PDA

View Full Version : Post-Grads in U.S. Masters Swimming Events



Jason Marsteller
February 11th, 2015, 01:41 PM
Hi all,

We're looking to get some input from Masters swimmers and coaches on the age old question whether someone who is a professional or post-grad swimmer belongs in U.S. Masters Swimming events going after Masters records.

Curious to get your thoughts!

We may ask you to be in a future issue of Swimming World.

Jason Marsteller
Swimming World

sickfish
February 12th, 2015, 09:03 AM
Of course they do. And they should be encouraged.

smontanaro
February 12th, 2015, 09:19 AM
Agree with @sickfish. From my perspective as a more-or-less recreational swimmer, I see a couple benefits which would more than counterbalance the presumed negative effect of pros/post-grads/Olympians grabbing all the records.

Most of us will never be close to swimming records anyway. It doesn't really matter to me who holds a record. It will never be me. :)
There's the added cachet of having these world-class swimmers at Master's events. Rowdy has big shoulders but he shouldn't have to carry the full weight of being swimming's ambassador to the world.
Their presence would be a draw for USMS.
Where else are they going to keep their competitive fires burning?

Allen Stark
February 12th, 2015, 09:22 AM
Masters Swimming is for EVERYONE age 18 and over.

MartinK
February 12th, 2015, 09:58 AM
To be honest I think diffrent in this issue. Somebody who is a professional swimmer and is swimming on international events for a national team doesn't belong in masters events and should not be able to hold any masters records.
It is like a indy-car driver who will start in a recreation run.

Bill Sive
February 12th, 2015, 11:20 AM
Its a mixed bag type of question. Yes, if they are over 18 then they qualify for Masters. I agree that most of us will never swim as fast as them, however, a few that I have met in swim meets, locally, have been kind to respond to questions about swimming. Persons like myself are able to get feedback on swimming technique, style, training, etc. Should Masters develop elite events for persons such as those? Would advise against it as it defeats the core reason Masters exists. Now, how about an exhibition event between these athletes? That would be nice.

orca1946
February 12th, 2015, 11:27 AM
Yes - open to all. I still would like to bike ride with Lance.

Frank Thompson
February 12th, 2015, 11:35 AM
I am going to link 2 interesting discussion threads on this subject that was discussed in the last year with Kurt Nelson stating the threads.

http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?23227-Should-elites-in-quot-full-training-quot-mode-swim-in-masters-meets

http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?23807-More-quot-so-and-so-shouldn-t-be-allowed-to-set-a-record-quot-babble&p=296054&highlight=#post296054

Jimbosback
February 12th, 2015, 12:08 PM
Absolutely. It is really enjoyable to see the elites at our meets. Even better to say I swam in the same event or even the same heat. I will never be accused of being very fast, so like most masters, the record or national champion question is moot for me.

ande
February 12th, 2015, 12:31 PM
We love to watch fast swimming. We fully welcome pro, post grad & elite swimmers in masters.
Many masters records are very hard to break, because a post grad already broke it.

Many of the Mens 25 - 29 SCY records are just insane.
http://www.usms.org/comp/records.php?slt=a&ri=i

Good luck to those who attempt to break em. Several of the distance records seem the softer or easier to break.

I love it when former greats drop in our workouts at Longhorn masters and a few are now regulars.


Hi all,
We're looking to get some input from Masters swimmers and coaches on the age old question whether someone who is a professional or post-grad swimmer belongs in U.S. Masters Swimming events going after Masters records.
Curious to get your thoughts!
We may ask you to be in a future issue of Swimming World.
Jason Marsteller
Swimming World

Rob Copeland
February 12th, 2015, 12:38 PM
Masters Swimming is for EVERYONE age 18 and over.I think itís great that our sports most elite athletes are members of U.S. Masters Swimming and will periodically show up at meets.

As for breaking records, this past year Tom Shields broke my sonís USMS national record in the 18-24 50 fly. There was no disturbance in the Force and my son could care less. For those who donít know him, Shields also holds the USA Swimming American record in the SCM 50, 100 and 200 fly. He represents the USA on international teams and hopefully will be on the 2016 Olympic team.

