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View Full Version : To compete or not to compete that is the question



StewartACarroll
June 17th, 2013, 09:40 PM
My team, Rockwall Aquatic Masters is having a long course meet on 6th July and I am actively trying to convince team mates to sign up. On my blog I was describing my disappointment that more of my team mates had not signed up. One commenter posted the following, "Why do they have to participate? I have more fun going to practice than I do meets. I don't find meets fun anymore." I guess I had assumed that most people enjoy meets and I found it strange that my team mates did not want to sign up. This got me thinking and I wondered why people compete or don't compete? Any thoughts?

Couroboros
June 17th, 2013, 10:02 PM
How many haven't been to a Masters meet before?

StewartACarroll
June 17th, 2013, 10:37 PM
How many haven't been to a Masters meet before?

I don't know for sure, but would guess most have not done a masters meet previously.

mcnair
June 17th, 2013, 11:13 PM
I saw that and got to thinking about it myself... I love doing meets now, but if you had asked me seven months ago I might have reacted differently. I did my first meet in December and really enjoyed it, but I was pretty hesitant going in... not knowing what to expect.

Competition is fun, I love it, even when I'm only competing with myself, but for some folks it might seem daunting. Even as competitive as I am, the thing that keeps me going back now is the encouragement and support I get from other swimmers on other teams. I love to see people 40 years older than me still starting off the blocks, or people who are 20 years younger starting from push. All different ability levels, it's great... maybe the folks who shy away from ever swimming in a meet think that only the super-competitive super athletes do them. That hasn't been my experience.

Dan Kornblatt
June 18th, 2013, 06:09 AM
My team, Rockwall Aquatic Masters is having a long course meet on 6th July and I am actively trying to convince team mates to sign up. On my blog I was describing my disappointment that more of my team mates had not signed up. One commenter posted the following, "Why do they have to participate? I have more fun going to practice than I do meets. I don't find meets fun anymore." I guess I had assumed that most people enjoy meets and I found it strange that my team mates did not want to sign up. This got me thinking and I wondered why people compete or don't compete? Any thoughts?

Most Masters groups average only 25-35% of their swimmers who compete. I coach, and swim also, over 100 swimmers. I have been pretty successful in beating the average by alot. Different approaches need to be taken with different swimmers:

New swimmers: The key here is they don't want to be embarrassed thinking they will be in the same heat with the studs. When they find that they are seeded by their entry time regardless of sex or age it helps. I have never had a new swimmer who I have "coaxed" not thank me afterward as they have swum much faster than they ever did in practice.

Older swimmers: Most often the reply here is "I'm too old to have any more PR's so why bother". What we have done on our team, the "BUMS", is to start thinking of "RPR's" or recent PR"s in a rolling four year time span. The thought here is to avoid the "I'll wait till I change age group" mentality or swim once every five years. Sure you are older. That's why we have age groups. These guys really need to have their teammates and especially lane mates behind them. Maybe getting them to try a new event can help also.

Ex HS or collage swimmers: This is the toughest group to work with. You have to get them to let go of their last great swim which was most likely shaved, tapered and many years ago in a championship meet. It has to be a combined effort from the coach but more importantly from the other swimmers that they want him or her at the meet. Sometimes inclusion in a relay that's shooting for a top ten time can help. It really does come down to having goals and the whole team behind each swimmer. Usually they are glad they did it afterwards and the next meet is easier to get them to swim in.

thewookiee
June 18th, 2013, 07:43 AM
As the person that posted the comment on your blog, I don't find the enjoyment in meets. Every now and then, there will be a meet that perks my attention, but more often than not, the excitement just isn't there. When Muppet hosts the scm in D.C., that meet got my attention since I went to college just down the road. The nationals in puerto rico got my attention as a great place for a vacation. But most places just don't build excitement for taking the time to go there for a meet.

I have no problems letting go of my best times from the past. Heck, I can't remember what most of them are anyway. I find going to meets more of a hassle anymore.

pwb
June 18th, 2013, 11:22 AM
I have no problems letting go of my best times from the past. Heck, I can't remember what most of them are anyway. That's one of the benefits of growing up swimming in the pre-digital age. I'd actually love to know all of my prior best times in my 'off events' and my exact times from my best events in college (e.g., I know the minutes and seconds, but not more), but they are unsearchable and I stopped detailed tracking of times after high school.

