Page 2 of 9 FirstFirst 123456 ... LastLast
Results 21 to 40 of 164

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

  1. #21
    Very Active Member LindsayNB's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    NB, Canada
    Posts
    1,555

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

    That brings up another interesting statistic that the powers that be could check on, the distribution of ages that swimmers first joined Masters at. I'm not convinced that swimmers just finishing up their age group careers are likely to be the biggest source of new swimmers, which is not to say you shouldn't pursue that avenue, just that I wouldn't put all your eggs in that basket.

  2. #22
    Very Active Member LindsayNB's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    NB, Canada
    Posts
    1,555

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

    Quote Originally Posted by swimshark View Post
    I think a good portion of lap swimmers would balk at paying coaching fees and USMS membership fees.
    That is no doubt true, however you only have to attract 1 out of every 150 lap swimmers to double your membership. That doesn't sound unreasonable does it?

    Again, go after the young'uns too, both approaches hold promise. How many swimmers does USA Swimming "graduate" each year?

  3. #23
    Very Active Member ViveBene's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    1,874

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

    Taking at face value the premise that meeting or exceeding 100k swimmers registered with USMS is good:
    1. General population growth will take care of part of it.
    2. I agree with concept of attracting "noncompetitive" swimmers: Jim Thornton's "striving for mediocrity" programs and AquaFeisty's multi-level workouts are a welcome mat for the hesitant ones ("I don't want to compete; I just like to swim"). "Masters" in the name of the org is a deterrent because it suggests a high level of skill is required.
    3. I agree with an opinion expressed elsewhere by Steve Munatones that near-term growth is likely to come from OW swimming (my paraphrase), which addresses (in small part) the very big problem of:
    4. Inadequate facilities, pools closing, limited workout time segments for adults to choose from.
    5. Jayhawk's mention of about 35% turnover each year, with some returning in later years, can be looked at as a positive rather than a negative: that many folks got interested enough in Masters swimming to give it a try for at least a year's worth of membership.
    6. I would certainly hope that teens and young adults who have devoted thousands of hours to swimming go off and do something completely different.
    7. Reduce participation fees for geezers!
    8. The eternal question, and not one I care about much but others do: how do USMS fees for membership and event participation stack up against fees in other sports, such as triathlons?

    Returning swimming to its status as a natural activity and teaching "just enough" that ppl can enjoy swimming safely in a local watering hole might entice swimmers into a formal affiliation with USMS. As a corollary, water comportment and safety classes for children, with a requirement that parents join USMS, might be a useful program.

    At some point, swimming got technocrized and pace clocked, ogres with whistles around their necks appeared, and swimming till one hurled became a matter of tribe pride. This is only one room of the much larger swimming mansion.

    Last edited by ViveBene; August 7th, 2010 at 06:38 AM.

  4. #24
    Moderator Rob Copeland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Fayetteville, GA
    Posts
    2,759

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

    There a lot of organizations out there supporting health and wellness through exercise. Should USMS pursue partnerships with these groups?
    If so, should we look only at non-profits, or should we also look at for profit and government programs?

  5. #25
    sprint diva The Fortress's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    8,102
    Blog Entries
    2097

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

    car magnets

  6. #26
    Won Slowest Swimmer Award bzaks1424's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Libertyville, IL
    Posts
    674
    Blog Entries
    33

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

    Quote Originally Posted by The Fortress View Post
    car magnets
    How about just giving away free cars? That might drive up membership.
    "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

  7. #27
    Very Active Member Chris Stevenson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    4,158
    Blog Entries
    1217

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

    Some lap swimmers are perfectly content with their lot. They are the swimming equivalent of people who get on the treadmill and do their 30-60 min of daily exercise and then get off.

    So what does masters offer them? I think: (a) coached workouts (they don't have to worry about what to do; (b) a social network; (c) probably better fitness. The latter because I think most lap swimmers "dial in" to a certain exertion level and stay there, whereas most good masters practices hit more of the various HR zones.