I donít think anyone besides my wife and I shed a tear at the new record. And I encourage the rest of you swim parents to not lose hope, if your children canít break the record of a NCAA champion in his prime, maybe they can crush him when heís 84.

Swimosaur
February 12th, 2015, 01:11 PM
Masters Swimming is for EVERYONE age 18 and over.

Exactly!

I'd also like to get past the idea that once you've graduated from High School, College, Post-Grad, whatever, that your swimming career is OVER. It's not over. You're just swimming in a new league, where training has to take its place alongside work, spouse, kids, and all the other demands of real life. Now it gets interesting!

sunruh
February 12th, 2015, 03:22 PM
Masters Swimming is for EVERYONE age 18 and over.

yes and no.

USA Masters Swimming is for everyone 18 and older

however
FINA Masters Swimming is for everyone 25 and older

Michael Blatt
February 12th, 2015, 03:31 PM
Totally +1 to having them swim.

One of the things I love about Masters swimming is the occasional opportunity to swim in the lane next to a former world-record holder.

Having such people swim in Masters meets can only be good for the sport and organization.

sickfish
February 12th, 2015, 04:33 PM
A meet where no one in the top ten can swim? That's just sad. Why not just put a speed limit on each event?

Think about it. You're telling someone about a meet. Would you rather say "there were a lot of nice people, I got lapped by a dude with a beer gut who was eight years older than me, and it was tons of fun" or "there were a lot of nice people, I got lapped by a dude with a beer gut who was eight years older than me, it was tons of fun, oh and Olympic gold medalist Misty Hyman (for example) swam too"?

And so what if they set records? They're age group records. If they are set by an Olympian, that makes masters swimming look better. Does Rowdy not deserve his records? And time limits are arbitrary. Can a one-time Olympian at age 18 set masters records when she's 29? Does Dara Torres have to wait until she's 52?

Any restriction you can think of "to level the playing field" will fall apart in practice because it's fundamentally unfair to exclude anyone based on achievement or ability. We either let everyone compete (and set records) or the competition is meaningless. I guess you would say "there were a lot of nice people, everyone swam the same speed because we don't allow fast people, yeah I don't know what the point is either."

Allen Stark
February 12th, 2015, 04:38 PM
I have never had an experience of being at a meet with a former Olympian and finding them anything but great to be around.I joke that I want to hate Rick Colella because he is too fast and heck,better looking,but I can't because he is just a great guy.If you start trying to not let people swim because they are too good it seems to violate our idea of inclusiveness.
It has been a long time since I was a first time swimmer,so I can't know how I'd react to being lapped by an Olympian,but I expect I'd be honored.I felt honored to get smoked by Megan Jendrick at a local meet.

Water Rat
February 12th, 2015, 04:51 PM
I think it's awesome to swim in meets with current and former Olympians. The vibe is fantastic. Admittedly, I am a huge Olympics geek. I'm proud to say I competed head to head with Biondi at Nationals. Well it was more like head to feet in my case.
I don't compete to break records and I would imagine 99% of masters don't either. Sure it's great to see how I rank at the end of the year but I swim for me and compete with myself and my own times.

StewartACarroll
February 12th, 2015, 04:59 PM
I think it's awesome to swim in meets with current and former Olympians. The vibe is fantastic. Admittedly, I am a huge Olympics geek. I'm proud to say I competed head to head with Biondi at Nationals. Well it was more like head to feet in my case.
I don't compete to break records and I would imagine 99% of masters don't either. Sure it's great to see how I rank at the end of the year but I swim for me and compete with myself and my own times.

Agree.

I also love the idea of trying to take down an Olympian!!

knelson
February 12th, 2015, 05:32 PM
the presumed negative effect of pros/post-grads/Olympians grabbing all the records.

And I don't think this is even a negative. A record that restricts the fastest swimmers from holding it ain't much of a record!

Personally the idea of a "tallest dwarf" competition doesn't sound that interesting.

Sojerz
February 13th, 2015, 10:57 AM
And I don't think this is even a negative. A record that restricts the fastest swimmers from holding it ain't much of a record! Personally the idea of a "tallest dwarf" competition doesn't sound that interesting.

What Kirk said!

