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by Marcia Anziano

September 1, 2007

What is a Fitness Swimmer?

The other day I was reviewing the list of suggested topics for our Monthly Fitness articles on the web and noticed one that had not been address, it was "What is a Fitness Swimmer or Why am I a Fitness Swimmer?"

I started thinking about this, as I have never really considered myself a Fitness Swimmer, as I am a Competitive Swimmer who signed up for the Fitness Committee for a couple of reasons, one being that of trying to understand how someone gets up every morning at 4:15 a.m. (we work out early) and comes to swim with no “real” goals in mind, or any that I could see.

I know that many of the swimmers have goals - some are triathletes, some are rehabbing  injuries, and some are looking for a future mate.  Our workout group would probably surpass when it comes to success rates for couples, and it has now moved into the era of children, and the population is definitely on the rise.

But what else motivates these swimmers.  I look at the Fitness Programs that the USMS Fitness Committee offers, and many of the participants are other Competitive Swimmers like myself.  Now, as Chair of the Fitness Committee, I have to work with the committee to think about how to make these present offerings more attractive to all swimmers, evaluate the benefit of these offerings, and go forward with new and better programs.

When reviewing the Swimmer Survey conducted by USMS in 2006 ( found on the USMS website,, you can see that all swimmers are interested in Fitness.  You should check out this survey as it is quite interesting, but briefly, swimmers were broken into 5 segments.  These segments consisted of 1: Serious Competitive Swimmers; 2: Serious swimmers who are not competitive/less competitive; 3: Non-serious competitive swimmers; 4: All event participants/open water swimmers; and 5: Triathletes.  Refer to the survey for details on the group breakdowns.  However, of interest to the Fitness Committee, is that on a scale of 7, the groups rated the following statement “I joined to get in shape and maintain fitness” as follows:  1 – 6.5, 2 – 6.6, 3 – 5.0, 4 – 5.8, and 5 – 6.3.   In all, fitness was rated fairly high in each group.

Using this survey as a tool to help determine member needs, USMS has also looked at role of the Fitness Committee and how it can meet the needs of all members.  No matter why we swim, we all benefit from the good aspects of swimming, and we all improve our health and fitness.  In the future, the Fitness Committee will be looking at all of USMS as its audience.    We will be looking at promoting the health and fitness of all swimmers.

So, when someone asks the question “What is a Fitness Swimmer”, we can now say “We are ALL Fitness Swimmers”.  Most of us have additional goals, be they competition, social, or whatever, but we all swim for Fitness and for Life.