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SearayPaul
May 4th, 2004, 01:06 PM
At my yearly physical last week a funny thing happened. The doctors staff informed me that swimming is not an aerobic exercise and that I would be better off walking briskly for 20 to 30 minutes a couple days each week.

I explained I try to swim 2 to 3 times each week for 60 to 90 minutes,and my workout is prepared by MO, ya'll might recognise that name. They asked me the distance I cover in that time and I responded with 2800 to 3500 yards or 1.5 to 2 miles depending on time.

Not good enough according to the staff. I should be walking. I will let the facts stand for themselves.

Age 48
Wt 149
BP 120/80
Pulse 60
Body Fat 18%
Total Cholesterol 194 (need to eat better)

Well it is off to the pool for another MO workout. Maybe I will walk briskly from my car to the pool and see if that counts. Thanks for those workouts MO I enjoy them.

Have a great day

Paul

Tom Ellison
May 4th, 2004, 01:28 PM
I'd get another Dr......That type advice is BRAIN DEAD!

Scansy
May 4th, 2004, 01:52 PM
Sounds good to me. Give up the swimming for a 20-30 minute brisk walk and in a year the stats will look like this.

Age 49
Wt. 160
BP 140/90
Pulse 70
Body Fat 22%
Total Cholesterol 208

With all numbers on the rise!

:)

It is my experience that people who don't swim, tend to compare the distaces to walking/running the same distance - which we all know is silly. Heck, I have friends who run 3 miles a day who told me that I couldn't do it (I swim 3-5 days a week 3000-4000 yards per day). So I proved them wrong. I ran three miles - immediately after swimming 2400 yards!

They think I am lying, because swimming can't do that!

dorothyrd
May 4th, 2004, 02:03 PM
I agree with Tom, get another Doc. My Doc who is a runner, and a good one, is very impressed with the yardage I do. He would never tell me to walk instead.

Karen Duggan
May 4th, 2004, 02:14 PM
QUACK!

jean sterling
May 4th, 2004, 02:20 PM
Some people who don't swim picture swiming as a lazy float down the pool and back. Possibly this is what your doctor visualizes? Your workout sounds plenty aerobic to me. My doctor, who swims a bit, thinks the fact that I swim is wonderful - says I have excellent blood pressure, chlolesterol, etc, and that I should keep up what I am doing. And so should you! :-)

Conniekat8
May 4th, 2004, 02:42 PM
Originally posted by jean sterling
Some people who don't swim picture swiming as a lazy float down the pool and back. Possibly this is what your doctor visualizes?

Just what i was thinking.
I tell my doctor... No, I don't just bob around, I swim "competetively". That usually gets the point acorss.

kaelonj
May 4th, 2004, 02:44 PM
It's job security, with numbers like those - you won't be using the doctors services very much - so of course they are going to want you to change things (any MD's out there I'm being sarcastic). Finding another doctor (if possible, not sure of your situation) sounds like some good advice. I know the doctor who treated my father (blind juvenile brittle diabetic on 3 x's a week dialysis,later on 1 leg amputee below the knee) would advise that my dad give up water skiing. The Dr's actual converstaion would be something to the effect of, well I don't think you should do this, but I all ready know that you are so this is what I think we should do to prevent causing some injury or complications should you fall while skiing. So if possible go find a doctor who understands swimming (IMHO).
Keep Swimming !

Jeff

aquageek
May 4th, 2004, 03:07 PM
I find this disturbing. I laugh when I hear the most you can expect of some Americans is a 30 minute walk 3 X weekly.

I'm not that old and when I was growing up athletics meant more than walking. Now walking is exercise.

laineybug
May 4th, 2004, 03:46 PM
my doc told me to keep up the swimming, he was very impressed with stats, but he also wanted me to add some weight lifting and some land aerobics to help with preventing osteoprosis. But, yeah, I agree, find another doc, one who swims him/herself.

As always, Geek, we disagree somewhat... a lot of studies now adays are showing that you don't need as much exercise as once thought. I do find it disturbing that more people can't do more than 30 mins 3X a week though.

DocWhoRocks
May 4th, 2004, 03:47 PM
I'm not one for tact. I'd tell you're doctor he's an idiot and you won't be seeing him anymore.

aquageek
May 4th, 2004, 04:02 PM
Bug:

My point was only that whereas once exercise was considered active, energetic activity, we now are being told the most we should expect is a stroll around the neighborhood thrice weekly.

I've wondered myself lately about this statement that you don't need as much exercise as originally thought. What does this really mean? I think it means that unless you want to be a bedridden tub of lard it is good for you to walk to the Krispy Kreme as opposed to order in.

Conniekat8
May 4th, 2004, 04:05 PM
Originally posted by aquageek
I find this disturbing. I laugh when I hear the most you can expect of some Americans is a 30 minute walk 3 X weekly.

I'm not that old and when I was growing up athletics meant more than walking. Now walking is exercise.

