PDA

View Full Version : swimming against the young guns



born2fly
October 16th, 2002, 12:20 PM
Just curious if anyone out there has competed in any USA swim meets in the "open" age group category. My masters coach who is also the age group coach is encouraging me to register for this meet. I guess I am somewhat concerned of the "perception" of a 36 year old swimming next to mom and dads junior swimmer. I know I can hold my own against these kids but am also afraid that I could discourage the younger swimmer in age group if he gets beat by an 36 yr old.

Any Thoughts?
Greg

Gail Roper
October 16th, 2002, 02:24 PM
Well, if you are as old as I am, they think it is ok and clap when you finish. They have no idea if you are swimming fast or slow. If you are younger and compete against them, the kids probably won't mind as they are just trying to beat a certain time (A, AA, AAA) and not getting personal about it. The parents are the ones that might object. When I first started working our with the kids, some of the parents objected as I "Was taking a place away from a child", but the coach stood up for me and said if I could make the interval he wasn't discriminating. When I swam in a meet at 45, no one had a problem. I know the Hawaiian Association will not permit masters to swim, there is someone who wins....... I would swim and let them know that swimming if a sport for all ages.

Tim Hedrick
October 16th, 2002, 02:57 PM
Greg,

I've competed in some of my kids' USS meets now for 2 years. I can tell you that the reaction I've witnessed is overwhelmingly positive. There are many parents (and swimmers) who clap and cheer, and there are a few others who state under their breaths that these meets are "for the kids". I haven't seen anyone who became discouraged because of it.

A few of us Ventura County Masters swim these meets on a semi-regular basis (myself, Jim McConica, John Derr, Mike Shaffer), and since we're affiliated with the Buenaventura Swim Club, we oftentimes are racing the same kids with whom we train. With that perspective it's a win for everyone.

The one thing we are all concerned about is that our presence at a meet doesn't detract from the meet nor drag it out endlessly. We generally pick an event or two, not the whole slate of possible events. Besides, we need longer to recuperate. :)

My opinion: if YOU want to do it, GO AHEAD! People need to realize that swimming is a sport for people of all ages. If you can be competitive - or even better, win - some races, then great! You will have served as an inspiration to the kids AND their parents.

Tim

PS: there's nothing like the look on a kid's face when an adult approach the block next to them. It is PRICELESS!

Candace
October 16th, 2002, 03:19 PM
I, too, have competed in several USS meets in the open (or over 13 or over 15) category, sometimes even swimming in the same heat as my daughter, as well as on relay teams with her. Never have I been approached by anyone with anything less than admiration for my efforts. But I should also add that I pose no threat to taking away any award from the age-group swimmers, as I usually end up in the bottom five or ten. It is a lot of fun, and I think it says a lot to the youngsters about the sport itself, i.e., it is something you can do for life, not just as a kid (and that it is not necessary to place to have a good time).

If you opt to do it, have a good time with it!

Cheers!

Candace

mdhammer
October 16th, 2002, 03:21 PM
Folks,

I have competed in 3 Sectional (Speedo Championship Series) and 2 US Open meets in the last 2+ years -- I even took 3rd in the 50 free at Sectionals in August 2001 (got beaten by 2 16-year-olds!) It is a strange experience, but I have found that not only do the kids seem to get a kick out of it (once they get over the initial shock) ... but the parents become my biggest supporters.

The only thing I would caution is to seed yourself slowly (I try not to draw too much attention to myself) and to make sure coaches you know don't point to you and say to their kids 'hey, he/she's doing it, why can't you?' I have run into a bit of a problem with that as the USS coach always uses me as an example and I'd prefer just to hang out and enjoy the younger swimmers.

- Maria

swim53
October 16th, 2002, 08:28 PM
Joe Rhinehardt, also of Columbus, swims USS meets. He does QUITE WELL- I think he is 41 and you can look up some of his times.

I know quite a few Masters who swim USS also and love it.

cinc3100
October 17th, 2002, 12:44 AM
Years ago back in the 1970's a young woman around 18 to 20 years old wanted to swim in an group meet I was in and couldn't and at that time the maximum age was 17 years old. This happen before the AAU changed it to 18 years old. And I think that open meets are good for the young adults that are not senior qualifying swimmers because it gives them more opportunities and they are just a little over than the 15 to 18 year old age group swimmers. Granted today masters allows 19 to 24 years old but some young people aroundn college age might just as likely enjoy swimming with people just a few years younger than themselves. So, the open format is good for them to be able to do this. As for swimmers past 30 years old, its up to them.

michaelmoore
October 17th, 2002, 06:12 PM
If you fit in the times and are swimming the right meet, go for it.

I saw Suzanne Heim-Bowen swim the 1500 at sectionals in San Jose a year ago. She was in lane one in the third fastest heat. I think she was 43 at the time, the next oldest swimmer was 18. Suzanne blew away the field. she finished first in the heat by over a half a lap.

The swimmers could not believe that a woman who was older than some of their mothers beat them. There was a lot of clapping and cheering from her team mates.

If you are at the right meet, dont be an A swimmer in a B/C meet or vise versa, you pay your money, you get your ticket and you swim your race. Enjoy it.


michael

Suzanne broke the National / world record for her age group (it was an 18 flat). It would only count for a national record as World records have to be set at Masters meets.

