Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 32

Thread: Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

  1. #1
    Participating Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    14

    Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

    Hi there! I live in north county San Diego. I am 48 yrs and started swimming three years ago. I started swimming with my age-group daughter at her swim club where they let masters folks swim along with the age groupers AND where they teach all four competitive strokes. Last year I moved out of the evening swim club into a noontime masters program to give the daughter her space as Dad was becoming a little "unhip" to be with. I found a great indoor facility (rare for California) with an aggressive masters swim program. Generally 7-8 lanes with 5-6 swimmers per lane, and 4000-4200yrds in 75 minutes. But it is a 100% freestyle workout because I'm told the triathletes are the largest single paying constituency of the program and they neither need nor like doing the other strokes. I have checked with all the masters programs in San Diego county and just one offers an IM day which I have swum and it is still largely freestyle with a little stroke work thrown in. So my question is, and nothing against triathletes or their sport, but what is a swimmer to do? It seems the traditional masters swim program has been hijacked and morphed into a freestyle only program which is in most cases also primarily a cardio workout with little or no anaerobic training. Of course, the longer cardio sets very much simulate the triathletes longer distance open water swim, but in the competitive swimming environment, at least for the 200 and under events of which there are many, cardio training is just an initial foundation. So, am I wrong on this? Do master swimmers who want to further develop their other strokes have to leave the USMS and join USA Swimming and swim with the age-groupers to get their four-stroke workout and training? For this summer, I have just now stopped the masters program workouts and am back swimming the morning workouts with the age-groupers and it is really great to work all four strokes in one workout. Like everyone says, your heart does not know the difference between breast, back, fly or free, or kicking or drills for that matter so it is a great cardio workout without having to swim 4000yrds of freestyle on interval. Any thoughts? Please!

  2. #2
    Very Active Member Donna's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Fleming, GA
    Posts
    722
    Blog Entries
    1889

    Re: Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

    Your not the only one with this problem. Triathletes tend to make up most of our team, but in my case our coach has given us 2-3 days, 3 lanes out of our 6 total lanes for stroke work. Usually Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

    You might ask your coach if he can set aside 1 lane on Tuesday and Thursday for those who want to swim the other strokes. You might be surprised to find that there may be others who would like the change of pace. Then if there is more interest you might get him to give 2 lanes, etc.

    Donna

  3. #3
    Very Active Member Peter Cruise's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Nanaimo, B.C. Canada
    Posts
    1,967

    Re: Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

    The other solution may be to do your other strokes in slower freestyle lanes.
    Life keeps throwing curve balls; the trick, I'm learning, is to duck...

  4. #4
    Very Active Member jim clemmons's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Boise, ID
    Posts
    1,669

    Re: Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Cruise View Post
    The other solution may be to do your other strokes in slower freestyle lanes.
    I'm with Peter on this one.

    Slide down a few lanes (it probably won't be very far knowing most tri-freestylers), let 'em know what you're planning on doing, and go for it.
    Jim

  5. #5
    Very Active Member FindingMyInnerFish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    1,306
    Blog Entries
    20

    Re: Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

    I'm not a triathlete b/c I am of the Mark Twain school of thought on bikes: "Buy a bike. You'll never regret it... if you live." But I did come to swimming as a runner and still see myself as part runner/part swimmer. At one of the masters' workouts I attend, about half the people in the workout are triathletes, but all the strokes are offered. If someone prefers to do freestyle, they usually move to the wall lane, while the multi-stroke folks stay in the faster lane. (It's a small group, and often there are only two or three lanes.) I'm not terrrific at the other strokes and confess to preferring freestyle, but I also figure it'll make me a stronger swimmer if I practice the other strokes, even if I won't use them in the kinds of races I ordinarily do (open water). Of course, I do ask that other swimmers shield their eyes when I do butterfly as some systems may not be able to tolerate the sight.

    As for sprint sets... I totally LOVE them! Strange thing to say when I'm training for a five mile swim, but they are a fun break... and something like eating chili peppers--your whole body's screaming for you to stop this craziness... and then you want more.

