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Thread: What Does USMS Need to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

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  1. #1
    Moderator Rob Copeland's Avatar
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    What Does USMS Need to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    One of Jeff Moxie's goals is to grow to 100,000 members. I'd like to hear suggestions on the programs, services, and support needed to to exceed this goal.

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    Very Active Member jroddin's Avatar
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    I'd be curious to get our end of year totals for the past 10 years. If there is a general trend, we can do a simple curve fit to predict when 100k might happen, despite whatever marketing efforts we may employ. In other words, if/when we hit 100k will it be simple growth or will it be a result of our time and efforts to woo people to our organization.

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    Very Active Member swimshark's Avatar
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    I think getting the word out to more older kids (teens) that their swimming doesn't have to end when high school. college, what ever ends. If we can hook them early, I think we can retain them longer.

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    Very Active Member Peter Cruise's Avatar
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    How about becoming North American Masters Swimming? Seriously.
    Life keeps throwing curve balls; the trick, I'm learning, is to duck...

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    Very Active Member jim thornton's Avatar
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Cruise View Post
    How about becoming North American Masters Swimming? Seriously.
    This is a great idea. Add Canada and Mexico and the Bahamas, and very quickly we would have a lot more members.

    I think one of the best ways masters swimming will continue to grow is just all the kids seeing their parents swimming competitively now. They will grow up thinking this is a normal thing to do.

    I also agree with Bobinator's idea about more pools, or at least more pool time available for masters practices in existing pools. I continue to think that USMS could take the lead nationally, for instance, on bringing rational lightning policies to indoor pools (there has never, ever been a recorded death from this, yet pools routinely close down for a half hour at the most distant rumble of thunder.)

  6. #6
    Moderator Rob Copeland's Avatar
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    I think in addition to more pools/pool time, we need more Masters Coaches.

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    Very Active Member ALM's Avatar
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    Quote Originally Posted by jroddin View Post
    I'd be curious to get our end of year totals for the past 10 years. If there is a general trend, we can do a simple curve fit to predict when 100k might happen, despite whatever marketing efforts we may employ. In other words, if/when we hit 100k will it be simple growth or will it be a result of our time and efforts to woo people to our organization.
    Our membership history can be found in our Guide to Operations:

    Go to the main USMS page, then:
    >> Administration tab >> Guide to Operations >> LMSC Membership History

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    Very Active Member waves101's Avatar
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    I agree that we need to educate high school and college swimmers about masters swimming. If we can catch them early they may learn to incorporate masters swimming into their lifestyles. I believe we should have reps in the schools or utilize coaching relationships to spread the word. Possibly invites to state meets, etc.

  9. #9
    Swimming gives me a buzz! Bobinator's Avatar
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    I think we need to build more pools! The ones I practice in are very crowded, we'll need room for all these new people!
    HTFU!

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    Very Active Member ALM's Avatar
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    It has been suggested that one way to hit the 100,000-member mark is to better retain the members that we already have. Historically we have experienced about 35% turnover each year. Some of those members come back a year or two later; many do not.

    As of August 3,2010...

    51,159 people are current USMS members.
    19,660 people were USMS members in 2009 but have not yet renewed.
    15,205 people were USMS members in 2008 but have not renewed since.
    12,364 people were USMS members in 2007 but have not renewed since.
    11,695 people were USMS members in 2006 but have not renewed since.
    11,372 people were USMS members in 2005 but have not renewed since.
    11,153 people were USMS members in 2004 but have not renewed since.

    That's a total of 81,449 members that we have "lost" over a 6-year period.

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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    Masters swimming is open to people at every skill level yet some groups are very unfriendly and actually rude to those who are not as skilled as they are. I don't know if this can be changed but I do know that a lot of people are turned off to Masters swimming because of this. Maybe the stats should be looked at to see who are the clubs who are losing the most people and maybe a survey could be taken to find out the reasons why those swimmers left. It takes a lot of perserverance and commitment to continue despite these outright "snobbish" attitudes and lack of support. More accurately there is a speedism that exists among some people and it's only discrimination. Members come to Masters swimming with diverse personal and professional backgrounds and people should be valued for who they are and not only for how fast they swim.

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    Very Active Member aquaFeisty's Avatar
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    Our club has had a lot of success gaining new members by offering "levels" or classes that lead up to being on the masters team to pull in some of the lap swimmers, or even non-swimming adults.

    We have swim classes:
    Beginner - for adults that can barely swim, can float a bit, or just never had any swim instruction
    Beginning Stroke - focuses on backstroke/freestyle

    Then there are 3 levels within the masters team itself:
    Beginner
    Intermediate
    Advanced

    There is a lot of shifting between the levels. Some practices are geared toward one specific level, some are open to all (and quite frankly, the coaches are extremely flexible with letting you swim at a different level practice due to family/work issues...)

    Anyways, the team has picked up a fair amount of people who started with the lessons that probably would have been wayyyy too intimidated to join a masters swim "team". Unfortunately, I don't know how applicable this idea is across other organizations, because you need to have the pool time to pull it off. Our team is based out of a private health club and (I believe) is the biggest money-maker for the aquatic department at the club. The lessons are really a win-win for the health club (great revenue stream) and our team (pipeline of new members, in addition to 'former' swimmers who return to the sport...)

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    Won Slowest Swimmer Award bzaks1424's Avatar
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    I don't know what sort of P.R. or Advertising we can afford - but honestly in my area (northern burbs over Chicago) MANY people don't even KNOW about Masters Swimming.

