MASTERS SWIMMING AT NOVA
Masters practice will conclude for summer on Friday Aug. 18th and resume on Sept. 11th back to regular 6:30 - 8:00 AM practice times.
Practice schedule– every day M-F schedule of 6:30-8:00AM.
$50 per month includes NOVAFit membership
Contact Coach Mark Kutz for more information, firstname.lastname@example.org or (804)339-0246
There is also a practice offered Mon/Wed/Fri from 8:15-9:15 swimming with Coach Mark for folks with flexible schedules!
What do a former collegiate swimmer, a dad of two NOVA swimmers, and NOVA coach Mark Kutz have in common? They are all part of our Masters swimming program, which serves swimmers of any ability age 19 and over who wish to swim in a structured training program and maybe even competitively.
US Masters Swimming (USMS) is a national organization that serves adult swimmers through Masters programs across the country. Founded in 1970, USMS currently serves over 54,000 swimmers. The organization supports recreational swimming and competition for swimmers age 19+. More than half of USMS members participate recreationally and do not compete. Like USA Swimming, the United States is divided into zones; our USMS zone includes most of Virginia and part of West Virginia. There are 30 Masters clubs in the zone with about 950 swimmers. Masters swimmers at NOVA are affiliated with the Virginia Masters Swim Team, which has over 300 members.
The NOVA group is coached by our own Mark Kutz (read more about Coach Mark here). Mark has been involved with NOVA for 10 years, and with Masters swimming for 8 years. Mark is a certified level 4 US Swimming coach. In 2012, he won USMS’ Kerry O’Brien Coaching award, which is given in recognition of coaches who have done a great job in building strong USMS membership in local communities. He has contributed regularly to the USMS magazine, Swimmer.
NOVA’s Masters team currently includes 30 swimmers, ranging in age from 19 to 75. Many of these swimmers participated competitively as kids and missed the excitement of racing. Some have come to swimming as a way to get exercise and keep healthy as they have grown older. Whatever the reason, this tight-knit group has a great time.
George Sushkoff has been swimming with NOVA Masters since 2008. Although he only competes in a few meets and open water events each year, competing gives him the chance to test himself and race against others. One of the most enjoyable things about the group for George is working with Mark, whom he describes as “everything a Masters coach should be: he challenges us, he knows our strengths and areas for improvement, he makes it fun, [and] he has plenty of energy at 5:45 a.m.!”
Mark’s role as coach includes developing the structured practices, overseeing the training, and helping those swimmers who wish to compete with their racing strategy. “When these swimmers train with a regular group, they benefit from not only the camaraderie, but also get a better and more consistent work out,” states Kutz. “They may have started swimming for the exercise, but I think many of them keep coming for the friendship and fun environment.”
Swimmer Chris Stevenson agrees. He started swimming Masters just a year after his collegiate swimming career ended. Although he has participated in other sports, he comes back to swimming for both the exercise and camaraderie. He describes NOVA’s Masters group as “a great mixture of serious and fun…people want to work out and swim fast, but they also want to have fun doing it.” Chris appreciates Coach Mark’s knowledge as a coach as well as his enthusiasm, and says NOVA’s Masters group is the best of the many with which he has swum.
There are numerous Masters meets held throughout the year. Some are local, but others are located at pools around the Mid-Atlantic. Recent meets attended by NOVA Masters swimmers include some in Richmond, Northern Virginia and Maryland. Swimmers at meets are divided into divisions based on age; swimmers only swim with those within these five-year increment groups to keep it competitive.
The Masters group at NOVA practices Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 8:00a.m. The cost is $50 per month, and also includes a NOVAFit membership, which allows Masters swimmers to utilize the pool during open lap swimming times (30+ hours a week). Mark also leads a practice from 8:15 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. on Monday/Wednesday/Friday; the focus of this practice is more recreational than competitive.
No matter what your motivation may be, Masters may be a good fit for you. As George Sushkoff said, “There is always someone to chase or to push me.” If you’re interested in joining Masters at NOVA, contact Mark at email@example.com or (804)339-0246. The business office can also answer questions about the program.