I wonder if this barrier to masters competition -- comparing oneself to younger times -- will grow as the current generation ages since there are all these digital records of their 'performance in their prime.'

As far as the question of why people don't compete, I am looking forward to answers as a number of us in Arizona have been frustrated/stymied by our low meet participation rates. I want to try to understand what would increase participation --

adding social activities?
adding 'fun' events (e.g., fun relays, swim the IM in whatever order you want, etc.)?
having more frequent meets, but with fewer events in each meet and a shorter timeline (e.g., create a ~2 hour meet)?
having a 'first timers' meet where truly 'novice' master swimmers (or those retruning to competition after a long time) can compete without the so-called studs?
other ideas?

thewookiee
June 18th, 2013, 11:59 AM
Patrick,

One reason that I find it a hassle is meet locations. My team has shown ZERO interest in hosting a pool meet. We have a great facility that could do either a scy or scm meet. They are very hung ho on hosting an open water swim though.

I have gone to meets in Nashville,Atlanta, Charlotte, Fairfax,Raleigh,D.C., Louisville, to name a few places. All of those are 2 or more hours away. Granted, Nashville and Atlanta can be day trips but the rest require at least one, possibly two overnight stays.

You are fortunate that your area has truly local meets. You can sleep in your own bed, go to the pool, and be home within an hour or less of the finish(if you choose too)

At least for me(speaking of only me) the cost of doing meets isn't worth it. I have no desire to do a usa meet with the kids. I have done that in the past as well but they take it way more seriously than I do at meets.

rxleakem
June 18th, 2013, 01:56 PM
The main reason that most of our local workout group does not compete in meets is the extra commitment required to travel to meets. That is one reason I worked to get a meet locally, but sadly even holding it during our normal Saturday morning practice time the locals are not coming. Almost true to the 25% stat offered above.

I still coach towards the competition, but don't focus on it as much. Have some fun with the meet, offer a few prizes or a fun swim, and it will grow. Perhaps getting the swimmers not desiring to compete in as timers/counters/volunteers will at least show them that Masters Meets are great fun!

sickfish
June 18th, 2013, 02:21 PM
For me personally, if I don't have a meet coming up, I lose interest in training. Goals keep me motivated. Plus, meets are fun.

I suspect that a lot of people prefer open water because it seems like less pressure: in a meet, you're up there, in front of everyone, with maybe five or so other people swimming at the same time. You're exposed and everyone will know if you do poorly. Whereas in open water, you're just one cap and set of flailing arms among many.

ekw
June 18th, 2013, 02:45 PM
I compete for a couple of reasons. Like sickfish, goals keep me motivated. I also train alone, so meets are an opportunity to be around a group of people with whom I share a common interest. While I'd like to have more truly local meets, I don't really mind the travel. I'm an introvert and a demographic outlier in my town so sometimes it's nice to get away.

Dan Kornblatt
June 18th, 2013, 02:56 PM
The main reason that most of our local workout group does not compete in meets is the extra commitment required to travel to meets. That is one reason I worked to get a meet locally, but sadly even holding it during our normal Saturday morning practice time the locals are not coming. Almost true to the 25% stat offered above.

I still coach towards the competition, but don't focus on it as much. Have some fun with the meet, offer a few prizes or a fun swim, and it will grow. Perhaps getting the swimmers not desiring to compete in as timers/counters/volunteers will at least show them that Masters Meets are great fun!

