View Full Version : Competition?

Dennis Tesch
September 9th, 2003, 09:52 AM
For the first 5 years of our program our team was very competitive. I really think this was due to the fact that most of us were competitive swimmers in high school and college. Realizing that we needed to enhance our program by getting the more recreational/fitness swimmer involved, we have now become a team of "tile counters" that rarely if ever test themselves at our masters swim meets or postal events. I realize that every doesn't need to compete, nor do I want to force anyone to compete. I'm just looking for some creative ideas or examples of how any of you were able to get people to participate in masters competitions. I would appreciate any help...

September 9th, 2003, 11:47 AM
We are fortunate to have a few go getters who really enjoy competing and spread the joy to other non-competitive people on our team. A few things that I think work in our favor...

1) we have a bulletin board with pictures of people from various competitions and fun stuff - there are team photos at open water events, meets, etc. We jazzed up the pictures a bit to make the events look really fun.

2) we also did the Check Off challenge last year as a team and had a chalk board with names and events that people could actually check off as they did the swim. We really emphasized that if people could do the events in practice - they could do them in meets. We were able to get a lot of people involved in some meets who had never competed before.

3) we focus our workouts on the next big event, always announce the event during our announcement time and explain how this particular workout will help with the next big event. Those who do not plan on participating end up hearing about the event ad nauseum and end up doing a workout geared to the event. We are always very encouraging that each swimmer can do the event and often we get some fitness swimmers to turn over to the dark side and compete.

Good Luck.

jim thornton
September 9th, 2003, 12:35 PM
I've been telling my teammates to think of meets as a form of swimming practice--that Alexander Popov allegedly planned on racing at least 50 competitions a year, and he used these as sprint workouts. I think lots of people think they aren't good enough to swim in meets, or they get nervous and don't want to endure the pre-race jitters. Reconfiguring the "meet" to a "sprint practice" might help. I will let you know if any of my non-competing swimmers buy this.

September 9th, 2003, 01:06 PM
Our coach picks a specific meet (the closest one), and really turns up the PR to get a good turnout. And a few of those "extra" people get the competitive bug once they've been to their first meet. (I still find it odd that very serious triathletes can be worried about being "embarassed" at a swim meet.)

September 10th, 2003, 02:02 AM
If your team has different workout groups (for example, morning and evening), make the meets also function as an internal competition between the workout groups. So, for any given meet, the workout group that scores the most points for the team (or has swimmers in more events or swims more total yards) is taken to dinner by the coach or team fund (and the other workout group buys their own dinner).... you can pit workout groups within the team against each other throughout the year... with this, those who want to compete (and win) will be more inclined to encourage their teammates from their workout group to join them... and those who may not place at meets individually can be winners with their workout group.... this can become an ongoing internal team competition that goes beyond the actual meet results.

Good luck!

September 12th, 2003, 05:07 PM
when our team trains, it always trains with thhe next meet in mind. That's how the coach tailors the workouts.
That gives people little nudge towards a competetive mindset.

Our coach is really good at encouraging even the lower end swimmers to compete, but still, we get 40% participation at "home" meets, and maybe 10% at away meets.

Our coach isn't bashful about trumping up events, but he's not pushy either. Just right for my taste.
But then again, even though I'm just a beginner, I tend to be competetive. If there's another slug in front of me, this slug will go all out to beat it. :D

Hey, most of the times I end up scoring a few points for the team. It all counts a little bit.

September 12th, 2003, 05:20 PM
Originally posted by Conniekat8
If there's another slug in front of me, this slug will go all out to beat it. :D

Hey, most of the times I end up scoring a few points for the team. It all counts a little bit.

So, you're the one chasing me with the salt shaker??

You're lucky that you get to compete (and score points- wow)- my team is REALLY competitive and I'm not sure that my coach would encourage me- I'm the slow, chubby slug :)

September 12th, 2003, 09:44 PM
For one of the more competitive teams I swam on, the coach would always email the swimmers and ask for their suggestions about when and where swimming meets should be held. My team used to have the same problem that you have; no one would come to the meets. After my coach began emailing and asking for input, the number of people coming to the meets really increased. We also had most of our meets on Friday nights because that was when most people wanted to have a meet. Practice was never held on the day of the meet so people would come and swim the 1650 or 1000 as their workout for the day.

Good luck,

September 12th, 2003, 10:29 PM
I think its hard to get people to swim in meets. Many of them are shy and they also have kids that they take to sports like soccer too. But maybe with the beginners, we can tell them that many of the master swimmers seem to start as adults. And even some that swam as kids are not as good as childhood. Also, the meets are tough to do on a regular basis. I know it takes a lot of energy out. As for master teams, the local teams here seem to have many people swim in the local meets or meets in the state. Also, a few like myself swim unattached. Another means of picking people up. Unlike USA swimming, swimming or working out with a club is not necessary.

