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Sumorunner
January 10th, 2017, 08:02 AM
I have seen some discussion of why USMS isn't attracting the typical fitness swimmer. Here are a few suggestions from an old slow poke newbie.

1) Motivational times. This may be of interest to many on this forum, but to someone starting out with no race experience, they can be highly de-motivational because they all look unattainable. If one cannot even approach these times, one may feel he does not belong in USMS. Why not extend the chart all the way to double the time in the first column? Say 10 columns from 10-100% slower.

2) One Hour Swim. An hour is a long time for the casual or new swimmer. In running, a marathon is too long for a newbie, but almost anyone can train for a 5K, 10K, even half-marathon within a short time running regularly. Why not have a half hour and 15 minute swim too?

3) Embrace Triathletes. In summer I swim with a Tri club at a local lake. There are often upwards of 100 people there doing 1, 2, or 3 laps on a half mile loop. And they are not slow. I swam a 1 mile USMS event in Lake Placid, NY last August with far fewer than 100. Why not partner with Tri clubs for some events, pool in winter, open water in summer?

ForceDJ
January 10th, 2017, 08:17 AM
I'm not a USMS member, but I've been tossing around the idea of joining for some time now. Although I swim regularly...aside from triathlon/open water swims in the summer...I've only swum competitively (in pool meets) a few times in very small events. But, some friends at the pool, and in the Masters group I workout with have been urging me to join. And although I participate in road races and triathlons frequently...for some reason I just don't see myself as a swim meet participant. And that's mostly because I get the impression that they're long and drawn out, with a lot of sitting around waiting for your next event. Maybe I'm wrong about that, and if I am please enlighten me.

Dan

Swimosaur
January 10th, 2017, 08:28 AM
Motivational times are not produced by USMS. They appear on this forum & pretty much nowhere else.

Mark Usher
January 10th, 2017, 10:37 AM
Most of our members are non-competing fitness swimmers and we also have quite a few triathletes. In fact, our coach makes out a separate workout for triathletes that is more freestyle and distance focused than the regular IM stroke-based workout.

The biggest push back I get when trying to recruit new members is the early morning practice schedule (M-F 6:00AM-7:30AM, Sat 6:45AM-8:00AM). Our pool is heavily utilized during the day. There are a lot of adult fitness and lap swimmers who use the pool in the afternoons, but most of them see no point in paying dues to be in Masters if they're still just going to do their own thing anyway.

There are a few of us that compete regularly. We have a couple "studs" with top ten times, but most of us are more in the "developmental" category and still working to improve. In that light, I find the Motivational Times are helpful in my personal goal setting. This year my goal is to make the "B" standard in all the events I regularly compete in. Pretty close on a couple of them, some work to do on others...

jmurray
January 10th, 2017, 11:00 AM
the big zone meets can be very long. smaller local meets a re run fairly quickly. you can always show up and swim one or two events and then leave. you will always swim faster in a meet than you would in a workout.

jpetyk
January 10th, 2017, 11:08 AM
I have seen some discussion of why USMS isn't attracting the typical fitness swimmer. Here are a few suggestions from an old slow poke newbie.

1) Motivational times. This may be of interest to many on this forum, but to someone starting out with no race experience, they can be highly de-motivational because they all look unattainable. If one cannot even approach these times, one may feel he does not belong in USMS. Why not extend the chart all the way to double the time in the first column? Say 10 columns from 10-100% slower.

2) One Hour Swim. An hour is a long time for the casual or new swimmer. In running, a marathon is too long for a newbie, but almost anyone can train for a 5K, 10K, even half-marathon within a short time running regularly. Why not have a half hour and 15 minute swim too?

3) Embrace Triathletes. In summer I swim with a Tri club at a local lake. There are often upwards of 100 people there doing 1, 2, or 3 laps on a half mile loop. And they are not slow. I swam a 1 mile USMS event in Lake Placid, NY last August with far fewer than 100. Why not partner with Tri clubs for some events, pool in winter, open water in summer?

