View Full Version : One Meet a Year Studs

Tom Bubel
August 11th, 2002, 08:07 PM
This is somewhat related to another post I just started (Top Ten conerns). I noticed in the top ten list a number of swimmers (generally very fast swimmers) who swam their first nationals (or any other masters meet) in 5 years due to being in a new age group. I state this by looking at the past few years top ten lists and not seeing their names. Is this a good thing for masters swimming? Swimmers whose only affiliation with masters swimming is showing up to one meet every 5 years to break a record. These records should be owned by people that are true masters swimmers.
What is a true masters swimmers?- Perhaps doing a few meets a year might work. When I swam on an age group team as a child, I know in order to qualify for our championship meet, we had to swim at least 3 regular meets. Perhaps a rule like that for Nationals could begin to fix this problem-
If not, many of our national records will be held by "ringers"

August 11th, 2002, 08:53 PM
Originally posted by Tom Bubel
These records should be owned by people that are true masters swimmers.

Just what exactly is a true masters swimmer?

Ion Beza
August 11th, 2002, 10:21 PM
Originally posted by NCSwimmer

Just what exactly is a true masters swimmer?
I think that swimmers who participate regularly, personify the spirit best.

August 11th, 2002, 11:48 PM
Funny, in a bygone era I would have thought that records would belong to those who swam the fastest.

But, I guess in this, the PC millenium, we really should reward those whose intentions are good over those who actually do the deed. That way EVERYONE can be the winner! ... :rolleyes:


August 12th, 2002, 01:43 AM
I kind of doubt they only do one meet every five years. But probably many of the top stay out of the big meet, in order to age up and show up at it maybe every five years. I reason this because at I recently swam a meet and their was a huge gap between my 50 meter time and 100 meter breastroke. I did a lot better in the 50 meter. I have forgotten how you pace a 100 meter since the last time I swam a 100 yard breastroke in a race was 1977 in community college. It also might be that I'm still out of shape and can only hold it together in a 50 meter breasstroke.

August 12th, 2002, 06:48 AM
There are plenty of swimmers that only compete right after they age up (and perhaps only in big meets), yet they train year-round the rest of the time. I don't perceive this to be unfair to anybody. I don't perceive it as a "problem" at all. Perhaps, for some, going to lots of small meets where they are far and away the fastest swimmer gets boring after awhile. Perhaps it is only in those big meets that they get the competition they want.

Perhaps if they all went to all the small meets there would be people complaining about those "ringers" always hogging all the hardware. There ARE people in Masters who think that those who have an extensive background should be judged separately from the rest.

August 12th, 2002, 08:41 AM
Here are some suggestion I have in regards to those really good and fast swimmers who only show up every so often:

1. Make them wear SCUBA weight belts to mitigate their speediness.

2. Put a GPS transmitter on them during the week, heck the whole year, so we can verify if they are training enough to swim fast when they do show up.

3. Award first place not to the faster person but to the person who comes to the most meets. That way, the grinders are the victors!

4. Throw out the fastest and slowest times from all events, by age group. That way you only have to train to be second best.

I think this is crazy. Master is about inclusion, not exclusion. So what if they show up every few years. They aren't eating Ho-Hos in between. They are training like the rest of us.

August 12th, 2002, 08:59 AM
Originally posted by aquageek
So what if they show up every few years. They aren't eating Ho-Hos in between.

What's this????? We aren't allowed to eat Ho-Hos any more?

August 12th, 2002, 09:06 AM
Originally posted by Ion Beza

I think that swimmers who participate regularly, personify the spirit best.

So a record can only be broken by a swimmer who swims a fast time(not necessarily the fastest time) who participates regularly and personifies the spirit of masters swimming.

Now we're getting somewhere. Anyone want to take a shot at defining participates, regularly, and spirit?

August 12th, 2002, 10:51 AM
I doubt if I ever will break a national record (except the 200 fly at age 85!). but I still think the record should be held by the fastest swimmer, period!