When I walk for exercise I do some 7 miles of 3-4 minute miles. I'm usually at it for good 2 hours... It probably resembles speed waling, a little bit. That's 'walking for exercise'.

knelson
May 4th, 2004, 04:08 PM
I think the only appropriate response would be to laugh in his/her/their face.

Fishgrrl
May 4th, 2004, 04:10 PM
The only thing my doctor worried about was whether or not I was wearing sunscreen - otherwise she thinks swimming is fabulous.

londoner62
May 4th, 2004, 04:39 PM
Originally posted by DocWhoRocks
I'm not one for tact. I'd tell you're doctor he's an idiot and you won't be seeing him anymore.

Spot on comment!

Toni
May 4th, 2004, 07:49 PM
Have you ever watched walkers? They consider putting on a pair of joggers and strolling along with your friends as exercise? The only thing getting a vigorous workout is their jaws.

aquageek
May 4th, 2004, 08:09 PM
Originally posted by Toni
Have you ever watched walkers? They consider putting on a pair of joggers and strolling along with your friends as exercise? The only thing getting a vigorous workout is their jaws.

Oh yeah, and don't forget the requisite side mounted fanny pack stocked full of snickers and mountain dew.

Now that's a workout!

Phil Arcuni
May 4th, 2004, 09:08 PM
Please. I know it feels good to be athletically superior, but I have seen many vigorous walkers, and many walkers in such a physical condition that I am impressed that they manage to make it outdoors, let alone walk.

I have also seen swimmers that float from one side of the pool to the other, while bending their knees a little for propulsion. Any kind of walking is better than that.

The doctor may have had that image in mind and been ignorant of what happens in one of our typical workouts. Also, it seems to be true that swimming is not very good at preventing bone loss, while any kind of walking has some good effect.

emmett
May 4th, 2004, 09:55 PM
I'm not sure I understand.

On one hand I see animosity expressed for those who fail, through understandable ignorance, to give due credit to the type of exercise this TINY minority of those who profess to "swim" participate in.

Yet, I see this group apply precisely the same stereotype to those who "walk".

I know a 70 yr-old man who could likely walk every one of this group into the dirt. His ONLY exercise is walking, and he is as serious about his sport as I've ever seen any athlete. If you were to meet him you would not guess he was a day over 55. He is easily as fit as any runner or swimmer his age, and likely most half his age.

Top walkers can average close to 6 minute miles for 10 miles or more. Most who "run" don't do that.

Are there people who do not walk in the most fitness-effective manner - sure, most all. But precisely the same is true of most all of those who profess to "swim". So I understand why those not well versed in adult athletics might not give credit in all the tiny niches it is due.

But I'm surprised this group would succumb to such a stereotype, broadly and incorrectly dismissing "walking" as somehow less worthy than our own sport.

If you know anyone needing to relieve ignorance on the subject of walking, steer them to http://www.racewalk.com/ or "Walk Like an Athlete" (by Jeff Salvage and Gary Westerfield).

Glenn
May 4th, 2004, 11:18 PM
I think, as some have said, that some in the medical profession think that swimming is like a slow paddle down the pool. Well, for many swimmers at my pool, Pasadena Athletic Club, that is true. I am glad to see them doing some exercise, however they never, regardless of age, seem to be out of breath. The same goes with the joggers I see. They are not doing anything aerobic, not getting the heart rate up to the training threshold . Yes, the exercise is good for them, yes, they are burning calories, yes they are using their muxcles and stretching, but they are not training and putting significant stress on the cardiovascular system.

To be fair, not everyone wants to be "in training" or to get the heart rate up to a significant degree. That's OK. Fitness is defined in different ways. Not every swimmer needs to be a competitive swimmer. So explain to the Doc what it is that we do and save the brisk walk for those cold mornings when the paper is at the end of the driveway!:)

gull
May 5th, 2004, 07:22 AM
It's not that more exercise is bad for you, the point is that moderate exercise is sufficient to lower the risk of cardiovascular death. I believe the current recommendation is 30 minutes of brisk walking daily. Unfortunately the majority of the population can't (or won't) even accomplish this. I suspect that training 12-15K/week (which seems to be the average for Masters swimmers) is more than adequate but I'm not aware of any studies looking at this. Lap swimming (HR less than 120 and nonweight bearing) may not be enough.

dorothyrd
May 5th, 2004, 07:40 AM
I think looking at older athletes who train proves that more vigorous exercise is the way to go. Most of the Masters on my team do not compete, they train to stay fit. Some only train this way twice a week, but they look so much younger than many, many people their age. Also, Nationals certainly proved this.

The 3 * 30 minutes was to encourage sedantary folks to get up and do something. Telling someone who has been doing nothing for years to take up something more is asking for failure. I think the feeling is that this is the minimum which is doable and better than nothing.

