AGUA Masters Weekly Newsletter
A Note from Coach John
The Cost of One-Sided Freestyle
Like many swimmers, I'm a one-sided breather in freestyle and dominant with my right arm. I never worried about it because I could swim butterfly fast enough to make up for it. Recently I paid the price for 43 years of one-sided freestyle: rotator cuff surgery. This unfortunate outcome underscores the importance of good stroke mechanics.

Stroke mechanics allow you to fine-tune, improve, and achieve demonstrable gains regardless of your age or fitness level. In my case, paying attention to a relaxed elbow arm recovery on both sides of my body 20 years ago would have made the last few months very different. Even just breathing bilaterally every third stroke probably would have done the trick. Making those changes would have been easy, but the patience and focus to make them habitual was lacking.

I encourage you to heed my cautionary tale and focus on improving your worst stroke. Dedicate time to its mechanics at every practice. Set small benchmarks for yourself that are easily achieved every time you get in the water, for example, today breathe every third freestyle stroke at practice. Make stroke mechanics equally as important as your focus on training intensity. You will get more out of practice, and you will be less likely to end up like I did – as a patient in someone's surgical practice.

As always, my door is open for any questions or concerns. Please feel free to email me at [email protected].

See you at the pool,

–Coach John
Up Next
-REMINDER- Set Up Your TeamUnify Account
In March you participated in a survey evaluating your experience as an AGUA Masters team member. From that survey we learned that our greatest opportunity for improvement is communication. We heard you loud and clear. That's why we have adopted TeamUnify, the swimming world's most robust communication management platform. See our new website in action.

In the coming weeks, AGUA Masters will be streamlining communications through TeamUnify. Please follow the steps below to ensure you won't miss a thing.
  • Validate your email address to activate your account. All active AGUA Masters members should have received an email from TeamUnify. This email will link you to your new TeamUnify account. Click on the link to activate your account. 
  • If it is not in your inbox, please check your junk mail folder and be sure to add the domain to your safe-sender list.
  • Once your account is activated, you will receive instructions for login and password creation.

  • After creating a password and logging in, you will have the opportunity to install TeamUnify's mobile app, OnDeck. While downloading the app is not required, OnDeck will allow you to check practice schedules, see who's coaching, daily pool layouts, and the workout of the day – on the go.

Bonus: With TeamUnify it's never been easier to manage your workouts. Now you can register for practice right from the calendar.

If you have any questions or issues setting up your account, please don't hesitate to reach out to Coach John at [email protected].
2020 USMS Fall Fitness Challenge
This one-mile swim is the perfect event to finish the year strong after a long break from the pool. Proceeds support the USMS COVID-19 Relief Program for local swim clubs.

Register for Practice Online

You may register for one swimming practice per day, at either Asphalt Green campus, up to two weeks in advance. View the schedule on TeamUnify.

Reservations for a two-week period open on Mondays at 10am. The second week of a two-week cycle is unlocked each Monday. Reservations are made on a rolling basis.

Reserve your spot:
Training Tips
Use Position 11 to Improve Bilateral Breathing
This drill utilizes position 11 to help you learn to breath confidently on both sides while swimming freestyle.

How to do it:
  1. Start facedown in the water with your arms extended straight above your head. You should be looking at the bottom of the pool. From a top-down view, your arms will appear to form the number 11.
  2. Begin to flutter kick as fast as you can. Then, take one slow, thoughtful, and powerful freestyle stroke on your non-dominant side, and breathe. Continue kicking fast throughout. The goal: achieve six complete kick cycles in the time it takes for your pull and breath.
  3. Return the non-dominant arm to position 11 and kick six times with your eyes straight down. Be sure to keep your arms locked straight.
  4. Repeat steps two and three with your dominant side.

Pro Tips:
  • Keep one goggle in the water when you breathe.
  • Your kick should make white water behind you.
  • If you can't complete six kicks in the time it takes to do one stroke, slow the stroke down.
  • All persons entering Asphalt Green are required to complete a daily health screening prior to arrival. Daily health screenings will be emailed to when you reserve practice time. It can also be found online.

  • Please arrive on time and exit the facility promptly at the end of practice. You will be permitted ten minutes before and five minutes after your reserved practice time to enter and exit the facility.

  • Swimmers are required to wear face coverings when traveling to and from the pool deck. Face coverings may only be removed when the swimmer is entering the water. Swimmers are responsible for bringing their own plastic bag to store their face covering in designated areas on the pool deck.  

  • Pool deck traffic flow is redirected per City mandate.

  • Towel service is discontinued. Masters must bring their own towels as needed. Towels are available for purchase.

  • Swimmers should arrive in swim gear and avoid use of locker rooms. The steam room and sauna are unavailable. Per New York State Department of Health mandate (Article 165), a limited number of showers are available for a pre-and post-swim rinse only.

  • Deck changing is prohibited.

  • There is no shared equipment (kick boards, fins, paddles, etc.) in the pool. You are welcome to bring your own equipment. Please note that athletes are not permitted to store equipment or other personal belongings at the facility; however, if you currently rent a locker, you have access to it. New locker rentals are not available during this first phase of reopening.

  • Pool and water cleaning systems are fastidiously maintained, including disinfection with chlorine. A UV filtration system also disinfects our pools.

  • BioOx air purification system installed on the pool deck removes chlorine particles and improves air quality. The recently installed CASPR air filtration system neutralizes aerosolized viruses, including COVID-19.
Do I have to be a member of Asphalt Green to swim with AGUA Masters?
  • Yes. COVID-19 has reshaped our industry. We were forced to make many difficult decisions, one of them now requiring that all AGUA Masters swimmers must be members of Asphalt Green.  

How do I make a reservation?

Where can I find the daily health screening?

Do I have to wear a face covering?
  • Yes. Swimmers are required to wear face coverings when traveling to and from the pool deck. Face coverings may only be removed when the swimmer is entering the water. Swimmers are responsible for bringing their own plastic bag to store their face covering in designated areas on the pool deck. 

What does the practice schedule look like?
  • Practice schedules vary slightly based on our new facility hours and other variables. In order to accommodate the 33% State and City capacity limitation, we have added practices where applicable. Please note that schedules are subject to change. View the schedule on TeamUnify..

How many swimmers will be allowed to attend practice?
  • Current capacity restrictions allow a maximum of six swimmers per lane at practice. The total number of swimmers at practice will vary by pool configuration.

What will practice look like?
  • After six months away from the water, practices will focus on re-acclimating and injury prevention. We will focus on social distancing just as much as swimming fast.