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Paul Smith
October 15th, 2007, 10:44 PM
"Dara Torres should be the face of United States Masters Swimming"

Brent Rutemiller, October issue Swimming World Magazine

"Of Course, Torres isn't on this trip alone. Aside from the support of Hoffman, her daughter and her coaches, Torres relies on a team. She has a nanny who tends to Tessa, a strength coach, and physical and massage therapists who work her like a piece of dough."

John Lohn, October Swimming World Magazine

With all due respect to Mr. Rutemillier & Mr. Lohn I would suggest that they spend a little more time around the people who not only compete in the meets of our sport but with the people who are the backbone as volunteers in the day to day running of it....Dara's only contribution has been making a few workouts early in her comeback, attending a couple of meets and signing autographs and collecting checks for clinics.

If you want a "face" of Masters Swimming look to Susan Von der Lippe who beat Dara as the first person over 40 to qualify for Trials....and she did it training with a masters team 3x a week...working par time, no nanny, no trainers....no PR person....that to me this is the core of what we are in my opinion.

How about Rob Copeland who somehow manages to run this entire organization, swim extremely well, post on our forum....all without a massage therapist and pilates instructor....again this is what Masters represents...to me.

Dara has done something remarkable for anyone her age... give her credit..but lets see if at some point she wants to time at one of our meets...or be on one of our committee's to help promote masters...without an appearance fee.

The Fortress
October 15th, 2007, 10:59 PM
No, I agree. The "face" of masters swimming should be a masters swimmer who comes complete with a real life and the vagaries, responsibilities, drawbacks and time limitations of that real life. Like Rob or Susan or whoever. I admire them more from a masters POV. Having the luxury of a 24/7 "team" is in no way typical of masters swimming and thus should not personify or be the "face" of masters swimming. She is amazing, but I don't really consider her a "masters" swimmer.

Allen Stark
October 15th, 2007, 11:09 PM
This is an interesting conundrum.She is a masters swimmer due to her age,but she is a professional swimmer who happens to be 40.Her life revolves around swimming,where the rest of our lives revolve around work and family.Even Dennis Baker is a swim coach first and a swimmer second.Masters Swimming has thousands of faces. The 50 year old going to their first meet is also the face of masters swimming.:banana::banana::banana:

scyfreestyler
October 15th, 2007, 11:10 PM
How is she not a Masters swimmer? She is certainly of age...and she swims. I think USMS stands to gain a lot of valuable publicity via Darra. On the other hand, I can see how she is not the average USMS swimmer and perhaps should not be the face, per se, of USMS.

The Fortress
October 15th, 2007, 11:16 PM
How is she not a Masters swimmer? She is certainly of age...and she swims. I think USMS stands to gain a lot of valuable publicity via Darra. On the other hand, I can see how she is not the average USMS swimmer and perhaps should not be the face, per se, of USMS.

I put "masters" swimmer in quotes to connote a deviation from the regular usage of the term masters swimmer. By age, she surely qualifies. I just don't view her as the "face" of master swimming. Who else among us here has a 24/7 "team" and is a professional? By any measure, that is simply highly unusual and irregular for masters. Since I am not a "professional," I have more admiration for those who excel as "masters" without the team. Just my own POV. It's a bit more difficult to be successful on true terms with all the age-related aches and pains. Dara is Olympic bound. I'll likewise cheer just as much for Geek at his next triathlon. To me, that's really the essence of masters' competition.

Sam Perry
October 15th, 2007, 11:32 PM
How is she not a Masters swimmer? She is certainly of age...and she swims.

So what "AGE" makes her qualify? Since she is over 25? If that is the case I can name many other swimmers who have done way more than Dara as "Masters Swimmers".

FlyQueen
October 15th, 2007, 11:46 PM
USMS wants to get away from the "elite" mindset associates with a "master", so that certainly won't do the trick. I think Dara is amazing and I hope it does promote the sport. I doubt Susan or Dennis are really the face of the sport either as most of us will never come close to achieving what they have or swimming nearly as fast.

Wouldn't the face really be the majority - which doesn't even compete but likes being fit and loves the water?

ALM
October 15th, 2007, 11:54 PM
I have mixed feelings about this.

On the one hand, I want to get the phrase "Masters Swimming" into the public consciousness as much as possible. If the TV and print media mention Dara's participation in Masters Swimming as part of their coverage, it spreads the word that such an organization exists.

On the other hand, I have a hard enough time now trying to convince swimmers that they're "good enough" to swim with my Masters workout group. If people start assuming that they have to be as good as Dara to participate in Masters Swimming, then I'm really in trouble.

Anna Lea

scyfreestyler
October 16th, 2007, 12:14 AM
So what "AGE" makes her qualify? Since she is over 25? If that is the case I can name many other swimmers who have done way more than Dara as "Masters Swimmers".


19 I believe.

ALM
October 16th, 2007, 12:35 AM
19 I believe.

Actually, it's age 18 now. That changed a few years ago. The lowest USMS age group is now 18-24.

Anna Lea

MAC swimmer
October 16th, 2007, 01:49 AM
USMS wants to get away from the "elite" mindset associates with a "master", so that certainly won't do the trick. I think Dara is amazing and I hope it does promote the sport. I doubt Susan or Dennis are really the face of the sport either as most of us will never come close to achieving what they have or swimming nearly as fast.

Wouldn't the face really be the majority - which doesn't even compete but likes being fit and loves the water?

Here here! I love Dara, don't get me wrong. She is a beast in the water. But when I go to masters meets and open water events I love to see the old folks--they really have guts and they always have a great attitude. To be 70 and still in shape for a 2 mile swim--that is the goal baby!

ViveBene
October 16th, 2007, 06:01 AM
Me! Choose me!

AARP-qualified and can swim 2 miles! :cool:

VB

swimshark
October 16th, 2007, 07:40 AM
I have mixed feelings about this.

On the one hand, I want to get the phrase "Masters Swimming" into the public consciousness as much as possible. If the TV and print media mention Dara's participation in Masters Swimming as part of their coverage, it spreads the word that such an organization exists.

On the other hand, I have a hard enough time now trying to convince swimmers that they're "good enough" to swim with my Masters workout group. If people start assuming that they have to be as good as Dara to participate in Masters Swimming, then I'm really in trouble.

Anna Lea

I agree. The face of Masters swimming should be a person without their own "team" behind them.

Alison

aquageek
October 16th, 2007, 08:50 AM
Smith dangles a hook with a worm and everyone bites.

There are many faces of USMS. I have no problem with her being one of those faces.

tjburk
October 16th, 2007, 08:51 AM
A day in the life of an average "Masters" swimmer:

4:30 AM - Up and drive a half hour to the only pool in the area that is open that early. (I do this that early because I then have to go to work for 8 hours)

5:15 - 6:30 Get in 3500-4000 SCY 4500 if I am lucky

7:30 At work

1130 - 1230 (1:00 If time permits) Lunchtime swim - Again, lucky to get in 3000-3500 SCY 4000 if I am lucky

4:00 Leave work and go to the pool to coach the kids

6:30ish or 7 Home to eat dinner and make sure all the homework and life stresses for 3 high schoolers and one middle schooler are taken care of.

7:30 Leave me alone - Jeopardy is on!!!! :groovy:

8:00 - 11:00 Watch some TV in between helping with all the homework and stuff

11:00 Usually in bed - sometimes midnight.

Up the next day to do it again......this is my M-W-F routine.....T-Th are usually a little different with Soccer practice. And of course the whole thing can be thrown off by somebody missing a ride to one of their activities.

Absolutely nothing against Dara......she is truly an inspiration to all of us!!! I even defended her in the other thread about doping......but does she have to deal with this type of stuff daily like most of us do?

SwimStud
October 16th, 2007, 09:08 AM
I don't think we can have one face. Who should it be? Dara? Rob? Jeff Commings? Fortress? Allen Stark? Nobody is better than anyone else at being a masters swimmer. Whether you swim a 50 in :20 or 1:20.

It would be better to pick a selection. The calendar idea USMS faces of Masters Swimming would give you 12 folks to choose from.
You could pull an ex-olympian, a fulltime working mother, someone who just swims to keep in shape and have fun, someone who is working on a world record etc etc.

Pictures of our top swimmers with the average guy or gal, or photos of them sharing knowledge at a clinic type thing. That to me would be a better representation--and a crystalised version of the forum and meets where you can get to meet each other. Yes of course there is room to recognise the admin side who put it all together too--whether they actively swim or not.

If you have to have 1 face at least give the members the right to pick from an assortment of types and classes not just elites. IMHO

tjburk
October 16th, 2007, 09:13 AM
Well said SS......

CreamPuff
October 16th, 2007, 09:13 AM
I agree. The face of Masters swimming should be a person without their own "team" behind them.

Alison

Now this is a very interesting statement (for me). I'm not sure as to whether I agree or disagree. What would be a "team?" Massages a couple of times a week and a personal trainer? An acupuncturist, pilates instructor and nutritionist?

However, from all of the masters swimmers and even runners, cyclists, and triathletes that I know, many would be eliminated from being considered the "face" of their sport due to working with a team of people to enhance performance. I would estimate that of the adults that I know, about half of them work with some combination of a trainer, massage therapist, physical therapist, chiropractor, pilates or yoga instructor, nutritionist, etc. So, I feel Dara's getting a bit of a bad rap in that area. I know that I was surprised to find that some of the masters individuals I swim with (and this goes for 50 and 60+ yr individuals) have acupuncturists, yoga instructors, pilates classes, and weight trainers. Now, they don't go around advertising this info. It does make sense to me as to why they are so quick in the pool . . . I'm sure there are swimmers out there who are fabulous and they just swim (I know of a few). But usually, there are specific reasons as to why some swimmers are so quick in the pool.

So, I guess unless I really knew what everyone does in and out of the pool, I can't pass judgment. This sort of reminds me of the kids who would say, "I did not study at all for that test!" and then they aced it when you better believe they did all kinds of things to prepare for it.

And having your own PR company backing you is not, in my mind, always a win-win for the individual. . .

So is what people are saying is that to be the "face" of masters, you are expected to be OT speed while training minimally and only in the pool? Sign me up! :lmao:

But back to the topic at hand, I feel Dara is one of the many faces of Masters. She's very unique and not at all typical of our group.

Anyway, interesting thread.

SwimStud
October 16th, 2007, 09:18 AM
Smith dangles a hook with a worm and everyone bites.

There are many faces of USMS. I have no problem with her being one of those faces.

I'm voting for you hunkalicious!!!

The Fortress
October 16th, 2007, 09:35 AM
A day in the life of an average "Masters" swimmer:

4:30 AM - Up and drive a half hour to the only pool in the area that is open that early. (I do this that early because I then have to go to work for 8 hours)

5:15 - 6:30 Get in 3500-4000 SCY 4500 if I am lucky

7:30 At work

1130 - 1230 (1:00 If time permits) Lunchtime swim - Again, lucky to get in 3000-3500 SCY 4000 if I am lucky

4:00 Leave work and go to the pool to coach the kids

6:30ish or 7 Home to eat dinner and make sure all the homework and life stresses for 3 high schoolers and one middle schooler are taken care of.

7:30 Leave me alone - Jeopardy is on!!!! :groovy:

8:00 - 11:00 Watch some TV in between helping with all the homework and stuff

11:00 Usually in bed - sometimes midnight.

Up the next day to do it again......this is my M-W-F routine.....T-Th are usually a little different with Soccer practice. And of course the whole thing can be thrown off by somebody missing a ride to one of their activities.

Absolutely nothing against Dara......she is truly an inspiration to all of us!!! I even defended her in the other thread about doping......but does she have to deal with this type of stuff daily like most of us do?

What, no massage?

swimr4life
October 16th, 2007, 09:37 AM
I think the face of Masters Swimming should be ALL of us. We all swim for different reasons. We have all had obstacles we have had to overcome to swim..... or swimming has helped us through life's obstacles.

I will never forget when I was getting ready to swim the 100 free at Nationals in Ft. Lauderdale. I was soooo nervous and really putting the pressure on myself. I sat by the pool and watched the first heat of the 100 free. These women were 80-90 years old, They had to have help getting on the blocks but they all did RACING DIVES and FLIP TURNS. It literally brought tears to my eyes. I want to be like that when I am that age. It totally put things in perspective for me.....that I needed to lighten up and just have fun. So, maybe our "face" should be someone like that!

The Fortress
October 16th, 2007, 09:45 AM
However, from all of the masters swimmers and even runners, cyclists, and triathletes that I know, many would be eliminated from being considered the "face" of their sport due to working with a team of people to enhance performance. I would estimate that of the adults that I know, about half of them work with some combination of a trainer, massage therapist, physical therapist, chiropractor, pilates or yoga instructor, nutritionist, etc. So, I feel Dara's getting a bit of a bad rap in that area. I know that I was surprised to find that some of the masters individuals I swim with (and this goes for 50 and 60+ yr individuals) have acupuncturists, yoga instructors, pilates classes, and weight trainers. Now, they don't go around advertising this info. It does make sense to me as to why they are so quick in the pool . . . I'm sure there are swimmers out there who are fabulous and they just swim (I know of a few). But usually, there are specific reasons as to why some swimmers are so quick in the pool.

Kristina:

I've observed the same thing, which is why I started the "professional masters swimmer" thread awhile back. Obviously, loads of masters swimmers seek some help to keep themselves in the pool or enhance performance. Good for them! No one should begrudge anyone in their pursuit of excellence or improvement. I wish I could do more myself! I'm sure many of the top athletes in our sport have some sort of team, as you note.

I do see ART/prolo docs once in awhile for shoulder management and get a couple massages a year. But I mostly train alone and hit the weight room alone and have no team whatsoever. It's not a big deal. I'm happy with just being able to train and compete once in awhile. I am damn jealous of those getting weekly massages though ...

