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by Celia Wolff

October 27, 2020

Follow the Three Ps approach to persuade recruits to give Masters Swimming a try

If your club has returned to the pool, now’s the perfect time to bring in new members. So many people have been isolated and have missed out on personal interaction and they’re looking to re-engage and get physically fit.

Why not help them do both?

I’m always recruiting swimmers—in line at the store, chatting with salespeople, at the gym, and at the pool. People might see my Masters Swimming attire and mention that they like to swim. That opens the door.

I like to use the Three Ps approach when talking to potential club members: (1) a personal invitation, (2) correcting their perceptions about the sport, and (3) just being persistent.

The first and last thing I do is extend a personal invitation to swim: “Why don’t you give it a try?” I’ll say. “We’d love to have you come to one of our practices.”

This is normally when you get those excuses we’ve all heard. Your responses to these comments are your opportunity to correct the misperceptions your recruits might have about the sport and change their perception into a positive one. Let them know that your club has swimmers of all ability levels, from fitness swimmers to triathletes to former collegiate athletes or Olympians (whatever your higher-level swimmers are). I remind them that everyone doesn’t do the same workout. Practices are modified for the swimmer’s ability level. Whether your recruit is a former competitive swimmer or can barely do any strokes, these shouldn’t be obstacles for your program.

Many people I’ve approached about Masters Swimming think that “Masters” means you have to be at least 50, 60, or even older to be a part of it. This, we all know, couldn’t be further from the truth. Let your recruits know that you have parents doing relays with their 18-year-olds and that it’s a fabulous experience to be a part of.

Last, I’ve found that being persistent, or the threat of it, has been a huge success. This is more difficult to do when out shopping, but when you see the same swimmers at the pool, just keep extending that personal invitation to them. Share the benefits of Masters Swimming: great exercise, positive social interaction, working out with a partner—it’s fun.

If they still turn you down, just let them know that you’ll continue to ask until they decide to try. So far, I’ve never had anyone regret trying and joining the club.

We all want to be a part of something bigger. Why not help someone become a part of U.S. Masters Swimming? Get out there and extend the invitation.


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