Results 1 to 16 of 16

Thread: Building A Masters Swim Club

  1. #1
    Love SWIMMING! Ahelee Sue Osborn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Berkeley, California
    Posts
    770

    Building A Masters Swim Club

    I can't say I know John Bitter as a coach, but USMS and World Champion Masters Swimmer Laura Val trains with the Santa Clara Masters and it is one of those quietly thriving masters clubs.

    A former swimmer of Coach Bitter's forwarded this article to me. Although it appears to be a talk to USA Swim Clubs or coaches, it has some good thoughts for masters coaches trying to add or build their own masters swim club.
    Thanks Coach John - and Caroline!

    http://www.santaclaraswimclub.org/masters/bitter.htm

    The Marriage of a Successful Masters Program with a Swim Team
    by John Bitter, head coach of the Santa Clara Swim Club

    The sport of fitness swimming or adult masters swimming in this country has experienced tremendous growth over the last ten years. Today there are over 38,000 registered adult masters' swimmers (numbers from USMS information 2001) training, competing, and enjoying the benefits that the sport of swimming has to offer.

    In certain parts of the country the registered masters’ swimmers far outnumber those registered for United States Swimming. Clubs in Texas, and across California are reaping financial profits that were unheard of in previous years.

    So why would a club not seek out this opportunity to add a masters program to their already existing curriculum?
    The answers to this question are often more complex than they appear. In this article, I will explore several of these answers and also give some advice on how our team, the Santa Clara Swim Club, has managed to make both programs successfully co-exist.

    In discussing issues of coaching with other coaches, it has become an age-old adage that the worst problem we face daily is the swim team parent. After all, the most cherished thing is this world is a child, therefore parents often act out of character when it comes to their children’s needs and wants. So taking that adage a step further, if the worse thing is dealing with parents and their dreams for their children, now imagine dealing with parents themselves who are swimming and creating their own dreams. Just as a parent can be selfish when it comes to their child, now they get to be even more selfish when it comes to them.

    A daunting fear that many coaches see is how to handle the adult swimmer, when it comes time to talk about whether to run a masters program or not.
    Often when I go to camps, clinics, or meets and the subject of masters’ swimming comes up, I can see the cringe in the eyes of many of my fellow coaches. But when I tell them about how much the program at Santa Clara brings in each year and how the potential for even more growth exists, their eyes widen and the questions come forth.

    Through a successful Master's program, there is a tremendous opportunity for financial success that can benefit the swim club. Learning to coach the "grown up" is a small price to pay for the opportunity of financial success. I have mentioned those words twice, financial success, but to say that this concept is the only reason to develop a Masters program would be to diminish what can truly be a special part of your overall curriculum.

    When I came to Santa Clara Swim Club in 1995, we offered an age group program, a senior program, and a small, but regularly attended masters’ program. My first year at the club, the head coach Dick Jochums added a learn-to swim program to the mix. We now had a swim program that covered from toddler to adult, but the strategy about how to market it and make the entire team a success was the next step in our development as a club.

    Santa Clara had its name, but in master’s swimming a name is not always the reason to swim at a particular place. Master’s swimmers want a program where they feel wanted. They will go to a pool where they feel they can get a good workout (usually one with variety), a place were the coach to swimmer familiarity is high, where there is a set workout schedule, and finally, where there are some social aspects to the pool and lane structure.
    In the first two years at Santa Clara, our program was one that could best be described as disjointed and sparsely populated.
    To be exact, many of those early regulars bemoan to me that they wish the old days were here, without the crowded lanes, even though they understand the need to grow.
    We had no regular coach, the program had no real structure, and the swimmers who were there came to swim because of the convenience the pool had to their work or homes.

    Something had to change, for the program had the potential to be something the club would be proud of and would benefit the adult swimming community.

    In November 1998, I took over the program from top to bottom and I began coaching all of the workouts on a regular basis.
    At Santa Clara we run workouts Monday through Friday from 6 to 8 am and from 6 to 7:30 p.m. On Saturdays the workout is from 9:30 to 11 am and on Sundays from 9 to 10:30 am.
    For the last three years I have been running almost all of those workouts, with the goal of creating a familiarity in the program and to advance it to where it was standing on its own two feet financially.
    Of course, this is a difficult task to ask of any staff member and familiarity or consistency can be achieved through less extreme measures.

