11 Ways Masters And Age Group Meets Are Different

by SwimSwam 25

February 06th, 2018 Masters

Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham

I was at our teams 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 meetthe swimmers, coaches, officials and familyreally want to be there. Or, they wouldnt 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 its an advantage to be the youngest in their age group.


Although some Masters swimmers may be focused and serious, mostly theyre laughing and joking. Theres 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 its 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 wont 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.

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There is alcohol (jk–maybe)


Or at the very least, there is afterwards!


Or sometimes before. Getting up on the starting block with a hangover can be a real hazard.


Been there.

Steve Nolan

“You will not see a single crazy parent anywhere at a Masters meet.”

EDIT: “You will find the crazy parents in the water at Masters meets.”


Last year at master’s nationals I saw a guy berate the officials for a dq, similar to what you would see for a parent arguing after their kid got dq’d. The guy was very slow and would not have been anywhere near the top of his age group. In general though, I thought it felt a lot like being at an age group meet (as opposed to college or senior level meets). It was very fun and relaxed. Go out and race without much pressure. I was surprised that literally everyone was in a new tech suit. And people seemed a little more prepared than I would have guessed (not a bunch of 9-5ers who only swim a couple times… Read more »


Or people bought the tech suits because they only swam a couple of times a week and they needed a suit to help make them fast!


That doesn’t work, despite what some ill-informed parents and LSC board members think.


It works reasonably well for Masters (I know from experience).

The Merry Mermaid

Masters swimmers have disposable income. Tech suits also help the masters more than the kids — it’s like buying extra andominal muscles.


or grandparents.

Years of Plain Suck

My favorite definition of a Masters swimmer:

“A 10 & Under with a charge card.”


“A 10 & Under with a valid 21+ ID”

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