Bill W. Rodgers

August 12th, 2002, 11:23 AM
I don't think the top swimmers are the only ones that swim only1 or 2 meets a year. In many states in both long course and short course there's only a handful of meets. Arizona only had two long course meets this past summer. The next close ones were California and from Tucson, Irvine California is a good 7 to 8 hours in a car. Also, many of the SPMA swimmers and some of the Arizona swimmers are not entered in Nationals because the Irvine Meet which was the SouthWest Championship meet was held this past weekend. Some of these people could have placed in the top ten at nationals but since its in Cleveland Ohio and a week after the Irvine meet they decide not to attend nationals.

Ion Beza
August 12th, 2002, 11:40 AM
Originally posted by NCSwimmer

So a record can only be broken by a swimmer who swims a fast time(not necessarily the fastest time) who participates regularly and personifies the spirit of masters swimming.

Now we're getting somewhere. Anyone want to take a shot at defining participates, regularly, and spirit?
You didn't and you don't get a dispute from me regarding winning based on fastest times, because that's the definition of a speed sport.

The spirit of participation I am mentioning -when answering the question you asked above-, promotes the activity, from occasional participant, to regular participant.

August 12th, 2002, 12:26 PM
Sorry Ion, my intention was not to pick on you.

What I was trying to do was make a point to the original poster that it would be impossible to define criteria for record setting based on something other than time.

Whether people swim in more meets, less meets, national meets, local meets, are active in the masters community(whatever that means), a nice person, eat HoHos, lead lanes in workout, swam in high school, swam at a university, are extremely talented in the pool, etc isn't relevant.

If a person falls off the back of a turnip truck, registers with USMS, goes to a sanctioned meet and swims faster than the documented record then he/she is the new record holder. We may not like it or we may be jealous but it doesn't change the basic fact that. The record was broken.

Just my opinion.

August 12th, 2002, 02:17 PM
Time for me to chime in:

1. I eat Ho-Hos ... and Moon Pies ... and Ring-dings ... though I did give up twinkies awhile back

2. I swim maybe 6-8 meets a year and most of them I swim poorly at because the events are seeded by time, not gender, and I invariably end up in a lane between 2 guys who are a lot taller, bigger, heavier, and their wake blows me out of the water on the sprint events. I might as well be swimming a time trial after workout. Only occasionally do I actually get to race against women

3. I taper for nationals and that is the only place I swim fast, the only meet I care about.

Does the above disqualify me from Top Ten, I think not.

Some of us swim for fun, some for speed, some for socializing, some for health. What does it matter which of these you swim for? Masters is for everyone. Top Tens and Records are for those who are just simply the fastest.

Being fast doesn't make you more or less of a person.

Philip Arcuni
August 12th, 2002, 04:30 PM
I consider the start of this thread more flame bait than anything else, but I can help:

top ten and records do not always go to the fastest even now. Here are some reasons:

irrelevant-to-speed DQ's. For example, a backstroker who coasts into the wall (on his/her stomach) will not have a time that counts.

not-a-USMS-sanctioned-meet: true for world top ten and records.



touch-pads-broke, not enough hand times:

pool-too-short by 1.e-6 cm:

Then again, a swimmer who takes performance enhancing drugs will have times that *do* count. Events where the S&T judge day-dreamed will count. Also, my meter times next year will count in the 45 - 49 age group, even though my 45th birthday won't be for 10 months later.

Ion Beza
August 12th, 2002, 05:44 PM
Question about:

1. a year ago, www.swiminfo.com, reported that an English company wanted to consider all swimming organizations when establishing age group records for adults; by this token, for example, Olympian Alex Popov (Rus) would hold 50 meter free Long Course record for men ages 25 to 29 at 21.6x, and also for men ages 30 to 34 at 21.9x, with Mark Foster (GBR) second at 22.13;
their times aren't done in a Masters competition, but so is 100 meter fly by Masters Swimmer Paul Carter (US) who swam at age 45, 56.42 in a US Swimming meet, which the US Masters records accepts;

2. in 1999, at the Short Course Nationals in Santa Clara, 1996 Olympian Jon Olsen (US) swam records of 44.xx in 100 yards free, 1:38.0x in 200 yards free, and no other Masters meet.

