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View Full Version : How many swimmers go to Nationals who *don't* meet the NQTs?



Kirstin
April 15th, 2014, 12:55 PM
Hi everyone. I'm a slow fitness swimmer who hasn't competed since I was 14, but I'd like to start participating just because it looks fun. I understand that anyone *can* swim up to 3 events at Nationals, but do non-qualifiers take advantage of that? What proportion of heats <200 yds (any stroke) are made up of slower swimmers? I'd like to go, but don't want to slow everyone else down.

scyfreestyler
April 15th, 2014, 01:16 PM
I attended Clovis Nationals in 2009 with no qualifying times. I'm attending Santa Clara Nationals next month with one qualifying time.

If you're interested in what the field of participants times look like, the results for past years Nats are listed online.

http://www.usms.org/comp/scnats13/results/

Glenn
April 15th, 2014, 01:21 PM
but don't want to slow everyone else down.

Dont' ever worry about slowing anyone else down, ever! Masters swimming is for everyone! Come to Nationals, do your best, have fun, watch other swimmers fast and slow and enjoy the wonderful atmosphere of competition and friendship.

jroddin
April 15th, 2014, 01:30 PM
Hi everyone. I'm a slow fitness swimmer who hasn't competed since I was 14, but I'd like to start participating just because it looks fun. I understand that anyone *can* swim up to 3 events at Nationals, but do non-qualifiers take advantage of that? What proportion of heats <200 yds (any stroke) are made up of slower swimmers? I'd like to go, but don't want to slow everyone else down.

I don't have quick statistics at my fingers to tell you how many swimmers are entered in the various events above/below the qualifying times, but I can at least give some quick statistics about the number of events each swimmer has entered at the upcoming Nationals in Santa Clara. There are nearly 2250 swimmers entered in the meet and the average is 4.2 events per swimmer. Here is a rough breakdown by the number of events entered per swimmer:
1 event: 5%
2 events: 11%
3 events: 25%
4 events: 11%
5 events: 13%
6 events: 34%

Although just because a swimmer enters three (or less) events doesn't mean it is a non-NQT swimmer. A swimmer on my club who often sets USMS records rarely enters more than 3 individual events. But we can at least draw the conclusion that anybody entering 4 of more events meets at least 1 qualifying time and 1/3 of the meet entrants meet at least three qualifying times.

I say it doesn't really matter how many swimmers don't make the qualifying times. The reason swimmers are permitted to enter up to three events without meeting the qualifying times* is because WE WANT YOU TO PARTICIPATE AND BE A PART OF THE MASTERS NATIONALS EXPERIENCE!

Jeff Roddin
USMS Championship Committee

* Note some Nationals have qualifying time restrictions on the distance events

beluga
April 16th, 2014, 10:30 AM
Never had an NQT, and never been to Nationals.
In a wholly unscientific and random look at Nationals results for my age group,
there are usually a few swims (and seed times) in each event around my times or slower, i.e. slower than the NQT.
A quick search on a few of these swimmers showed that some had no NQTs and a some had 1 or more NQTs.

KRA DC
April 16th, 2014, 12:11 PM
Kirstin,
I can only offer my own perspective on this, but it sounds like you & I share some similar concerns.

After 16 years out of the pool, I swam Masters meets in the Spring and Summer of 2013 weighing more than 335 lbs. Setting aside the anxiety and humiliation associated with looking like that (in a swimsuit, no less!), I -- like you -- was really worried about single-handedly adding time to meets and generally annoying people by my presence ("what is THAT guy doing here??"). What I found was a community of adult athletes who honor the USMS principle of inclusion and aren't interested in judging others on deck.