There is a woman around here who race walks faster than many runners run a 5K. She usually finishes around 30-31 minutes which is an amazing pace for a walk. I have tried it, and can only sustain 12 minute miles for about 2 miles before my legs scream in pain and I have to back off to about 13 minute miles. Pretty amazing to go that fast! I am sure she must train for it.

Also, the people who walk in my town in the early AM are also moving at a good clip. There is never a shortage of folks out at 5:30-6 am walking and running for their exercise. And some brave soles on a bike in this cold weather!

aquageek
May 5th, 2004, 08:34 AM
Emmett:

Thank you kindly for calling us ignorant or uneducated. As the sole owner of wisdom, I'm glad you feel entitled to look down on the rest of us.

Here's a newsflash - walking is not exercise, it's placing one foot in front of other like the cavemen did to get from point a to point b. Racewalking is exercise and those that do walk vigorously do obtain substantial benefit from it. I saw my wife lose 20 pounds through diet improvement and a very vigorous walking/running routine. I couldn't keep up with her.

However, I was referring to the legion of fat, blobby Americans (call them dry land noodlers) who think a leisurly stroll is exercise. It isn't. While it may have minimal benefit if the alternative is eating cheese dongs in from of Jerry Springer, it won't do much in the long run.

valhallan
May 5th, 2004, 10:18 AM
The bottom line is that you'll get out of it what you put in.

Perhaps the doctor would have a different take on the situation if he knew the amount of heart rate and the time spent keeping it up there. Maybe he conjures the image of the many lap swimmers who go on down and back and then just hang on the wall with their back on the water jets, waiting for the ripples to subside before doing it again.

The fact is that you could get one heck of of workout doing almost anything, probably even badmitton!... as long as the effort becomes intense enough. There's a former Marine commander in my neighborhood (around 65 years young), who walks everyday (rain or shine) like a marching band leader on amphetamines. This guy could still kick somebody's ass in a heart beat. Tell him that walking doesn't amount to much.:eek:

Aquaman, I think you have valid a point though. This country has gotten somewhat lax about fitness in general. And the fact that normal everyday activities are passed off as exercise is silly.

mattson
May 5th, 2004, 11:13 AM
Originally posted by Conniekat8
When I walk for exercise I do some 7 miles of 3-4 minute miles.

Connie, please say that you meant "3-4 miles at 7 minute/mile pace". Otherwise, you should be getting a gold medal at the Olympics for racewalking. :) (I thought that running sub-4 minute miles were great, and you are walking it in 3!!)

Rob Copeland
May 5th, 2004, 11:29 AM
Connie did say “It probably resembles speed waling” So at a 3 minute mile pace, she must have been wailing away:)

emmett
May 5th, 2004, 12:29 PM
Aquageek,

Only a misinterpretation of my words would leave the reader with the impression that I was calling this group ignorant. I applied that term to those who have a lack of knowledge about the type of swimming this group engages in. "Ignorant" is not a pejorative, it is simply an indication of a state of knowledge. I used it with the adjective "understandable".

My point, specifically, was that doctors are being castigated for PRECISELY the same thing this group is doing to walking. I expressed SURPRISE at this, not deprecation.

As such, it should be clear that I do not "look down" on anybody in this issue.

The term "uneducated" was entirely yours. Your words do give me the impression that you "look down" on anyone who doesn't exercise at a level that meets with your approval. Are you really Ion in disguise? :)

MOST people that say they "swim" DO NOT exercise vigorously or at length - they piddle paddle in dribs and drabs. A tiny minority of swimmers actually DO exercise vigorously. So, unless the doctor is made aware of the swimmer's membership in that tiny minority (and informed as to the type of training that tiny minority engages in), he is CORRECT to be suspicious of whether any great fitness benefit is being derived by his patient that professes to "swim".

Common walking (as opposed to racewalking), even at moderate intensities, can elevate heart rates into aerobic training ranges and, if undertaken in sufficient duration, stimulates fat metabolism. As such, it most certainly IS beneficial exercise, as is well known by exercise physiologists.

Just as there are "swimmers" who piddle paddle rather uselessly, there are "walkers" who stroll rather uselessly (but you'd have to admit that a daily stroll to the mailbox at the other end of the neighborhood is still better than a daily drive to the mailbox).
Neither swimming nor walking is inherently an "exercise" or a highly fitness-inducing activity. What makes either a good fitness tool is the intent and action of the participant.

Common walking requires no special skills for entry-level participants, is accessible to everyone at little or no cost, is much more convenient to most people, requires no special equipment, facilities or planning. As such it is more likely that a person would stay on a regular walking routine than a regular swimming routine.

All told, for the AVERAGE person, the Doctor's instructions to "Walk instead of swim" probably serve as good advice.

Now, would I prefer he said "Walk like an athlete or swim like an athlete"? Yes - but for the average person, unaided by specific programming, actual adoption of either of those options is FAR less likely than adoption of a more moderate fitness routine. And even the BEST routine is only beneficial if the patient sticks with it.

