Article image

by Laura S Jones

January 3, 2012

Set any goal you like and go for it!

The Nike Go the Distance program is one of the most popular participation programs offered by USMS. The year-long event has seen tremendous growth since GTD was conceived by the Fitness Committee in 2007. Nike began sponsoring the event in 2009 and offering free prizes for different milestone achievements. Nike wanted to connect with fitness swimmers and encourage them to set milestone goals to keep them motivated. Of course, many competitive swimmers started to take advantage of this great program as well.

Last year, a record 2,815 USMS members logged 577,459 miles, or about a billion yards. That is a huge increase from 2,202 participants and 433,492 miles logged in 2010. Can USMS members together go one billion meters in 2012? That’s about 10% more than the yards swum in 2011.

If you haven’t tried it before, this should be your year to Go the Distance. Nike provides free stuff for reaching certain milestones, so you get more than just a warm fuzzy feeling from achieving your goals. You get a cap for swimming 50 miles, a useful drawstring gear bag for completing 250 miles, and a swimsuit for logging 500 miles. New this year, Nike will be offering discounted products to GTD participants.

You can set any goal you like, although the Nike GTD program offers 13 suggested milestones from 50 to 1,500 miles. In 2011, more than 2,000 swimmers swam more than 50 miles; 547 swam 365 miles and two swimmers made it to 1,500 miles.

Katherine Graham, 29 and a member of Indy Aquatic Masters, suggests setting a realistic goal that factors in the time you know you won’t be able to swim. Graham did GTD last year to prepare herself for the 10K Postal.

Ohio resident Kip Bohachek is 58 and swims unattached. He likes the GTD program because he likes to log his swims anyway and finds the program and the Fitness Log (FLOG) software easy to use. He also likes that he can set monthly goals as well as a goal for the year.

Shirley Loftus-Charley, 60 and a member of VMST, is a big fan of GTD. FLOGging her mileage helped her reach over 1,200 miles and propelled her to many records and a profile in SWIMMER magazine.

Whether you swim a lot or a little, alone or with a group, whether you compete or not, whether your calendar is full or open, you can add the Nike Go the Distance program to your swimming plan. It’s fun, it’s motivating, it’s free. It’s also a great way to see how much you’ve accomplished and make new, virtual friends.

There is nothing like accountability to get you to the pool, so join up and maybe recruit a friend. It is simple to get started, all you need is a Forums account and there are step-by-step instructions at Just create your FLOG, set a realistic goal, and keep track of your progress. If you beat your goal, set a higher one for next year.

USMS members love to swim and love a challenge. Combine the two and “Just do it” with Nike Go the Distance!


  • About USMS


  • GTD
  • Partners
  • USMS Promo
  • Nike