout focus.
If you wish to swim on your own, please do so during designated lap swim times, available 7 days a week. You may add unlimited lap swim to your Masters membership.
Menlo Masters provides pull buoys, paddles, fins, kickboards. You are welcome to bring your own. Please use gear on the sets that require it. Workouts are designed to train your stroke mechanics and fitness in specific ways, so gear versus no-gear swims are purposeful.
Know who you're swimming with
In your lane, seed yourselves in order of speed and strength. Use the warmup to get acquainted with who's in your lane. When the main sets start, faster swimmers should go first. Don't hesitate to change order throughout the workout as you tire or get stronger.
Leading the lane
Lane leader duty is important to the enjoyment of all swimmers in the lane. They assume responsibility for knowing the set, timing the intervals, counting laps, and guiding the lane. A crisp and organized lane leader can make the whole workout flow and everyone's experience a good one.
The fastest swimmer should go first and be the lane leader. If you're fastest but don't wish to lead, please don't feel you have to. Move to the next-fastest lane and swim in the back, or dial down your pace so that you don't disrupt the lane. You and your lane-mates may also agree to take turns leading during the workout.
Five seconds apart
Leave the wall 5 seconds after the swimmer ahead of you. Unless the set is specifically about drafting, do not swim on anyone's feet. Besides being annoying, you can throw off the timing of the entire lane and drafting doesn't do your training any good. If you're catching the person in front of you, change order at the start of the next set. Or leave 10 seconds apart, which is also a good idea for race-pace sprints when you have few people per lane.
Starting and finishing
Leave from the far right corner of the lane as you face out from the wall, moving over behind the swimmer leaving in front of you. When you swim into the wall to finish, immediately move over to give the next swimmer clear access to the wall. Do not stop before you reach the wall — it is everyone's responsibility to get out of the way and let the next swimmer finish strong.
Turn on the far left corner of the lane. When the swimmer in front of you pushes off, cross over to your left and make your turn on the left side. This pattern enables a clear sight line and access to the wall for the swimmer behind you. And (bonus!) everyone can then push off straight and not take slanting lines to avoid other swimmers. If you think crossing over is awkward, you may be drafting... 5 seconds is usually plenty of time to set up a clear shot at the left corner wall. And crossing over works beautifully if the person in front of you has turned on the left.
In a 25 yard pool, you should pass on the walls. Let the person in front of you know you'd like to pass with a tap on the foot. If you're the one being passed, at the the next wall stop on the far right and squeeze into the corner so the swimmers behind you can turn on the left.
If you need to take a rest in the middle of a set, stop in the right corner of the lane so that the people behind you can turn on the left side. Hop back into the order when there is a gap and your speed is appropriate. If the set is finishing up, after you let swimmers behind you pass, move over to the left to allow finishers clear access to the wall.
Do not hang on the lane lines...
...with all your body weight. Enough said.
Workouts are meant to be challenging but enjoyable. Communicate with your lane mates, ask questions, and get the most out of your training by putting good effort into the sets. With Menlo Masters, you'll find that every workout is different and you learn something every time. Swimming is good for the mind as well as the body!