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by Author Unknown

December 31, 2008

For us, about us and by us

As each of us sorts through electric bills, bank statements and junk mail, we are thrilled every other month when we receive a publication for us, about us and by us. USMS SWIMMER magazine tells the stories of countless U.S. Masters swimmers, teaches us perfect stroke technique and provides us with calendar updates and other important U.S. Masters Swimming news. Why join a local Masters program and why join USMS? As a U.S. Masters Swimming member you receive information from around the country about the sport you're dedicated to and people who you call family.

The first publication about U.S. Masters Swimming, Swim-Master, began distribution in the early 1970s. This grassroots newsletter was written, printed and distributed by June Krauser and circulated for nearly 20 years. Many volunteers such as Gail Dummer, Suzanne Rague and Nancy Ridout, to name a few, contributed to the ongoing publication and distribution of U.S. Masters swimming news and information to the general membership. In 1992 U.S. Masters Swimming partnered with Sports Publications to publish SWIM Magazine. In 2005 U.S. Masters Swimming made the decision to publish its own magazine geared specifically towards its members. Current editor Bill Volckening (a long-time Masters swimmer), has contributed to the U.S. Masters Swimming publication for eight years and continues to satisfy our hunger for information.

Bill's interest in writing and publishing began in high school, where he was the co-editor at the Peddie School in New Jersey. Bill earned a bachelor of fine arts in photography at the School of Visual Arts in New York and a graduate degree from NYU. He also studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and the International Center of Photography. "I joined the aquatics staff at Peddie where I started a Masters club and grew it to 100 members in one year. That's when I started writing and publishing newsletters and writing more articles. My first feature in SWIM Magazine was published in 1995," says Bill. A year later Bill moved to Oregon to coach another Masters group and started writing for his club's newsletter. After receiving the Newsletter of the Year award at the U.S. Masters Swimming convention, Bill was asked if he would be interested in volunteering as the USMS editor for SWIM Magazine. Bill has and continues to play a key role in the progress and growth of the U.S. Masters Swimming publication and continues to bring a smile when each of us opens our mailboxes to find our USMS SWIMMER magazine waiting for us.

With roughly 50,000 members, how do Bill and the U.S. Masters Swimming volunteers determine what stories should be told in each issue? "We spend a lot of time reviewing ideas. Fortunately, we receive more than enough great ideas and stories from our readers. The trick is keeping our finger on the pulse of Masters swimming and our members' interests," according to Bill. The neoprene feature from earlier this year serves as a perfect example of Bill's talent of predicting successful features and stories. "We knew the wetsuit debate would be among the most passionate topics at the convention and that's why we wanted our readers to know about it in advance. We planned that feature in August of 2007 and published the feature in May of 2008." Coupled with time, dedication and total commitment from Bill and the U.S. Masters Swimming volunteers, a well-organized editorial plan serves as the most important element in the success of USMS SWIMMER magazine

Why is SWIMMER so successful among us? Bill thinks, "Our readers love SWIMMER because it is member-driven and published specifically for Masters swimmers. We profile Masters swimmers and those of interest to our members." Bill continues, "In the proposal stages, SWIMMER was called Swimming Magazine. I felt strongly about the name SWIMMER because the magazine was meant for each and every swimmer."

The publication of an edition of USMS SWIMMER involves weeks of planning, hard work, information-gathering, writing, printing and distributing. Dozens of people, including handfuls of U.S. Masters Swimming volunteers, spend countless hours on each issue before it arrives in each of our mailboxes. The January/February issue is the largest run of copies, but general circulation is over 48,000 copies every other month.

If you have a story or idea for the member magazine, please send it to



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