Seems like this issue calls for a poll to see what masters swimmers are engaging in what activities to make themselves better in the pool.

I like Stud's idea of across the board representation. We are all different and have different stories, different lives, different goals, different obstacles, etc. Celebrate diversity. I just don't think Dara is THE one face.

quicksilver
October 16th, 2007, 09:47 AM
The face of Masters Swimming wears a red Speedo.

SwimStud
October 16th, 2007, 09:49 AM
The face of Masters Swimming wears a red Speedo.

Over their face?

quicksilver
October 16th, 2007, 09:53 AM
Racer X.

RuffWater
October 16th, 2007, 10:15 AM
Is Dara a current card carrying USMS member? Will she be in 2008?

Blackbeard's Peg
October 16th, 2007, 10:36 AM
I think Dara makes a great poster child for masters swimming, but the face of masters swimming to me is more a regular joe.

How about:

:fish2:the person on some small, unknown team that doesn't have any meet swimmers who just learned how to swim 2 months ago and just learned how to do a flip turn?
:fish2:the US Army vet home from iraq minus a leg looking for some alternative rehabilitation so he may go back to the front lines?
:fish2:your local masters coach who took a floundering program and built it into a local fitness mecca?
:fish2:80+ yr old Doug Strong, who despite the fact that he may DQ, will swim the 200 fly at every nationals he can make?

tjburk
October 16th, 2007, 10:53 AM
Leslie, the only massage I ever get to have is at home....when I am laying there in bed....and my three dogs climb over me to get in or out of the bed!! :rofl::rofl:

Paul Smith
October 16th, 2007, 12:06 PM
Sadly USMS still does not have an "image" of what it is....I say this with all due respect to those that are attempting to make changes in the organization (turning the Titanic?)....but it is sad that USS thru Swimming World seems to have a pretty clear idea of what we should be and who the face should be....

To me Masters Swimming is as a number of people have said here a collage of people/faces/interests. So how do you market something like that? Jack of all trades and master of none most would tell you is a pretty tough sell...

Its also tough to promote growth when I would guess most swimmers....especially those that control many of the committees at USMS...simply don't want their lanes any more crowded than they already are.

So where does this leave? Slowly dying if you look at the drops in membership and lack of retention that we face....more and more coaches/clubs leaving to self insure....fewer and fewer pools interested in hosting our national championships....

So is Dara the savior? Possibly if she's willing to ramp up her PR machine and really help promote awareness of what our sport "is".....but what is it?

So many questions!

PS: Geek...i was going to use you as an example of who the face should be...but you went over to the dark side (trigeek) and lost all of our respect...well at least the respect of someone on this entire forum I would guess! :mooning:

knelson
October 16th, 2007, 12:15 PM
It seems to me the common thread we all share is swimming to promote a fit and healthy lifestyle. For some that means competing at a high level, for others it might mean purely fitness swimming. I think this is an "image" that should resonate with lots of people.

aquageek
October 16th, 2007, 12:17 PM
I pains me to no end that I must agree with Smith that we are going to need some anvil approach to grow USMS, and that most likely means a star. Putting the mug of your average swimmer on glossy printouts would be about like farting against the wind for results.

In an ironic twist to the whole triathlon bashing we do here, it is tris that are growing my team. Mind you they come and go a lot while the real swimmers hang on but they pay their dues like the rest of us.

I never garnered any respect, Smith, so none for me to lose. The fall is always less painful when you don't have far to drop.

scyfreestyler
October 16th, 2007, 12:21 PM
Here's the deal with USMS, the way I see it anyhow. One need not belong to USMS to swim. Most people, even most USMS members, are not interested in competition and are really just looking to stay healthy. You can do this at any number of YMCA's or city pools across this country without belonging to USMS.

As I stated earlier, USMS stands to gain some valuable advertising with Darra. Not only is she an amazing athlete but she has two things going against her that will make her standout, her age and her being a mother. Should her face be placed on every USMS membership card? I think not. However, doing some TV spots or advertisements in periodicals could prove quite beneficial to USMS as an organization.

Paul Smith
October 16th, 2007, 01:36 PM
As I stated earlier, USMS stands to gain some valuable advertising with Darra. Not only is she an amazing athlete but she has two things going against her that will make her standout, her age and her being a mother. Should her face be placed on every USMS membership card? I think not. However, doing some TV spots or advertisements in periodicals could prove quite beneficial to USMS as an organization.

Define "valuable"?

Unless you have a clear reason to be a part of USMS I don't think the fact that Dara....training almost exclusively with a USS team....sends any message that would get more people to sign up....if having people sign up is even a goal?

As I stated...if USMS is not providing any tangible benefits to be a part of their organization...individuals will continue to move to their own training groups as many of our tri friends have done...coaches will continue to "self insure" and not require their members to be join USMS....and our numbers will keep dropping off.

mbmg3282
October 16th, 2007, 01:39 PM
Paul,

Not sure if you still receive information on what is happening at the national level or not, so here are a few updates you should be aware of.

1) This summer the Board of Directors embarked on developing a strategic plan. It was presented to the House of Delegates at the annual convention 3 weeks ago.

2) One of the parts of the strategic plan is branding USMS. As you have correctly pointed out, we are not really sure who we are. Lynn Hazelwood is heading up a task force that is working on the branding.

3) All our committees are in the process of evaluating the activities that they do during the year and making sure that they align with the strategic plan. Each committee is then prioritizing the items to address the most strategic first.

4) Growth is something we are beginning to address. Online membership registration will help some. We are also trying harder to find ways to partner with groups like USA Triathlon, the YMCA, etc.

5) I am not sure where you got the impression that our committee leaders want to avoid growth to protect their own lane space. The leaders I have had the privilidge to work with do not examplify that attitude at all. In fact, they conducted a series of workshops at this years convention on ways to get more swimmers in the pool.

We have a lot of work to do, but I believe the organization is moving in the right direction. It will take longer to get there than we would like, but that is true in most things.

aquageek
October 16th, 2007, 01:44 PM
Dang, more good points by Smith. Our team does require USMS membership to participate - no card, no swim. It takes some effort to make sure the aquatics director where you train sees the value of USMS. We did a charity swim last NYD to prove we can be of value.

scyfreestyler
October 16th, 2007, 01:56 PM
Define "valuable"?

Unless you have a clear reason to be a part of USMS I don't think the fact that Dara....training almost exclusively with a USS team....sends any message that would get more people to sign up....if having people sign up is even a goal?

As I stated...if USMS is not providing any tangible benefits to be a part of their organization...individuals will continue to move to their own training groups as many of our tri friends have done...coaches will continue to "self insure" and not require their members to be join USMS....and our numbers will keep dropping off.

Of great importance or service would be the definition implied here. USS uses elite swimmers (Phelps, Hansen, Crocker, etc.) to generate intrest in age group swimming when just a tiny fraction of swimmers will ever make it to their level or even have the opportunity to swim in the same pool. The same idea applies to USMS...desiring to be a part of something that "that swimmer" is part of. I'm not a marketing guru, just presenting some ideas.

Of course having people sign up is a goal. If not to increase membership and revenues, what other purpose would there be to advertise? If there are people in USMS board positions who are reluctant to push for increased membership due to their own lane crowding, then that is sad. Sad for them and sad for USMS as well. I certainly hope this is not the case.

Don't even get me started about people moving over to triathlons. :mooning:

SwimStud
October 16th, 2007, 02:14 PM
Of great importance or service would be the definition implied here. USS uses elite swimmers (Phelps, Hansen, Crocker, etc.) to generate intrest in age group swimming when just a tiny fraction of swimmers will ever make it to their level or even have the opportunity to swim in the same pool. The same idea applies to USMS...desiring to be a part of something that "that swimmer" is part of. I'm not a marketing guru, just presenting some ideas.


Of course this can have the opposite effect in some grown ups who might feel intimidated about getting into the water or competing. Kids tend to want to "be like Mike," whereas adults look at themselves and say to themselves "Crap, my 5' 8" 190lbs butt has no way of being like Mickey Mouse let alone Mike," and thus feel to intimidated to try. That's my caveat against using an elite swimmer. I've heard this from a personal trainer who explained this phenomenom and thus didn't overdo it with the workout clothes she wore for her sessions.

No Disrespect, but only 1 person can finish first. If promoting wellness through swimming is the goal, then Dara is the wrong choice, IMHO.

If the target segment is ex College and HS swimmers that drifted away (no pun) then maybe she is the right choice.

scyfreestyler
October 16th, 2007, 02:26 PM
So perhaps some FA should be the face of USMS.

I see what you are saying Stud, and it has some merit. However, the allure of our elite athletes is quite strong, even to the mature adult. Many friends of mine are into club baseball and softball while following very closely the trials and tribulations of their favorite pro player(s). They know that hitting a homer like ARod is a pipe dream, but they are out there playing the game just like so and so is.

Paul Smith
October 16th, 2007, 02:31 PM
I am not sure where you got the impression that our committee leaders want to avoid growth to protect their own lane space. The leaders I have had the privilidge to work with do not examplify that attitude at all. In fact, they conducted a series of workshops at this years convention on ways to get more swimmers in the pool.

Mark....I need to to retract my statement on the committee's...it was an all encompassing statement and not accurate. I do however still contend that there are a number of members of USMS on all levels that do feel this way about growth....I've heard it first hand many times.

SCY, the definition "Of great importance or service would be the definition implied here" still needs to have context. Showing Dara may entice former world class swimmers to make a comeback in their late 30's/early 40's....it may also chase away the core membership (fitness oriented) because they would feel even more intimidated.

I don't have the answers...just lots of questions....and I admit it pisses me off a bit that SW steps in and tries to tell us what our "face" should look like...then again if no one else is willing/able to do it than why not?

aquageek
October 16th, 2007, 02:35 PM
It doesn't have to be an "either/or" campaign. Many organizations have the superstar as well as the everyman approach to advertising. You try to cover all the bases, or as many as you can.

Stillhere
October 16th, 2007, 02:35 PM
Face of Masters Swimming? More like hid out in Masters Swimming.
Laura Val and Graham Johnston are much better faces then Dara. Heck, how many years has Graham Johnston been smashing World Records in Masters Swimming and I bet he's never had a massage....

swimshark
October 16th, 2007, 02:37 PM
Now this is a very interesting statement (for me). I'm not sure as to whether I agree or disagree. What would be a "team?" Massages a couple of times a week and a personal trainer? An acupuncturist, pilates instructor and nutritionist?


My main point about the team was her nanny. I have a 2.5 year old and due to being home with him, my training does suffer at times. If I could have a nanny like Dara, then I could be training more. But I can't afford one as a 1 income household living in DC area so I don't get the benefit she does.

As for others on her team, I have no problem with. My sister is what I'd call an elite triathlete and she has a team of people to keep her going strong and without injury. I have no problem with that.

Alison

SwimStud
October 16th, 2007, 02:41 PM
So perhaps some FA should be the face of USMS.

I see what you are saying Stud, and it has some merit. However, the allure of our elite athletes is quite strong, even to the mature adult. Many friends of mine are into club baseball and softball while following very closely the trials and tribulations of their favorite pro player(s). They know that hitting a homer like ARod is a pipe dream, but they are out there playing the game just like so and so is.


I agree with that too, so a multi pronged approach would be better. Going after one segment of the population isn't going to reel in everyone. I would submit, that the bulk of folks who actually know who Dara is and/or give a hoot about her are already swimming.

No, putting up someone who is overweight and swimming won't work. Showing someone who dropped a bundle of weight by enrolling in a USMS based swim program, and not starving themselves is better--with no disrespect to our heavier swimmers.
Revising this point; there is no reason why an active but overweight person cannot be used, to show that you don't have to be a stick to swim, and that the water is a great way to train.

No one approach will be right. USMS don't need to spend money on a poll to find out wo we are...we're everyone. The elites have their place as do the "I just do it to finish" swimmers. I didn't compete because of any swimmer, I did it because I stumbled onto this forum for info on how hard I was or wasn't working. Seeing the varied community, and getting their feedback and support got me into swimming races.

Some literature at YMCA's etc would be a good idea; highlighting the knowledge base here for workouts, overcoming obstacles and just fitting the water in around general day to day life. Certainly there could be a join USMS today and get a signed photo of Dara sort of thing too; that or coupons for advil! ;)

Also at the risk of sounding patronising, I think the 4 African-American ladies who were featured in the USMS magazine would be a great promotional asset too. Appealing to women, and also helping smash stupid stereotype myths about swimmers and their ethnicity.

smontanaro
October 16th, 2007, 02:51 PM
I haven't read all the posts in this thread, but it seems to me that USMS could probably support multiple "faces".

Skip Montanaro

knelson
October 16th, 2007, 03:06 PM
Paul Smith is implying that membership in USMS is declining. Is this, in fact, true? Where are the membership numbers?

hofffam
October 16th, 2007, 03:11 PM
I agree with the multiple face approach.

I see Dara as an example of the ultimate, or what is possible, if you do everything you can to succeed. Only a tiny percentage of Masters swimmers are even remotely like her. The message to attach to Dara might be something like "age and family aren't barriers to world class performance." Kind of an in your face statement too to our younger world class athletes who can't beat her.

The majority of us are 40-ish and participate for fitness and some competition, at least a few times a year. A message for us could emphasize fitness, satisfaction, comraderie, and show how swimming can fit in to a complicated family life. Isn't this the core group we want to attract and retain into their 50s?

Another category is the lifelong/senior swimmer. Highlight a 60-80 yr. old who has been swimming for 40 years. Show how quality of life in these years is even better when you're swimming.

