View Full Version : Well Pfffffffft.

October 9th, 2014, 02:42 PM
:badday:I just got back from practice and basically the coach told me I'd get more out of swim lessons than masters. I thought I was doing pretty well, but I guess he was blowing smoke up my skirt (or swimsuit) when he told me that during my first practice. Basically, if I don't want to swim with other people, masters probably isn't for me.

I feel badly because I thought I'd found a home with this team. I know he's trying to do his best for me and is willing to give me lessons to improve my technique and get me comfortable enough to swim with the other beginners. But it feels like I've been sent to remedial swim class. So my confidence has been completely deflated. I joined masters because I thought I'd get a better workout than swimming alone. I know being in the lane with others makes you push yourself more, and I was working my way to that, and he said he wants me on his team. But honestly, I'm not interested in being on a team. I just want to get in the freakin' pool and swim for fitness.

October 9th, 2014, 03:08 PM
I joined masters because I thought I'd get a better workout than swimming alone. I know being in the lane with others makes you push yourself more, and I was working my way to that

Does this mean you've been swimming with a masters team, but thus far you've been swimming separately from everyone else? I can see that this would be difficult for a coach.

October 9th, 2014, 03:16 PM
It sounds like you want a personal coach. I know that kind of thing is available online. If you're just looking for practices to do on your own check out the workout section of the forum. It's pretty hard for a masters coach to have to individualize workouts if they've already got a variety of swimmers in the water.

October 9th, 2014, 03:27 PM
Yes, but I've only been to three practices, and I swim in the lane right next to the others. Actually, my first two practices, there was another woman in that lane, and she was alone. The coach was happy to work with her. Probably because she was good. And was looking to compete. He gives me a set, and I do my best. It's a small team, so it's not like he has to watch a dozen people. I'm not asking for special treatment.

Initially, he said he had no issues with me swimming alone, and he'd work with me as long as it took to get comfortable enough to swim with other people. And he said I was doing fine and my technique was as good if not better than the folks in the beginner lane. Now I shouldn't even be in the masters.

Most of us who are learning to swim as adults come with baggage because if we didn't have any, we'd have learned sooner. We can be awkward and uncoordinated, and require some encouragement. Not a lot, but some. I don't see how getting virtually kicked out of masters is supposed to encourage me.

October 9th, 2014, 03:40 PM
I hear what you are saying, but I also think this statement: "Basically, if I don't want to swim with other people, masters probably isn't for me." is true. Masters teams are for those who want to swim as part of a team. Hard for us to really gauge the situation, but it seems to me like he feels as if you aren't willing to swim with others in the pool.

October 9th, 2014, 03:50 PM
I don't see how getting virtually kicked out of masters is supposed to encourage me.

I don't suppose it will fuel the fire in you to prove him wrong (and get you over the mental hump about swimming with others)? Honestly, you might benefit from a more one-on-one situation for awhile until you can get past your "baggage" issues. It's unfortunate if the communication in this situation has made you feel bad :( It's never fun to have your expectations shot down. Don't just give up, though. There are many options out there...

October 9th, 2014, 04:00 PM
And sorry Denise if I'm coming across as callous. I'm only trying to see this from the coach's perspective. I agree with gobears. Don't give up!

October 9th, 2014, 04:01 PM
gobears, you're right, and so is the coach. If he wasn't interested in working with me until I was comfortable getting into a lane with others, he should have said something up front.

Honestly, it's not that I'm unaccustomed to getting knocked around. I trained shoto kan karate for eight years and I got knocked around plenty. I even did a couple of tournaments. I always had some ghastly looking bruise somewhere. But I'm not comfortable enough in the water yet to get knocked around without some panic setting in.

From the comments that I'm getting here, perhaps I'm not suited to masters. I don't know, though, why masters says it's trying to encourage adults to swim, when in fact the expectation is that if you want to be with a masters team, you'd better be fine getting whacked and shoved against the ropes.

October 9th, 2014, 04:09 PM
It may just be that this coach doesn't think he has either the time or the ability to get you to the point where you are comfortable and that private lessons would be a better place for that. When coaching a masters practice there are so many things you are doing at once with different swimmers of different speeds and goals and specialties - he may just not feel up to the task.

As for getting whacked and shoved - outside of a hugely crowded meet warm up I haven't ever really had that experience. Most swimmers try to be polite when passing. Are you sure it's as bad as you think? I think, if you get more comfortable in the water, you'll find that it isn't that bad...

