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View Full Version : In what countries is masters swimming "big"?



Andy1978
August 13th, 2013, 04:36 AM
In what countries, besides USA, is Masters Swimming "big"? Now, it's very difficult to define excatly what I mean by masters swimming being "big" but let's define it like this:
1. An arbitrarily chosen city with a population of more than 100,000 in the particular country would be likely to have a masters team with at least 10 members.
2. Annually there should be at least 5 masters swim meet being held in the country.

So basically, if I reside in the particular country in a not too small city, I'd be likely to be able to join a masters team and compete without having to travel abroad.

Sportygeek
August 13th, 2013, 06:54 AM
Australia comfortably meets the definition: http://www.mastersswimming.org.au/

(Ballarat - current population ~95,000 - is the largest town without a Masters team. They have 3 swimming clubs, tho, and one seems to hold Masters training sessions twice a week)

Bill Sive
August 13th, 2013, 09:39 AM
Great Britain get my vote. If I joined another team it would be a team from Great Britian. I believe there are many programs that USMS could adapt from our swimming colleagues across the sea. I have participated in some of their events via the internet.

I have also participated in a couple of swimming events, via the internet, with the Australian Masters.

arthur
August 13th, 2013, 11:37 AM
I wouldn't say masters is popular in Canada but it definitely meets your criteria.

__steve__
August 13th, 2013, 02:17 PM
Check out fina to get the breakdown

McShack
August 14th, 2013, 12:35 PM
I'm an Australian expat in Peru and we have a reasonable Masters Swimming organisation here. (Hope you don't mind me lurking on your forum). There are at least 6 comps per year (not including open water - there's heaps of these in summer) and the standard is pretty impressive. I'm a 48 year old that has started swimming again after a hiatus of over 30 years so it's all reasonably new - again.

FYI - The Peruvian record for 45-49 Men's 100m Free is 55sec which is comparable with US and Australian standards.

Allen Stark
August 16th, 2013, 01:58 PM
There are some really good Masters swimmers from Mexico.I don't know how many teams there are though.At the international competitions I have been to(which have been in only in the US and Canada) there have been a disproportional number of Russian and Japanese swimmers.Based on last years Worlds entries,there must be a lot of Masters in Italy.

Betsy
August 20th, 2013, 01:55 PM
Biil Sive,
Where did you get information on internet events for Great Britain and Australia.
Betsy Durrant

Katherine Neustadt
August 20th, 2013, 03:15 PM
There are some good teams in London. Outside of London, the choices are far more limited. Go north of the M4 and they're almost non-existant. "Masters" clubs are the squads for the 18+ age group swimmers and a handful of older swimmers who are still pretty fast. Birmingham has a dedicated Masters club, but all of the other choices in the West Midlands mean swimming with the main swimming club. Or attending the "Masters" session at the local leisure centre, which is what the more optomistic centres call their SwimFit times. Competitions are moderately rare: the counties may have a County championship, each Region will have a SCM and LCM Regional championship, and there are National SCM and LCM meets. The National SC meet is the most attended, and lasts 3 days. LC Nationals is a single day. I'm getting ready to swim at the Southeast Regional SCM meet (I live in Kidderminster but swim with Southampton - which has a great Masters team, thanks mostly to its coach), which is just an afternoon/evening (1:00 pm - 9:00 pm).

There are some great folks in GB Masters Swimming. But I wouldn't say it's particularly "big". Then again, most sport isn't particulary "big" here if you're not just spectating. Cycling and sailing would be the exceptions.

Katherine Neustadt
August 20th, 2013, 03:17 PM
Biil Sive,
Where did you get information on internet events for Great Britain and Australia.
Betsy Durrant

Information on Masters Swimming in Britain can be found here:
http://www.swimming.org/britishswimming/masters

Bill Sive
August 21st, 2013, 09:37 AM
Australian Masters - Postal Events
http://www.mastersswimming.org.au/customdata/index.cfm?fuseaction=CustomItem&ItemID=23852

The prior post regarding British Swimming. The "Postal" event's are located in the "Swim Fit" portion of the website. Last year I swam the length of the Thames River.
http://forums.usms.org/entry.php?22592-London-Calling

Katherine Neustadt
August 21st, 2013, 11:59 AM
The "Postal" event's are located in the "Swim Fit" portion of the website. Last year I swam the length of the Thames River.
http://forums.usms.org/entry.php?22592-London-Calling[/QUOTE]

That's a fun one to do; gives you the chance to pretend to be an open water swimmer (if, like me, you dread the idea of actually swimming in open water). However, SwimFit isn't part of Masters Swimming. It's more of a "get adults into the pool for some exercise". Masters itself is almost entirely competitive. Which, in itself, is not that big of a problem. Except that SwimFit can be anything from an actual coached workout to a handful of laminated cards with "workouts" that include things like "swim for 10 minutes". It's very hit-and-miss.

Bill Sive
August 21st, 2013, 06:20 PM
I found Swim Fit to be beneficial. I managed to do a number of their on-line guided workouts. Isn't getting into a pool and moving what its all about anyway? I've recommended to USMS to look at the Swim Fit program and see if they can adopt some of its material for swimmers in the USA.

Eaglesrest
August 22nd, 2013, 05:38 AM
There are some good teams in London. Outside of London, the choices are far more limited. Go north of the M4 and they're almost non-existant.