Would anyone accept these as Masters records, when these participants barely compete in Masters meets -like in 2.-, or don't do their records in Masters meets -like in 1.-?

I do, because:

a) it gives people like me exposure about the world's best who can watch -like I did- Jon Olsen caliber when he considers Masters worthy for him to show up to;

b) creates a flow of co-operative participation when US Swimmers intermingle with Masters Swimmers.

Tom Bubel
August 12th, 2002, 06:57 PM
As the starter of this thread, I hope to end it. Obviously all the feedback is against my thoughts. I certainly was not intending on getting anyone upset, I just thought there were many people out there with my ideas. I guess I was wrong.

Ion Beza
August 12th, 2002, 08:43 PM
Originally posted by Tom Bubel

Obviously all the feedback is against my thoughts. I certainly was not intending on getting anyone upset, I just thought there were many people out there with my ideas. I guess I was wrong.
I don't condone some tones in this thread.

I respect your thoughts by carefully reading and re-reading the starting post, which contains an idea and an invitation for people to discuss.

I expressed one opinion, my starting opinion, and in a debate I can grow.

Ian Smith
August 12th, 2002, 08:46 PM
I totally agree with you for exactly the 2 reasons you give (a & b). As Paul Smith has pointed out, with cuts in college swimming programs etc, our various organisations need to be working together, in-synch and even closer.

Donna Torres & a whole lot of others should have Masters records whether they know it or not.

The fact that FINA Masters records (but not the USMS records as I understand it?) have to be set at Masters meets reeks of exclusivity and makes no sense in terms of 'record' whatsoever.

Look forward to toasting this one over a beer with you in Cleveland when we solve the world's problems.

BTW: I am obviously missing something really important - Maria D is going to have to introduce me to a Ho-Ho. It seems I have been deprived.

August 12th, 2002, 09:04 PM
Speaking on behalf of many other master swimmers who are probably in the same boat...having a family, running a business, and taking care of general upkeep around the house puts a huge monopoly on one's time.

When that one meet of the year rolls around, I'ld like to think that the opportunity to give a best effort shouldn't be missed. And if the result turns out to be one for the record books,...so be it.

I think the bottom line about masters swimming is really the perpetuation of one's youth, and finding time to "play" with like minded people. Even if the play involves self inflicted, oxygen deprived, head pounding torture. It's all good.:D

Ion Beza
August 12th, 2002, 09:15 PM
Originally posted by Ian Smith

The fact that FINA Masters records (but not the USMS records as I understand it?) have to be set at Masters meets reeks of exclusivity and makes no sense in terms of 'record' whatsoever.

That's correct:
FINA Masters records do not recognize 56.42 in 100 meter fly, Long Course by US Master Swimmer, Paul Carter, age 45, because it was swam in a non Masters meet, exactly like Popov age 30, and others of that caliber, swim fast in non Masters meets;

USMS recognizes Paul Carter's record, because he is registered in USMS -a bureacratic formality Popov, and others of that caliber, can do-.

The result is: the Masters world record in 100 meter fly Long Course for men ages 44 to 49, is slower than the USMS record.

FINA has some good points, and some other points.

To get back to Tom idea of rewarding the true participants of Masters Swimming, I recognize the participation of true participants, I have an opinion about rewarding, and my opinion is debatable.

August 12th, 2002, 09:28 PM
ya'll got me to harking back to a conversation I overheard a few years back at a senior olympics games. It was 'tween a cupla guys who'd been d.q.'ed in the 50 breast. They were complain'n that they were competing against "professionals". [referring to us registered USMS swimmers]. One was a bicyclist and the other a track star. It was about the time Democratic presidential nomination candidate Paul Tsongas, a butterflyer, if you don't remember, was quoted as saying "...anyone can swim breaststroke."

It felt kinda good to be aware of the fact that little ol' me, cane an' all, was being envied, even resented, as being a "professional".