October 9th, 2014, 04:21 PM
Hi Denise. I'm a coach (and swimmer) on one of the other teams in the DC area. From my perspective as a coach in this area, one of the biggest issues we face is lane utilization. Lane space is at a premium here, especially in the Alexandria area. We've got four lanes at the practices I coach, and often times the rest of the pool is taken up with age group teams, swim lessons, and lap swimmers. In our case, we just flat out can't accommodate folks who are not comfortable swimming in a lane with other swimmers, since we don't have available lanes in which to spread out. I've gotten in trouble before when taking an extra lane to allow our beginners to spread out, so I imagine your coach has come up against the same issue. The folks in our novice lane have mostly all been on the team since I started coaching a few years ago. Honestly, one of the biggest struggles for me as a coach has been integrating new folks who aren't up to the speed/distance requirements of the novice lane. I try to accommodate and encourage all new folks, but we just don't have the luxury of having extra lane space in which to spread out and give folks who're coming in under our established novice swimmers' ability level. We've had a fair amount of new novice swimmers come for a few weeks and then not return, and I've been banging my head on a wall for a couple years trying to figure out how to prevent that.

Regarding your desire to have some sort of a coach, I'll echo what others have said and encourage you to look into private coaches. A masters team is just that, a team. Absolutely nothing wrong with just wanting to swim by yourself (heck, 2 of the practices I swim each week are just me swimming on my own), but part of joining a swim team entails swimming in a lane with other folks. I know quite a few folks at all ability levels who only swim on their own, so if you're not quite ready to make the jump to swimming with a team, I hope you can find a coach who could help develop your technique and aerobic capacity. I think that everyone's got a place in the water, it's just up to you whether it's by yourself or with a team.

I hope my perspective has helped!

October 9th, 2014, 05:36 PM
habu987, thank you for your comments (and having my favorite Dr. Who for your avatar LOL). I do hear what you're saying, but where I swim, it's not at all crowded and there's hardly ever anyone swimming in the lanes we don't use. So it isn't a question of space. I told the coach before I ever came to the first practice that I'm concerned about swimming with others. And that I'm not comfortable in deep water. At first he seemed on board, and in fact, the pool is mostly shallow (but strangely, the novice swimmers are in the one deep lane). I'd worked out with him before I set foot in the pool that I'd swim on my own until I had enough aerobic capacity and confidence to jump in with others. The reason I joined masters is that a coach told me I'd get a better workout and better instruction than taking lessons.

If you know the DC/Alex area, you know how crowded practices can be. I made the mistake of getting into a lane with five other people at an early practice, and yes, I got pushed into the ropes and whacked, and I wasn't ready for it. I have, actually, shared lanes with folks at my rec center, and it's never been a big deal. I can swim with others, just not a lot of others, and I always feel like I'm holding people up.

I think it's rather difficult for most folks here on the boards to sympathize if you've been swimming/coaching for a while, and many of you have probably been swimming since at least high school. I don't object to taking lessons. I have had a couple private lessons and taken county classes, which to be honest aren't the greatest (overcrowded and you get half the lane). I think it's that I felt like I'd been doing well and there was a place for me here, and now I find there is not. Two coaches have told me I'm a good swimmer. So maybe this one doesn't agree.

October 9th, 2014, 05:57 PM
I honestly don't think your swimming is your problem. It's your fear. That is the part of the equation that is difficult for a masters coach to fix in the middle of a practice. This is what you need to fix first - once you are truly relaxed and comfortable in the water you'll be awesome (and fit right in, I suspect) since you sound like you have some decent technique!

Michael Heather
October 9th, 2014, 10:24 PM
What he ^ said.

Sympathy is not at all hard to give for any swimmer, no matter how advanced. We all had to start somewhere, and I frankly am astonished at the amount of nerve one has to show to start in this sport after reaching adulthood. Coaches are like noses - some smell better than others. If this one cannot help you, it does not mean you are beyond help, just that he/she doesn't know how to help you (possibly after giving you the universal welcome).

If deep water is your problem, you could be a swell swimmer in the shallows, turning into a panic button when you cannot stand up. It is not something that Masters coaches deal with on any regular basis and you cannot fault them if they suggest you deal with that aspect before bringing it to workout. If that is not your issue, perhaps something similar in its uniqueness could be the case. Find it, fix it and rejoin the club/team/workout group. Lots more fun swimming (even only for fitness) with a group. And there is a place in Masters for anyone willing to give it a try.

Chris Stevenson
October 10th, 2014, 04:59 AM
I feel badly because I thought I'd found a home with this team.
But honestly, I'm not interested in being on a team. I just want to get in the freakin' pool and swim for fitness.

