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View Full Version : Competitive Swimming to Varsity = Possible?



sputskee
August 20th, 2009, 12:18 AM
Hello there,

I am a late bloomer in swimming because I was not exposed to the sport until the Beijing Olympics... I started swimming with a swim club back in 2008 and I love swimming for all its worth. I'll be joining two swim clubs this coming fall twice a day - three times a week (ie. morning and evening). I'll also be taking swimming lessons at a local community centre (can't afford private centres). However, I'll be turning 21 years old by next month! It's not a problem but I feel it's a big obstacle because many athletic swimmers are exposed to the sport since they were kids compared to me who recently just started. I want to swim competitively as soon I become a competitive swimmer (obviously)... by then I would love to join a varsity team at a university... then again is that too ambitious? I never focused on a sport until now and I am really motivated to do this. What should I do? Is this a reasonable goal to achieve?

BTW: I also love to run... I don't get easily as tired and I could pretty much run all day if I want to... So, I'm starting to routinely run in the morning and in the evening. Am I pushing myself too hard?

PS: Im from Canada, if there is any difference in terms of potential of reasonable expectations of Canada/US varsity swim teams.

Let me know your thoughts about my situation. :agree:

Couroboros
August 20th, 2009, 12:50 PM
I can't believe it's been a year since Beijing. Anyway, I didn't start swimming until last November, when I was still very much a fresh 20-year-old.

If you feel like you can run all day and not get tired, then running just twice a day doesn't sound like you're pushing yourself. If you can run like that, you probably have a nice set of heart and lungs which will do you well in swimming. :)

What are your times?

SLOmmafan
August 20th, 2009, 04:05 PM
It really depends on what level of swimming program you are talking about, and even the individual school. Would you be able to walk on at Texas or Auburn - probably not, unless your times are much faster then would be thought of a "new swimmer".

Alot of Division 2 and 3 university teams are not "ultra competitive" - in fact, because they do not offer scholarships, many have an open door policy to at least come swim and see if you can hang.

My recommendation would be to swim a few USMS meets and see how you feel and how you do. A good deal of master's swimmers are ex college/university team members, or at least good high school/club swimmers. It will be a good gauge to see how ready you are to compete at that level. Good luck!

orca1946
August 20th, 2009, 06:09 PM
If you learn the correct way to swim, you should improve quickly. Good luck !

sputskee
August 20th, 2009, 08:08 PM
I forgot my times... I'll let you know when that happens.

I'll be entering in the meets as soon as I get decent and competitive times during training sessions.

I forgot to mention that my backstroke is terrible and I don't know how to properly do a breaststroke and butterfly. The only stroke I can do properly is freestyle like everyone else.

I'm planning to attend two swim clubs and take weekly swimming lessons to learn/improve my backstroke/breaststroke/butterfly. Do you think that's a good idea? Because master clubs don't teach swimming lessons, only to improve on the strokes.

I appreciate the opinions and encouragement, please let me know!

KEWebb18
August 21st, 2009, 09:43 PM
I think that you are absolutely on the right track. Making sure that you swim all strokes with proper technique will help you out in the long run.

Good luck. I look forward to tracking your progress!

SolarEnergy
August 23rd, 2009, 01:21 PM
Age isn't a problem. You'll just become a different swimmer, one that will have to put more thoughts to what you do.

Video support, MANDATORY in your case, if you neglect this you'll probably fail.

Use the Internet a lot. Nowadays, a newbie has NO REASON whatsoever to not learn how to swim in a record time. Back to my days, youtube didn't even exist. LOOK at swimmers from all possible angles, get filmed under as many angles as possible. Don't neglect underwater views.

Arm Recovery technical flaws are often the most visible, but they often have a very low impact on overall performances. Focus on what's happening underwater, so get film with underwater view.

Join any varsity team as soon as you can, but do expect to run out of breath most of the time. If you can't stand it then downgrade and swim MS for a season. Then come back and retry Varsity. Do this until it works!

I might insist in the importance to make your own opinion of Varsity level swimming by trying it as soon as possible. Of course, this implies that you can swim sets of 100m off 1:30 (unlimited number of reps) and that you can swim some reps of 100IM.

Often, Varsity teams have a Triathlon sub group made of people that aren't as fast as the pure swimmers. A sensible coach would probably put you on this squad to rule out IM swimming constraints.

Our Varsity team was often the third best in our Country (after Calgary and British Columbia), and yet, we had room for people like you especially with our triathletes.

Worst case, if you don't turn into a very competent swimmer, all the thoughts put to your sport in order to compensate for age will undoubtedly help you becoming a competent coach.

** edit **
I just noticed that you were in Canada. Which team do you want to make? What University are you registered to?
The level of swimmers University programs accept highly depend on the philosophy of the whole department.

hofffam
August 23rd, 2009, 09:39 PM
It really depends on what level of swimming program you are talking about, and even the individual school. Would you be able to walk on at Texas or Auburn - probably not, unless your times are much faster then would be thought of a "new swimmer".

Alot of Division 2 and 3 university teams are not "ultra competitive" - in fact, because they do not offer scholarships, many have an open door policy to at least come swim and see if you can hang.

My recommendation would be to swim a few USMS meets and see how you feel and how you do. A good deal of master's swimmers are ex college/university team members, or at least good high school/club swimmers. It will be a good gauge to see how ready you are to compete at that level. Good luck!

Most Div 2 programs DO offer scholarships. Div 3 does not.

ande
August 25th, 2009, 03:20 PM
Hello There late bloomer,

you want to swim competitively
you're turning 21 soon
you've never swam before
you're joining two swim clubs this coming fall twice a day
three times a week (ie. morning and evening).
I'll also be taking swimming lessons at a local community centre (can't afford private centres).
many swimmers have been training since they were young
You would love to join a varsity team at a university
You are really motivated to do this.

You asked "is that too ambitious?"
maybe

What should I do?
Find a great coach, find a great team, & Train
training twice a day 3 times a week is an unusual training program
I suggest train 6 days a week, do doubles 3 of those days,
all with the same team

Is this a reasonable goal to achieve?
Who's to say, my guess is it's probably too late to get on a varsity team, you might want to ask coaches what are their criteria to make their team.


You loved to run and plan to do a few runs each week & asked
Am I pushing myself too hard?
don't know, maybe
right now you are in the honeymoon phase of your training, you're very gungho, very ambitious, when athletes do too much too soon they run the risk of injury & burnout, there may come a day 2, 3, 4, or 6 months from now when you don't feel the way you do now.
Will you stick with it or will you move on to something new?
A few exceptional athletes started at 17 and made remarkable improvements, Rowdy Gaines is one.

Who's to say what you are capable of?
Set your sights and train hard,

Good luck,

ande

Couroboros
August 25th, 2009, 06:02 PM
Rowdy Gaines was a latebloomer? I never knew that! And at 17? Holy cow...

sputskee
August 29th, 2009, 09:44 PM
Whoa...

Great answers!!! :applaud:

Masters swimming doesn't start until late in Sept (ie 21st and so on...) so all I can do is swim on my own and cross train via running.

Wish me luck, if you have anymore input, please post them!

geochuck
August 29th, 2009, 10:13 PM
2 great late bloomers Jack Nelson, the USA's second butterflyer was a late bloomer having started swimming when he was 23 and Bill YORZYK starte swimming at 16. Both swam butterfly in the 1956 Olympics. http://www.ishof.org/Honorees/71/71wyorzyk.html