    Last year we were able to achieve financial independence, as the program paid for my salary, plus pool rent, and was still left with money in a reserve account.
    This year we are already over budget by 125%.
    In the year 1998-1999 the program had a membership under 135 and brought around $40,000 into the team.
    The following year 1999-2000 the program grew in numbers to 240 registered swimmers and the program exceeded budget by a little over $30,000.
    This year the club has continued its growth and registered masters' swimmers is approaching 300.
    The eventual goal of the program is 400 registered masters' swimmers.

    The financial profit generated at that point will create the ability to sponsor relay teams at different competitions that are offered to adult swimmers.
    Putting our club in such a position is another way to support our adult athletes, while also creating a lasting bond between the adult swimmer and the club.

    So what do you do to make this happen?

    One of the first ways to develop a successful masters programs to give it structure, but with flexibility.
    By that I mean set up a working schedule for workouts, but add some flexibility in how members can pay.
    At Santa Clara we have created daily, monthly, half-yearly, and yearly payment options. Also, through agreements with many of the local triathlete clubs, special discounts have been honored. Discounts for city residents, students, and former swimmers and parents of the club have been established.

    Each of these plans has been established as a way to attract the adult to try the program.

    Flexibility also means making sure you create the workout for the group in the water, not just run a generic workout to see how many laps they can do in one hour. Adults understand what is going on; they want a practice that not only gives them a great workout, but one that also has some variety and purpose to it.

    Don’t just assume and don’t just send them back and forth. Listen, create, and provide multiple workouts within the pool if you need to.
    There is nothing worse than having a pool full of swimmers creating their own workouts because your workout shows no concern for them.

    A master's workout should not be an open lap swim. Have a few lap lanes available, but make the workout lanes the place to be.

    Also, I make myself available for clinics and for one-on-ones, something that gives me more contact to the swimmers and their needs.

    Finally, don’t ever pass up an opportunity to speak when asked. Getting yourself out there as often as you can helps with the marketing of the program and more than likely it will also help some adult feel more comfortable about coming to their first Master's workout.

    Make everyone feel welcomed and find a lane for even the slowest beginner to swim and perform a workout you have given.

    Something else that I feel is important is participation in a few of the events your swimmers do. This year, and in 1999, I did Masters Nationals with my team, I have also done a few open water swims, and I have participated in triathlon relays. I am in no shape to do a triathlon, but doing the swim alone and cheering on the many triathletes who swim at your pool, helps give you a small perspective of what your adult athletes are going through.
    It is this listening, watching them compete, and congratulating them for their efforts that you can create that partnership that leads to loyalty to your club's Master's program.
    This is another way to keep your program a step ahead of the others and a success for years to come.

    A masters' swim program is an excellent way to create revenue for the club, create more recognition for the club, and a way to give your club a true place in the complete development of a swimmer from infancy to old age.

    The positives outweigh the negatives if you take the time to create a program and put the time into it to bring it to a level in which everyone who may participate feels good about what they experienced.
    Remember that you only will see many of these people twice a week for a grand total of 3 hours, what you do and how you do it will leave a lasting impression for the future.

    The best marketing for a master's program will always word of mouth from those who are swimming in it. People talk at work about their exercise or fitness programs and where they do it. Make your club the name that they mention and enjoy what a successfully run masters' program can do for your club.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	John Bitter SCSC.jpg 
Views:	195 
Size:	96.3 KB 
ID:	1750   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Coach John Bitter.jpg 
Views:	200 
Size:	11.1 KB 
ID:	1751  

  2. #2
    Love SWIMMING! Ahelee Sue Osborn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Berkeley, California
    Posts
    770

    Re: Building A Masters Swim Club

    And 2 other good interviews posted recently discussing the rebuilding of Curl Burke Masters:

    http://www.usms.org/articles/articledisplay.php?a=226

    by Frank Marcinkowski and Ashley Gangloff


    Curl-Burke is a big Masters program that has seen a lot of growth. With multiple sites and nearly 500 swimmers, Curl-Burke and head coach Frank Marcinkowski know the importance of a good coaching staff. Below Frank provides some insight into growth, coordinating an appropriate coaching staff and finding new coaches to be a part of the team.

