View RSS Feed

Recent Blogs Posts

  1. Avoiding problematic social media activity.

    by , August 15th, 2017 at 10:22 AM (Questions from Coaches)
    Q: How can I avoid problems with social media? What not to do with social media.

    A: As much as we would like to believe that we are entitled to coach at, swim at, or be a member of our preferred swimming venue, in most cases we are not. Participation is a privilege, not a right, and losing that privilege can be devastating. No Masters coach or swimmer wants to receive the news that they’re no longer welcome at their aquatics facility.

    While inappropriate behavior should never be tolerated at the pool, neither should it be tolerated away from the pool. This includes all forms of negativity on social media. While coaches and program leaders can't monitor every post every day, they can establish written standards that all members should agree and adhere to when interacting with other program members and stakeholders. Remedies should also be included in the swim program's standards and guidelines for program participation.

    The two most common misuses of social media are cyberbullying and negative messaging.

    Bullying may seem like nothing more than sophomoric banter but it's not. It's hurtful and has no place in a Masters program. If you're a coach who needs to tear down people to build your own ego or self-esteem, find another profession.

    If you become aware of others in your program who engage in bullying at or away from the pool, insist that they cease and desist immediately. No coach wants to have a member removed from the program. However, you as the coach, and leader of the program, must protect the integrity of the program and ensure the enjoyment and safety of all.

    Negative messaging and pejorative behavior on social media can lead to a multitude of potential problems.

    Here is an example of an email no coach wants to receive:

    "Coach Upacreek,

    “I regret to inform you that your Masters program is no longer welcome at the aquatics center. It has come to my attention that members in your program have disparaged our facility and staff by communicating negative, false and misleading statements in various media within the community. I've attached a copy of recent social media posts that have been brought to my attention.

    “The aquatics facilities' reputation within the community is of the utmost importance and I can no longer tolerate your member's inappropriate activities. Good luck finding another facility."

    Please don't have your members wage war with or air complaints about your pool or program on social media. Yes, we have First Amendment rights. No, one of our inalienable rights is not to swim where we please. If there are issues that need to be addressed, schedule a time to meet with the aquatics facility decision makers and resolve the issues. Your program's relationship with the pool, whether you rent pool space or you’re a program of the facility, should be a partnership. If you need help strengthening your partnership or need help resolving issues, contact the USMS national office and Club and Coach Services and resources will be provided.

    Keep the use of social media positive and uplifting. Use it to share program updates, information, and upcoming events. And, whenever possible, celebrate the accomplishments of your members in and away from the pool.
  2. The M Word (May-June 2013)

    by , May 1st, 2013 at 12:00 AM (SWIMMER Editorials)
    What does the word Masters in Masters Swimming mean to you?

    Masters
    , in USMS parlance, merely signifies that you are an adult: age 18 or older.

    Over the years, we’ve heard different reactions: “It’s only for fast swimmers.” “It’s for swimmers age 50 and above.” “It’s only for swimmers who want to compete.” “It’s only for those who have mastered the sport.” “It’s only for pool swimmers.” And my personal favorite, from a young age-grouper at our pool, “It’s for old Sharks.” As perpetually young-at-heart athletes, many of us believe age is relative, but the reactions from new, would-be, and nonmembers runs the gamut.

    In the 1960s, when Dr. Ransom Arthur was promoting organized adult swimming for fitness, the word Masters was borrowed from Masters Track and Field and it stuck. Some of the age misconceptions about Masters swimming may stem from this—USA Masters Track and Field does have lower age limits of 30 and 40, depending on the type of event.

    Even Masters Swimming, which started as a committee of the American Swimming Coaches Association, migrated to a committee of the Amateur Athletic Union, and later morphed into the USMS we know today, had an initial lower age limit of 25. This was dropped to 19 in 1986, and then to 18 in 2002.

    Age limits aside, the M word has been a topic of discussion at USMS annual meetings. In 2007, a branding task force considered the idea of dropping it in favor of something perhaps more inviting. But with so much equity and tradition invested into U.S. Masters Swimming, it was decided after careful thought that we would maintain our heritage while repositioning our identity and promoting education and services that would encourage more adults to swim.