August 13th, 2002, 12:22 AM
I guess that the main public that doesn't swim that much would see us as professionals. The senior olympics lets anyone 50 and above to do it and I have 5 years to go. Personality, I don't care how many people swim only 1 or 2 meets a year. As for nationals, the one in Hawaii got more west coast swimmers and the one in Cleveland has more east coast swimmers. As someone before was talking about the vast distances and expensives turn many people off from attending the nationals. Next year I bet that the short course one in Tempe gets almost all the top swimmers from the states around Arizona and it will probably have the largest group of master swimmers from California and Arizona than many of the recent ones. As Ion states Paul Carter time in the 100 meter butterfly isn't recognized and this is something considering that when Paul was just 18 years old the record in 100 meter butterfly was 54. So Mr. Carter time is quite outstanding in that he is not far off from the top times of his youth.

Brad Biddle
August 13th, 2002, 01:47 AM
Originally posted by Philip Arcuni
[ . . . ]

top ten and records do not always go to the fastest even now. Here are some reasons:

[ . . . ]

One tidbit along these lines that I find interesting: where I train there are several triathletes who never swim in USMS meets who I suspect could easily be top ten. Another *very* fast swimmer is training for some Navy SEAL thing and won't be competing in meets. It's humbling in a good, healthy way, I think: aspiring to a certain rank is fun, but there are always going to be faster swimmers out there (some of whom couldn't care less about USMS top ten), and it reminds me to keep my motives internally focused rather than externally focused.


August 13th, 2002, 02:08 AM
Sure, there are some navy seals and tri-atheltes that could make the top ten. But as Ion stated how many of them could beat Paul Carter in 100 meter butterfly. Also,many masters that are not that young anymore don't have that bad of times. In my age group the top time for a women in short course 100yard breastroke was 1:11.0 and this was in the 45 to 49 age group. Back when this woman was swimming in the early 1970's, a 1:09 would have quaified for nationals in 100 yard breastsroke. And how many women in their 50's besides Laura Val can do a 100 yard butterfly in times ranging from 59 to 1:01. When Laura try out for the olympics in 1968, the american record was probably only 57 for 100 yard butterfly. Let's see if Barb Lindquist the world class tri-athlete, can swim freestyle and butterfly when she is in her 50's like Laura Val does.

Bert Petersen
August 13th, 2002, 02:24 AM
Possibly........... or maybe just someone not happy with their performance.........or maybe a legitimate concern.
No one has mentioned another possibility for the five year occurance : I find it impossible to maintain what I call "competitive intensity" for more than a couple of years. I can (and do) train every year-all year-but the grind of readying, tapering and competing gets me down after a few years in an age-group. So should I concentrate my efforts on the last years of each age-group ? That wouldn't make a whole lot of sense !
What I do, as a flyer, is to concentrate my efforts in fly over the first several years and then try other strokes and distances to keep my mind in the sport. This has been my last year in this age-group and I have been victimized by nearly everyone at nearly every event ! That's OK......
Each person must find the routine that answers the needs they have for competing, training and just having fun.


August 13th, 2002, 08:48 AM
In reviewing the posts, I note there are FINA, Masters and USMS records. Can someone explain the differences? I assume USMS is the organization that sanctions most of the swim meets we participate in. So, does this mean there are three bodies that recognize times? That would be quite confusing. I do think that in order to have a top X time for USMS you should be required to be a member but I'm open to alternative suggestions.

As to the Ho-Ho issue. I apparenty did not realize the love of this choclaty, cream filled product. I apologize. I saw someone mention a Moon Pie, which is well regarded as a Southern delicacy.

August 13th, 2002, 11:19 AM
I thought it was better to start back competively in an older age group. The 40 to 44 was even more competitive so I entered in the 45 to 49. But there are a lot of women round 48 and 49 that have good times. And probably next year the 50 to 54 age group will also get more competitive because of these people. The age groups in the 30's are the hardest as far as times are concern. Those in the 40's and early 50's are harder because of the number of people in them.

Rob Copeland
August 13th, 2002, 01:14 PM
To aquageek’s question.

FINA (La Federation Internationale De Natation) is the world governing body for all aquatic sports, as recognized by the International Olympic Committee. FINA covers swimming, diving water polo, and synchronized swimming. Within the category of swimming Masters swimming is one of many sub-categories. Each nation with a FINA recognized Master's swimming group has its own National Governing Body (NGB). In the United States that NGB is United States Masters Swimming Inc. (USMS).

