Masters Swimming for a 21yo?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 26, 2011 1:49 PM GMT
    Hi guys, just wanted to know people's thoughts on this or their own experiences.

    This past year I started swimming regularly and with the help of a friend who has coached swimming before, I learned technique and got some help from him. I feel like swimming freestyle comes very naturally and it feels really good, and my friend said my form looks really good considering I'm relatively new to the sport (I was always a distance runner in the past.)

    I'm switching universities in the fall and I want to be able to continue swimming with the occasional tips or critique so that I don't get into bad habits and can continue to get better, learn new strokes, etc., and see where that takes me.

    I'm thinking of joining a Masters club but I was wondering if that would include other people in their 20s? Is this the best option for me? (I feel like I'm beyond doing lessons but I'm also not at a level to compete.)

    Thanks icon_smile.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 27, 2011 7:36 PM GMT
    Masters swimming is a great way to improve and learn new strokes. A coach can watch with a critical eye and give you tricks to improve your technique and fix any bad habits before they become too ingrained.

    Plus there aren't a lot of Masters swimmers in your age group (unlike mine!), so if you decide to compete you stand a good chance of winning your races!
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    May 27, 2011 7:41 PM GMT
    Thanks for the feedback. Hopefully I wouldn't be way younger than the other age groups but I guess it depends from team to team.

    I know the one at my current university has students as well as alumni on the team. At my new school in the fall I'm not sure what the age breakdown is, but I guess I'll find out!

    Any other feedback from people is much appreciated icon_razz.gif
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    May 31, 2011 2:36 PM GMT
    Anybody?
  • Aquanerd

    Posts: 845

    May 31, 2011 2:51 PM GMT
    There are swimmers of all ages in Master's programs. I train with a team at a University, and we have a good number of grad students on the team. They have a club team (non-NCAA) and a number of their swimmers compete in Master's Swimming. In fact USMS is actively working to increase younger swimmers through partnerships with local Masters teams.

    The 19-24 Age Group is the smallest group until you get to the 65-69 group, But that just means you have a better shot of winning a ribbon. icon_smile.gif

    Go for it. and don't be afraid to swim in meets. Its the best way to stay motivated. Plus The Gay World Championships are in Hawaii this year and Iceland the next, and the Gay Games in Cleveland are only 3 years away.

    Make your reservations now.
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    May 31, 2011 3:07 PM GMT
    I am a registered USMS swimmer and I'm 25. I love the meets because they're so laid back in comparison to USA Swimming.
    You should totally do it. Just have fun.
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    May 31, 2011 3:11 PM GMT
    Thanks guys icon_smile.gif

    I can't wait to begin icon_biggrin.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 08, 2011 1:42 PM GMT
    I've done some Masters competition here in The Netherlands. I don't train at my old club. I stay fit doing other sports but since I've had years of experience in the pool I can still perform somewhat. Masters swimming is awesome. the other swimmers are all laid back and some used to be good. It's about people enjoying the wonderful sport of swimming no matter what age you are.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 08, 2011 1:44 PM GMT
    I swam Masters in Japan... it was fantastic! A lot of fun and made some wonderful friends that way. Plus, I hadn't swam competitively for three years competitively prior to that, so it was like re-discovering the sport.
  • swimmer8671

    Posts: 429

    Jul 09, 2011 4:55 AM GMT
    Doing swim clubs is great too, if you get a feel on the type of club it is and if its within your level. But a lot of times they cater to younger ages so you wouldn't want to look weird haha. Get involved with one that has college swimmers on it and you will get a lot of help from the coach and other swimmers. As well as the workouts that will get you in competition shape.
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    Jul 10, 2011 12:02 PM GMT
    Hey... aren't all swim clubs (other than Masters ones) very difficult to get on to?

    For example, for my university's team, you have to fill out a long registration form that refers back to your swimming history and you have to put coaches as references etc... Wouldn't most other teams also be like this? I just don't have the necessary history with this sport.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 10, 2011 12:50 PM GMT
    Joining a masters team is a great way to improve your swimming technique, make friends and stay in shape. The meets are great because nobody is going to remember how well or how bad your performance was 10 seconds after it's over. Not everybody competes. Masters swimmers tend to be very sociable. It's enjoyable having a good age spread in your friendships.