There is a time/age element to such a restriction on pro/post-grad/Olympians that would be very difficult to construct in a way that would make any sense. Would it be: once a pro/post-grad/Olympian, always one and your restricted for life. That would make no sense and would discourage great swimmers from continuing to swim, how ridiculous would that be. At what point in time would the restriction stop and how would that make sense.

chowmi
February 13th, 2015, 11:30 AM
Agree with 100% inclusive participation for all elite USA and international swimmers.

But, just so that those few who can't handle, reconcile, or rationalize in their minds that certain people will show up and blow everyone away, let's give little trophies to everyone, the coaches, the timers, and the officials. Because everyone's a winner!!!! Unfortunately, concessions volunteers will only get a water bottle and keychain. Sorry, no trophy for you. And don't even go down the path of starting a new forum thread about whether you should get a trophy or not.

Just kidding!

Here's a great article where I stole the trophy comment:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887324235104578241961511333962

pwb
February 13th, 2015, 02:57 PM
Hi all,

We're looking to get some input from Masters swimmers and coaches on the age old question whether someone who is a professional or post-grad swimmer belongs in U.S. Masters Swimming events going after Masters records.

Curious to get your thoughts!

We may ask you to be in a future issue of Swimming World.

Jason Marsteller
Swimming WorldJason, I really hope that Swimming World doesn't diminish itself and its focus on competition by addressing this question. All are welcome and MORE are welcome. Come one, come all and race!

If there is a problem within USMS that needs to be addressed relative to competition, it's not one of having "too much" competition at the meets. I think it's the opposite - why don't we have a larger percentage of the USMS membership competing?

When I compare the turnout at my wife's local running events versus our local Masters meets, it's an order of magnitude difference. When I talk to many USMS coaches, many of whom try to encourage their members to compete, many of them complain about a lack of desire by their members to compete. I think the question to address is why so many Masters swimmers do not compete?

sickfish
February 14th, 2015, 12:10 AM
Jason, I really hope that Swimming World doesn't diminish itself and its focus on competition by addressing this question. All are welcome and MORE are welcome. Come one, come all and race!

If there is a problem within USMS that needs to be addressed relative to competition, it's not one of having "too much" competition at the meets. I think it's the opposite - why don't we have a larger percentage of the USMS membership competing?

When I compare the turnout at my wife's local running events versus our local Masters meets, it's an order of magnitude difference. When I talk to many USMS coaches, many of whom try to encourage their members to compete, many of them complain about a lack of desire by their members to compete. I think the question to address is why so many Masters swimmers do not compete?

+1

People have no problem running a 5k simultaneously with people who literally run it in half their time. Is it the blocks, getting up there with no more than nine other people, with no crowd to hide in? I don't get it. No matter how badly I get beat - and I've been beaten pretty badly, by world record holders, two Olympians in the same heat once, NCAA champions, women, men - all I ever get is positivity afterward.

Chris Stevenson
February 14th, 2015, 06:21 AM
Let me ask a slightly different version of this question. Say a USMS member swims for the U.S. national team in international competition and breaks a USMS record under conditions that are clearly legit (in terms of measurements etc...think Dara Torres at the Olympics). Should this time count as a new masters record? Why or why not?

chowmi
February 14th, 2015, 10:07 AM
Let me ask a slightly different version of this question. Say a USMS member swims for the U.S. national team in international competition and breaks a USMS record under conditions that are clearly legit (in terms of measurements etc...think Dara Torres at the Olympics). Should this time count as a new masters record? Why or why not?

Chris, what is the current rule regarding masters WORLD records? For some reason, I thought there was a very significant difference - that USMS NATIONAL records could be set while as a USA swimmer, but not FINA masters world records - am I wrong on this? Please enlighten us so that we are responding based on the current rules in place for FINA and USMS.

My short answer is: Yes, to the extent allowed under current rules.

And if not allowed under current rules, then I hope rules change to allow a broader range of swims to be allowed as world masters records.

gobears
February 14th, 2015, 10:57 AM
+1

People have no problem running a 5k simultaneously with people who literally run it in half their time. Is it the blocks, getting up there with no more than nine other people, with no crowd to hide in? I don't get it. No matter how badly I get beat - and I've been beaten pretty badly, by world record holders, two Olympians in the same heat once, NCAA champions, women, men - all I ever get is positivity afterward.

