Courtesy of Kirsten Read. Featured Image: Matt Biondi, 11-time Olympic medalist, now a U.S. Masters swimmer.
Maybe you had hung up your suit and goggles forever. But the call of the water is strong. Masters swimming is very different from age group swimming of long ago. We do it for the camaraderie, the fitness, the fun and maybe for fast times too. Most of all we do it because we love it!
1. MASTERS PREROGATIVE
You may at times employ Masters Prerogative in workout – changing the workout or negotiating sets with your coach and teammates. This is something that would have gotten you kicked out of workout for trying as a youngster.
2. FINE LINE
You no longer swim 9 to 11 workouts per week – hell, you’re lucky if you make 3! So when it’s time to race in the pool or open water, you’re not sure if the taper will take you out of shape..or the warm up get you in shape. It’s a fine line.
3. FULL SUITS
After babies, binging, and a break some of us don’t look like we did years ago. And things may have shifted a bit. Many of us coveted our blueseventy full coverage suits and loathed the day we had to give them up.
Due to our advanced age and circuitous journeys not as many of us can see the clock, hear each other, count correctly or do the math during complicated sets.
Many of us have now taken our ailing shoulders, elbows, backs, hips, and knees under the knife. Let’s just say butterfly is not an option any more for everyone — at least our orthopedic surgeon says so.
6. AGING UP
Being the youngest in your new age group ought to be a good thing — but not necessarily. In masters often the older age groups are even fiercer and faster.
Relay age groups are no longer labeled 11&12 or 13&14…more like 160-199 or 240-279. The relays are the most fun part of the meet because you get to swim with the awesome 82-year-old on your team.
8. ADULT BEVERAGES
Relaxing with a nice glass of wine or three the night before a race was never an option as an age grouper, but it is now!
Not everybody chooses to partake and that’s totally cool. But whether it’s a local meet or you head to Nationals, Worlds or Bermuda Round the Sound — fun will be had by all.
10. LAUGHING OUT LOUD
We are all there because we want to be, not because our parents or coach are making us. I don’t remember smiling or laughing this much during practice or meets as an age grouper.