Our team is part of the Niagara LMSC. Our chair, Greg Danner, has done a lot of analysis and our LMSC's percentage of swimmers who compete compares favorably with USMS as a whole. Our local club's percentage is double the norm especially for our annual home meet. All the reasons given by other posters on this thread are true. There is no one or two simple reasons. It truly is a team psychology thing and the momentum helps carry others with it. As coach I try to concentrate on the new members and I've had good success especially with the many triathletes on our team who seem to find they "enjoy" doing something all out and fast. I rely on the team leaders to help encourage others to set a few meets a year as targets for our goals and we taper for those. In 2012 we won the Colonies Zone Large team division with "only" 29 swimmers going the 300+ miles to the meet vs some local clubs with 2-3 times that many. We make sure everyone swims lots of relays. We don't care if we score a point but we want all to try and they usually have a PR when doing so. We car pool, share rooms, and have a dinner/party the middle night. Needless to say the first time swimmers often turn into my best "missionaries" getting people to complete the next year. We came in 6th at Indy this year with 19 swimmers in the local club division. At our end of the season party we have announced our goals for next year which is to return to Zones in April and LCM Nationals in August.

As you see the time to get people to swim in meets really isn't two weeks before the meet. We are all adults and we all have lots of other things going on. We try to get people to think about key meets months away and structure the workouts accordingly to get swimmers to have the best chance of fast swims. I find that a swimmer who does have a great swim becomes much more likely to go to other meets.

All this can't fall just on the coach or club president. We have an assistant coach(one of the swimmers), we have a relay czar(one of the swimmers). We buy championship team shirts with the names of all the participants on the back and the swimmers name on the front. We have team warm ups with their name on the front. We have team shirts which we give free to each member when they compete in their first meet. In case you might wonder we swim four days a week in a six lane pool for a total of six hours a week if someone makes all the swims. So nothing that many other clubs can't do also.

aztimm
June 18th, 2013, 03:46 PM
New swimmers: The key here is they don't want to be embarrassed thinking they will be in the same heat with the studs. When they find that they are seeded by their entry time regardless of sex or age it helps. I have never had a new swimmer who I have "coaxed" not thank me afterward as they have swum much faster than they ever did in practice.



I've actually been in the fastest heat in a couple of events. I'm not really a new swimmer, but I'm certainly not one that I'd consider a stud either.
It kind of freaked me out when I first saw it last year, in the fastest heat of the 1500 LCM free. I was honest with my seed time (what I thought I could do at least), and ended up being about 30 sec faster than I expected. Maybe seeing someone finish when I still had 200m to go helped, who knows ;)

Most of the time (80% I'd guess) that I don't do meets is because of scheduling. I already have plans to be out of town, I'm doing something else (I also cycle and do some running), etc. For people who complain about the lack of swim meets, there are even fewer cycling events locally, and it always seems that 2 cycling events are the same weekend as swim meets.

I far prefer an open water swim to a swim meet. You get in, swim, get out and you're done. No waiting around, looking at schedules, timing your eating/restroom breaks, etc. The first time I ran a marathon, I was shocked how I was home by noon, while it is rare I'm home by 2pm for most meets.

All this said, there are some meets I've gone out of my way to attend. The NE Masters SCM meet in Boston every December is simply awesome--from the timing to the pool to the number of swimmers. Even swimming back-to-back I get a reasonable amount of rest. It is big enough that I have plenty of competition, yet small enough that warm-up isn't too much of a CF. Plus there's several other forumites who attend and it is great to catch up with them in-person.

I experienced a swimmer snub once, at the only nationals I've swum at. It was enough to keep me away from meets all together for 7-8 years. But generally other swimmers at meets are very encouraging, and I try to be the same.

swimshark
June 19th, 2013, 07:45 AM
Just over a year ago, I would have said I love meets. Then it changed as I got just that much older. Now I get anxiety from meets and find they are not as much fun. I still go to a few just to hope to get a Top 10 for the year but I have found that I enjoy training more than competing now. For the travel meets like Nationals, I only go if the location is something I enjoy. I love Nationals as far as the fun of it but I can't always justify the money spent so I pick and choose.

thewookiee
June 19th, 2013, 08:21 AM
Just over a year ago, I would have said I love meets. Then it changed as I got just that much older. Now I get anxiety from meets and find they are not as much fun. I still go to a few just to hope to get a Top 10 for the year but I have found that I enjoy training more than competing now. For the travel meets like Nationals, I only go if the location is something I enjoy. I love Nationals as far as the fun of it but I can't always justify the money spent so I pick and choose.

Tell Muppet and Roddin that they need to schedule a nationals near you.

jroddin
June 19th, 2013, 09:04 AM
Tell Muppet and Roddin that they need to schedule a nationals near you.