The fact that the medical community is largely ignorant of an organization like Masters Swimming - an organization that is ready, willing and eager to accept fledgling fitness seekers, teach them skills, provide motivation and encouragement and basically pave a smooth road toward swimming like an athlete - is really OUR fault, not the medical community's fault. Denigrating doctors for this is pointless at best and potentially counterproductive.

Rectifying this ignorance in the medical community would be a worthy organizational goal. So, how do we get doctors to say "Walk or, better yet, go to www.USMS.org, find a swimming program near you and sign up today!"?

swimr4life
May 5th, 2004, 12:56 PM
Originally posted by emmett

The fact that the medical community is largely ignorant of an organization like Masters Swimming - an organization that is ready, willing and eager to accept fledgling fitness seekers, teach them skills, provide motivation and encouragement and basically pave a smooth road toward swimming like an athlete - is really OUR fault, not the medical community's fault. Denigrating doctors for this is pointless at best and potentially counterproductive.

Rectifying this ignorance in the medical community would be a worthy organizational goal. So, how do we get doctors to say "Walk or, better yet, go to www.USMS.org, find a swimming program near you and sign up today!"? [/B]

Emmett,

That is a very good point! You need to repost these comments in the "Long Term Planning" thread! Maybe we could start an education drive to let the public know more about us? Have some Masters swimmers or a representative from USMS write a letter that can be mailed out to physicians? We could also mail it out to community newspapers, etc.

aquageek
May 5th, 2004, 01:43 PM
Originally posted by emmett
Aquageek,

Are you really Ion in disguise? :)



You'd have to give me some credit as it would be a clever disguise. That's now three times in the past month I've been accused of Ion-like behavior. If only I swam slower to enhance the ruse.

If walking is exercise, why stop there, maybe vigorous sleeping is exercise also. I think I'll go take a power nap because as Americans get plumper and plumper the definition of exercise is certain to approach a catatonic state.

mattson
May 5th, 2004, 02:09 PM
Originally posted by aquageek
You'd have to give me some credit as it would be a clever disguise. That's now three times in the past month I've been accused of Ion-like behavior. If only I swam slower to enhance the ruse.

It's not your motives that are suspect, just the way you are expressing your argument. When Ion says "Europeans hold Americans in contempt", and what he really meant was a few Frenchmen he had lunch with, you were right to call him on that. When you call walkers fat, lazy slobs, and what you really mean is a subclass of walkers (the "lolly-gaggers"), then we are right to call you on that. (There was nothing in your earlier posts to indicate that you made a distinction between vigorous walkers, like your wife, and other walkers.)

If walking is exercise, why stop there, maybe vigorous sleeping is exercise also. I think I'll go take a power nap because as Americans get plumper and plumper the definition of exercise is certain to approach a catatonic state.

But you already stated that walking, done the right way, is exercise. (You gave your wife as an example.) Just like others have agreed with you that walking, done lazily, is hardly exercise. You shouldn't be arguing that walking isn't exercise. You should be arguing, like Emmett did, that any exercise (including swimming) needs to have some intensity.

As for that last point, maybe you are on to something. There should be a study, to see if sleepwalkers (who don't otherwise exercise) are more fit than more sedentary sleepers. ;)

aquageek
May 5th, 2004, 02:12 PM
mattson:

Fell free to post under my id. You are so much more eloquent in writing than I am.

Maybe you can take a leisurely stroll beforehand to contemplate what to say and you can consider that your daily workout.

Iongeek

eliana2003
May 5th, 2004, 02:19 PM
I'm fortunate... my doctor is an ex-Masters swimmer, who swam on the same team that I do now...

Once I went to him for a swimming related issue- when he found out that I did Masters, he was pleased...

peace...

Phil Arcuni
May 5th, 2004, 02:32 PM
Aquageek -

A nap is better than a Big Mac, sometimes . . .

;)

Tom Ellison
May 5th, 2004, 02:38 PM
It depends on who you take the nap with....

aquageek
May 5th, 2004, 03:31 PM
I am firmly of the opinion that dollar-for-dollar the Big Mac is the best food choice on the planet and a solid reason why I swim so darn much. McRib is a close second.

McDonald's had a double big mac promotion a few years back, glory be, I was in heaven that month.

DocWhoRocks
May 5th, 2004, 03:51 PM
Originally posted by Tom Ellison
It depends on who you take the nap with....

Mmm.... 'naps' >:) :D :cool: hehe

Bob McAdams
May 5th, 2004, 03:59 PM
Originally posted by emmett

So, how do we get doctors to say "Walk or, better yet, go to www.USMS.org, find a swimming program near you and sign up today!"?

The drug companies do it by giving out free samples. Will that work for us?

Conniekat8
May 5th, 2004, 04:30 PM
Originally posted by mattson


Connie, please say that you meant "3-4 miles at 7 minute/mile pace". Otherwise, you should be getting a gold medal at the Olympics for racewalking. :) (I thought that running sub-4 minute miles were great, and you are walking it in 3!!)

