USMS Award Recipient

U.S. Masters Swimming Club of the Year Award

Recipient: Walnut Creek Masters
Year: 2007
LMSC: Pacific

Walnut Creek Masters (WCM) was the epitome of what a USMS club could be. This city run program served over 300 swimmers of all ability levels.  With five daily coached workouts and ten lanes at each, the club met the schedule needs of swimmers in the community while allowing all to have lane mates with similar abilities. The coaches tailored the workouts to provide variety and opportunities for stroke improvement but gave swimmers the ability to choose the level of intensity consistent with their goals and current level of conditioning.

The opportunity to swim in a structured program was what drew members to the club, but it was the rich social life that kept them there for years and decades. Lane mates became close friends. The locker rooms and pool deck were forums where successes were celebrated, and life’s challenges were supported by caring teammates. Teammates carpooled to local meets, and it was typical for the club to reserve a block of hotel rooms for members who traveled to national championships. More than a few members met their future spouses on the club and went on to build families. Sometimes this resulted in impromptu childcare on deck while mom or dad got in a workout. To reinforce the club’s social life, each holiday season the club threw a party at which competitive successes were celebrated and volunteer service honored. During the summer, the club held an annual picnic where families were invited to join in the fun.

Service to the local and national Masters community was a hallmark of WCM. Membership in USMS was required by the club and facilitated by the club collecting USMS membership applications and fees as part of its annual membership renewal program. Furthermore, the club hosted one or more meets per year. Typically, one of these was an LMSC championship event. Non-competitive swimmers volunteered to help run the meet taking on tasks from timing to hospitality. Beyond the meets it hosted, WCM members or their spouses served as officials at other LMSC events. They also served as delegates at the annual meeting and on national committees.

Few clubs can compare with Walnut Creek Masters competitive success. The club had won 12 national championships. Over 50 separate members had achieved All American status and a larger number had been crowned national champions. On the international stage, 12 individual members had won a total of 31 events at Masters World Championships. Over 140 world records had been set by 15 different Walnut Creek members. Two WCM members had been inducted into the International Masters Swimming Hall of Fame.

For its size, service to members’ social and athletic lives, contributions to the local and national USMS organizations, and the competitive success of its members, Walnut Creek Masters was recognized as the USMS Club of the Year.