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Workout etiquette
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USMS registered swimmers, clubs

To check on the registration or for a club of a USMS-registered swimmer in the Gold Coast LMSC, click HERE (and then if needed, a club).

For other LMSCs, change the number (50) to another LMSC number. Please click HERE to download a page listing all LMSC numbers.

USMS individual achievements

To check on an individual's USMS achievements and recognition, paste the following URL into your browser's title bar and add the last five digits of the individual's USMS registration number.

To find the last 5 digits for a current USMS member, use the link above for Registered swunners/clubs. For example, Carl House would be

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United States Masters Swimming

What's it all about?
Who should join Masters?
USMS organization

USMS History & Archives Project

GOLD swimmers, past & present

Rorie Anderson

Judy Bonning

David Boudreau

Dick Brewer

Craig Burns

Joel Burns

Rose Caplane

Cav Cavanaugh

Debbie Cavanaugh

John Ceraolo

Scott Coleman

Chris Derks

Cathleen Nord Feldvoss

Gary W Hall

Roger Hawkins

Carl House

Pat Howe

Richard Kane

Herb Kern

June Krauser

Ernie Leskovitz

Stu Marvin

Meg May

Ann McGuire

Tracie Moll

Randy Nutt

Danielle Ogier

Christina Pazos

William Prew

Alan Rapperport

Gail Rice

George Schmidt

Sally Scott

Robert Strauss

Mike Tschirret

USMS Records & Rules

Record application form
Rule Book (on-line edition)




Workout etiquette

Circle swimming

When two or more people must share a lane, the custom is to swim in circles. That means you will always be swimming in the right side of the lane, and traffic coming the other way will be to your left. Stay on your side! Think of it as a two-lane road and the line on the bottom of the pool is a double yellow line -- no crossing over it. You need to stay to the right to avoid a collision.

If you do flip turns, stay to the right until you get to the end; then, do your flip turn on the left side of the wall so you won't spring off the wall into oncoming traffic.

Find the right lane

Practices should be organized so swimmers of comparable abilities and speeds swim in the same lanes. It's not a social or ego thing; it's common sense. You don't want to run over someone slower, you don't want some hot dog running over you, and you don't want to make everyone else mad because you're the one slowing down their workouts.

If you're not sure which lane you should swim in, ask. Don't pick the one with the fewest people -- there may be a good reason why there aren't a lot of people in the lane, like the difficulty of that lane's workout.

Let others pass

All swimmers are not created equal. So even if you're in the proper lane, you might not be able to keep up at all times. If somebody faster gets too close, simply stop at the end of the pool and let the person go by. Don't make him or her pass you in the middle of the pool. It's dangerous. Stepping aside is the right thing to do, and it won't slow either of you down.

If a slowpoke is slow to respond, gently -- gently -- tap his or her foot in the middle of the lane. The courteous swimmer will stop and let you by at the end. Only a jerk won't.

Share the water

It's not your pool. Remember? You just use a small space in a shared pool. That needn't be painful. Think of it as being guests at the same party. Be polite, or you won't be asked back.

Give courtesy a chance

What was once known as "common courtesy" is sorely uncommon today. Pleasantries like "please," "thank you," "I'm sorry," and "after you" have disappeared in our high-speed, high-tech society. So although you may not be able to change the world, you can make your little corner of the pool a more pleasant place. Your fellow swimmers will really appreciate it and might even be more courteous themselves. Courtesy is one of the nice contagious things.

What's it all about?

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.

Who are the members?

Anyone 18 years old or over can join Masters swimming. United States Masters Swimming (USMS) is the governing body and has over 36,000 members, a few of whom are in their 90's. USMS, in turn, is affiliated with FINA, the international organizing body.

The group makeup varies with the season. Some people choose to compete in pool or open water events, some are fitness swimmers of varying levels of dedication, and 10% have no idea why they are there but have a good time anyway. Ability levels range from people who compete at the national level to those who are happy just swimming a few laps without stopping. Most members fall somewhere in between.

Where is Masters swimming located?

Everywhere! There are over 450 local Masters swim clubs throughout the United States.

Do I have to compete?

No, you don't. It's totally up to you. Reasons for becoming a Masters swimmer are as varied as the swimmers themselves; health, fitness, camaraderie, fun, the thrill of competition, and travel are some possibilities. The majority of Masters swimmers choose not to compete in swimming meets on a regular basis. However, going to a competition does provides motivation to work harder in practices.

Why would I want to join a group when I can swim on my own?

There are many advantages to being part of a practice group. Finding a training partner, a group of swimmers, or a club to be affiliated with greatly enhances your swimming experience. And the social activities at and after practices and especially at meets make all of the workouts worth the effort, even if you're not heavily into competition. There are many more benefits. Among them are

    • the friendship and camaraderie that exists among swimmers. It's very easy to stop a fitness program and difficult to restart it. When you have friends to swim with, this is much less likely to happen. You will naturally encourage each other.
    • working out with a group forces you to push yourself more. When you swim alone, it's too easy to slack off on days that you just don't feel like pushing yourself. This is less likely to happen when someone else is in the water working out with you.
    • having fellow swimmers to help you with your stroke technique. Some simple tips can improve the time it takes you to swim a length and can also make it easier and more relaxing. Improving technique also reduces the incidence of sore shoulders and knees that can come with improper technique.
    • the pool access you get. Masters have exclusive use of the pools during the scheduled practices, so you aren't crowded into a single "lap swim lane" where you have to dodge kids and everything else. A competition-length pool also allows you to do real swimming instead of the two-strokes-and-turn-around that's the norm in most apartment and home pools.
    • the automatic coverage by the group's insurance which provides accident and liability coverage during all sanctioned events and workouts, including travel to and from. You also receive USMS Swimmer magazine.