In the discussions in this tread, references to FINA records refer to FINA Masters World records (kept only for short course and long course meters events), references to USMS records refer to United States Masters Swimming records (kept for yards events as well as meter events). The rules pertaining to what is required to set a USMS record differ from the rules required to set FINA records, therefore not all USMS records are considered for FINA records. If you want to do some more digging into the differences – I would point you to Article 105 in the USMS Rulebook. The references to “Masters” could apply to either FINA or USMS depending on the context. It could also apply to other governing bodies for masters swimming, such as YMCA Masters or Senior Games Swimming, but I’m guessing that those and other masters swimming organizations were not indented to be included in this thread.

Tom Bubel
August 13th, 2002, 03:15 PM
If the thread is continuing, I guess so will I. One of the biggest criticisms of my concern is that "since when is a fastest time not a fastest time anymore" The other concern is "how can you have criteria for being an official masters swimmers". Not exact quotes but I think close enough.

Ion got me thinking when he started discussing other swimmers of age who are faster swimmers but perhaps didn't pay the $30.00 masters registration fees and therefore their records can't count. If we are so concerned with the credibility of our records, shouldn't any swimmer over the age of 19 be able to establish a record for masters if they do it at an officiated meet. I am only stating this because it shows that "a fastest time is not necessarily a fastest time anymore"

The second concern "how can you have criteria for being an official masters swimmer" I guess has been answered above. Pay the $30.00 and you get your card and perhaps a record. No one in this thread (except perhaps Ion) believes that there should be any more criteria than this. I guess I do not have an argument here unless someone can help me out.

August 13th, 2002, 04:12 PM

Your explanation was thorough and easy to understand. Thank you very much.

There are probably as many different reasons to be in Master's Swimming as there are swimmers. So, $30 or any figure is enough of a qualification for me.

Rob Copeland
August 13th, 2002, 04:42 PM
Now to Tom’s concerns,
I'm not sure what you are going with your listed concerns. But, to the first point - "a fastest time is not necessarily a fastest time anymore". It never was the fastest time. USMS records are just that ,records set by and maintained for United States Masters Swimmers. USMS records are set by USMS registered members who compete in events sanctioned or recognized by USMS. This may be a very parochial view and it obviously excludes performances by foreign athletes and other 19+ swimmers. However, it does not preclude someone from compiling, maintaining, and publishing other fastest times. And to take this point to the absurd, if we really want a record to reflect the fastest swimming time, I heard that a dolphin at Sea World in Orlando, swims the 1650 in 2:04 (even faster than Jim McConica).

As to the question of credibility (having just blown mine), USMS publishes USMS records and I don’t think there are any other claims attached to these are records beyond that . In similar fashion, I think that the YMCA publishes YMCA Masters records, which are for the most part slower or equal to USMS records. The other point credibility has to do with verification. Events sanctioned or recognized by USMS are supposed to conform to certain standards to insure a level playing field for all participants.

To your second point, I think you answered your own concern. To be an “official” Masters swimmer, you need to register with your national governing body, and for those of us in the USA it is USMS through our LMSC's.

August 13th, 2002, 04:45 PM

Thinking about your question has brought up an answer and of course several questions - which I'm inclined to believe don't have an easy answer.

The answer to when is the fastest swim not a record (this is only an example). Several years ago, if a High School swimmer in a high school swim meet set a record in backstroke it would only count as a High School record regardless if the swimmer was a USS registered swimmer or not, for the simple reason that High School meets still allowed the backstroke start to have their toes above the water line (standing on the gutter) - so their swim was in compliance of High School rules but not FINA/USS so the swim wouldn't count as a record.

Now for one of my questions in regards to meet participation that was posed at the beginning. What if I was a former swimmer or maybe not a swimmer at all, but decided to take up swimming and set a record at my very first meet, would my record then not count since I hadn't met the qulifications of swimming in X amounts of meets before this (hopefully if this was the case I would be able to swim faster at some upcoming meets in the future and have one of those records count). The seocnd part in addressing this is what happens if I live in an area that does not have very many meets or maybe in the case of someone in the military who gets stationed overseas an does not have the chance to swim in USMS sanctioned meet, then what.

