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by Scott Bay

June 24, 2019

Tips for the well-traveled swimmer

Whether you’re a casual sojourner or a road warrior, you still have to get your swim in. Many times, this is a big ask. Over a few decades of coaching Masters and speaking with swimmers who have managed swimming and traveling, there are a few things that the well-traveled have learned that can help you out on your next journey.

Finding a Workout

All of these ideas work equally well depending on how much you travel, whether you coach yourself or someone else coaches you, how engaged you are in the community of Masters swimming, and how engaged you are on social media.   

  • Club Finder: If you’re on the road, chances are you have checked out U.S. Masters Swimming’s Club Finder, and if not, you should! This is a comprehensive listing of all of the USMS programs around the country. If you travel to the same places, develop a relationship with coaches and swimmers so you can connect when you’re in town and need a workout.
  • Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and any other social media platform is a great source of information on groups and practice times.
  • The Real Social Network: Have you been to LMSC, zone, or national championship competitions? Chances are you met a few people, and swimmers are a friendly lot. Reach out to others in the area you’re traveling to, as you may find yourself there or even develop a lifelong friendship. Exchange contact info often with people you connect with on deck, in the warm-up pool, or at the social event. You never know how you may end up in a part of the world in need of a swim. A friendly face or some helpful information could get you your workout.
  • Your Coach: USMS has developed a great certification system that brings coaches from each region together and gives them a forum for networking via the National Coaches Clinic and USMS’s annual meeting and on-deck coaching at Nationals. Chances are your coach knows a bunch of other coaches who he or she can reach out to in the location you’re traveling to.

Travel Light

It was so much easier when airlines didn’t charge for bags. If you remember those days, keep your hand down, so as not to expose your age group.

The well-traveled swimmer nowadays travels with a minimalist mindset. Here are some ideas that will make packing less of a hassle and conserve space in your carry on and checked bags.    

  • Kickboard? Forget it! Takes up space and most pools have them available. You can kick without a kickboard anytime.
  • Pull Buoy? Leave it! Bulky. Like six pairs of socks bulky.
  • Paddles? Up to you since they do not take up much space. Need or want.
  • Towels? This practice is frowned upon in many places, so please ask. If you’re staying at a hotel, take a towel to the pool with the absolute guarantee that you will return it. It saves space. If you are uncomfortable with that or the hotel is, take a shammy or, even better, a shammy towel.Less space than a conventional towel for sure.
  • Cap? For sure! There are some pools that require all swimmers to wear a cap regardless of how much hair you have (or don’t).

Just Be Happy With Your Swim

If we’re really honest with each other, most of us are creatures of habit. Same lane, same people, same equipment because routine is comforting. When you’re on the road, this all gets thrown out of whack. That just means you have to plan to be uncomfortable with routine and feel good because you got your swim in without too much extra work or hassle.


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