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Swim2sea
June 12th, 2003, 11:07 AM
I just competed (and I use the term loosely) in the 2003 National Senior Games and found it very disappointing to see that Master swimmers have pretty much taken over the awards platform. This event used to be mainly for recreational athletes who either could not or did not want to compete at a higher level. This was our opportunity to have a moment in the spotlight by competing against athletes who were “equal” to our level of skill. Our moment to believe we were the best in our group and to share our victories with our friends.

By coming to this event, you (the Master swimmers) have assured that no one who is a recreational athlete will ever get a medal and you have pushed the minimum standard time so low that many athletes no longer qualify to even come to the National event. In talking with over 85 athletes of various ages, it was generally agreed that within the next few years, this will be “just another Master’s venue”. You already have four National Events EACH YEAR, the SC Yards, SC Meters, LC Meters, and the YMCA Nationals. Why can’t you leave ONE event that takes places every OTHER year for the swimmers who will never be at any of your meets? Out of the 85 swimmers I spoke with, an overwhelming percent said they would probably not go to the event in Pittsburgh, PA since there would probably be more Masters there and no place for them.

I realize that this event is open to all seniors, but I ask you, how would you feel to have your only chance to win a medal taken away by someone who probably has a box full of them? If you look at the times, you will see that that the top three places in nearly all events went to Masters who all hold top 10 times in USMS. So the athletes, who are not Masters, had to settle for ribbons. There were so many disappointed families, friends, and swimmers who had hoped to win a medal and stand on the awards platform and share their shining moment with their families. Instead it was Masters and the majority of them didn’t even bring families. It was “just another meet” for them.

I’m sure I’m going to be made the “bad guy” by writing this, but my mother is 83 years old and watched her medal go to a Master swimmer and my heart broke for her. She may not be here for any future games and she really worked hard to do well, then you guys showed up. Please, leave the recreational National Event for us and be happy with your four events each year.

Rob Copeland
June 12th, 2003, 12:29 PM
Margaret,

Sorry that you were disappointed by the competition at the National Championships for Senior Games.

The mission and vision of Masters swimming has never been to be an elite organization of superior swimmers. In fact the USMS mission “To promote fitness and health in adults by offering and supporting Masters swimming programs.” Is very much in line with the NSGA mission “…Through its programs, the NSGA assists active adults in achieving greater value and quality in their lives by staying healthy, active and fit.”

Many of our members are recreational athletes, with only about 6% competing at one of our two national championship pool events. Our primary goal is “To encourage and promote improved physical fitness and health in adults.”, which again is very much in line with the NSGA vision. So please keep in mind that only a very few of the Masters swimmers fall into the elite category, most of us are in it for the fellowship and camaraderie of like minded adults.

As for the disappointment of athletes, family and friends who settled for ribbons instead of medals, once again I’m sorry to read that you and others were not able to achieve this goal. I know that the medals are an important motivator to a number of swimmers, in some cases so important that the swimmer fails to recognize and appreciate the accomplishment of having a good time or just finishing the race. I know, because I used to focus more on winning then on competing and was often disappointed with personal best times that weren’t medal winners. I now try to cherish the journey as much as the destination and look at swimming based on was I happy with my swim not did I win.

But, back to your thread. If you feel that Masters should not attend the Senior Games you should take this up with the National Senior Games Association. I’d be interested to hear what they have to say about this.

Swim2sea
June 12th, 2003, 02:16 PM
I did not say I was dissappointed by the competition. Quite the contrary, there were some excellent swimmers there, but none of us placed in the top three. I realize that NSGA and USMS have very similar directives, and that only a few swimmers fall into the elite catagory. Unfortunately, those are the ones who came to the event. Why they would want to swim where there is obviously no competition, I'm not sure. When I asked several of them why they came, the basic was "we like to win and get medals and set records." If they had been a little friendler and less aggressive, we might have felt differently about them. I have many very good friends who are registed master swimmers, but don't go the National events because of the level of competition.

We had a wonderful time at the meet. We danced and swam and enjoyed the company of our fellow athletes. The "elite" group of swimmers did not participate in much of this. They take their swimming very seriously and don't have time for foolishness. This was the comment made to me by two of the Master swimmers. They expected to win, to receive the accolades, and were not very interested in the "recreactional" swimmers or having fun.

We have taken it us with NSGA, and they have said they do not know how to keep them out, but if we could come up with a clear and fair plan, they would take it under consideration. We asked them to consider two levels of swimmers, but that takes too much time. So unless we can come up with a plan, we are stuck with the "elitists". So now the decisions start about if we should go to Pittsburg or just look at forming our own group similar to NSGA and making sure that the playing field stays level.

Rob Copeland
June 12th, 2003, 02:25 PM
“We had a wonderful time at the meet. We danced and swam and enjoyed the company of our fellow athletes.”

Now this is my kind of meet!!!! I can’t wait until I turn 50.

Swim2sea
June 12th, 2003, 02:38 PM
Well, Rob, here we are, dancing to the YMCA song. I'm the one in the middle with their arms up. I'm 56 years old. So hurry up and turn 50 so you too can have fun.

Swim2sea
June 12th, 2003, 02:47 PM
Apparently my attachment didn't attach. Anyone know how to get a picture attached?

Matt S
June 12th, 2003, 03:49 PM
Margaret,

Let me try to get in a gentle response before someone flames you. I would, however, suggest to you that your expectations are misplaced.

Why do you swim?

If someone where to ask me that question, I would talk about the soaring majesty of the Coronado Bay Bridge and the sense of awe I felt as I swam through its shadow. I would talk about the last 50 meters of some of my best 400 free races, the sense that I had paced it just right, and the feeling that this truly is my best event because I felt like I had used all of me to do what I was doing. I would talk about the profound sense of satisfaction as I watched one of the kids I coached complete a fly race, without getting DQ'ed, and afterwards asking to swim it again at the next meet. I'd mention the crowds of wonderful people I'd met, the bond I shared with some of them as teammates )that comes with all the facades slipping away as everyone strains to do that 7th out of 8 repeats of 200 at 5:53 am). I'd talk about the times I shared with them organizing meets or open water swims, and I'd mention the fact that I feel the loss of their passing more keenly than that of some of my distant relatives. I'd talk about the intense feeling of freedom that comes with that first, well-rested 25 yards of fly that feels like I could do this forever. I would tell you about swimming on a relay at 2001 Nationals with a father/daughter duo, and then swimming on a relay at 2002 Nationals with my own father and sister. I'd mention the increasing sense of accomplishment as a youngster when I first went under 30.0 for a 50, then 1:00 for a 100, then 2:00 for the 200. Would I talk about those few (very few) bronze medals from High School Districts, College Conferences, or Masters Pan-Pac Championships? Sure, but they are a small fraction of why I swim.