#1...A forum member has taken it upon himself to write a program that generates these times on his own time, free of charge. They are not "official" in any manner. Just a means of goal setting. That being said, why can't a newbie say "hey, I'm not there yet, but doubling the "b" standard will be my goal for this year?

#2...There are 500, 1000 and 1650 races in yards and 400, 800 and 1500 races in meters. These would be your 5k, etc equivalents taking anywhere from 5 minutes to 45 minutes to complete depending on the distance and your ability.

#3...lots of triathletes cross over to USMS and vice versa. Are you referring to a dual sanction event?

knelson
January 10th, 2017, 12:23 PM
#2...There are 500, 1000 and 1650 races in yards and 400, 800 and 1500 races in meters. These would be your 5k, etc equivalents taking anywhere from 5 minutes to 45 minutes to complete depending on the distance and your ability.

I agree. The one hour swim is intended for those who want to tackle a long distance swim in the pool. There are plenty of shorter USMS competitive events and even events targeted toward fitness swimmers (checkoff challenge, for example). It should also be noted that the one hour swim does not need to be non-stop. Plenty of people swim it with rest periods.

FindingMyInnerFish
January 28th, 2017, 09:47 PM
A club in the Philly area that puts on the one-hour swim also offers a half hour option for anyone interested. I'm doing the hour swim tomorrow and did it two years ago--last year, I joined the half-hour swim due to some time constraints--also I'd done an hour swim a couple of weeks earlier and was disappointed in the result. So I opted for the half hour so I could work on speed.

My masters group is coached by a pro triathlete (background in marathon swimming too), and he also offers group running workouts and bike rides at no extra charge. I've joined the running workouts, and get some great tips in the water and on land! He pushes some stroke work for both triathletes and swimmers for various reasons. He also offers both early morning and evening workouts in various locations, which is great for me because I can usually make it to the evening workouts but not to the morning ones.

He also puts on events, such as a triathlon, an open water race series (half mile--gives those new to o.w. swimming something not as intimidating, plus triathletes get a chance to practice a distance usually done in sprint tri's... and some of us just enjoy the swim and post-race socializing! :)... also there's a summer aquathlon (200m or 1k swim plus 5k run; swim part is in a pool), a winter aquathlon (new event--100m o.w. "polar plunge," wetsuits allowed, plus 5k run); a 5k + one mile swim (set up to allow people to do both the same day if they choose), and a marathon swim/relay (8 miles, river).

He's a high energy guy and his practices are intense, yet at the same time, he tailors them to the different lanes, so for instance as one of the slower swimmers, I might have an interval of 2:20 per 100, while the faster people might have 1:30. Or he might tighten my usual interval by way of a challenge, yet he adjusts based on our speed. Everyone might have the same interval but some will get more distance per interval than others.

It's a great set-up!

As for motivational times on this site, I usually don't worry about those. I have my own goals, which the coach helps me set, so that's where I turn for motivation. My first masters' coach (also a great guy) would head his workout sheets with "Do the best you can do. Don't worry about what others are doing." I've been following that advice pretty much ever since.

Dan Kornblatt
January 30th, 2017, 11:43 AM
Triathletes come and go. A few stay and go on to compete in Masters and become valuable team members. Most greatly benefit from the coaching and structured workouts than usually drop out. It can be due to the weather breaking in the spring or simply getting too caught up in the workouts and getting too tired to keep up their needed biking and running training. Most local triathlons are anything but equal tri's and are about 10-20% swimming.

Our biggest challenge is attracting more of the tens of thousands of high school and collage ex swimmers out there. I have spoken to many and most break out into a cold sweat, start to visibly experience tremors of all four limbs, and run away at high speed.

All they remember is the endless laps and the pain. Our goal is to educate them that "Masters is Fun". They will be amazed at how fast they can still swim on a fraction of the yardage. They can pick their own events. No one has to swim the 200 fly or 1650. They can swim as much or as little as they want to. They will be surrounded by like adults who are in it for the fitness and camaraderie and who know they need the goal of meets to keep on pushing and setting personal goals. We swim 50's of everything and the 100IM. We have relays that bring swimmers of many ages together for a common goal. And we have "road trips".