  6. #6
    Very Active Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    West Bloomfield, MI
    Posts
    1,283

    Re: Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

    I am going to link a thread to this because it reminds of an interesting discussion we had two years ago about this subject.

    http://forums.usms.org/showthread.ph...ht=triathletes
    Skip Thompson

  7. #7
    Very Active Member Slowswim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Heidelberg Germany
    Posts
    1,043

    Re: Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Cruise View Post
    The other solution may be to do your other strokes in slower freestyle lanes.
    Even for Evilstrokers!!!

    I am a Triathlete and I do the other strokes for balance (still working on that Fly thing). My master program in Florida and the pool I go to in Atlanta are mostly "real" swimmers.

    I haven't seen . In the Masters group everyone swam the same workout. At the pool, people make adjustments if you are swimming different strokes and sharing a lane like a longer glide until you are passed the free styler.

    Kurt: I thought people in CA were more relaxed than to fuss about strokes, but I was born in Monterey CA.
    </IMG></IMG></IMG>
    I keep telling my coaches, "I am a sprinter" and "they keep saying you swim short races, but that is not the same thing." - Some Girl

  8. #8
    Participating Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    14

    Re: Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

    Great replies from everyone. Thanks!

    I did forget to mention that the masters swim coach where I swim did suggest moving down a few lanes to do stroke work. And I have tried it, and while I cannot say it doesn't work, there is something that just doesn't feel right when doing it. First, people are often sensitive about swimmers moving down to their lane from a faster lane. The other problem is that it is not so easy to coordinate intervals and spacing when all are doing freestyle and just one guy is doing stroke. But I do like Donna's suggestion to establish a swim only lane. It is a very good idea, but I have a feeling the coach will shoot it down due to more administration on his part AND because he is a distance freestyler.

    Stay tuned!

  9. #9
    Participating Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    14

    Re: Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

    Frank Thompson, thanks for the link to the 2005 discussion on basically the same topic I raised here. Some of their "takes" were interesting and humorous and one guy did mention it is much easier when everyone in the same lane is doing the same stroke. But where I part ways with them is that I have no animosity towards them whatsoever and consider them real swimmers when they are in the pool doing freestyle. In fact, these guys and gals are really good! I mean they would beat most swimmers I know in any open water event. Yeah, they can't dive off the blocks worth beans and I have seen many belly flops, but they have the cardio and flip turns down. My only beef is that the coaches and institutions are now catering to them and tailoring the masters swim program for them. Truthfully, I think the USMS needs to step in and at least encourage coaches and institutions to re-balance the program. Can the moderator of this chat room comment or get these comments to the higher-ups?

  10. #10
    Participating Member joesflyer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Laurinburg, NC
    Posts
    8

    Re: Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

    Hi Kurt,
    I work out on my own as a swimmer not a tri athlete. But since there is no one competing in my lane my only obstacles are other kids. You adjust. In your situation I would do like Peter suggests and opt for a slower lane that will allow you to keep their interval while you work on non freestyle strokes. Don't feel intimidated by coming from a faster lane. As long as you meld they should be accepting. I have never thought of swimmers as non accepting as long as they are "asked" if you can join them and not mess up their pace. So good luck. Andy

  11. #11
    Very Active Member Peter Cruise's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Nanaimo, B.C. Canada
    Posts
    1,967

    Re: Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

    Kurt- don't take all that you read in that earlier thread seriously; we were all much younger then and not as wise as we undoubtably are now.

    Besides, back then, 'infested', rather than 'overrun' would have been in the thread title.
    Life keeps throwing curve balls; the trick, I'm learning, is to duck...

  12. #12
    Very Active Member GGS5T's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Birmingham England
    Posts
    214

    Re: Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

    Quote Originally Posted by Donna View Post
    Your not the only one with this problem. Triathletes tend to make up most of our team,
    I coach at a masters club in the UK and we've attracted quite a few triathletes over the past four or five years. Most who joined us were keen to swim only front crawl.