    A precaution about joining a gay team is being mindful of the consequences of dating and forming a romantic relationship. The relationship is great while in progress. If it ends, it becomes like a divorce settlement where team mates are property to be divided and you still have to see this person at practices. My take on this is to collect your best buds from the team and date their friends. Property division becomes a much simpler issue.

    Bottom line, you owe it to yourself to become a masters swimmer. This is a life long activity. The chlorine treatments will work wonders to keep you looking younger than your friends of the same age.
  • Aquanerd

    Posts: 845

    Jul 10, 2011 12:58 PM GMT
    t_h_r_i_v_e saidHey... aren't all swim clubs (other than Masters ones) very difficult to get on to?

    For example, for my university's team, you have to fill out a long registration form that refers back to your swimming history and you have to put coaches as references etc... Wouldn't most other teams also be like this? I just don't have the necessary history with this sport.


    It depends on what type of team you are talking about, intercollegiate or intramural. Intercollegiate athletics (or Varsity) are the NCAA sanctioned teams and they are elite and even if you are non-scholarship you have to show a certain level of performance to show you are worth the expenses of training and travel invested.

    Intramural (or club level) are more laid back and they performance level requirement is lower then NCAA level, but probably have a standard because they still get financing from the school. My experience with club level is limited. My Master's Team trains at GA Tech, and Tech has both.

    Even their Club team swimmers are pretty good. I'd say, in general, if you'd qualified for the State Championships in high school, you'd be good enough to for most Club teams, you need to medalist at State in high school to be good enough to "walk-on" to a Varsity Team at some schools. A State Champion should be able to get a scholarship, somewhere.

    There is why Master's Swimming starts @ 19. While some Master's teams have performance requirements, most have developmental programs for anyone that can swim a few laps without stopping.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 11, 2011 3:23 AM GMT
    Thanks guys!

    I emailed the university contact to ask what the Masters team is like, if I can go to a few practices for free to try it out before I sign up, and if they have swimmers my age on the team. I guess now I just have to wait until the fall and keep working on my swimming until then. (I have a friend who's done coaching who's drawn me up some good workouts to do.)
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    Jul 14, 2011 3:22 AM GMT
    So I emailed the head guy from the swim club there (they manage all the different teams/clubs for different ages and abilities/skill levels) and the guy said once I have moved out there for school, to give him a call and he'll meet up with me and watch me swim and help place me.

    I know I'll be really nervous knowing I'm being watched and scrutinized but I'm excited to see where it takes me and I really appreciated his response. He left his phone number with me so that I can arrange that in the late summer once I've moved out there.

    Apart from being placed in terms of my skill, I guess now I need to think about what I'm really looking for... like what level of commitment I want to put into this.

    I feel like Masters would be the best choice, I just hope that there will be other younger swimmers like myself.
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    Jul 14, 2011 3:28 AM GMT
    [size=8]I'm 29 and been with my Masters team for nearly 6 years. It's a great workout and the coaches definitely know their stuff. They swim on days/nights they aren't coaching so the practices are stuff that they see value in. We have swimmers of all ages and skills; works out well. Would definitely [/size]recommend it.
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    Aug 31, 2011 3:23 AM GMT
    Okay new question... is it bad to join a Masters team if I only really swim freestyle at the moment? I'm a quick learner and it looks like backstroke and breaststroke aren't too hard, but I don't actually know how to do them properly, per se.

    I know that the team I'm looking at joining does their workouts mostly freestyle, but I'm not sure what I'd do when they do other strokes icon_sad.gif

    I really want to join though!!! Hmmm. Do you think I could join and just pick up those other strokes at the practises?
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    Aug 31, 2011 3:46 AM GMT
    _freestyle saidOkay new question... is it bad to join a Masters team if I only really swim freestyle at the moment? I'm a quick learner and it looks like backstroke and breaststroke aren't too hard, but I don't actually know how to do them properly, per se.

    I know that the team I'm looking at joining does their workouts mostly freestyle, but I'm not sure what I'd do when they do other strokes icon_sad.gif

    I really want to join though!!! Hmmm. Do you think I could join and just pick up those other strokes at the practises?


    Join a swim club. Clubs that are not a part of universities take everyone. There, instead of mainly focusing on getting into shape for the season and competing like a college or university club team would, a regular club team would focus mostly on technique more than anything, and competing would come second.

