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- From US Masters Swimming
Check out “Masters Swimming 101” article series for tips on what to bring to practice; learn how to circle swim, read the clock, and more; and get definitions for common swimming jargon.
What is U.S. Masters Swimming?U.S. Masters Swimming is a national membership-operated nonprofit that provides membership benefits to nearly 65,000 Masters swimmers across the country. These benefits include insurance, SWIMMER magazine, sanctioned events, and more. USMS and its 52 Local Masters Swimming Committees (LMSCs) provide direct support to more than 1,500 Masters Swimming clubs and workout groups. Structure and organization of USMS programs vary and are driven by factors such as pool availability, instructor or coach availability, community support, and finances. The majority of locations offering Masters Swimming programs have coaches on deck. Coaches write workouts and provide feedback and instruction.
The word "Masters" sounds intimidating. Do I have to be an expert?The word Masters was first applied to adults who participated in track and field and was later adopted in organized adult swimming. In swimming, Masters simply means 18 and older.
What if I don't think I'm fast enough to be a Masters swimmer?This is something a lot of Masters coaches hear. However, most Masters coaches and swimmers don’t care how fast you are. In nearly every program, there are others of similar ability or those who started where you are and have improved. Don’t let your perceived ability, or lack thereof, hold you back. Although it’s important to have a physical examination before starting any exercise routine, you don’t need to be in shape to start Masters swimming—Masters swimming will help you get there.
I swim on my own. Why should I join USMS?If you live in an area that doesn’t have a USMS program or if you just prefer to swim on your own, you’ll still receive many valuable, exclusive benefits of membership. Technique tips and articles are included in all our member publications: SWIMMER magazine, STREAMLINES newsletters, and at usms.org. You’ll also have access to online workouts designed for specific groups, such as beginners, sprinters, triathletes, pregnant women, and more. Take advantage of the online Fitness Logs (FLOGs), where you can track your swimming and other fitness activities and participate in virtual events. You can even start a blog at usms.org, where you’ll connect with thousands of swimmers of all ages and abilities, many of whom also swim on their own.
I'm a triathlete. Why should I join USMS?Many triathletes, including world-class triathletes Sara McLarty and Ben Hoffman, join USMS programs because training with swimmersis the best way to improve the swim portion of the tri. Masters coaches provide technique instruction and interval training with a group. USMS membership also grants access to the triathlete-specific workouts posted regularly in the members-only Forums at usms.org. In addition, SWIMMER magazine and STREAMLINES newsletters have technique and training tips in each issue.
What can I expect when I attend a USMS practice?Check out our “Masters Swimming 101” article series for tips on what to bring to practice; learn how to circle swim, read the clock, and more; and get definitions for common swimming jargon. Try to swim in a lane that fits your ability and don’t get discouraged! Swimming is different than running, cycling, and other endurance activities. Regardless of your fitness level, it can take months to get into good swimming shape. And don’t be shy—ask for help; most Masters swimmers and coaches are happy to welcome new members. Camaraderie and new friends are two of the best benefits of swimming regularly with a group.
Do I have to join USMS to swim in a Masters practice?USMS provides insurance coverage for all individual USMS members and liability insurance for clubs and workout groups. For the insurance to be in effect, all participants within the activity, such as an organized practice or competition, must be registered with USMS. Thus, most USMS clubs and workout groups require that all swimmers in their programs be registered with USMS.
I'm convinced! What do I do now?