Noted, will do.

Ok, done:

August 13-17, 2014 Summer Nationals: University of Maryland College Park
August 6-9, 2015 Summer Nationals: SPIRE Institute, Ohio


As the person that posted the comment on your blog, I don't find the enjoyment in meets. Every now and then, there will be a meet that perks my attention, but more often than not, the excitement just isn't there. When Muppet hosts the scm in D.C., that meet got my attention since I went to college just down the road. The nationals in puerto rico got my attention as a great place for a vacation. But most places just don't build excitement for taking the time to go there for a meet.

g go of my best times from the past. Heck, I can't remember what most of them are anyway. I find going to meets more of a hassle anymore.

I think that was rather shallow of you to post on the blog about meets not being for everybody when it turns out the primary reason you don't like them is because of the travel hassles for you personally. For somebody who has meets in their own backyard why would you discourage them from participating?

thewookiee
June 19th, 2013, 09:35 AM
He was frustrated that he couldn't get more people from the team to compete in the meet. I simply asked "why do they have to compete?" I stated on the post that I find practices are more fun that meets for me. I wanted to know why he was so adamant about his teammates going to the meet, if they hadn't expressed an interest in doing so. I wasn't discouraging anyone from going to his meet or any meet for that matter.

I never stated, until this thread, one of the reasons that I don't like meets. Yes, traveling for meets in one,not the only, of the reasons I don't like going to them. If that makes me shallow, fine, you are entitled to your opinion.

moodyrichardson
June 19th, 2013, 11:16 AM
[QUOTE=thewookiee;288370]Patrick,

One reason that I find it a hassle is meet locations. My team has shown ZERO interest in hosting a pool meet. We have a great facility that could do either a scy or scm meet. They are very hung ho on hosting an open water swim though.[QUOTE]

Wookie~ I really wish they would do pool meets again!! Maybe one day, MTSU will get a long course pool!

jackback
June 19th, 2013, 12:22 PM
nice post dan ... can't wait till next spring when i plan on being there at the zones ( am doing the lcm colony zones this weekend ) i'd be interested in purchasing a team warm up ... later, your most southern team member (?) jack cothren

swimshark
June 19th, 2013, 01:59 PM
nice post dan ... can't wait till next spring when i plan on being there at the zones ( am doing the lcm colony zones this weekend ) i'd be interested in purchasing a team warm up ... later, your most southern team member (?) jack cothren

I will see you this weekend. For some reason I thought the 1500 sounded like fun. Well, that was before my cat bit me and now I have a swollen, painful wrist. I'll be the one with wrap around my wrist.

Jeff, thank you. If we are still here in this area, I plan on swimming a lot at UMD.

chowmi
June 19th, 2013, 03:31 PM
LOVE LOVE LOVE ROCKWALL POOL! And best of all, there's a BRAUM'S ICE CREAM right outside the road to the pool!! Not everyone is going to be gun-ho about racing - especially pool racing. There is no Truth like the Truth of your times to the one hundreth of second in a controlled environment. On our team, it seems so many people enjoy open water vs. pool competition for that reason. It's hard to get people to want to swim a meet if they aren't already self-motivated. I'd love to go to the meet. I already read the meet info. There's few more competition motived than me.

However, it is the only week that works to go to visit my parents, and Braums/Rockwall ISD pool can't compete with my dad's beef tripe and Kennywood Park.

PS - Please host a SCM meet, or SCY meet!!!! Thank you.

Celestial
June 19th, 2013, 04:23 PM
Not everyone is going to be gun-ho about racing - especially pool racing. There is no Truth like the Truth of your times to the one hundreth of second in a controlled environment.

This is so true, Chowmi - it takes many years to "forget" your times of your youth & just enjoy the improvements you're making now.

My biggest hang up is the social aspect. My area has no masters team, so I have to join a team 4 hours away to swim on relays - since I've done this, swim meets are so much more fun! I have someone to sit with, someone to cheer with & cheer for, and someone cheering for me besides my husband!! I would love it if the local adults would also join USMS and go to meets with me, they are my friends & I think it would be a blast - but they would rather do triathlons I guess, and I think Chowmi has hit the nail on the head as to why - they don't really want to know how slow/fast they are! The older I get, the faster I was!

smontanaro
June 19th, 2013, 04:58 PM
My biggest hang up is the social aspect.