Denise, help me out here bc I am having trouble reconciling these statements. What exactly is it that you are hoping to get out of this (or any other) masters program?

October 10th, 2014, 06:40 AM
As someone who first joined a masters practice as an adult, in 2005--and who is still more eager than fast ;) -- I hear you.

I've had wonderful coaches who are very welcoming and work with me very well--encouraging and pushing me too, which is great! I've had others who totally ignore the "newbie lane"--but I've gone to those practices for other reasons than the coach's attention (longer practices, so I get more distance; convenient time; good facility, whatever). And I've gone to those where the coach worked with those of us in the slower lanes but seemed impatient to get back to the faster groups. And I was in a very small practice at one point, where there were maybe about 5-6 of us, and a woman who enthusiastically worked with all of us.

The current coach is great--he has a relatively small practice (more than 5-6 but usually not more than, say 12-15). He takes the time with every lane, tailors workouts so they fit the various abilities, while keeping the same interval (so some might do 100 on 1:30, for instance, others 75, others 50). We all get a great workout, and he moves around from lane to lane, watching, critiquing, teaching--and at no point have I ever felt left out.

But I know how it is when there's someone you don't feel is a match--and how disappointing it can feel (had the experience) when a coach who at first seems interested in working w/ you suddenly seems to change his/her tune. I found that going to such a practice was emotionally draining--and fortunately, I found the current person whose style suits me much better. Sometimes it's a matter of finding the right fit. Oh and the practice I go to now is a lot less convenient for travel than the one I left but worth the extra trip.

Re the fear of swimming with others or in deep water--I can find crowded lanes intimidating too. Just been fortunate in most cases that my lanes have never had more than 2-3 people. I've found it helps when at the start of practice, we introduce ourselves, negotiate our starting positions and spacing in between, etc. Having everyone be a stranger can feel a bit overwhelming. Even at practices where the coach didn't take much interest, if we were looking out for one another, things went pretty well.

I can even relate to the fear of deep water. I had that as a kid. I knew how to swim for about 4-5 years before I felt comfortable swimming in deep water! You might want to do swimming in deep water on your own, but near a lifeguard stand, letting the lifeguard know your concern (get someone you've been friendly with), so they're looking out for you. Or just get an aqua vest and spend time in the water walking lane at the deep end--my first exposure to deep water consisted of putting on a life jacket and just hanging out in deep water for a bit, then going out w/out one and treading water. Everyone has some kind of issue or fear when they're new to swimming, especially if you start as an adult! I remember overhearing people coming out of a lesson and saying how uneasy they were about putting their face in the water. I'd been feeling down on myself b/c I had trouble with flip turns (still don't get those) and when I overheard that, I thought this is just a developmental process, and I realized I had to be patient with myself.

Maybe worth trying a lesson or two with this coach to see if maybe you'll communicate better one on one. But if it doesn't work out, don't worry too much. He just might not be a good match for you. And give yourself time to find someone who will better fit your learning style.

October 10th, 2014, 08:37 AM
FindingMyInnerFish, thank you for your kind comments and taking the time to help, and I will take your advice to heart. I float and tread pretty well, and when I can get my DH to come with me, I make him go with me into the deep lane so I'm less fearful. I'm trying to get there, but it's a process, and at 63, my brain cells don't turn over as fast as they used to. I'm only 5' tall, btw, so over my head isn't that deep :afraid:LOL. Panic button is a good way to describe it. It's a self-perpetuating state of mind. I chose this practice because they use shallow lanes and at the first practice the coach seemed really upbeat and supportive about working with me until I felt able to join the others. He said he had no problem working with me in my own lane until I felt comfortable to move to the beginner lane, which btw, is in the deep end.

Chris, I know where you're coming from. "Team" doesn't imply that I'm in the lane with a bunch of other people, but just swimming with folks who are part of a group. I always knew I'd join them in their lanes eventually, and I looked forward to it. It felt good to be part of the masters, even if it took me time to reach my goal. I never played team sports, and I have no interest in competing. I was told most masters swimmers are in it for fitness, and that's what I was looking for. Because this group is small, I thought it was a good place to start my journey. Now, I don't even have a journey. I know, whah whah whah right?:rolleyes:

I want to be clear on something - I never asked for special treatment, only that I be allowed to progress at my own pace. I did whatever the coach told me to do. I listened to what he said and did it, took in his critique, and tried to apply his corrections. My goal was to improve my technique and aerobic capacity, and eventually be comfortable with others in deep water. It's disturbing that he made this judgment after only three practices. I still have six left on my punch card and the thought of going back there makes me ill.