    Don't do masters if you want to swim with people your own age, join a club team. The Masters program is made for older people that still want to compete for fun, and the majority of those people range from 40-50 years old. Most cities that have a high school have a club team that practice at that high school, so it's easy to find one and get into one, though it might be a little expensive.

    And doing "just freestyle" is not a good idea IMHO. You need to branch out and learn the different strokes. In the end when you start making your own workouts and stuff, you won't be stuck with monogamous work outs that tend to get boring the more you repeat them. Learn other strokes.
  • allezallez

    Posts: 50

    Aug 31, 2011 3:59 AM GMT
    You said you're switching universities. Does your new university have club swimming? I was the president of my university's club team, and I know that our club (as well as many other club teams at universities throughout the USA) have a very "put in what you want to get out of it" sort of attitude. Your profile says you're in Canada, and I can't really speak for clubs there, but I assume that the mentality is at least sort of on par. Our club thrived on the fact that everyone wanted to be there because they had a passion for the sport. Competition took the back burner; our goal was to make sure that everyone had fun.

    That being said, the same is very true of Masters swimming, which I have also done for a few years. A lot of the people that go to practice are there just to be active, to get a workout in in a non-threatening environment. You will find awesome swimmers, and you will find swimmers who just sort of flop in the water. But everyone is there, swimming. Some people can only do freestyle, while others pull off all four strokes flawlessly.

    Don't be too timid to go because you can only do this stroke, or you can only swim that fast. Throughout my years of competitive swimming, my teams have all made sure to cater to everyone's needs - yes, some cater a little more than others, but I think it's a service that is sort of built in to the sport of swimming.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 31, 2011 12:17 PM GMT
    Okay sounds good to me. The requirements for joining the team are just to be able to swim 1500m continuously and they had some speed requirements, but nothing that I'm not capable of doing already.

    The Masters team I'm looking at joining is at the university, but I'm not sure how I'd join a club team outside of school, as someone suggested two posts above. It seems like to join a swim club, especially at my age, you have to have lots of experience swimming and already be able to compete. This Masters team seems to be the only one where I can go into it without having all that experience.

    My university offers swim classes, the Varsity team, and Masters. So the Masters seems like the best fit.

    The coach told me there are plenty of swimmers aged 20-30 on the team.


    EDIT: I just checked the Toronto Swim Club's page (which is run outside of UofT but in alliance with it) and they only accept swimmers age 6-18. Plus it seemed a bit more competitive/time-intensive than I'm currently looking for.

    I think I'll register for this Masters team which seems to have people my age and hopefully people there will be able to help teach me a few new tricks and make me comfortable. It will be an entirely new setting to me as I've never swam in a club setting. I've ran track in a club, but never swam.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 11, 2011 3:11 AM GMT
    Successfully registered. First practice on Monday early in the morning. I'm pretty nervous icon_razz.gif

    EDIT: First practice was awesome. Thanks to everyone who encouraged me to join a team... I'm really glad I did already. icon_smile.gif
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    Sep 19, 2011 11:30 AM GMT
    Well done.. when will be your first competition?
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    Sep 29, 2011 4:22 AM GMT
    Hahaha probably not for quite some time. I thought I was in good shape before joining, and I've quickly realized that I still have a lot of room for improvement.
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    Oct 03, 2011 9:15 PM GMT
    My rotator cuff's been flaring up so I haven't been able to go to any Masters practises for a couple weeks... been tottering along on my own instead. I've gotten back into doing the exercises (with one of those physio bands) and on Wednesday I'm going to get back into the Masters practices. Can't wait to really start to see improvement from them icon_smile.gif
  • toughsell

    Posts: 15

    Oct 20, 2011 5:57 AM GMT
    I've been swimming Master's for a good 20 years, and coaching for most of those. There are lots of swimmers in all ages, including under 25; however individual teams/ workout groups tend to attract one age range over another. If you're not comfortable with the age ranges on the team you found, chances are the Master's team in the next town has a completely different set of ages.

    When it comes to injuries - you are your own best judge of when to stop. As we all get older, the body reacts and recovers at slower rates than in our teens. Master's swimming is designed so that newer swimmers can sit on the side of the pool and recover/rest as needed until the body is back in shape. The coaches won't be throwing kickboards like they do in high school or College.

    And on top of all that - Make sure you stretch.