Sorry, I meant to say at 3-4.5 Miles par hour pace. It's kind of like a 15 minute mile. I can't say that I ever measured it very exactly.
When I was really into it it would take me about an hour and a half to do a 7 mile stretrch, this is with stopping couple opf times to stretch, and stopping couple of times to buy a bottle of water. I'd drink about 2 liters of water while doing that walk.

As some of my teammates had a chance to see as we were walking to Indy natatoriun from the hotel while it was raining, I can walk very fast. Even our coach who walks fast and is accustomed to walking up and down the deck all day long ended up huffing and puffing to keep up.
It's that 34+ inch inseam. Now if I could only learn how to use this to my kicking advantage!

mattson
May 5th, 2004, 04:30 PM
Originally posted by aquageek
I am firmly of the opinion that dollar-for-dollar the Big Mac is the best food choice on the planet

Did you know that the Big Mac was invented near Pittsburgh? You should try the Permanti (sp??) Brothers burger! :D


Originally posted by emmett
So, how do we get doctors to say "Walk or, better yet, go to www.USMS.org, find a swimming program near you and sign up today!"?

I just realized, getting doctors to tell people to walk, is what got this whole discussion in trouble in the first place! ;)


Originally posted by Bob McAdams
The drug companies do it by giving out free samples. Will that work for us?

Are you talking about handing out cups of chlorinated water? Don't think that will help. (If you are talking about free drugs, I think that may attract the wrong crowd. :) )

During Nationals, there was a group working on a health survey. They want to see how Masters swmmers compare to other groups, for health versus aging. If swimmers do well (as most people suspect), that would be the research to give to doctors.

Conniekat8
May 5th, 2004, 04:35 PM
Originally posted by Tom Ellison
It depends on who you take the nap with....

Mrrrowl!
Did someone say a NAP?
Us cats have the art of napping purr-fected!

emmett
May 5th, 2004, 04:36 PM
But before those free samples, the drug companies proactively provide some basic education to the doctor about their product and its use. They send reps to visit doctors.

I think that most Masters clubs do give away free samples in the form of tryout visits. Our insurance arrangement allows for 30 days grace period for signing up and most clubs take advantage of some or all of that time to allow newbies to try out their programs free of charge.

But, for the most part, our education is passive - the doctor must seek it out to get it. There are relatively few Masters groups that seek out and establish business relationships with individual medical practitioners. Those that do have a leg up on the competition. And the benefits of such relationships will only increase over time.

msgrupp
May 5th, 2004, 05:34 PM
Primanti Brothers. Pittsburgh Tradition. Hoagie (grinder, hero, sub) with slaw AND fries on it (not with it---ON it).

Available in Pittsburgh (and I think also now Cleveland). Available at PNC Park (baseball) and perhaps Heinz Field (football).

Main location--Strip District of Pittsburgh. 412-263-2142

Good eating. Open weird hours as originally served the produce drivers coming in around 11pm at night.

Scansy
May 5th, 2004, 06:45 PM
As someone born in the 'Burgh and raised in western PA, this discussion is making me hungry. Nothing is better than a Primanti Brothers sandwich!:cool:

They have been there for years - my Dad used to work nearby and went there for lunch a whole lot. Would have been early 60's. As I understand it, at the time they were open from very early morning (3am ish) until about 2pm in the afternoon - yes to serve the drivers coming to the strip.

I go there any time I am in the area. I now live in the Philly area and love the cheesesteaks (Pats, Jims, Ginos, Tony Lukes), but they don't compare to a Primanti Brothers sandwich.

dorothyrd
May 5th, 2004, 08:57 PM
Originally posted by Scansy
As someone born in the 'Burgh and raised in western PA, this discussion is making me hungry. Nothing is better than a Primanti Brothers sandwich!:cool:

.

Then you better take a brisk walk/swim/run/bike, whatever afterwards to burn those calories!!:D

Bob McAdams
May 6th, 2004, 03:25 AM
Originally posted by emmett
But before those free samples, the drug companies proactively provide some basic education to the doctor about their product and its use. They send reps to visit doctors.

I think that most Masters clubs do give away free samples in the form of tryout visits. Our insurance arrangement allows for 30 days grace period for signing up and most clubs take advantage of some or all of that time to allow newbies to try out their programs free of charge.

But, for the most part, our education is passive - the doctor must seek it out to get it. There are relatively few Masters groups that seek out and establish business relationships with individual medical practitioners. Those that do have a leg up on the competition. And the benefits of such relationships will only increase over time.

Interesting thoughts!

There are some exercise programs that specifically target doctors with some of their advertising. I wonder if there would be any value in USMS doing something similar. The advertising would need to be written, I think, by somebody in USMS who is also a doctor, and who can address the kind of concerns a doctor would be likely to have.