Mine too, but for different reasons. I'm not the most outgoing person around people I don't know, so swim meets tend to be fairly boring for me. I swim, wander back to my stuff and read. Lather, rinse, repeat. I'm not real big on chattering about swimming minutiae either ("I sucked on my 50 free start", "do you think the water's too warm?", "I don't think I'm catching the water well at the start of my stroke", ...), so the most obvious conversation starter isn't really there.

flystorms
June 19th, 2013, 05:50 PM
Our coach in Irving is trying to get a gang of us to go to a meet later this summer. I haven't done one since I was 19 and that was well over 20 years ago (not saying how much more though... LOL!) I'm really excited since all I've done since then is OW swims. I'm nervous and excited, but sooo ready to compete. I love a good push from other people and the energy. Looking forward to the new challenge and getting to meet some other pool peeps.

msgrupp
June 19th, 2013, 06:51 PM
is that the Kennywood Park in West Mifflin, PA?

StewartACarroll
June 19th, 2013, 08:43 PM
Wookie, I feel bad you are getting heat. I deliberately did not post your name because this was a fear I had. I think you represent a large group who don't enjoy meets and I want to understand why. Your reasons make sense and I suspect hold true for quite a few. I appreciate your directness and respect your reasons.

StewartACarroll
June 19th, 2013, 08:48 PM
LOVE LOVE LOVE ROCKWALL POOL! And best of all, there's a BRAUM'S ICE CREAM right outside the road to the pool!! Not everyone is going to be gun-ho about racing - especially pool racing. There is no Truth like the Truth of your times to the one hundreth of second in a controlled environment. On our team, it seems so many people enjoy open water vs. pool competition for that reason. It's hard to get people to want to swim a meet if they aren't already self-motivated. I'd love to go to the meet. I already read the meet info. There's few more competition motived than me.

However, it is the only week that works to go to visit my parents, and Braums/Rockwall ISD pool can't compete with my dad's beef tripe and Kennywood Park.

PS - Please host a SCM meet, or SCY meet!!!! Thank you.

I am not normally a conspiracy theorist however on this one I find the location of Braums relative to the new city hall highly suspicious. It was there first and now the aquatic center and the city hall are within a block of the best and cheapest ice cream in Rockwall. You can't tell me it's coincidence.

Bobinator
June 19th, 2013, 10:45 PM
I love meets when my events are done!
I hate tapers and the last couple of hours leading up to the race.

swimlong
June 20th, 2013, 12:29 AM
I am like smontanaro - I am pretty shy, and I swim "unattached" as there is no swim team in my area, so for me to go to a meet means sitting around trying not to look like a sore thumb. I went to a large meet last year and signed up for the dinner/social thing, but it was a sit down dinner so not much chance to socialize. I am not complaining...it's my issue that I am shy...I am just answering the question as to why I don't go to meets.

thewookiee
June 20th, 2013, 07:03 AM
Wookie, I feel bad you are getting heat. I deliberately did not post your name because this was a fear I had. I think you represent a large group who don't enjoy meets and I want to understand why. Your reasons make sense and I suspect hold true for quite a few. I appreciate your directness and respect your reasons.

Stewart,

Thank you. There was no point in denying the comment, since my name is attached to it on your blog. Like you wanted to understand why someone doesn't like to go to meets, I ask my question to understand why you were so passionate about going, which you have answered as well.

I have a ton of respect for Jeff Roddin. He is entitled to his opinion on my post. I don't believe that I was trying to discourage anyone from going to meets, if they wanted to go. If Jeff feels that my post was doing so, I respect his view.

thewookiee
June 20th, 2013, 07:04 AM
Wookie, I feel bad you are getting heat. I deliberately did not post your name because this was a fear I had. I think you represent a large group who don't enjoy meets and I want to understand why. Your reasons make sense and I suspect hold true for quite a few. I appreciate your directness and respect your reasons.

