Now that the open water swim season is behind us, it’s time to take the wetsuits off and put the racing suits back on! Being the competitive swimmer that I am, I welcome the short course fall and winter Masters swim meets with open arms. If you are a little hesitant in participating in a Masters meet for the first time or after a long time away from racing, fear not! There are many significant benefits that result from competing in a Masters meet. I read an article a couple years ago that highlighted some top reasons to swim in a meet and I’d like to share a few with you below.
Masters competitions are great fun for everyone! Masters meets have a whole different feel compared to swim meets from your youth. Everyone is welcome at Masters meets, regardless of speed or ability and regardless of age, body type or fitness level. The Masters community is universally encouraging and is always excited to see people try something they haven’t done before. You’ll see people race with intensity, but also with huge smiles. It is the perfect example of high performance in a low-stress environment.
The connections you make through swimming can last for a lifetime, and I’ve certainly met some of my best friends through Masters swimming. Teammates obviously form the closest connections because we are grinding it out together, sharing the hard work and positive moments found in practice. At meets, it’s always fun to meet new friends through rivalries and spend time together on the pool deck. Each meet provides an opportunity to catch up, share memories and to look forward to the next reunion.
Everyone who attends a Masters meet comes away inspired and feeling good about life. One of my favorite parts at Masters meets is seeing swimmers of all ages cheering each other on. I was recently on a co-ed relay with my Tualatin Hills Barracudas team, and our ages ranged from 23 to 84. It was probably one of the most fun relays I’ve ever been a part of. It is such a positive and uplifting atmosphere that I think every Masters swimmer should experience at least once. Team spirit, cheering for fellow swimmers and the excitement of seeing friends and teammates succeed in their efforts culminates in an exciting atmosphere that benefits everyone.
Masters meets can also serve as a testing ground for swimmers. During practice, swimmers learn new techniques in strokes, starts and turns. Races are their opportunity to try out those new skills, and for the swimmers and coaches to make assessments and adjustments for future improvements. It is a great opportunity to set new goals and have something to strive for at practice. Don’t be afraid to talk to your coach or fellow teammates if you need advice on training goals, swim meet entry times, warm-up/warm-down tips, technique help, etc.
With that said, here is a list of upcoming Masters swim meets in Oregon, I hope to see you there!
November 10, 2018 Hood River SCM Meet Hood River, OR
A great meet to attend to get back into short course racing!
December 8, 2018 SCM Pentathlon & Brute Squad Meet Bend, OR
Measure your versatility by competing in triathlon, and long, medium and short distance pentathlons.
January 13, 2019 Canby Animal Meet (SCY) Canby, OR
Compete for a Gargoyle statuette in the Sprint Animal, Middle Animal or Grand Animal events.
January 27, 2019 Chehalem Meet (SCY) Newberg, OR
Race short course yards in the newly renovated Chehalem Aquatic Center!
Visit http://swimoregon.org/events/ to register.