    USMS: When did you realize that Curl-Burke was growing and that the program was too big for just one coach?
    Marcinkowski: A bigger driver than the number of swimmers in the pool is the average ability of the swimmers and the differences in ability between them. For an eight-lane workout, we generally have at least six different levels, in terms of intervals or distances, present. To observe stroke and individual performance and to provide meaningful feedback to swimmers during workout, we have found that a good coach to swimmer ration is 25 to 1. I believe two coaches can comfortably handle 40-50 swimmers of different abilities in one workout. When teaching stroke technique vs. a purely hard training workout, we have found that a swimmer to coach ratio of seven to one is ideal and 12 to one is a max.
    Curl-Burke Masters has five locations each with a designated site head coach. Each location also enlists two assistant coaches.

    USMS: What is the first step in finding an assistant coach? Where do you look? How do you advertise the position?
    Marcinkowski: Our first step in finding assistant coaches is to recruit from within. Most of our assistant coaches have come up through our own swimming ranks. 100 percent of our coaches also have other jobs, none are full time coaches. Be careful about hiring coaches who may be burnt out, tired or lifeless because of their other jobs, coaching or otherwise. We are lucky to have a close relationship with American University, a local college, and its coach and swimmers. This relationship has provided us with several great coaches over the years.

    USMS: What makes a qualified assistant coach?
    Marcinkowski: Interest, dedication and reliability; a good working knowledge of all four strokes; and a comprehensive understanding of streamlining, balance, starts and turns, as well as the ability to communicate and organize.

    USMS: What makes a GREAT assistant coach?
    Marcinkowski: Leadership, unfailing dedication, reliability, commitment, and the ability to coach swimmers at every level. And passion for swimming.
    Often Masters programs have little or no money to offer an assistant coach (some may not even have a budget for a head coach). This problem often prevents programs from recruiting new coaches.

    USMS: What if a program doesn’t have a lot of money to pay an assistant?
    Marcinkowski: Money should not be the primary motivator for a Masters coach. In fact, the volunteer coaches or those whose salaries, at best, pay gas, are often the best Masters coaches. If a team does not have much or any money to pay a coach or assistant coaches, it needs to find the passionate, dedicated and knowledgeable individuals willing to coach for free (or cheap) for the period of time it will take to build a team and create some revenue. Provide a half decent facility and a great coach and the Masters swimmers will come … and pay to come.
    Teaching and mentoring a new or assistant coach can seem like a daunting task. Ensuring a good coach becomes a great coach, it is vital to mentor him or her.

    USMS: How can a head coach mentor an assistant or new coach? Do you write the workouts for him or her to implement?
    Marcinkowski: I prefer to show new assistant coaches my workouts, let them draft their own, and then review their workouts. There are more tools available now online to help us write workouts than ever before. The most important factor is that all coaches understand the energy level at which the team is training and the goals of the program, then design a workout appropriately.

    USMS: Why is a good coaching staff the difference between a good Masters program and a GREAT Masters program?
    Marcinkowski: Ultimately, a good coaching staff will be the difference between a team and not a team. Our team is a good example. We have no charter, no by-laws, and no management committee, per se. Our swimmers are our customers; they communicate to us where they want to go individually and as a team, and then the coaches help them and the team achieve these goals. Passion, dedication, commitment and foresight!


    U.S. Masters Swimming comprises over 2,000 Masters coaches. Each program and coach is different and requires different structures and organization. Curl-Burke, a program that has experienced a lot of growth, has offered its experience through the eyes of Head Coach Frank Marcinkowski, who hopes that Curl-Burke’s experience with growth can help other teams grow.

    AND:


    One Big Happy Family: Marcinkowski’s Masters
    By Amy Shipley

    When Frank Marcinkowski, a longtime masters swimming coach, talked to Ed Zerkle, a coach of local triathletes, about merging their groups for swim training, Zerkle laid everything on the line: Some of his athletes could not swim fast. Some had poor technique. Some couldn’t dive; many couldn’t do flip turns. But they were in great shape, and worked hard, and were interested in swimming with Marcinkowski’s Curl-Burke Masters group.

