Hearing the term “Masters Swim” tends to intimidate a majority of swimmers who don’t consider themselves to be competitive or even competent in the sport of swimming. I believe that this is due to them using the wrong definition of the word “Master”. They seem to get a mental image of a group of muscular and intimidating swimmers who have been swimming since they were young and are better at swimming than they are at walking, all of which are anxiously waiting to jump in the water to start banging out a 5,000 yard set all at a 1:05 per 100 yard pace. In actuality the word “master” simply refers to a group of athletes that are over the age of 18. That’s all.
Another concern that I hear is that a swimmer feels that they are too slow. This is the beautiful thing about swimming with a Masters group, every Masters Swim that you go to will have the lanes divided up by pace and ability so you end up in a lane with others that swim at a similar speed. This not only gives you the comfort of avoiding a lane where you might be intimidated, be forced into a pace you’re not ready for or run over by faster swimmers, it also gives you a goal to work towards. After you get comfortable with the set up and organization of a Masters Swim it won’t be long before you start striving to move up into faster lanes.
But what about you faster swimmers, what can you gain from a Masters Swim workout? I don’t know a single athlete that doesn’t want to get faster, Masters Swim is an opportunity for that. Sometimes the answer to getting faster is mechanics and sometimes it’s simply introducing a new stress to your swim routine. Most triathletes that I know are Type A personalities, they thrive on sets, routines and competition. Masters Swim is a great chance to push yourself against others that swim at a similar ability. When put in these situations you’ll be surprised at how much harder you push and are able to get out of your workout.
You may be saying “I already have a swimming/triathlon coach, why do I need a Masters Swim?”. From the coaches angle or for the person that writes their own swim workouts, writing weekly swim workouts can be the most tedious thing your coach does for you so if they can get a break from that duty then they’ll definitely take it. More on the angle of your benefit though is that most coaches recognize the benefit of having their athletes attend a coached workout as opposed to a workout that they assign and their client goes and does on their own. Coached workouts tend to help athletes stay focused on the task at hand and keeps them “honest” in not taking too much rest and avoids them from getting too chatty with their lane mates between sets, therefore getting more out of each swim workout.
So why am I talking about how you should join a Masters Swim workout? Because we’re getting one started here in Texarkana. Starting on June 16th I’ll be the coach on deck of a Masters Swim at the Christus St. Michael Fitness Center on Mondays at 6:00pm and Fridays at 6:00am. I’ll be writing each workout for each session, giving each swimmer their intervals and send off times. These session will work very similar to the Vintage workouts that the Fitness Center has with each session costing $10 on top of your monthly membership.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact me via phone or email.