ALM
October 16th, 2007, 03:48 PM
Paul Smith is implying that membership in USMS is declining. Is this, in fact, true? Where are the membership numbers?

No, this is not true. Our membership has increased every year for quite a while. We hit 43,000 for the first time in 2006 and our projection for 2007 exceeds that.

What is true, however, is that our turnover rate is very high. We've averaged a "did not renew" rate of 35% for at least the last three years.

This is a big concern to all of us on the Board of Directors. As with many businesses, it's easier to keep a current customer than to find new customers.

The big question is, why do so many people leave USMS? Do you Forumites have any theories?

Anna Lea

Paul Smith
October 16th, 2007, 03:51 PM
I agree with the multiple face approach.

I see Dara as an example of the ultimate, or what is possible, if you do everything you can to succeed. Only a tiny percentage of Masters swimmers are even remotely like her. The message to attach to Dara might be something like "age and family aren't barriers to world class performance." Kind of an in your face statement too to our younger world class athletes who can't beat her.

The majority of us are 40-ish and participate for fitness and some competition, at least a few times a year. A message for us could emphasize fitness, satisfaction, comraderie, and show how swimming can fit in to a complicated family life. Isn't this the core group we want to attract and retain into their 50s?

Another category is the lifelong/senior swimmer. Highlight a 60-80 yr. old who has been swimming for 40 years. Show how quality of life in these years is even better when you're swimming.

All of this assumes first and foremost that USMS wants to grow....pools are closing, some facilities are not supportive of masters swim programs (Y's, Rec centers), lanes are harder to come by, etc.

If USMS increases its membership base what des it actually gain? What do we as members get out of it?

Heck...I get more out of the coupons in the ValuPaks that come in the mail every week!

Why is it that when I renew my membership I don't get a whole host of discount coupons from our key sponsors?

Who is the "official airline" of USMS where I can get discounted rates on travel to meets? How about car rental, hotel, restaurant?

Why are Speedo, Nike & TYR sponsors? If there is value to a sponsor its in being exclusive....offer them all (and Arena) a chance to bid on becoming the exclusive swimwear sponsor of USMS and as part of that send out a 10% discount coupon for a new suit to all the members....

Why do we have Kast-a-way, Swimoutlet and Kiefer as sponsors? The three largest on line and catalog retailers of swimming gear? Have one...and charge a premium for it...and again have them provide an incentive to shop from them so the recoup their investment.

Even if I'm a Speedo guy (ha, ha) for a break in price I'd buy a TYR (or swim for them!) Heck Finis gives out a 25% discount coupon to USMS All Stars...I applaud them and supported them by using it to buy a new snorkel and pair of fins which I really didn't need now...

Here's a concept...lets have fewer members. Raise the annual membership to $200 a year and get us things like access to discounted health insurance, a membership to 24 Hour fitness and a free training suit from our swimwear sponsor.

Lets have smaller meets. Raise the entry for nationals to $150 and have cash prizes for records that are set...add in a raffle for $500 as well so the so called "elite" who would have a shot at the record had a shot at cash as well.

Last but not least....why is USMS licensing their logo to others to sell the merchandise they could and should be selling themselves at every meet? First...dress up the logo and images associated with our "brand" then create an on line store and start selling...outsource the products to be sold a regional meets as well with a percentage of the profits going to the host team, give away a new hoodie every year with registration.....on and on and on.

SwimStud
October 16th, 2007, 03:52 PM
The big question is, why do so many people leave USMS? Do you Forumites have any theories?

Anna Lea
*creeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaak*


"...there goes Pandora's box...."

aquageek
October 16th, 2007, 03:52 PM
The big question is, why do so many people leave USMS? Do you Forumites have any theories?

Half immediately cancel their memberships after reading this forum.

Seriously, do you keep stats on how many non-renew that swim with a team versus swim unaffiliated? I know that can be a bit misleading because some swim UNAT even when they swim with a team. I'd be interested in seeing if team affiliation has higher retention rates.

I love the idea of a discount on Kiefer or Kast-a-way. I spend a lot of money with them.

SwimStud
October 16th, 2007, 03:59 PM
Here's a concept...lets have fewer members. Raise the annual membership to $200 a year and get us things like access to discounted health insurance, a membership to 24 Hour fitness and a free training suit from our swimwear sponsor.

Lets have smaller meets. Raise the entry for nationals to $150 and have cash prizes for records that are set...add in a raffle for $500 as well so the so called "elite" who would have a shot at the record had a shot at cash as well.



Fine but then make it two tiered, if you want to be USMS elite you can pay $200, I'll stick to something more reasonable as a "for the love of swimming" level amateur and forgo the prize money that I won't win.

If I have to pay $200 a year, Rob Copeland better be at the Y every time I go for a swim telling noodlers to stay out of my way.
:rofl:

Theory: Some probably try competing and don't like it. They prefer to just swim at their own pace and for fitness. Why would you join if you don't compete? Moving some material from this forum to a "members only" might help encourage those seeking workouts and info to stick with the org. Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?

The Fortress
October 16th, 2007, 04:02 PM
The big question is, why do so many people leave USMS? Do you Forumites have any theories?

Anna Lea

Injuries.

Time off from competing.

ALM
October 16th, 2007, 04:12 PM
Seriously, do you keep stats on how many non-renew that swim with a team versus swim unaffiliated? I know that can be a bit misleading because some swim UNAT even when they swim with a team. I'd be interested in seeing if team affiliation has higher retention rates.

As a registrar, I don't think I would have a good way to track that. The opposite is also true - many swimmers in the smaller LMSCs register with a club so they can swim on relays together when they go to big meets. But many of them train individually. I don't always know where they all swim.

You can look at a lot of the statistics yourself. They're in the National database administrator's report from this year's pre-convention packet. Go to this link:

http://www.usms.org/admin/conv07/ecno.pdf,

...then look at the last 3 or so pages that begin with the heading, "Database Administrator Esther Lyman".

Anna Lea

scyfreestyler
October 16th, 2007, 04:17 PM
Theory: Some probably try competing and don't like it. They prefer to just swim at their own pace and for fitness. Why would you join if you don't compete? Moving some material from this forum to a "members only" might help encourage those seeking workouts and info to stick with the org. Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?

This is a wonderful idea...for a Brit. (Kidding, kidding :thhbbb:)

Stud's idea coupled with an online registration capability within the website could prove very useful. Consider how many visitors peruse this site everyday. The annual dues for USMS are a small price to pay for the wealth of swimming knowledge made available here (not to mention the entertainment and the poetry, USMS Swimmer Magazine, etc.).

quicksilver
October 16th, 2007, 04:25 PM
Here's a concept...Raise the annual membership to $200 a year and get us things like access to discounted health insurance, a membership to 24 Hour fitness and a free training suit from our swimwear sponsor.



Discounted health insurance for people living a healthy lifestyle is a novel idea.

swimshark
October 16th, 2007, 04:25 PM
The big question is, why do so many people leave USMS? Do you Forumites have any theories?

Anna Lea

I think a big part is a shift away from formal masters program. I am a member of a team across the country. I practice with a local kids team but also a masters "team" as back-up. The masters team is run by a coach who gets in the water after wrting down the workout. At most there might be 12 swimmers, only 4 compete. For the rest, they see no benefit in joining USMS. Out of the 4 that compete, I would guess 2 are USMS members ONLY so they can compete. I asked the coach one day why more weren't USMS members and he said they didn't have to join since the facility covers everyone insurance wise.

Alison

aquageek
October 16th, 2007, 04:27 PM
...and the poetry

We should get a dues refund because of that crack stack.

Paul Smith
October 16th, 2007, 04:28 PM
Our membership has increased every year for quite a while. We hit 43,000 for the first time in 2006 and our projection for 2007 exceeds that.

Heck...that's the membership of Walnut Creek by itself! :)

So 43,000 if the all time high....even if we got 1 out of every 100 lap swimmers in the country we would probably have 500,000 members....but why join?

Swimstud....I did propose a two tiered system:

1) Annual dues of $200 would get ALL members access to a host of benefits that I proposed.

2) For the elite/competitive swimmers that wants to go to nationals charge $150 and pool the money. I don't care if it just goes to record setters...do something/anything however to be different and more exciting.


And by the way....members drop off for a lot of reasons but one of them is they hace "served their sentance" after signing on for one of the nationals that was held in their region that particular season....again why stay on if your not going to compete?

scyfreestyler
October 16th, 2007, 04:28 PM
Discounted health insurance for people living a healthy lifestyle is a novel idea.
Indeed it does, but what if people sign up just for the discount?

aquageek
October 16th, 2007, 04:32 PM
Maybe Smith could set up a booth at Nats and sign my swim cap to raise money for ED.

quicksilver
October 16th, 2007, 04:33 PM
Indeed it does, but what if people sign up just for the discount?

They would have to participate in a few meets per year as proof of membership as well as an indicator of general health? :D


Nothing out of the ordinary. Maybe swim a 100 free in a certain time limit.
School kids have a national standard in Phys.Ed. for example...for running the mile in less than a specific time (depending on age).

The Fortress
October 16th, 2007, 04:34 PM
I think a big part is a shift away from formal masters program.

Perhaps. From the female/mommy point of view, the times of most formal masters programs just don't suit. I can't go in the early morning. I can't seem to go most weekday evenings either. I'm not alone on this score. So USMS is likely losing some mommies.

What about more lunchtime practices? I see loads of people, both men and women, working out at my gym around the lunch hour.

scyfreestyler
October 16th, 2007, 04:35 PM
Heck...that's the membership of Walnut Creek by itself! :)

So 43,000 if the all time high....even if we got 1 out of every 100 lap swimmers in the country we would probably have 500,000 members....but why join?

Swimstud....I did propose a two tiered system:

1) Annual dues of $200 would get ALL members access to a host of benefits that I proposed.

2) For the elite/competitive swimmers that wants to go to nationals charge $150 and pool the money. I don't care if it just goes to record setters...do something/anything however to be different and more exciting.


And by the way....members drop off for a lot of reasons but one of them is they hace "served their sentance" after signing on for one of the nationals that was held in their region that particular season....again why stay on if your not going to compete?

Count me out if it goes this direction. My health insurance premium is paid for by my employer, I don't need a gym membership, and a free training suit is not likely to be one that I would care to own.

Same goes for Nationals. The only records I'll be breaking at Nationals are my own.

scyfreestyler
October 16th, 2007, 04:36 PM
They would have to participate in a few meets per year as proof of membership as well as an indicator of general health? :D
Fair enough.

scyfreestyler
October 16th, 2007, 04:37 PM
Maybe Smith could set up a booth at Nats and sign my swim cap to raise money for ED.

I'll buy him a months supply of Cialis if it'll cheer him up. :lmao:

swimshark
October 16th, 2007, 04:38 PM
What about more lunchtime practices? I see loads of people, both men and women, working out at my gym around the lunch hour.

Fort you need to move to my team in Oregon.

M-F 5:15-6:45am
M-F 11:30-12:30
M-F 12:30-1:30 (can also be a 2 hour workout)
M-Th 7-8pm
S mornings (can't remember the times)

I think for a lot of teams, the coaches have regular jobs so coached practices aren't easy for them to do.

Alison

aquageek
October 16th, 2007, 04:39 PM
Perhaps. From the female/mommy point of view, the times of most formal masters programs just don't suit.

Our team is about 60% female and all but 2 or 3 out of 25 or so are mothers, most working mothers as well. The lunch program and after-work programs at other pools (not our team) also have many mothers, working and stay at home.

We also have many husband/wife duos who trade off alternating practices to take care of kids. Many USMS teams go out of their way to accommodate working men and women.

The Fortress
October 16th, 2007, 04:41 PM
Our team is about 60% female and all but 2 or 3 out of 25 or so are mothers, most working mothers as well. The lunch program and post work program at other pools (not our team) also have many mothers, working and stay at home.

It works for some, I guess, but not others. There are many women, like me, who simply cannot make an early morning practice such as yours or are too busy in the evenings with kid stuff. I'm glad that's not your issue or your team's, but it is mine. You make it sound much more simple than it is. It's a logistical nightmare. Not saying it can't be done, just saying it's not all easey peasey-convenient.

I don't know of formal masters groups with lunchtime programs in Northern Virginia.

pwolf66
October 16th, 2007, 04:41 PM
I think we might be missing the forest for the trees. Sure, it might appear that USMS is declining but take a look at swimming as a whole. I think that overall it is declining because it is such a 'niche' sport and is not that glamorous compared to other more 'mainstream' sports. I do not think this is just a USMS issue but is instead an issue that faces the ENTIRE swimming community.

In my area, Montgomery County, MD, I see evidence of the slow, steady decline of swimming. Where I grew up and swam 30+ years ago, there were 5 very large summer age group teams where now there is 1 large and 2 medium programs. There are many issues that contributed to that but first and foremost is that swimming is a sport that requires more commitment than any other sport.

It is good that we are coming into an Olympic year as this helps to great a ground swell of interest in swimming. I just hope that the swimming community can capture interest and build on it.

Paul

hofffam
October 16th, 2007, 04:42 PM
Hmmm....I disagree with most of what Paul Smith posted. Join USMS to get discounts on swim suits? Or health insurance? Tangling USMS up with insurance, especially health insurance, is a bad idea. Car insurance is easier to deal with than health insurance. A health insurance company would want a physical before they'd agree to insure people our age.

I could be wrong here - but based on what I read here - and the Masters swimmers I know personally, paying more to get a discount on goggles just isn't a good formula.

Fewer members means fewer meets. In Central Texas there are already nearly zero Masters meets other than Zones.