    Zerkle looked at Marcinkowski to gauge his reaction.
    “I thought he would say, ‘We’re looking for real swimmers,’” Zerkle said. “Instead, he said, ‘Wow, that’s fantastic.’ It sounds like a part of our program we would like to grow.”

    Zerkle could not sign his Tri-Team Z training group up fast enough. His triathletes had grown accustomed to being shunned by hard-core runners, cyclists and swimmers who seemed to resent the intrusion of non-specialists. The reaction from Marcinkowski was, he said, a welcome first.
    “He’s our godfather, so to speak,” Zerkle said. “Frank’s vision is to create one of the most complete masters swimming programs in the country in the same way Curl-Burke has a world-class, age-group program.”

    Marcinkowski is doing exactly that. Not in a small, subtle way, but in a huge, almost incomprehensible manner. The club for non-elite adult swimmers had about a dozen members in 2004; this year, its membership swelled to 525, making it the largest masters program in the nation outside of California. The furious growth of the team under Marcinkowski, assistant Jim Halstead and their staff of part-time coaches is regarded with nothing short of awe and reverence by officials at the U.S. Masters Swimming, the sport’s national governing body.

    “They are growing like wildfire in that program,” USMS Executive Director Rob Butcher said. “They’re a terrific model for us.”

    Butcher, Zerkle and others say numbers have soared because Marcinkowski has tried to strip the elitism from masters swimming, often thought to be populated with former competitive stars who have little tolerance for learners.

    At the Colonies Zone Short Course Yards Championship in April, many Curl-Burke Masters swimmers drew stares, then cheers, for competing in the 1,650-yard freestyle – a race preferred among triathletes because it is not a speed event and doesn’t require, say, the butterfly or breaststroke – despite not diving in to start or executing flip turns.
    Despite the obvious inexperience in certain corners, Curl-Burke Masters still took the overall team title, topping Virginia Masters, a one-time perennial champ that has felt Curl-Burke’s rise.

    “We have now lost three out of four years to Curl-Burke,” Virginia Masters swimmer Dick Cheadle wrote in the club’s Aug. newsletter. “Why? One only has to look at the numbers to answer that question … This year Curl-Burke had 111 swimmers, and we only had 47, thus yet another discouraging loss.”

    Marcinkowski said the team’s recent success is almost beside the point.
    “We’re very competitive, but that sort of just falls into place,” Marcinkowski, 50, said. “The team is not, on its face, competitive. That’s a fun by-product of the team.”
    Between 2000 and 2004, the Curl-Burke Masters Swimming team languished. It was home to between seven and 26 swimmers during that five-year span. At the time, Marcinkowski thought it was flatly ridiculous that his masters group in swimming, a true sport for life, could not attract more athletes in the swim-crazy Greater Washington region.

    Yet he understood the club’s reputation for imperious and unwelcoming athletes.
    He didn’t like it, and he didn’t want it.

    “When Frank took over, the club had an elitism mentality and Frank just cleaned house,” Butcher said. “They started over.”

    Marcinkowski, a swimmer at the University of North Dakota, recruited fitness buffs, triathletes, casual swimmers, serious swimmers, anybody with an interest in the sport. He and his coaches had a firm policy: Everybody who walked on the pool deck – everybody – would be welcomed. He also fought for lane space at pools around the District to accommodate growing membership, and tried new things: his club has been conducting open-water practices for eight years despite occasional trouble claiming sufficient park space.

    “Over time, word got out that we offered a fantastic place to train and develop your stroke,” Marcinkowski said.

    Rufus Harris, 68, said he tired of jogging around the block and took up triathlons in his late 50s. In search of a place to swim, he said, he visited a number of clubs around town until he tried Curl-Burke Masters four years ago. He immediately knew he had found a home.
    “Some of the other places were, ‘There’s a lane and go swim and don’t bother us,’” Harris said. The Curl-Burke Masters coaches “seemed genuinely glad to have me there, and they made me feel part of the group.”

