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by Mel Goldstein

December 15, 2010

We all know Masters swimming is a lifetime activity, and the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle is gaining ground as everyone’s paramount concern. All of us are fitness swimmers, whether we compete in meets or not. The word “Masters” in many ways intimidates new members as it denotes expertise rather than age. How do we break down this intimidation? We can make Masters fun, and never lose the party.

Here are two activities that have been successfully used at Indy SwimFit—you can use them as is or build on these ideas to create your club’s own special brand of fun.

Pizza Workout

This workout creates camaraderie, builds team unity, reiterates lane etiquette, provides opportunities for swimmers who never swim in the same lane as each other to swim together, and it is a lot of fun.

While this workout appears to be complicated, it is not. It assumes a 6-lane pool with 24 swimmers and a 3000-yard workout composed of a variety of sets (stroke, kicking, etc), but those numbers can be changed to accommodate any size pool or workout group.

Have everyone count off by six (total number of lanes). Each swimmer goes to his or her designated lane. In this scenario, there are four swimmers in lane. The intervals for each set should be set for the fastest swimmer; all other swimmers will adjust their distance based on their ability level. The object is for each lane to swim as close to the maximum yards, which in this example would be 12,000 yards per lane (four swimmers x 3000 yards). The lane that records the most yards wins, and the other lanes all buy pizza.

Fast swimmers will be swimming with slower swimmers. Swimmers who swim stroke will be swimming with triathletes, who mainly swim freestyle. Competitive swimmers will be swimming with fitness swimmers. But, in order for your lane to maximize its yardage, all swimmers must show good etiquette when passing or being passed, the fast swimmers should help the slower swimmers maximize their distances, remembering that both are on the same team and have to work together. At the end of each set, the coach records the total yards for each lane. To add a little spice to the workout, include some relay sets.

Pampered Saturday Raffle

Masters swim clubs are always looking for ways to raise money to defray team or program costs, and this idea can help.

Sell raffle tickets ($2 for one ticket or $10 for six) for the Pampered Saturday Morning Prize Package, which includes the following.

  • Coach will chauffeur winner from his or her home to practice.
  • Coach will fetch kickboard, pull buoy, etc., fill water bottle, provide warm towel at the end of practice – anything the swimmer needs during practice.
  • The entire team will do the winner’s favorite workout.
  • After practice winner and up to 3 friends or lanemates will be treated to breakfast.
  • Coach will chauffeur winner home.

Additional prizes donated by members can up the ante, such as a full body massage or gift cards to local restaurants, etc.

To build up to the final drawing, and to try and get as many people involved, the raffle is held over four weeks. Each week leading up to the final drawing, the coach draws 25 tickets that were purchased and secures them in the final drawing pot. No more than 100 tickets are to be in the final drawing. Chance to win increases with the purchase of more tickets.