    I have a few of the logos and my times decorating my cube at the moment and people are always asking "What's that?". Its always fun to tell people and get them excited but then most people don't even want to take the 15 minute drive to the nearest LMSC :/
    "Fran operated under the assumption that one’s ability to cope with the travails of daily life fluctuates in direct proportion to one’s willingness to work through hurt." -Ian Prichard

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    Thumbs up Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    Quote Originally Posted by aquaFeisty View Post
    Our club has had a lot of success gaining new members by offering "levels" or classes that lead up to being on the masters team to pull in some of the lap swimmers, or even non-swimming adults.

    We have swim classes:
    Beginner - for adults that can barely swim, can float a bit, or just never had any swim instruction
    Beginning Stroke - focuses on backstroke/freestyle

    Then there are 3 levels within the masters team itself:
    Beginner
    Intermediate
    Advanced

    There is a lot of shifting between the levels. Some practices are geared toward one specific level, some are open to all (and quite frankly, the coaches are extremely flexible with letting you swim at a different level practice due to family/work issues...)

    Anyways, the team has picked up a fair amount of people who started with the lessons that probably would have been wayyyy too intimidated to join a masters swim "team". Unfortunately, I don't know how applicable this idea is across other organizations, because you need to have the pool time to pull it off. Our team is based out of a private health club and (I believe) is the biggest money-maker for the aquatic department at the club. The lessons are really a win-win for the health club (great revenue stream) and our team (pipeline of new members, in addition to 'former' swimmers who return to the sport...)
    This is a great strategy....plus it helps to have members with good people skills who are friendly and supportive of the other swimmers.

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    Very Active Member Conniekat8's Avatar
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Copeland View Post
    One of Jeff Moxie's goals is to grow to 100,000 members. I'd like to hear suggestions on the programs, services, and support needed to to exceed this goal.
    Make masters swimming look more hip and popular to the younger demographics (under 40... or under 30 etc...).

    Most of those who swam as kids, highschool and college have quit, I hear because it's of a serious competition burnout... and they're still not in the mode of "oh, I need to stay in shape" till after they have kids or start getting older.

    They want to have fun.
    Last edited by Conniekat8; November 24th, 2010 at 03:07 PM.
    -Connie
    I'd rather be swimming http://www.mastersmvnswim.org/

  16. #16
    sprint diva The Fortress's Avatar
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    Not eliminate the discussion forums, as is sometimes threatened. (Maybe only some people seriously use it, but many newbies come here and many others lurk.) And why cut off an avenue of potential growth?

    Promote the blogs more. Half of the good training discussions/analyses/videos/workouts are there.

    Have some creative events at meets, instead of being so traditional.

    I like Kurt's idea of race "series."

    Or start using some ads like this one from Triathlon Lab: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...8446196&ref=nf.
    Last edited by The Fortress; October 14th, 2010 at 09:15 PM.

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    Very Active Member jim thornton's Avatar
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Fortress View Post
    Promote the blogs more.

    Have some creative events at meets, instead of being so traditional.
    Leslie, do you mean promote blogs like this one? http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?u=26

    I think promoting blogs like this-- http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?u=26 -- is, indeed, an excellent idea!

    How do you suggest promoting http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?u=26 more?

    Perhaps just by good-old fashioned repetition, http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?u=26 will attract the audience it so richly deserves--a win-win not just for http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?u=26, but also for all the many potential fans of http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?u=26 that have very little idea what abject swimming-related (sometimes) joy awaits everytime they click on http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?u=26 .

    Anyhow, excellent idea.

    As for alternative meets, Carnegie Mellon is hosting the Hour of Power continuous 1-hour relay meet on Nov. 9th. It's a fun event to raise money for cancer research (each person pays $20, then teams of four do continuous all-out relays for an hour.)

    Many college and age group teams across the country participate in this, but I think that if we made it a USMS postal meet, we could get tons of masters teams across the nation to sign up and contribute to this very worthy cause.

    Maybe I can write more about this at some point in my vlog at http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?u=26

  18. #18
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    This is simply business. Find out what the long term successful teams are doing and copy them on a larger scale. It all comes down to recruiting and retaining.

  19. #19
    Love SWIMMING! Ahelee Sue Osborn's Avatar
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    Mixing it up with the future of our sport sure makes sense!
    Some of the smart masters clubs are doing it already

    In Colorado:

    http://gb.live.boldernet.net/media/s...l#content_tabs

    In Southern California:

    [nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pfh8OFemGiA"]YouTube - LMU Masters Meet Thank You 2010[/nomedia]

    Dual in the POOL - LMU vs. SCAQ Masters!
    Last edited by Ahelee Sue Osborn; November 15th, 2010 at 04:10 PM.

  20. #20
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    U.S. Military Promotional Campaign - USMS Promotional Packets should be provided to recreational directors and aquatic facilities at all U.S. military bases with follow-up by LMSC and/or local club officials. Various USMS programs and opportunities available to the military should be discussed with responsible officials. Military officers I have spoken with are pleasantly surprised that USMS membership begans at 18 years of age--USMS must do a better job promoting that fact!

    There is a great "disconnect" between the adult civilian swimming community and the soldiers on military bases. U.S. Masters Swimming should be the model for aquatic activities for military personnel and their families world-wide. I believe the opportunity (and responsibility) to provide aquatic education and services to all military branches is enormous and U.S. Masters Swimming should lead the way.




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