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View Full Version : Masters nationals--depth of competition?



bcm119
July 31st, 2007, 01:04 PM
This may have been covered before; I'm new here, so I apologize in advance.

I've been cycling rather than swimming for the past 10 years, and I recently got back in the pool as end-of-season cross training. Which of course got me curious about masters programs. I checked out the Masters Nationals psyche sheets and I was really surprised at the lack of depth of the competition.

So heres the question: why do so few swimmers choose to compete after college? In comparison to cycling, or running, it seems there are hardly any swimmers competing at a high level over the age of 22 or so. For example, the mens 30-34 100 m free nationals psyche sheet shows 10 people, ranging from :56 to 1:03! 10 people? Is that because most people don't pre-register? Or are there really only a handful of 30-34 men out there who can go under a minute in the 100m free??

FlyQueen
July 31st, 2007, 01:22 PM
LCM nationals have a much lower attendance than SCY nationals. Check the results out from Seattle, also there are national cuts though you get 3 free events.

swimmieAvsFan
July 31st, 2007, 01:23 PM
picking a meet like the one at the woodlands is probably not a good indicator of the depth of masters swimming. it is a very small national meet, just over 900 people, i bet mostly because many people were not too keen on swimming outside, in houston, in august...

for example, at the 2005 LCM nationals, there were 23 men in the 30-34 age group. and 12 of them were under a minute...


also, not everyone makes it to the national meet. a much more accurate picture of the actual depth of masters (not neccessarily nationals, but the whole organization) is to check out the previous year's top ten times. that year, it took a 52.42 to be ranked #1 for the year. and a 57.24 to just make the top 10.

Jeff Commings
July 31st, 2007, 01:26 PM
Don't judge masters swimming based on the number of people at summer nationals.

Most people don't swim long course nationals for many reasons: family obligations prevent them from training in the summer, they tapered for the spring meet and don't want to train hard in the summer or they don't want to suffer through the heat of the Woodlands in August.

Take a look at the results from last spring's nationals (http://www.usms.org/comp/scnats07/results/) for a more accurate picture of masters swimming.

If you look at the men's 30-34 100 free, (http://www.usms.org/comp/scnats07/results/m3034.php) 19 guys posted a time that would be equivalent to breaking 1:00 in long course. That's a lot of sub-1:00 swims.

Our top 10 listings will also show you how deep masters swimming is. The short course top 10 for 2007 will be published in a couple of weeks.

I hope you decide to give masters a try. If you swim at spring nationals in Austin next May, maybe we'll be in adjacent lanes in the 100 free! (Unless I wimp out and only swim my normal events.)

gull
July 31st, 2007, 01:30 PM
My age group (45-49) is pretty competitive--in the 100 free there are 55 swimmers entered, and it will take a sub 1:00 to place. Keep in mind that only a fraction of those who qualify actually attend Nationals. A better way to measure the depth of competition in Masters swimming would be to look at the top ten lists as Jeff and Mollie suggested.

Blackbeard's Peg
July 31st, 2007, 01:51 PM
to answer the "why don't people swim after college"
some of us do! I actually swam masters THROUGH college, and am still going

But a list of reasons why people wouldnt swim after college:
- burnout :frustrated:
- hate toward swimming fostered by intense college environment:censor:
- general despise of competition :cry:
- desire to do something else (ie drink heavily, water polo, flag football) after focusing almost exclusively on training :drink:
- grad school/ med school :coffee:
- swimmer doesn't know about masters swimming :dunno:
- occupational conflicts (ie new job; no vacation time; working long hours) :notworking:
- lack of funds :2cents:
- marriage/ parenthood (a little too much partying after that victory at conference champs/ncaa's) :banana:

</IMG>

knelson
July 31st, 2007, 01:56 PM
In comparison to cycling, or running, it seems there are hardly any swimmers competing at a high level over the age of 22 or so

I would suggest a comparison to cycling isn't a good one. Cycling is not a very popular competitive sport for kids, but swimming is. It seems to me many more people get into cycling later in life. I think this almost ensures the depth of cycling at older ages is going to be greater than swimming. The entire demographic is just skewed compared to swimming.

aquageek
July 31st, 2007, 01:59 PM
Lack of competition? Holy moly, having 16 people in the fast lane(s) today at practice, all of whom can go under 1:00-1:05 in LCM, sure blows a hole in that theory.

bcm119
July 31st, 2007, 02:01 PM
Thanks for the replies. SC nationals does seem a little deeper. I guess I'm just surprised at the overall numbers... compared with cycling and tris/running. But I'm sure its true that many who qualify don't show up for various reasons.
I don't foresee myself competing in swimming anytime soon... my last swim meet was in 1995, and 10 years of biking doesn't do any good for upper body strength. I've lost 15 lbs of muscle mass since college, which isn't good for an ex-sprinter.