Tom Ellison
May 6th, 2004, 07:35 AM
Don't forget the THRASHERS FRIES...over on the Shore....

emmett
May 6th, 2004, 07:38 AM
Originally posted by Bob McAdams


There are some exercise programs that specifically target doctors with some of their advertising. I wonder if there would be any value in USMS doing something similar. The advertising would need to be written, I think, by somebody in USMS who is also a doctor, and who can address the kind of concerns a doctor would be likely to have.

As luck would have it, our USMS President, Dr. Jim Miller, is just such a person.

But, because USMS is really a free-form assemblage of clubs that are quite varied, such writings could only be in the broadest of terms - like a drug company putting out general information along the lines of "We make good drugs, our manufacturing facilities are high tech and our reps are knowledgable." Then, the reps (in our case, our coaches) go to individual doctors and educate them about specific drugs (in our case, specific Masters clubs).

And, since most clubs of moderate to large size likely have a medical practitioner or two as members, using these doctors to help gain access to other doctors would make sense.

The bottom line is that it will take grass roots coach to doctor contact, undertaken in a professional manner.

laineybug
May 6th, 2004, 08:16 AM
Again, you all are forgetting about how to do outreach to areas that do not have clubs and coaches.

emmett
May 6th, 2004, 09:11 AM
Originally posted by laineybug
Again, you all are forgetting about how to do outreach to areas that do not have clubs and coaches.

When you say "outreach" do you mean:
1 - putting clubs and coaches in place to serve the existing Masters swimmers currently swimming without clubs/coaches or
2 - serving the unattached swimmer's daily program needs directly from the national organization or
3 - getting new swimmers involved in places where there are not currently coaches or
4 - something else?

These are distinctly different things that would require entirely different approaches.

emmett
May 6th, 2004, 09:27 AM
I posted before I was done...

What I'm talking about here is simply one aspect of how established programs (coached clubs) can expand their sphere of influence. The selling point, to doctors, will be a structured, professionally supervised, progressive fitness program. By definition, this involves a coach and club.

Outreach is an entirely different topic (that has not been forgotten). In my seldom humble opinion, the single best outreach mechanism is helping coaches move toward earning professional incomes plying their trade. The small but growing number of Masters coaches that DO earn professional incomes through coaching serve to inspire other not-yet-Masters coaches to get involved with Masters, and still others to become coaches and start clubs. For every new, motivated, passionate coach that hits the ground running, USMS will see another 100+ swimmers added to the bottom line. The greater the observable income potential, the greater the number of such new coaches there will be.

lefty
May 6th, 2004, 10:24 AM
Emmet, you are probably right, the way for USMS to expand has to be through coaches. I swim at a gym (membership $40 per month) and see plenty of swimmers, who would probably join a team if they new that USMS existed. A coached workout for about the cost they are already paying, that is a winner every time. SO how does a coach reign in the swimmers and build a successful program? One suggestion, US clubs start Masters programs with the coach given dual responsibilities initially (age group and masters) so that they don't have to eat cat food.

emmett
May 6th, 2004, 11:09 AM
Originally posted by lefty
Emmet, you are probably right, the way for USMS to expand has to be through coaches.
That is precisely how Masters has been expanding during the 20+ years I've been involved. There just hasn't been much of a coordinated effort along those lines. Most of the efforts and attention of the national organization over the years has been aimed directly at existing Masters swimmers, largely leaving coaches to do their own thing on the fringes. Yet it is those coaches who have attracted the lion's share of new swimmers to Masters and those same coaches are the largest factor in keeping swimmers involved over time.


SO how does a coach reign in the swimmers and build a successful program?
The same way any start-up entrepreneur developes, markets and sells a product or service. Start small, design and offer a service that is distinctly different than what is already out there, educate potential customers as to the advantages of using that service, continually ensure that the cost/benefit ratio is attractive to those customers. Position the program by advertising, promotion and action as the local recognized authority or leader in the industry. Employ branding strategies that make the program instantly recognizable to the target market. Build THAT and they will come.

I strongly encourage college kids getting an education aimed at making a career of swim coaching to minor in business/marketing.


One suggestion, US clubs start Masters programs with the coach given dual responsibilities initially (age group and masters) so that they don't have to eat cat food.
If you look around at the most successful Masters programs you'll note that most are run by coaches that also have a strong entrepreneurial streak. And these are generally NOT the type of people you'll find working inside other organizations for very long.
Plus, unless the age group club sees a potential to expand their bottom line with little or no negative impact on their facility and staffing situations they are not likely to just up and start Masters clubs on their own. In addition, experience has proven time and again that a Masters coach that does not have Masters as his primary coaching responsibility is not likely to be able to build a thriving program. So education of age group head coaches and boards as to the benefits of adding (and then supporting) Masters as a high priority program (as opposed to a sideline or fill-in-the-gaps program) would be a must.

Conniekat8
May 6th, 2004, 12:06 PM
Originally posted by laineybug
Again, you all are forgetting about how to do outreach to areas that do not have clubs and coaches.