Like you, when it came time to consider whether to swim USMS Nationals at Santa Clara, I still had some misgivings about showing up to a meet for which I had not qualified and potentially slowing down a meet that needs to run on a tight time schedule. I weigh 217 lbs. today, but I'm still several months and dozens of lbs. away from being competitive in my age group. An added complication is that I was only available for Thursday and Friday, so I would be swimming not my second and third-best events, but my fifth and sixth-best events, leaving even bigger gaps between my seed times and the seed times of the second-slowest swimmers in my age group for those events. I signed up anyway, hoping that the organizers and swimmers at USMS Nationals would accept me the way other meet organizers and swimmers have over the past year. To my horror, I found that there were only 11 swimmers in my age group in the 200 Back, meaning that if a single swimmer scratched, I would personally hold up the meet for more than 30 seconds (or even more if I didn't hit my taper). When the heat sheets were released, I was relieved to find that they put me in a heat with other slower seeds from other age groups, although I will still hold the meet up a bit even if I swim well. I think jroddin and others would say that my concerns (and your concerns) aren't warranted, and that no one cares about an extra 30 seconds, or minute, or whatever, as long as you enter the meet with legitimate seed times (which I always do).

I'll let you know if I'm met with any snickering, eye rolling or general annoyance at USMS Nationals, but my strong hunch is that I won't be; this is just a really great community.

Edit: To be clear, when I say that the original poster and I share similar concerns, I'm speaking only to the etiquette of holding up heats as a slower swimmer. The weight stuff is just specific to me.

jpetyk
April 16th, 2014, 01:24 PM
last year at spring nationals, my friend entered her 3 events without any NQT's. She came home with 2 medals. I believe I remember that in one of her events, no one in her age group had a qualifying time. Don't be afraid to go. The energy and then atmosphere will make you feel like a superstar.

matysekj
April 16th, 2014, 01:59 PM
I just did a quick check and out of a total of 9,358 event entries in the Santa Clara meet, 2,005 event entries did not meet the qualifying time. Note that this number includes events where there is no qualifying time for an age group or two, but it looks like there's just a handful of those types of entries.

Allen Stark
April 16th, 2014, 08:16 PM
Kirstin,
I can only offer my own perspective on this, but it sounds like you & I share some similar concerns.

After 16 years out of the pool, I swam Masters meets in the Spring and Summer of 2013 weighing more than 335 lbs. Setting aside the anxiety and humiliation associated with looking like that (in a swimsuit, no less!), I -- like you -- was really worried about single-handedly adding time to meets and generally annoying people by my presence ("what is THAT guy doing here??"). What I found was a community of adult athletes who honor the USMS principle of inclusion and aren't interested in judging others on deck.

Like you, when it came time to consider whether to swim USMS Nationals at Santa Clara, I still had some misgivings about showing up to a meet for which I had not qualified and potentially slowing down a meet that needs to run on a tight time schedule. I weigh 217 lbs. today, but I'm still several months and dozens of lbs. away from being competitive in my age group. An added complication is that I was only available for Thursday and Friday, so I would be swimming not my second and third-best events, but my fifth and sixth-best events, leaving even bigger gaps between my seed times and the seed times of the second-slowest swimmers in my age group for those events. I signed up anyway, hoping that the organizers and swimmers at USMS Nationals would accept me the way other meet organizers and swimmers have over the past year. To my horror, I found that there were only 11 swimmers in my age group in the 200 Back, meaning that if a single swimmer scratched, I would personally hold up the meet for more than 30 seconds (or even more if I didn't hit my taper). When the heat sheets were released, I was relieved to find that they put me in a heat with other slower seeds from other age groups, although I will still hold the meet up a bit even if I swim well. I think jroddin and others would say that my concerns (and your concerns) aren't warranted, and that no one cares about an extra 30 seconds, or minute, or whatever, as long as you enter the meet with legitimate seed times (which I always do).

I'll let you know if I'm met with any snickering, eye rolling or general annoyance at USMS Nationals, but my strong hunch is that I won't be; this is just a really great community.

Edit: To be clear, when I say that the original poster and I share similar concerns, I'm speaking only to the etiquette of holding up heats as a slower swimmer. The weight stuff is just specific to me.

If you are seeded 11th,another way to look at it is:If one person scratches and you don't DQ, you will get a medal

That Guy
April 16th, 2014, 08:26 PM
("what is THAT guy doing here??") I'm ok with the air quotes, but when did I get relegated to parentheses?

mpmartin
April 16th, 2014, 10:05 PM
I've never met any of the qualifying times. I used to think it would get easier, but it seems that I am aging, but my competition isn't. It's
discouraging to say the least.

