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born2swim
February 3rd, 2011, 02:50 AM
Hi everyone,

Next weekend is my very first Master's swim meet and I have to say, I'm really quite nervous! I've been a competitive swimmer all my life since I was 6 years old and growing up, competitive swimming was pretty much my life. When I was younger I was a great swimmer..qualified for YMCA Nationals at the Swimming Hall of Fame multiple times, swam for a Division I college, placed in top 10 at MAAC championships, etc

But now, almost 9 years out of college, I'm about 50 pounds heavier:afraid: and am nowhere near as fast as I was when I was in my best shape. I'm trying to get back in shape and lose some weight, and I'm really enjoying getting back into swimming again. I've been swimming with my local Masters team for the past 2 months now and have my very first meet coming up.

The thing is...I'm really nervous about how I'm going to look in my bathing suit compared to all the other swimmers and how slow I'll be. Am I going to be the only overweight and out of shape swimmer there? I'm worried that my times are so slow, that even if I'm in the slowest heat, I'll still be so far behind even the "slow" swimmers in my heat. (For example, one of the events I've entered is the 1000 free. My fastest time in college was 10:24 and I time trialed myself and was 16:02 :blush:)

I know I need to focus on my progress and not worry about everyone else, but I think I still have that old competitive swimming mindset. I'm envisioning all these fit, trim, ripped swimmers and then there will be me heading up to the blocks with my belly and cellulite!:blush:

How was your very first Master's swim meet?? Did you have the same worries/fears?

Thanks for your help, and please, this is my very first post so don't be too hard on me!

Erica :)

Rykno
February 3rd, 2011, 07:06 AM
i too was about 45-50lbs over college weight with my first masters meet and thought about the same things you are thinking about.

results from meets will vary from state to state from meet to meet. I don't think that 16 in the 100 is all that slow.

forget what you could do back then and start setting goals for now. you have 16:02 swimming on your own. try to swim under 16:00 at the meet and then make new goals based on that. then you can try to link your weight loss goals to your times.

I was surprised to see at my first masters meet that even though I was 45-50 lbs over weight, I was by far not the one with the biggest belly.

kgernert
February 3rd, 2011, 08:16 AM
The beauty of Masters swimming is that it draws all types of people. There will be the sculpted, uber-fast swimmers there. BUT, there will also be people there to have fun who enjoy being part of a team. There will also be people who look so frail that you wonder about their sanity until they pull an amazing 200 fly faster than you can swim it with fins. :)
Enjoy the experience, enjoy being back, and do the best you can do - right now. Race the clock - not your memories. None of us are in high school anymore - and many of those you will see at the meet - myself included - never swam in high school and picked up the sport for the simple love of swimming and the camaraderie found being part of a team.

Have fun and good luck! :cheerleader:

fmracing
February 3rd, 2011, 08:32 AM
Hi everyone,

Next weekend is my very first Master's swim meet and I have to say, I'm really quite nervous! I've been a competitive swimmer all my life since I was 6 years old and growing up, competitive swimming was pretty much my life. When I was younger I was a great swimmer..qualified for YMCA Nationals at the Swimming Hall of Fame multiple times, swam for a Division I college, placed in top 10 at MAAC championships, etc

But now, almost 9 years out of college, I'm about 50 pounds heavier:afraid: and am nowhere near as fast as I was when I was in my best shape. I'm trying to get back in shape and lose some weight, and I'm really enjoying getting back into swimming again. I've been swimming with my local Masters team for the past 2 months now and have my very first meet coming up.

The thing is...I'm really nervous about how I'm going to look in my bathing suit compared to all the other swimmers and how slow I'll be. Am I going to be the only overweight and out of shape swimmer there? I'm worried that my times are so slow, that even if I'm in the slowest heat, I'll still be so far behind even the "slow" swimmers in my heat. (For example, one of the events I've entered is the 1000 free. My fastest time in college was 10:24 and I time trialed myself and was 16:02 :blush:)

I know I need to focus on my progress and not worry about everyone else, but I think I still have that old competitive swimming mindset. I'm envisioning all these fit, trim, ripped swimmers and then there will be me heading up to the blocks with my belly and cellulite!:blush:

How was your very first Master's swim meet?? Did you have the same worries/fears?

Thanks for your help, and please, this is my very first post so don't be too hard on me!