I beg to differ. There are hundreds of GB Masters Clubs outside of London. There were > 20 different clubs entered in the Yorkshire Masters championships alone, and that's just one County event!!

robertsrobson
August 23rd, 2013, 05:08 AM
There are some good teams in London. Outside of London, the choices are far more limited. Go north of the M4 and they're almost non-existant. "Masters" clubs are the squads for the 18+ age group swimmers and a handful of older swimmers who are still pretty fast. Birmingham has a dedicated Masters club, but all of the other choices in the West Midlands mean swimming with the main swimming club. Or attending the "Masters" session at the local leisure centre, which is what the more optomistic centres call their SwimFit times. Competitions are moderately rare: the counties may have a County championship, each Region will have a SCM and LCM Regional championship, and there are National SCM and LCM meets. The National SC meet is the most attended, and lasts 3 days. LC Nationals is a single day. I'm getting ready to swim at the Southeast Regional SCM meet (I live in Kidderminster but swim with Southampton - which has a great Masters team, thanks mostly to its coach), which is just an afternoon/evening (1:00 pm - 9:00 pm).

There are some great folks in GB Masters Swimming. But I wouldn't say it's particularly "big". Then again, most sport isn't particulary "big" here if you're not just spectating. Cycling and sailing would be the exceptions.

Eh?

I'm chair at Kenilworth Masters, which has approximately 120 members. In the Midlands alone, Birmingham and Camp Hill are equally or more successful. Camp Hill is not a dedicated masters club, but I reckon must be better at Masters than in age group swimming. There are dedicated clubs or substantial sections within swimming clubs all across the UK.

LC Nationals is also a 3 day meet. Midlands and other regionals are a full weekend. We even have a national masters open water competition. I go to around 5 masters meets a year, through choice. I could compete at least every month, and much more often at other times. Do we really live in the same country?

Katherine Neustadt
August 23rd, 2013, 06:03 AM
Rob,
Nice to meet you! We do live in the same country, yes. There are exceptions, Birmingham Masters and Kenilworth being ones (BTW, where & when do the Kenilworth Masters train?). York, Bath, Sheffield, Plymouth also have good Masters clubs (and, of course, there's London, but that's always an outlier). However, it's not on the same level as what they have in the US, where a city the size of Birmingham may have half a dozen clubs that are dedicated Masters-only and train 5-7 days a week. Masters in the UK (again, with the exception of a 5-6 clubs) is very competitive. I spoke to a Coventry coach at LC Nationals about possibly training with them a couple times a month. Her first question was what my times were for the events I raced, and basically said "well, as long as you can swim x distance in x time [I don't remember what the distance or time was, just that it was way faster than I could go], you'll be fine". After I explained that I was considerably slower than that, she lost interest.

The original question asked in which countries Masters swimming was "big". Whereas there are some good clubs and it is very enjoyable in the UK, I still would not maintain that it is "big" on the same level as it is in the US or Australia. The biggest issue is probably pool access. As it is, I can swim at 'adult' swim sessions once a week in Stourport (I work 9-5, so can't make the 8-9 am 'early morning' session). Beyond that, I have to drive 30 (in the summer when Highley Lido is open) - 60 minutes for a pool that I can train in. Most of the Masters sessions are during the week, not finishing until at least 9:30 pm. Birmingham Masters is a local exception, though to make those sessions I need two trains, two busses and still don't get home until almost 10:00, even though the session ends at 7:00. Which means I don't get any dinner, either. It's just not made particularly convenient.

I did get spoiled in Southampton, which has a great Masters club and a lovely pool with good opening hours and lap-swimming time. However, I still maintain that Masters swimming isn't "big" in the UK.

Katherine Neustadt
August 23rd, 2013, 06:06 AM
I beg to differ. There are hundreds of GB Masters Clubs outside of London. There were > 20 different clubs entered in the Yorkshire Masters championships alone, and that's just one County event!!

Were they dedicated Masters' clubs or Masters squads of age-group clubs? Again, it's still an issue of "big". There may be a lot of clubs that have swimmers over the age of 18 swimming and competing in 'masters' events, but that doesn't make it "big". 20+ clubs entered into the Yorkshire Masters is great! In some parts of the States, though, there are more than that number of clubs in a single metropolitan area.

Katherine Neustadt
August 23rd, 2013, 06:12 AM
I found Swim Fit to be beneficial. I managed to do a number of their on-line guided workouts. Isn't getting into a pool and moving what its all about anyway? I've recommended to USMS to look at the Swim Fit program and see if they can adopt some of its material for swimmers in the USA.

Swim Fit is great. As a programme, I like it. But the question was about Masters swimming, and Swim Fit is not UK Masters swimming. I've attended a few Swim Fit sessions (as fins are considered dangerous weapons in most public sessions here). If you know what you're doing, they can be great. You get a workout and some like-minded folks to join in with. However, you can also get someone sitting at the end of the lane, telling people who don't know how to swim butterfly to do 4x50 fly and not doing anything to help them improve their strokes, just watching them struggle and only get from one end of the pool to another because they're wearing fins.

Andy1978
September 26th, 2013, 04:13 PM
Anyone know what the situations are in Austria and in the Netherlands?

Michael Heather
September 27th, 2013, 01:06 AM
it is difficult to compare any other country to the USA. Not because of size or activity, but the actual construct. All other countries' Masters programs are a committee of the national age group (FINA recognized) organization. In the USA, it is a wholly separate organization.

That being said, and using 27 year old information, Germany (yes, pre-unified) had a pretty well organized and active Masters program, but I can only say that they had a well run and well attended long distance Championship meet in 1986 in Berlin. If that was any indication of the rest of the country, they were (are?) pretty healthy.