Maybe there is a reason to offer a VIP membership, with a special gift package. I would not want a suit though unless it was one I liked. Suits are damned personal. Maybe a USMS swimming watch. Maybe the VIP membership gives you access to a swimming clinic series roadshow - taught by leading coaches or Olympians. The clinics could be the day before Nationals.

As for exclusive deals with big sponsors - that is worth evaluating. I have no idea how much the sponsorship is worth. But if Speedo wants all of the glory, they should pay more than the sum of Speedo, Tyr, and Nike. But if I were Speedo, I would want to know what I got in return.

I tend to think the low renewal rate reflects a lack of interest or dissatisfaction with competition. If there are no meets in the area - why join? I like the magazine but I join USMS because I can't race in a USMS meet without a membership.

pwolf66
October 16th, 2007, 04:42 PM
What about more lunchtime practices? I see loads of people, both men and women, working out at my gym around the lunch hour.

Come swith with Germ. We have M-W-F practices from 1-2pm.

Paul

smontanaro
October 16th, 2007, 04:44 PM
The big question is, why do so many people leave USMS? Do you Forumites have any theories?

No, but it seems like it would be fairly simple to shoot out a simple survey to folks who don't renew.

Skip Montanaro

scyfreestyler
October 16th, 2007, 04:47 PM
A health insurance company would want a physical before they'd agree to insure people our age.



Hey now! 33 is not THAT old! :sad:

aquageek
October 16th, 2007, 04:52 PM
I agree there is no need for USMS to get into the health insurance gig. That's an expensive quagmire and most folks get health coverage through their jobs or courtesy of the government. Even if USMS did have some sort of group policy, those are terrifically expensive anyway. I really like the discount idea on goods and services.

I also like the elite level membership option, even if I would win squat. Maybe I would win the raffle for a free TV.

At my own peril, why not bundle a USMS membership option with USAT or another masters athletic organization? Say, you could get a USMS and USAT membership for $20 less than the two sold separately (sounds like a Wal-Mart gimick).

ViveBene
October 16th, 2007, 04:56 PM
I like the idea of swimming clinics/road shows, but not sure what I would link it to. It would be somewhat to very difficult, as not all roads have appropriate facilities and not all excellent swimmers (Olympians, e.g.) are excellent coaches.

The Big Shoulders OW event in Chicago has shot up in popularity, and now gets some newspaper coverage. Maybe that is one model that could be replicated in other locales.

VB

BillS
October 16th, 2007, 05:13 PM
The big question is, why do so many people leave USMS? Do you Forumites have any theories?

My team requires USMS membership to participate in team workouts. People think they want to do it, have to sign up for USMS, and then disappear a few months later. I'm sure they don't renew the next year.

Sam Perry
October 16th, 2007, 05:25 PM
Back to the marketing aspect....

I personally think even calling it "Masters Swimming" scares people off. Not to mention the logo, which is a bit dated to say the least.

I am a marketing guy, nothing entices me to Masters Swimming other than the fact that I am a swimmer. I think we should look at the USAT model. They have attracted a TON of new participants that I would be willing to bet haven't swam, biked or ran competitively. I believe they did it on the "sense of accomplishment" model. (I think this could also be true for the marathon running craze that has grown by leaps and bounds the last decade)

We sit here in USMS with the same logo, message, etc.

To the person that said swimming is a shrinking sport. I think you are correct at an age group level. I can only say at the adult level it is growing immensly due to the non impact, full workout that swimming provides. We need to capitalize on that. Change our message and moderninze if we want to grow.

Trinkets, insurance, suits, etc. don't do it to attract the common lap swimmer.

How do we benefit? More people to train with, social activities, business networking, etc. The same way USAT, cycling and distance running has allowed many benefits as the membership has expanded.

TheGoodSmith
October 16th, 2007, 05:30 PM
For cripes sakes..... Paul is just throwing out examples of change for USMS to bite on. The details of sponsors and particular services offered can be decided later. Point is, USMS growth is pretty stagnant compared to the general population. PWolf66 is dead on. USS and USMS suffer from the same syndrome.

I'm liking the cash prizes idea for Masters Nationals. I like the idea of taking money out of Evil Smith's hands on the last two strokes. Perhaps we should introduce betting into the scheme of things. We can lay down cash with the timers before we get on the blocks. The winner collects from each lane after the race.... :-)

As far as a "face" of masters swimming..... Dara just doesn't go to that many masters meets or train full time with a masters team. It doesn't seem logical to imply she is the "face" of masters swimming. She's basically just an extremely old full time USS swimmer. I think Gary Hall has appeared at Masters functions as much or more than her. Neither are really representative of USMS as much as they are of USS.

What we need is someone living a true life of mediocrity to represent USMS..... a real average "John Smith"...... :-)


John Smith

aquageek
October 16th, 2007, 05:42 PM
What we need is someone living a true life of mediocrity to represent USMS

Well, crap, since you said mediocre that rules out my first choice, the self proclaimed stud.

hofffam
October 16th, 2007, 05:51 PM
If cash prizes are offered, we must have drug testing. I think any sponsors that put up the cash will insist that the winners are clean (or at least test clean).

I generally do not like the idea of raising the stakes like this.

I agree with the comments about USMS marketing. The logo is boring. I would put a cool decal on my car but the existing logo is not.

I agree the clinics presents some logistic challenges. But I have to believe that in key cities - USMS could convince local nationally renowned coaches or athletic achievement experts to speak to a USMS audience. Some here know Eddie Reese. Wouldn't he agree to something like this?

One thing about Masters - is that we are adults, and in general can pay for things. This isn't like USS - where we must more forcefully provide opportunities for children with few resources. I would pay money to hear Eddie Reese or Dave Marsh or Richard Quick.

ensignada
October 16th, 2007, 06:28 PM
They would have to participate in a few meets per year as proof of membership as well as an indicator of general health? :D


Nothing out of the ordinary. Maybe swim a 100 free in a certain time limit.
School kids have a national standard in Phys.Ed. for example...for running the mile in less than a specific time (depending on age).

I can't tell if you're joking, QS.

I've often heard here that "master's swimming is for everyone" or "master's swimming is about fitness" or "you don't have to compete to be in master's swimming". If you require meet participation or any "time trials", you'll chase away more people than you'll recruit. But maybe that's all part of your diabolical plan....

SwimStud
October 16th, 2007, 06:45 PM
Well, crap, since you said mediocre that rules out my first choice, the self proclaimed stud.

I was already asked in a PM to be the face but I said we wold then have an overwhelming majority of women in the sport...they just felt your little world might crumble if a lot more females started whopping your ass...so they're looking elsewhere.

aquageek
October 16th, 2007, 06:52 PM
...they just felt your little world might crumble if a lot more females started whopping your ass...

Living with two daughters, a wife, and a female nanny I'm used to taking a whopping, or whooping, as we say here in the United States of America, from women, all day long.

The Fortress
October 16th, 2007, 06:58 PM
Living with two daughters, a wife, and a female nanny I'm used to taking a whopping, or whooping, as we say here in the United States of America, from women, all day long.

Well, at least they provide you with the ability to get to your early morning practice.

ALM
October 16th, 2007, 07:10 PM
Living with two daughters, a wife, and a female nanny I'm used to taking a whopping, or whooping, as we say here in the United States of America, from women, all day long.

Geek has a nanny?! Just like Dara!

Anna Lea

swoomer
October 16th, 2007, 07:53 PM
I've lurked for years but this topic has finally inspired me to post. This is a (mostly) intelligent and thought-provoking discussion. USMS is a uniquely complex organization, trying to be all things to a wide variety of people aged 18 and up who have many and diverse goals. Their only common characteristic is swimming. So it's ludicrous to assume that there is one or even twelve faces representing our organization.

If we try to define who we are too precisely, we risk alienating a segment of the membership, and that would be a bad thing for the organization. I happen to train for competition and can't imagine just swimming for the heck of it. But if I only trained with like minded people, our team would be about a fourth of it's current size and I wouldn't have met some of the wonderful fitness swimmers, triathletes, cross-trainers, and rehabbing runners that share lanes with. We would also not generate enough income to have a full-time coach, and sixteen opportunities a week to fit workouts into our busy lives.

I believe that if folks think it's the elite swimmers who are the face of USMS, maybe they're just a little confused. I understand that there's no age limit in USS which might be a more appropriate platform for the aging awesomes.

USMS has a huge mission. I'm really glad to see that people are asking questions and having these thought-provoking discussions. Bottom line for me, is that while some fine-tuning (modernizing) and organizational changes are necessary, precisely defining our members would be a little hazardous to our health.

Whew! That wasn't as hard as I thought it would be! :doh:

Paul Smith
October 16th, 2007, 08:03 PM
Hmmm....I disagree with most of what Paul Smith posted.

Dan...glad to hear it...that means you have your own specific ideas on what needs to be done so please share more of them. The only way we are ever going to b able to define what USMS is will be through debate!

Now to your point about insurance, goggles, suits, etc having no appeal to you but paying for Eddie Reese to give a talk thats all great. But you are missing many years of a very clear "mission" if you will from USMS....and that has been a very inclusive, fitness based organization that is not primarily interested in meets....remember that I think less than 10% of registered members compete.

So...if we stay that course and decide we do want to grow than its logical to assume that growth would come from primarily fitness/lap swimmers not competition focused swimmers...I would argue than that any "trinkets" or give backs would probably mean quite a bit to these folks.

If however we want to try and build on your primary interest which is racing than we will need to focus on a smaller organization and that would mean less funding which means higher dues...but you still need to get the interest of those folks as well...I would suggest a very focused campaign to try and tap into high school kids graduating who maybe are not attending college but would like to continue training/competing, or recent college grads.....both groups have little if any money and I again argue that give backs, goodies, etc. are a lure.

For us old farts maybe those things are not such a good draw.....who knows?

"Subvert the Dominant Paradigm"

Its a slow show
October 16th, 2007, 08:29 PM
I think we should have a couple $$$$ meets a year. If the right conditions were met I would be willing to put $10,000 in prize money for a carefully crafted swim meet that spread $$$ opportunities thru out the age groups.

scyfreestyler
October 16th, 2007, 09:52 PM
I think we should have a couple $$$$ meets a year. If the right conditions were met I would be willing to put $10,000 in prize money for a carefully crafted swim meet that spread $$$ opportunities thru out the age groups.

How very generous of you.

The Fortress
October 16th, 2007, 10:03 PM
I don't know about the $$$ angle. If you spread 10,000 through all the age groups, is it really worth it? Is that the reason to compete? Maybe for the younger kids out of college ... I get just as jazzed up for a grudge race as for winning a few dollars. I guess I wouldn't turn down a free suit though.

One reason to grow membership is to have more meets and opportunities for meets, whether actual, or postal or virtual.

Swimming seems to have a very entrenched lap swimmer/fitness swimmer non-competing mindset. And health, in and of itself, is a great goal. But I wonder why the enormous anti-competition bias in our sport? I fully understand that fundamentally some people dislike competition, and, if it's that, that's perfectly fine. But this certainly doesn't seem to be the mindset in running or triathlon or cycling. In those sports, anybody and his brother -- no matter how slow -- seems happy and eager to enter a race. Newbies embrace races. Newbies start to keep training logs and prepare for races. But not so much in swimming. Is it because it's so "dull?" Is it because it's too difficult and technique oriented? Or, unlike running where you just walk out the door, is it just too time-consuming to get to practices and meets? I guess I just wish more masters swimmer would try meets. They might find they like them. Or not. But if Dara Torres were THE face, that would not provide the incentive to reverse the relative lack of competitive swimmers. I wholly agree with swoomer on that score. It's not just about elite swimmers.

Paul: Don't stop with college campuses. Very few people seem to know what masters swimming is or that it exists. How about flyers and information in every health club and rec center too?

scyfreestyler
October 16th, 2007, 10:16 PM
I might be wrong here (probably not though :) ) but it seems like many cycling races, triathlons, and runs provide an opportunity to take in some new scenery. This means that not only are you seeing new sights and hearing new sounds but you are challenged by different hills, turns, surfaces, etc.. On the other hand, I can tell you what the pool is going to be like at every USMS meet across the country. Could this also have something to do with cycling and triathlons getting far more airtime than swimming?

The Fortress
October 16th, 2007, 10:20 PM
I might be wrong here (probably not though :) ) but it seems like many cycling races, triathlons, and runs provide an opportunity to take in some new scenery. This means that not only are you seeing new sights and hearing new sounds but you are challenged by different hills, turns, surfaces, etc.. On the other hand, I can tell you what the pool is going to be like at every USMS meet across the country. Could this also have something to do with cycling and triathlons getting far more airtime than swimming?

Maybe. That's one reason I like running. But swimming has variety too. We've got 5 strokes, including butterfrog, we've got different race differences, meets in different locales, sprint meets, OW meets, postal challenges, etc. In the summer, and in CA, there are outdoor pools. Plenty for everyone to choose from according to ability and preference.

matysekj
October 16th, 2007, 11:45 PM
...I fully understand that fundamentally some people dislike competition, and, if it's that, that's perfectly fine. But this certainly doesn't seem to be the mindset in running or triathlon or cycling. In those sports, anybody and his brother -- no matter how slow -- seems happy and eager to enter a race. Newbies embrace races. Newbies start to keep training logs and prepare for races. But not so much in swimming. Is it because it's so "dull?" Is it because it's too difficult and technique oriented?

I think it's more the sense of accomplishment thing with running and triathlon. Those races are much longer than pool swims and the newbies get a big sense of accomplishment out of it (even the shorter races). And yes, with LOTS of like-minded newbies around, there is a much more social atmosphere there. Open water swims, when properly advertised, can draw a similar crowd. There are hundreds of people who WANT to do the Chesapeake Bay swim each year just to show that they CAN do it. Unfortunately, the field is limited to about 600 swimmers because it's inherently much more dangerous to have 10,000 novice swimmers stretched out over a 4.4 mile swim course with current issues than it is to have the same 10,000 novices stretched over a 6.2 mile course of closed roads for a road race.