Erica :)

You've almost described me in that history paragraph. I started masters meets this year after having duked it out with the USS kids last year. You get far less people, if any, paying attention to age or body type at a masters meet. The whole attitude and environment is different at a masters meet too.

If you're really worried about how your times would compare, go look at previous years results for the same meet. That should give you an indication of where you are in relation to everyone else. I think you'll find that you compare better than you think.

My advice and approach: don't worry about looks or weight, go smack around some thin people in your races and watch their jaws drop :) I say this in a fun, sporting, sort of manner of course. :angel:

Bobinator
February 3rd, 2011, 08:44 AM
Everyone has to start somewhere! You will get your start this week-end and it's all about what happens after the first meet!
Really I have never heard master swimmer's remarking on another swimmer's fatness. We are all out there in speedo's all wet and slippery! Most of us have at least a few imperfections. Hopefully as adults we appreciate each other for our unique personality's and love of the sport. Just be yourself, have fun, and the rest will unfold as it will!! :agree:

knelson
February 3rd, 2011, 10:17 AM
The thing is...I'm really nervous about how I'm going to look in my bathing suit compared to all the other swimmers and how slow I'll be. Am I going to be the only overweight and out of shape swimmer there?

Absolutely not. There are lots of fit and trim masters swimmers and there are at least as many who don't exactly fit that description and, yes, they do swim at meets. I respect anyone who shows up and competes regardless of their body shape or speed in the pool and most other masters swimmers feel the same way. You've got to start somewhere, after all! :banana:

ourswimmer
February 3rd, 2011, 12:23 PM
I've been swimming with my local Masters team for the past 2 months now and have my very first meet coming up.

The thing is...I'm really nervous about how I'm going to look in my bathing suit compared to all the other swimmers and how slow I'll be.

You wear a bathing suit at practice, right? The meet is no different, except that you have your own lane, and you have to wait to start until someone signals, and you can look up your splits later.

The people at the meet will look, and swim, and look at you, about like the people you already swim with. There is not some secret stash of super-ripped, super-fast, super-judgmental adult swimmers out there that you have never before seen at any pool. Ask your teammates what to expect, and make plans to go with one or more of them. You will have a good time.

bzaks1424
February 3rd, 2011, 01:17 PM
Some of us are STILL about 20-30 pounds overweight!

Bobinator
February 3rd, 2011, 01:26 PM
Ha Ha Mr. tuxedo man, you look magnificent and you should be extremely proud of yourself!!!!!! You are a real swimming/workout success story!
Not all of us do quite as well as you, but we all keep trying! :blush:

bzaks1424
February 3rd, 2011, 01:29 PM
Ha Ha Mr. tuxedo man, you look magnificent and you should be extremely proud of yourself!!!!!! You are a real swimming/workout success story!
Not all of us do quite as well as you, but we all keep trying! :blush:

Thanks Bobinator! :-) I appreciate the encouragement! However Erica should know - I only started swimming a year ago. It'll be a lot faster for her body to bounce back as its actually bouncing back. My body has never been as skinny as it is now.

Jimbosback
February 3rd, 2011, 03:13 PM
For my first meet last year after about 20 years off, I thought the exact same things. I was not thin or fast, but A) no one seems to really care at Masters meets, and B) Much to my surprise, I was not the heaviest or the slowest. (And I was practically the youngest, which made me feel like a kid!)

Show up, have fun, and swim your best. :cheerleader:

swimmerb212
February 3rd, 2011, 03:32 PM
I don't worry about how I look in my suit anymore, because I'm too busy trying to keep the old guys with pot bellies from getting too far ahead in my heat.

There's only one thing that really sucks about being slightly overweight: you never know when someone will be taking a photo of you. During the meet you're too busy having fun and racing faster than you thought you would. But afterward... I remember looking at photos after a swim meet and thinking, "that fat lady with the bad posture and the huge stomach had the same swimsuit as me and I didn't notice her all day... Oh wait... Oh :censor:!"

So just keep standing up straight and enjoy it!

couldbebetterfly
February 3rd, 2011, 03:41 PM
Good Luck Erica :cheerleader:

To echo the earlier comments, Masters swimmers come in all shapes and sizes. At my first meet, I was probably 30lbs overweight and swam 5 secs slower per 100 than my best age-group times (that weren't all that fast anyway - I didn't swim in college). But I caught that competition bug again, lost the weight, did some all-time PRs a couple of years later, swam events I NEVER swam before and generally had a really good time.

