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FAQS

What is the average age of CRA Masters members?
We accept members ages 18 and up. The average is in the mid 30s but we also have members in their 50s and 60s.

What type of swimmers join the program?
CRM consists of competitive swimmers, triathletes and fitness swimmers.

I'm not an experienced competitive swimmer. Is CRA Masters right for me?
CRA Masters workouts are just that, workouts based on competitive swim strokes. It is important to note that they are not learn-to-swim lessons. While we attempt to accommodate a wide range of abilities and speeds, there are limitations on how much instruction is offered. We recommend that participants be able to swim a minimum of 2-3,000 yards in an hour at various distances (25 to 500 yards) without stopping. While you do not necessarily need to know all four strokes or flip-turns, we do encourage our athletes to take time to learn them. Familiarity with using the clock and following timed intervals is essential and communication is the key to everything! 
Our fastest lanes usually run around 1:10-1:15 and our slowest around the 2:00. Depending on the turnout, you may have 1-2 persons in a lane and up to 5-6. 

Do I need to know all four strokes?
We use all four strokes (butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle) in workouts. If you only know freestyle and backstroke but are comfortable in the water, then you should be able to pick up butterfly and breaststroke with some technique suggestions from our coaching staff.

How many yards or meters per workout?
This varies on the type of workout (sprint, stroke, distance), the length of practice and the time of year. It is common to swim between 2500 and 3500 yards or meters in an hour practice and 3000-4500 in an hour and a half workout.

Can I try the team before deciding to join?
Yes, for just $15! Please follow our drop-in-swim protocol and if you decide to join, just email Sarah to get your membership activated and a $15 credit in your account.

Is stroke technique work offered?
The coaching staff will make comments on strokes and provide helpful hints, but there is no specific individualized technique instruction.

How is a typical season structured?
The season is structured with the competitive swim season in mind. Workouts will consist of more drills and endurance work in the fall and winter and move towards a sprint focus in the spring before the New England Masters Championships and Nationals. The summer season begins in a similar fashion, but it is a shorter season overall concluding in August.

Do I have to compete?
Although we do not make people compete, we do encourage participation for the short course New England Masters Championships in March, and the short course meters NE Championships in December. If you have a particular competition in mind, please share your goals with the coaching staff so that they can help you plan appropriately.

Joining Charles River Aquatics Masters

How do I join?
If you wish to join, please click HERE to begin the process. First time users will need to create an account; returning members should email registrar@charlesriveraquatics.com to reactivate their account. 

Who do I ask about registration questions?
Sarah  can help you with registration and administration questions.

How do I stop my membership?
Contact Sarah  before the first day of the next session to discontinue your membership.

Do you offer refunds if I forget to stop my membership?
We do not offer refunds but will consider placing a credit in your account for future enrollment if you neglect to Contact Sarah  before the first day of the next session to discontinue your membership. If there is a situation that does warrant a refund then a $25 processing fee will be incurred.

What is the team cancellation policy? 
The CRA Masters schedule is subject to change or is subject to cancellation based on other programming/event use of the pools, facility staffing/maintenance, and inclement weather.  We offer as many practices as possible between both the Boston and Wellesley sites during closures and conflicts.  We encourage everyone to check the Workout Schedule regularly to stay up to date with our current offerings and/or any potential schedule changes. 

Getting Started

Do I need to be cleared by a doctor in order to practice?
No, but you should consult your doctor if you have not had a physical recently or have any physical conditions that could be affected by swimming. We will require a doctor's note if you are returning from surgery, a long illness or injury. Please keep the coaching staff informed of any changes in your medical condition.

Can I swim if I am pregnant?
Yes, we do have women who swim when they are pregnant, but you will need to consult your doctor for a professional opinion.

What equipment do I need to bring?
Goggles, and cap (fins/zoomers and paddles are optional). There are kick boards available on pool deck.

What happens at the first workout?
At your first workout, please introduce yourself to the coach on deck. The first ten minutes is warm up swimming on your own. Please use this time to evaluate where you are in relation to others in your lane. The coach will also help place you in a lane appropriate for your swimming.

Club Organization

How is the club organized and run?
CRA Masters is a part of Charles River Aquatics, Inc and is independent of Harvard University; CRA Masters rents Harvard's facilities. We are fortunate to have a full time administrator and coach to help the program run efficiently. Sarah will answer registration and renewal questions and Stephanie Morawski is the Director of the program. Once a swimmer is in the program, all changes to workout times, renewal information, etc. are conveyed via e-mail.

How will I know if the practice schedule changes?
All members are on the e-mail distribution list when they join. This list is for notifying members of practice changes, meet updates and session renewals. It is your responsibility to forward any changes in your e-mail address. Changes are also posted on the Home page of our web site. The CRA Masters workout schedule can fluctuate depending on Harvard Varsity sports use of Blodgett pool and we encourage everyone to check the schedule regularly.

Where are practices held?
All practices are at Blodgett Pool at Harvard University and Wellesley Sports Center (coming soon!) unless otherwise noted on the Workout Schedule.
The CRA Masters workout schedule can fluctuate depending on Harvard Varsity sports use of Blodgett pool. Within Boston, when Blodgett is not available, we make every attempt to schedule at the Malkin Athletic Center (MAC) in Harvard Square but it is not guaranteed. See our Where We Train link for directions to the pools, and our Workout Schedule link for practice times and locations.

How do I renew?
Our registration system AUTOMATICALLY renews every member at the end of their session. If you wish to opt out for the next session you MUST email Sarah before the first day of the new session.

Are there any social events for the club?
Yes! Typically we arrange an annual holiday party in December. Announcements for additional social events will be included in team emails and a listing can be found under the Socials tab.  

How does CRA Masters relate to New England Masters Swim Club and USMS?
The Charles River Aquatics Masters is a workout site for the parent organization New England Masters Swim Club. All of our members should also be registered with United States Masters Swimming for insurance reasons as well as to be able to compete in meets. If you are not registered with USMS you can still train with CRA Masters but you cannot compete in Masters sanctioned meets.

Can guests from other clubs swim at CRA Masters?
We enjoy accommodating out-of-town swimmers! Please follow our Drop In Swim protocol.