Pool racing can certainly be intimidating to the novice swimmer, and with the shorter races they seem to get less of that sense of accomplishment. I believe that if we could get a LOT more open water swims available, we could grow significantly.

The Fortress
October 17th, 2007, 12:07 AM
Pool racing can certainly be intimidating to the novice swimmer, and with the shorter races they seem to get less of that sense of accomplishment. I believe that if we could get a LOT more open water swims available, we could grow significantly.

You're probably right. But the sport of "swimming" is not just about distance and OW, IMHO. Why is longer necessarily better? Personally, I have a fine sense of accomplishment racing shorter distances, although I may be an oddity. I certainly feel like I train hard. And I've heard people on the forum saying that ompleting a 200 fly or 400 IM is an accomplishment. In the summer, where I live, there are more many more OW or distance swims than pool meets. True, the local bay swim is not conducive to novice swimmers, but the Reston Lake Swim is -- if they sign up on time. But if swimming is only in the OW, count me out, I'll go back to running. OW is hell on shoulders. And I like pools. I realize the great outdoors seems to be a greater attraction. But can't we have more meets AND more OW swims?

knelson
October 17th, 2007, 12:21 AM
Why is longer necessarily better?

It's not, but for someone just getting started in swimming, completing a 1 mile open water might be easier than swimming a sub 1:00 100 yard freestyle. Same deal as running. Thousands of people complete marathons, but I really don't hear much about track events for "old farts."

david.margrave
October 17th, 2007, 12:48 AM
The big question is, why do so many people leave USMS? Do you Forumites have any theories?

Anna Lea

The variables collected on the membership form are name, address, age, and gender. Other data you have or could calculate would be the density of indoor and outdoor pools in the zip code, distance from an active masters team, distance to USMS-sanctioned events, whether the person competed, if so how recently and how frequently, and his or her ranking in competitive events, etc. Some of these variables are probably more correlated than others to the dependent variable (renewal or non-renewal). Since the dependent variable has only two possible outcomes this would probably be a good problem to apply a technique called logistic regression. This might provide some insight into which member segments are renewing at a lower rate, and how to proceed with a marketing plan.

dorothyrde
October 17th, 2007, 06:02 AM
Wow, I get the feeling Paul Smith wants people like ME out of Master's swimming. I think the renewal numbers reflect people who join to try a swim meet, find it is not their cup of tea, or that it is not worth the time, long drive, and money and don't renew.

There is a running race 15 minutes from my home every weekend around here. To compete in swimming the average is a 2 hour drive. And pools are closing, which makes training hard as well. The lap swimmers are getting very annoyed on Tuesday and thursdays when Masters takes over the one open lane that is assigned to us at 6.

swimshark
October 17th, 2007, 07:59 AM
What if we started doing "newbie" clinics for swimmers new to meets? Get them used to the technology, the starts, etc. I know the meets I go to I see so many not following the whistle commands (first one is for the heat ahead to clear the pool, 2nd is to get on the block). I think having clinics for those wanting to start competing but are too afraid might bring some people back to USMS for a 2nd year. I did my first tri this Aug and they had a clinic the day before. Since I come from a tri family, most was new new tome but I learned some techniques that were totally new and helpful. This same company puts on clinics all through the year.

Alison

ViveBene
October 17th, 2007, 08:39 AM
Pool racing can certainly be intimidating to the novice swimmer, and with the shorter races they seem to get less of that sense of accomplishment. I believe that if we could get a LOT more open water swims available, we could grow significantly.

I agree. Much of the commentary on this thread has had to do with what is possible. Open water swimming is not "better" than pool racing but it is distinctly more possible, especially for older "young" swimmers (like me), and for building community participation in swimming. Spending a summer afternoon at the ol' swimming hole ("Race you to that big rock!") is part of the American imaginary. Increasing OW swim opportunities -- gatherings, if not races -- would seem a natural way to attract new USMS members.

But I don't think I understand the membership/retention problem. a) If each year 30% (say) of members don't renew but are replaced, for a generally constant membership, is there a problem? b) If overall membership declines, are there real-life consequences? Seems to me local variation, such as insufficient no. of ppl to support a Masters Swim program at a given facility, is a problem isolable from overall membership problem (which might turn out not to be a problem).

Second thing I don't understand: Is organized swimming only about times?

Regards, VB

smontanaro
October 17th, 2007, 09:21 AM
To compete in swimming the average is a 2 hour drive.

Dorothy,

Just out of curiosity, will the IL state meet in DeKalb be more convenient for you than if it was held at UIC again? FYI, see this thread:

http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=9201

Skip

Paul Smith
October 17th, 2007, 09:29 AM
Wow, I get the feeling Paul Smith wants people like ME out of Master's swimming.

Excuse me?!

Maybe re-read all of my posts Dorothy....my position in this thread and every other post has been to support and try and grow membership of USMS. Things have been stagnant for a long time here....if your not willing to ask hard questions and propose options than we will not see any change.

If your going to attempt this you first need to decide if thats what the leadership wants.....and that in my opinion is an internal struggle...most want to promote wellness and fitness...which is what 90% of the dues paying members are here for....not the meets like the 10% (or majority on this forum).

Paul Smith
October 17th, 2007, 09:38 AM
One reason to grow membership is to have more meets and opportunities for meets, whether actual, or postal or virtual.

Swimming seems to have a very entrenched lap swimmer/fitness swimmer non-competing mindset. And health, in and of itself, is a great goal. But I wonder why the enormous anti-competition bias in our sport?

Fort.....you may not have been "back" into the sport when a number of years ago Keith Bell....completely frustrated at exactly these points....attempted to form a break away organization dedicated to "masters" who wanted to focus on competition. Needless to say it was not well received, it failed (on a larger scale although they still have meets) and I'm guessing there are still a lot of hard feelings about it....

Check it out:
http://swimttex.com/

The Fortress
October 17th, 2007, 10:05 AM
Well, maybe Gull is right and swimming is just not sexy. So how do we make it more sexy? We're already half naked and that's not enough ...

As for the trinket incentive, I wonder if the emphasis could be changed. I see the top ten types can get top ten patches and high point awards or fastest man awards and medals. But, if swimming is not just a meritocracy because we advocate participation and completion, maybe we need different trinkets? Awards for big time drops? An award for the masters swimmer competing in their first meet? Awards for weight loss? Features about the average swimmer in USMS mag, not just the elite? There are a lot of compelling comeback and start up stories.

SwimStud
October 17th, 2007, 10:11 AM
I think Paul is trying to foster debate on what USMS wants to be and where it should go. That said, I don't like the upping the fees idea. I think that will cause more folks to stay away. Why add $200 to your swiming costs.

There has to be something more beneficial to individuals than a "save $10 for every 100 you spend" kind of coupon idea if you wish to make that kind of fee jump.

Travel and hotel breaks for swimmers attending meets will not work for those who aren't really into the competition side, or who just do 2 local meets a year. Sure you can have these price breaks apply to more than swim related travels but I get this via Amex and Marriott rewards points already.

Now back to the 2 tier scheme: A higher fee for those who will be on the verge of winning the cash prize etc seems fair enough. There should be an opt out for those who really just do it to compete against themselves and have fun. It doesn't make them any less worthy of swimming at nats. Making nats more price inhibitive may turn folks away. I also thnk that putting cash into winners hands may crank the "anything it takes to win" handle a little further as the post about sponsors and drug testing alluded to.

quicksilver
October 17th, 2007, 10:15 AM
I've often heard here that "master's swimming is for everyone" or "master's swimming is about fitness" or "you don't have to compete to be in master's swimming". If you require meet participation or any "time trials", you'll chase away more people than you'll recruit. But maybe that's all part of your diabolical plan....

Hi Barb,

Forcing members to compete is a bit too much. As a matter of fact...out of the 40 members in our club...I'd say that only 6 of us attend any of the meets.
The majority are there for fitness, and to improve the swimming leg of their triathlon. I was only making reference to the discounted insurance where there could be an incentive to stay physically fit. (As others have said...that'll never happen.)


Back to the thread...

The primary reason people in our YMCA's "swim classes" join USMS ...is to be able to participate in meets. I've trained on my own for the past two years, but that doesn't prevent me from being a USMS member. It's required for meet sign-ups. Other than that, there's no huge incentive to join. The SWIM magazine does a great job, but that alone isn't a big enough hook.

And I agree with Dorothy about the inconvenience of traveling over 2 hours sometimes just to attend a meet.
Pool facilities are very limited in some places...and work and family commitments are unavoidable for the majority of us.

dorothyrde
October 17th, 2007, 10:17 AM
All of this assumes first and foremost that USMS wants to grow....pools are closing, some facilities are not supportive of masters swim programs (Y's, Rec centers), lanes are harder to come by, etc.

If USMS increases its membership base what des it actually gain? What do we as members get out of it?

Heck...I get more out of the coupons in the ValuPaks that come in the mail every week!

Why is it that when I renew my membership I don't get a whole host of discount coupons from our key sponsors?

Who is the "official airline" of USMS where I can get discounted rates on travel to meets? How about car rental, hotel, restaurant?

Why are Speedo, Nike & TYR sponsors? If there is value to a sponsor its in being exclusive....offer them all (and Arena) a chance to bid on becoming the exclusive swimwear sponsor of USMS and as part of that send out a 10% discount coupon for a new suit to all the members....

Why do we have Kast-a-way, Swimoutlet and Kiefer as sponsors? The three largest on line and catalog retailers of swimming gear? Have one...and charge a premium for it...and again have them provide an incentive to shop from them so the recoup their investment.

Even if I'm a Speedo guy (ha, ha) for a break in price I'd buy a TYR (or swim for them!) Heck Finis gives out a 25% discount coupon to USMS All Stars...I applaud them and supported them by using it to buy a new snorkel and pair of fins which I really didn't need now...

Here's a concept...lets have fewer members. Raise the annual membership to $200 a year and get us things like access to discounted health insurance, a membership to 24 Hour fitness and a free training suit from our swimwear sponsor.

Lets have smaller meets. Raise the entry for nationals to $150 and have cash prizes for records that are set...add in a raffle for $500 as well so the so called "elite" who would have a shot at the record had a shot at cash as well.

Last but not least....why is USMS licensing their logo to others to sell the merchandise they could and should be selling themselves at every meet? First...dress up the logo and images associated with our "brand" then create an on line store and start selling...outsource the products to be sold a regional meets as well with a percentage of the profits going to the host team, give away a new hoodie every year with registration.....on and on and on.

Paul, this is why I say that. Raising the fees like this, would lose a lot of people. The kids only pay 65.00 for USA a year. Your fitness swimmer who might go to one meet a year is not going to pay 200.00 a year for this. I don't give a hoot about USMS insurance, because I am work insured. I am not elite, so would not want my fees supporting cash prizes at meets. I do not think I am alone in this. My observation is many elite swimmers have trouble understanding us humble little fitness folks. Just telling it like I see it.

I do think the way to build it is to focus on the fitness community. Most adult swimmers do not compete, but they DO want to improve their swimming. They like organized work-outs because it adds interest to their work-out, therefore keeps them doing it. It allows them to meet and swim with like minded folks, and maybe at some point, when their life allows it, they may compete. These people will not even give USMS a glance if you start jacking up the fees. After all, they can find work-outs on the internet, meet with friends at the pool for a work-out, without paying that money. You will also totally drive out the college kids who don't swim in college. They cannot afford those prices. Therefore, you are driving away your feeding group. I know many college kids who would like to participate, but the cost is prohibiting them(the cost of swimming with an organized group, and the cost of going to meets, not the yearly cost of USMS).

I think Go the Distance is a good plan, but from the looks of the results, I don't see a lot of folks from Illinois participating. At least not compared to the number of swimmers here.

Not sure what to do about the struggle for lack of good coaching and pools at places. We are really hurting in Illinois, especially downstate, and this hurts Masters swimming.

The Fortress
October 17th, 2007, 10:23 AM
And I agree with Dorothy about the inconvenience of traveling over 2 hours sometimes just to attend a meet.
Pool facilities are very limited in some places...and work and family commitments are unavoidable for the majority of us.

Definitely true.

However, triathletes and marathoners spend loads of time training. I know lots of spouses who must accomodate the "long run" or "long bike" on weekends, etc. So these sports merit a time commitment, but swimming doesn't?

Maybe it's just impossible to overcome apparent intrinsic dullness and the time/facility problem. I know nothing about marketing, so have nothing useful to offer. But "bringing back sexy" with something jazzy and different would seem like the only option. Maybe, "gatherings" or unconventional non-elite trinkets would help.

smontanaro
October 17th, 2007, 10:28 AM
I don't give a hoot about USMS insurance, because I am work insured.

Our team requires USMS membership for all swimmers I believe because the facility (Northwestern) requires outside groups like ours to be insured. The only practical way to guarantee that is to require membership (a lot easier than checking to see if lots of people have varying insurance policies up-to-date).

Skip

quicksilver
October 17th, 2007, 10:29 AM
Definitely true.

However, triathletes and marathoners spend loads of time training. I know lots of spouses who must accomodate the "long run" or "long bike" on weekends, etc. So these sports merit a time commitment, but swimming doesn't?




Good point. Other sports require the same give and take.

aquageek
October 17th, 2007, 10:29 AM
There are too many good points being made for me to choose a side. Well said by dorothyde. With 40K+ athletes I'm not sure why we'd have to raise dues substantially to have cash meets. Plus, most meets are self funded and USMS could kick in minor money for some sweet prizes.