    As Marcinkowski strove to build the club, he juggled his full-time job as a vice president at the Alexandria-based PCCI, an environmental engineering company, as well as responsibilities to his late wife, Tricia, and four children, who range in age from 14 to 24. The most traumatic period for Marcinkowski came near the end of his wife’s eight-year battle with breast cancer.
    After several nerve-rattling but hopeful years in which she seemed to have beaten the disease, doctors discovered the cancer had spread. She died in February 2008.

    “We didn’t quite make 25 years” of marriage, Marcinkowski said. “It was 24-and-three-fourths … Her last two-and-a-half years were really rough. Her diagnosis was very bad… When [the cancer] came back in spots, it was very serious.”
    In the years before her illness, the family had spent plenty of time in the water together, tubing, water-skiing and fishing in Marcinkowski’s boats, and diving and snorkeling on vacations. There were soccer games and swim training with the masters team and, finally, late nights spent at Tricia Marcinkowski’s bedside.
    Marcinkowski remembered her final six months as “very dismal.”
    But he also remembered the place he was able to heal. His whole family came together.
    Both of them.

    “After my kids and my family, the swim team was the best way to be able to make it through,” Marcinkowski said. “You’ve got 500 friends out there.”
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Frank Marcinkowski.jpg 
Views:	235 
Size:	25.8 KB 
ID:	1753  
    Last edited by Ahelee Sue Osborn; November 1st, 2009 at 05:01 PM.

  3. #3
    Very Active Member Rnovitske's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Alexandria, VA
    Posts
    145
    Blog Entries
    32

    Re: Building A Masters Swim Club

    In no way should the rapid growth of Curl Burke be discounted, but there are a few pieces of information missing from this success story that might help readers put this club's rapid growth into perspective.

    A few existing Masters clubs in our area decided to take Curl Burke up on their offer to be absorbed into Curl Burke Masters. This was partly a financial decision based on the way our suburban county rents pool space, where rental rates are determined on the number of lanes rented. The larger the rental contract, the greater the discount the team receives.

    As a result of this policy, a few smaller existing Masters clubs paying the highest rate for their lane rentals decided that it was in the best interest of their swimmers to be absorbed into Curl Burke Masters, rather than to remain an independent Masters club. These clubs retain their cohesiveness, their coaches, and now function as Curl Burke workout sites. Swimmers on these former clubs now save about 25% in lane rental costs after being combined into Curl Burke, and also receive the benefits of a vibrant, quality Masters program that their smaller organizations would have a difficult time providing.

    There were a few other area clubs that were approached (our club included) about being combined into Curl Burke Masters, but our members declined and decided to try to remain an independent Masters club.

    The clubs that were combined into Curl Burke numbered about 100 total swimmers, according to our LMSC web site club statistics for those years. In no way do they account for all of Curl Burke's growth success, but do account for a portion.

  4. #4
    Very Active Member Paul Smith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Tempe, AZ
    Posts
    2,589

    Re: Building A Masters Swim Club

    Although this article was written about coaching age group swimmers I think the fundamental message here is equally or more applicable to masters swimming. Sadly far to many teams I have visited simply don't "engage" their team enough...the ones where the coaches make a concerted effort to get to know their athletes and always add a little fun to the workout are almost always the most successful.

    Good Coaches, Bad Coaches -- November 3, 2009
    Guest editorial by John Craig

    "What I've observed over time is that the good coaches, the ones who can admit their errors and learn from them, are almost always the same ones who are generous with their praise. And those are the same ones who don't overtrain their swimmers, and who realize their swimmers need balance in their lives, and who make the sport fun for their swimmers. These also tend to be – not coincidentally – the same coaches who end up with the fastest swimmers.

    The common thread here is good character."


    http://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com...0Bad%20Coaches
    I crack myself up. It is jealousy. It is Boredom. I Did not accomplish enough when I was young, and I hate anybody faster/younger than me.

  5. #5
    Love SWIMMING! Ahelee Sue Osborn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Berkeley, California
    Posts
    770

    Re: Building A Masters Swim Club

    USMS recently launched:

    USMastersSwimming's Channel


    Check it out!


    http://www.youtube.com/usMastersSwimming


    Some great YouTube clips of clubs, coaching and the latest news from the USMS Headquarters.