Is it healthy to exercise that hard as you get older?

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. And 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.

It is recommended, however, that you have a physician's approval before starting. Even if you are not interested in swimming competitively, the workouts will become more physically demanding as your skills improve.

How much time will it require?

That again is up to you. You can put as much time and effort into swimming as you want, or as little. If you can't attend every practice, you're better off if you can space those days out instead of doing three in a row and taking four in a row off. The regularity of the exercise is as important as the actual exercise. Focus on quality rather than quantity; a longer "mindless yardage" practice is not as beneficial as a shorter, high quality workout.

Who should join Masters?

    by Matt Shirley -- posted on the USMS Discussion Forum 9/14/01

OK folks, soapbox time. (Those who know me feel free to begin rolling your eyes.)

At various times in various discussion groups I have noticed that a number of people who are new to swimming have a mistaken assumption about U.S. Masters. To wit, they believe one has to already be pretty proficient at swimming before one can join a team and participate in its workouts, or participate in stroke clinics, or basically do anything that would help move past that awkward feeling beginner stage. Several people have tried to gently dispell this misunderstanding.


USMS is about anyone who wants to improve their swimming and enjoy the fellowship of like minded people, period. Any swimmer, regardless of ability, can have a goal, and no one's goal is more or less worthy because it is faster or slower than someone else's. We have some people in USMS who's speed and power in the water are almost beyond comprehension. But, there is no inherent significance in one of their world record swims. All significance is assigned by people. Your goal is just as important to you, and just as worthy.

Let's talk about the medium of water for a minute. At top speeds, it is much less forgiving than air, much more dense and resistant. However, for less intense exercise, it is much more forgiving. Your natural buoyancy will hold you up, or at minimum drastically reduce the weight you have to support against the effects of gravity. Moreover, water is a much more efficient medium for dissipating excess body heat. If you have some kind of physical problem, you really ought to be getting your exercise in the water because you can do it better, longer, and with less risk of injury than on land.

Now, let's talk about who can benefit most from swimming with a coach or a group. For all you triathletes out there (I know I pound on you guys a lot, but I really do admire your willingness to take on a completely foreign sport) let me use an analogy to bicycling. When you were a kid just learning how to ride a bike, did you do a lot of conditioning for your legs, maybe some jogging or lifting weights, before you jumped on the bike for the first time, because you wanted to be sure you were in good enough shape to bike a half mile that first time? Heck no! That isn't how people learn to ride a bike! So why would you think that you have to be able to do something like swim 500 yards without stopping before you can get coaching or join a team? The easiest and fastest progress you will make is refining your stroke technique so that you can swim at a sustainable pace (like easy walking) and go as far as you like. So get your instruction right away, conditioning can come later. And, a Masters team can be one of the best places to get your coaching.

On a similar topic, a number of former swimmers think they have to get themselves in shape before they start working out with a team. "So I don't embarass myself." Why?! These people don't know you and don't know how fast you were ____ years ago. Why would you want to deny yourself the fellowship and the variety of working out with a group? (In the final analysis, the greatest enemy to regular exercise is not age, or busy schedules, or injury, or lack of athletic ability; it's boredom.) So start out in a slower lane, and amaze everyone by how fast you move up!

Let me offer a few tips for picking the right team for you. Please do not interpret this to mean "I am not worthy." Look at this as a method for directing trafffic. For most Masters teams, you will have a difficult time if you cannot swim one length of the pool without stopping. Does that mean you need to suffer on your own? Of course not! Find yourself some good coaching to improve your technique. Conditioning can look after itself; let's get those training wheels off your bike. You may also find that you will benefit most from finding a coach who works with competitive or Masters swimmers, rather than starting with a rinky-dink learn to swim class. Best to learn good mechanics right away, rather than the australian crawl circa 1950.

When you want to find a team, understand that all teams are different. You should try several until you find the one that is most comfortable, and makes you want to come to practice. Understand that some teams have different levels of participation based in part on ability, and in some high Masters density areas, some teams even have strict ability and minimum participation requirements. That's cool. It is not about who is more worthy; it's about directing traffic.

Swimming can be a challenging and frustrating sport. It certainly allows less interaction with other people than most other sports. There is no need to turn it into a solitary sport. Find your group of swimming mates ASAP, and treasure them like gold. They will keep you far younger than you ever imagined possible!

USMS organization

Four basic levels of organization exist in United States Masters Swimming.

CLUB: USMS is a grassroots organization, so the first and the most important level is the club. The club is your local workout group, which sets its own practice times, makes arrangements for its own pool use, and if it chooses, hires a coach. GOLD is our club, and within GOLD, there are independent workout groups and pools. These are listed on our POOLS page.

LMSC: The second level is the Local Masters Swimming Committee (LMSC). This is the collection of clubs within a common geographic area. In Florida, there is the Florida Gold Coast LMSC, the Florida LMSC, and the Southeastern LMSC. The Florida Gold Coast LMSC includes Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, Monroe and eastern Hendry Counties, the Southeastern LMSC includes the panhandle west of the Apalachicola River, and the Florida LMSC is everything else.

ZONE: The third level is the zone, which consists of the LMSC's in specific sections of the country. LMSC officers represent their areas at an annual zone meeting. GOLD is in the Dixie Zone (purple on map, bottom right corner), which consists of seven LMSC's.

USMS: The fourth level is United States Masters Swimming (USMS), which provides administrative structure for Masters swimming and assistance to each of the other three levels. USMS is itself a member of FINA, the international amateur sports governing body.

All officers in the organizations -- club, LMSC, zone, and USMS -- are volunteers with the exception of a few top USMS officers. All committee members and chairs, at all levels, are volunteers. Your annual registration fee to the LMSC and to USMS provides the primary support for all activities of the groups.