View Full Version : NEEDED: fact sheet to explain masters to the age-group alumn

November 18th, 2014, 10:00 PM
USMS, I want your help! In a nutshell: I'm the master's rep to the board of a cradle-to-grave swimteam. At our last board meeting, we discussed the need to reach out to those kids who finish age-group, but don't swim college, and are left with a giant swimming-shaped hole in their heart. For various reasons, they don't get it that masters is for them. I want to develop, or better yet, for someone skilled in this kind of thing to develop a pamphlet or fact sheet, or whatever it is that kids these days read, that describes Masters swimming to them. I want to describe how ferocious the level of competition is in their age groups. I want to dispel myths that it's just for oldsters like me. I want them to learn how challenging the workouts can be, how they can continue to improve, and that they need not be done with the sport they love.

Do any of you have something like this? Or can you suggest material to feed it?

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November 19th, 2014, 11:21 AM
What a great initiative! I have always felt that masters swimming benefits from an infusion of youth and enthusiasm and through Swimspire and the articles we publish I've tried to convey an atmosphere that would be appealing to swimmers of all ages. Masters swimming is a fantastic way to keep pursuing the sport you love and challenge yourself as much as you want without the pressures that accompany college and, to a certain extent, age group swimming.

While I don't have a concise pamphlet or fact sheet, I do have a few articles and interviews that might be of help to you in giving ideas or simply sharing with the swimmers.

The Rowdy Gaines Classic in Orlando featured not only the famous 360+ age group relay, but also younger champions like Olympian Elvis Burrows, or Bahamian Ariel Weech who are in their early 20s, to name a few : http://www.swimspire.com/2014-rowdy-gaines-classic-love-swimming/

The USMS Nationals was a very dynamic, fast meet that young people would definitely enjoy and challenge themselves in: http://www.swimspire.com/2014-usms-summer-nationals-inspiring-swims-inspirational-swimmers/

And swimmers like Olympian Kristy Kowal are on Masters: http://www.swimspire.com/swimspire-interviews-olympic-silver-medalist-kristy-kowal/

Hope this helps. Wish you all the best and hope you are successful!

November 19th, 2014, 11:51 AM
Maybe we can all put in some ideas as how to explain that 18 can get into Masters with the same excitement as age group. I'll start.
1.Swimming is still fun.
2.Meet mew friends in the pool.
3. You get to buy new suits.

November 19th, 2014, 12:01 PM
Contact Bill Brenner at the National Office. He is the Education Director and he helps start new teams and provide support to clubs.

National Office Staff—Meet Bill Brenner (http://www.usms.org/admin/natoffice.php?mid=UNC23)

November 19th, 2014, 12:45 PM
Great thinking and great question. A couple of thoughts off the top of my head...

First... stop thinking paper. Few under 30 use it much anymore, so you have to figure out what software/apps they're using and get on those somehow. See if there is someone on your team who is tech savvy or who has kids...er... young adults in that age group who can help you navigate how to best communicate and reach that target bracket.

Find out where they "play". Are they doing triathlons now? Are they just at gyms playing basketball? Or are they in gyms to just work out? Consider looking at apartment complexes near gyms that have the target groups. Maybe even see if you can get info into some of the gyms at colleges nearby. There could be some dried up age-groupers who aren't on the college teams who would want to get back in.

And last, maybe work backwards. If you have mostly 40-50 year old members, start targeting those in their 30's, then work on getting some in their 20's. As people see faces of some their own age, they're probably more likely to come and stay.

November 19th, 2014, 03:17 PM
Few under 30 use it much anymore, so you have to figure out what software/apps they're using and get on those somehow. See if there is someone on your team who is tech savvy

I don't even think it requires any tech savviness. Social media is your friend. Does the team have a Twitter or Facebook account? Start posting about masters. I thing the message needs to focus on two things. One, masters isn't just for slow, fat, old people. And, two, masters is whatever you want it to be. Swimming is a tough sport and kids get burned out. You need to let them know that masters can be as little or as much of a commitment as you want it to be.

November 19th, 2014, 07:13 PM
If you want to show them the level of competition or the marquee names that are Masters Swimmers look no further than this video of Cullen Jones (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tG8N5hSd-g4&list=UUieORPCvi3T59wtqHLvbeww), this video of Nathan Adrian (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_28fqQx6Ops&list=UUieORPCvi3T59wtqHLvbeww&index=17), or the top 10 times for their age groups, or the top 10 rankings for their age groups 18 - 24 (http://www.usms.org/comp/tt/toptenlist.php?CourseID=1&Year=2014&Sex=M&AgeGroupID=1) and 25 - 29 (http://www.usms.org/comp/tt/toptenlist.php?CourseID=1&Year=2014&Sex=M&AgeGroupID=2).

Many universities have college club programs or are willing to start college club programs for those students that do not want to join the university's NCAA team. There is a college club championship every year in Georgia Tech that brings 1,300 swimmers from across the country to compete. Many of these swimmers are USMS registered and more and more of the college clubs are becoming USMS registered clubs.

The best way to pique an 18 - 24 year old's interest is to introduce them to the benefits of Masters Swimming beyond the swimming... the opportunity to find a job or internship. Most Masters teams are small communities that take care of their own. If a new swimmer joins, they might have 30 or 40 teammates that are either business owners, managers or just a have a large rolodex and lots of local connections.

If you are looking to convey this information to age-groupers, who are already on your team, you have to introduce them to the benefits of Masters before they hit 18 or 19 and are going off to college. Also, the Masters program cannot be an afterthought to your facility because you have essentially already shown these kids that Masters is unimportant and not a valuable part of the facility. It helps when the age-group coach and Masters coach get along and both understand that the other is important to their survival (the Masters program can help fundraising, volunteering, etc. while the age-groupers are future Masters swimmers and can volunteer for Masters events).

November 20th, 2014, 10:52 AM
From my perspective I would stay away from the competitive side of Master's Swimming. Alot of age group swimmers who do not swim in college are from experience burnt out. Instead I would focus on the social and team aspects of Master's swimming. I would also focus on the health benefits and the fact that you are swimming for fitness and there absolutely no pressure to compete.

November 20th, 2014, 12:06 PM
there's lots of videos at

November 27th, 2014, 12:18 PM
I read a great article many years ago titled something like "The last meet." The writer was a Masters swimmer timing at a high school championship meet. One of the swimmers in her lane was very sad that this would be his last meet - forever. She gave him a lesson about Masters, pointing out that she was still competing and had many years to go. Does anyone remember this?