View Full Version : Will I be laughed at for joining USMS?

April 7th, 2004, 02:38 AM

I have been swimming for a short time now, and have fallen in love with lap swimming. I am 37 years old female who is very overweight and out of shape. My weight was over 300 and I had many health problems. I made many life changes and now have lost 62 lbs. I discovered that I like to work out, but my stamina is really low right now. When I started swimming I just wanted to make it accross the pool. Now that I can do that, I want to increase my endurance, stamina, and learn how to swim with good technique.

I competed on a speech team in college, so I understand the advantage of working with a coach as well as maintaining a workout routine.

Fear has kept me from joining -- will I be laughed at when I show up at the pool? Do I need to wait until I have lost more weight to join? Am I too much of a "beginner" to join? I would rather have people tell me honestly if my weight is a problem, than be embarrassed at the pool.

Any input would be appriciated.

Thanks, Kelly

(sorry about spelling)

April 7th, 2004, 07:25 AM
Hell no! Only a jackass who likes to berate people would laugh at you. Masters swimmers, are in general, some of the best people I have met. I think you will find that most of the people on the teams swim to stay in shape as opposed to competing. Most clubs have drop-in swimmer rules that enable you to swim a few times with them-a good way to check things out. You will probably need to join USMS for insurance reasons, but it is money well spent. Good luck!

April 7th, 2004, 08:18 AM
My Dad joined last year and competed in his first meet at age 80. He has felt very welcome. Go for it.

April 7th, 2004, 08:23 AM
I think what you are doing is great. Absolutely no one will laugh at you. I suspect you will find more encouragement than you ever imagined.

Rob Copeland
April 7th, 2004, 08:38 AM

I’m with NYSwim, any adult who laughs at others because of physical appearance, has some serious problems of their own.

To quote Nancy Ridout Masters is “Swimming for Life” not swimming only for the fast. I think you are more likely to find people who applaud you for the life changes you have made and for your willingness to try.

April 7th, 2004, 09:04 AM
I echo what the others have said: you will not be laughed at for your swimming. There is respect for someone who puts in the training to improve their health, and encouragement to those trying to get better.

I remember a swimmer, who was just learning breaststroke at the time. He was a runner, so his kick was barely legal. Well, at the big meet, he got DQ'ed in the IM (for the kick), but decided to try again in the 200 Br. A coach signaled to him, at the 75, that his kick got him DQ'ed again. At that point, he started porpoising and generally goofing around! So people were laughing, but they were laughing with him.

You'll also notice the number of people trying to be funny in these discussion threads. And people still aren't laughing! :D

Edward The Head
April 7th, 2004, 09:43 AM
We just had a few women join the team that I don't think have every really swam, no one's made fun of them. No one is going to be a jerk to you for wanting to get into better shape. Honestly I don't pay any attention to the people around me that much, and I'm sure that most do not pay much attention either as we are there to do our own workouts.

April 7th, 2004, 10:15 AM
Three years ago we had an overweight woman join our team and did not swim well. We did not laugh, but I think secretly admired her courage, committment, and drive. I believe she made EVERY workout then.

She now works at a Jenny Craig place, and competes in meets, and is no longer overweight thanks to her determination, and swimming.

Kevin in MD
April 7th, 2004, 10:35 AM
While the goal is to be inclusive as others have indicated; in real life different clubs vary in how well they will handle a brand new swimmer.

Talk to the coach, be specific about what you can do and whether that can fit in with what the coach does.

As for other folks, when I am participating in workouts, to be quite honest I have no idea what the folks in the other lanes are doing. I have a general idea that they are faster or slower than I am depending on their lane but other than that; I don't see them too much. Granted that's me, when I played basketball i never knew how much time was left in the game! It only backfired once.

In the community at large I think more folks have a sort of respect for people just starting or people who clearly have a long row to hoe.

April 7th, 2004, 10:37 AM
No one should ever laugh or make fun of anyone for trying to do something good for themselves. I think it's great what you are doing. Welcome to the USMS family!

April 7th, 2004, 12:28 PM
on our team we have several people in similar position as your own, and we welcome them with open arms.

The wonderful thing about Masters is that there is room for everyone, beginners very competetive people and jhust abour anyone in between.

Being that you're in CA, If you're live anywhere near us, I invite you to check out our team, we'd love to have you.

