Visiting Other Masters Clubs

Swimming Away from Home

One of the great benefits to being a US Masters swimmer is the opportunity to swim with other programs when you are away on vacation or business. The following are some suggestions to give you the most enjoyment out of swimming with other programs.

1.    Do your homework (research) before traveling. Don’t wait until you are on a trip to see if you can find a place to swim. Do an internet search to find the possible places to swim, both with a team, or just lap pools. Follow up with some emails or phone calls to get details on if they allow visitors and what the cost will be. If you wait until the last moment you may not get a reply in time. I can’t tell you how many messages people have left on my phone at night asking if they can visit practice the next morning and I don’t listen to it until the practice has passed. Below is a list of some good links to find places.

2.    AFTER you have done your homework ask me (Coach Kim) or the other coaches if we have any recommendations on the best places to go in that city based on quality of facilities, coaching, or appropriate training groups to your level. Realize that Alamo Masters swimmers are quite “SPOILED” with several WIDE lanes, multiple training times per day, and a huge spectrum of ability from VERY novice to VERY fast. While most programs do have varying ability, some cater more toward highly experienced swimmers, and others are full of inexperienced newbies.

3.    Ask your teammates if you know they have visited a particular area, especially out of the country. At Alamo we have swimmers traveling around the world. They can be a great resource on where to swim if you are traveling internationally.

Etiquette Away from Home
Top-ten things to remember when visiting a Masters team:

1.    Know in advance what or if you need to pay to drop in. Have cash or a check ready (see also items 9 and 10).

2.    Arrive a little early to give adequate time for parking, finding the pool, meeting the coach, etc.

3.    Introduce yourself to the coach and show him/her your current USMS card. Do this before anything else!

4.    If you know you will be late, send an email or call the team contact to see if this is OK. If you need to leave early, tell the coach at the beginning of the workout. Some teams do not take kindly to late arrivals or early departures.

5.    Ask if there is anything you might do to help get things ready (lane lines, clocks, flags, covers, etc.).

6.    Be sure you are getting in the right lane. Ask the coach to explain how the team works (lanes, workouts, etc.).

7.    Introduce yourself to your new lane mates. This can be the first step to so many friendships. Without the introduction, it never seems to happen…

8.    Swim the set as given, or as your lane has decided to alter it (it is Masters after all). Do not be the visitor who is “doing their own thing”.

9.    If you have the foresight to take a Alamo swim cap or T-Shirt, a Starbucks gift card, or some other gift for the coach, this often equals free swimming for the duration of your visit. A little gift goes a long way!

10.  Thank the coach for the workout. Tell him or her that it was perhaps the finest piece of coaching that you have ever had the pleasure to encounter. This somehow makes up for coaches being paid far less than they should be.

USMS Places to Swim – the USMS list of places to swim, but it is not exhaustive. Teams have to “opt in” to get their information on the site (and often it is outdated). However, it is still a great resource.

SWIMMERS GUIDE – The tried and true “staple” of finding a place to swim – kind of a bible of lap pools around the globe.

SPMA Places to Swim – If you need to find another program in the SoCal area this is the place to check first

Pacific Masters Places to Swim – the list of clubs from Pacific Masters, their locations, and practice times. Like USMS, this list if kind of an “opt in” and is not always complete and current.

Metropolitan LMSC Places to Swim – the LMSC site for the Greater NYC area. Many of our swimmers travel to NYC, so this is a good site for you.

USMS Zone and LMSC Websites – the USMS list of LMSCs. If you cannot find a club, but feel like there might be one, look for the LMSC Website. Most have a list of clubs. You can contact most clubs via email, or by phone if it is listed. As a last resort, LMSC registrars or officers are often willing to tell you about local clubs.  Beware, everyone thinks that their club is the best!

Sample Email to send to prospective clubs to visit:
(give ENOUGH information on your request, ask APPROPRIATE questions not easily answered on their website, give small insight on your ability and goals – BUT NO LIFE STORIES.)

My name is “Joe Swimmer” and I will be visiting “your city” from “date range”. I am a current USMS registered swimmer and I train with the Nova Masters Swimming Program in Orange County under Head Coach Michael Collins.
I will be there _______ (on business, visiting family, for vacation, for an event, for a convention, etc.
I would like to visit your program ___________ (at specific dates and practice times if you know them)
I can swim comfortably “1:30 pace per 100 in a 25 yard pool on a 1:45 interval” and can do all the strokes, although my” breaststroke” is pitiful. I am primarily training for “an Olympic distance triathlon/sprint pool events/open water/to keep from getting a fat ass/to offset all the beer I drink/etc.”
Is there a fee I need to pay if I visit? Are there any parking permits or fees to access the facility?
I look forward to hearing from you soon via email or by phone if you don’t want to write a lengthy response.

Thank you,
Your name
your email address
your mobile phone number (too many leave this out and miss getting a swift response)