Find­ing a Masters Swim Team

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - Front Page - By Aye­sha Rollinson

The­most ef­fec­tive way to im­prove your swim­ming or main­tain your ad­van­tage in the wa­ter if you are al­ready a good swim­mer is to join a Masters swim club. For many triath­letes mak­ing the time to get to a pool is the low­est pri­or­ity as swim­ming tends to the least nat­u­ral and most un­com­fort­able of the three sports. It can be cold, lonely, frus­trat­ing and time con­sum­ing. To make mat­ters worse, try­ing to train dur­ing pub­lic lane swim is, at best, a lit­tle chaotic and at worst im­pos­si­ble. Why Join? Join­ing a Masters swim club can make swim work­outs more en­joy­able and force you get your swim train­ing logged. A good masters team will make sure you carve out time in your sched­ule for swim­ming and will pro­vide the com­pet­i­tive and so­cial mo­ti­va­tion to get through your work­outs. On top of en­sur­ing con­sis­tency in your swim train­ing, a well- coached Masters club will pro­vide you with valu­able feed­back on your tech­nique, fit­ness and race tac­tics. For triath­letes nurs­ing lower body in­juries and un­able to bike or run, a Masters swim club can be a psy­cho­log­i­cal and phys­i­cal saviour pro­vid­ing moral sup­port and struc­tured train­ing time. How to Find the Right One? The first place to look for a Masters swim club is on the Masters Swim­ming Canada web­site mymsc. ca. This site has a list­ing of clubs by city and prov­ince. It also in­cludes web­site and con­tact in­for­ma­tion. You must be at least 19 years of age in or­der to swim with a team that is ex­clu­sively in­sured and reg­is­tered with Masters Swim­ming Canada. Some clubs listed also have their own pri­vate in­sur­ance, which al­lows those un­der 19 to par­tic­i­pate.

The se­cond best place to in­ves­ti­gate is your lo­cal pool. Tak­ing a stroll down to the re­cre­ation cen­tre, ymca or aquatic cen­tre will most likely net you some re­sults. Many pools have Masters or adult swim teams that are not ad­ver­tised any­where but on their in­ter­nal bul­letin boards. Ask­ing the staff and specif­i­cally the life­guards will pro­vide you more in­for­ma­tion than do­ing an In­ter­net search. These types of clubs don’t usu­ally have age re­stric­tions.

An­other great way of find­ing a lo­cal Master’s club is to ask fel­low triath­letes or triathlon clubs. These word- of-mouth clubs may not be reg­is­tered with Masters Swim­ming Canada or ad­ver­tised on the In­ter­net. The ad­van­tage of us­ing word of mouth is that you will quickly find out which are the bet­ter clubs for your par­tic­u­lar needs as a triath­lete. Make Sure the Team Is the Right Fit. Find­ing a Masters club is a good first step. Mak­ing sure that you have found the best club for you is crit­i­cal if you are to stay mo­ti­vated for six months to a year. Once you have a list of clubs near your work, school or home, start mak­ing time to drop in to work­outs. It’s worth spend­ing a lit­tle time and money on fa­cil­ity drop in fees to get first-hand ex­pe­ri­ence. Be­low is a list of cri­te­ria that may help you de­cide. I have listed them in or­der of im­por­tance, based on both per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence as an ath­lete and feed­back I have re­ceived from my own Masters swim club mem­bers.

dur­ing work­outs? -

ment dur­ing work­outs?

ex­pe­ri­ence? if the pool is be­low 80 de­grees? Above 82 de­grees? This should be a se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion for most triath­letes. This is one of the least talked about but most im­por­tant fac­tors. As a coach, it is very dif­fi­cult to at­tend to more than 20 peo­ple in the pool at one time. As an ath­lete I find it im­pos­si­ble to have a qual­ity workout with more than four peo­ple in my lane. A lit­tle more space will al­low you to some­times de­vi­ate from the set workout if you need more re­cov­ery or tech­ni­cal work, if you have a race that you need to pre­pare for and even for things like wa­ter run­ning.

with?

in­tense?

mem­bers? in­ter­vals will the coach al­low you to swim mainly freestyle? are look­ing to learn?

Make sure that you talk to the coach or other club mem­bers about the freestyle vs. non- freestyle mix of the work­outs. To make the most out of pre­cious train­ing hours, most triath­letes should be spend­ing 95 to 100 per cent of their time on freestyle fo­cused swim­ming. The work­outs should in­clude drill, kick, pull and other freestyle re­lated work, but the fo­cus should be squarely on the freestyle stroke. The ar­gu­ment for “bal­anc­ing” your mus­cles with non­freestyle should be ques­tioned par­tic­u­larly if you are do­ing a strength pro­gram

at least the swim dis­tance you are train­ing for? reg­u­lar swim com­pe­ti­tion sea­son (Septem­ber to April/ May), or the triathlon sea­son (De­cem­ber to June/July)? A Fi­nal Word of Cau­tion Don’t de­lay sign­ing up for a Masters swim pro­gram. Masters swim teams have limited ca­pac­ity due to pool space and fill up quickly weeks prior to the posted start date. Even if you don’t in­tend to train in full force in the fall or early winter, it’s worth sign­ing up and re­serv­ing your spot.

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