Stewart,

Thank you. There was no point in denying the comment, since my name is attached to it on your blog. Like you wanted to understand why someone doesn't like to go to meets, I ask my question to understand why you were so passionate about going, which you have answered as well.

I have a ton of respect for Jeff Roddin. He is entitled to his opinion on my post. I don't believe that I was trying to discourage anyone from going to meets, if they wanted to go. If Jeff feels that my post was doing so, I respect his view.

__steve__
June 20th, 2013, 09:01 AM
There's something exciting about many types of racing or competition, whether you loose, DQ, do alright, or (I would asume) win. In swimming, I find, the relay events can make the excitment more intense. But then again I am fairly new to this, and I can accept a possibilty of burning out some day

beprocton
June 20th, 2013, 09:17 AM
I compete in meets because I need a goal to shoot for during the season ... this is what keeps me coming back to practice and working hard. But there are many that I swim with who have a much different goal ... just doing something that keeps me going. My wife, who is a runner, ran almost 2,000 miles last year and has no desire to compete. It's taken me a while to figure that one out, but I finally understand that she does it primarily for her mental health ... it's her time to get away from it all when she's on her daily run.

I am swimming in a USS meet this weekend ... the last time I swam this meet I was 19 years old. I'm petrified. I get nervous enough in Masters meets when I'm swimming against people much closer in age. Now it's me against the 13-18 year old kids in the heats. I'm actually swimming in some of the same events as the son of a guy I swam with in college. I called him and told him to let his son know not to worry as I wouldn't be tapering for this meet ... hah! He's only 20 - 25 seconds faster than me in the 200 free. I'm just hoping not to make a fool out of myself and will try to have "fun".

robertsrobson
June 20th, 2013, 09:41 AM
I'm in the UK and chairman of a club with ~120 members, of which maybe a quarter will compete once or twice a year, and about 10% will do more than that, so I recognise the issue both from a numbers perspective and from the arguments.

Personally, I love to compete - but not too often, and I won't go too far to do it. I have other commitments, and I also don't want it to become boring. A lot of our guys will limit the number of meets they are prepared to do and the distance they are prepared to travel - whether it's for Nationals, Euros, Worlds doesn't make a massive difference. You can't really argue with that, as it is down to preference.

There are, however, a number of issues that we do need to try to address as clubs- which have all been articulated already, such as first time misconceptions, ex-swimmers comparing their times to the past, etc. We do need to give encouragement without being pushy, because many of our members (who are most welcome) just want to stay fit. Simple messages for me:

- You're not an age-grouper now and if you go to a meet, you go through your own choice.
- Your first masters meet is an opportunity to reset your times, and your first meet in a new age group likewise.
- Don't get hung up on how 'good' you are or used to be. Neither will improve your enjoyment of the event.
- You're not going to stand out for being 'slow'. Because of time seeding and the wide age range, literally anything goes.
- It's not medals that matter, nor even times, but having fun and challenging yourself to do something active.
- Masters meets can be great socially, particularly going to a big meet with a big team; but at any meet if you talk to the people that you're swimming 'against' there's a good chance that you'll make new friends.

robertsrobson
June 20th, 2013, 09:44 AM
I compete in meets because I need a goal to shoot for during the season ... this is what keeps me coming back to practice and working hard. But there are many that I swim with who have a much different goal ... just doing something that keeps me going. My wife, who is a runner, ran almost 2,000 miles last year and has no desire to compete. It's taken me a while to figure that one out, but I finally understand that she does it primarily for her mental health ... it's her time to get away from it all when she's on her daily run.

I am swimming in a USS meet this weekend ... the last time I swam this meet I was 19 years old. I'm petrified. I get nervous enough in Masters meets when I'm swimming against people much closer in age. Now it's me against the 13-18 year old kids in the heats. I'm actually swimming in some of the same events as the son of a guy I swam with in college. I called him and told him to let his son know not to worry as I wouldn't be tapering for this meet ... hah! He's only 20 - 25 seconds faster than me in the 200 free. I'm just hoping not to make a fool out of myself and will try to have "fun".

