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by Linda Shoenberger

September 1, 2009

Kate Coleman, a Pacific Masters swimmer in the 65 to 69 age group, wrote a very amusing opinion piece published in the LOS ANGELES TIMES on August 22, 2009 called “Adrift without a fast suit.”  Go to  The subtitle is, “I sold my jewelry to get a high-tech swimsuit and was rewarded with race victories and personal-best times.  But now that’s down the drain.”

She fulfilled her dream of winning a national championship in Indianapolis this summer (the 400M free) by selling her grandmother’s gold jewelry to buy a Nero Blue 70.  But now the Blue 70s and many other high tech suits may be banned by USMS.

So, sadly, Kate is wandering around her house wearing her gold medal proudly won in Indianapolis this summer around her neck and her Nero Blue 70 suit feeling she has no place to go.

But never fear, Kate.  The USMS Fitness Committee will embrace you!  We will let you wear ANYTHING when you enter our Go the Distance fitness event.  In fact, you don’t even have to wear a suit to participate.  Swim naked.  We don’t care.  Wear a wetsuit.  We don’t care.  Wear a bikini.  We don’t care.  WEAR A NERO BLUE 70.  We don’t care.  Just swim.  Just be swim fit.  We’ll be happy.  You’ll be happy. Wear that suit proudly!

On August 26, 2009, Washington Post Staff Writer Amy Shipley published a story called “Masters Swimmers Are Split on Full-Body Suits.”   She interviewed several members of the U. S. Masters Swimming Rules Committee who are trying to decided what path USMS will take regarding the FINA ruling that suits can be no longer than knee length, no zippers, no draw strings, no coverage of the arms and no neoprene.

Yes, the members of that committee have a tough choice to make.  Masters swimmers aren’t anywhere near coming to a consensus of what to do about the ruling and whether or not USMS should make their own rules about swim suits. 

But we at Go the Distance just want you swimming for fitness.  Rob Butcher said it best at the end of Amy’s article, “We’re not out there trying to break Michael Phelps’s world records. . . . Our mission is slightly different.  We just want to get people in the water.”

Well said Rob.  We at Go the Distance feel the same way.  So Kate, keep your suit on and come join us.  We’re topping 1,000 swimmers this year and looking forward to more people joining us now that we have the online entry right on the USMS website.  You can easily track your mileage and enjoy the rewards of fitness for life plus swim caps or t-shirts, certificates or patches touting your accomplishments.  Just give us a chance.  And you won’t have to sell any gold jewelry to join us.  It’s free to enter!

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