I would gently suggest to you that if you are swimming because you can go to a meet you have become accustomed to attending, and because they hang a gold medal around your neck for showing-up, then you have only scratched the surface of the big, wide wonderful world that is competitive swimming.

One more boring story, then I'll shut-up. When I was in college I met Cynthia Woodhead (the then World Record Holder in the 200m free) and chatted with her for a bit. I asked her how she felt about missing the 1980 Olympics because of the U.S. boycott. She said that although she was disappointed, she got into swimming and stayed with it for a lot more reasons than just one swim meet. I figure that if a World Record Holder who was denied the chance to properly contend for the title of Olympic Champion can still keep her whole career in perspective that well, then all the rest of us should be able to appreciate how fortunate we are simply to practice our sport, and not get hung up on winning and losing.

"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

Matt

Swim2sea
June 12th, 2003, 04:35 PM
Thanks for your reply, but I guess you missed the point. I swim because I love to swim, always have. I have survived lupus, a heart attack, surgeries too numerous to name, and the loss of a child. I swim for the freedom and peace I feel when I'm in the pool. I don't distance swim, open water swim, or go to many meets. The swim meets I do attend, I work very hard to get good times and I know that my competitors do also.

I swim with my 83 year old mother and my 52 year old sister. My best friend for all my life also swims with me. I've never set a record (probably never will), never been to any nationals or international meets other than this one meet.

Swimming itself could never dissapoint me. It was the distain that the Master swimmers showed toward us "slower' swimmers that was very hurtful. We work just as hard as they do and we deserve to be rewarded just like they do. But you have many other venues open to you that we do not. That was my point.

I'm sure I"m going to get blasted, but what a great country I live in that I can (1) have my own opinion and (2) express it. Thanks for the "gentle tap".

Swim2sea
June 12th, 2003, 04:39 PM
I might also point out that most of you live where there are pools and teams and coaches and all that good stuff. I live in a community with no team, no coach and no pool. I "borrow" pools from the high school and in the summer I swim at the city pool. I do not have a "coached" work out. I try to read what others are doing and apply it to myself. There are many, many swimmers that go to the Senior Games who are in the same situation that I am, but we keep trying. I go to as many Senior game meets as I can, but with my job, elderly parents that I care for, and my 15 year old son, I don't have a lot of time. Since I have lupus, I have to get plenty of rest and what little personal time I have in the morning I use to read.

Gil
June 12th, 2003, 05:18 PM
I understand the philosphy of Masters swimming . I believe it is a myth at this time. Join a Masters team with a coach. Believe me, the workouts are designed to produce "competitive swimmers" maybe not elite but certainly not recreational.

cinc3100
June 13th, 2003, 12:23 AM
I'm still too young for Senior olympics but when I turn 50 years old, I wouldn't mind doing it at the state level. Anyway, since I moved from one state to another I trashed most of my childhood ribbons and medals. As for masters meet, I think in my state some masters meets award ribbons and some don't award anything, which means many masters swimmers don't do it for the awards. There's another national level competion called state's games of America. Your state has to have the adult level swimming,mine does its in the Grand Canyon games and if you win a medal at one of these events you can go to the national level meet back east. The times there are not as competitive as master nationals. In our Grand Canyon games, you have a woman get first place in 50 yard breastroke in the 45 to 49 age group at 39 seconds and the second place finished did a 1:01. So, found out if your state is involved with the State games of America in adult swimming. They award medals for the first three places.

cinc3100
June 13th, 2003, 01:18 AM
Well, I also workout on my own. There is a good masters team in my area but I live on the opposite side of town and don't want to get up around 5:00 Am in the morning to swim in a practice 20 miles away and then go to work. I also workout twice a week in a small health club pool around 15 yards in length after work and twice a week on my days off at a 25 yard pool rec pool with lap swimmers, some of the younger ones can beat me by 15 seconds in a 100 yard freestyle. I do have an advantage in that I swam on various teams years ago as a child. However, I'm a lot slower than I was as a child but you are right, I can beat most rec swimmers over 40 years old,particularly women in lap swimming practice. So, you are right in that you have a disadvantage.

Swim2sea
June 13th, 2003, 08:59 AM
The url for the results is www.nsga.com

gull
June 13th, 2003, 09:48 AM
The NSGA website states that its mission is to support both the "seasoned athlete who has been competing for years" as well as the "eager rookie." The woman high jumper pictured on the home page appears to be in pretty good shape for a rookie.

Leonard Jansen
June 13th, 2003, 11:25 AM
Although I understand the frustration, I think it's unfair to single out Master's swimming for three reasons:
1) The charter of the National Seniors Games organization fully embraces seasoned competitors - no exclusionary level of ability or experience is mentioned.
2) Why should being in USMS somehow make us automatically unable to compete? For example, I have a very modest ability to swim distance feestyle, but because of that or my USMS membership card, does it mean that I shouldn't be able to compete in the NSGs in the backstroke? I assure you, I would be slugging it out for last place at the NSG in backstroke. Where/how does one draw a line?
3) Having come from Track & Field, I am quite familiar with the people competing in that sport. I looked over the list of T&F competitors and noticed many people who have been studmuffins for years. (Have a look at the 65-69 Men's 200 meter dash times) In two cases, at least, people had been in the Olympic Trials, if not the team, way back when. So, if having studmuffins competing is a problem, it's not just a swimming problem.

Suggestion: Why not join USMS and compete in some of the local meets? I think that you would find that most of the people involved are actually very supportive and friendly - not just the back-of-packers (e.g. me), but the studmuffins as well. Even the studs train with other people of various abilities and most appreciate how hard the unwashed masses have to work to do well. Please do join us!

Fritz Lehman
June 13th, 2003, 11:36 AM
I hope nobody makes you out to be a bad guy in this. You clearly are bothered by your experience and have right to express your feelings.

I read two things from your posts. I'm reading between the lines a little and hope I didn't get it wrong.

1) Your perception is that some Masters swimmers showed some boorish behavior. I think it's unfortunate that people treat others poorly. Being faster or "better" doesn't give people that right. It happens at Masters meets as well. I doubt that Masters swimmers have a monopoly on poor behavior though. Take all masters swimmers out of the meet and someone is still going to be dominant and I'll bet someone will eventually treat people badly, if it hasn't happened already. If these swimmers had showed better behavior would their speed have still mattered to you?