Many have tried other sports but most will find out that they are ex swimmers for a reason and the sport they excelled at can now be a lifetime endeavor and it will be FUN.

flystorms
January 31st, 2017, 03:58 PM
Dan, I had a conversation very much like that with one of the new swimmers we picked up recently. She's 23 and actually quit swimming in college because it wasn't fun anymore and she was completely burned out. SHe said she missed the sport and found our team after she moved to town. She was genuinely surprised at how much fun we have and also the competitiveness of a few of us. She got back in shape pretty quickly and does enough to keep that shape and still enjoy the workouts. She did her first master's meet and enjoyed seeing all the ages competing together. I wish we could find more like her because she brings a whole new energy to us... in fact, we lovingly call her "Puppy", because she's always so full of energy or completely collapsed. LOL!

Dan Kornblatt
February 1st, 2017, 06:35 AM
Dan, I had a conversation very much like that with one of the new swimmers we picked up recently. She's 23 and actually quit swimming in college because it wasn't fun anymore and she was completely burned out. SHe said she missed the sport and found our team after she moved to town. She was genuinely surprised at how much fun we have and also the competitiveness of a few of us. She got back in shape pretty quickly and does enough to keep that shape and still enjoy the workouts. She did her first master's meet and enjoyed seeing all the ages competing together. I wish we could find more like her because she brings a whole new energy to us... in fact, we lovingly call her "Puppy", because she's always so full of energy or completely collapsed. LOL!

Great story and one I have witnessed myself over the years. As I said this is our challenge as a group. I know we have a presence on social media but we need more.

cinc3100
February 10th, 2017, 09:44 PM
Most of our members are non-competing fitness swimmers and we also have quite a few triathletes. In fact, our coach makes out a separate workout for triathletes that is more freestyle and distance focused than the regular IM stroke-based workout.

The biggest push back I get when trying to recruit new members is the early morning practice schedule (M-F 6:00AM-7:30AM, Sat 6:45AM-8:00AM). Our pool is heavily utilized during the day. There are a lot of adult fitness and lap swimmers who use the pool in the afternoons, but most of them see no point in paying dues to be in Masters if they're still just going to do their own thing anyway.

There are a few of us that compete regularly. We have a couple "studs" with top ten times, but most of us are more in the "developmental" category and still working to improve. In that light, I find the Motivational Times are helpful in my personal goal setting. This year my goal is to make the "B" standard in all the events I regularly compete in. Pretty close on a couple of them, some work to do on others...
Yes, the standards helped me when I swam back around 2002 to 2004 in the 45 to 49 age group I got some A's and maybe a double AA in long course meters. Some double BB's in short course and even a B time in 200 meter freestyle and 50 yard butterfly according to the times. The Times I did the best are of course in breaststroke when I recently swim in the senior olympics and the first meet since 2004 and about a 6 yo 7 year break of barely doing any swimming laps in the 55 to 59 I got two B times in the 50 yard and 100 yard. This helps me since I'm way far off the top 10 times for my age group and by April I will bumped up to 60 to 64.

cinc3100
February 14th, 2017, 12:30 AM
Yes, the standards helped me when I swam back around 2002 to 2004 in the 45 to 49 age group I got some A's and maybe a double AA in long course meters. Some double BB's in short course and even a B time in 200 meter freestyle and 50 yard butterfly according to the times. The Times I did the best are of course in breaststroke when I recently swim in the senior Olympics and the first meet since 2004 and about a 6 yo 7 year break of barely doing any swimming laps in the 55 to 59 I got two B times in the 50 yard and 100 yard. This helps me since I'm way far off the top 10 times for my age group and by April I will bumped up to 60 to 64.

Another thing is the masters meets don't get enough people in each age group to go by the old C,B,A meets of age group swimming where the slowest are in C and the fastest in A. Swimsaur is on to something, swimmers that make it to a B standard need some recognition as much as the ones that make National Time Standards. Most swimmers that swim middle age and up do this for fun or to see how well they do with swimming with age.