Frequently Asked Questions


What is Masters? 

Masters is sort of like any adult league sports team, except we are part of a national and international body of athletes of all ages and abilities. We are unique amongst adult league sports, with a formal governing body, local, national, and international competitions, and  age-group records from ages 19-100+ years old – swimmers who know and demonstrate that this is a true lifetime activity.  Masters need not worry about any sort of “mastery” of swimming; even the greats don’t have a mastery of every stroke! Masters is about having a place to come swim with like-minded people who become your training buddies and teammates as you grind through workouts together. 


Are there any requirements to join Masters?

We ask all of our swimmers to be able to swim 200 yards continuously (i.e., not stopping for more than a few seconds at each wall) and to have a working knowledge of at least two of the four competitive swim strokes (butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle). Swimmers do not need to have proficiency in all strokes, and coaches are happy to help you work on improving them. 


How much is Masters?

Masters is billed on a monthly basis, and is $27/month for YWCA Minneapolis members and $65/month for nonmembers. We offer discounts to parents of current Otter (our youth swim team) swimmers, staff, and additional adults on an account. Please note that starting July 1, monthly dues will increase by $1 for all groups. 


In the summer, for our outdoor practice participants, there is a monthly facility fee of $50. 


We also require all members to be registered with USMS. This is an annual fee, usually about $60. 


How do I join? 

Through this website! All registration forms are completed online. Registration has two parts: first, through this website, you will input your information, choose your practice group, and set up billing. Second, register for a yearly USMS membership on their website. 


What is practice like? 

All of our practices are presided over by an actual coach; a workout on a whiteboard is no stand-in for the real thing. Swimmers can expect to swim anywhere from 2000-3500 yards per hour long practice, with a combination of swim, drill, and kick sets. Usually, we structure a practice with a warm up to start, then several sets of swims geared towards improving stroke, speed, aerobic and anaerobic capacity, then a brief cool down. Practices are full of variety and are adjusted for each lane and swimmer as needed.   


I didn’t swim competitively in college or high school, is that okay?

Yes! No competitive swimming experience is required. Our lanes are filled with fitness and competitive swimmers alike. If you meet our requirements as listed above, you are welcome to join our team. 


Are there competitions and are they required? 

Masters swim meets and races are run all over the state, but they are not required. We heartily support any swimmers who are interested in Masters meets or open water races.


I can’t do flip turns, is that a problem? 

No problem. They are not required to swim practice, and if you ever want to learn how to do one, our coaches will be happy to teach you. 


I’m a triathlete, is Masters right for me?

Yep! Many triathletes join Masters for a structured work out, feedback on their stroke, and improve greatly after joining a team. 


What equipment do I need for practice? 

  • Swimsuit
    • For men, swim trunks are strongly discouraged as they retain water and create enormous drag, slowing you down and making laps much harder. We recommend swim briefs or jammers. 
    • For women, any athletic style swimsuit will work, whether it is a one- or two-piece style. Like swim trunks, swimsuits with a lot of frills or stretch usually cause drag and make practice more difficult. 
  • Cap 
    • Required for anyone with hair longer than chin length; strongly encouraged as like swim trunks, hair holds water and will slow you down. Caps streamline and smooth out your head.
  • Goggles
    • Many types exist, our swimmers love Speedo’s Vanquisher model. Scuba goggles/goggles with a nose covering are discouraged.
  • Kickboards and Flippers are available at all of our sites in many sizes and styles, though you are welcome to purchase/bring your own that you prefer. 
  • We do not provide pull buoys or paddles, as they generally do more harm than good. However, you are welcome to still bring your own.


I’m newer to lap swimming and want to improve, will Masters help me? 

Absolutely! With swimming, consistency is key. Regular swimming improves endurance, while our coaches can offer stroke correction and feedback.