2) Some Masters swimmers simply don't belong at the meet. I added "Some" because I don't think your objecting to all Masters swimmers. If you are objecting to all then I'd say you may have a skewed perception of all Masters swimmers. I checked the results and saw a number of names from my LMSC that are not "elite" and they would probably describe themselves as recreational or fitness swimmers. Some of them swim without coaches and teams and most llikely swim no more than you. Some placed fairly high and some didn't place at all. Telling them they can't swim because they have other opportunities just seems wrong to me. Most of these swimmers will never go to the national meets you mentioned. Some don't even go to the state level meets. They only real difference between them and you is they paid the Masters registration fee.

If you can figure out a way of dealing with bad behavior then I hope you can share it with all organizations. I personally have my doubts about being able to put rules around what constitutes poor sportsmanship. Power to you if you figure out a way.

You're also faced with figuring out how to determine when someone is too good to compete at the Senior Games. That's going to be a challenge. If someone isn't a Masters swimmer but they are really fast should they not be allowed to compete? Someone is always going to win and if there are more than 3 people in an event then someone isn't going to get a medal. Regardless of who is 4th they may think the person in 1st is too fast and shouldn't be there. I don't know what to do about that.

I wish you luck with what you need to do and hope your future experiences are better. I hope you also realize that you can't lump all masters swimmers into the same group.

Swim2sea
June 13th, 2003, 11:42 AM
We had considered asking NSGA to consider that if you are a Master swimmer and have a top ten time in the three years preceeding the event, they you could not compete. But we were not sure if some folks would just "sit it out" and wait. But these guys were "Competitors (warriors more exactly)" and I don't think they would stop swimming at Master meets.

You are correct in saying that I do not object to all Master swimmers. My best friend is one and she is average like me. It's the one's who hold top ten times and compete successfully on the National level that should stick with those events and leave the Senior Games to the fitness and rec swimmers.


Track and field has the same problems as swimming and they are losing athletes also. It's very sad to see people giving up.

kaelonj
June 13th, 2003, 12:27 PM
Swim2sea,

I am sorry that you had a negative experience with some members of the USMS swimming community. Hopefully from those individuals posting messages here and your personal experiences with your friend that you'll be able to see not all USMS swimmers have the same mentality as those from the NSG (referring to the 'warriors'). To me it seems a bit off track to be biased because someone is a USMS member, has a top ten time or swims with a team or has a coach. From some of my experiences it would be like me complaining about a triathlete who is faster than me because he has a better bike or better running shoes - go with what you got and do your best. I can understand the feeling of being shorted by having these competitors come in and steal your (anyones for that matter) moment in the sun. Maybe that recogntion can come at a different time other than the awards podium (excuse my ignorance on the conduct of the meet if they did this) but maybe they could do something similiar to the Olympics / BIG swim meets where the competitors are marched out and introduced lane by lane as they get ready for their event (of course this would create a longer meet).
I do see a probelm with the exclusion of a swimmer if they have a top ten time. First off do you exclude the swimmer for only those events or for the whole meet if they have a top ten time? What about relays (I have been on relays even a #1 relay - yet I personally have never had an individual top ten time)? Then the last one, what happens if I have a top ten time because I have outlasted most of my competitors ? - say I'm 110 yrs old am I excluded because I am the only competitor so anything I swim is a top ten time. These are some tough questions to answer, which frankly I don't have an easy solution, the fact is in competition there is a winner and a loser (unless of course everyone ties). Happy swimming.

Jeff

Matt S
June 13th, 2003, 01:07 PM
Margaret,

I guess I'm still a bit puzzled. With all the things you have going for you with swimming and attending Sr. Olympics, why do you care so much where you finished? Sure, I like to win, but if the price of victory is excluding from the meet someone who is eligible and interested in competing, then the price is too high. I just don't understand how someone can believe that something is "her medal" (to qoute your first post) when someone else, who is eligible, swam a legal, legitimate time that was faster.

Minor point: If I wanted to, I could go to a trophy store, and buy myself a great, big one. Then I could have my own awards banquet, and give myself the First Annual Award to the person who best represents my ethics and values. And, it would be the sound of one hand clapping. If these inexpensive baubles we call "medals" have any meaning at all, that meaning is that you fairly beat all the other people who showed up. Monkey with that meaning, and you get the sound of one hand clapping.

Major point: don't get hung up over awards, especially if you are like me--a mediocre competitive swimmer. No one, not even a World Record Holder, has any guarantee about where they finish. Craig Beardsley was the World Record Holder in the 200 fly in 1980, but the U.S. boycotted those Olympics. In 1984 he didn't even make the U.S. Olympic Team. No matter how accomplished you are, in the most obscure of sports, TIASNFCWIJALBBTY (There Is Always Some Nut From California Who Is Just A Little Bit Better Than You). Appreciate all the other great things about swimming.

One last boring story about awards, then I'll shut-up. At 2001 LC Nationals, I placed (10th out of 10) in the 800 free, which pleased me greatly. At Nationals, everyone who swims gets a plaque, and if you place in the top 10, you get a small medal plate that has your place and event on it (gold for 1st, silver for 2nd...) I put my 800 free plate on it, and I also got similar plates engraved with my other events, and times. In contrast at 2002 LC Nationals, I did not place in any events, but I did get to swim on a relay with my father and my sister. On my plaque I mounted a photo of our relay team. THAT is how I chose to remember 2002 LCN's, and the 2002 plaque looks way cooler than the 2001.

Swim2sea
June 13th, 2003, 03:16 PM
I do not "care so much about winning to the exclusion of all else", but I do think that I should be able to swim on a level playing field and at least have a "Fair" opportunity to win. It was never about "my" medal, but the one for my mother. She has consistently been overswum by Masters and I would just once like to see her get a medal at Nationals.

I'm not sure why you are puzzled. I've tried to be clear. Those Master swimmers who are top ten and consistently place in USMS National events have no place (in my opinion) at the Senior Games. They are rude and they deprive the fitness athlete of an opportunity to experience what they experience when they win at the National level. That's all - nothing more - nothing less.

Just give the fitnes athlete the OPPORTUNITY to have the experience.

aquageek
June 13th, 2003, 08:36 PM
It would seem to me that if you truly want to compete then you truly want to compete against the best regardless of whether a person is a Master's swimmer or not.

Does having elite swimmers at a Senior Meet prevent you from setting a personal best? Does having a Masters swimmer at a Senior meet prevent you from training as hard as you can year round?

I recently competed in my first USMS national meet. Didn't bother me one single bit that I didn't get a medal or that there were Olympians there making me look like a guppy. It was actually motivational.

You state "Just give the fitnes athlete the OPPORTUNITY to have the experience." What opportunity and experience are you being denied? The opportunity to get a trinket? C'mon, that's silly. Competing is all about testing yourself against those of all abilities.