    But there are potential disadvantages with USMS too: it costs money, and the practice times are usually not as flexible as lap swim times. Also there is the intimidation factor. Some lap swimmers simply decide the trade-offs aren't worth it to them, and that's fine.

    The intimidation factor certainly can be an issue. There are way too many lap swimmers who think you need to be fast, or need to have swum competitively in HS or college, to swim masters. They are not always reassured when they show up for practice, they hear a lot of jargon they don't understand, maybe see some very fast swimmers, and they are not always greeted warmly.

    I know plenty of USMS members who are essentially lap swimmers, in the sense that they are not at all interested in competition or getting faster. They just want to keep fit and they like a coach telling them what to do, and they like having people to talk to during practice.

    I would like to see more ties between USA-S and USMS. Dual sanctioning is a good start, and it would be nice to see more dual-sanctioned meets; this could be beneficial to both parties if pool rental fees (or pool availability) is an issue. I swim with a masters group that shares a pool with a large age-group team, and I think that's a good idea too.

    Both of these practices increases the visibility of USMS among age-groupers AND THEIR PARENTS.

  8. #28
    Stop silly posts
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    756

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

    Why does USMS need to grow to 100,000 members?

  9. #29
    Very Active Member Chris Stevenson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    4,158
    Blog Entries
    1217

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

    Quote Originally Posted by LindsayNB View Post
    That brings up another interesting statistic that the powers that be could check on, the distribution of ages that swimmers first joined Masters at. I'm not convinced that swimmers just finishing up their age group careers are likely to be the biggest source of new swimmers, which is not to say you shouldn't pursue that avenue, just that I wouldn't put all your eggs in that basket.
    Perhaps. I remember seeing the demographics behind Anna Lea's "non-renewal" numbers: the ages with the biggest turnover/non-renewal rates are the youngest ages. This is not at all surprising, of course. Money may be more of a factor, as are the demands of new families/careers.

    Often when a young person contacts me about masters in Richmond, one of their first questions is about the ages of the people in the various workout groups. This is also not that surprising: they are as interested in social networking as swimming, and are not necessarily all that interested in a team if the majority of members are over 50.

    OW races are definitely one possible way to entice "graduating" age-groupers. It is dissimilar enough from what they've been doing that they might be interested in it. Another advantage is that the times are pretty meaningless, not comparable to what they did in college or HS. Finally, many of them might be interested in giving triathlons a try.

    I mentioned that my masters group shares a pool with an age-group team. There are actually 3 USMS members who swim with the AG-ers; they are all college-age and they all joined USMS so that they could do OW swims over the summer. They mostly train with the young kids but also sometimes join us old folks (when they need a bit of a rest ); it is clear they feel comfortable with masters swimming.

    Oh, actually I do have one more suggestion: make it possible to do one-event registration electronically. Having it as paper-only is a hassle administratively, and a pain for the swimmer.

  10. #30
    Very Active Member jim thornton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    A, A
    Posts
    2,139
    Blog Entries
    261

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

    During today's coverage of Phelps, etc., there was a commercial for swimming. I can't remember the exact tag line, but it was something like, "I am America's swim team!" Then it showed a bunch of famous swimmers, but it also showed kids. I was thinking that USA Swimming must have paid for that ad, and got it produced, but it was a shame that it didn't include a few folks like Rich Abrahams, Laura Val, and other masters swimmers who could probably still compete on college teams. Think of the visibility one little ad would have given USMS! And the message that America's swim team is not just for the greats and the up and coming greats!

