2015 MASTERS OMS ASSOCIATION CHAMPIONSHIP MEET SURVEY
Submitted by Elke Asleson
Health and P.E. Department/Western Oregon University
Also, coach of Oregon Mid-Valley Masters (OMVM), based in Albany at the YMCA
The students in PE at Western Oregon University were able to obtain some extra credit by volunteering for the swim meet, filling out a survey from their experience, and by interviewing some Master swimmers. The 29 completed Masters Interviews have been summarized for your reading enjoyment!
Masters Swim Meet Observation Summary
Reasons for Swimming: Masters swimmers had many different reasons for competing in swim meets. They included the physical benefits of being active and staying in shape; enjoying the social aspects of swimming in a team environment, including the friendship, encouragement and support of fellow swimmers; the desire to compete, improve their times and the satisfaction of being a champion and the love of swimming ~ the ability to enjoy a lifetime sport.
Observation of Swimming Levels: There were various levels of swimming observed at the meet from beginning to Olympic level swimmers. Accordingly, there were also broad differences in ability levels for strokes, starts and turns with the most distinction observed in the dives off the starting blocks. It was obvious that experienced swimmers knew what they were doing and exhibited the talent, speed, stroke technique and endurance to compete in multiple events. Many enjoyed the opportunity to “re-live” their former competitive swim experience albeit somewhat slower in an older body carrying a few more pounds.
Reasons to Compete: Serious competitors pushed themselves to win their heats, beat their previous race times and set personal records. They swim to experience the thrill of competition but also enjoy the fun and fitness of swimming. Most just loved swimming and enjoyed the camaraderie of fellow athletes.
Why They Were Racing: Most raced on a recreational basis to stay in shape, swimming more for fun than for winning. Some were trying to improve their times and said that winning was a bonus.
Miscellaneous Observations: There was a very positive vibe of respect and fellowship among swimmers. A spirit of encouragement and support prevailed among all swimmers who were observed to be a tight knit group that looked out for each other. There were no hard feelings or bad blood between swimmers or teams at the meet. Swimmers were observed to be very friendly and genuinely care for and support each other, especially in the last few laps of an event. Swimmers enjoyed talking about themselves and were very open with each other. Observers were amazed at the fitness level of older swimmers, particularly a 92 year old participant. There were long lasting bonds among swimmers, many of whom have been swimming most of their lives.
Demographics: Swimmers were 60% men and 40% women and were an average of 40 years of age.