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RuffWater
July 21st, 2009, 03:52 PM
Itís undeniable that the popularity of open water swimming has risen dramatically in the last few years. But when looking for a LCM meet to swim in, I saw an interesting trend on the USMS Calendar.
http://www.usms.org/comp/calendar.php (http://www.usms.org/comp/calendar.php)


Here in the Colonies Zone, there are three pool meets listed (two were last weekend and the other is in October) and TEN open water events. In the Great Lakes Zone, there are ZERO pool meets (not counting LCM Nationals in Indy) and seven open water events. These kinds of numbers are similar in virtually all the Zones. [FYI: I'm not counting postal events or clinics.]


Has open water swimming officially passed pool swimming in popularity?

ViveBene
July 21st, 2009, 04:19 PM
Has open water swimming officially passed pool swimming in popularity?


No. We are just more exuberant.
:bliss:

pwb
July 21st, 2009, 04:36 PM
Has open water swimming officially passed pool swimming in popularity?


It might be in terms of number of events. I think the overlap with the tri community increases the attendance at OW events. Plus, OW events are much easier to incorporate into your life as they generally consume half a day at most versus a 2 or 3 day pool meet.

Also, take the USMS calendar with a grain of salt, though, as not all events (pool or otherwise) are always listed there.

Zurn
July 21st, 2009, 04:56 PM
I noticed the same thing here in the PNS zone. I live in Washington and the only two LCM meets this summer were in Oregon. Unfortunately I couldn’t make either of these meets. There are several open water events, but I’m not much of an open water swimmer, at least not yet. I had to swim a US Swimming meet to get some times for this summer. I may register for PNS through US Swimming instead of Masters just because of the availability of meets.

tjrpatt
July 21st, 2009, 05:04 PM
In my region, yes. There are so many swimmers that I know that only do Open Waters. You never see these people at a swim meet.

knelson
July 21st, 2009, 05:08 PM
Plus, OW events are much easier to incorporate into your life as they generally consume half a day at most versus a 2 or 3 day pool meet.

Not to mention you get free food at the finish!

Lump
July 21st, 2009, 05:08 PM
Based on the amount of LCM meets the Dixie Zone had within driving distance of me I said "screw it" and did nothing BUT OW events this summer. The LCM season for Master's is almost nonexistent here it would seem. So I'm not gonna waste my time on it. I like the OW events better anyway and it gets you into the "great outdoors".

tjrpatt
July 21st, 2009, 06:26 PM
Based on the amount of LCM meets the Dixie Zone had within driving distance of me I said "screw it" and did nothing BUT OW events this summer. The LCM season for Master's is almost nonexistent here it would seem. So I'm not gonna waste my time on it. I like the OW events better anyway and it gets you into the "great outdoors".

That is why I did age group meets. You can get good competition without having to drive two hours or more to get to. We had one local LCM Masters meet but the pool is pretty bad for competition. It is fine for training because it is LCM.

Frank Thompson
July 22nd, 2009, 10:30 AM
[QUOTE=RuffWater;187281][LEFT]Itís undeniable that the popularity of open water swimming has risen dramatically in the last few years. But when looking for a LCM meet to swim in, I saw an interesting trend on the USMS Calendar.
http://www.usms.org/comp/calendar.php (http://www.usms.org/comp/calendar.php)


In the Great Lakes Zone, there are ZERO pool meets (not counting LCM Nationals in Indy) and seven open water events.

This statement is completely false and there have been several LCM pool meets and I have been or ran at least 4 of these meets. In June, Cleveland State University hosted a 2 day LCM meet. Swim Louisville hosted a one day LCM meet in mid June. Park Ridge hosted a meet in June. Michigan State University hosted a meet in the last weekend of June.

Anderson Y of Cincinnati hosted a meet on July 4, 2009. Dearborn, MI hosted a meet July 12, 2009. Southern Illinois University hosted a meet in July. This weekend the Lakeside Club in Louisville, KY is hosting a 2 day meet.

That is a total of 8 LCM meets excluding USMS Nationals. I think you should check LMSC websites before making inaccurate and untrue statements about LCM meets.

pwolf66
July 22nd, 2009, 10:42 AM
Itís undeniable that the popularity of open water swimming has risen dramatically in the last few years. But when looking for a LCM meet to swim in, I saw an interesting trend on the USMS Calendar.

http://www.usms.org/comp/calendar.php (http://www.usms.org/comp/calendar.php)



Here in the Colonies Zone, there are three pool meets listed (two were last weekend and the other is in October) and TEN open water events. In the Great Lakes Zone, there are ZERO pool meets (not counting LCM Nationals in Indy) and seven open water events. These kinds of numbers are similar in virtually all the Zones. [FYI: I'm not counting postal events or clinics.]




Has open water swimming officially passed pool swimming in popularity?


Maybe but check back in December and I'm quite sure there will be no open water events listed for the Colonies :D

Chris Stevenson
July 22nd, 2009, 11:14 AM
That is a total of 8 LCM meets excluding USMS Nationals. I think you should check LMSC websites before making inaccurate and untrue statements about LCM meets.