Susan
June 13th, 2003, 09:08 PM
It's too bad the master's swimmers you encountered were rude. That's inexcusable. My question is: should swimmers who have trained harder and achieved faster times be penalized for their success? Why should participation in USMS exclude those swimmers from having an opportunity at the Senior Olympics or anywhere else? We'd all like to see someone we care about do well but I doubt if there's much satisfaction in winning simply because no one else showed up.

strong440
June 13th, 2003, 09:34 PM
If ya'll are still trying to find the results for the Senior Olympics held in Newport News last week, be aware that ya' gotta go to the website of the Coast Guard Blue Dolphins who put on the best swimming meet I have ever seen, in a great facility, with the friendliest people.

But there are a few things you should be aware of before going there. Like, ages 50-64 swam on Monday through Wednesday, and 65-100 swam on Thursday through Saturday. The results are in the order of the events as swum, so you gotta go pretty much through everything to find out what you wanna know. So,

cgbdswimming.org/

have fun, but look out you don't get wet! and viva 440.

cinc3100
June 13th, 2003, 10:14 PM
Matt, what do you mean that some nut from California will beat you. I swam in California as a kid and I probably now can't even beat you in breaststroke, your weakest stroke. In fact Arizona in my age group is probably more competitive than the SPMA is in women. According to the national stats, LA like Chicago grew mainly because of immirgation, so your area does have something in common with LA, immirgants!

Dominick Aielloeaver
June 14th, 2003, 01:03 AM
Look swim. There are really 3 Medals. They arent gold, silver,or bronze. your momalready has those unseen medals. they are heart brains and phyiscal ability. In allsports those are the only three medals you will ever need. First off your mom has to be some kind of a special women to enter competion. her heart is her couarge to go on when her phyiscal ability is telling her no more. Her brain is givng the smarts to tell her body to keep going . And then and only then will her phyiscal ability will kick in. Yes it is nice to also win medals (extra gravy). But After the contest is over . A very important part will be , the accomplishment you have achieved. when I am at aameet . I have two goals to achive , they are that I finish my heat and that I better my times . If I win any medals, that will only be secondry. But never the less I think your mom is a courages woman and if she contiunes to go on . She will recive her just reward.:) :cool: :)

jackkangaroo
June 14th, 2003, 09:03 PM
Margaret, thanks for bringing this issue up, I think there is some good fodder for introspection.


1. There are 3 "national" competitions - each being their own management body....YMCA, NSG and USMS. IMHO - YMCA and USMS overlap 100% and NSG in the 50 and over. At some point, we can join up as one (IMHO - we have the same philosphies - just not the same mgmgt people) or we can add 1 or 2 more to the organizations to the mix..(sarcastic). I am not proposing anything ..just pointing out our collective situation- yes it IS confusing the swimming populace...
"there MUST be a difference, or we wouldn't have 3 different Nat's"?

2. Gosh darn it....I have been trying to build my team, my LMSC, and USMS over the past 10 years and it is just that kind of reaction that Margaret had - that have sometimes hampered my efforts.

I would say to Margaret (as others have also stated), you saw some of the non-friendlies...I feel this is less than 1% of USMS - but a visiable 1%. I would like to apologize. Would like to change your mind about Masters - if you a traveling about, myself (Columbus, Ohio) or one of the other posters here might like to show you their team (we are all proud of our local workout groups).

I would like to say to USMS (tongue in cheek) - how about some sensitivity/marketing training for our 'elite' - we have all this money to spend, right? - they are most visable ones and they really can make a positive impact on my ability to recruit and keep. New swimmers are easily awed by those who still can swim fast (I know, I still am) - a kind word would be a good service.

The other side of the recruiting coin is the mystique that "masters" is for the elite (Margaret mentioned it) - maybe thats for another thread. Even though 80-90% (by my calcuations) of registered Master's swimmers don't compete.

jack

jack

Swim2sea
June 15th, 2003, 01:18 PM
I have done some research and Jack is probably correct that not all Master swimmers are competitors. But the ones who are competitors seem to be the "elite" and those folks should stay out of NSGA.

I have joined USMS and will try going to some meets to see how it is.

Will let all know what I find out.

NCSwimmer
June 15th, 2003, 02:13 PM
One gentleman, in the same agegroup as your mother, came to a USMS event recently, registered with USMS on the spot and won all his events. Prior to this USMS meet he had never been registered with Masters. He was a Senior Games swimmer exclusively. Here's an example of an "elite" recreational swimmer beating all the USMS swimmers. Guess we shouldn't have let him swim so we could keep the playing field more level? Maybe NSGA shouldn't let him swim now that he paid his 30 bucks to USMS, swam one masters meet, blew everyone away, and will be ranked in the top ten. I talked to him quite a bit. He was an extremely nice man. If you want exclude him, it'll be your loss.

jackkangaroo
June 15th, 2003, 03:53 PM
Congrats, Margaret on joining USMS. I hope you can attend some local/state meets, not just the national ones. More low key and more middle/back of the pack group. Some of the zones have VERY active teams, which can make the whole scene/event much more enjoyable (just ask any New England Masters).

I would also encourage you to try some Masters practice's - THIS is where I personally believe Masters is in its best light. You have a group of people who like to workout (at different levels) and they share the cost of the pool and sometimes a coach.

I have had the pleasure to travel a little bit...and each practice group is different..they have their own personality.

If at the end of your travels, you are interested in starting a practice group, USMS has resources (not to mention this discussion group)...that would be willing to help you get started...there are no rules...just what works for you and other interested people.

As you can tell, IMHO I think USMS spend too much time talking ab out competition and not enough about the "teams" or groups that make it possible for someone to JUST swim. Thats my bias.

jack

DocG
June 16th, 2003, 12:43 AM
Having competed at the recent National Senior Games for the second time, I take offense to the condemning of the better swimmers. I guess I would be considered one of the "elite" swimmers who participated in this event, and I know several of the others who competed in the 50, 55, and 60 age groups. I saw several of them at the Parade of Athletes as well as the party on the evening of the 4th, and we were dancing and enjoying ourselves as much as anyone. I have a few points to make regarding your comments:

1. Anyone qualified to participate in the National Senior Games has already won medals in their Local and State Games, so that argument doesn't hold water. The purpose of the Nationals is to bring together the BEST senior athletes of each state to compete for the title of the BEST in the world. (The NSGA is required to allow athletes from all over the world to compete in order to bill themselves as "The Senior Olympics" but perhaps that distinction should be transferred to the World Masters Games held every two years all over the world, a much more competitive venue than the NSG.)

