USMS Award Recipient

U.S. Masters Swimming Club of the Year Award

Recipient: Marcia's Enthusiastic Masters of Oakland
Year: 2021
LMSC: Pacific

Marcia’s Enthusiastic Masters of Oakland (MEMO) envisions a community where everyone loves swimming, specifically competitive swimming.

Since the club was started by Marcia Benjamin in 2011, the membership had grown from 23 swimmers to 181 members in 2021.  The club began from a community college team with swimmers who had just learned how to swim, and the club kept membership fees low by registering itself as a ‘class’ at Laney College.  Membership growth seemingly defied all odds, as many younger members were forced to move away from the club’s downtown Oakland location, because of increased rent prices and lost jobs during the pandemic.

MEMO was able to grow its membership by several creative ways. Memo participated in the Try Masters Swimming month and was registered as a Gold Club. MEMO attracted adults of all ages and swim abilities because the club provided instruction of new skills and allowed them to become more fit in a light-hearted environment. Workouts were designed to allow all swimmers of different abilities to finish together as a group, which built community in the pool, and the club had popular workouts such as a Cross-Fit day. Weekly newsletters communicated well about news and upcoming swim meets. Social events were planned for post-workout coffees or for post-meet dinners, for an annual banquet, and for a Swim Night at the Oakland A’s baseball game. MEMO hosted a famous 400 Kick for Time and other USMS ePostal meets, and volunteers helped design awards and t-shirts. Rules of competition and meet preparation instruction were covered.  Amazingly in 2018, when MEMO won the Pacific Masters Short Course Championships, Oakland’s mayor designated May 5th as Marcia Benjamin day.