I'm gonna pay to swim pretty much no matter what the cost, it's my hobby so I could really care less the price. However, if my dues are increased I better see real tangible benefits. Raising by $20 so I can save $3 on a pair of goggles isn't enough.

I think USMS does a great job overall. Some minor tweaks could really help improve the organization.

However, for those that don't want their dues paying for prizes, that's a fallacy. Every single meet you enter has some portion of the fees pay for the prizes, same for all sporting organizations and events, unless the give-a-ways are donated.

smontanaro
October 17th, 2007, 10:30 AM
I think Go the Distance is a good plan, but from the looks of the results, I don't see a lot of folks from Illinois participating. At least not compared to the number of swimmers here.

This is its first year, right? I think it takes time for people to learn about new opportunities. I didn't hear about it until April, and didn't hear about it at practice but via the forums.

Skip

smontanaro
October 17th, 2007, 10:32 AM
I see the top ten types can get top ten patches and high point awards or fastest man awards and medals.

I got a patch for completing the postal series in 2005 and anticipate finishing it again this year. I have no idea where my previous patch is, nor would I put it on anything if I did. Patches (and other nominal trinkets) work for some people, not for others.

Skip

Paul Smith
October 17th, 2007, 10:34 AM
Your fitness swimmer who might go to one meet a year is not going to pay 200.00 a year for this.

Dorothy....thats my entire point....as USMS exists today there is no incentive to join or renew except for those who are forced to by teams or those who want to swim in a meet.

Therefore I threw out an idea....IF there were TANGIBLE benefits to membership would you spend $200 a year (come on...its the cost of a fastkin!), or maybe its $100....or $50...BUT with this additional funding came MORE meets....more benefits...etc. etc.

I would.

So think this through...what do you want out of being a member and how much would you be willing to pay to support those things?

dorothyrde
October 17th, 2007, 10:37 AM
This is its first year, right? I think it takes time for people to learn about new opportunities. I didn't hear about it until April, and didn't hear about it at practice but via the forums.

Skip


Yes, so somehow it needs to get around to people at practice. And other promotions as well.

The Y has insurance of some sort for accidents that would happen at the pool. The Y team is actually no longer a USMS team because the members did not compete and saw no real reason to be member and pay the additional bucks. There is only 4 of us that do any competing. They DO want to know how to swim correctly, how to swim faster, even though they are fitness swimmers. They want to be coached, and learn. There is a strong desire for that even though they do not compete.

dorothyrde
October 17th, 2007, 10:40 AM
One more thing, and then I must get off before the internet police bust me.

Training for running and biking tends to be easier, at least for me. I can start and end at my house. Especially in the summer, when it is light nice and early, I can be up, working out, and back in the house before anyone is even aware that I was gone(sniff, no one misses me). Swimming takes more effort because the pool is in another town. So I pair that up with work breaks, or after work. Just a bit more difficult, so I can see why running and biking are more attractive to train for(that and I love, love, love to bike).

The Fortress
October 17th, 2007, 10:41 AM
I got a patch for completing the postal series in 2005 and anticipate finishing it again this year. I have no idea where my previous patch is, nor would I put it on anything if I did. Patches (and other nominal trinkets) work for some people, not for others.

Skip

Well, I'm patchless too. I'm too lazy to go about procuring them. I would never wear one either. It would go in the swim box. But I don't mind that the swim box exists, although it's clearly not why I compete. Some of the trinkets are just nice momentos that remind me of a fun meet or a good swim, and make me smile.

But some people get pretty jazzed up about medals and so forth. It can be a positive affirmation for their effort. Just like any other reward system. Nothing wrong with that either.

Geek is right. Medals for meets cost a lot of money.

aquageek
October 17th, 2007, 10:42 AM
It is my opinion if you either claim to be or want to be a serious adult swimmer you join USMS. If you want to be called a Masters swimmer you join USMS. Otherwise, you are just a collection of lap swimmers, which is fine but also indicates the level of devotion to the sport.

Fire away, fruitcakes!

The Fortress
October 17th, 2007, 10:44 AM
It is my opinion if you either claim to be or want to be a serious adult swimmer you join USMS. If you want to be called a Masters swimmer you join USMS. Otherwise, you are just a collection of lap swimmers, which is fine but also indicates the level of devotion to the sport.

Fire away, fruitcakes!

I agree, fruitcake!

SwimStud
October 17th, 2007, 10:54 AM
I agree, fruitcake!

"I'm a Competition Swimmer!"

ensignada
October 17th, 2007, 11:23 AM
"I'm a Competition Swimmer!"

:lmao:So word has it.

scyfreestyler
October 17th, 2007, 12:06 PM
Allrighty there, liverlips!

Blackbeard's Peg
October 17th, 2007, 12:20 PM
I do think the way to build it is to focus on the fitness community. Most adult swimmers do not compete, but they DO want to improve their swimming. They like organized work-outs because it adds interest to their work-out, therefore keeps them doing it. It allows them to meet and swim with like minded folks, and maybe at some point, when their life allows it, they may compete. These people will not even give USMS a glance if you start jacking up the fees. After all, they can find work-outs on the internet, meet with friends at the pool for a work-out, without paying that money. You will also totally drive out the college kids who don't swim in college. They cannot afford those prices. Therefore, you are driving away your feeding group. I know many college kids who would like to participate, but the cost is prohibiting them(the cost of swimming with an organized group, and the cost of going to meets, not the yearly cost of USMS).

I think Go the Distance is a good plan, but from the looks of the results, I don't see a lot of folks from Illinois participating. At least not compared to the number of swimmers here.

Dorothy, you have several great points in here. On my team, i'd say at most 25% of our membership has done more than one meet this year. Mostly fitness swimmers. But therein lies the problem. How to further include this large segment of our swimming community?

My experience is that for the most part, there is no interest in comparing any sort of results - folks just want to get in and swim, and then be on their way. I think Go the Distance and the Postal swims/ check off challenge are great tools, but again, there are comparisons made for these.

As for the college kids, I was paying ~$2 per swim to swim with my team while in college. Our program offered a student price, facility member price and regular joe price - all of which I will add are VERY reasonable. I never knew about masters until I signed up to swim with them. The UM Club team doesn't have a coach, and dues are $65 + any travel expenses. That gets you a free tshirt, suit, meet fees, and hotels if you travel to a meet. They get subsidized by the SGA, but its a deal. Perhaps Masters programs at universities can find a way to subsidize students' practice fees to encourage participation. MTSU has a club team, geared mostly to the college kids, that are USMS members, and have gone to Nationals. Clearly they see some value in USMS.

hofffam
October 17th, 2007, 12:47 PM
Dan...glad to hear it...that means you have your own specific ideas on what needs to be done so please share more of them. The only way we are ever going to b able to define what USMS is will be through debate!

Now to your point about insurance, goggles, suits, etc having no appeal to you but paying for Eddie Reese to give a talk thats all great. But you are missing many years of a very clear "mission" if you will from USMS....and that has been a very inclusive, fitness based organization that is not primarily interested in meets....remember that I think less than 10% of registered members compete.

So...if we stay that course and decide we do want to grow than its logical to assume that growth would come from primarily fitness/lap swimmers not competition focused swimmers...I would argue than that any "trinkets" or give backs would probably mean quite a bit to these folks.

If however we want to try and build on your primary interest which is racing than we will need to focus on a smaller organization and that would mean less funding which means higher dues...but you still need to get the interest of those folks as well...I would suggest a very focused campaign to try and tap into high school kids graduating who maybe are not attending college but would like to continue training/competing, or recent college grads.....both groups have little if any money and I again argue that give backs, goodies, etc. are a lure.

For us old farts maybe those things are not such a good draw.....who knows?

"Subvert the Dominant Paradigm"


I think you understand my comments are not personal to you.

My primary interest is actually fitness, but racing keeps me motivated and is how I measure my achievement.

Like many here said - the 10-15 people I swim with generally do not compete much. I swim at a private club with a "Masters program" with a very good coach. If we lose swimmers, I worry about losing the coach. USMS membership is not required (but club membership or a per-swim card is). We are not lane constrained so overcrowding is not a problem. We have fun, whether we compete or not. Because SCY Nationals are in Austin in 08 - we're shooting for 6-8 to race next spring.

So I am generally in the camp that increasing USMS membership is better than the opposite. To me a smaller more focused organization is ultimately a losing proposition because less participation means fewer swimmers, less access to pools, coaching, etc.

I do think USMS may be missing something by not offering more to the committed competition swimmer. That's why I suggested a VIP level with more benefits instead of an across the board increase in dues. USS probably couldn't do a VIP program because of the likely complaint about elitism and economic status of some children.

One dislaimer - my history with USMS is about 3 years - so I have no idea what it has been. In spite of my belief that USMS membership growth is a good idea - it wouldn't bother me if fewer 45-49 people swam my events!

Peter Cruise
October 17th, 2007, 02:13 PM
Just a note from a sort-of-outsider: I've been a card-carrying Masters swimmer for over twenty years and whether I've been competing like a whirling dervish (my late 30's), training consistently but not competing much (40's) or hardly training and not competing (now), I've always considered my basic registration each year as necessary as breathing. The insurance aspect is of course important, but the basic belonging to a larger community of swimmers motivates me. Now, I am a Canadian and do not belong to USMS, but right from the get go I have been impressed by your organisation and the tremendous volunteer efforts of those who work in the background and this has continued to progress and improve over the years.
Nothing is broken, nobody is excluded, the debate is healthy. One observation though: the challenges are different in each region of your country, whether lack of facilities, distances to meets, overcrowding, resistance by local bureaucrats etc., your regional bodies should be addressing the concerns that are burning in your area (perhaps with backing or expertise from the national body). Otherwise 'one size fits all' proposals can be terribly devisive as reading back through some of threads from the past will show.

All Paul really wants is a free case of wine for each world record he sets.

That Guy
October 17th, 2007, 02:24 PM
Training for running and biking tends to be easier, at least for me. I can start and end at my house. Especially in the summer, when it is light nice and early, I can be up, working out, and back in the house before anyone is even aware that I was gone(sniff, no one misses me). Swimming takes more effort because the pool is in another town. So I pair that up with work breaks, or after work. Just a bit more difficult, so I can see why running and biking are more attractive to train for(that and I love, love, love to bike).

I have the same problem (pool in different town) but I applied a different solution: bike to the pool, swim, then bike to work or wherever I'm going next. I can run anywhere, anytime, so that's the discipline that I squeeze in when I can. If my day is packed then I end up running late at night.

dorothyrde
October 17th, 2007, 02:51 PM
I don't like biking in the dark, and since it is dark when I leave, and starting to get dark when I get home, that is a problem. The pool is 15 miles, work is 5 miles from the pool, home is 12 miles from work. Man, my legs would look darn good from all that biking. I did bike to work this summer a couple times a week, good exercise, but now am frustrated that the morning is too dark. Meeting combines in the dark is a bit scary on these country roads, and that is in a car!

Slowswim
October 17th, 2007, 03:09 PM
While reading your posts, I was doing some self-analysis (as a new "swimmer") to what kept me from joining before.

In running, if I want to check my fitness or just run for fun or because of other people doing it, I just sign up for an easy race and cruise it so I finish in the Middle of the pack and enjoy the post race party. As a Triathlete I can do the same thing.:groovy:

Since I never swam competitively I have no idea if I could do it. Besides there is no "pack" so if (when) I get lapped its all me in the lane. Why would I want to do that to myself. Most adults didn't like to be :blush:. My fears of what could go wrong range from falling backward off the blocks, to losing my suit diving in, to losing count of laps (I could go on but I think you get the idea). Plus the idea of wasting a weekend at a meet to swim 3 races for a total time of less than 10 minutes doesn't seem a good use of my limited time.

Making my family watch me at a meet is probably grounds for divorce, but a beach vacation for a Tri or visit a major city (Boston, NY, DC) for a marathon are very appealing. Look at how many marathoners take 4-6 hours to finish and they have a blast. Lap swimming just doesn't have that appeal. No one brags about swimming 50 meters (no matter how fast) except to other competitive swimmers.
:2cents:
The only real group USMS can draw from are competitive swimmers. They are comfortable with competing and as time goes on miss it.

I think Tris offer an opportunity to catch more swimmers who (like me) started late and can be seduced in to racing. The "pool" to draw from just isn't that big.:2cents:

swoomer
October 17th, 2007, 07:06 PM
In cycling, you can buy a "one day license" to participate in some races. Maybe we could do the same for local meets in order for the newbies to give it a try without a commitment - maybe $5 for a one time only temporary membership. Just a thought. Could generate new interest in competition and a little moolah for the greater good at the same time. (Prize pool?:D)

aquageek
October 17th, 2007, 07:22 PM
Many meets do offer single day/meet membership for $10 or so.

ensignada
October 17th, 2007, 07:51 PM
What if we started doing "newbie" clinics for swimmers new to meets? Get them used to the technology, the starts, etc. I know the meets I go to I see so many not following the whistle commands (first one is for the heat ahead to clear the pool, 2nd is to get on the block). I think having clinics for those wanting to start competing but are too afraid might bring some people back to USMS for a 2nd year.




Since I never swam competitively I have no idea if I could do it. Besides there is no "pack" so if (when) I get lapped its all me in the lane. Why would I want to do that to myself. Most adults didn't like to be :blush:. My fears of what could go wrong range from falling backward off the blocks, to losing my suit diving in, to losing count of laps (I could go on but I think you get the idea). Plus the idea of wasting a weekend at a meet to swim 3 races for a total time of less than 10 minutes doesn't seem a good use of my limited time.