PS Jeff C, you're a fast dude! Very inspirational to see those times from someone your age.

swimshark
July 31st, 2007, 02:06 PM
Thanks for the replies. SC nationals does seem a little deeper. I guess I'm just surprised at the overall numbers... compared with cycling and tris/running.
.

I'd even check out your local zones or any local meet results. Some local meets have quite a few swimmers. Oregon has their annuall Assoc Champs in April where there have been 350+ swimmers. Nationals numbers will vary depending on the location and time in Aug when it's held.

Hey, jump on in and give a masters meet a try. You might really like it again.

Alison

FlyQueen
July 31st, 2007, 02:09 PM
Swimmers over 22 that are swimming and darn fast:
Phelps just turned 22, Peirsol, Crocker, Hansen then you have the +30s of Walker, Hall, and Lezak. Also fast and older our very own Ande.

Women in their 30s and up that swim/swam fast - Dara Torres over 40 and swimming fast as ever, Jenny Thompson was in her 30s in Athens, Rachel Komisarz is over 30 or is 30. Coughlin will be 25 and Beard turns 26 later this year.

A lot of the fast swimmers over 22 still swim USS. A lot of others are burned out. You simply cannot compare swimming with cycling. My brother rode pro so I have some insight into the cycling world. They generally start later, peak later, and it's easier. I don't mean physically easier, but it's harder to find a pool than it is a bike. Also almost everyone learns how to ride a bike as a kid.

Even better than the top 10 lists, look at current rankings for SCY - 100s of swimmers swim every event. It's unreal. The biggest/fastest age groups seem to be 40s. There kids are a bit older and they aren't so burned out, they have a bit more cash, or whatever.

gull
July 31st, 2007, 02:19 PM
Lack of competition? Holy moly, having 16 people in the fast lane(s) today at practice, all of whom can go under 1:00-1:05 in LCM, sure blows a hole in that theory.


16? At our practice this morning there were only two of us, so I was the fast lane. Of course we swim at 5:30am.

BTW, if anyone is passing through Austin and wants a place to swim, check out Nitro Swimming.

bcm119
July 31st, 2007, 02:23 PM
Lack of competition? Holy moly, having 16 people in the fast lane(s) today at practice, all of whom can go under 1:00-1:05 in LCM, sure blows a hole in that theory.
I guess that just goes to show how unrepresentative Summer masters nationals is of the overall state of masters competition. Thats good to know.

Gkami
July 31st, 2007, 06:56 PM
I agree that LCM nationals are probably the least representative of the state of masters. I know here in the NW, there are very few LCM pools to swim in so it makes training difficult. Plus during the summer there is a stronger pull for swimmers to split between LCM competition, Open Water, and Tri's. And now with families vacations and other things distract from the pool.

knelson
July 31st, 2007, 07:15 PM
I swim on a pretty strong team. Outside of the summer we usually have two lanes of 4-5 swimmers who can hold 100 on 1:10 SCY. Attendance is way down during the summer and, in fact, I'm the only person that ever competes long course on my team.

Glenn
July 31st, 2007, 07:57 PM
bcm119,

Jeff C. is fast. Now check out 56 year old Jim Mc Conica in the 500 free going 4:57 or better yet, 62 year old Rich Abrahams going 22.69 in the 50 free and 49.98 in the 100 free! That is fast!!

Glenn

Allen Stark
August 1st, 2007, 08:24 PM
If you want to see depth at a LCM meet check out the results at last years worlds.25-29 1:00.4 was 64th. Thats pretty good depth.