The anonymity of running in a huge crowd is much less threatening than standing on the blocks in a swimsuit with only 7 other swimmers in your heat. No one would really notice if you started walking or dropped out of the race completely in a 5k. You'd be much more likely to feel on display if that happened in a swim meet. I completely understand why newer swimmers are intimidated by meets. That said, I think it would be crazy to disallow people because they are "too fast."

Allen Stark
February 14th, 2015, 11:20 AM
It is going to be rare for a beginner to be in the same heat as a "professional ". That Olympian should not have entered NT. I expect that almost never happens (I hope ).

Chris Stevenson
February 14th, 2015, 01:59 PM
Chris, what is the current rule regarding masters WORLD records? For some reason, I thought there was a very significant difference - that USMS NATIONAL records could be set while as a USA swimmer, but not FINA masters world records - am I wrong on this? Please enlighten us so that we are responding based on the current rules in place for FINA and USMS.

USMS and FINA have different philosophies on this point. USMS allows national records in non-masters meets, and "automatically recognizes" USA-S meets for purposes of Top 10 and records. FINA does not allow masters world records or world rankings to be set achieved at non-masters meets, including USA-S meets or non-masters international meets.

This difference in philosophy also manifests in the fact that, for FINA, "masters" begins at 25 and not 18: there are no records or rankings for 18-24 ages. There is no 18-24 age group at all, and in relays there can be no person younger than 25 even if the sum total of the ages falls in a "legit" relay age group.


My short answer is: Yes, to the extent allowed under current rules.

And if not allowed under current rules, then I hope rules change to allow a broader range of swims to be allowed as world masters records.

The rules are actually a little hazy on the point of whether swims at non-masters intenational meets count for USMS purposes. I agree they should be clarified. My purpose in asking the question was to get a sense of the feeling of the people here...because there has been a request for the Executive Committee to recognize just such a non-masters international meet (this is allowed under the rules).

knelson
February 14th, 2015, 02:30 PM
I guess I think a masters record should be set at a masters meet, but I can't say I feel all that strongly about it.

aztimm
February 14th, 2015, 03:23 PM
If there is a problem within USMS that needs to be addressed relative to competition, it's not one of having "too much" competition at the meets. I think it's the opposite - why don't we have a larger percentage of the USMS membership competing?

When I compare the turnout at my wife's local running events versus our local Masters meets, it's an order of magnitude difference. When I talk to many USMS coaches, many of whom try to encourage their members to compete, many of them complain about a lack of desire by their members to compete. I think the question to address is why so many Masters swimmers do not compete?

Your first question has been asked many, many times here on the USMS forums, but in the ~17 years I've been registered with USMS, swimming with USMS teams, and a member here on the forums, I've never seen a formal survey (put out by either USMS or our LMSC) asking for input.
My conclusion is that no one is interested in the results.
In my years of swimming with different USMS teams, I've never once been asked by a coach why I choose to swim in a meet, or opt not to. Again, I assume that the coach isn't interested.

Your second question makes no sense. The closest comparison to a road race would be an open water swim event.
How many masters track meets has your wife competed in over the past year? I think they have a similar, "problem." as USMS does with meets.

habu987
February 14th, 2015, 05:48 PM
As a moderately fast Masters swimmer, I love it when big name swimmers show up at meets. I had a chance to chat with Cullen Jones in 2012 and Jason Lezak in 2013, and they are great. The energy they bring to the pool deck is quite tangible, and how many people get a chance to say they swam at a meet with an active Olympian?

...On the other hand, being in the 25-29 age group, it is kind of frustrating knowing that I'd more or less have to be a pro swimmer, and a darn good one at that, to have a chance at taking down a USMS record (not that I'm even remotely close, or even in the same zip code, just talking hypothetically).