    Coaches - especially consider the club promotion videos.

    This is a great idea for the home page of your club's website.

    You never know when a potential new member is looking for some live action inspiration to join your club!

  6. #6
    Very Active Member Lump's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Canton, GA
    Posts
    1,158
    Blog Entries
    1

    Re: Building A Masters Swim Club

    I LOVE reading this kind of stuff. I SO want to start my own program. I know that I could do the coaching/marketing side of it, it would just be the structuring/business side that I would like someone else to run.

    Ever since leaving college and working for a living I've never been happy or satisfied in my career....its just work, a paycheck, and a place I spend more time at than I do with my family. Since I started back swimming 18 months ago its the one thing that I REALLY enjoy....and I swim alone. I really need to look into this...at least the feasibility of it.

    Good stuff!

  7. #7
    Love SWIMMING! Ahelee Sue Osborn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Berkeley, California
    Posts
    770

    Re: Building A Masters Swim Club

    Quote Originally Posted by Lump View Post
    I LOVE reading this kind of stuff. I SO want to start my own program. I know that I could do the coaching/marketing side of it, it would just be the structuring/business side that I would like someone else to run.

    Ever since leaving college and working for a living I've never been happy or satisfied in my career....its just work, a paycheck, and a place I spend more time at than I do with my family. Since I started back swimming 18 months ago its the one thing that I REALLY enjoy....and I swim alone. I really need to look into this...at least the feasibility of it.
    Good stuff!
    Hello Club Development? HELLO?

    LUMP wants a new program!

    Jeff... your post sounds like an exchange I had not so very long ago with Paul Smith.
    He is out in Mesa, AZ running a nice little swim club with his wife Laura!

    Good Luck - Make it happen!

  8. #8
    Very Active Member Lump's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Canton, GA
    Posts
    1,158
    Blog Entries
    1

    Re: Building A Masters Swim Club

    Quote Originally Posted by Ahelee Sue Osborn View Post
    Hello Club Development? HELLO?

    LUMP wants a new program!

    Jeff... your post sounds like an exchange I had not so very long ago with Paul Smith.
    He is out in Mesa, AZ running a nice little swim club with his wife Laura!

    Good Luck - Make it happen!
    No doubt. I've grown up here in ATL and have swam for just about every age group program offered (accept Stingrays). My name is known in the local swim world and I've even had a couple of my old coaches (prominent ones too) say I should go into Masters coaching.

    Its just a hard and scary thing to think about with a family, two small kids, the economy, etc, etc. But I still think I want to "investigate" it.

  9. #9
    Active Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Novato, CA
    Posts
    70

    Re: Building A Masters Swim Club

    Jeff

    I'm 50 and just started my own team in the SF Bay Area (Novato, CA) last July (2009). You are doing the right thing by tapping into this USMS coaches forum. There are some wonderful people here that can guide you in many ways. Reach out to your LMSC and find out who their Coaches Chair is. They can help you with some of the admin stuff and help put you in contact with the club development folks.

    I approached a USA age group team owner/coach and proposed adding a masters team into the fold. He took a couple months to analyze the business perspective and agreed. He and his wife handle the billing and I handle everything else (marketing, website, coaching, record keeping). While I don't make a lot, I have to tell you this is the best job in the whole world. You are inspiring people to challenge themselves in so many new ways. And as you watch them grow and meet/exceed these challenges, it is so incredibly rewarding. So while they will say I inspire them, I feel like they inspire me.

    Go for it! If I can help in any way, please don't hesitate to contact me. Cokie Lepinski, Coach, Marin Pirates Masters, 415-827-5672 or just email me through USMS. Our team website is www.marinpiratesmasters.com and we are also on Facebook.

  10. #10
    Very Active Member Lump's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Canton, GA
    Posts
    1,158
    Blog Entries
    1

    Re: Building A Masters Swim Club

    Quote Originally Posted by Cokie View Post
    Jeff

    I'm 50 and just started my own team in the SF Bay Area (Novato, CA) last July (2009). You are doing the right thing by tapping into this USMS coaches forum. There are some wonderful people here that can guide you in many ways. Reach out to your LMSC and find out who their Coaches Chair is. They can help you with some of the admin stuff and help put you in contact with the club development folks.