Community and public at large PR.
Perhaps I'm misinformed, but looks like USMS could do more in that arena. I'm sure there are issues about who and how it shouls be done, but still, logistics aside... think there is a lot more that could be done in that area, on the local club levels, LMSC's, Zones and up to the USMS leadership.

laineybug
May 6th, 2004, 01:12 PM
Having coaches contact doctors to educate them on the positive effects of swimming the kind of workouts USMS clubs do, would hopefully increase the number of doctors who recommend swimming as an aerobic activity to their patients... it follows that, that would increase participation in USMS in areas that have clubs and coaches. However, areas where there are no organized clubs would not have coaches to make contact with doctors.

Scansy
May 6th, 2004, 02:34 PM
Originally posted by Tom Ellison
Don't forget the THRASHERS FRIES...over on the Shore....
I'm partial to the O in Oakland. Partied at Pitt more than a few times and topped it of with a basket of fries with gravy at 3:00 am.

msgrupp
May 6th, 2004, 02:46 PM
Scansy--last time I was at CMU's pool (1/2003)--there was a branch of the "O" JUST outside the pool deck!!!

If you have an opportunity to swim there--you can kill 2 birds with one stone!

emmett
May 6th, 2004, 02:59 PM
Originally posted by laineybug
Having coaches contact doctors to educate them on the positive effects of swimming the kind of workouts USMS clubs do, would hopefully increase the number of doctors who recommend swimming as an aerobic activity to their patients... it follows that, that would increase participation in USMS in areas that have clubs and coaches. However, areas where there are no organized clubs would not have coaches to make contact with doctors.

Precisely. Thats why I said outreach is an entirely different topic - at least in areas where there are no coaches now. BUT by expanding the number of accepted marketing avenues for Masters also increases the liklihood that coaches will take an entrepreneurial stab at starting new programs - some in areas where none exist now.

And I don't think that "having coaches contact doctors" is the way such contact will be initiated - it'll be because agressive coaches CHOOSE to make such contacts and nurture the relationships for purposes of building their own existing programs.

And there will be particularly enterprising coaches that might choose to start a program targeted specifically (and perhaps exclusively) for serving referred patients, tayloring training according to medical input, providing feedback and results to suit the special requirements of such a client base. Of course such an operation may not fall within the scope of Masters organizational resources (ie insurance, which is, currently, the only real "binder" that USMS has to cause coaches to require their swimmers to enlist).

laineybug
May 6th, 2004, 03:31 PM
Don't get me wrong, I think the idea of contacting doctors is a terrific idea... guess what I am trying to say is that the strategy lends itself to programs (teams/clubs) selfpepetuating themselves rather than to the expansion of USMS in general. I see the outreach and solving the problem of areas where there are no teams/clubs as inter related. What if, an aggressive coach were to go to an area where there isn't a team/club and start talking to doctors about the benefits, would it generate enough interest that a club might form?

Scansy
May 6th, 2004, 03:32 PM
Originally posted by msgrupp
Scansy--last time I was at CMU's pool (1/2003)--there was a branch of the "O" JUST outside the pool deck!!!

If you have an opportunity to swim there--you can kill 2 birds with one stone!

Wow, I could fatten up and trim down all in one visit!:D Sounds better than sex. (Well, not really.)

Rob Copeland
May 6th, 2004, 04:12 PM
To Elaine’s comment “What if, an aggressive coach were to go to an area where there isn't a team/club and start talking to doctors about the benefits…” What if, a committed swimmer already in the area did the same thing?

There are very few clubs where the coach is the main source of outreach and education. While good coaching will keep them coming back, normally fellow club members are the ones who bring new folks in. Typically it is the club officers who should shoulder the responsibility of undertaking new member recruitment. The exception to this is in coach owned programs, where the coach will assume a greater responsibility for recruitment.

In the cases of brand new clubs, it is usually a few motivated swimmers who get together to form the club and then find someone to coach them, rather than the other way around. You won’t normally find a top shelf coach moving into an area without a club just to start a new club. Emmett you can prove me wrong and move to Thomasville; that is if you’re man enough for the challenge:)

laineybug
May 6th, 2004, 04:23 PM
Rob, I do talk to everyone I get a chance to talk to about forming a club, including the other lap swimmers I meet in the pool and of course my doctor when he took my pulse twice because he didn't believe it the first time. So far the most common response has been, "let me know when things get going."

Mark in MD
May 6th, 2004, 04:26 PM
Originally posted by Tom Ellison
Don't forget the THRASHERS FRIES...over on the Shore.... Would that be Thrasher's French Fries in Ocean City, Maryland, on the Boardwalk near Trimper's? There's a branch in Baltimore's Harborplace as well.

Addenda: Guess Tom's reminded me about the one in Rehobeth Beach as well. I'll take mine with ketchup, please.

Tom Ellison
May 6th, 2004, 04:41 PM
Rehobeth Beach...used to go there with my family....

Rob Copeland
May 6th, 2004, 05:49 PM
Elaine,

I didn’t mean to pick on you, well not too much at least.