October 10th, 2014, 10:15 AM

I'm also from the DC area, and have (by proxy) experience dealing with the Rec department folks in Fairfax County. It is possible that your team is paying for a set number of lanes for each practice, and by moving you to your own lane, your team was then occupying more lanes than they'd paid for. It wouldn't matter if the rest of the pool was completely empty, if your team was paying for 4 lanes, but using 5, the county could have very well put the kibosh on your private lane. It doesn't make sense, especially if the pool is as empty as you say, but some of the county rec departments in the metro area don't always make sense when they make their rules.

Basically, what I'm trying to say is that it might not have been your coach making this decision at all. If the county folks got bent out of shape, he might have thought this was the best way to keep you in the sport, while keeping your team on the right side of the county.

Rob Copeland
October 10th, 2014, 10:25 AM
the thought of going back there makes me ill.Then donít go back. Find another program and coach that can help you meet your goals. Forget the 6 punches, your health is more important than a card.

This is kind of like every time I take my daughter to a SlipKnot concert I leave with a massive headache and feeling like my ears are bleeding. So the simple solution is taking someone else next time.

October 10th, 2014, 10:39 AM
swimmie, I was in the lane set aside for our group. I thought of that, too, and it makes sense this would be an issue, but another of his team swam in that same lane the week before, by herself.

Rob, I think it's quite likely I just jumped into the masters thinking about the workout, not the setup. I'd talked with a couple of coaches who said they would be happy to work with me, but the lane availability was an issue. One of them wanted me to come at 5 a.m., which is very hard but it might be my one option though she's in another masters group.

To be fair, the coach said he wants me on his team and thinks I have potential. But the subtext was that I'd better get a lot better first.

October 10th, 2014, 11:53 AM
noun: team; plural noun: teams

a group of players forming one side in a competitive game or sport.

group (http://www.google.com/search?safe=active&client=firefox-a&hs=NZJ&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&q=define+group&sa=X&ei=Xv83VPy9Iuff8gGBu4HABw&ved=0CCEQ_SowAA), squad (http://www.google.com/search?safe=active&client=firefox-a&hs=NZJ&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&q=define+squad&sa=X&ei=Xv83VPy9Iuff8gGBu4HABw&ved=0CCIQ_SowAA), company (http://www.google.com/search?safe=active&client=firefox-a&hs=NZJ&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&q=define+company&sa=X&ei=Xv83VPy9Iuff8gGBu4HABw&ved=0CCMQ_SowAA), party (http://www.google.com/search?safe=active&client=firefox-a&hs=NZJ&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&q=define+party&sa=X&ei=Xv83VPy9Iuff8gGBu4HABw&ved=0CCQQ_SowAA), crew (http://www.google.com/search?safe=active&client=firefox-a&hs=NZJ&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&q=define+crew&sa=X&ei=Xv83VPy9Iuff8gGBu4HABw&ved=0CCUQ_SowAA), troupe (http://www.google.com/search?safe=active&client=firefox-a&hs=NZJ&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&q=define+troupe&sa=X&ei=Xv83VPy9Iuff8gGBu4HABw&ved=0CCYQ_SowAA), band (http://www.google.com/search?safe=active&client=firefox-a&hs=NZJ&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&q=define+band&sa=X&ei=Xv83VPy9Iuff8gGBu4HABw&ved=0CCcQ_SowAA), side (http://www.google.com/search?safe=active&client=firefox-a&hs=NZJ&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&q=define+side&sa=X&ei=Xv83VPy9Iuff8gGBu4HABw&ved=0CCgQ_SowAA), lineup (http://www.google.com/search?safe=active&client=firefox-a&hs=NZJ&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&q=define+lineup&sa=X&ei=Xv83VPy9Iuff8gGBu4HABw&ved=0CCkQ_SowAA), phalanx (http://www.google.com/search?safe=active&client=firefox-a&hs=NZJ&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&q=define+phalanx&sa=X&ei=Xv83VPy9Iuff8gGBu4HABw&ved=0CCoQ_SowAA); Moreinformalbunch (http://www.google.com/search?safe=active&client=firefox-a&hs=NZJ&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&q=define+bunch&sa=X&ei=Xv83VPy9Iuff8gGBu4HABw&ved=0CCwQ_SowAA), gang (http://www.google.com/search?safe=active&client=firefox-a&hs=NZJ&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&q=define+gang&sa=X&ei=Xv83VPy9Iuff8gGBu4HABw&ved=0CC0Q_SowAA), posse (http://www.google.com/search?safe=active&client=firefox-a&hs=NZJ&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&q=define+posse&sa=X&ei=Xv83VPy9Iuff8gGBu4HABw&ved=0CC4Q_SowAA)
"the sales team"

two or more people working together.
"a team of researchers"

used before another word to form the name of a real or notional group that supports or favors the person or thing indicated.
"are you team Mac or team PC?"

