“Mastering” the Swim – proper breathing & rotation

The first steps in order to become an efficient swimmer are of course breathing properly and body position. Once we have become proficient at those, the next most important skill is body rotation. Rotation is an important part of freestyle as well as backstroke because by rotating our body to initiate the underwater pull, we put ourselves into a more favorable position to use our back muscles which will make our pull stronger. unknownThe question then becomes how much do we actually need to rotate? The majority of our stroke should take place on our stomach, not on our side. The best freestylers rotate their shoulders to either side about 30 degrees from the surface, meaning that they never even rotate halfway onto their side ( 90 degrees). So the goal is to rotate forward in order to lengthen the stroke and set us up for the best catch. The hips should rotate a little less than the shoulders because if the hips rotate too much, it will be difficult to maintain a steady kick. This is why a lot of swimmers will have a cross over/scissor kick when they go to breathe because the hips are rotating too much to the breathing side. As our arm enters the water as well as at the end of each recovery, we want to drive and extend our arm and shoulder forward. Our shoulders will naturally pivot and that is all the rotation that we need. It is also important to ensure that we do not internally rotate the shoulder as this can lead to shoulder impingement as well as an inefficient catch.

In Reality, body rotation doesn’t  just naturally happen. It  requires a lot of core strength and work, especially in the form of drills. When the rotation is fast and well timed, it will create a substantial force that enables the swimmer to cover more distance with each stroke. Here are some practical drills to help with body rotation, I recommend using fins in the beginning as it is easier to learn the technique.


Single Arm Drill

  • Swim with the Left arm, Breath to the left side. The right arm is by your side .
  • Swim with Left arm, Breathe to the right side. The right arm is by your side.
  •  Swim with Right arm, Breath to the right side. The left arm is by your side.
  •  Swim with Right arm, Breath to the left side. The left arm is by your side.

Shoulder Lift

  • Swim on your stomach, hands at your side using a steady kick. alternate lifting left shoulder out of the water while taking a breath and then do the same on the right. The key is keeping your hands at your side.
  • Next, do the same drill without lifting your head out other than every 3rd time to breath.

Heather Butcher is a USAT level 1 certified coachdsc_0004, USAT Youth and Junior coach and an ACE certified personal trainer.Heather has been doing personal training and Triathlon coaching for over 10 years and is the owner of TriFitSports personal training studio and multisport coaching located in Venice, FL.

Email: hbtrisports@aol.com

Phone: (941) 416-4492

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USAT Florida Region Women’s Initiative call for Sunshine Leaders




Our 2017 Women’s Initiative theme is Women Who Shine. A primary goal we have in the Florida Region is to increase women participation in triathlon, and to draw women into a lifestyle of health and fitness. To do that, we are looking for 15 amazing leaders around the state like you to become a Sunshine Leader.


A Sunshine Leader is a woman who is an active USAT member, active on social media and in their community. They want to spread sunshine to others through empowering, motivating and sharing a positive message! Women that embody a healthy, fun and vibrant endurance lifestyle and that encourage and support others to do the same. Above all else, we are searching for women that are involved in their community and are willing to help other ladies get into sport. We are inspired by women that are persistent in their quest to be the best they can be. You don’t have to be fast, young or have magical powers to be a sunshine leader.

If you’re thinking about applying, some requirements we have:

  • Be an active USA Triathlon member in good standing
  • Host a USAT sanctioned triathlon clinic or event in your area for women – we will pay for sanctioning and provide you with SWAG!
  • Write a minimum of two articles (one could be an about you, how you got started and one can be promoting your event).
  • Share with us your training, racing and life stories! Anything you do that promotes the sunshine – #womenwhoshine @usatFLladies @usatflorida

WHY SHOULD YOU APPLY? If you know about the USAT Florida Region Women’s Initiative, you know we have been working for the past four years on fostering relationships with women around the state and encouraging women to tri it out! One of the primary benefits is that you’ll be surrounded by a team of encouraging and inspiring women. Of course, you’ll also receive some AWESOME SWAG and DISCOUNTS!


WHAT’S NEXT? If you are interested in applying, please complete the google form and submit it by February 24, 2017. If invited to become a USAT Florida Region Sunshine Leader, we will send you an agreement form that will set out the terms of the relationship for your review. Please send any questions to lchimienti@live.com and be sure to include your name in the subject line.