Assuming Rob is correct that that information isn't on the USMS Calendar of Events: why would the meet directors of all those LCM meets neglect to put their information on the national calendar? Maybe OW race directors are just better at publicizing their events.

RuffWater
July 22nd, 2009, 11:39 AM
My apologies, Frank. I was just going off the current USMS Calendar, making an observation, and asking a simple question.

pwb
July 22nd, 2009, 12:11 PM
Why would the meet directors of all those LCM meets neglect to put their information on the national calendar?

I'd really like to know the answer to this one. I do know this is true as I've had to search LMSC websites (which are not always intuitive to find or navigate) to find meets to travel to that didn't appear on the USMS website. I generally have a limited number of weekends when I can get a meet in, but am willing to travel to do so. It would be nice if all USMS sanctioned meets across the country were listed on the USMS calendar events, both pool and OW.

Frank Thompson
July 22nd, 2009, 12:23 PM
Assuming Rob is correct that that information isn't on the USMS Calendar of Events: why would the meet directors of all those LCM meets neglect to put their information on the national calendar? Maybe OW race directors are just better at publicizing their events.

Again, not true. I was the Meet Director of the Dearborn LCM meet and that meet was up on the Calendar of Events for for 6 weeks. I know both the Anderson Y meet and the Southern Illinois meet was there also. Unfortunately, they take the events off as soon as they are finished or they would still be there now.

I know in some cases, Meet Directors post to there Local LMSC sites and do not bother with the Calendar of Events. I think the thinking is they will have more swimmers locally and don't bother with filling out the necessary information to get the meet flyer posted on the site.

Our Michigan LMSC as well as all other LMSC's in the Great Lakes Zone do not have as many Long Course meets as Short Course meets because of mainly 5 things.

1. Attendance is usually significantly lower than Short Course season meets. 2. Pool Availability. 3. Long Course Meets are in competition for other events like Open Water swims and Triathlons that don't happen in the Fall/Winter months. 4. Shorter summer season with the weather makes meet scheduling harder with Park, Club, and School Pool facilities. 5. Getting Volunteers/Teams/LMSC to run a summer meet.

Attendance is a real key because swimmers just don't turn up for summer meets leaving the host in a questionable revenue position. Also getting more than just a few groups to run Zone Championships. If you only have a few facilities or personal to run a meet and it can't happen for one of reasons above and no one steps up to run a meet then it does not happen.

Chris Stevenson
July 22nd, 2009, 02:40 PM
I'd really like to know the answer to this one. I do know this is true as I've had to search LMSC websites (which are not always intuitive to find or navigate) to find meets to travel to that didn't appear on the USMS website. I generally have a limited number of weekends when I can get a meet in, but am willing to travel to do so. It would be nice if all USMS sanctioned meets across the country were listed on the USMS calendar events, both pool and OW.


I know in some cases, Meet Directors post to there Local LMSC sites and do not bother with the Calendar of Events. I think the thinking is they will have more swimmers locally and don't bother with filling out the necessary information to get the meet flyer posted on the site.

I'm with Patrick on this, I see no reason not to send the information into the national database (it certainly can't HURT attendance, anyway). It doesn't even have to be the meet director, from what I recall; at least, I know I did it for one of the meets in Virginia. It was online and took something like 1 minute.

RuffWater
July 22nd, 2009, 03:10 PM
It was online and took something like 1 minute.

Chris is fast at everything!

Midas
July 22nd, 2009, 03:59 PM
Paul is right that pool meets happen all year while OW events generally only happen in the summer. So it's not surprising that there are more OW events than pool events when only looking at the summer season. Also, there are by far fewer LCM pools to hold meets at so it's not surprising that there are few LCM meets. If you are going to compare pool meets to OW events, I think you need to look at in on an full-year basis, and I bet that most Zones and LMSCs still have more pool meets during a year than OW events.

Also, the question fails to take account for how many people attend the average pool meet and how many attend the average OW event. I bet more people go to pool meets than OW events by a significant margin here in the Pacific Masters LMSC.

Finally, swim meets have multiple events, while there is usually 1-2 races at any OW event. A pool swimmer can do 5+races over a meet (more with relays). An OW swimmer needs 5 OW events to swim that many races....

OW swimming may be very popular among tris but I don't think that they go to many Masters sanctioned events (at least around here) due to the pesky requirement that they not wear wetsuits.

Allen Stark
July 22nd, 2009, 06:32 PM
I'll be glad to go to OW events as soon as they have the 100 M BR as an OW event.

chaos
July 22nd, 2009, 07:05 PM
OW swimming may be very popular among tris but I don't think that they go to many Masters sanctioned events (at least around here) due to the pesky requirement that then not wear wetsuits.

though tri's may be well represented at open water swims, the percentage of tri's that will actually compete in a swim only event is pretty small. i think there is opportunity to combine triathlons and swim events.... the effort to set up a course with buoys, timing, support and safety etc is not a small one and there would be economy in joining forces.

aquageek
July 23rd, 2009, 07:39 AM
I think there is opportunity to combine triathlons and swim events.... the effort to set up a course with buoys, timing, support and safety etc is not a small one and there would be economy in joining forces.

