View Full Version : Favorite USS experience(s) as Masters

October 31st, 2002, 01:29 PM
This thread is a spin off from the "swimming against the young guns" thread. Many of us Masters compete in USA Swimming meets each year and have found these meets to be a very enjoyable....for many reasons. Tell us your favorite experience(s). I have been swimming USA meets for the past two years and have a bunch of them. I am 37. I'll start off with this one...

"Kids say the darndest things" (part 1):

I entered my first long course meters meet two summers ago. A group of 15+ year old boys were looking at the heat/lane posting on the wall. They said, "Wow, look at this old guy...he entered his yards time...he doesn't even know this is a meters meet...we're gonna whip his butt...this is gonna be great!" And they all high fived each other.

They were quite wrong.

November 1st, 2002, 04:14 PM
Originally posted by HLClark
They were quite wrong.

Hee hee hee. :D Sorry, I've recently seen ads for the "Carrie" remake. I have this image in my mind of this mid-30s guy walking up to the block, just as a bunch of high school kids dump Gatorade on him. "Henry" glares at them briefly, then his USMS Telekinetic Powers (tm) kick in. :)

November 1st, 2002, 06:24 PM
USMS Telekinetic Powers? I didn't get any of those when I signed up. Should I contact my registrar?

Tom Ellison
November 1st, 2002, 06:45 PM
Thank you for the great laugh on your post. I literally busted a gut on your thought, "They were wrong".
I used to have a saying when the USA kid’s team swam with the Masters team at practice a few years ago. It always got the kids going big time. I was never, ever deluded into thinking I could keep up with these young studs, but, I always had a saying that I said out loud..."Old men rule". They used to tell me, “no way old man”….But my being there always made sure they never were able to loaf in practice.
Kindest regards,
Tom Ellison

Phil Arcuni
November 1st, 2002, 07:03 PM
I sometimes swim with my children's USS team and get the opposite problem - on the masters team, if I feel like it, I can quit or take a set easy - and the only one I have to answer to is myself. With my son in the lane next to me, however, I have to answer to him and my own rhetoric - loafing is not an option!

November 1st, 2002, 07:42 PM
Wow, your son is really fast too? I'm impressed that he can keep up with you.

November 2nd, 2002, 04:02 PM
Mark, Good one...that movie (the original) still freaks me out! But, here's a better one...

"Kids say the darndest things" (part 2):

Last summer I was getting ready behind the blocks before a 200 meter free. I was a bit nervous because I missed a lot of practice in the weeks before due to work, family, etc... and the 200 free is a long sprint. This was going to hurt. The young (17 year old) swimmer in the lane next to me introduced himself and went on to say, "My coach told me that after the 100 mark, that I should be able to blow you away...my coach says that you old guys can't hang". I was dumbfounded and said nothing. Magically, I was no longer nervous...I was pumped and ready to go. We were even at the 100 and I managed to finish ahead of him by almost 2.5 seconds. I actually negative split the swim and it was my best time of the season by 5 seconds.

After the swim, the puzzled swimmer looked at me in disbelief and said, "I don't understand...where did that come from?"

I told him to go ask his coach.

November 2nd, 2002, 04:40 PM

I know exactly what you are saying. An 18 year old would rather get beat by a 12 year old than a Master swimmer. I am really under attack when I show up for a USA meet...it's really fun. I think it's because to them I associate with their parents, and this gives them a chance to get back at them somehow.

You would not believe how many coaches and parents have thanked me for swimming in the meets. They all say the same thing, "my kid had an incredible swim...I've never seen him try so hard!"

As you know, "Young versus Old" is a really hot topic in USA Swimming. The next Olympic team should be quite interesting.

November 2nd, 2002, 06:03 PM
>>>>>USMS Telekinetic Powers?
I didn't get any of those when
I signed up. Should I contact my

Just contact me, the USMS Registration Committee Chairman. Send small bills. LOTS of them.

Tom Ellison
November 2nd, 2002, 07:46 PM
Hi Henry:
Your right...they really put an all out effort in their events when us "Ols Guys" are around.
I may not beat them..but they still have to bring it all...(at least some of them do <S>...
Kindest regards,

Tim Hedrick
November 4th, 2002, 02:44 PM
Another in the "kids say the darndest things" thread:

At the first USS meet I swam last year at age 38, I had a 17-yr old kid looking at me in the warm-up pool with a real strange look on his face. It was so strange it caught my attention (there I was, minding my own business...).

Anyway, he perks up and says, "Hey, are you the OLD guy in the 500?", making sure he emphasized the OLD part. I chuckled with him and signalled my agreement. It brought home that 'old' is a relative term and heavily dependent on perspective. He then goes on to say "Ha! I thought your age was a MISPRINT"! I guess he though I was supposed to be 18 or something. Perhaps wishful thinking?

As it turns out, we're seeded in lanes next to each other (2&3), and as we approach the blocks he gets a startled, funny look on his face and immediately asks the starter if he can switch lanes, and points beyond me toward lane 8. Hearing that I blurt out "No way - you stay right there. That's right where I want you". The starter, an old friend of mine, says between chuckles "Nope. Tim wants you there - you stay there".

Well by this time the whole pool deck is roaring with laughter. I felt a little too much on display and regretted saying what I did, but it was too late. The race eventually starts and an oversealous Young Gun Lane 2 takes it out way too hard, fades quickly, and I end up beating him by several seconds to the delight (surprise?) of many who watched.