As a newbie who has tried out a meet for size (and liked it), I think both Swimshark and Slowswim have good points. For newbies who swim alone, the idea of swimming in a meet can be daunting. Many new swimmers are under the impression that meets are for really fast people only. I was fortunate in that I had some guardian angels (Fort, SwimStud, AquaFeisty, SwimmieAvsFan, Muppet to name just a few) who encouraged me to try, to ignore how slow I was and just do it, and helped me navigate the meet itself (I almost went to the wrong end of the pool for a 50). Anyway, if more serious but non-competitive swimmers had a mentor or two like I do/did, more people might be willing to give it a whirl. There is no substitute for having a really accomplished swimmer making you feel welcome at a meet.

I think it's also helpful for people who try out meets for the first time to report back here how it went. I know that listening to SwimStud's early meet experiences got me thinking as did Gerdick's pre-meet anxiety and post-meet happiness. I've talked with a couple of newbie's privately about giving it a whirl, under the rubric: if I can, anyone can.

Slowswim
October 17th, 2007, 09:54 PM
I think it's also helpful for people who try out meets for the first time to report back here how it went. I know that listening to SwimStud's early meet experiences got me thinking as did Gerdick's pre-meet anxiety and post-meet happiness. I've talked with a couple of newbie's privately about giving it a whirl, under the rubric: if I can, anyone can.

I've always been a "Runner", don't know why; everyone just told me so since age 7. I became a "Triathlete" after many years and races when I did a Olympic Distance Tri and felt I'd earned it. I've done one marathon and do not consider myself a "Marathoner" I swim. I do not know when I will become a "Swimmer" or what that tripwire is.

The question is, how do you bring lap swimming to the common people. How do you make them want to be a "Swimmer"? I think Tri made it with Kona. The stories of the a dad pushing he's disabled son, the Sarah Reinhartson's story, Rudy Garcia, etc. The "Kona Show" is a tear jerker.

A thread here talked to a Downs Syndrome girl doing heroic things. Where is the media? Why isn't USMS showing the human aspect of what all you guyz do? You demi-gods that do to the National Championship (not just "Nats") all have real lives, families, and stories!

You want sexy? USMS needs to tell the stories that are buried in these threads! Teen girls with self-esteem. 80+ years beating National records. 15 mile swims. Its all where, but USMS isn't capitalizing on what swimming as a Master is all about.

Yes, half naked people sells photos, but human drama get's new members.
I'm a newby so I see it from outside. Am I that far off? Who is trying to promote swimming as a commercial enterprise? It should be USMS. Ironman took charge of Triathlon and that is its growth, the outcome was hugely positive for the sport(s)--for Geek.

I see a money maker for an insider that has vision. I'd do it but I have no credentials and the Army frowns on that so I have to wait 4 years. I'll be your CFO and build the business plan for free! To make millions of $, find something that pisses you off and fit it!

Sorry for my bloviating.

The Fortress
October 17th, 2007, 10:51 PM
You demi-gods that do to the National Championship (not just "Nats") all have real lives, families, and stories!

You want sexy? USMS needs to tell the stories that are buried in these threads! Teen girls with self-esteem. 80+ years beating National records. 15 mile swims. Its all where, but USMS isn't capitalizing on what swimming as a Master is all about.

Yes, half naked people sells photos, but human drama get's new members.
I'm a newby so I see it from outside. Am I that far off?

That's why I said earlier, let's focus on the comeback stories and start ups, and not necessarily just the super elite. A lot of amazing people have amazing paths that have led them to masters swimming and masters swimming success.

I think the USMS mag focuses on some of these, like Margery Mayer, or the Islandsox 20 mile (and other) OW attempts.

But since most of have real and complicated lives, it would also be nice to hear about the non-Dara Torres type battling the odds to overcome adversity, etc. For example, and this is just one of many, (S)he-Man (speedy though she is) battling eye problems, eye surgery, scoliosis, searching out cures, doing whatever she needs to stay in the pool and compete, even with kids. Or Coach Beth McGee battling shoulder problems and insomnia, raising children, helping elderly parents, and still, despite lack of a "team," landing in the top ten. Or Stud and Ensignada overcoming meet anxiety and debuting at zones. Many, many such examples. Kind of like the Olympiad series. As a masters, I like a dose of reality thrown in with all the racing and stats and rankings. Although watching the best is a always super thrilling too. We need to embrace both perhaps.

I'm sure someone will take you up on your offer soon!

ALM
October 17th, 2007, 11:00 PM
I think it's also helpful for people who try out meets for the first time to report back here how it went.

One of the teams in my LMSC recently hosted a meet designed for "newbies". They did a couple of interesting things.

First of all, the first event of the meet was the 50 Free, and EVERYONE was required to swim it.

While the next few events went off the blocks, all of the 50 Free times were used to assemble relay teams. The goal was to create teams that would have as close to the same seed times as possible. (I performed this task using an Excel spreadsheet.) Some of the teams weren't "legal" - one woman and three men, for example - but we didn't care.

I think we had enough swimmers for six relay teams. They didn't finish exactly as predicted (some swimmers swam faster or slower than their original 50 Free times) but it still worked pretty well.

The point of all of this was just to let the newbies have the experience of "racing" in relays. It turned out to be a lot of fun, too.

Anna Lea

ensignada
October 17th, 2007, 11:05 PM
Anna Lea - what a fabulous and fun meet that must have been!I'd bet that many of those newbies became repeat offenders.

swimshark
October 18th, 2007, 08:09 AM
Anna Lea, great meet for new people. I love it! There was one here last summer that was in a neighborhood pool. No blocks, SCM in Aug and most had never done a meet before. It was a lot of fun, even as a more experienced person like myself. The only bad part was being the only person to enter the 200 BR. I asked and got a person to swim 200 back next to me so I had company. I wish more meets were fun like this one.

Fort and Bill, I agree with your points 100%. We need to get the stories of USMS members out to the general public. Why isn't Nats on tv? Why isn't there newspaper coverage on local meets? Etc...

Alison

bud
October 18th, 2007, 08:21 AM
Many meets do offer single day/meet membership for $10 or so.
yep... see the USMS LMSC Handbook (http://www.usms.org/admin/lmschb/) under Registration (http://www.usms.org/admin/lmschb/lmsc_hb_reg.pdf) for the form (on p12 in '07).

in my LMSC the registrar supplies the one-event forms (with the correct info for our LMSC already provided).

aquageek
October 18th, 2007, 08:30 AM
Why isn't Nats on tv?

Oh goodness, that could quite possibly be the most boring TV event ever, with a nielson rating of -9.

Slowswim
October 18th, 2007, 10:18 AM
Oh goodness, that could quite possibly be the most boring TV event ever, with a nielson rating of -9.

I disagree. An Iron Man Tri is much more boring. But if you use the Kona Show format. Explain it so the average Joe can understand it and Joe will begin to root for the athletes.

Where are the USMS watches and athletic wear (not swim wear)? I remember (in Florida) as a kid Guard gear was the rage. What about selling those big coats I see at the meets? Wherever I go, I see running and Tri shirts; never seen a swim meet shirt (except on a pool deck at practice).

There are just too many ways to make money and improve swimming as a public sport. No one joins USMS because no one knows it exists.

The Fortress
October 18th, 2007, 10:25 AM
Fort and Bill, I agree with your points 100%. We need to get the stories of USMS members out to the general public. Why isn't Nats on tv? Why isn't there newspaper coverage on local meets? Etc...
Alison

There could easily be coverage in the newspapers to boost awareness. The Washington Post seems to cover a fair number of local marathons and triathlons, at least to some extent. The local town papers have updates on "masters running." But I never see a single thing on masters swimming. They could report on zones or nationals, it would seem, especially if local masters athletes were competing. Perhaps the newspapers, like everyone else, just don't know that masters swimming is a sport.

There are some meet t-shirts and team t-shirts, Bill. They sell some gear at big meets. I have a parka.

gull
October 18th, 2007, 11:49 AM
Oh goodness, that could quite possibly be the most boring TV event ever, with a nielson rating of -9.


NASCAR made it to network prime time. The world series of poker and billiards are on ESPN. It's all in how you package it. Human interest stories, cool graphics, great music, and of course a lot of skin (which should not be a problem) packed into a 30 minute segment would draw viewers--and raise awareness of masters swimming.

SwimStud
October 18th, 2007, 11:54 AM
NASCAR made it to network prime time. The world series of poker and billiards are on ESPN. It's all in how you package it. Human interest stories, cool graphics, great music, and of course a lot of skin (which should not be a problem) packed into a 30 minute segment would draw viewers--and raise awareness of masters swimming.


Then what? Sponsored Masters with logos painted on their bodies?

"Aleve"
"Geritol"
"Depends"
"Viagara"
"Florida Tourism"

Blackbeard's Peg
October 18th, 2007, 11:54 AM
At 2004's Savannah Nationals, the local news had a story on the meet. Of course they mostly focused on writer John Feinstein's story, but we were on TV! It was pretty exciting!

Most events that do get newspaper coverage are pretty big - we're talking closing down streets, parks, etc... those somewhat draw attention to themselves, since people wonder why they are there. There were daily updates w/ results in the Palo Alto/Mountain View CA papers when we were there for worlds.

If we're all hiding in an indoor pool, however, we probably need to draw attention to ourselves. Perhaps for our big zone/national meets, meet directors should be encouraged to get the word out to our local news outlets - TV and Newspaper - to try to get a story. I bet every LMSC picks up some new membership that way.

scyfreestyler
October 18th, 2007, 11:59 AM
Then what? Sponsored Masters with logos painted on their bodies?

"Aleve"
"Geritol"
"Depends"
"Viagara"
"Florida Tourism"

"Blackwater USA"

Swimmer Bill
October 18th, 2007, 12:23 PM
I have met and interviewed Dara Torres, and think she would be the first to say she doesn't represent all Masters swimmers. But Dara is in a very unique position to raise awareness about Masters swimming by talking about how she got back into competition.

Personally, I'm very thankful she feels strongly enough about her Masters swimming experience to talk about it in interviews. I'm glad she's had a positive experience, and wish her well in her journey to redefine our concept of human athletic performance and aging. After all, isn't that the legacy of the Masters swimming movement?

:duel:

smontanaro
October 18th, 2007, 01:41 PM
At 2004's Savannah Nationals, the local news had a story on the meet. Of course they mostly focused on writer John Feinstein's story, but we were on TV! It was pretty exciting!

That's a good point. Here in Chicago, Phil Hersh covers many of the "minor" sports for the Chicago Tribune. We should get in touch with him about both the IL state meet and Nationals. I have a vague connection. His son used to play on the Evanston high school hockey team (two years ahead of my son), so I can certainly find a way to get in touch with him.

Skip Montanaro

Slowswim
October 18th, 2007, 03:25 PM
There could easily be coverage in the newspapers to boost awareness. The Washington Post seems to cover a fair number of local marathons and triathlons, at least to some extent. The local town papers have updates on "masters running." But I never see a single thing on masters swimming. They could report on zones or nationals, it would seem, especially if local masters athletes were competing. Perhaps the newspapers, like everyone else, just don't know that masters swimming is a sport.

There are some meet t-shirts and team t-shirts, Bill. They sell some gear at big meets. I have a parka.

They need to televise the meets and have more camera angles, especially under water.

Fort: not sell at meets, but as part of the race pakage like, running, cycling, and Tri events do. Parkas and neat things should be raffles or door prizes.
What about post awards parties on or near the meet site.?:party2:

ALM
October 18th, 2007, 05:07 PM
Why isn't Nats on tv?

In this city, if your sport does not involve the letters C-H-I-E-F-S, it's not going to get onto local TV. Period. Off-season, you say? It's still all Chiefs. They just report on who got arrested that week instead of reporting on the games.

Anna Lea

Slowswim
October 19th, 2007, 09:18 AM
In this city, if your sport does not involve the letters C-H-I-E-F-S, it's not going to get onto local TV. Period. Off-season, you say? It's still all Chiefs. They just report on who got arrested that week instead of reporting on the games.

Anna Lea

What about channels like Versus? USMS should be providing footage to them. Even the Publics family weekend tris get a 30 minute spot. Beach Volleyball is on every weekend it seems.

I don't know if USMS is 100% volunteer or has full-time positions; but if it the latter, someone should be trying to get more air time.

aquageek
October 19th, 2007, 09:33 AM
I'm gonna be blunt, there's no chance that any network either wants to or is willing to show any USMS meet. These 30 minute tris they show have elites, sponsored elites, same with beach volleyball. There is zero market for non elite, non sponsored 30-90 year old USMS swimmers. While it's a noble cause, it's a losing proposition. We should turn our attention to things that can help USMS and are feasible. The production costs for a USMS meet would be, at best, 500 times the revenue generated from airing it.

Sorry, but that's the way it is. We can hold hands and dream about this nirvana land where USMS is on TV but it is really just a pipe dream, and a pipe loaded with some ganja at that.

Slowswim
October 19th, 2007, 10:15 AM
Sorry, but that's the way it is. We can hold hands and dream about this nirvana land where USMS is on TV but it is really just a pipe dream, and a pipe loaded with some ganja at that.


Well...:cry:

at least quit bogarting the pipe and pass it here, will ya?:groovy:

quicksilver
October 19th, 2007, 10:25 AM
Beach Volleyball is on every weekend it seems.



Beach volleyball is one of the most widely viewed segments during Olympic broadcasts. Womens mostly. Wonder why??


http://images.google.com/images?svnum=10&um=1&hl=en&client=firefox-a&channel=s&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&hs=zPD&sa=X&oi=spell&resnum=0&ct=result&cd=1&q=women%27s+beach+volleyball&spell=1

SwimStud
October 19th, 2007, 10:28 AM
Beach volleyball is one of the most widely viewed segments during Olympic broadcasts. Womens mostly. Wonder why??