2. Many of us elite swimmers regularly make USMS Top 10, but few of us ever made the real Olympics. Most make Top 10 but never win medals at USMS Nationals. I take great pride in my gold and silver medals in the Senior Olympics (they are easily the most beautiful medals I've ever won in any competition). If the NSGA wants to exclude the best athletes from this venue, perhaps they should change their name to something more descriptive, such as "The National Mediocre Athlete Games ." (That would effectively keep out the better swimmers.)

3. There are 17 other sports represented in the Games. The winning golfers and bowlers performed at a very high level, as did, I'm sure, the winners in other sports. I guess the organizers could allow only the last two finishers at the state competitions to enter the swimming; and they could limit the bowlers to those who average 120 or less, and golfers who shoot over 110, so the novices have a chance to win gold medals there, too. That would be ludicrous, of course, but that's exactly what you're proposing if you really want people to be able to win medals who don't get to otherwise!

I believe that winning medals is secondary to doing one's best, and there is no better way to encourage people to do their best than by having them compete against someone better than themselves. The real satisfaction is beating your personal goals, not winning medals. Don't quit! Remember, all you have to do is outlast your competition, and the medals will eventually be yours!

Lastly, I would encourage MORE Masters swimmers to compete in future Senior Olympics! It is much more fun than the USMS Nationals, and they have the best medals of ANY championships.

zoomer
June 16th, 2003, 06:57 AM
Jack mentioned "sensitivity/marketing training for our elite" - DocG, I would be happy to sponsor you for this seminar. I'm sure that somewhere in your post there were some valid points; however you did nothing to convince Swim2sea (or anyone else) that we, as a group, are not rude.

lefty
June 16th, 2003, 11:32 AM
There is no way I am going to let you off the hook with on this. Your post is ridiculous and shameful. If your experience was tainted becuase some of the "elite" masters swimmers were rude, then that is a problem that should be addressed. Tell us who was rude, and what they did. It seems to me that a few INDIVIDUALs are the problem, not a GROUP (ie elite master's swimmers). But if you are suggesting that ALL elite masters swimmers are rude people, then it is YOUR attitude which needs to be adjusted.

You certainly deserve credit for fighting all of your illnesses and tragedies - you are ALREADY a winner - who cares about a few worthless ribbons???

aquageek
June 16th, 2003, 12:09 PM
Is the issue here rude swimmers or fast swimmers? If the fast swimmers weren't rude, would it be ok for them to attend? If the rude swimmers weren't fast, would it be ok for them to attend?

Does it stand to reason that nice and slow USMS swimmers are the only welcome swimmers at the Senior Games?

MegSmath
June 16th, 2003, 02:43 PM
I was curious about which USMS swimmers could have been perceived as rude. So I looked up the results. I counted up 20 competitors that I knew for a fact were USMS swimmers. Some of them I know pretty well. I have a hard time believing that they were rude and showed disdain to the slower swimmers. All of the people whose names I recognized are in fact extremely nice people, and more important, very good sports. What exactly did they say or do that you thought was rude? If they were simply faster than you, then they were not the ones who were rude. In athletic competition, it's important to be a good winner, and also to be a good loser. I myself have had a LOT of practice at being a good loser ;) .

Bert Petersen
June 16th, 2003, 07:47 PM
I've been doing this Masters schtick for 22 years now and I have never heard anyone state their desire to "win, set records and get medals". As a matter of fact, the only people who talk about such things are brand new Masters swimmers who have not yet learned that we do it for 1. fitness, 2. fun and 3. friendship.
The only reason for competing is to see how one measures up to one's own goals and peripherally, the rest of the human race.
My sinister plan as a Master is to outlive everyone...........

DocG
June 16th, 2003, 08:03 PM
Originally posted by zoomer
Jack mentioned "sensitivity/marketing training for our elite" - DocG, I would be happy to sponsor you for this seminar. I'm sure that somewhere in your post there were some valid points; however you did nothing to convince Swim2sea (or anyone else) that we, as a group, are not rude.

I wasn't aware that anyone really needs to be convinced that we, as a group, are not rude, so that issue didn't merit a response. It's pretty obvious that was not the real reason for her post.

Fisch
June 16th, 2003, 09:24 PM
I have been swimming USMS for 13 years; been to Zones a few
times and lots of local and state meets. I am a run of the mill
swimmer in relation to "elite" swimmers. I've had my tail
kicked a million times. I cannot remember meeting a rude swimmer; exuburant, excited, pumped up, psyched,
disappointed, highly competitive, but not rude.

Swim2sea
June 18th, 2003, 02:46 PM
This will be my last post to this issue. I guess maybe the "rudness" we perceived was maybe impatience or something else - I don't know. They were not friendly, didn't join in the fun, but sat on the deck waiting to swim.

At Senior Games, the pace is very slow - we have lots of time between events (so we can rest up), there is dancing, games, etc. going on so the whole thing is very laid back. I spoke to some Master swimmers who said that their meets are very fast paced and serious. Well, we aren't and never will be.

Maybe that is what they were upset about, the slow, slow pace. We (the poor middle of the road swimmers) cannot swim three or four events just back to back. We have to catch our breath. I swim 6 events and in a two day meet, that for me is a lot of swimming.

So if you come to a Senior game meet and expect it to be fast paced and exciting, you are at the wrong pool. We are laid back, funny, slow, and like to enjoy every moment of our unusually long meets.

Thanks, and I'm sorry some you missed the point (DocG). I've enjoyed the board and since I've joined a Master group I guess I'll get some "training" on how to act. Since I don't have a club, coach or pool, it might be hard to teach this old dog new tricks.

lefty
June 19th, 2003, 11:09 AM
There is nothing complicated about your posts, 'Swim to Sea'. Here is your first tip on how to act: If you write something controversial, don't be surprised if people respond. And if they disagree, it is not becuase they do not understand.

Just an observation, perhaps one of the reasons you are a "middle of the road" swimmer is because you do not take it as seriously. Now there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with that. Just don't try to discourage those who do...

laineybug
June 19th, 2003, 12:26 PM
I think you all are missing Swim2sea's point. This is what I believe she is saying. Swim2sea, correct me if I'm wrong.

Suppose you and a group of friends have been getting together, informally to play softball once or twice a week. There is no formal coaching, no hitting, pitching, or fielding drills... just a fun game... Then you all see a play off, you believe to be designed for groups just like yours, advertised. So you and your team mates decide to enter and get very excited about playing another team similar to yours. But, when you get there your team is playing the Atlanta Braves. How would you feel when your team lost?

aquageek
June 19th, 2003, 02:57 PM
Swim2sea admitted she mistook intensity for rudeness. Many people approach competition in different ways. If I've trained months for a big meet I don't especially want to dance and socialize at a meet. I may be focused and quiet. That is certainly not rude.