    I approached a USA age group team owner/coach and proposed adding a masters team into the fold. He took a couple months to analyze the business perspective and agreed. He and his wife handle the billing and I handle everything else (marketing, website, coaching, record keeping). While I don't make a lot, I have to tell you this is the best job in the whole world. You are inspiring people to challenge themselves in so many new ways. And as you watch them grow and meet/exceed these challenges, it is so incredibly rewarding. So while they will say I inspire them, I feel like they inspire me.

    Go for it! If I can help in any way, please don't hesitate to contact me. Cokie Lepinski, Coach, Marin Pirates Masters, 415-827-5672 or just email me through USMS. Our team website is www.marinpiratesmasters.com and we are also on Facebook.
    Thanks for the kind words Cokie! I have the network of people and coaches, its just a matter of doing what you did. I hope to maybe talk to some folks this weekend at the St. Patty meet this weekend and see what kind of feedback I get. Then I think I need to start writing some stuff up as far as what kind of team I'd want to build, structure, sample workout schedules and workouts.

    While I've been swimming since I was 6 I don't really have all that much true coaching experience and no certifications. I coached pretty much about 5 years of summer league (1 as an Asst. in HS, and 4 as a Head in my late 20's...100+kids age 4-18) and that's it. But what I have had is ELITE coaching...several of which where/are Olympic coaches. So I know how to write workouts, drylands, etc. I just need to hit coaching clinics and get caught up on films, technique, nutrition....all the new stuff that's come along.

    As far as salary, we'd all love to make a good one, but the reality is more likely that its gonna be lean for awhile. Not that I make alot but I think I do better than alot of coaches. Also, my wife stays at home as we have one in Pre-K and one thats 20 months. That is unlikely to change until both boys are in school full time, then she could do part-time. But we live fine and live debt free. So I'm a realist in that department, but like you said, if you LOVE what you do it makes a BIG difference. I'm all but about OVER going to an office for a 8-5 that I hate. I was unemployed for 8 months last year and since I've gone back I truly hate it, its pointless to me, other than getting a paycheck and insurance.

    So now you have part of my life story! Sorry!

    I hope that I can have the confidence, support and patience to pull this off. But I'm thinking this is what I SHOULD be doing.

  11. #11
    Very Active Member Donna's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Fleming, GA
    Posts
    722
    Blog Entries
    1683

    Re: Building A Masters Swim Club

    Jeff,

    Like you I love to coach and swim, a need arose for a coach at the Y down in Hinesville and after much encouragement from my former coach Rick Benner I took it as a volunteer. Since I have a full time job that can keep me distracted at times because I am on call 1/2 of the year.

    I figured this would be a good time to learn about coaching, what works, what doesn't and I have several very enthusiastic kids to work with who are eager to improve. I have taken the time to get my ASCA Level 1 and 2 certifications. Both are great programs.

    I hope to one day be able to do this full time but right now I am still learning and am willing to just enjoy watching my kids swim. In fact tomorrow we have a meet and yes coach actually swims the meets with the kids. I think they really respect a coach that actually does what they teach.
    Donna Hooe
    GAJA/Savannah Masters/GCAT
    Certified Level 2 ASCA Coach

  12. #12
    Active Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Novato, CA
    Posts
    70

    Re: Building A Masters Swim Club

    Jeff and Donna

    Just wanted to acknowledge Donna's post. I think it is great to get your ASCA and USA swimming certification (Before seeking a head coach position, I certified as ASCA Level 1 & 2 and Masters and also under USA Swimming). First, you get credibility. Anyone who is willing to educate themselves can stand out. Second, you'll actually learn! I was amazed at the information imparted. Since USMS is currently working with ASCA to rebuild the masters line of certification, I'd hold off on that. (It will be presented at the ASCA World Conference at the end of August in Indianapolis. And, it will be terrific!) But, don't hesitate to explore USA Swimming certification as well.