Being the old guy in a USS meet can be part of the fun. The kids will think you are too old anyway. The worst thing that can happen is that you meet their expectations, but the likelihood is that you'll get kudos for mixing it with them.

Allen Stark
June 20th, 2013, 12:10 PM
As others said I go to meets to give me something to motivate me to workout harder.Another thing is fighting aging.If I go to a meet and swim well I feel like I have pushed back Father Time for awhile longer.I know he wins in the end,but I want to keep ahead of him for as long as possible.I get that positive feedback some in workouts,but I doubt I'd try as hard in workouts without a meet.

Dan Kornblatt
June 21st, 2013, 02:38 PM
As others said I go to meets to give me something to motivate me to workout harder.Another thing is fighting aging.If I go to a meet and swim well I feel like I have pushed back Father Time for awhile longer.I know he wins in the end,but I want to keep ahead of him for as long as possible.I get that positive feedback some in workouts,but I doubt I'd try as hard in workouts without a meet.

All the individual reasons to compete or not to compete are of course correct and good reasons for each swimmer. However they don't address the very important issue of getting meet attendance up. Meet swimmers keep the organization going. There are few non meet swimmers who volunteer on any level to keep USMS going. There are some notable exceptions to this but they are few and far between. Meets that are financial losses seldom repeat the following year and often are gone for a long time.

In my opinion any workout club that wants to increase it's meet attendance both at their own meet and away meets needs to get the team behind the concept and not just the coach or one or two swimmers. Team shirt, warm ups, meeting both at the pool and at local watering holes are a few of the ways to help build a sense of team. None of this will offend the non meet swimmer and may help get some folks on the fence to give it a try. Sometimes getting a swimmer to volunteer one year will motivate them to swim the following year. Relays, even fun ones also become a team building thing if you can get some guys and girls together who are competitive be it mixed or not.

At past home meets we have had a local syncro club bring their kids for a demo during a break. We have had a marriage proposal on the deck during a break. And we have had the local varsity divers put on an exhibition during a break(that's why diving was invented after all to give swimmers a longer rest). Be creative and make "Masters Fun".

psyncw
June 21st, 2013, 08:01 PM
I am one of the members on my team who is tasked with encouraging people to compete in our local meets and occasionally at a far away meet. In my experience, the question of why people compete or not is directly related to the question why people swim. Many people on my team swim for the social and fitness aspect. There is a smaller group who swim for the purpose of improving their performance at meets. It can be tough to get some of my teammates at meets as that is just not why they swim.

On a related note, I am of the opinion that all three goals (fitness, social, competition) can be accomplished in workouts that are geared towards improvement in competition. However, some people with fitness as their primary goal often complain when sets are written with more of a competition viewpoint- say a longer rest interval or shorter repetition. If rest is longer than :10, they're not happy!

__steve__
June 22nd, 2013, 02:53 PM
Block starts at practice probably wouldn't appeal to the non-meet swimmer. But doing a set of them can really help agility and power, and who knows, maybe provide the bone density impact bearing work that swimming generally doesn't provide. Not sure why I threw this out here, just thought I would