Your analogy is way off base. Master's swimmers are not paid professional athletes like the Atlanta Braves. We are everyday people who swim, many of us competitively. The Senior Games are also not just a loosey goosey collection of pals paddling around. It is a formal competitive event, regardless of all the frivolity.

Someone mentioned earlier that if the Senior Games don't want Masters, they should just say so up front.

gull
June 19th, 2003, 03:17 PM
Well said and a good post on which to end this thread.

laineybug
June 19th, 2003, 03:30 PM
I didn't say Master's were paid professionals, I asked how would you feel? Would you think the competition was fair?

Fritz Lehman
June 19th, 2003, 04:02 PM
AT the risk of keeping this going.

If the softball playoff rules explicitly stated only teams at a certain quality level could play and teams of a greater quality showed up and played then I would be very upset. If the playoff were an open competition where the only requirement was you had to have players 50 years old or older then I wouldn't blame the other teams for exercising their right to participate.

emmett
June 19th, 2003, 04:22 PM
Masters are simply a group of normal people who have varying levels of enthusiasm for participation in swimming (like other SO participants). SOME of them are VERY enthusiastic about their swimming (like some other SO participants) and have, through their intense but amateur interest, become very good at the sport (like some other SO participants).

What I've seen happen often is "regular" SO participants becoming inspired by what they see some Masters swimmers accomplish at SO meets and OTHER "regular" SO participants get really pumped up when they turn in faster times than some of the not-so-fast Masters swimmers. If you ask around, you'll likely find some Masters swimmers in your area who got their first exposure to Masters through SO participation.

I can tell you that in SOME areas of the country the SO organizers are VERY interested in getting as many Masters swimmers involved as possible, even go so far as to seek out Masters people to promote and run the local and regional competitions.

Having been involved in several local SO operations I can tell you that, in many areas there is a STRONG interest in having the best competition possible, and luring as many competitors (including those at the highest levels) as possible in ALL events.

The notion that SO is not intended for participation by those who are good enough to win is, simply, wrong.

(And if I was a pick-up baseball player who had the opportunity to be on the same field WITH the Atlanta braves and actually get struck out by their pitchers and have them run past my base after knocking our stitches over the fence I'd be in hog heaven with my autograph book and have water cooler stories for days. Some people pay big bucks to fantasy camps for such opportunities.)

laineybug
June 19th, 2003, 05:00 PM
Okay, this is the last I will say on the subject. I think you all are still missing her point.

Yes, there are varying degrees of swimming abilities and there is nothing wrong with this. But, because of the varying degrees of abilities, the playing field isn't level in Masters or Senior swimming. All she wants is some reasonable chance of winning and that isn't possible when mixed ability groups compete against each other.

kaelonj
June 19th, 2003, 05:13 PM
So what it really boils down to is she is upset because she is a little fish in a big pond versus being a big fish in a small pond.

Jeff

aquageek
June 19th, 2003, 05:19 PM
Every single person at every single meet can win something. You can win personal pride, you can win your heat, you can win your age group, you can help your team win, etc. Also, the ability to win is probably directly correlated to your willingness to train to that level of ability.

There is no granted right to show up to anything, be it an athletic competition, a job interview or anything else, and win. It appears this has now come down to feeling entitled to win because you enter a meet. It doesn't work that way. Winning is a whole lot more than sending a check.

If competing is only about winning, then maybe I have the wrong take on competing. I've never once been upset by losing to a better swimmer. It just gives me more motivation. If you've ever competed against Fritz Lehman, you know what I mean.

emmett
June 19th, 2003, 05:50 PM
OK. I'm converted. I agree there should be a limit to how good a swimmer can be and still participate in Senior Games.

Hmmm...Masters swimmers are not universally in the elite category - some are downright lame-duck slow - so simple participation in Masters couldn't be the dividing line.

And if you take a look at the USMS Top Ten for ages 50-105 you'll see that there is absolutely nothing approaching a level line across ability levels - heck, LOTS of the TT lists don't even HAVE 10 swimmers in them. So USMS Top Ten wouldn't be an equitable dividing line.

So we need to use some other standard to determine what ability level IS acceptable for SO competition. The SO/SG organizers would need to institute what amounts to a reverse time standard - "You cannot swim faster than X to be eligible for SO/SG competition."

But wait! I recall that swim2sea's mother WOULD have medaled if it were not for those selfish Masters swimmers. Hmm...that means she ain't no slouch herself. It would seem to me (and, possibly, to the people she beats) that to get a REALLY level playing field we should insist on setting the SO Reverse Time Standard (SORTS) low enough that she would be ineligible as well.

Maybe what we do is say that only those swimmers who have never medaled in any swimming event (Masters or SG/SO) in their current age group are eligible to swim in any SO/SG competition. And only those who DO NOT medal in a local SG/SO event may advance to the next level of competition. And if you DO medal at some point, you are ineligible for further SG/SO competition till you age up!

Yeah...THAT's the ticket!

Why am I getting visions of the "Masters should have a category for those who started swimming the same day Ion started swimming" thread?

Fisch
June 19th, 2003, 08:45 PM
I was a masters newbie at a small local meet in a Short course meter pool
swimming my first 1500 meter event. A tall, fit looking guy was in the next lane. The race started and this guy [Matt Clark] was gone like a shot. He lapped me time and time again. I finished
about 6 minutes after him, but was pretty happy with my time.

Found out a few minutes later Matt had just set a USMS national
record for the event [I think ~17 minutes]. I was [shocked and]awed and "honored" that I
just had my butt kicked by a national record holder:D

PhillyFish
June 19th, 2003, 09:06 PM
I was at the meet and competed in the women's 55-59 age group. I spoke with many of the USMS registered swimmers- in fact I was pleased to be able to put a face to the names I've read in the top ten list - and NONE of the swimmers I met were rude or unfriendly. I thought the people I met were a great group.

I did speak to a number of non-USMS master swimmers who - although they did personal best times - kept lamenting that the time they swam this year and did not place with would have been good enough to earn medals in 2001. Instead of focusing on their improved swim they just thought about the medals.

I would suggest that if so many seniors think they are entitled to a medal then perhaps the National Senior Games organization could sell a participation medal at the sovenier stand. It sounds like it could be a great money maker.

