Arizona Masters Swimming – What You Need To Know
When people hear the word “masters” following a sport, there is an assumption that it is only for people over the age of 50 or even 65! But, when it comes to masters swimming, the age groups actually start at just 19 years old and go up in five year increments all the way to 100 years old and beyond. So, if you are an adult and have any interest in swimming, then you might want to learn more about Arizona masters swimming.
What Is Masters Swimming Like in Arizona?
Obviously, since Arizona consists of primarily desert, you won’t find a lot of “open water” swims, though there is a lake in Tempe (an artificial lake) and one down in Sahuarita, which is south of Tucson. Remarkably enough, due to this lack of open water, many of the triathlons in this state actually have the swimming portion completed in a pool!
As far as competitions go, there are three full seasons – short course yards, long course meters, and short course meters – though in reality there are only about half a dozen places that are set up for competition. The University of Arizona in Tucson is one of them, Arizona State in Tempe, and there are several other large aquatic centers in Phoenix. Other than that, you might find yourself competing at a local town pool with limited facilities or even in a high school pool.
It is also important to remember that there are several competitive events in Arizona that are at a higher elevation, such as Oro Valley’s pool which is at about 3,000 feet. This pool is brand new and opening in September 2012, but it generally only has one meet per year for masters swimmers.
What Is Masters Swimming?
If you are already a recreational swimmer in Arizona, then you would not be alone in having a natural fear of joining a “team” of masters swimmers. You probably don’t think that you aren’t fast enough, that you would be embarrassed by not knowing the terminology, or that you would look out of place. Many Arizona masters swimmers come from other areas of the country (such as “snowbirds”), so they know what it is like to be the new swimmer on the team.
Don’t You Have to Compete?
In Arizona, there are actually few opportunities for masters swimmers to compete, unlike in California where you could easily compete somewhere in the state every single weekend. But, if you are an Arizona Masters Swimmer or thinking of becoming one, the truth is that you don’t have to be competitive. A lot of people use these teams and workouts as a way to make friends, stay in shape, and get better at swimming. Many of them never compete in a single meet.
How Good To You Have To Be?
If you have ever been to an Arizona masters swimming practice, then you probably already know that there are lanes for people of all speeds and women and men workout together, solely based on their average speed. You will eventually be put in a lane that suits your speed and you might find yourself swimming with people of all ages, both men and women, from all over the country.
You don’t have to be an ex-collegiate swimmer in order to partake in Arizona masters swimming and most teams have a basic requirement of simply being able to swim a lap or two in order to join. They can certainly turn you into a more proficient swimmer from there and you will make lots of friends in the meantime. Arizona masters swimming is perhaps the best way to stay in shape for the rest of your life.