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USAT Florida Region announces the 2017 Club Program and Championship Series

The USA Triathlon – Florida Region is pleased to announce that the 34th Annual Great Clermont Triathlon Festival on March 18th and 19th in Clermont, Florida and the 26th Annual Huntington’s Disease Triathlon on July 30, 2017 in Miami, Florida will serve as the 2017 USAT Florida Region Club Championship Races. 

Both of these races have a long and notable strong reputation in the Florida Region and offer Sprint and Olympic distance races to maximize Club opportunities for athlete participation.  Division winners and runners up in 3 divisions will be crowned and recognized as 2017 USAT Florida Region Club Champions in each of these two races.


In accordance with USAT Club Program rules, teams must have a current 2017 USAT Club registration in order to be eligible to receive points and club athletes must have with a valid 2017 USAT Annual Membership. 

For more details on Club Championship scoring, please go the USAT Florida Region website.

To form a new USAT Florida Region Club or to renew your USAT Florida Region Club registration, please click HERE and follow the prompts  

To register for either or both of these races, you may click on the following links: 

gct-2017-60034th Annual Great Clermont Triathlon Festival on March 18th and 19th in Clermont, Florida

Register for the Sprint Race 

Register for the Olympic Race 




26th Annual Huntington’s Disease Triathlon on July 30, 2017 in Miami, Florida


Register for Sprint and Olympic Distance Races


For more information, contact USAT Florida Region Club liaison, Roger McVeigh at rogermcveigh@bellsouth.net


Renew  your USAT Club registration for 2017 Today and encourage your members and athletes to register early for the Championship Races and to renew their annual USAT membership.

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The foundation of YOUTH

p7100049Triathlon is not just for our “adult-folks”! The sport has grown tremendously through the participation on the “younger” generation. Help build a generation of healthy, active and responsible kids by signing your kids up for a triathlon near you!

Click on the banner below for the USAT Kidzone:


USA Triathlon Florida Region has compiled a list of opportunities for our youth triathletes to swim, bike and run in 2017. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABe sure to register…who knows, maybe we have an Olympic gold medalist in training!


For more information on youth triathlon in the state of Florida:

Regional Youth Development Coordinator, Deb Peters

Email :  deb@dpfitnessandwellness.com

Phone: 813-731-8767


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Race to your present fitness, not your season Expectations


It’s early season and many of us are just gearing up for our season openers. So why stress trying to race to your season expectation in NOW? prince2-training-smart-goals-300x225If your target “A” race is fall half ironman, why would you overly stress about your performance in January/February?

Take what your body has to offer and build your summer and fitness wisely. If you work hard thru the remainder of the winter months and into spring, this will be a good test of your present fitness. Every race throughout the season should be looked at as a building block toward your target “A” race. Races give you an opportunity to apply what you’ve been working on in training and gauge your improvement.

2271f195ee6bfa9954c4bb5f8d92b30cDon’t go out in April expecting to be where you want to be in November! Take your season opening races for what they are, season openers. See where you’re at, and smartly build your fitness from there.

Here are some early-season triathlon training tips  on Active.com to help you plan for a successful year.

Fred “Cube” Mehrer tricoachflorida-coach-fred-mehreris a USAT Level 1 coach and the owner & of TriCoachFlorida.com. From 5k to Ironman, beginner to advanced, Fred can get you across the line, no matter what the distance! #FeelTheBurn

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Collegiate Conference Championship Race Dates for 2017

CollegesThe collegiate conference championship race dates for the Florida region have been set for 2017. Our Florida universities will go head to see who will dominate for bragging rights in the Sunshine State!


Then, on April 22nd, they all come together to prove that Florida will weigh supreme when our collegiate teams battle the rest of the nation at the USA Triathlon Collegiate Club Nationals in Tuscaloosa.

For more information: https://usatfloridaregion.com/programs-2/collegiate-division/

Any questions regarding the FCTC should be directed to Jodi Hovius, FCTC Director at jodi@fctcusat.org



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Paratriathlon classification changes for 2017

unknownITU just sent the following along for classification for the 2017 season. All athletes (except PTVI) will need to be reclassified moving into the 2017 season.