September 13th, 2003, 12:10 AM
Hi eliana2003

Well, I've only been swimming 9 weeks, total, EVER, on a Masster's team. I'm 34, and still some 20-30 lb overweight.
After the 3 week we happened to have hosted the LCM Zone meet, so I ended up entering... 50 and 100 free, just to get a time, I suppose.
Then the coach signed me up for 4 relays. (2 each day)

My time for 100 free was 1:58, (1:59 and 2:08 in relays) and 50 free was 0:49 (I almost passed out at the end of that one) I was seeded in the first heat, along side several 80-year olds who were breaking their world records.

I actually got one point for one of the events, even though I placed last, there were only 8 (something like that, whatever the cutoff was for one point)
And, since i was there, we were able to have the "E" relay team, and in our age group we got one 5th, two 2nd and one 1st place. that's oh, some 40-50 points for the team.

Last week in training, no taking off the blocks, and no sprinting effort, I already shaved 4 seconds off my 100 free, I was 1:55. All LCM times. When coach said that, I just about flipped. He also thinks that I might do a 50 free in low 40's next month. And he is very clear that he wants me to sign up.

Did my first ocean mile in LaJolla last weekend, at 35:41.
I'm shooting for 31 next year.

Heh, even with my fins on I can't keep up with the fast swimmers in our group.

But, hey, I just hop in the water and do the best I can. Other than that, meets make for some great socializing, and i bring my Camera, so I have become the "official" team photographer -found a real use for myself :)

September 13th, 2003, 12:21 AM
Don't worry that seems alright progress in a short time. You might do 1:30 in freestyle next year in 100 meters. I did a 1:34 in the first 100 meter and a 1:40 in the second 100 meter. In breaststroke last year I did 1:53.10 and 1:43.31 in long course this year. Started training again for about a year after 25 years off on a regular basis. Good Luck Connie. There's a lot of swimmers like you.

September 13th, 2003, 06:28 PM
You're making a very nice progress :) Thanks for sharing that, gives me hope!

We were doing a few 100 sprints today in the SCY pool, and I did one of them in just under 1:40 - then I died ;)

Coach was telling me that I'll probably be doing around 1:40 to 1:45 in the SCM meet at the end of october. I thought that was too soon, but after today, maybe he was right. There is still 5 or so weeks to go.

There is a SCM meet in late November, I want to do a 50 in 0:40 or less by then.
And be at 0:30 in LCM by next summer (2004)

If I remember right, qualifying time for nationals for a LCM 50, in my age group is 0:25 (or maybe it is 0:27... I forget now)

Actually, I prefer the distance stuff. I like swimming a mile. (I know, I know, it sounds masochistic) I seem to have the knack for endurance. (Or I'm just plain stubborn)

September 16th, 2003, 06:14 PM
I 'm glad that you're having such a positive experience with Master's swimming... I think that it's great that you've started competing already! Regarding your times, I wish I could do those times without fins... I also wish I was taller, too- I'm only 4'11" (actually, 4'11 and 3/4" :) ) as I think that makes a big difference in times...

I used to do distance swimming by myself before I joined- now, however, a 300m set is a LONNNG way for me!! I guess that it is all psychological, though...

Good luck with your upcoming meets and have fun!!


September 16th, 2003, 09:36 PM
I've been thinking about your original question and another idea from a team I swam on was to have a newsletter. The results of the swimming meet would be inlcuded as well as the coaches comments on why the swimming meet was fun and why everyone should come to the next meet. Also, the coach would highlight everyone who had done a personal best or a Masters best. Another way to encourage more people to come is to encourage the "slower" swimmers who maybe have never competed before. On our team, the "slowest" lane is always the fullest; more people are in the slowest lane than the fast lane. Usually, when the coach was able to convince these swimmers to come, they had so much fun that they convinced others to come and our meets began increasing in terms of numbers of swimmers. On our team the fast swimmers didn't want to compete anymore because they knew they could never achieve their college times. So, our coach focused more on the "slower" swimmers. Also, prizes would be given out at the end of the year for the swimmers who made the most improvement or attended the most meets or swam the most events or whatever.

September 17th, 2003, 12:42 AM
I was at my peak at 18 years old which was common in the 1970's since women swimmers had few college programs to swim on then. And women tend to peak earlier than men on the average anyway. I don't vision swimming under 1:20 in the 100 yard breaststroke like I did then on a regular basis when I was much younger. My body has changed and I'm 46 years old. True, there a few swimmers out that that are a lot closer in the 100 yard to their age group or college times than me that took a big break but everyone is different. I have to lived with new goals. I think if I swim on a regular basis I could peak at 48 years old in my masters career.