In my state there are senior competitions to "get your glory" at the county and state level, depending on the level competitor you are. All competitors at the national senior games had to either place first or second at their state senior games or place third or lower with a qualifying time. To take an attitude that at a National competition we should eliminate the most proficient is ridiculous. What would they want next - to become world champions by limiting the competition too?

cinc3100
June 20th, 2003, 11:37 AM
I understand a little about what SwimSea is talking about. I'm about 15 plus seconds off of my 100 yard swims in many strokes and the casual lap swimmer women over 40 years old, I can beat fairly easily. I placed only 68 out of 90 swimmers in the 50 yard breaststoke in the United States in the 45 to 49 age group. Now, if I was 50 years old, I could easily beat other 50 to 54 year olds that swim casually at the senior olympics level. So, top 10 swimmers in the older age groups at masters can usually beat people that practice 2 or 3 times a week under 2,000 yerds.

born2fly
June 20th, 2003, 11:51 AM
Maybe I am missing the point to this thread but I really do not understand what all the fuss is about. Masters and Senior swimming is supposed to be fun and challenging to the beginner swimmer to the intermediate swimmers. If a master uss swimmer competes in the Senior meets, whats the big deal, they meet the requirement of the age bracket.

Swimming is not only a team sport but also an individual sport. I myself, could care less if I get a medal or not. If I finish last in my event but achieve my personal best times, I'm thrilled. Other swimmers are there to push you in the pool, but essentially you are racing against the clock.

I just think if your in swimming for medals that is the wrong thinking and attitude. It should be for fun, exercise, friendships built and the competetion, but most importantly the personal gratification one gets from swimming regardless of their swimming ability.

Greg

cjr
June 20th, 2003, 05:16 PM
Well said Greg.

See you in Louisville tomorrow.

heydavis
June 21st, 2003, 09:26 AM
This has been an interesting thread. For such a controversial topic it is refreshing to see this topic didn't disintegrate into a typically rude and offensive email exchange. Clearly, there are some passionate view points, and some cleverly defended. The Master's people truely are a unique and respectable group.

This issue reminds me of some of the trends happening in the school systems these days. Students are increasingly being shielded from the spector of winning and loosing because we don't want the kids self esteem to be negatively affected. Some schools are doing away with the classic grading structure...participation in "some" athletic competition is watered down because "everyone wins". I can't help but feel this ultimately hurts motivation and drive.

Anyway...I think this has been one of the most interesting threads in a long time. I'm generally just a lurker here and enjoy this board greatly.

Bert Petersen
June 21st, 2003, 12:51 PM
I deperately want to let go of this whole thread and get on to more meaningful topics........but I seem to get stuck here since it hasn't been defined or addressed to my satisfaction.
So.....I'll take another whack at it !
When our six children were small, we tried to instill value systems in them that would help them through life. One of those "rules of the road" was the idea that one advances through their own efforts, not those of others. Our philosophy boiled down to "Putting someone else down does NOT move you up !"
Apparently some people never learned that lesson. Too bad.
Another example for you to consider is this: When I first started coaching, I took on a team that was just about the worst in our town. The doormat team. I learned that the team only entered "B/C" meets, so that the little precious ones would ALWAYS meet with success and the parents would always be happy because the children were. What a fire-storm I created when I insisted that we enter "A" meets so as to test ourselves more sternly. Of course, the team rose to the challenge and improved greatly..to my elation and the kid's satisfaction. The original parents group went to Whocaresville. The point here is obvious.....Swim uphill to get stronger (sorry T/I; it's just a metaphor !
I am absolutely burfuffelled by the attitudes of some people.
What's happening to us when we expect excellence to simply step aside and let childish "wants" prevail ???
Now I'm finished............

Bert (first is first and second is last) Petersen

emmett
June 21st, 2003, 03:17 PM
Bert, your conclusions are right on - but ONLY if your unstated assumption is correct: That the individual actually wishes to improve. Some people do not want to improve but simply wish to participate. Of course, one would think that such people would not be trying for place medals but, rather, would be fully satisfied with participation awards.

laineybug
June 21st, 2003, 06:35 PM
Why are there A/B/C division meets?

Bert Petersen
June 21st, 2003, 06:51 PM
It's a natural progression tool used by U.S. Swimming. The idea is that newer, slower swimmers will compete as a group with others of similar abilities. Time standards are used. The idea is to improve and progress through the various groups. It works very well in kid swimming because of the large numbers of competitors. Probably will be used in Masters one day as we continue to expand.

Bert Petersen
June 21st, 2003, 06:54 PM
Many meets are "open" to any time standard. In other words, one does not have to prove an entry time.

laineybug
June 21st, 2003, 06:57 PM
OH.... so there is a belief that swimmers of different ability levels shouldn't compete against each other! Why not? Hummmm, I'm a little bit confused now!

Bert Petersen
June 21st, 2003, 07:06 PM
There is no "belief" involved here at all. There is an attempt to give varying skill levels the opportunity to compete with others of similar abilities.
As an example, in Masters we segregate swimmers by age and sex. No attempt is made, at least at present, to stratify by skill level.

laineybug
June 21st, 2003, 07:09 PM
There is an attempt to give varying skill levels the opportunity to compete with others of similar abilities.

Yes, and that is exactly Swim2sea's point!

Bert Petersen
June 21st, 2003, 07:09 PM
I guess you could say that our time standards ar Nationals are a step in that direction..........

Bert Petersen
June 21st, 2003, 07:14 PM
The lady was complaining that the National Senior Games is open to faster swimmers than she is used to. I maintain that the way to accomplish that would be to form more than one Games and I guess that would involve time standards. OK by me.....

laineybug
June 21st, 2003, 07:29 PM
While I can not speak for S2S, I don't think she was unhappy that it was openned to swimmers faster than she; she was unhappy that there is no mechanism for competition between swimmers of SIMILAR ability levels--everyone competes against everyone else.

Bert Petersen
June 21st, 2003, 07:40 PM
She was quite clear in asking all "Masters" to stay away. I agree that her motive seems to be to enhance her (and others) chances. Where we all part company has to do with how that goal is to be accomplished.

DocG
June 21st, 2003, 08:18 PM
One of the reasons for A, B, and C meets is to reduce the number of swimmers at each meet for time management purposes. Another is to motivate young swimmers to compete for first place and keep them interested. The local Senior Games are usually small enough that this is accomplished. Many novice swimmers medalled at the Florida State Senior Games Championship meet, as well. The point is that if they want to bill themselves as the official "Senior Olympics," with IOC permission, they certainly want the top swimmers there. The only reason there aren't more top level swimmers is because of the ridiculous qualifying requirements to attend (you have to choose your specific events 6-10 months in advance at your State Games).

BTW, novice masters swimmers CAN compete in "C" U.S.S. meets by registering with U.S.S. If they beat the "B" time standards, they will have to move up to "B" level. I competed (at age 51) at a "B" meet, and, believe me, it's a very humbling experience when a twelve year old who comes up to your chest runs you down the last 50 of a 100 meter race!

jean sterling
June 21st, 2003, 09:12 PM
Originally posted by DocG
The point is that if they want to bill themselves as the official "Senior Olympics," with IOC permission, they certainly want the top swimmers there. The only reason there aren't more top level swimmers is because of the ridiculous qualifying requirements to attend (you have to choose your specific events 6-10 months in advance at your State Games).