Like I said I don't have the answers, but in regards to records - if someone gets their kicks by setting records every five years so let them, I mean it's not like they are cheating anyone out of millions of dollars.

August 14th, 2002, 10:13 AM
I think what Tom is trying to get at, is, there are swimmers who show up once every 5 years to make their mark. For instance this year we (USMS) had an excellent swimmer show up and break a few records, the funny thing was the last time this swimmer showed up for a meet was 1997. Again, set quite a few records.

Now, I understand there is absolutely NO way this can be controlled. "there is no controlling legal authority", Al Gore. We want what is good for USMS, is this good? Some may say yes, because having impressive records show credibility in an organization. Some say no, because it puts a real damper on any dream of owning a record.

I came through my school records like a snow plow my freshman year. (for those of you in the south/southwest/hawaii, a snow plow is a big truck with a big thingy on the front to push frozen rain off the road) :D (I AM ONLY KIDDING). It was a small school with a really small swimming program (no scholarships, no real recruiting). I feel there was some animosity towards me going around, the thinking, why the hell did this big fish come to such a small pond. I swam through my years there, the program really started to pick up, and everything was cool, however, it wouldn't have been so cool, had I done that for 1 year, and then transfer.

I'm just asking, what's right? Continuing support for the organization is what I think is right.

«~» <(ô¿ô)> «~»

August 14th, 2002, 10:32 AM
The dream of owning a record does not entitle you to have a record. Maybe this ringer had/has the same dream and did what it took to break the record. It just so happens it took him five years to accomplish his goal.

The nice thing about Masters is that you can compete at your whim without the strict requirement placed upon us during our youth (or yute, as I understand New Yorkers to say). Also, no where does it say that membership requires support. All that is required is a check. That is all that many of us want out of Masters. We want to swim and have fun.

I have a dream - that I will stop getting up at 5:17 am to swim and still be in shape. Alas, I tried that and my belly became a nightmare.

August 14th, 2002, 12:22 PM
I bet that most of these every 5 year record swimmers are in the older age groups. Try doing that in the age groups in the 30's and 40's. In my age group there are women that can do the 100 meter breastroke around 1:22 if they have a really good meet. That means that when they were younger back in the 1970's they were not that far from national time standard. People like Laura Val and Ms Pipes don't have to swim every five years since they are in great shape for their ages and have retain much of their speed from their younger days. As for high school records, my high school didn't recognize them for girls in the 1970's and I might have still had the 100 yard butterfly and 100 yard breastroke if they did . There were about only 3 girls in 30 years at that high school that swam year round.

August 14th, 2002, 03:18 PM
You can make a pretty good case that USMS is more inclusive than some of the other masters record tabulating groups. As Rob pointed out earlier, USMS will recognize a record set by a USMS registered swimmer competing in a USS meet. FINA does not.

I also think the earlier post about "when is the fastest time the fastest" wasn't an arguement for trying to determine the truly "fastest" time. People who compile records do not make that claim. The only claim is that it was the fastest swim reported in a sanctioned meet.

In my somewhat limited experience the existence of five year wonders is an illusion. I swim with some truly gifted swimmers that set/break records on a five year basis. Some of these masters do not swim in meets all year round for all five years. HOWEVER, they do swim enough not to "lose it" and some train quite hard but pretty much give meets a miss due to other issues (family, work, open water venues, other sports, etc). It's my opinion that except for their extraordinary talent (they have it most of us don't) they truly exemplify masters swimming because they stay in the water and enjoy it for the rest of their lives.

August 15th, 2002, 09:09 PM
Isn't a true masters swimmer someone who has paid their dues and signed the release at the bottom of the form?