- Below is a list of common equipment used by our Masters swimmers in day to day practices. Please visit Conjeo Swim Works, the site of our Canyons Store for all of your equipment needs.http://www.conejoswimworks.com/canyons-aquatic-club/Goggles: Swimmers use goggles to protect their eyes from the chlorine as well as to gain a clear view of their surroundings in the pool. There are a variety of colors and styles depending on the preference of the swimmer. Goggles range from $6.50 – $29.99. Caps: Caps are designed to keep the hair out of swimmers’ faces and goggles straps into place. Team caps range from $5.00 - $10.00.Women’s Practice Suit: Practice suits are used during workouts. They are created with a stronger material for durability. Some may create extra drag to make the workout more challenging. Women’s practice suits range from $33.00 - $76.00. Men’s Practice Suit: Practice suits are used during workouts. They are created with a stronger material for durability. Some may create extra drag to make the workout more challenging. Men’s practice suits range from $22.00 - $47.00. Kickboard: Help them improve their leg strength and kicking skills using this kickboard. Kickboards range from $12.00-$20.00.Snorkel: Allows swimmers the ability to focus on stroke technique without the interruption of turning your head to breath. Allowing for a full range of motion this tool can be used for all strokes. Relax in the water and maintain body alignment to improve stroke efficiency. Snorkels range from $24.00-$40.00.Paddles: Paddles are a plastic device placed on a swimmers hands during practice. The paddles are used to add resistance to the pulling phase of the stroke. Paddles range from $7.95 - $21.00. Pull Buoys: Pull-Buoys are a device used by swimmers during a practice to enhance body position during pull sets when the swimmers are not kicking. Pull buoys range from $6.95 – $11.99
- Most anyone has heard by now the benefits that swimming can have as an exercise. If you haven't then it is about time that you did:
- Swimming is known to reduce wear and tear on joints. Even according to his book YOU: THE OWNERS MANUAL, Dr. Oz states that, "swimming won’t unconditionally save you from joint pain but it may help delay the onset." Right so don’t think just because you are swimming that you won't have joint pain, but, there is less pressure on joints while swimming and so even arthritic joints can find some relief with the exercise. LIVESTRONG.COM corroborates by saying, "The [swimming] exercise combines with the water's support provides an aerobic workout without putting extra stress on "our aching joints."
- Swimming is a whole body workout!!! Yep arms and legs work in some sort of synchronicity to be able to move you through the water; not only that but your core has to be somewhat with it and your postural muscles and your neck and lungs and ribs and heart! It really can work you good! Plus according to SPORTEOLOGY.COM swimming is the second most difficult sport in the world next to gymnastics... I disagree somewhat, but we might be biased.
- Swimming has been tauted as a really great Aerobic workout. Many have wondered why this might be the case. Well, you shouldn’t breathe underwater; so, your body really has to work hard at using and distributing the oxygen that it does have. If efficiency is not accomplished your desire for air becomes more prevalent whilst swimming. Just be aware that continuous swimming in increments of 45 minutes or more is how you can engage aerobic systems in the water at peak efficiency.
- Despite its ability to enhance aerobic abilities, it does an amazing job with the anaerobic systems too. Again because you can’t always "catch a breath" any ol' time you want your body become very efficient at producing ways to use the non-oxygen systems in your body to make you function and adapt even better for future exercises.
- Swimming aids healing. Yeah... how cool is that? When you swim your tissues actually relax and expand just a touch due to the decreased gravitational element on your body. This allows for proper flow of nerve, blood and fluid exchange allowing for better repair and healing in the whole body.
- Swimming is great for your heart! Yeah, for the same reasons as above the natural tissue dilation decreases the exertion of the heart. That's right; the heart can work less hard to push the blood around the body, this decrease obviously puts less stress on the heart allowing it to work more efficiently, for longer in life. Did you know that the average heart rate is 13 beats lower in the water? Huh... cool.
- You live longer. Harvard University put out a 13 year study in 2005 where only 2% of swimming men studied died while deaths for other activities were 8% of runners, 9% of walkers and 11% of nonexercisers. I love swimming.
Dr. Kyle Durieux, Chiropractic Physician
- U.S. Masters Swimming is a national membership-operated nonprofit that provides membership benefits to nearly 65,000 Masters swimmers across the country.On the local level, Masters swimming is governed by Local Masters Swimming Committees (LMSC). The LMSCs in turn are composed of smaller groups: clubs, teams and un-affiliated swimmers. This is the web site for the Southwest Zone. The Southwest Zone has more than 9,000 members.