View Full Version : Need Help: Masters Swimmers Infringing On USA-S Practice Tim

June 17th, 2012, 07:09 PM
Our Masters Program consists of approximately 20 swimmers with 1-5 swimmers showing up to workout on any given evening. We swim at the same time as the USA-S team, granted 1 lane, and a workout written on the white board. No formal or informal coaching provided. Now for the problem: Masters swimmers are treated like we are fortunate to have a lane to workout in at all. The coaches do not want to hang out at the pool any longer than required to coach their (5) swim groups. In order not to be considered infringing upon the practice time of the USA-S groups, does anyone have suggestions on how to "play nice" with the "kiddies"? The Masters swimmers would love to see the program grow but the coaches are not on board as the USA-S program dominates. How do other programs operate? How can we increase or even maintain our practice times? Is a certified coach on deck required? We would actually like to have some coaching but again, USA-S is their priority and we are lucky to even be acknowledged let alone accepted. :badday:

Bill Sive
June 17th, 2012, 09:29 PM
I'm going to give this a try:

USA-S is fortunate to have US Masters Swimmers share the pool with them. US Masters Swimmers are the role models for USA-S as they move on in life;

Your workout is on a white board, good. Identify a leader for your group each night to lead the workout. Establish intervals etc. If you want to work on a specific swim stroke or technique, or find the workout not challenging, use the USMS Online Coaching for a workout;

(Un)Fortunately I workout alone, however, there are always younger swimmers nearby. Occasionally, I speak with them ,as adults, not as children. they are responsive to me in a positive way. They seem to be impressed with me when we discuss workouts. I am focused on my workout and they tend to leave me alone so I can complete it;

Today the younger swimmers, and I, worked on our Freestyle sprints together. Our age differences did not matter. Doing the sprints as a group was fun, They seemed to get a kick out it, and I enjoyed doing the sprints with them;

You want your team to grow. Obtain some free marketing materials form USMS. Advertise at the pool "USMS Swims Here". Offer a "Free Trial" period for adults before joining your team;

Maintain you practice time and space by showing up all the time. Since your group is small your lane could be taken over the USA-S, by your swimmers not showing up;

A Certified Coach is not required. Having a Coach on Desk is a good for insurance purposes, and to guide your practices. Hopefully you can obtain a coach with a good eye and can identify individual swimming deficiencies, and can address them for each swimmer. Hopefully you can obtain a Coach with some experience. You could advertise for a Coach right in in the Forums in the Coaching section;

I swim at half a dozen pools. I make sure swimmers that I socialize with know that I swim with USMS;

If you get discouraged watch this, re-group and try again: We Are U.S. Masters Swimming - Promotional Video - YouTube

Kind Regards.

June 18th, 2012, 11:06 AM
The USA-S team that practices around us asks us to contribute cases of water and timers to their home meets. I'm sure we contribute in other ways too. That no doubt helps make us a partner with them.

Maybe see if you can get any of the parents of the USA-S team to swim with you? That kind of cross-polination couldn't hurt.

June 18th, 2012, 11:25 AM
Our Masters Program consists of approximately 20 swimmers with 1-5 swimmers showing up to workout on any given evening.

It seems like this might be the problem right there. If only 1-5 swimmers show up the coaches probably figure you guys aren't real committed and are just taking up lane space the age groupers could probably use more effectively. Of course it's a bit of a catch-22 because your team probably isn't real motivated because of the lack of coaching support, too.

June 18th, 2012, 12:30 PM
There are two teams in the Phoenix area that have robust Masters and USAS programs sharing the same pool -- Phoenix Swim Club (contact Mark Rankin) and Mesa Aquatics Club (contact Paul Smith). Looking from the outside in, I think what works with those programs are:

Integrated program / "one team" -- yes, there are separate workout sessions, but the Masters program is viewed as a logical extension and part of the entire program
Integrated financials -- I'm not 100% sure about this, but I believe the $$ are all rolled together
Cross-pollination of coaches between the USAS and USMS programs -- this fits with the "one team" approach, but maybe one way to get your USAS coaches engaged is to hire one of them as your primary coach
Active marketing of the Masters program to increase the size -- I think both MAC and PHX have in excess if 100 (maybe pushing 200 on the PHX team) Masters swimmers -- the size and financial impact (and benefit to) the USAS team becomes more tangible at scale
Cross-pollination of support across both USAS and USMS meets/events
Leadership at the top that supports an integrated program -- get the head coach and/or Board of Directors on the USAS team bought into the idea of an integrated program

June 18th, 2012, 06:47 PM
Thank you so much for all of your suggestions. I'm collaborating with another Masters swimmer to work on growing the program. I'm not sure the USA-S coaches are interesting in supporting us as that would require more time/lanes which would infringe upon the USA-S team. The coaches of the USA-S team are the same coaches that established the Masters program. Wanting to grow the USA-S program at the expense of the Masters program leads me to believe that the integrated program approach would be the most logical tactic. Those of you receiving on deck coaching rather than just a workout on a white board, how much are you paying and how dedicated are your coaches to your improvement and success? Can anyone provide examples of integrated Masters/USA-S programs and how the program functions?:applaud:

Paul Smith
June 18th, 2012, 08:49 PM
Since PWB mentioned our program I will weigh in as best I can:

- First and foremost the determining factor here is who controls the pool scheduling. If this is a pool owned and operated by a Parks and Rec. department for example they are most likely renting the space....so, are you under contract with them and paying per lane/per hour? If so, you need to work through that organization.

- If your masters team is simply an extension of the USA-S team then unless you have someone in the ownership/leadership of that program who wants to support your program you are going to have challenges...the fact that there is no coach assigned to masters makes me think this is the case and the USA-S coaches are prioritizing their swimmers.

- Heads up! Curious what if any insurance coverage you are operating under...if you are USMS registered you are in good shape, if not you need to have 3rd party which lists the facility and possibly other entities and all participants need to sign waivers!

Happy to answer your questions, if interested send me a PM and let me know a number and good time to call.

June 18th, 2012, 11:02 PM
The Masters program is an extension of the USA-S team and is operating under the USMS. Practices take place at a high school and I don't know about the financial aspects of the pool time, heating cost subsidizing (if any), or any of the cost details associated with operating USA-S and USMS. Yes, the Masters program is indeed challenged by the fact that USA-S is the priority. Masters is a mere inconvenience, and this is the program created by the USA-S coaches! How do we prove we can coexist?