After the race, the young gun and I had a good talk in the warm down lanes and he recognized his mistakes (and I apologized for what I said). He said that was the first time he raced an "older" swimmer. I tried to gently get the point across that older swimmers are still around and some are still quite capable. Although I may not be able to beat him any more, as he progresses up the ladder of swimming success I suspect he'll run into a lot more "older" swimmers who can. At least he shouldn't alter his race strategy by their presence.

I've seen the young man at a few meets since and he lets me know what he's swimming and asks if I've entered anything and looks truly dejected when I say "No, I'm just a parent this time". I make it a point to watch his races and offer encouragement and congratulations.

To me, that's the best of what we can offer!

November 5th, 2002, 12:21 PM

Excellent post! Mentoring the "young guns" can be very rewarding. In addition to a good fight, it's what us Masters can provide USA Swimming.


November 15th, 2002, 07:27 PM
This is another old guy story.

In my third meet as a USS Swimmer a 17 year old was looking at me as we stood behind the blocks waiting for our heat in the 100 yard fly.

"How old are you. sir?"
"Well, at least I'll beat someone today."

After two lengths I was only one body length behind this kid.
I said to myself, "I think I can take him."

And I did. Barely.

But the best part was the comment I overheard from another of this young man's team.

"What's the matter with you? You let that old geezer beat you."

I'm 48 now and beginning my 5th year of USS Swimming. I LOVE IT.

Matt S
November 18th, 2002, 01:57 PM
OK, you've inspired me.

This past summer our Base revived the Base Swim Meet, but with a twist, we had age groups for the kids, and the oldest age group was 15+. Prior to that, we had either kids' meets, or the "Base Meet" with only grown-ups. (OK, technically it's not a USS meet, but same concept.)

It was a GREAT MEET; I'm surprised we never thought of this before. I was one of the co-coaches for the Base's Youth League team, and we got to swim against our swimmers, our swimmers' parents, on relay teams with kids and parents all mixed-up, including some family relay teams. Best of all, that 15+ age group had some real good competition--far better than 15-18 or an adult swim meet ever sees.

But, my story: I was entered in the 50 fly & 200 free along with one of our better 17 yr olds. Neither one of us was talking big ahead of time, because we both knew it would be a real dog fight. My 50 fly was the perfect race. I shattered my PR (by .8 seconds, and I have been coming close to breaking it for only about the last three years), and out-touched him for 1st. I was thrilled, but the swimming parents on deck appeared to be as thrilled to see one of their own win the race. (Of course, my swimmer and another 17 yr old stud-muffin beat my brains out in the 200 free, so youth was ultimately served.) We then teamed-up on a relay. And BTW, I had given up on finding 3 other swimmers to form one, until my kids drafted me into their team. After spending a whole season juggling relay teams with last minute no-shows or scratches, I can't expressed how much I was pleased to see THEM pull the relay together.

T'any rate, it seems to me that swimming USS meets is something we all should consider, especially if we would be there to see our kids swim regardless of whether we enter ourselves.


November 20th, 2002, 03:13 PM
Masters swimmers in USA meets aren't too common around here. I tried it this summer to get some LCM times. Unlike you speedy guys, I WAS dead last in one event. :D But in the 200m Breast, I wasn't last, much to my surprise. Even being slow everyone was very supportive. I did overhear one kid, looking at the program, say, " Look, 44, that must be a typo. Nobody that old would swim here."

Side note - I found warm-up with all those fast kids very difficult.

November 21st, 2002, 11:46 AM
I've been in Masters swimming for just shy of 2 years now and started swimming USS meets again last Spring. Even at 26, it's a blast to get up and show some cocky kids a thing or two. It also keeps things in perspective: on our Masters team, I'm definitely one of the kids, but swimming USS I'm ancient. Go figure :)

My favorite USS story is from a mini meet with my old club team last May. I was back in town for the weekend and my father came down to officiate as well. During the meet one of the parents timing was talking about his 10&under swimming in the meet and asked my father if he had a child in the meet. The parent then asked, "Well how old is your son?" Apparently the shocked look at "He's 26," was priceless.

Of course, I just barely squeeked out the 100 fly over Bill Specht, so I wasn't even close to the oldest at the meet!

November 27th, 2002, 11:54 AM
Since my husband and I have been swimming in USA Swimming meets for the last 5 or 6 years (in fact we're swimming in one next weekend) our participation doesn't garner quite the entertaining responses that it used to. The best one had to be at the Illinois Senior State Meet the summer of 1997 when Bob (at 33) had qualified for finals in the 50 free. After the morning swim we were talking to some of the kids we knew at the meet and overheard a couple of boys walking by talking about and in utter disbelief of "some old guy in biking shorts qualifying for finals". (The jammer had just started showing up at Masters meets but the kids had yet to start wearing them).

December 22nd, 2002, 01:10 AM
Me, I would stay away from teenage meets since many 9 and 10 and 11 and 12 year olds can beat me now. Being a middle age person who was average at their peak back in the 1970's and clocking a 100 meter breastroke time that is 14 seconds slower now than then, no way do I want to swim against age groupers. Now the 20 something lap swimmer is a different story.

December 23rd, 2002, 11:33 AM
I've been swimming on a 400y Medley Relay at local USS meets for several years now. We've even won a few times and made Senior National cuts a couple times. At present time our ages are 33-39-41-41.

Each year the kids and coaches playfully make fun of us with all sorts of comments about canes, wheelchairs, etc. In a recent meet we took 2nd place. The next morning (it was a 4 day meet) I was in the locker room and overheard a kid in the shower say, "We finally beat those old guys last night; I've been chasing them for years!"

Jeff Roddin