If you plan on (or want to put your name in the hat to be considered to race) racing at the CAMTRI Paratriathlon Championships in Sarasota in March unknownyou need to make sure to send me the appropriate documents, videos, etc. as soon as possible. Since we are 7 weeks out from the race, I understand you may not be able to accomplish this all in a week. If you can, please send to me by Wednesday, January 25th. If you need more time, please aim to have this all to me no later than Wednesday, February 15th.

If you are not planning on racing at CAMTRI but do plan on racing in ITU races in 2017, please adhere to the 6 week prior to competition deadline.


For all athletes presenting to classification, we would like to remind you about the provisions that apply and that must be taken care of PRIOR to classification:

  • The athlete’s National Federation (USAT) must initiate the process, on behalf of an athlete, by providing medical documentation and any other records to the ITU Head of Classification, or representative, so that the existence of the Eligible Impairment can be verified.
  • Every athlete requiring classification must submit to the ITU, through its National Federation (USAT), no later than six (6) weeks prior the competition, the Physical Impairment (PI) or Vision Impairment (VI) Medical Diagnostics Form and all relevant medical documents. This must also be presented at time of classification.
  • Athletes must provide the classification panel with a copy of the ITU Physical Impairment (PI) Medical Diagnostic Form”, completed by their medical doctor, or the “ITU Visual impairment (VI) Medical Diagnostic Form”, completed by an ophthalmologist.

Forms can be found under the following link: http://www.triathlon.org/paratriathlon/documents

  • A passport sized photo must be submitted via email or presented at the time of classification.
  • It is mandatory for athletes who have one or more of the medical conditions highlighted on page two of the PI Medical Diagnostics Form, to submit relevant and recent medical information. This could include, but should not be limited to: medical letters and reports detailing medical history, results of radiological examinations, and other diagnostic tests relevant to the athlete’s medical condition. Athletes who have multiple Sclerosis must include an MRI.
  • Failure to provide the required medical documentation during classification where there the athlete does not have evidence of an eligible impairment type, the athlete’s classification will be suspended and the athlete will be allocated a status of “Classification not Complete” (CNC), and will not be able to compete at any ITU event until classification is complete.

Athletes with Neurological Impairments

  • All athletes with a medically diagnosed permanent health condition which presents as an ITU eligible impairment type recognized impairment such as Ataxia, Athetosis or Hypertonia, will undergo a preliminary screen assessment to ensure there are clear signs of such impairment(s).
  • Athletes with Multiple Sclerosis:

cokm_5zuaaay66pIn advance to the competition, these athletes should submit Electromyograms and/or MRI that show a permanent loss of power during activity.

If possible, videos of the athlete swimming and running,
taken from the back (legs and upper torso) and more important, from the side. Videos of 6-10 seconds duration are to be sent to ITU, at time of submitting the athlete’s medical diagnosis form as per the deadlines mentioned above.

If you have any questions, please contact Hector Torres

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Make it “official” and get certified!


Have you ever thought about becoming a USAT Competitive Rules official? Officiating at triathlons is a fantastic way to stay involved in the sport. And now is your chance: the Florida Region is looking for USA Triathlon members that would like to become certified officials.

What does it take? To become a USA Triathlon official, you must be a member of USA Triathlon prior to coming to the clinic, pass a background check, take the USOC SafeSport webinar, be in good physical condition, weigh less than 200 pounds and be capable of riding for hours at a time as a passenger on a motorcycle.

You also need to attend a 4-hour certification clinic held in conjunction with a USA Triathlon sanctioned triathlon or duathlon. During the clinic you will become familiar with the philosophies and mission of the USA Triathlon officials’ program and the competitive rules. The next day, following the certification clinic, you actually work at the event as an official under the supervision of the head referee.

For additional information on the USA Triathlon officials’ program and a schedule of certification clinics in Florida, please CLICK HERE.

If you are interested in attending a certification clinic and becoming a USA Triathlon certified official, please email Tom Reilly at FloridaROC@msn.com.