I agree that they do bill themselves as the "Senior Olympics" which means they should want the top swimmers there. Also, in their publicity they say that the best senior athletes compete in these games. At the national level, you have to expect that the competition will be tough!

I agree about the qualifying rigamarole (which makes it very difficult for somebody who works) plus they wanted entries submitted by the end of January (later amended to the end of February).

Actually for me, I find swimming against a better swimmer inspiring. When I first got started I was inspired by people who could swim several events and turn in good times. I was inspired to train more when I saw what others my age were capable of doing. I couldn't imagine doing a 50 fly in a long course pool, but now I do 200 fly long course. Also, I set a personal best in the fly at Y Nationals (I'm 66), exceeding my seed time by 18 seconds! I was ecstatic even though my main competitor also exceeded her seed time and beat me. Getting to this point was because of being inspired by my fellow swimmers that I (and others my age) are capble of being athletes.

emmett
June 22nd, 2003, 12:09 AM
"there is no mechanism for competition between swimmers of SIMILAR ability levels"

Au contraire! There is an extremely simple system for competition between swimmers of similar ability levels already in place! It is commonly called "seeded heats". If you REALLY want to give awards based on swimming against others of similar ability levels then award heat ribbons (or medals or plaques or ...) 6 or 8 or 10 (or however many lanes there are in the pool) places deep.

This way you only have to compete with people who are within a second or so of your own ability.

mickijean
June 22nd, 2003, 01:03 AM
Like some others, I think I understand the underlying frustration sea2sea expressed - maybe it helps to be old enough to be eligible for the sr games. I don't agree with her proposed solution but I too have struggled a bit with the fact that because I started this late in life and had no early training and no competitive experience I will likely never be a record holder even at my local level. There are several women in my age group who are significantly faster. So as long as they compete I won't be first or second and maybe not even third. Having a competitive streak, that's a bit hard for me to swallow. However, it isn't their fault I'm slower and they have as much right to compete as I do.

So I just keep at it, getting healthier, making new friends, and developing skills that I know only a small percent of the total population has. (Sometimes when I'm really irritated with someone at work, I visualize them trying to do the fly and utterly failing, while I breeze by.) Guess that has to make up for my lack of gold medals.

breastroker
June 22nd, 2003, 11:57 PM
I just today participated in my second Senior Games, the first five years ago when I turned 50. That one was the Huntsmans Games in Utah, I went for the free medical care and to visit relatives. At the Utah meet there were Masters swimmers and those who wore baggy trunks down to the knees, weighing 18 pounds when wet. We all got along and rapidy started to help the non masters with coaching tips etc. These people need coaching and appreciate all the help they can get.

Todays meet "Pasadena Senior Olympics" was small, probably everyone that swam got a medal. It is a qualifier for the 2004 California Senior Games Championships, heck I can't think that far ahead.

I think I should be in my own category like Ion, as competitors who have not even done one lap in 6 weeks category!!!
So I managed to get 3 silver medals, my 100 and 200 reflected not swimming for 6 weeks. Cold pool and my asthma made for major lactic acid. Even my eyebroys hurt.
But the first event for me was the 50 meters breast, I did not look even once (at Allen Murrey) and did a good time for me, 37.74. So now all I have to do is workout every day until Nationals! I was inspired by being Beat by swimmers in far better shape.

If I went to the national senior games like this, I would get beat like Swim2sea's mom. So what. There is nowhere in the USA that she cannot get coaching, rent a video from USMS or go to swim clinics. Oh my, I just mentioned things only registered Masters have going for them!

My suggestion to Swim2sea's mom is join us. We embrace everyone. There is no one I have ever seen at a swim meet that did not want to improve, it is not related to age. Even at todays meet I had several people asking about swim techniques and rules. They were all 60 plus plus.

I am proud of the way Masters swimmers act at meets like this.

Wayne McCauley

Sally Dillon
June 23rd, 2003, 04:08 PM
"I don't agree with her proposed solution but I too have struggled a bit with the fact that because I started this late in life and had no early training and no competitive experience I will likely never be a record holder even at my local level."

I would like to mention Margery Meyer (80 years young) who began her swimming career while in her mid 60's. It's my understanding that she had no early training and competitive experience either.

I remember watching Margery in her earlier meets and can attest that her progress has been amazing. How has she become a multi National and World record holder? With practice and coaching. Margery signed up for a program at a local junior college and has since trained with masters groups. Even though she was well into her "senior" years, she sought help with technique and training and she's obviously a good "student" because she's pretty darned fast! I know many women in their 40's and 50's who worry that she'll beat them!

This has been an interesting thread. Like many others who have posted, I have a hard time thinking of which masters swimmers might have been rude but I guess in any large group you're bound to find someone who behaves badly. At 56, I compete in the same age group as the woman who started this thread and I'm at a loss as to who might be guilty of this. I'll check out the results and see if I can find the "culprit".

BTW, I swam by myself most of the time and without a coach for about 20 years. I would have much preferred to do it differently but I managed to stay in relatively good shape in spite of the conditions. I went to clinics whenever possible and I always focused on goals (i.e. improving my flip turns, learning bi-lateral breathing) when training. A large percentage of masters swimmers train without teams and coaches; it is a gross misconception to think otherwise. I am fortunate now to have moved to an area with a team and coach and the socialization aspect is particularly rewarding.

Sally

Paul Smith
June 24th, 2003, 08:48 AM
Although I don't "qualify" for this discussion based on participation (6 years to go!), I wanted to share my thoughts.

As someone who may fall into some folks definition as an "elite" Masters swimmer, I also happen to be an avid cyclist. Needless to say, at 6' 6" and 225 lbs I fall far outside the "specs" of your average cyclist. Being that I like to compete I have chosen to humiliate myslef on a regular basis by participating in time trials and group "pace" rides, all of which I am always at the back of the pack (usually the opposite of my studly wife).

Point being is that although I understand wanting to win and recieve the awards, everyone has areas they excel at and the ultimate "game" is the one you can win over your own mind and body.

PS: On "rude" behavior, my guess is that if someone hasn't been around a lot of meets that those of us who enjoy some quiet time before a race can be seen as unfriendly.

Sally Dillon
June 24th, 2003, 05:33 PM
Swan2sea - If you're still reading this forum, please email me directly at secretary@usms.org

thanks,
Sally

Dominick Aielloeaver
June 24th, 2003, 10:45 PM
Personally I think we took this subject , and wrung it out like a wet rag. I think enough said. WE might forget what the subject was about.:) :cool: :)