Having been lucky enough, in the past, to start up clubs in a couple of areas of the country, I realize the frustration there is in trying to get others to understand what we know about the value a coached Masters club brings to our aquatic community. And, I readily admit that we as an organization (USMS) don’t do a good enough job in helping our members organize and build clubs. We do have a couple of good club development handbooks on the web site, but we could definitely use some club mentoring.

jean sterling
May 6th, 2004, 09:37 PM
I went to the doctor today - the one who thinks my swimming is a good - no make that very good - form of exercise.

He said my cholersterol is very good - 167. What he found particularly amazing was my 1:1 ratio - LDL was 83 and HDL was 84. Resting pulse was 59, which he deemed excellent for an athletic person - in a sedentary person it might be cause for concern he said. He did a double take at my blood pressure which was 97/61. What is especially interesting is that all these readings are much better than they were 20 years ago when I was in my 40s. It was then that I took up excercise and began eating better.

With exercise it's important to choose a form of exercise that you like or you won't do it. You also need to get your heart rate up to the target zone. For most of us on this board swimming meets these requirements.

laineybug
May 6th, 2004, 09:54 PM
Pick away Rob, as you can probably tell from past posts, it doesn't bother me in the least. Heck, I sometimes take the opposite view just to stir the pot a little.

Paul Smith
May 6th, 2004, 09:57 PM
I happen to take have quite a bit of interest in this subject, in particular the marketing aspect that's been touched on. I attended my first USMS convention last year and it was quite a learning experience. I had several side conversations with people about marketing or the lack thereof of our sport that we're rather enlightening, I even attended the marketing committee meeting.

Emmett, I hope in the future we have a chance to meet and discuss in person. I know you attended the same meeting as I and I'm somewhat dissapointed that you didn't bring up some of the very good/important ideas you have promoted here.

I do however have to admit that I can possibly understand why, although I'm very impressed with the commitment of the people who make up the committee's I'm not convinced it's an environment thats all that conducive to change.

My argumnet against that theory is seeing a very healthy dialogue and almost immediate reaction to feedback during the championship meeting. I hope and would like to see the same type of thing happen in marketing and Emmett's feedback should/could be acted on.

emmett
May 7th, 2004, 10:01 AM
Originally posted by Rob Copeland
There are very few clubs where the coach is the main source of outreach and education. While good coaching will keep them coming back, normally fellow club members are the ones who bring new folks in. Typically it is the club officers who should shoulder the responsibility of undertaking new member recruitment. The exception to this is in coach owned programs, where the coach will assume a greater responsibility for recruitment.

In the cases of brand new clubs, it is usually a few motivated swimmers who get together to form the club and then find someone to coach them, rather than the other way around. You won’t normally find a top shelf coach moving into an area without a club just to start a new club. Emmett you can prove me wrong and move to Thomasville; that is if you’re man enough for the challenge:)

Scott Rabalais did just this in Savanah, GA.

One of the things I like about coaching swimming and being in business for myself is that my skills are highly portable. I have no doubt that wherever I might move, starting and building a Masters team would be doable (assuming there is pool spacetime available and a population in at least quintuple digits). Starting a club in a city with lots of existing clubs has the advantage of a high level of visibility and support for the concept of adult swimming.

Starting a club in a city where none exist has the advantage of no competition for potential swimmers (at least at the beginning).

Perhaps the inherent competitive nature of coach makes the challenge of starting a club in the face of lots of competition (business and otherwise) a more attractive thing. Perhaps the business instincts of the entrepreneur make the prospect of instantly capturing a monopoly in a new market appealing. Who knows - I don't think there is a major advantage to either scheme.

If I ever DO move it will have to be someplace where snow days off from school are at least an annual occurance (those were my absolute favorite days as a kid and I want MY kids to experience them too). My inclination would also be to move to a much smaller city than Houston. But I'd have to do sufficient market research to be sure the population and economy would support a program that would be profitable enough to allow my family to live in the style in which it wishes to become accustomed. :)

I agree that MOST clubs, today, are started by a tiny group of like-minded swimmers that slowly draw more and more people into their fold. However, my personal belief is that the growth that will take Masters from 40K members to 400K members will be driven largely by entrepreneur coaches running their own programs (coach owned programs).

laineybug
May 7th, 2004, 11:24 AM
My inclination would also be to move to a much smaller city than Houston.

LOL, That's Thomasville



it will have to be someplace where snow days off from school are at least an annual occurance

We have hurricane days, not snow days, does that count? (We use to get off for Rose Show Parade too)

See, if there was a Master's club here we could have a 'Swim for the Roses' meet during Rose Show weekend.

Scansy
May 7th, 2004, 11:43 AM
Originally posted by laineybug


We have hurricane days, not snow days, does that count? ...

I can't speak for Emmett, but suspect that snow is the requirement - otherwise, how can you have a snowball fight or sled ride? :D