Nichollsvi
June 23rd, 2013, 06:43 PM
I just did my first ever meet. Not just masters, as in I truly didn't learn how to swim (what I did before couldn't really be called swimming, more like less likely to drown) until last year. I started out doing pretty well within the rec center and then had a buddy, member of USMS, talk to me about it. I then joined up, this is my first year. After doing several of the fitness events and loving them, I started looking at other ways to challenge myself. Fitness will always be a part of swimming. However, this is just a new facet of it. The meet this weekend helped me (and will my coach) into strategies for the next meet, and how this fits into new ways to improve. I bet a lot of people don't look at reinventing the wheel, so that you don't grow old and stale with what you used to be. I wanted to address a few of the items I pulled from posts:
Encouragement and support. I got this in DROVES at the Colonies' Zone Meet this weekend. From the meet admin, down to other swimmers. Not just swimming in a pool that Lochte and Phelps were in, which was fabulous, but picking up hints/tips from people who've been there, done that, and what to look at. My Coach does stuff, but here is also a chance for a new pair of eyes to see how I am on my own. That alone was worth every penny I spent.
All different ability levels. This is what I was afraid of. I said I would never enter a meet months ago. Then I read and found out, hmmm I'm not seeded against 35 second 50m free people. These people aren't looking at me like I'm loser. They gave me something for being my age and doing this for the first time, by myself, away from home. I actually said something about being put in with the slower crew, requested it. It did make me feel better mentally. I found that very helpful.
As for speed, I'm racing against me. I blew my 50m fly time out the ballpark. My last 50m free timed in the only LCM pool I was in, used to, was more than 10 seconds slower than what I did at the met. My 100 free was another story, LOL. Again, I am learning how to pace myself and what I need to work on. I'll get faster, and I might get slower. However, life isn't always about speed.
Social activities. They had one of these there, but going by myself, I didn't attend. I had a 1.5 to 2 hour drive home, so that made a big difference for me. If I stayed at a hotel or the like, then it would be different.
Fun events. Now here is something that would fun to do.
Interest in training. I find that those who are interested in a meet are more consistent in attending training. Granted I can see it both ways.
Everyone seeing how you do, how you perform. The thing is, I'm not that good at all. I have done well but it was the other swimmers helping you to see how you do, how you perform, and giving you help & support. The question I have, is do you want to be the best you can be? If so, that means you blow up sometimes. Learn from the experience. Yes, its in front of people, but you know what, they have done the same thing.
It's not medals that matter, nor even times, but having fun and challenging yourself to do something active. This is true. Although I have to say, my one piece of bling from this weekend will carry me though a lot. In 18 months, I've gone from someone afraid to put my face in the water to diving off a block and doing a 50m fly in front of others, in my 40's. That one medal is a symbol of the courage to conquer fears, to persevere in the face of adversity (I'm missing part of my digestive system & its sort of trashed right now, so I'm not as strong as I could be), to take a risk (coming off the block for fly I tend to hoose up) in front of others. All of which was done by myself and a bit drive from home. Lets face it - a lot of people aren't willing to get out of the boat, even if it is to walk on water.

swimshark
June 23rd, 2013, 07:08 PM
I just did my first ever meet. Not just masters, as in I truly didn't learn how to swim (what I did before couldn't really be called swimming, more like less likely to drown) until last year. I started out doing pretty well within the rec center and then had a buddy, member of USMS, talk to me about it. I then joined up, this is my first year. After doing several of the fitness events and loving them, I started looking at other ways to challenge myself. Fitness will always be a part of swimming. However, this is just a new facet of it. The meet this weekend helped me (and will my coach) into strategies for the next meet, and how this fits into new ways to improve. I bet a lot of people don't look at reinventing the wheel, so that you don't grow old and stale with what you used to be. I wanted to address a few of the items I pulled from posts:
Encouragement and support. I got this in DROVES at the Colonies' Zone Meet this weekend. From the meet admin, down to other swimmers. Not just swimming in a pool that Lochte and Phelps were in, which was fabulous, but picking up hints/tips from people who've been there, done that, and what to look at. My Coach does stuff, but here is also a chance for a new pair of eyes to see how I am on my own. That alone was worth every penny I spent.

I saw you while you were swimming and a friend, who spoke to you before one of your races, told me it was your first ever meet. I thought you did great!! I'm glad you had fun at the meet. It was a goo done to start off with, too. Such an amazing pool. I hope we see you at more meets in the future.

Chris Stevenson
June 23rd, 2013, 08:46 PM
I just did my first ever meet. Not just masters, as in I truly didn't learn how to swim (what I did before couldn't really be called swimming, more like less likely to drown) until last year.

Heather and I were really glad you decided to sign up! It was great to see you there, and I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Nichollsvi
June 23rd, 2013, 08:49 PM
I saw you while you were swimming and a friend, who spoke to you before one of your races, told me it was your first ever meet. I thought you did great!! I'm glad you had fun at the meet. It was a goo done to start off with, too. Such an amazing pool. I hope we see you at more meets in the future.
Thanks! You'll have to introduce yourself sometime. I could have done better, not as healthy as I once was. I'm just glad I didn't DQ and had fun. Besides, I learn something, make new friends, and exercise. Maybe get a piece of bling or two. Doesn't get much better than that!