    UK triathletes, more than mainstream masters swimmers, are willing to spend a disproportionate amount of money on improving the swimming discipline of their sport. It's usually the weakest part of their triathlon, so understandable, up to a point.

    One year ago we had to call a meeting with our triathletes. Out of 130 masters swimmers in my club there were 38 triathletes with many more on a waiting list to join.

    We gave them the option of having their own 'triathletes' sessions or joining in with the rest of the club, which meant training on all srokes and competing in masters events along with eveyone else.

    It was no surprise to us when they elected to have their own sessions, specificially designed for triathletes. Their extra pool time was provided by the club, but at a vastly inflated price for them. We overcharged them to such an extent that they now greatly subsidise the training costs for the masters club.

    The triathlete section has fifty swimmers in the pool, training four days a week. I must say, the attendance levels achieved by the triathletes puts the masters to shame. They are very keen and rarely miss a session.

    Admittedly, we are a very large masters club and this splitting of swimmers wouldn't work with a club made up of triathletes, masters and age groupers.

    One very positive aspect that has come out of this is that we are still working as one club. The masters attend the triathlon competitions to enourage our triathletes and they in turn come along to masters meets. Our social events are a glorious mix too.
    Last edited by GGS5T; July 1st, 2007 at 11:25 AM. Reason: addition of last paragraph

  13. #13
    Active Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Portland, ME
    Posts
    62

    Re: Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

    I am not sure that I understand the "tri bashing" that I have seen on this website. Our master's group is made up of mixture of people who swim for different reasons. We have a number of triathletes and open water swimmers. Many swim just for fitness. Comparatively few of the group actually participate in meets. We work through all four strokes in the fall and winter. In late winter, we switch our focus to preparing for our local open water race.

    Everyone brings something unique to the group and are very tolerant of those who swim for different reasons and of varying abilities and ages. Some of the younger post college swimmers are the most helpful to us comparative beginners. I have enjoyed swimming with a wide variety of individuals. It is enjoyable to watch everyone progress.

    I am a relatively new swimmer myself (having come to swimming after my 27 year running career was sidelined by a knee injury after an fall). When I started swimming almost four years ago, I focused primarily on freestyle and struggled with the other strokes. I was pleased to find a masters group that welcomed all comers. Since joining the group, I have swum in a number of meets and open water races and have begun to enjoy the other strokes.

    The attitude of some of the anti-tri posters strikes me as arrogant, intolerant, and, dare I say, elitest. There is no reason why anyone can't benefit from the sport and take from it what they wish. Just my two cents.

  14. #14
    sprint diva The Fortress's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    8,108
    Blog Entries
    2132

    Re: Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

    We don't have any active triathletes on my team right now. Some ex-tris and ex-runners. We have open water swimmers, distance swimmers, fitness swimmers, strokers, etc. We seem to all get along. We try to stay in the appropriate lanes for speed, etc. and we mostly try to do the same workout. The only real variance is "stroke choice." Varying the workout significantly would not be appreciated.

    While some prefer to do copious amounts of freestyle, others don't. We have two sessions per week where you can expect a lot of freestyle and longer distances and two sessions where the focus is more on strokes and IM. I don't usually attend distance freestyle night. Although, when I do, no one gets too irked if I do a lot of backstroke and move to back of the lane.

    I wouldn't like swimming on a team of triathletes if distance free was the main thing on the menu. It would be tedious and counter-productive for my training. I have a friend who's been swimming with a triathlete masters group because of the convenience. Not the greatest results. Most strokers don't need to do a 1000 free for time on a regular basis.

    There are a number of masters groups in my area comprised primarily of triathletes and open water swimmers. Maybe that's the wave of the future. Until then, everyone should just try to get along. Might help to pick a team that suits your needs as opposed to expecting the team to accomodate your needs.

    It's interesting that someone mentioned that swimmers are "arrogant." While I've met many respectful triathletes, I hear a lot of complaints about triathletes automatically thinking they should always lead lanes. Of course, I hear a lot of people say, in somewhat arrogant fashion, that there is no conceivable use for pull buoys and fins either. Can't we all get along and respect the fact that we all train differently and might need to train differently? If you have some specialized work you need to do, do it on your own.