Rob Copeland
April 17th, 2014, 08:24 AM
I'm ok with the air quotes, but when did I get relegated to parentheses?And the next step down the slide is a hashtag and maybe an emoticon or 2.
#ThatGuy :o

Allen Stark
April 17th, 2014, 04:55 PM
And the next step down the slide is a hashtag and maybe an emoticon or 2.
#ThatGuy :o
We need to be able to click on #ThatGuy.

That Guy
April 17th, 2014, 06:10 PM
We need to be able to click on #ThatGuy.

Ow! Stop that! Ow! What did I just say?

Eric Tyler
April 17th, 2014, 08:12 PM
Could not have said it better Glenn I have swum in two masters meets and the big differences I see are: No Pressure and wow is it a good time! Go and have fun Kirstin!

ekw
April 18th, 2014, 04:08 PM
Hi everyone. I'm a slow fitness swimmer who hasn't competed since I was 14, but I'd like to start participating just because it looks fun. I understand that anyone *can* swim up to 3 events at Nationals, but do non-qualifiers take advantage of that? What proportion of heats <200 yds (any stroke) are made up of slower swimmers? I'd like to go, but don't want to slow everyone else down.


Go! Have fun!



Kirstin,
I can only offer my own perspective on this, but it sounds like you & I share some similar concerns.


After 16 years out of the pool, I swam Masters meets in the Spring and Summer of 2013 weighing more than 335 lbs. Setting aside the anxiety and humiliation associated with looking like that (in a swimsuit, no less!), I -- like you -- was really worried about single-handedly adding time to meets and generally annoying people by my presence ("what is THAT guy doing here??"). What I found was a community of adult athletes who honor the USMS principle of inclusion and aren't interested in judging others on deck.


Like you, when it came time to consider whether to swim USMS Nationals at Santa Clara, I still had some misgivings about showing up to a meet for which I had not qualified and potentially slowing down a meet that needs to run on a tight time schedule. I weigh 217 lbs. today, but I'm still several months and dozens of lbs. away from being competitive in my age group. An added complication is that I was only available for Thursday and Friday, so I would be swimming not my second and third-best events, but my fifth and sixth-best events, leaving even bigger gaps between my seed times and the seed times of the second-slowest swimmers in my age group for those events. I signed up anyway, hoping that the organizers and swimmers at USMS Nationals would accept me the way other meet organizers and swimmers have over the past year. To my horror, I found that there were only 11 swimmers in my age group in the 200 Back, meaning that if a single swimmer scratched, I would personally hold up the meet for more than 30 seconds (or even more if I didn't hit my taper). When the heat sheets were released, I was relieved to find that they put me in a heat with other slower seeds from other age groups, although I will still hold the meet up a bit even if I swim well. I think jroddin and others would say that my concerns (and your concerns) aren't warranted, and that no one cares about an extra 30 seconds, or minute, or whatever, as long as you enter the meet with legitimate seed times (which I always do).


I'll let you know if I'm met with any snickering, eye rolling or general annoyance at USMS Nationals, but my strong hunch is that I won't be; this is just a really great community.


Edit: To be clear, when I say that the original poster and I share similar concerns, I'm speaking only to the etiquette of holding up heats as a slower swimmer. The weight stuff is just specific to me.


Awesome story!



I'm ok with the air quotes, but when did I get relegated to parentheses?


#airquotes? #seemedlikelegitusageofquotationmarkstoconveydialo guetome (#whatdoyouthink, #thatguy?)

That Guy
April 18th, 2014, 08:14 PM
#airquotes? #seemedlikelegitusageofquotationmarkstoconveydialo guetome (#whatdoyouthink, #thatguy?)