Due to 2 babies and moving internatonally I think I've made more comebacks than Dara Torres. But I keep on coming back!

This is the start of your Masters swimming career, get some base times established and have fun.

orca1946
February 3rd, 2011, 03:52 PM
Have Fun - that is why you are back!
Wait till you beat those skinny swimmers!:applaud:
With those times in your back ground, you will get faster soon. Good luck!

nkfrench
February 3rd, 2011, 07:16 PM
Relax. Most meets are seeded by time, not by age group. Some meets even seed both genders together to improve your chance to have a good race even if you won't be scored against the others in your heat.

Use a realistic calculated seed time, not your college personal best nor "NT", if you don't have recent official resut times to use. That gives you an achievable challenge and gives you somebody to race with and likewise for others in your heat.

Plenty of people get back into swimming when they decide they need to lose weight, get back in shape; and find that competition helps their motivation to keep at a lifelong fitness plan. You can't always tell who's fastest by how they look, either.

no200fly
February 3rd, 2011, 08:06 PM
The thing is...I'm really nervous about how I'm going to look in my bathing suit compared to all the other swimmers and how slow I'll be. Am I going to be the only overweight and out of shape swimmer there? I'm worried that my times are so slow, that even if I'm in the slowest heat, I'll still be so far behind even the "slow" swimmers in my heat.

How was your very first Master's swim meet?? Did you have the same worries/fears?

Erica :)

When I started swimming again, I went to my first two weeks of workout in a board suit because I thought I was too heavy to wear a brief. I got over that pretty quickly trying to drag that big board suit through a workout.

I went to my first meet 5 months later and didn't really give it a thought. You will enjoy masters meets. Everyone is inclusive and supportive. Usually there are a number of people who are swimming for the first time in a meet. You will see people who start from the side and in the water (don't feel comfortable on the blocks). You may see former olympians and national champions. You will find a lot of people who enjoy swimming and getting together at meets. You won't find judgmental people who care what you look like or how fast you are.

So go and have fun - don't worry, be happy.

swimshark
February 3rd, 2011, 08:42 PM
Good luck and don't worry about what you look like. All that matters is how you feel. And if you are swimming, you will feel great, I'm sure. Enjoy :)

swimshark
February 3rd, 2011, 08:43 PM
Good luck and don't worry about what you look like. All that matters is how you feel. As others have said, Masters swimming encompasses every body type and personality type. No one will be judging you. So go, enjoy and be sure to let us know how it goes.

KEWebb18
February 3rd, 2011, 09:25 PM
Good luck!
I agree with everyone else. Have fun, enjoy the experience!
I also swam DI, took some time off after college, and got back in the pool. I am no longer worried about how fast I am now compared to how I used to be; I just try to get better with each meet.
I hope that you have a very supportive team with you; if not, there are always wonderful people to talk to during the meet! You never know who you will end up talking to :)

swimshark
February 4th, 2011, 09:23 AM
I hope that you have a very supportive team with you; if not, there are always wonderful people to talk to during the meet! You never know who you will end up talking to :)

Or sitting next to in the 100+ heat of an outdoor meet :)

Michael Heather
February 4th, 2011, 10:42 AM
If you have been a competitive swimmer, this should be no big deal. You have to overcome your self image issues and expect to be treated as one of the "swimmers" with no other prefix or suffix. Masters are very social and accommodating. Have fun and use the meet as a reference point for your future training, instead of using it as a vortex of fear or dread. Even Michael Phelps has been beaten in races.

LauraAswim
February 4th, 2011, 12:59 PM
Erica -

In my 20 years of USMS competition (being in various stages of fat, thin, in shape, out of shape...) I have learned two things for sure:

1) No one really cares how fast you swim, what you swim, or what you look like in your suit. Certainly, people care about YOU, but really, no one cares about your swimming. We are all doing this for so many different reasons, all of which are intensely personal and individual. Do this for YOU, and don't worry about what the rest of us are thinking about.

2) Have fun. I went right into USMS meets right after collegiate swimming, and let me tell you - it's sooooo much fun. I love meeting the people, seeing 80 year olds crank out 400 IMs, going out for beer and burgers after meets, and simply enjoying swimming for the sake of swimming. Show up, have fun, relax, enjoy, and you'll be hooked too!