Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham
I was at our team’s Masters meet this weekend and I noticed how the energy was different than at an age group meet. In addition to fewer swimmers and spectators, everyone looked relaxed. Yes, there were a few anxious swimmers but, generally, the atmosphere was very laid back and upbeat. A friend explained it like this: “Masters has more of a party atmosphere of a community of swimmers rather than the nervous energy found at age group meets.”
Here are 11 ways Masters meets are different than age group meets:
Everyone at a Masters meet—the swimmers, coaches, officials and family—really want to be there. Or, they wouldn’t be there.
Young kids drop time as they improve and get older. Masters may not.
Masters swimmers are happy when they age up because they feel it’s an advantage to be the youngest in their age group.
Although some Masters swimmers may be focused and serious, mostly they’re laughing and joking. There’s not much at stake for them.
Masters swimmers feel like they’ve won if they make it off the blocks and complete their event close to the time they swam the year before.
Getting out of the deep end without a ladder can feel like a major accomplishment in itself.
You will not see a single crazy parent anywhere at a Masters meet.
Nobody is trying for junior national cuts or college scholarships.
Every Masters swimmer is self-motivated and has their own reason to compete whether it’s strictly fitness, getting a national time or getting out of their comfort zones.
Nobody is nervous watching you swim.
Every swimmer gets out of the water with a smile on their face. You won’t see any tears.
In what other ways are Masters meets different than age group meets?
Elizabeth Wickham volunteered for 14 years on her kids’ club team as board member, fundraiser, newsletter editor and “Mrs. meet manager.” She’s a writer with a bachelor of arts degree in editorial journalism from the University of Washington with a long career in public relations, marketing and advertising. Her stories have appeared in newspapers and magazines including the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Parenting and Ladybug. You can read more parenting tips on her blog.