#imsoconfusedrightnow #ihopemycarrierpigeonknowshowtosendsmokesignals #ifiholdmyamradiouptomyrotaryphonecanimakeareserva tiononthenexttransatlanticzeppelin #somethingsomethingtelegram

orca1946
April 26th, 2014, 05:21 PM
KRA GOOD FOR YOU !!!!! What you have done for yourself is a really good thing. And the step up to try Nationals is to be applauded !! This is why winning is a part of our sport but not the only thing that brings new - old into it for starters or to return to competition.
I got a man like you at 335 lbs. to start swimming years ago & he does the 200 fly at state Not fast but he gives it all he has.

SwimMann
May 6th, 2014, 06:23 AM
I'm possibly going to Nationals but I've looked at previous years results and QTs and I'm nowhere near that fast.

jroddin
May 6th, 2014, 08:37 AM
I'm possibly going to Nationals but I've looked at previous years results and QTs and I'm nowhere near that fast.

Please remember you don't need to meet QTs to swim up to 3 events (except for the 1500m free - you must meet the QT to swim that event). You don't have to be near the QT - pick three events and come and have fun!

aztimm
May 6th, 2014, 01:27 PM
I've only swum at 1 USMS nationals, I think it was back in 2003 (when it was at ASU in Tempe, AZ). The only thing I remember about the meet was that after my 2nd event, I went in the warm-up/down pool, and another guy asked how I did. After I told him my time, he said, "it is people like you who make these meets last so long."
Mind you, along with swimming, since my team was hosting the meet I had been helping with timing and other volunteer activities, while still working.

I scratched my 3rd event (the 500 free) the next day, and didn't swim in any USMS meets for several years after that. When nationals returned to AZ a few years ago, I purposely planned a trip out of town so I wouldn't have any reason to go near it.
I do occasionally swim in some mostly smaller meets, as well as some zone meets, and I enjoy the positive attitude and energy I encounter at open water events.

While the rules do allow it, and some people say that no one will say anything, what actually happens at USMS nationals is a whole different story.

ElaineK
May 6th, 2014, 02:02 PM
Unfortunately, you ran into the wrong guy. :badday: Please don't judge the Nationals experience based on a comment made by a loser like that. I have competed in several Nationals, and I didn't make NQT's in most of them. My experiences have been quite the opposite of yours, and I found the other competitors to be very positive and welcoming.

It's too bad you didn't give it another try when it was in Arizona. I hope you will reconsider going to a Nationals in the future, because it's an awesome experience! :agree:

scyfreestyler
May 6th, 2014, 05:24 PM
I went in the warm-up/down pool, and another guy asked how I did. After I told him my time, he said, "it is people like you who make these meets last so long."


There should probably be a surcharge added to the USMS dues for people as grumpy as him.

Celestial
May 6th, 2014, 05:48 PM
aztimm I am so sorry you had that experience. I can only imagine how that must have made you feel. I hope you try Nationals again some time. My biggest hangup when it comes to Nationals is a different kind of fear. I am basically a team of one, and so I don't know ANYbody, unless my husband accompanies me. This makes it hard for me to be "up" for meets, unlike when you have a group of people who are all rooting for you, talking trash & getting you pumped up. Friends made on FB and the Forum are nice, but it's not the same as people from home, who train with you, and want to see you do well (and swim relays with you). We all have our hang ups I guess. But I'm really sorry you had to run into the biggest jerk in USMS.

ElaineK
May 6th, 2014, 09:51 PM
There should probably be a surcharge added to the USMS dues for people as grumpy as him.

:applaud: Yeah, that guy was as grumpy as your avatar! :afraid:

knelson
May 7th, 2014, 12:58 AM
While the rules do allow it, and some people say that no one will say anything, what actually happens at USMS nationals is a whole different story.

Obviously this guy was a big time jerk, but do you think maybe it's time to get over it? From my perspective this is very atypical.

KRA DC
May 7th, 2014, 11:09 AM
KRA GOOD FOR YOU !!!!! What you have done for yourself is a really good thing. And the step up to try Nationals is to be applauded !! This is why wining is a part of our sport but not the only thing that brings new - old into it for starters or to return to competition.
I got a man like ypou at 335 to start swimming years ago & he does the 2000 fly at state Not fast but he gives it all he has.