Following are the certification/recertification clinics that are currently scheduled for 2017:

March 10 – 11

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Las Olas International Triathlon & Duathlon Officials Certification and Recertification Clinic

1 P.M. – 5 P.M. Saturday March 10


March 17 – 19

Clermont, Florida

Florida Challenge Triathlon – the Intimidator Officials Certification and Recertification Clinic

1 P.M. – 5 P.M. Friday March 17


April 1 – 2

Miami, Florida

South Beach Triathlon Officials Certification and Recertification Clinic

1 P.M. – 5 P.M. Saturday April 1


April 29 – 30

St. Petersburg, Florida

St. Anthony’s Triathlon Officials Certification and Recertification Clinic

9 A.M – 1 P.M. Saturday April 29


June 16 — 17

Jacksonville, Florida

Jacksonville Triathlon Series – Olympic & Sprint # 1 Officials Certification and Recertification Clinic

1 P.M. – 5 P.M. Saturday June 16


September 23 — 24

Miami, Florida

Escape to Miami Triathlon Officials Certification and Recertification Clinic

1 P.M. – 5 P.M. Saturday August 18


October 6 – 7

Pensacola Beach, Florida

Santa Rosa Island Triathlon Officials Certification and Recertification Clinic

1 P.M. – 5 P.M. Saturday Friday October 6


November 11 — 12

Miami, Florida

Miami Man Half Iron & International Triathlon Officials Certification and Recertification Clinic

1 P.M. – 5 P.M. Saturday November 11

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2016 Hall of Fame Celebration


December 16th, 2016, USAT Florida Region

For Immediate Release by the USAT Florida Region Council:

2016 Hall of Fame Celebration:

The Florida Region celebrated the induction of three outstanding and worthy contributors to our sport this past Saturday evening, December 10 at the Rosen Inn in Orlando, Fl. The 2016 class of inductees included an age group female athlete, a special contributor and an age group male athlete, bringing the membership of the Florida Region Hall of Fame, founded in August 2015, to a total of 7 exceptional contributors to our sport.

Saturday’s 2016 class included Jackie Yost, Treasure Island, Fl, an almost ninety year old athlete competing to this day and inspiring athletes every time she races. The second inductee, Cherie Starr, is an active member of USAT and is most well known as founder and race director of the iconic Heartland Triathlon. The Heartland Triathlon is a legendary Florida race in Sebring, Fl that has successfully hosted the USAT Florida Region Youth Championship for many years. Lastly, we were delighted to add Hector Picard to the Florida Region Hall of Fame. Hector has been inspiring others since 2009 competing as a physically challenged athletes and a bi-lateral amputee. In spite of this, Hector has finished in over 130 triathlons, including several iron distance races, and was recently featured in national TV coverage as a finisher in the 2016 Ironman World Championships in Kona. Congratulations to the Class of 2016.

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Nomination for induction into the 2017 class of the USAT Florida Region Hall of Fame will open in summer 2017.

For more information about the USAT Florida Region Hall of Fame, email or call Florida Region Council Chair, Hector Torres, at htorres@centralfloridatriclub.com or 321-443-0073.

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Coaching is the universal language of change and learning


If you missed the winter USAT FL coaching symposium this past weekend, you missed an amazing event of education and comradery.

We were fortunate enough to have severdsc_0039al high level coaches such as Justin Trolle, Jennifer Hutchison and Hector Torres sharing their knowledge and experiences.  It was a fantastic weekend of not only learning but also encouraging each other in our businesses as well as  how to become better coaches to our athletes.


Idsc_0033 would have to say this was the best coaching clinic I have been to in my 14 years of coaching. There was truly something for everyone and I am really grateful for the opportunity to not only meet other fellow coaches from around FL but also to have the opportunity to pick the brains of some of the most reputable and experienced coaches in the business.


If you missed out on this opportunity, there will be another one in the spring. We are tentatively looking at April or May of 2017 in Clermont. This will be a clinic in which coaches will not only be able to earn CEU’s but  also bring  athletes for some hands on experience and training from some of the top athletes and coaches in our area. You will not want to miss this opportunity!

For more information, stay tuned to the USAT FL website and Facebook page and definitely make sure you follow/like us on Twitter & Instagram to be sure you are up to date.

Looking for a USAT coach? Click here and choose “Florida” under location!

If you have any questions or are interested in presenting at future clinics please feel free to contact Heather Butcher at hbtrisports@aol.com. Hope to see all of you in the spring!

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