Many people in the triathlon community, particularly the beginner crowd, believe that masters swim teams (coached group workouts for those 18 years of age and older) are for fast, competitive swimmers that probably swam on teams their whole lives. These triathletes tell me that there is no room for novices, and they feel out of place or left out when they attend a masters workout.
The reality is that 80% of swimmers on masters teams are there for fitness. The other 20% consist of triathletes, competitive masters, and open water swimmers.
If you are a beginner triathlete new to the idea of swimming with a masters team, or an experienced triathlete who has always trained swimming on your own and shunned masters, here are 10 things you should know about masters swimming:
1. The stated goal of masters swim programs, according to the US Masters website, usms.org is: “All USMS programs are designed to help swimmers improve fitness and/or train for specific goals, and offer active support for a healthy lifestyle through friendship, and camaraderie.”
2. Accept that most of the other swimmers will realize that you are a beginner. Most masters swimmers love having new swimmers and will be more than happy to help you out.
3. Not all masters teams are the same. Talk to the coach about what level you’re on and your goals, and see if there is a fit. Most coaches will work with you at any level, but if not, there may be another option close by in your city.
4. Be on time. It makes life easier for the coach, and for your fellow lane-mates.
5. Learn to swim “circle pattern”. There is a line on the bottom of most pools, right in the middle of each lane. Stay to the right of the line when you are swimming. Circle pattern allows more than 2 swimmers per lane.
To be continued….