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A New Year, a New You: SwimMAC Masters Teams Up

Facing a big goal alone can be scary and, sometimes, friendly encouragement can be the difference between falling short of a goal and celebrating the accomplishment of one. SwimMAC Masters has developed a friendly competition to push its members who choose to participate to jumpstart their healthy lifestyle and weight loss and foster teamwork.

SwimMAC Masters operates out of two pools separated by approximately 20 miles in the Charlotte, N.C., area. With the ringing in of 2009, SwimMAC Masters saw an opportunity to combine New Year's resolutions with social and professional networking between its groups, and developed the "SwimMAC Masters' Weight-Loss Challenge" modeled after the television program, "The Biggest Loser."

On January 5, 2009, SwimMAC Masters weighed in (privately) and reported their weights to the designated record keeper. Of 120 registered SwimMAC members, 66 have weighed in and are on board for the eight-week challenge. On Tuesday, January 13, 2009, SwimMAC Masters will host a "Draft Party" at a local restaurant and invite all participants from the North and South pools to witness the random drawing of names to determine teams of two members per team. Each team will include one participant from the North location and one participant from the South location. Each team member will use his or her teammate for support and encouragement throughout the duration of the eight-week challenge.

Kari Lawerence and Jay White, Olympic Trials 2008"We have so many new folks at both locations, and this challenge will be a great way to foster interaction and social networking between the two groups," said Jay White, SwimMAC Masters member and Weight-Loss Challenger coordinator. "Our members that compete often times travel and swim with people from the opposite location, but only about 25 percent of our members actually compete. The Weight-Loss Challenge will give the entire group, fitness swimmers and competitive swimmers, an opportunity to meet one another, socialize and network."

The SwimMAC Masters Weight-Loss Challenge is not only about losing weight. At the "Draft Party," after teams have been drawn, Megan Hepp, a registered dietician, will be presenting healthy weight-loss tips, appropriate dieting for athletes and other nutrition information necessary for the members of SwimMAC Masters while taking the challenge. "We want our members to be informed so that they will have a better opportunity to be successful during and beyond our eight-week challenge," said Jay. Patty Waldron, Head Masters Coach, added, "it is about a lifestyle. We are trying to connect the dots, not only with working out, but really looking at what kind of fuel we are putting in our bodies to maximize the benefits of exercise."

SwimMAC Masters at breakfastAt the conclusion of the challenge, February 27, 2009, all of the participating teams will gather at a central location for a final weigh-in. Results will be calculated based on the total percentage of weight lost by each team. The top three winning teams will receive prizes: the first-place team will receive a one-hour private clinic with Mark Gangloff, two-time Olympic gold medalist, and Jeremy Knowles, three-time Olympian; the second-place team will receive gift certificates for a one-hour massage; and the third-place team will receive gift certificates for a local restaurant.

Between text messages back and forth and under-the-table wagers, the members of SwimMAC Masters are busy slicing and dicing fruits and veggies and squeezing in 15 minutes of extra cardio. "It is fun because everyone is excited and committed to making this challenge successful," said Jay.

To learn more about SwimMAC and their Weight-Loss Challenge, visit www.swimmacmasters.ning.com.

If you would like to share your story with U.S. Masters Swimming, please contact us at agangloff@usms.org.

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