If it were up to me, I would continue to encourage ALL USMS members to swim in our meets. However, the caveat would be that if you are an active pro swimmer, or are on any sort of US national team, you cannot set a USMS record. American/Open/World records are fair game (provided the competition meets the sanctioning requirements), but USMS records are not. If Michael Phelps were to re-retire tomorrow, he would be eligible to set any and all USMS records he wants, but not while he is still a pro/US National team member. I guess my personal case in point was Adrian's 100 free at Santa Clara last year. How on earth is anyone who is not a pro swimmer/Nat team member going to come close to that USMS record?

knelson
February 14th, 2015, 06:54 PM
In my years of swimming with different USMS teams, I've never once been asked by a coach why I choose to swim in a meet, or opt not to. Again, I assume that the coach isn't interested.

I would assume the coach just believes people have their reasons. I think it's great for coaches to encourage swimmers to compete, but on the other hand, they probably don't want to discourage those who aren't interested in competing.

scyfreestyler
February 14th, 2015, 08:06 PM
The word 'Masters' in USMS means 18 years or older. Furthermore, I'm not aware of any limitations in USMS rules regarding athletes who are professional or collegiate/post collegiate. Given my understanding of what USMS is, Olympians, professional swimmers, national team members, collegiate and post collegiate athletes should have no restrictions placed upon which meets they compete at or which records or top ten lists they are eligible to contend for.

I would tend to agree with Kirk that a Masters record should be set at a Masters meet.

StewartACarroll
February 14th, 2015, 08:06 PM
I would assume the coach just believes people have their reasons. I think it's great for coaches to encourage swimmers to compete, but on the other hand, they probably don't want to discourage those who aren't interested in competing.

We have a fairly large group of masters swimmers yet at spring nationals in Indianapolis in 2013 I was one of two team members Who competed. Our coach has been encouraging everyone to compete and at world's last year we had 9 swimmers and it looks like we will have 25+ at the upcoming Spring nationals. I have heard my own team mates fearing the unknowns associated with a masters meet. The most common reasons my team mates are reluctant to compete is they feel like they are not fast enough and they don't want to be embarrassed either not finishing a race or being disqualified. Our whole team has been encouraging people to compete and we have held after meet parties to share experiences and talk about how fun the meets are. We are planning to have a great time in San Antonio and our number one team goal is to have fun.

On the original question I think everyone should be eligible and I believe a record is a record no matter where and under whose sanction it occurred.

I swim USAS pretty frequently and have had several swims where the pool is not on USMS record for measurement and the times don't qualify for top 10. I find this a little silly since the pool is sanctioned by usas and the pools measurements are on record with them. At the end of the day it's more annoying than anything else and really not a big deal but thought I would share.

Sportygeek
February 15th, 2015, 06:27 AM
Chris, what is the current rule regarding masters WORLD records? For some reason, I thought there was a very significant difference - that USMS NATIONAL records could be set while as a USA swimmer, but not FINA masters world records - am I wrong on this? Please enlighten us so that we are responding based on the current rules in place for FINA and USMS.


That's certainly right in terms of FINA. Don't know about USMS, but Masters Swimming Australia recognizes records set by MSA-registered swimmers racing in non-Masters meets.

Eg the Australian record for the W40-44 100 breaststroke SCM is almost 2 seconds faster than the FINA Masters record for the age group (1:10.55 FINA vs 1:08.88 Australian). The Australian record was swum by Linley Frame at Swimming Australia Open SC Championships. She races Open more often than she races Masters meets, and her best times have been there. http://www.portal.aussi.org.au/records/records.php?js=on

chowmi
February 15th, 2015, 09:50 AM
The rules are actually a little hazy on the point of whether swims at non-masters intenational meets count for USMS purposes. I agree they should be clarified. My purpose in asking the question was to get a sense of the feeling of the people here...because there has been a request for the Executive Committee to recognize just such a non-masters international meet (this is allowed under the rules).[/QUOTE]

Not sure if I did this reply correctly; for reference it is to Chris's post #28

I marvel at how much work USMS volunteers put into these rules. So thank you, from one that does nothing but pay my meet entry and swim, then troll the event rankings for who's where. I would entirely back up a final rule that says something to the effect that "granting records is at the discretion of management." It just seems so very difficult to encompass every conceivable scenario.