  11. #31
    Very Active Member swimshark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Stuck between a Wookiee and a Stud.
    Posts
    2,519

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

    Quote Originally Posted by jim thornton View Post
    During today's coverage of Phelps, etc., there was a commercial for swimming. I can't remember the exact tag line, but it was something like, "I am America's swim team!" Then it showed a bunch of famous swimmers, but it also showed kids. I was thinking that USA Swimming must have paid for that ad, and got it produced, but it was a shame that it didn't include a few folks like Rich Abrahams, Laura Val, and other masters swimmers who could probably still compete on college teams. Think of the visibility one little ad would have given USMS! And the message that America's swim team is not just for the greats and the up and coming greats!
    Good idea, Jim. A USMS ad during USA televised meets is a great way to reach out to people, future swimmers, parents watching.

    Yes, that is a USA Swimming ad. Check out their web site and you'll see the tag lines and such on there. It's a good marketing campaign.

  12. #32
    Very Active Member jim thornton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    A, A
    Posts
    2,139
    Blog Entries
    261

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

    Quote Originally Posted by swimshark View Post
    Good idea, Jim. A USMS ad during USA televised meets is a great way to reach out to people, future swimmers, parents watching.

    Yes, that is a USA Swimming ad. Check out their web site and you'll see the tag lines and such on there. It's a good marketing campaign.
    Isn't USMS part of USA Swimming? Along with US Diving and US Water Polo and US Water Ballet?

    I think we, as dues paying members, deserve to have a spot in their ad for the "I am America's Swimming Team" campaign.

    Perhaps show someone like me and have the tagline: "USMS: where sad old men go to die."

    Then show me struggling to finish the last 10 m. of a 200 free where I have misjudged the pacing. Perhaps even a quick cut to a worried look on the lifeguard's face as she reaches for the hook and the defibrillator paddles...

    I finish, the camera zooms in on my face, and I manage to choke between gasps for air, "I am America's Swimming Team!"

    A perfect metaphor, perhaps, for what my generation has done to the nation as a whole? (Or is that hole?)

  13. #33
    Moderator Rob Copeland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Fayetteville, GA
    Posts
    2,759

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

    Quote Originally Posted by jim thornton View Post
    Isn't USMS part of USA Swimming? Along with US Diving and US Water Polo and US Water Ballet?
    No. USMS is not part of USA Swimming. USMS, USA Swimming, USA WP, USA Diving and USA Syncro are all members of United States Aquatics Sports. But each of the 5 is a separate organization.

  14. #34
    Very Active Member jim thornton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    A, A
    Posts
    2,139
    Blog Entries
    261

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Copeland View Post
    No. USMS is not part of USA Swimming. USMS, USA Swimming, USA WP, USA Diving and USA Syncro are all members of United States Aquatics Sports. But each of the 5 is a separate organization.
    Okay! So we can't begrudge the commercial for not including a reference to USMS: Where Old Men Go To Die.

    Probably just as well, now that I think about it.

  15. #35
    Active Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    YONKERS,NY
    Posts
    83

    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.

  16. #36
    Very Active Member ViveBene's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    1,874

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Stevenson View Post
    Some lap swimmers are perfectly content with their lot. They are the swimming equivalent of people who get on the treadmill and do their 30-60 min of daily exercise and then get off.

    So what does masters offer them? I think: (a) coached workouts (they don't have to worry about what to do; (b) a social network; (c) probably better fitness. The latter because I think most lap swimmers "dial in" to a certain exertion level and stay there, whereas most good masters practices hit more of the various HR zones.

    But there are potential disadvantages with USMS too: it costs money, and the practice times are usually not as flexible as lap swim times. Also there is the intimidation factor. Some lap swimmers simply decide the trade-offs aren't worth it to them, and that's fine.

    The intimidation factor certainly can be an issue. There are way too many lap swimmers who think you need to be fast, or need to have swum competitively in HS or college, to swim masters. They are not always reassured when they show up for practice, they hear a lot of jargon they don't understand, maybe see some very fast swimmers, and they are not always greeted warmly.

    I know plenty of USMS members who are essentially lap swimmers, in the sense that they are not at all interested in competition or getting faster. They just want to keep fit and they like a coach telling them what to do, and they like having people to talk to during practice.

    I would like to see more ties between USA-S and USMS. Dual sanctioning is a good start, and it would be nice to see more dual-sanctioned meets; this could be beneficial to both parties if pool rental fees (or pool availability) is an issue. I swim with a masters group that shares a pool with a large age-group team, and I think that's a good idea too.

    Both of these practices increases the visibility of USMS among age-groupers AND THEIR PARENTS.
    Intimidation factor is probably high. When I first talked to a Masters coach, he managed to get into his first sentence that I didn't have to be fast or good to swim Masters workouts. That significantly cleared the way for me to participate.

    In re Rob Copeland's thought bubble of a partnership, I would be cautious. Easy to get into, difficult to get out of. I would do some one-event trial runs.
    Often what looks like a good partnership turns out to have sufficiently incompatible missions (and bottom lines) that it becomes a burden on one or both parties.
    There are other ways to work toward associations for health and fitness that don't involve high-profile partnerships.

  17. #37
    Won Slowest Swimmer Award bzaks1424's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Libertyville, IL
    Posts
    674
    Blog Entries
    33

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

    Quote Originally Posted by ViveBene View Post
    Intimidation factor is probably high.
    When I tell people I swim in Masters they immediately assume it's something I've been doing my whole life... Perhaps part of our intimidation is just in our name?
    "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

  18. #38
    Very Active Member LindsayNB's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    NB, Canada
    Posts
    1,555

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

    It might be interesting to think about what the two parts of USMS would look like if it were split into two separate organizations with competition going in one part and non-competitive stuff in the other.

    I would guess that the competition side would look pretty familiar, just with reduced membership size.

    But what would the non-competitive organization look like?

    Completely separately from that question, it seems to me that the vast majority of masters swimming activity occurs at the club level. Which would lead me to ask, what can USMS do to enhance activities at the club level?

  19. #39
    Very Active Member ViveBene's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    1,874

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

    Quote Originally Posted by LindsayNB View Post

    ... it seems to me that the vast majority of masters swimming activity occurs at the club level. Which would lead me to ask, what can USMS do to enhance activities at the club level?
    The club level - brilliant! I imagine a lot of new membership comes from friends bringing in friends, or something that interests ppl who are around the facility and start watching the Masters workouts, or a new OW swim (as happened last wkend in Illinois).

    Facilities are an issue. Sandlot baseball disappeared when sandlots disappeared.

  20. #40
    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    7,987
    Blog Entries
    565

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Stevenson View Post
    The intimidation factor certainly can be an issue. There are way too many lap swimmers who think you need to be fast, or need to have swum competitively in HS or college, to swim masters. They are not always reassured when they show up for practice, they hear a lot of jargon they don't understand, maybe see some very fast swimmers, and they are not always greeted warmly.
    This is true. One of the earlier posters suggested there is "speedism" in masters swimming, and although I don't agree per se, I can see where's she's coming from. I think the majority of masters teams are geared toward swimmers with a competitive background. It's not that novices are discouraged, but neither are they encouraged. It's difficult for a single coach on deck to give novice swimmers the coaching they need while also working with the more experienced swimmers.

Page 2 of 9 FirstFirst 123456 ... LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Pools Available to USMS Members During Olympic Trials
    By ALM in forum General Swimming-Related Discussions
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: June 14th, 2012, 04:44 PM
  2. what percentage of active swimmers are members of USMS?
    By chattcatdaddy in forum General Swimming-Related Discussions
    Replies: 64
    Last Post: October 8th, 2008, 02:29 PM
  3. USMS members - What's you SN??
    By dorianblade in forum General Swimming-Related Discussions
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: December 6th, 2006, 12:22 PM
  4. How many people are actually USMS members?
    By mattson in forum General Swimming-Related Discussions
    Replies: 34
    Last Post: March 8th, 2005, 03:19 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
  •