Yes I would hate to see USMS swimming instead of Beach Volleyball...:banana:

quicksilver
October 19th, 2007, 10:31 AM
A combination of the two would be a good blend.

Slowswim
October 19th, 2007, 11:35 AM
A swim suit is a swim suit. I was with ACOG for 1996 Olympics. Some of the athletes (female) wanted a more conservative "uniform". The IOC said "no." One american (I forget her name) wanted to play in a bikini top and long tights. Again, the IOC said "no."

Okay, so USMS need to be somewhere between the Kona show and women's beach volleyball.:joker:

poolraat
October 19th, 2007, 11:41 AM
Beach volleyball is one of the most widely viewed segments during Olympic broadcasts. Womens mostly. Wonder why??

I don't know but I get channels from 2 time zones so during the last Olympics I got to watch it twice. :D

Leonard Jansen
October 19th, 2007, 12:08 PM
You're probably right. But the sport of "swimming" is not just about distance and OW, IMHO. Why is longer necessarily better? Personally, I have a fine sense of accomplishment racing shorter distances, although I may be an oddity.

I've said this before and still think it's true: OW is rock 'n roll and pool races are Carnegie Hall. Anyone who can strum three chords badly can pretend they are rock stars, but there is no faking the cello. Most people will get more satisfaction from finishing a slow mile than a slow 50, simply because almost anyone can complete 50 yards - albeit slowly, so there are no bragging points there. But saying you swam a mile (and the t-shirt) , which most people can't/won't do, gives you some shot at that amp that "goes to 11".

I bet that you will not grow USMS from the pool side. However, a concerted push to attract some of the OW newbies into the dark side will work to some degree. (Hey, I've done 2 pool meets, so anything is possible.) Maybe peppering some of the larger OW swims with USMS info/applications in the goodies packet might work.

Just a thought,
LBJ

aquageek
October 19th, 2007, 12:19 PM
About 8 years ago I came to the conclusion that if I'm gonna train in the pool 7 hours a week, it would be silly to waste that on solely a sprint at a meet. So, I expanded my swimming to do longer distances and OW. I had no idea OW could be so much fun and a completely different direction from pool swimming. It's a new challenge. Plus, you want to feel good about your swimming, go take out a few dozen tris in an OW swim.

Many won't admit it but they are afraid of creepy crawlies. I personally can't stand the bottom of lakes, makes me want to hurl.

However, for some people maybe the challenge of the sprint is all they need to keep motivated, so it's fine for them.

CreamPuff
October 19th, 2007, 12:25 PM
Beach volleyball is one of the most widely viewed segments during Olympic broadcasts. Womens mostly. Wonder why??


http://images.google.com/images?svnum=10&um=1&hl=en&client=firefox-a&channel=s&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&hs=zPD&sa=X&oi=spell&resnum=0&ct=result&cd=1&q=women%27s+beach+volleyball&spell=1

Lord, and we have the fastskins!? No wonder no one gives a darn about masters swimming! They suck in terms of making women look good.

I'm all for creating a "fastkini" in competition. It lifts, sucks in fat, squeezes my goods upward, and is hot pink. We'll give the volleyball babes a run for their money. :rofl:

hofffam
October 19th, 2007, 12:29 PM
Man - I'm opposite of many here. I have no interest in OW or long races. I start to lose count of laps when I swim over a 200. I get bored and distracted. If I try to count strokes I'm liable to lose count of laps.

I'm perfectly happy to do races that take just a minute or two to do. I'm trashed with each of these races and breathe hard for a long time afterwards.

The Fortress
October 19th, 2007, 12:34 PM
About 8 years ago I came to the conclusion that if I'm gonna train in the pool 7 hours a week, it would be silly to waste that on solely a sprint at a meet. So, I expanded my swimming to do longer distances and OW. I had no idea OW could be so much fun and a completely different direction from pool swimming. It's a new challenge. Plus, you want to feel good about your swimming, go take out a few dozen tris in an OW swim.

Many won't admit it but they are afraid of creepy crawlies. I personally can't stand the bottom of lakes, makes me want to hurl.

However, for some people maybe the challenge of the sprint is all they need to keep motivated, so it's fine for them.

Not everyone has the time or ability to put in the yardage. My shoulders can't take it. So, whilst I might possibly prefer to do more and expand my horizon to the rock 'n roll side, it's a no go at the moment.

Also, sprinting is no way a "waste" of time for many! Personally, I love speed. And after a great sprint workout or meet, I am trashed. I can't do something like 10 x 500 or 10 x 200 or a timed 1000 without absolutely falling asleep with the god awful dullness of it.

As for TV coverage, masters swimming, especially in a pool, for most non-swimmers is just too boring. I think other endurance athletes like Slowswim might appreciate us, but not the public at large.

Kristina:

You go girl on the fastskini! I think you look better than those volleyball players!

SwimStud
October 19th, 2007, 12:41 PM
Kristina:

You go girl on the fastskini! I think you look better than those volleyball players!


I reserve judement until photographic entries of "pushed goods" have been submitted via email ;)
:rofl::rofl::rofl:

FWIW, I felt much brawnier after swimming a mile or too in the OW. I do however feel more "athletic" and younger swimming short pool meets.

CreamPuff
October 19th, 2007, 12:43 PM
About 8 years ago I came to the conclusion that if I'm gonna train in the pool 7 hours a week, it would be silly to waste that on solely a sprint at a meet. So, I expanded my swimming to do longer distances and OW. I had no idea OW could be so much fun and a completely different direction from pool swimming. It's a new challenge. Plus, you want to feel good about your swimming, go take out a few dozen tris in an OW swim.

Many won't admit it but they are afraid of creepy crawlies. I personally can't stand the bottom of lakes, makes me want to hurl.

However, for some people maybe the challenge of the sprint is all they need to keep motivated, so it's fine for them.

Amen. I too now do some OW events for fun. And I bring along my friends (willingly). They are rarely disappointed as something strange usually happens during the event like new swimmers freaking out; rescues need to be made; unpredictable sea life emerges; grotesque debris surfaces; rogue sea lions take a bite; etc.

SwimStud
October 19th, 2007, 12:45 PM
Amen. I too now do some OW events for fun. And I bring along my friends (willingly). They are rarely disappointed as something strange usually happens during the event like new swimmers freaking out; rescues need to be made; unpredictable sea life emerges; grotesque debris surfaces; rogue sea lions take a bite; etc.


If you start pushing your goods you may have shoals of rogue scuba divers taking pictures...not bites... ;) well maybe bites too :D

CreamPuff
October 19th, 2007, 12:46 PM
I reserve judement until photographic entries of "pushed goods" have been submitted via email ;)
:rofl::rofl::rofl:

FWIW, I felt much brawnier after swimming a mile or too in the OW. I do however feel more "athletic" and younger swimming short pool meets.

Don't knock my fastkini. It is opposite to the fastskin which flattens the goods. What man came up with the fastskin design? :doh:

SwimStud
October 19th, 2007, 12:47 PM
Don't knock my fastkini. It is opposite to the fastskin which flattens the goods. What man came up with the fastskin design? :doh:

Not me...but I'm a lech...

The Fortress
October 19th, 2007, 12:50 PM
Don't knock my fastkini. It is opposite to the fastskin which flattens the goods. What man came up with the fastskin design? :doh:

And here I thought flattening made you speedier. I don't want anything pushed up when I'm doing my whimpy sprinty stuff. At least the fastskin sucks in and compresses fat along with flattening. But I am anti-knee skin. Ugh. Bodyskin is much better.

So have you debuted the fastkini in your OW races?

Peter Cruise
October 19th, 2007, 12:51 PM
While I don't necessarily feel that we need scads of media coverage, as most vets of organising big meets will tell you, sending out info packages, timely results, interesting bios doesn't often get much, if any, coverage. No, if you want media coverage........

Bar them! Yes, announce beforehand that you are determined to protect your swimmers' privacy (specified media exclusion zones), protection of their personal body-image copyright (cameras forbidden), immediate lawsuits against media speculation on who might attend (we must insure personal security for any celebrities who might be competing and no we won't divulge any names). The coverage will be immense.

The Geek would be the ideal media relations officer in such a case.

The Fortress
October 19th, 2007, 12:57 PM
While I don't necessarily feel that we need scads of media coverage, as most vets of organising big meets will tell you, sending out info packages, timely results, interesting bios doesn't often get much, if any, coverage. No, if you want media coverage........

Bar them! Yes, announce beforehand that you are determined to protect your swimmers' privacy (specified media exclusion zones), protection of their personal body-image copyright (cameras forbidden), immediate lawsuits against media speculation on who might attend (we must insure personal security for any celebrities who might be competing and no we won't divulge any names). The coverage will be immense.

The Geek would be the ideal media relations officer in such a case.

Good idea. We'll have an all chicks meet. Fastkinis mandatory. Spectators banned. A secret video will be leaked on youtube. The new USMS fastskini calendar will be forwarded to Playboy. Kristina will be the media relations officer.

SwimStud
October 19th, 2007, 12:58 PM
Good idea. We'll have an all chicks meet. Fastkinis mandatory. Spectators banned. A secret video will be leaked on youtube, etc.

Get Britney to sing the National Anthem...so going to draw coverage...

CreamPuff
October 19th, 2007, 01:00 PM
And here I thought flattening made you speedier.


Oh it does. BUT, there is some satisfaction in still beating your competition in something that's not proven for speed. And how much faster does it actually make you? I went 31.31 50m fly in a $20 dolphin suit vs. 30.66 in a $180 knee skin. I built the 31.31 swim and was not in shape. . . so I really wonder. Anyhoo, a little lift never hurt anyone. I'm willing to sacrifice a few tenths if anything at all. Getting through the dive or an OW swim in a fastkini is another story. . . I'm thinking industrial strength glue.

It will be interesting to see if in 20 years we look back and think, "I can't believe I raced in that fastskin get-up!"

The Fortress
October 19th, 2007, 01:01 PM
Get Britney to sing the National Anthem...so going to draw coverage...

Maybe Amanda or Dara could step up to the plate and sing for such a good cause.

Paul Smith
October 19th, 2007, 05:30 PM
Going back to an earlier part of this thread regarding insurance...Sun Devil Masters just announced that they are going to self insure and no longer require USMS membership to participate.....

Paul Smith
October 23rd, 2007, 11:44 AM
By the way...for those who don't scroll down on the discussion menu this discussion has evolved and moved to the "Nationals" section.

jonblank
August 14th, 2009, 02:11 PM
No, I agree. The "face" of masters swimming should be a masters swimmer who comes complete with a real life and the vagaries, responsibilities, drawbacks and time limitations of that real life. Like Rob or Susan or whoever. I admire them more from a masters POV. Having the luxury of a 24/7 "team" is in no way typical of masters swimming and thus should not personify or be the "face" of masters swimming. She is amazing, but I don't really consider her a "masters" swimmer.

(resurrection of old thread).
If Dara Torres is the "face" of masters swimming, our own FORTRESS should at least be the "torso" of masters swimming. Just look at her avatar.

lefty
August 14th, 2009, 02:16 PM
(resurrection of old thread).
If Dara Torres is the "face" of masters swimming, our own FORTRESS should at least be the "torso" of masters swimming. Just look at her avatar.


I agree! She is a total hottie (HA!)

Allen Stark
August 14th, 2009, 05:59 PM
I was surprised,Fort is even better looking in person,but she could be the arms of Masters swimming,she has amazing"guns".

rtodd
August 14th, 2009, 10:02 PM
Rivals CreamPuff's.

elise526
August 14th, 2009, 10:48 PM
Yes! Fort is indeed the face of masters swimming! What a great role model!

The companies that make the protein bars that she likes to eat should be sponsoring her.

The Fortress
August 15th, 2009, 08:42 AM
OMG, guys ... :blush:

Just so I'm not the legs -- too short!

Paul Smith
August 15th, 2009, 09:53 AM
So let's fill in all the parts don't you think?

I'll start with these suggestions:

"Mouth" = Mark Gill
"Ass" = John Smith
"Soul" = Aquageek
"Hair" = Jon Blank
"Legs" = Laura Smith (bias call out)
"Feet" = Chris Stephenson

???

JimRude
August 15th, 2009, 10:01 AM
So let's fill in all the parts don't you think?

I'll start with these suggestions:

"Mouth" = Mark Gill
"Ass" = John Smith
"Soul" = Aquageek
"Hair" = Jon Blank
"Legs" = Laura Smith (bias call out)
"Feet" = Chris Stephenson

???

"Belly" = Paul Smith

Chris Stevenson
August 15th, 2009, 03:38 PM
"Feet" = Chris Stephenson

Ankles maybe, but I think you want someone with larger feet than my size 9-1/2s...you, Erik, Patrick or any other too tall fellows would fit the bill.

jonblank
August 15th, 2009, 04:14 PM
So let's fill in all the parts don't you think?

I'll start with these suggestions:

"Mouth" = Mark Gill
"Ass" = John Smith
"Soul" = Aquageek
"Hair" = Jon Blank
"Legs" = Laura Smith (bias call out)
"Feet" = Chris Stephenson

???

I don't think I'd qualify for hair - how about "belly button lint"?

knelson
August 15th, 2009, 07:43 PM
So let's fill in all the parts don't you think?

I'll start with these suggestions:

"Mouth" = Mark Gill
"Ass" = John Smith
"Soul" = Aquageek
"Hair" = Jon Blank
"Legs" = Laura Smith (bias call out)
"Feet" = Chris Stephenson

???

"fingernails" = Ande Rasmussen

orca1946
August 16th, 2009, 12:30 PM
Swimmer of the month !! Every one of us that does the everyday world chores is a masters swimmer. She is WAY faster than all of the rest of us. So, share the fame!