On another note, I am curious to hear whether people think USMS times should count for USAS. Selfishly speaking, I would love meet directors to go to the extra effort of getting the meets recognized/observed, or whatever the term is for dual registered people to be able to have their times automatically entered in SWIMS. And I fully realize this question is in the category of "Forum poster with idea for someone else to do the work".

swimmieAvsFan
February 15th, 2015, 10:20 AM
...I swim USAS pretty frequently and have had several swims where the pool is not on USMS record for measurement and the times don't qualify for top 10. I find this a little silly since the pool is sanctioned by usas and the pools measurements are on record with them. At the end of the day it's more annoying than anything else and really not a big deal but thought I would share.

Stewart, in regards to the bolded above, that is not always the case. USA-S only requires pool measurements if there is a American/US Open/World record set at a meet (case in point- Michael Phelps' home pool was not measured until there was a USMS meet in it, and it turns out the pool is actually short). Not all of the pools you're doing USA-S in have been measured. If pool measurements are, however, on file for a given pool that you've done a USA-S meet in, if you work with your Top Ten Recorder, those times may count for USMS Top Ten. You can also measure the pool yourself, fill out the proper USMS form, and submit it to your TTR. Then that pool would be on file for any other USMS swimmer who does meets in that same pool. And for you, for any subsequent meets you swim there.

Chris Stevenson
February 16th, 2015, 10:33 AM
On another note, I am curious to hear whether people think USMS times should count for USAS. Selfishly speaking, I would love meet directors to go to the extra effort of getting the meets recognized/observed, or whatever the term is for dual registered people to be able to have their times automatically entered in SWIMS. And I fully realize this question is in the category of "Forum poster with idea for someone else to do the work".

It is possible to do this. For example, at USMS nationals it is almost trivially easy: there is a sign-up sheet for swimmers to have their times submitted to SWIMS. I think you have to do this before the swim.

It is much less common at other meets, but I know my wife and I set this up (initially at the request of a swimmer but then advertised more widely) at a meet we co-directed.

The reason there are hoops to jump through is that USA-S and USMS rules are not quite the same, and the (USA-S certified) S&T judge needs to observe that your swim is valid under USA-S rules. Also -- at our meet anyway -- the meet referee had to be the one to submit the time to SWIMS since we didn't have the ability to do that.

In terms of having the whole meet recognized for USA-S purposes, it sounds like you are talking about a dual-sanctioned meet, which is also a real thing. I don't have any direct experience, but I think these are usually primarily USA-S meets where a handful of masters swimmers enter, often with the purposes of having the times count for FINA (since they don't accept times from USA-S meets).

jpetyk
February 16th, 2015, 10:41 AM
I would assume the coach just believes people have their reasons. I think it's great for coaches to encourage swimmers to compete, but on the other hand, they probably don't want to discourage those who aren't interested in competing.

There was a coach in Pittsburgh that said that she wasn't interested in coaching anyone who wanted to compete which she made abundantly clear when I asked numerous times for feedback. Her "team" was for fitness swimmers. (That club has a new coach, and he is a breath of fresh air).

I think there should be a happy medium. Do not pressure folks to compete, but gently nudge the nervous fitness swimmer into trying out a local meet.

fullmetalf4i
February 16th, 2015, 04:01 PM
I've seen this argument a lot on the motorcycle racing forums that I'm on in regards to pro level riders showing up to club (amature) events.
On one hand, I understand everyone out there wants to win, so seeing top level guys come in and mop the floor with the field could be seen a deterrent to some.
But in the bigger picture, you don't get faster beating up on competitors slower than you. Faster competitors push you to become faster.

magick17
February 17th, 2015, 06:51 PM
Hi all,

We're looking to get some input from Masters swimmers and coaches on the age old question whether someone who is a professional or post-grad swimmer belongs in U.S. Masters Swimming events going after Masters records.

Curious to get your thoughts!

We may ask you to be in a future issue of Swimming World.

Jason Marsteller
Swimming World

yes please because as a newer swimmer(5 years now) I love watching those swimmers...just for the love of the sport

Jason Marsteller
February 23rd, 2015, 02:02 PM
Thanks for your thoughts everyone!

moodyrichardson
February 24th, 2015, 02:55 PM
I definitely think they belong. I love seeing them at meets. BUT I will say in my age group with several Olympian Masters Swimmers (Dara Torres, Erica Braun and more), qualifying for my events for Nationals is getting harder and harder. Whew!!