Blackbeard's Peg
August 2nd, 2007, 09:46 AM
If you want to see depth at a LCM meet check out the results at last years worlds.25-29 1:00.4 was 64th. Thats pretty good depth.
Allen, thanks for looking me up.

thats a 1:00.04, btw. :thhbbb:
oh so close.:dedhorse:

SwimStud
August 2nd, 2007, 09:54 AM
Allen, thanks for looking me up.

thats a 1:00.04, btw. :thhbbb:
oh so close.:dedhorse:

Muppet, Cut yer hair for the .04 ;). I can talk my nickname was "Chewie" be glad I shave for zones.

NB to the OP: There are also a large number of us that cannot quite do those times but are just as competetive within our limitations, and to ourselves. That or we want to have the social and fun aspect of masters too. Either way get back in and let us know how you are doing!

Allen Stark
August 2nd, 2007, 01:59 PM
Muppet,I'm sorry.I know how important .36 sec is. I didn't know if you wanted me to reference you or not. Also I think that time is damn fast.:notworthy:

Blackbeard's Peg
August 2nd, 2007, 10:53 PM
Muppet,I'm sorry.I know how important .36 sec is. I didn't know if you wanted me to reference you or not. Also I think that time is damn fast.:notworthy:
Allen - no worries for outing me! It was a great swim (PB). I've never broken the :60 barrier, and I thought that .04 up there was the funniest thing - brought a huge smile to my face.

Back to topic, thanks for bringing up these results. The 100 free is a great illustration of the depth of masters swimming, even at young ages. I like to think that of all the 80 some guys who swam the 100 in my age group at worlds, I was the only one w/o USAS/NCAA (or equiv) experience. Just goes to show what a little hard work can do (and what a lot of hard work can do too)!

Allen Stark
August 3rd, 2007, 11:26 AM
1:00 without prior USAS experience is something to be really proud of:cheerleader::cheerleader:(eat your heart out "he who must not be named".:mooning:)

bcm119
August 3rd, 2007, 12:51 PM
to answer the "why don't people swim after college"
some of us do! I actually swam masters THROUGH college, and am still going

But a list of reasons why people wouldnt swim after college:
- burnout :frustrated:
- hate toward swimming fostered by intense college environment:censor:
- general despise of competition :cry:
- desire to do something else (ie drink heavily, water polo, flag football) after focusing almost exclusively on training :drink:
- grad school/ med school :coffee:
- swimmer doesn't know about masters swimming :dunno:
- occupational conflicts (ie new job; no vacation time; working long hours) :notworking:
- lack of funds :2cents:
- marriage/ parenthood (a little too much partying after that victory at conference champs/ncaa's) :banana:

</IMG>
Its funny, this just about covers it as to why I stopped swimming and never started again after my first year at college. I swam with a pretty elite club right up until college, then quit my first year at penn state. I was done, burned out, sick of swimming and swimming people, and wanted to have a more standard college experience, which I did, and I don't regret.

Just getting back in the pool the last few weeks, all these feelings/reasons have resurfaced again... along with some shoulder pain, which I never had before... and its going to be tough mentally to really embrace swimming with any commitment again. I miss that feeling of swimming strongly and effortlessly, but I'm not sure how much I miss the work it took to get there. It is hard for me to do things half-assed, so I really am not sure what I will end up doing in the next few months. I think moderation may be good for a while... but its not really 'my thing'. Anyway, thanks for the replies, this is a great forum.

reachhigher
August 3rd, 2007, 07:36 PM
It’s funny, because I so envy the people who were allowed to keep swimming to and through college. I wanted to keep swimming so badly and was not allowed to by my parents. But when I see posts like yours (bcm), I wonder if it’s good to have missed out on the toughness of some of those years, because of how thoroughly I enjoy and appreciate swimming for having waited to do it again for so many years.

I’m sorry that you’re having a hard time refocusing on swimming, but best of luck, whether you decide to continue or move on.

Kevin in MD
August 6th, 2007, 05:48 PM
Check the different age groups. Sounds like you are under 30, there's a big jump in competition the older you get. People often come back to the pool round about 30 - 35.

On the other hand, it seems like there was a clump of fast people who are aing and not *entirely* being replaced by the younger folks. Last week in sandpoint the two front groups were full of guys over 40, mostly anyway.