The thing that I love about masters swimming is one is free to choose their level of competition. When I started masters swimming I was just there as a fitness swimmer. Meets were available to me if I wanted to compete. I didn't and wasn't forced to. A few years ago, I caught the competition bug again and started competing in the meets. Last year I decided to complete all of the standard pool events in all three courses (53 different events). My LMSC only had two SCM meets scheduled. 18 events can not be completed in only two meets but fortunately I could travel to a different LMSC to get in the remaining six events that I'd need to complete my goal. This is the beauty of being a masters swimmer--freedom of competition/freedom from competition.

If someone wants to compete once every five years that's fine with me. If someone wants to compete in every meet that's fine with me too. If someone just wants to be a once a week 'fitness' swimmer, that's fine with me too. Worrying about someone else knocking you out of a top 10 time or record is pretty petty don't you think? If you want it, it's your responsibility to train harder and work on your stroke if it's that important to you.

mojo flyer
August 17th, 2002, 05:04 PM
i'm a newbie to the post, so here goes...

Words I have heard and said often with masters swimmers is that on any given day there is probably someone out there that is BIGGER, BETTER and STRONGER...so the thing is to focus on your own goals and those things that are within your control.

Some people are just as frustrated winning a national event but not doing their best (time) as those that are frustrated trying to break into the top 10 every year.

As for the once every five years swimmers...I think of it very opposite of the posts. As we get older, family. job and other committments can pull people any from the pool and masters swimming but rather than lose that swimmer forever once every five years they rekindle their passion for swimming and come back to the sport to inspire and amaze a lot of us.

I always like to think of Competition bringing out the best in me. And competing against faster swimmers always does that for me.

August 23rd, 2002, 11:27 AM
True Masters swimmers... huh. It never occurred to me. I kind of like that idea. Maybe we could implement that next year at the Nationals... When you show up in the morning... just head for the "True Masters Registration Table"

Just to get things rolling....
The criteria could be:

Q. Have you swam in a meet b4?
Q. Have you competed in the last five years?
Q. How many practices do you attend per week..
Q. Have you ever held any records outside of Masters Swimming? (Automatic Disqualification)
Q. Are you a U.S. Citizen?
Q. Do you have a Green Card... a MastersCard... a Visa and American Express?

Im down TB... I think the that idea would be totally sweet.

Shinob - Out

Matt S
August 23rd, 2002, 03:33 PM

The idea of showing up for one meet when most of the competition is in another age group is intriguing. However, I'm waiting for when I'm 44, not 45. Why? For whatever reason, there seems to be more talent up to 5 years above my age than 5 years below it. Don't get me wrong; I'm not dissing the 35-39 age group. They still have legions of swimmers that can wax me without breaking a sweat. What get depressing, though, is when the NQT's I have to meet are regularly the fastest of ANY age group (and consequently always just out of reach) while in the next youngest age group, hypothetically speaking, I would have a real shot.

Enough of my pointless grousing; I've riffed on this before.


Philip Arcuni
August 23rd, 2002, 04:01 PM
I know where your at, Matt.

So next year I move into that 45 - 49 age group (just in time to escape the age group of the Smiths) . . . Also, the typical times in my soon-to-be age group don't look all that fast.

But wait! who comes up with me? Paul Carter, Fritz Lehman, and Bill Specht, three world record holders, and three swimmers, among many, that smoke my a**! I think you are right about that 5-year speedy group, we're just at opposite ends . . . (boo hoo!)

August 23rd, 2002, 10:46 PM
The same people that beat us as kids are also the same people that beat us as adults. The times aren't going to get slower their going to get faster. A women doing a 1:30 in a 100 meter breastroke this year will make the top ten in the 45 to 49. But I bet as a younger group moves in that group, the same person is going to have to do a 1:27 in another 3 years to make the top ten. Matt, I only qualfied in the 50 meter breastroke. If I could swim the 100 meter better than I would have made that. My butterfly is even more off than my breastroke, so I was way far away from qualfying for that. Freestyle, while I have a fair style I don't have the speed I did as a teenager,so I would not make qualfying times there either. Backstroke is my worst stroke and I swim breastroke faster.