    More than anything else, follow your dream. You obviously have a passion and with your background with some solid and influential coaches in your past, sounds like this is a good fit for you.

  13. #13
    Very Active Member Lump's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Canton, GA
    Posts
    1,158
    Blog Entries
    1

    Re: Building A Masters Swim Club

    Cokie, sent you a PM!

  14. #14
    Very Active Member Lump's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Canton, GA
    Posts
    1,158
    Blog Entries
    1

    Re: Building A Masters Swim Club

    Quote Originally Posted by Donna View Post
    Jeff,

    Like you I love to coach and swim, a need arose for a coach at the Y down in Hinesville and after much encouragement from my former coach Rick Benner I took it as a volunteer. Since I have a full time job that can keep me distracted at times because I am on call 1/2 of the year.

    I figured this would be a good time to learn about coaching, what works, what doesn't and I have several very enthusiastic kids to work with who are eager to improve. I have taken the time to get my ASCA Level 1 and 2 certifications. Both are great programs.

    I hope to one day be able to do this full time but right now I am still learning and am willing to just enjoy watching my kids swim. In fact tomorrow we have a meet and yes coach actually swims the meets with the kids. I think they really respect a coach that actually does what they teach.
    Donna, lets talk at Clemson (if you are going to that meet) or at Nationals. I'd love to pick your brain, get some contacts, etc.!

  15. #15
    Participating Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Annapolis, Md
    Posts
    1

    Re: Building A Masters Swim Club

    I have really gotten a ton out of this post! Thanks, Ahelee, for starting it, and all the others for adding to it. I am a bit backwards in my order of events. I have already committed myself to becoming a coach full-time. Now I am trying to find the job(s).

    Today, I agreed to begin a masters program at a local fitness club, and am trying to form a plan for how best to start it, grow it, and make it excel for its future participants. It is a small pool - 5 lanes, 25 yards, of which, I may only have 4 to use. What's more, the gym has a very high utilization of the pool for things like water aerobics and the like, so scheduling may be challenging, but I have been offered full access 5:30 am to 7:00 am and about 8:30 pm to 10:00pm M-F, a bunch of time on weekends, and I probably can get a handful of lanes mid-day. The pool does have an age group team that practices in the afterschool/evening hours as well.

    One other thing: The aquatic director at the club has expressed a concern with labeling it a "masters" program, as she feels the uninitiated might perceive it as a program specifically for accomplished swimmers, and not for newbies or those with less experience or confidence.

    I am curious what, if any, thoughts you all might have? Anything is appreciated.

  16. #16
    Very Active Member Kevin in MD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    463

    Re: Building A Masters Swim Club

    Quote Originally Posted by SwimMD View Post
    One other thing: The aquatic director at the club has expressed a concern with labeling it a "masters" program, as she feels the uninitiated might perceive it as a program specifically for accomplished swimmers, and not for newbies or those with less experience or confidence.
    The part about calling it masters turning people off is at least partially true.

    There are a couple of things you can do. Once you are a registered club, you can get the usms "What is Masters Swimming Brochures" sent to you. Either for free or for very low prices. Those are kinda helpful.

    Also you need to do some outreach, one thing you can do is talk to lap swimmers. Your approach has to be gentle, sometimes the lap swimmers are already one edge because you are taking up lane space. I try to just say hi to them a few times before discussing masters with them. At the very least don't ignore them, as can sometimes happen.

    Another thing you might consider is having one or more of your sessions as intro to masters. I know nbac does this and those sessions are pretty popular.

    Best of luck, be sure to check out the maryland masters home page, the meets start next month.

    And BTW, which club are you working out of?

Similar Threads

  1. FINA monopolizing Masters Swimming
    By EricRobinson in forum Convention
    Replies: 58
    Last Post: January 1st, 2009, 02:54 PM
  2. team scoring
    By reudyt in forum Nationals
    Replies: 300
    Last Post: September 29th, 2008, 12:32 PM
  3. The Olympic Club, San Francisco - Aquatics Director
    By The Olympic Club in forum Coaching Positions Available
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: September 24th, 2008, 05:10 PM
  4. Replies: 0
    Last Post: December 1st, 2005, 04:33 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •