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

  1. #121
    Very Active Member ViveBene's Avatar
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    Send announcements of S.W.I.M. Fitness Challenge (lose weight, Super Bowl Sunday to start of Illinois state meet on April 19, ILMSA being the host LMSC) to Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Biggest Loser, and Crossfit.

    One doesn't have to know how to swim or even get wet to participate in the S.W.I.M. Fitness Challenge; one need only be a member of USMS.

    As a long-term outreach effort, working with Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig to do an annual promotion of benefits of swimming, maybe with assistance on finding a pool or coach for interested nonswimming adults, combined with a dedicated goal of weight loss should prompt a nice bulge in membership.

  2. #122
    Very Active Member Bill Sive's Avatar
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    Rob,

    I have been thinking about this for a while. I believe I can assist. Give me a couple of weeks to put an outline together for you.

    In the interim. sign me up for the next USMS conference call when this topic is up for discussion.

    Regards,

  3. #123
    Moderator Rob Copeland's Avatar
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    Bill,

    I look forward to seeing your outline.

    As for the next conference call to discuss this, Iím not aware of any call dedicated to a discussion of this. However, frequently the Executive Committee and Board of Directors meet and discuss membership programs, services, growth, etc.

    I will make sure your suggestions get to the proper groups.

  4. #124
    Active Member FR.LLC's Avatar
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    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.

    There was a 2011 post in this thread that stated 55,000 members. Is there an exact number for 2011 membership that can be shared?

  5. #125
    USMS Membership Director Jayhawk's Avatar
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    Quote Originally Posted by FR.LLC View Post
    There was a 2011 post in this thread that stated 55,000 members. Is there an exact number for 2011 membership that can be shared?
    Yes, you can find our membership totals for 1982 through 2011 in this document:
    http://www.usms.org/admin/lmschb/gto_num_of_members.pdf

  6. #126
    Very Active Member Chris Stevenson's Avatar
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    I did a quick plot of the membership data (anything to avoid grading exams...). The USMS numbers over the last three decades are actually reasonably well described by a linear fit; if you extrapolate this line you would get a prediction of 2048 to hit 100,000 members.

    But if you think that the uptick in membership growth rate over the last 5 years is more predictive of the next decade, you would predict 2025 for hitting 100,000.
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  7. #127
    Paint test area ahead Michael Heather's Avatar
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    There are things that we can do to accelerate the growth. Easy, simple programs. They have been done on the local level with excellent results. All hail the parabola.
    Release the Kraken!

  8. #128
    Very Active Member jroddin's Avatar
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Stevenson View Post
    I did a quick plot of the membership data (anything to avoid grading exams...). The USMS numbers over the last three decades are actually reasonably well described by a linear fit; if you extrapolate this line you would get a prediction of 2048 to hit 100,000 members.

    But if you think that the uptick in membership growth rate over the last 5 years is more predictive of the next decade, you would predict 2025 for hitting 100,000.
    It would be interesting to see an overlay of annual Nationals attendance to the membership annual totals. I think they are unrelated. Perhaps regional totals are affected when Nationals are closeby, but I have a feeling the overall totals are not affected.

  9. #129
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    Quote Originally Posted by ViveBene View Post
    Send announcements of S.W.I.M. Fitness Challenge (lose weight, Super Bowl Sunday to start of Illinois state meet on April 19, ILMSA being the host LMSC) to Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Biggest Loser, and Crossfit.
    Just to add 2 cents from the perspective of a USMS noob who came back through the general health/ lose weight channel: This presents a marketing challenge for swimming as a weight loss exercise. The general feeling in the weight loss community is that swimming is inferior to dry land exercise for the purpose of weight loss on two counts: The colder water inhibits extended calorie burn, and you float so you lose gravity as a resistance mechanism. While none of the sources spouting this are citing actual reviewed literature, this sentiment is quite common (in the forums that I have been reading).

    Do any of our more scholarly folks know of any actual peer reviewed medical studies related to swimming and weight loss? It doesnt quite cut it for me to testify that I lost weight like crazy once I got back into swimming...


    bill

    [Please delete this if I shouldnt post here]

  10. #130
    Paint test area ahead Michael Heather's Avatar
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    Water is 14 times more dense than air, so to move through it you have to use quite a bit more energy than just walking. Just getting back and forth doing laps expends a considerable amount of caloric output - if you work at it instead of floating on a noodle. The buoyancy vs. gravity loss actually saves joint damage, making it a superior activity for an extended life of health.

    To get back to the point of the thread, if more people would examine the benefits of water as a weight reduction device, 100,000 should be coming up soon.
    Release the Kraken!

  11. #131
    Age Grouper in Training jaadams1's Avatar
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Heather View Post
    To get back to the point of the thread, if more people would examine the benefits of water as a weight reduction device, 100,000 should be coming up soon.
    The thing is...they are looking to the water for these benefits. Problem is they're grabbing a noodle and then with the others and calling it swimming and water exercise.
    "Don't be upset by the results you didn't get with the work you didn't do." - K.A. Benthin

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  12. #132
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    What about specifically targeting younger master age swimmers? For instance, USA Swimmers who are moving beyond age group? Why let all those kids who spent 10 years of thier life in a pool just quit for the next 20 years?

    Show them masters can be fun, but less high pressure then age group. Advertise at USA swim meets, etc.

  13. #133
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    I don't know if this has been mentioned or not, but maybe there could be an incentive for more age group teams to offer masters programs. The reason I almost didn't join masters was because none of the masters teams offer workouts in the evenings, which is the only time I can go due to my work schedule (and I've spoken to a few other masters swimmers who would prefer swimming in the evenings as well). All age group teams have evening practices so maybe if they can get something out of it, more would be willing to offer a masters program.

    If any of that makes sense.

  14. #134
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    Thumbs up Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    Congrats on the weight loss Bill.
    I am new to swimming (just completed level 1 of a Red Cross accredited swimming course). I am really excited about swimming as a form of weight loss and fitness. I believe there could be others like myself who are frustrated with land based exercise programs. My swimming instructor is very good and has offered me lots of helpful tips, and I try to practice every day, and read up on my own. I joined the USMS to learn more about swimming as a fitness activity, and to improve my technique. Maybe I will compete one day, when I've completed all the levels ... but fitness and technique improvement are my priorities right now.

    I'm not up to speed with all of the USMS public outreach activities, but new members could be attracted through public education endorsing swimming as an weight loss and fitness activity. This would certainly be in keeping with the USMS stated goal of inclusiveness of swimmers of all levels. [ame][URL="http://forums.usms.org/member.php?u=7008"][/ame] I completely endorse ViveBene's idea of strategic alliances with popular fitness and weight loss programs.

    I found a few references on the health benefits of swimming on the CDC's web site. Honestly, those articles helped me take the plunge (pun intended) to begin swimming classes on May 26 ... just a few weeks ago...that's how new I am to swimming!!

    Here are the results of my Google search on the CDC's position on the benefits of swimming as a form of exercise.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=bene...ient=firefox-a


    The following CDC web page lists some references to water vs land based exercise
    http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swim..._exercise.html
    Swimming beats getting sweaty and miserable walking in the park on a hot day. I can't swim very fast, but I lost 4.3 lbs since I started swimming almost 8 weeks ago.
    Wish I had discovered it before....better late than never

    I trust that my comments have offended no one.


    Quote Originally Posted by wwoelbel View Post
    Just to add 2 cents from the perspective of a USMS noob who came back through the general health/ lose weight channel: This presents a marketing challenge for swimming as a weight loss exercise. The general feeling in the weight loss community is that swimming is inferior to dry land exercise for the purpose of weight loss on two counts: The colder water inhibits extended calorie burn, and you float so you lose gravity as a resistance mechanism. While none of the sources spouting this are citing actual reviewed literature, this sentiment is quite common (in the forums that I have been reading).

    Do any of our more scholarly folks know of any actual peer reviewed medical studies related to swimming and weight loss? It doesnt quite cut it for me to testify that I lost weight like crazy once I got back into swimming...


    bill

    [Please delete this if I shouldnt post here]
    Last edited by andrears; July 7th, 2012 at 10:42 PM. Reason: spelling errors, clarification

  15. #135
    Participating Member DonF's Avatar
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    As a new swimmer one of my highest goals this year is to swim in a masters program. I think it would bring me to a level I can't achieve otherwise. The great impediment though is intimidation. Most of the swimmers in the masters group i would swim with are life long swimmers with background in competitive and long distance swimming. For example, I drive up the the aquatics center where I swim when masters swim practice is going on and it is very common to see Ironman stickers on most of the cars. From a newbie standpoint that is very intimidating. I think to grow to 150,000 you need to spilt into two groups, a) the expert competitor group, and b) the beginner/novice group, swimming at separate times. Folks like me then would feel less intimidated and could get into a program that would give them the instruction and direction needed to eventually be able to swim with the big girls.

  16. #136
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    I agree with the suggestion about doing something to increase attaching Masters teams to existing age group teams. I just moved to an area with an unorganized group of USMS swimmers but several well organized age group teams with access to (otherwise restricted) great pools. If only they had separate Masters teams! I think age group teams are reluctant to do this unless pushed by parents or insiders. Some kind of incentive that is well advertised through USA swimming, easy to obtain, and comes from the top would make this more feasible. Along with an incentive should come clear guidelines about what to expect from adding a Masters team, which should be written from the perspective of addressing the main concerns age group coaches have (that we are too much trouble, insurance liabilities, etc) and highlighting the benefits we bring. I think you would get an uptick in membership just from parents of age groupers alone, many of whom are former swimmers... And age group swimmers would then be exposed to swimming after 18/college.

  17. #137
    Very Active Member Bill Sive's Avatar
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    Here is a great opportunity to grow US Masters.
    See today's (08/07/12) Wall Street Journal.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...616437732.html

    Also, a money generator too. Look at the prices for the lessons. $100 to register, $1,200 for 10 private lessons. What swim club/team couldn't use those funds!?

    I guess I am the exception rather than the rule. All my fellow swimmers had lessons, or were in/on swim teams/clubs as they grew up. I've never had a lesson. I swim all four strokes. Taught myself the Butterfly too.

    Regards,

  18. #138
    Paint test area ahead Michael Heather's Avatar
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    It is estimated that 37% of the adult population does not know how to swim. Even if we give away lessons with no pressure to join, we could generate a lot of new members.
    Release the Kraken!

  19. #139
    Very Active Member ekw's Avatar
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    I just saw something interesting on another thread - apparently USAT offers the option to upgrade from a one-day membership to the yearly membership by paying the difference. Does USMS do this?

    I think that having more meets that offer one-day memberships and offering the upgrade might be a way to recruit more people to competing. I've had conversations with people at my pool (particularly college students who used to swim age group/high school/summer league - we don't have a swim team) who I think are interested in trying out a meet but who don't want to get a full membership without knowing if they'll like meets. Of course I also talk up the other things membership gets you.

    With some college students, meet entry fees are an issue too, but at my university the student running club gets appropriations from student government for entry fees for races. I think in the future the student swimmers here might look into that.
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  20. #140
    Very Active Member Chris Stevenson's Avatar
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    Re: What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members?

    Quote Originally Posted by ekw View Post
    I just saw something interesting on another thread - apparently USAT offers the option to upgrade from a one-day membership to the yearly membership by paying the difference. Does USMS do this?
    I think that's a good idea. Some people resist the idea of one-day membership but I think if you are proud of your product then you let as many people as possible experience it.

    If I remember correctly, I think USAT also does "rolling registration" where you get one year's worth of membership from whenever you sign up. USMS works on the calendar year instead, which provides an increasing disincentive to join as the year progresses because you get less for your money. I understand there are some reasons -- perhaps technical? -- for doing this but I can't really think of any that justifies a mild barrier to entry.

    Quote Originally Posted by ekw View Post
    With some college students, meet entry fees are an issue too, but at my university the student running club gets appropriations from student government for entry fees for races. I think in the future the student swimmers here might look into that.
    I have long thought that USMS should provide a discounted membership for younger adults, maybe the 18-24 age group but possibly even the 25-29 age group. Sure you possibly lose some revenue but you have the potential to gain life-long (paying) members; depending on the retention rate you might more than make up for it.

    College club swimming is huge and growing (as are IM club sports in general). A main concern with USMS is demographics: for the most part college club swimmers mostly want to interact with other college club swimmers; even swimmers aged 25-29 often hold significantly less appeal for those in the 18-22 age bracket.

    In our LMSC we do have a team that is basically just a college club, but they only registered their club with USMS for insurance purposes. Their participation in USMS meets and interaction with other USMS members seems pretty low to me.

    Recent college graduates -- maybe especially club swimmers -- are maybe an better target market. Demographics is also an issue here, you need enough people under 30 to make USMS attractive to them. When I first joined USMS it was soon after college and a major draw was the fact that the club I joined had a lot of young people who did things together. We also went to plenty of meets.

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