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From the Executive Director: U.S. Masters Swimming's Journey

  1. Volunteer—You’ll Change More Than One Life

    by , May 1st, 2015 at 03:20 PM (From the Executive Director: U.S. Masters Swimming's Journey)
    USMS has become the leader in the adult aquatics movement because of the secret ingredient in our sauce: our volunteers.

    Last week, more than 400 volunteers in San Antonio gave of their time as officials, timers, greeters, on-deck coaches, and awards liaisons so Masters swimmers could enjoy a first class Nationwide USMS Spring National Championship.

    We have 52 Local Masters Swimming Committees throughout the United States, operated by hundreds of volunteers making sure sanctions are approved and Top 10 times are recorded and countless other tasks. And many Masters clubs and workout groups would cease to exist were it not for the numerous volunteer coaches giving of their time so other adults can benefit.

    If you feel a desire to volunteer but haven’t yet found the right opportunity, I encourage you to consider helping another adult learn to swim. While our adult learn-to-swim campaign is most visible during the month of April, teaching adults to swim is a year-round cause.

    On the center of the usms.org home page are four words: Encouraging adults to swim. The CDC estimates 37% of American adults can’t swim the length of a swimming pool. If we’re going to encourage adults to swim, we have a responsibility to help those who can’t by creating opportunities to learn.

    Teaching adults is different than teaching kids. Often, adults have to overcome longtime fears or self-doubt just to make it to the first lesson. Putting a bathing suit on for the first time and placing their trust in another adult is a big commitment, for both the adult learner and the instructor—teaching an adult to swim requires empathy and patience.

    USMS has free resources to help Masters Swimming programs that want to participate in the adult learn-to-swim initiative. We also have a professionally taught adult learn-to-swim instructor certification program, which is available to any USMS member who wants to experience the rewards of sharing our sport.

    Every month, my inbox is filled with emails and pictures from adults expressing gratitude and a renewed sense of self worth because they’ve learned to swim. I read the letters and feel the empowerment and victory in their words. It’s a gift that wouldn’t have been possible without Masters swimmer volunteers.

    If you know how to swim and want to give back—if this message has stirred you—then please volunteer to teach another adult. As much as the adult learner will benefit, you, too, will receive the gift of making a significant difference in someone’s life by sharing the opportunity to experience the lifelong benefits of swimming.
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