That's a really good idea. Can you imagine the collective tri freak-out if a few swimmers did the tri and then turned around and did an OW only event afterwards? They'd all get antsy and have to go do a century just to prove their worthiness.

djacks
July 23rd, 2009, 08:20 AM
I think there is opportunity to combine triathlons and swim events.... the effort to set up a course with buoys, timing, support and safety etc is not a small one and there would be economy in joining forces.

They do this in Columbus. Open water races on Saturday, triathlons on Sunday. Seems like a great idea.

http://www.fatrabbitracing.com/Events/ColumbusInternationalTriathlon/Default.aspx

info@randynutt.com
July 23rd, 2009, 08:43 AM
I'll be glad to go to OW events as soon as they have the 100 M BR as an OW event. -Allen Stark

-OK Allen, you make it to Bermuda for the Round the Sound Swim in October and I will hold this event for you (and others!)

RuffWater
July 23rd, 2009, 10:16 AM
That's a really good idea. Can you imagine the collective tri freak-out if a few swimmers did the tri and then turned around and did an OW only event afterwards? They'd all get antsy and have to go do a century just to prove their worthiness.

I did this a couple of years ago at Smith Mountain Lake (Virginia). I did an Oly tri in the morning, then in the same lake, did a 5K swim that afternoon. It wasn't as fun as it sounds.

pwb
July 23rd, 2009, 01:35 PM
I did an Oly tri in the morning, then in the same lake, did a 5K swim that afternoon. It wasn't as fun as it sounds.

Doesn't even sound fun. Well, the tri part, at least. :afraid:

Swimmy
July 23rd, 2009, 09:46 PM
Maybe but check back in December and I'm quite sure there will be no open water events listed for the Colonies :D

Paul,
Some of us have been known to do the Polar Bear Plunge in the Chesapeake Bay.....Don't recall seeing you there though.....
:angel:

aztimm
July 23rd, 2009, 11:55 PM
Interesting thread. My team has a very small percentage who will swim in meets, but we usually have a large turnout for open water swims. We do have quite a few triathletes, but there's even many non-meet swimmers who will do open water swims. We usually have a very large turnout for the La Jolla Roughwater Swim, yet have maybe a handful who go to Nationals.

Muppet
July 24th, 2009, 12:00 PM
This thread brings up two great points.
1 - USMS Calendar of Events's "accuracy"
2 - Lack of LCM meets

To address the first, I am guilty of not submitting my meet to the calendar this year. I don't know who did, but someone got it up there. In my personal case, it just slipped my mind, as we announced the meet a little over 5 weeks before it happened.

Reading the comments, especially about the Great Lake Zone, we all know there are issues with the "accuracy" of the Calendar of Events. We are all fully capable of visiting LMSC websites too, but how accurate are they? Bottom line is that we have a national tool that can easily be made better. My thoughts here are that someone in every LMSC (ie the Sanctions Chair) should be responsible for ensuring their LMSC's meets are listed on that calendar. These guys can collect the information necessary, and when the sanction is granted, submit the information. Easy Peasy Japaneezy.

The second point brought up here is a seeming lack of LC Meets. Part of this could be Virginia Graham Baker Act-related (why there's no CZ LC "Champs" this year), so if this lack of meets is a 2009 issue, we'll see that trend reversing next year. Yes, Long Course is not exactly a popular course among masters swimmers, and a lot of us have other things (tri's, kid swimming, vacations) going on. However, from my perspective, a lower number of meets is a trend that has been going on for years.

I know there are plenty of pools that have masters teams, but don't host meets. To pick on my bordering LMSCs who traditionally have very few meets a year anyway, Delaware Valley had one LC meet that was hardly advertised outside DV, and only 4 meets on the schedule for 2009. Virginia, for all the travelling VMST does for relays, etc., has hosted only two (SCY) meets in 2009, and one was hosted by a brand new team.

Hosting meets isn't always about the money, either. I look at my team's LC meet as providing a valuable service to the local masters swimming community; and that as a swimmer at a pool with the ability to host a LC meet, I have an obligation to do what I can to put on this meet. There is a team in our LMSC with several hundred swimmers over at least a half-dozen sites, but has never to my knowledge hosted a masters meet. I think that is wrong.

In Potomac Valley, we've offered financial support to teams to try to spring more teams into action. Perhaps this kind of support is needed elsewhere too - or we're going to see the demise of pool meet swimming.

texas_bob
July 26th, 2009, 02:19 PM
Having spent far to many weekends of my youth at all day swim meets I have no desire to complete in pools ever again. Drive an hour or more to swim a couple of events that last a combined 10 minutes. No thanks. I only got back into swimming a few years ago because of the open water opportunities. And luckily for me I live in Austin where there are many great open water swim throughout the year. Thank you Dr. Bell.