Thanks for your kind words. During this process, I've had a couple people in my life who, like you, have provided crucial support and encouragement. It's not easy to be the one nudging someone you care about back toward a life of fitness, but it's an incredible gift.

Santa Clara was fantastic, although I did hold up my 200 Back heat by about 20 seconds. I doubt anyone cared; my seed time was legit and I popped out of the pool as soon as the lactic acid allowed.

I nailed my taper, dropping over a minute to 12:03 in the 1,000 Free. At this rate, I may be able to compete with some of these awesome, inspiring guys in my age group as early as August Nationals. Even if I'm not quite there by that time, I still feel like I belong and I still feel like USMS swimmers are overwhelmingly accepting of differences in competence -- it's a real stength of USMS and it's a big reason why I've been able to keep hammering away at this audacious project.

pshepard
June 11th, 2014, 02:46 PM
I signed up for the Nationals at University of Maryland, and also didn't make the qualifying times. I signed up for the three events that I was most interested in swimming that met my needs for the time period Thursday/Friday, 8/14-8/15. I don't wish to be there the entire 5 days. I have never been to a National Meet, and being chairperson for Marketing of Delaware Valley USMS swimming, I thought it would be a fun meet to try out. You should sign up if you are interested in going, and not worry about the qualifying times. I only did age group swimming from ages 8-12, and started back in Masters about 5 years ago after a 32 year vacation from competitive swimming. I am not sure if there is an exact number or people who go that don't make the qualifying times, it may vary from year to year.

orca1946
June 24th, 2014, 06:29 PM
To WIN is not the norm!!! To be in the water is what most of us are in this sport for. OK- doing well makes you feel better,but in the end we are just happier when we work out in the pool. I just returned from a 20 mile bike ride in the 90 degree temp with high humidity. The pool sounds pretty good right now !!!

jpetyk
June 25th, 2014, 10:23 AM
[QUOTE=orca1946;298228]To WIN is not the norm!!! To be in the water is what most of us are in this sport for. OK- doing well makes you feel better,but in the end we are just happier when we work out in the pool. QUOTE]

Honestly, this is one of the things that I always loved about swimming. Even in High School, when someone was feeling down because they didn't win, or came in last, my first question was always, "But how was your time?" Often the answer was that it was a best time, or close to it. What more can you ask for? You just swam faster than you ever have before! "Doing well" is relative to the individual, and in swimming, you get to experience the "team" atmosphere, while still achieving personal goals.

USMS Nationals enforce this ideal by allowing EVERYONE to be able to participate in some capacity. Everybody has the opportunity to get out of housework because the are "on taper" :D and everyone gets to experience the electricity of a large scale meet. It's really quite cool.

Watching the really fast swimmers race is cool....but my favorites are the people that have a story. The ones competing for the first time ever, those overcoming some major hurdle, and my biggest inspiration...the elderly that are still at it!! I aspire to still be swimming into my 90's, God willing I live that long. :angel:

Michael Blatt
July 15th, 2014, 04:53 PM
Honestly, this is one of the things that I always loved about swimming. Even in High School, when someone was feeling down because they didn't win, or came in last, my first question was always, "But how was your time?" Often the answer was that it was a best time, or close to it. What more can you ask for? You just swam faster than you ever have before! "Doing well" is relative to the individual, and in swimming, you get to experience the "team" atmosphere, while still achieving personal goals.

Glad to see this mentioned. One of the (in my mind) best aspects about almost all levels of competitive swimming is that everyone in a heat can be happy with their swim.

My forum picture is from the end of a 100 free where the person in the lane next to me went over 3 seconds faster than I did. But I was so happy with the time it didn't matter at all.

ElaineK
July 15th, 2014, 05:47 PM
Glad to see this mentioned. One of the (in my mind) best aspects about almost all levels of competitive swimming is that everyone in a heat can be happy with their swim.

My forum picture is from the end of a 100 free where the person in the lane next to me went over 3 seconds faster than I did. But I was so happy with the time it didn't matter at all.

