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Thread: Starting out

  1. #1
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    Starting out

    I have questions about Masters Swimming teams:

    How many percent of the people are in their 20s? I'm in my 20s and I feel like if everyone is in their 40s and above then I won't fit in.

    Is the atmosphere more competitive or less than a high school team? I regret not joining my HS team. I felt that I wasnt strong enough to handle it because I didn't really know how to swim back then, and I thought it would be too much to go from zero yards to being competitive within one season. Was I wrong? Assuming I'm reasonably diligent, how long would it take on average to be reasonably good? I'm 22 and right now I can only swim 100 yards before stopping.

    Stupid me, my bad decisions back then come back to haunt me today. Give me a word of encouragement if you want.

  2. #2
    Very Active Member Shaky's Avatar
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    I was on a swim team from the age of five up until thirteen. Then I didn't swim a lap for fourteen years (and didn't do much else to stay in shape either, other than lots of walking). The first time I entered the pool upon my return, I could only do 300 yards before my arms burned so heavy I couldn't lift myself out of the pool and had to grope for the ladder.

    Within two weeks I was doing more than a thousand yards, three times per week. Within a couple of months my workout had increased to around 2500 yards. I started in the summer, and by the end of it I was routinely swimming more than 3000 yards each workout. Eighteen months later I was doing 4000 yards continuously, no sets, no stopping, although I've backed off that since to get a more varied workout under my time constraints.

    I had a bit of a head start over you, I guess, since I had early instruction and had pretty good technique in my head, even if I didn't quite have the strength in my arms to match. Still, if I could go from 300 yards to 3000 in a single summer, and to more than two miles in a year and a half, I figure you'll be able to improve pretty quickly if you want to.

    I don't swim on a masters team now, simply because my schedule doesn't really allow a rigid practice schedule. However, I've had the opportunity to observe the masters teams at my pool (the National Capital YMCA in DC), and I don't think you'll have a problem.

    For example, this past Sunday the team had three lanes. In one lane were the faster swimmers, who were pretty much following a workout on their own with minimal supervision. The coach was working with swimmers in a medium lane on technique. There was also a slow lane, where it appeared the coach just had them building endurance, although he would stop them occasionally and offer technical advice. Observing on a previous occasion, I noticed that some of the swimmers in the slow lane weren't able to keep up with the workout, and the coach was adjusting their workout as they went, reducing their yardage a little so they could keep up with the sets.

    I say just go do it. You'll be the slowpoke at first, but you'll build up quickly if you stick with it.

  3. #3
    Active Member pbsaurus's Avatar
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    All teams are different. Shop around and try out the various teams in your area. It has been my experience that everyone is welcome and everyone fits in. The great thing about masters is everyone has different goals. Some are highly competitive, some are there purely for fitness, others for the social aspects, and then there are those like me who are there for all of the above. Don't be discouraged because everyone seems older. You can learn a lot from us old people

  4. #4
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    you should do it!

    I was 24 when I started, having stopped swimming at the Red Cross Advanced Beginner level, which is second grade, I think.

    Anyway, My team has a lot of 20s, 30s and some 40s on it. Everyone gets along great. In fact, the oldest guy is the one who shows up the most at social outings!

    You will probably be in the "slow lane" at first, but if you are persistent, you can move up. Don't worry about feeling dumb or slow. Everyone goes through that. I see it everytime someone new starts. Either they haven't swam in a long time or they used to be competitive but gained a lot of weight or otherwise got out of shape.

    Ask if you can observe or take a trial session, if you are worried it won't be what you want.

    Alice

  5. #5
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    Would you rather wait another 20 years before starting in order to fit in? The enjoyment of swimming and the sweet smell of chlorine have no age boundaries. I think you will find that you can make Masters swimming as competitive or non-competitive as you like. Most clubs have a full spectrum of abilities and most coaches you will find are able to accommodate to fit individual needs.

    Good luck and go for it!

  6. #6
    Participating Member CoachRay's Avatar
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    Re: Starting out

    Originally posted by GtownJJ
    I have questions about Masters Swimming teams:

    How many percent of the people are in their 20s? I'm in my 20s and I feel like if everyone is in their 40s and above then I won't fit in.

    Is the atmosphere more competitive or less than a high school team? I regret not joining my HS team. I felt that I wasnt strong enough to handle it because I didn't really know how to swim back then, and I thought it would be too much to go from zero yards to being competitive within one season. Was I wrong? Assuming I'm reasonably diligent, how long would it take on average to be reasonably good? I'm 22 and right now I can only swim 100 yards before stopping.

    Stupid me, my bad decisions back then come back to haunt me today. Give me a word of encouragement if you want.
    Your mileage may vary. Our team (Howard-Catonsville YMCA Masters) does have a good number of 20-somethings. Other teams have an older clientele. Whatever the case, there are other factors to a team than the median age to consider. Teams, like individuals, have personalities. It is also important that the team you join has a compatible personality to your own.

    Just some thoughts,
    Ray

  7. #7
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    Mine is more of a masters group than a team, since the majority are in it for exercise not competition. We range from 20s to 60s and all get along well. A few were competitive in high school or college but most were not. One of the better swimmers couldn't swim a stroke until 3 years ago. The coach is really good about varying workouts and yardage to provide challenge for everyone without scaring the daylights out of those of us who are not as strong and fast as others. She also seems to know who to push and when.

    We have quite a few triathletes who start working hard about this time of the year. Some only swim freestyle while the rest of us do the other strokes, but most eventually decide that they want to be able to do the other strokes too, so the coach helps them develop those skills.

    I've been doing this for over two years and before each practice I have a moment of "why am I putting myself through this?" but when I'm done I remember why. Having other people to talk to about these feelings - and to laugh with when one of us does something stupid - keeps me going. Don't be afraid to give it try. Just find the right group/team for you.

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