  15. #15
    Very Active Member Donna's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Fleming, GA
    Posts
    722
    Blog Entries
    1889

    Re: Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

    I know for me I would like to get some of my sprinting capability back but with the makeup of our team that is not going to happen unless I make a change.

    3 weeks ago due to pool temperature issues (our outdoor pool is too hot) I made an arrangement with another age group team in town that is practicing in one of the only indoor pools around (nice and cold). The workouts are a great change of pace and if I keep this up I feel my 50 at Nationals may be very surprising. Sprint work is something our masters group might do 1 day a month.

    I am starting to reevaluate and may make this arrangement more permenant in the future. Especially if my sprint comes back to some respectable form.

    Donna

  16. #16
    Participating Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    14

    Re: Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

    Thanks very much for the recent comments from Donna, jgale and The Fortress. I have actually just recently left the noontime tri-athlete-based masters swim and am now swimming age group practices in the mornings with my 12 year old daughter, although I am in the lane with the much faster 14-17 year olds. And let me tell you, it is really great! We do drills, 1000yrd kick sets, 50's, 100's and 200's of all strokes and all the other swim stuff. And I should say that the heart rate is up the entire time so instead of driving my freestyle technique into the ground with a 4000yrd freestyle workout, I now get the same cardio benefit as well as all the other stroke technique enhancement in the same amount of time. For those of you "swimmers" still in a tri-athlete-based masters swim program, I comment is that you can tend to acclimate to it until it seems very normal, but if you go back and try a traditional IM swim workout you will see a huge difference. Thanks! Kurt

  17. #17
    Very Active Member Donna's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Fleming, GA
    Posts
    722
    Blog Entries
    1889

    Re: Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

    Kurt,

    I too am moving on and training more with the age group club in town and I find I like the variety of the workouts better. I might even get my sprints moving. With the triathaletes I have layed a very good distance base now it is time to get back to a more varied workout and be able to lower some of my sprint times.

    After 3 years my 50 free has gone from a 31.7 to a 30.3 and when I did the 31.7 I had such a bad back I could not even touch the block to do a proper start. As my new coach has told me I have had the sprint trained out of me. Now it is time to change that.

    Good luck,
    Donna

  18. #18
    Very Active Member islandsox's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Roatan, Honduras
    Posts
    1,158

    Re: Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

    As a distance freestyler only and not a triathlete, I am surprised that many triathletes do not see the importance of swimming other strokes. Many times a person's body gets accustomed to the same kinds of workouts over and over and becomes so efficient at that stroke, that it is hard to up the level of conditioning. Throwing in some 50 and 100 flys, lots of sprints, back dolphin kicks, will aid in a triathlete's endurance training, as well as using some muscle groups not used in freestyle.

    It isn't always about "how far". I am swimming 6 to 7 miles every other day, I take 2 days off a week. Inbetween, I always have one or two days somewhere in there where I do anaerobic drills and sprints, say a mile of them.

    donna
    Insanity is hereditary--you get it from your kids

  19. #19
    Very Active Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Burlington, MA
    Posts
    116

    Re: Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

    well, it's not just that. no matter how efficient your freestyle, if you don't change things up every once in a while, you will make yourself prone to injury or re-injury because of overuse. there is a clear value to triathletes in balancing out their swimming with a variety of strokes.

  20. #20
    Very Active Member Slowswim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Heidelberg Germany
    Posts
    1,043

    Re: Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

    I do Tri's but do Back and Breast when my e-coach gives me the choice.

    When I swam with a team in Florida, it was a mixed group. Almost everyone did Tri's (that's the culture there) but a lot did Tri's and strokes at meets. In practice, We did all strokes. People like me who were new and didn't know all the strokes would get in a lane together so we didn't interfere.

    I would love to learn Fly, but have no one to teach me.
    I keep telling my coaches, "I am a sprinter" and "they keep saying you swim short races, but that is not the same thing." - Some Girl

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

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
  •