two or more animals, especially horses, harnessed together to pull a vehicle.

pair (http://www.google.com/search?safe=active&client=firefox-a&hs=NZJ&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&q=define+pair&sa=X&ei=Xv83VPy9Iuff8gGBu4HABw&ved=0CC8Q_SowAA), span (http://www.google.com/search?safe=active&client=firefox-a&hs=NZJ&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&q=define+span&sa=X&ei=Xv83VPy9Iuff8gGBu4HABw&ved=0CDAQ_SowAA), yoke (http://www.google.com/search?safe=active&client=firefox-a&hs=NZJ&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&q=define+yoke&sa=X&ei=Xv83VPy9Iuff8gGBu4HABw&ved=0CDEQ_SowAA), duo (http://www.google.com/search?safe=active&client=firefox-a&hs=NZJ&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&q=define+duo&sa=X&ei=Xv83VPy9Iuff8gGBu4HABw&ved=0CDIQ_SowAA), set (http://www.google.com/search?safe=active&client=firefox-a&hs=NZJ&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&q=define+set&sa=X&ei=Xv83VPy9Iuff8gGBu4HABw&ved=0CDMQ_SowAA), tandem (http://www.google.com/search?safe=active&client=firefox-a&hs=NZJ&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&q=define+tandem&sa=X&ei=Xv83VPy9Iuff8gGBu4HABw&ved=0CDQQ_SowAA) "a team of horses"

verb: team; 3rd person present: teams; past tense: teamed; past participle: teamed; gerund or present participle: teaming
come together as a team to achieve a common goal.
"he teamed up with the band to produce the album"

join (forces), collaborate (http://www.google.com/search?safe=active&client=firefox-a&hs=NZJ&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&q=define+collaborate&sa=X&ei=Xv83VPy9Iuff8gGBu4HABw&ved=0CDYQ_SowAA), get together, work together

DeniseMW, I feel for you but I think you need to work toward overcoming your need to swim alone if you want to be a part of a master's team. I'm not sure if you're afraid of holding people up, or hitting others but either way I think you'll find lane mates to be a very forgiving group of people. In my opinion (for what it's worth) you should swim with others for 2 weeks, or 10 times. If you're not feeling more comfortable by then I'd say you should attend solo rec swim instead. I'm not trying to be mean, but you can't have your cake and eat it too all the time.

October 10th, 2014, 11:54 AM
I'll pick up on a couple of points here.

Getting mashed into ropes, etc. Denise, do you know how to stop stroking and go into a glide with the passing arm and leg? Do you position yourself at end of the lane of swimmers, and maybe sit out a lap at the wall if people are coming in fast, so that you can be at the end again?

What coach said: it seems unlikely that a coach would say, "I don't want you in my group." So I might consider it a relatively meaningless pleasantry, like "Have a good day," when he says he wants you on his team.

I think you might get over (some) fear of deep water if you bounced around with other swimmers in deep water, so that you are not focusing on Eek! as much as on completing that part of the set.

You could always ask the coach for a clarification: Is the lane you've been using available for use regularly?

If you continue to be unhappy with the situation, by all means move to another pool, and forget the number of punches left on the card. Maybe you'll use them sometime, if not right away.

Good luck!

October 10th, 2014, 01:10 PM
I understand what you are all saying. The main issue is that the coach did a total flip turn from the first to the third workout. He said he wanted me to swim with the others, but assured me he didn't care how long it took me to feel confident enough to do it, then he did care. He said some stuff that strongly implied the other beginners were dedicated, but I was not. If he'd said those things at my first practice, I would not have gone back.

If you don't want to coach someone, tell them. If you require they put on grown up panties to swim with you, tell them. If you think they don't comprehend the meaning of team, explain it. And if they have issues, either let them become part of the team at their own pace or tell them to go elsewhere. Be consistent. Don't say they're awesome and will do great if you don't mean it.

FYI, I asked to share a lane at the rec center this morning, and the guy moved over to the deep end instead.