Tom Bubel
August 24th, 2002, 10:00 AM
Shinob- I think that you need to have at least a gold card if not a platnium card- we need to have our standards)

"A true masters swimmer" I guess cannot exist according to 99% of the responses on this thread. The conclusion I draw from most responses is as long as you are registered as a USMS swimmer, you can break any records you want- I suppose I can live with that. I appreciated the feedback on my opinion- even though almost no one agreed with me, you helped me alter my opinion a bitl

One thing I was thinking of when reading the responses was how it is sad that some people really believe that their only good chance at doing a great time is the year they age up to a new age group. Is there that big of a difference being 35 compared to 39 and so on? I don't remember the article exactly, but "Swim" magazine did a story a couple years ago which showed how little we lose each year speed-wise. Hopefully someone can find the numbers on it, but I think I remember it being around 1 tenth of a second or so each year in 100 yard distances. It wasn't until around 60 years of age did this difference become much more over the years.

A tenth of a second a year is not that much. If you make stroke techinique improvements (everyone needs them) or more efficient workouts, there is no reason why you cannot be faster as a 39 year old than you were as a 35 year old. I think for those swimmers that only swim the "big" meet when they age up, many probably lack the faith that they could be faster.
While I'm still relatively young 32, and I swam four years of college, I hope to be faster each year I swim. In four years of masters swimming, so far so good. Obviously, my times will drop off but I honestly believe it will be due to more personal obligations in life interfering with my swimming than physical potential- I think that is probably true for almost everyone.

August 24th, 2002, 11:11 AM
That's not true that we don't loose speed. The average master swimmer who took over a 20 year period off does. I swim the 100 meter breastroke about 23 seconds slower tha I did at age 18. The example that was use was Jeff F in the 50 yard free. Who was an ex-elite swimmer and who has been at masters for over 20 years in competition. If anyone notice, their is a gap when masters swimmers swim 200 swims outside of freestyle. Melinda Mann swam a 100 meter breastroke at 1:21 but a 200 meter breastroke in 3:02. Many age groupers that swim a 1:21 100 meter breastroke can swim a 200 meter breastroke around 2:52 or something like that. Lynn Bell who was an ex-elite swimmer and it was several years since she compete in masters swam last year ,swam the 200 meter butterfly about almost a mintue slower than she did at the olympics at 1972. Also, the 45 to 49 year old male qualifying for masters nationals is similar to A times for 13 to 14 year old boys and the women 45 to 49 is similar to 11 to 12 year old girls which means there is a decrease in speed and endurance taking place.

Phil M.
August 24th, 2002, 12:39 PM
I agree with Cynthia. After not swimming for 22 years I find that I am as good as when I was 13. (the people at work get a real kick out of me telling them that)
The real problem is that I really improved a lot between 13 and 14. I don't know if I will ever make those 14 year old times.
Reasons: 50 lbs. reduced flexibility, only 10,000 a week (max), no practice competition, greatly reduced expectations, etc.
There is no doubt that I would have maintained most of my skills if I had continued swimming but when I was 22 I was ready to STOP! You have to give a lot of credit to those who have been disciplined enough to never call it quits. And they deserve to be the ones setting the records.
However, it is so much more fun now getting to construct my own workouts and just feeling the water. Improving from my current level is satisfying enough.

Phil Arcuni
August 24th, 2002, 01:06 PM
I'm fairly confident that even with a 20 year break, if I were to train with the same intensity and quantity that I did as a youth I could now swim almost as fast (butterfly) or faster (freestyle and backstroke) than I did then. The difference is 10,000 yards a week now and 50,000/wk then.

I think that is true for anyone under 50 that is still healthy. But we have other things to be involved in - work, family, other sports, . . .

Swimming is a smaller and I think more appropriate part of my life now. Like the other Phil, I'm pretty happy with the way I am swimming, and look for improvement from that.

August 24th, 2002, 10:35 PM
I agree that we are busy. But who knows if you can swim as well as when we were younger if we can do the same yardage. I think Laura Val who swims at 5000 x5 days a week and rarely gets sick is the best women swimmer over 50. But some of the other swimmers once they creep into the older age groups start to drop off no matter what they do. Age is a factor and the older we get the harder it is to do times like we did at 15 to 22 years old. I also swam at the level I did between 12 and 13 years old.