TerriM
October 27th, 2002, 04:00 PM
This is helpful advice for me. While Northern California offers quite a few competitions throughout the year, I find that I need more "practice" swimming in meets. I'd like to enter some local USS meets, but wasn't sure about the reception I'd receive as an "older swimmer"- like, I'm taking up space from the younger swimmers and these meets are for the "kids". I'm sure there will still be some parents who don't like the idea of older people swimming with their children, but we'll just deal with it.

Steve Ruiter
October 29th, 2002, 06:00 PM
I am feeling a bit cynical today.

If USS doesn't not want masters at their meet, they can easily chose to make the events limited to 18 and under by naming the age group. Otherwise, you are eligible if you are a registered USS swimmer (and meet any qualifying times).

On the flipside, USMS excludes all under 18 (or is it under 19?) at all times.

So which group is more age inclusive?

HLClark
October 30th, 2002, 02:23 PM
Greg,

Go for it! USA Swimming is for all ages.

Over the past two years, I've swam in several USA meets including 3 Sectional meets, several Texas Senior Circuit meets and even in the USA meets that I've meet directed. Like the VCM swimmers, I train with our local USA team (the one my kids swim for) and therefore I travel and swim in their meets. Swimming these meets has been a real bonding experience for me and my kids.

The response from parents, swimmers, coaches, officials... has been nothing but positive for me. If anything, your presence will show the young swimmers that competitive swimming can be a lifetime thing. You will not believe how many young swimmers do not know that Masters Swimming even exists!

Swimming in a USA meet is a great way to tune up for Zones or Nationals. The officials will quickly point out any of your illegal start, stroke and turn infractions. Also, the meets are usually in top notch facilities, are seriously competitive and are very professionally run.

Here are some things to consider when attending your first USA meet:

1) USA meets run fast. The time interval between heats can be as little as 15 seconds. When the second whistle blows, get your feet set quickly on the block and be ready to take your mark! Also, some meets run "over under" and "chase start" formats---read the invitation.

2) Some USA meets that deck seed use a "scratch deadline" procedure. In these meets you are entered by default, unless you scratch. Some meets impose $$ fines for missing your swims--some will even suspend you from the remainder of the meet.

3) Some meets require "proof of time" and accept times from USA swims only. If you can't find the results from the last USS meet you swam 15 years ago, enter at "no time", if required.

4) Be prepared for some staring from the kids. It's not because you forgot to put your suit on or that you grew an extra head, but it's more that some kids can't associate physical fitness with grown-ups.

5) Don't be affraid to enter at your current best times (if proof of time isn't required). The best thing about swimming USA is the competition. Race those kids! I think you will find that you are a much smarter swimmer now---lots of kids swim their races mindlessly.

Relax and enjoy...let us know how you do!

HLClark
October 30th, 2002, 02:49 PM
Greg,

Go for it! USA Swimming is for all ages.

Over the past two years, I've swam in several USA meets including 3 Sectional meets, several Texas Senior Circuit meets and even in the USA meets that I've meet directed. Like the VCM swimmers, I train with our local USA team (the one my kids swim for) and therefore I travel and swim in their meets. Swimming these meets has been a real bonding experience for me and my kids.

The response from parents, swimmers, coaches, officials... has been nothing but positive for me. If anything, your presence will show the young swimmers that competitive swimming can be a lifetime thing. You will not believe how many young swimmers do not know that Masters Swimming even exists!

Swimming in a USA meet is a great way to tune up for Zones or Nationals. The officials will quickly point out any of your illegal start, stroke and turn infractions. Also, the meets are usually in top notch facilities, are seriously competitive and are very professionally run.

Here are some things to consider when attending your first USA meet:

1) USA meets run fast. The time interval between heats can be as little as 15 seconds. When the second whistle blows, get your feet set quickly on the block and be ready to take your mark! Also, some meets run "over under" and "chase start" formats---read the invitation.

2) Some USA meets that deck seed use a "scratch deadline" procedure. In these meets you are entered by default, unless you scratch. Some meets impose $$ fines for missing your swims--some will even suspend you from the remainder of the meet.

3) Some meets require "proof of time" and accept times from USA swims only. If you can't find the results from the last USS meet you swam 15 years ago, enter at "no time", if required.

4) Be prepared for some staring from the kids. It's not because you forgot to put your suit on or that you grew an extra head, but it's more that some kids can't associate physical fitness with grown-ups.

5) Don't be affraid to enter at your current best times (if proof of time isn't required). The best thing about swimming USA is the competition. Race those kids! I think you will find that you are a much smarter swimmer now---lots of kids swim their races mindlessly.

Relax and enjoy...let us know how you do!

Tom Ellison
October 30th, 2002, 07:55 PM
Quite a few Masters Swimmers in Texas over the past few years swan in age group meets. Always, with great success, support and heartfelt respect from the age group community. The overwhelming attitude from all involved was.” if you have the horse power”....step up to the starting gate...Gosh, how could it be anything but a very positive demonstration for the kids to see us OLD FOLKS demonstrate that fitness in embraced and carried on throughout life...Heck, one of my son Matt's coaches swam a 50 point 100 free in a meet a few years ago in a drag suit...and he was 35 years old...Trust me...the kids went wild! They loved it and were seriously motivated by it.
Go for it!
Kindest regards,
Tom Ellison