    Masters Swimming is open to anyone age 18 and older, regardless of age and ability. Some Masters programs even have adult learn-to-swim programs for those who have never set foot in the water. Our charitable arm, the Swimming Saves Lives Foundation (usms.org/giving), provides grants to clubs who create such opportunities for adults in their communities.

    Our Facebook page (facebook.com/USMastersSwimmingFanPage), is packed with links to mainstream media stories about Masters swimmers. This is an exciting development, and we urge you to pitch stories to your local media outlets—they’re always looking for good content and are usually happy to do a piece on your local program, your coach, or a teammate who has an interesting story. Be sure to send us the link when it’s published. Sharing these stories helps dispel misconceptions about the M word and helps us to encourage more adults to swim.

    Updated July 1st, 2014 at 10:39 AM by Editor

    Categories
    Staff Blogs
  3. Swimming in Social Media (September-October 2012)

    by , September 1st, 2012 at 12:00 AM (SWIMMER Editorials)
    Love it or hate it, social media has become a part of everyday life. Understanding its impact means more than deciphering those little symbols above the number keys that we never used very much before. #whatisahashtaganyway @MastersSwimming?!

    For anyone born before 1990, the rapidity with which information flies around can be stunning. We now rely on smartphone apps for things we used to have to wait hours or days for: weather forecasts, news, sports scores, all available at the touch of a button. With apps such as Active’s Meet Mobile, how many of us get irritated when the splits of our last race aren’t posted by the time we get out of the warm-down pool? #behonest

    As with any newfangled thing, many people who’ve been around longer than the technology will grumble. Others will try it and find creative ways to use it, discarding what they don’t like. The young’uns will just wonder what all the fuss is about. Some of them will never realize that in the old days, during a dining experience, people faced each other and exchanged information—often referred to as conversation—with those actually seated at the table. y r u lookn at ur napkin?

    Did you follow the Olympics via Twitter and Facebook? Or did you wait until prime time, with the hope that none of your social media–crazy friends would let slip what they saw on their Twitter feeds or post spoilers on their Facebook timelines? NBC didn’t need social media to spoil results when it aired promos of interviews with gold-medalist Missy Franklin when it hadn’t yet aired the actual gold-medal race. #epicfail

    As a 42-year-old organization that hopes to attract members of all ages, USMS is using these tools to encourage conversation and sharing. Ben Christoffel of Liquid Media manages USMS social media platforms: “Social media is not replacing traditional means of communication, but rather enhancing the way we communicate as a whole.”

    USMS clubs are using social media to keep their swimmers engaged. Some coaches tweet pool closures or other last-minute practice changes. Having a Facebook page is nothing new, but using Facebook instead of a club website has become an attractive option for clubs that don’t have the funds or in-house expertise to build and maintain a traditional website.

    With social media tools, says Christoffel, “Masters programs can communicate, encourage and inform by posting real-time updates and media-rich content to keep their members involved outside the pool." Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay.

    Updated September 3rd, 2014 at 11:20 AM by Editor

    Categories
    Staff Blogs
  4. What's Your Word? (November-December 2011)

    by , November 1st, 2011 at 12:00 AM (SWIMMER Editorials)
    Recently we posted a question on Facebook: “What adjective best describes swimming?” We received nearly 100 responses. Not all were adjectives and some posters couldn’t limit themselves to just one word.

    Single words have a long history of summarizing our physical and emotional behavior. Stop. Love. Yield. Yes. No. Fire. (Insert your favorite curse word here.). We use single words to simplify—to reduce a complex series of events or a complicated emotional response into one neat and tidy package that gives us direction, inspires us, triggers action, or simply lets anyone within earshot know just how painful smashing our shin into that coffee table was.

    When describing something meaningful, our language offers a cornucopia of words—and there is no right or wrong. Some of the words our members use to describe swimming easily convey why they might get up before the chickens to get to the pool. Others clearly have a special meaning just for that person. “Exhilarating” was the most-used word.

    This tag cloud (thank you, wordle.net) shows the responses we received. The larger the word, the more times it was found among the responses.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	swimmingwordle.jpg 
Views:	1924 
Size:	144.8 KB 
ID:	8751

    Updated December 30th, 2016 at 12:11 PM by Editor

    Categories
    Staff Blogs