April 7th, 2004, 01:38 PM
Kelly -

Join at once and be as involved as you can be. I've been a USMS member for 5 years now and have witnessed all shapes and sizes in workouts/competitions. The only limiting factor I see time and time again is lack of involvement. You need to reach out to those that consistently workout in your facility. They will help to overcome the times when you want to skip the workout, slack off, etc. Even if your ability levels differ greatly, they like to have someone in the pool to workout with/talk to, too. Be confident and keep at it.

Karen Duggan
April 7th, 2004, 03:42 PM
Are you in Northern California?

If so come to Walnut Creek.

Mattson, we are funny, darn it! Laugh boy, laugh.;)

April 7th, 2004, 04:13 PM
Kelly, Welcome to the world of swimming! If any one laughs at you, report them to me directly and I'll send a fresh water shark to the pool that they swim in:D JK

We are glad to have you! It is us, all of us, including you that make this possible!!!!

Tom Ellison
April 7th, 2004, 04:14 PM
Heck no...NO ONE will laugh at you...swimmers like you are WHAT Masters Swimming is all about.....WELCOME...and way to go on getting in shape....

If it makes you feel better....trust me....no one is ever going to laugh at you....I know because they didn't laugh at me when I started back 14 years ago.....and I've got half an a-- and wear a Speedo....

You'll be fine....and remember...it is not the destination....it is the journey.....enjoy it....

April 7th, 2004, 05:05 PM
Kelly, there are many of us that are in Masters that are there for the fun, fitness and to swim with likeminded people. I started at 38, others here also started as adults. Just grab a kick board, pull bouy and fins and get started. Do what you can of the sets, sit out when you need rest. NO ONE will say anything to you about that. Before you know it, you will be keeping up!

April 7th, 2004, 05:46 PM
any one who laughs at someone trying to better themselfs is a loser...i cannot say what usms is like as im in the uk..but as ive been writing on this forum for some time ive come to know a lot of people on here and i can vouch for them and would expect them to not only NOT laugh at you but would encourage and compliment you..in the uk weight is a problem for a growing percentage of the population government figures recently showed something like 30%(cant remember exact percentage)were obese...i think theres going to be a lot more heavier swimmers as time goes by and in other physical activities too....by the way the reason i started swimming again about 5 years ago was to,initially,lose some weight...so all i can offer you is words of encouragement

April 8th, 2004, 11:18 PM
Make fun of you ..Why?.. no that will not happen! Masters swimming is about people getting together to swim. One reason Masters swimming even started in the first place was to get groups of people together to get space in a pool to swim. Years ago indoor pools were further apart then now, and some times it would be hard to find a place to swim. You may see posts about lap times ect. races on Masters swimming. Some people like to compete but the bottom line is people getting together to SWIM! In every Masters club there are speedsters and competitors and .. just plain swimmers too ! Its for exercise and your overall health in the long run!

Dominick Aielloeaver
April 8th, 2004, 11:21 PM
As a former athlete of sorts. I must tellyou . Weather in competion or competion with in your self. There are certain tools we all hve ,heart brains and phyiscal abilityy. Some more than others. Then there is Patience pace and preserveance. I would tell you all these ingrendts are important. There is no o0ne laughing at you. What you do , youdo for you first. So you have already taken the first step on your journey to good health.You already have a plan as to how you are going to do the the things you want to be where you want. Pratice on your swimming, it will only get better. Eat healthy foods and do excerise besides swimming. But remmber, when you get that give up feeling. Let Your heart get invloved. then your brains will take over. And your phyiscal ability will improve. I do have my own handicap. But not for Discusion.:) :cool:

April 9th, 2004, 09:01 PM
Wow, thanks for all of the words of encouragement. :D

I had no idea that I would get such an overwhelmingly positive response. I even waited a couple of days to check see if I had any feedback posted - I think it's time for me to stop letting fear get in my way.

I will let you know how it goes.

Thanks very much,


April 10th, 2004, 11:08 AM

There are many, many stories of people who were at first reluctant to join, and after having done so, they wondered what took them so long in the first place. Don't be self conscious, because everyone at the pool is there to swim. Your participation will be inspirational not only to the regulars, but to others who haven't found the courage to move past our society's silly notion that skin and bones is healthy and attractive. I have a secret strange desire to take those runway models to a Wendy's and force feed them cheese burgers and ice cream until they pop.

Being overweight is a little bit like being dressed in layers. With regular activity, very unsuspectingly, each layer fades away. Underneath is an athlete on their way up to the surface. You deserve a congratulations on wanting to join. Have fun, and make this your focus. Getting thinner will happen wether you like it or not.

Best wishes on your new beginning.