EXACTLY! I will be swimming my worst event at Worlds and Nationals (200 fly), because I love it. I'm good with endurance fly (2,000 rather than 200), but I am very slow. (I'm seeded 33rd of 34 at Worlds, just to give you an idea.) I've been working hard on it, though, so I just hope to improve my time. It's a great feeling when that happens, even when you get slaughtered by the competition! :agree:

This past Saturday, a gal beat me out for a gold medal in the 3K at the Georgia Games by about three minutes. I couldn't have been happier with that silver, because I took 11 minutes off my time from 2012 when I swam an open water race for the first time. I've only done a few open water races since then; but, my sighting and endurance has gotten much better. I'm still on a cloud after winning silver! :D

Where in So Cal are you from? I was born and raised in Long Beach and lived in San Diego for most of my life. My family is still in L.B. and L.A.

Michael Blatt
July 19th, 2014, 03:44 PM
I live near Ventura now. Grew up near Palm Springs.

ElaineK
July 19th, 2014, 10:34 PM
I live near Ventura now. Grew up near Palm Springs.

Nice! Give So Cal a BIG :smooch: for me!

beireland
August 15th, 2014, 07:03 PM
Nice! Give So Cal a BIG :smooch: for me!



It was interesting to see the range of competitors at Worlds in Montreal. There were many swimmers who were not close to placing in their AGs but who went to Montreal for the experience. It seemed to me, and I did not crunch any numbers that there were a much larger percentage of the meet who were swimming for the experience, not hoping to place, than at most USMS Nationals.

I don't know why that is but it was good to see.

AJS62680
August 16th, 2014, 03:00 PM
aztimm I am so sorry you had that experience. I can only imagine how that must have made you feel. I hope you try Nationals again some time. My biggest hangup when it comes to Nationals is a different kind of fear. I am basically a team of one, and so I don't know ANYbody, unless my husband accompanies me. This makes it hard for me to be "up" for meets, unlike when you have a group of people who are all rooting for you, talking trash & getting you pumped up. Friends made on FB and the Forum are nice, but it's not the same as people from home, who train with you, and want to see you do well (and swim relays with you). We all have our hang ups I guess. But I'm really sorry you had to run into the biggest jerk in USMS.

I can relate. I've only recently started swimming USMS Meets, I'll probably start swimming nationals next spring. I'm almost always a team of one, unless we're hosting a meet. Fortunately I'm one of the fastest breaststrokers in SPMS (Steve West is a freak of nature; I'll never be THAT fast). There are some big rowdy teams at a lot of these meets, which is great for them and the sport, but my motivation is to shut them up. I don't REALLY hold any malice towards the big teams, they're all very nice people, but it helps when I'm on the starting block. Just an idea for the next time you're at one of those meets all alone.

pshepard
August 20th, 2014, 07:34 AM
I entered my three events without making the qualifying times. I came home with 2 medals. I had a great time, and would do it again!

swimshark
August 20th, 2014, 07:54 AM
I entered my three events without making the qualifying times. I came home with 2 medals. I had a great time, and would do it again!

Congratulations!

TRYM_Swimmer
August 20th, 2014, 10:39 AM
I entered my three events without making the qualifying times. I came home with 2 medals. I had a great time, and would do it again!

Good for you! Nats has always been a great time, no matter what shape I'm in. This time I had one good swim, one OK one, and two awful ones. But the atmosphere and great people made it well worthwhile.

ElaineK
August 20th, 2014, 07:12 PM
I entered my three events without making the qualifying times. I came home with 2 medals. I had a great time, and would do it again!
Exactly the same for me! :D

orca1946
November 22nd, 2014, 10:54 AM
We can find JERKS in all lines of work & play. Most of us are very supportive of others!! Dismiss the jerk & return to meets & Nats. I have always been "big" hence my nickname of ORCA cuz I swim pretty fast for a big guy. That name was dropped on me about 17 years ago at a Illinois state meet by a team mate. Ihave been to 4 ants cover my career & been pleased with results even if i did not meet Q times. It's the swims & PEOPLE.