About Masters Swimming and FAQ
About Masters Swimming
Swimming is a Magnificent Sport for Athletes of All Ages and Abilities
Each year more people participate in the sport of swimming than in any other sport. Swimming is the nation's number one activity because no other sport or activity produces as many or as varied benefits for the individual throughout one's life. It is safe, with less risk of injury than most other activities and promotes a clean, healthy life without using "enhancements" such as drugs, tobacco or alcohol.
The lessons learned in swimming are courage, discipline, diligence and personal responsibility to name a few, all of these are important lessons in the conduct of anyone's life. They encompass not only the body and mind but also the emotional, psychological and social sides of the individual. Competitive swimming encourages and develops these worthwhile traits and habits better than any other activity. Any person, anywhere, will benefit by becoming a participant in swimming. This is especially true in competitive swimming under the North Texas Masters Swimming and United States Masters Swimming programs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Masters Swimming?
Masters swimming is an organized program of swimming for adults. Members participate in a variety of ways ranging from lap swimming to international competition.
What is North Texas Masters Swimming?
North Texas Masters is the USMS Local Masters Swim Committee (LMSC) governing body for masters swimming in the northern Texas region. The North Texas district includes Abelene, Amarillo, the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, Lubbock, Tyler, Waco, and Wichita Falls.
The North Texas LMSC is a member of United States Masters Swimming, the national governing body for masters swimming.
There are just under 800 registered masters swimmers in the North Texas district. No prior competitive swimming experience is necessary. Our ranks include swimmers of all abilities from novice to national champions.
Who are the Members?
Anyone 18 or over can join Masters swimming, and anyone 19 and over may compete. U.S. Masters Swimming has over 25,000 members, a few of whom are in their 90's.
Where is Masters Swiming located?
Everywhere! There are over 450 local Masters Swim Clubs throughout the country and more forming every day. There's probably a group accessible to you regardless of where you live. For teams in the North Texas LMSC area, visit our Teams page.
How is Masters Swimming Organized?
United States Masters Swimming, Inc. provides the administrative structure for Masters Swimming. However, Masters Swimming is very much a grassroots organization.
The country is divided into smaller groups called Local Masters Swimming Commites (LMSC). LMSC's in turn are composed of smaller groups -- clubs or teams and unaffiliated ("unattached") swimmers.
As an individual, you may choose to join a team or club and enjoy the camaraderie and structure of the group or you may choose to remain unattached. Unattached swimmers enjoy all of the benefits of U.S. Masters Swimming membership, except they cannot compete in relays.
What are the benefits of membership?
Benefits can be measured in many ways. When you join, you're automatically covered by the group's insurance program which provides accident and liability insurance during all sanctioned events and organized workouts.
You will also receive the USMS sponsored Swim magazine which keeps you informed of the national organization's programs and happenings.
In addition, you will receive the North Texas LMSC's quarterly newsletter which will feature information on local programs and events.
One of the greatest benefits is the pool access you get by being part of a structured program.
Do I have to compete?
Everyone has his or her own reason for belonging - health, fitness, camaraderie, fun, the thrill of competition, travel, and coaching are but a few.
About 30% of Masters swimmers compete in swimming meets on a regular basis. For those who are serious competitors, there are an incredible number of opportunities to test your skill and conditioning. Short Course (25 yard and 25 meter) and Long Course (50 meter) pool meets, lake and ocean open water swims, postal meets, special events and international championships are all part of an ambitious program of Masters swimming.
A recent U.S. Masters Swimming national championship meet drew 2,400 participants. It was the largest swimming meet ever held in North America. An international Masters championship in Japan ranks as the largest swimming meet ever. But if competing isn't your style, there's no need to feel pressured. Many Masters swimmers are simply interested in the regular routine of working out.
Are workouts always organized?
One of the greatest benefits of Masters swimming is to be able to practice with an organized group. Each club or team has its own program. Some are highly structured with set workouts and on-deck coaching, while others are very informal.
There's no question that the motivation and instruction a coach provides is a powerful advantage. Research has shown that interval training, an approach favored by most coaches, has innumerable benefits over simple lap swimming so most Masters swimmers prefer structured workouts. The facilities of each group vary greatly, but many of the teams and clubs have access to weight rooms with exercise equipment and make this a part of their training.
It is important to remember that you're in charge of your own program. From the most rudimentary of lap swimming routines to training for competitions or special events, U.S. Masters Swimming is structured to support you.
What does it cost?
An annual membership in USMS is obtained for a $25 through the North Texas Local Masters Swimming Committee and includes insurance benefits and the USMS Swim magazine, published bi-monthly. This fee also includes a minimal LMSC membership fee to cover the local administrative and organizational expenses.
In addition, clubs or teams typically have their own membership fees to pay for pools, coaching, administrative, social, and other costs.
Tell me a little more about the competition.
Competitions are organized by age groups of five-year increments (19-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, etc. to 90 and over). Events include 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 and 1650 freestyle (400, 800 and 1500 in meters), 50, 100, 200 backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly and 100, 200 and 400 individual medleys. There are also freestyle and medley relays for men, women annd/or mixed teams. Open water swims are held in most locals during the summer and can range in distance from one to ten miles. Special events such as seeing how far you can swim in one hour are contested through the mail.
USMS hosts two national championship meets a year. A short course (25 yard pool) championship is held in May and a long course (50 meter pool) championship is held in August. These four-day events rotate to different locations around the country.
International championships are conducted periodically by Masters swim organizations in countries throughout the world.
While health and physical fitness are the biggest rewards, proficient competitors can garner a host of awards and recognitions. World and U.S. records, Top Ten and All American rankings, All Star status and national champion are accomplishments recognized by USMS. Medals, ribbons and trophies are a part of many competitions and are awarded to all age groups.
Is it healthy to exercise that hard as you get older?
It's true that the thrill of competition can produce some anxiety in the form of "butterflies", but study after study has proven that regular exercise can significantly contribute to your health. Swimming has continually been identified as the best way to exercise. Stress reduction, weight control, cardiovascular fitness, reduced cholesterol, muscle tone and endurance are all positively influenced by exercise. Masters swimmers swear by it.
I need some more persuasion...
Here are some comments from Masters swimmers:
"Swimming is a quest for me. The results can be amazing."
-- H.S.F., Rochester, NY
"Masters swimming has made my life more disciplined."
-- A.M.B., Redding, PA
"You go to a competition alone, but have 200 yet-to-meet friends."
-- J.M., Banner Elk, NC
"After three strokes (and I don't mean swimming strokes), it keeps me alive."
-- W.T.E., Portland, OR
"I need the challenge of competition."
-- J.A.B.H., Glenview, IL
"It's damn good fun!"
-- D.S., Ross, CA
I'm convinced, how do I join?
Just click here to join or renew your membership online and save a copy for your club as confirmation.
If you'd rather fill out a paper form and pay by check, simply click here to download a pdf of the LMSC registration, fill it out and return it with the specified fees via US mail to:
North Texas Masters Swimming Registrar
2300 Coit Road, Suite 400
Plano, TX 75075
You can also go to the United States Masters Swimming website for much more details.