Swim Fitness Articles
A First-Timer at Masters Nationals
The USMS Short Course Nationals Swimming Championships were held in Honolulu, Hawaii this past May 2002. The prospect of attending Nationals for the first time AND of enjoying a vacation in the tropics were opportunities too good to miss. I have been in Masters for about 6 years.
At Nationals, a swimmer could participate in up to 4 events without a cut-off time. Then two more events in which you met the cut-off standard could be added, for a maximum total of 6 events. Even though there were novice-level swimmers such as myself attending the meet, many accomplished swimmers, champions, and national record holders were participating.
Several national age group records were broken in Honolulu this year. For a middle-aged person like myself, it was encouraging and exciting to see many swimmers in their 70's, 80's, and 90's swimming quite fast. There always seems to be hope of improvement in some aspect of one's swimming! Some great times were swum in all of the age groups, from age 19 on up!
As a parent of two USS swimmers, I started competitive swimming because I saw what great qualities it developed in my children-discipline, goal-setting, and fitness, to name a few. Since I was used to attending and being part of running USS meets, I was very impressed with the well-organized, smooth-running operation of Nationals. From the generous goody bags to the easy check-in and management of over 1200 swimmers in the course of 4 days, the meet was a tremendous success.
The Hawaiian sunshine settled on us gently every day at the outdoor Duke Kahanamoku Swim Center on the U. of Hawaii-Manoa campus, although an abundance of shelter was provided. A huge "Swimming Vendor Village" adjacent to the pool satisfied most of my tourist shopping urges. Between races, I met and enjoyed talking to Masters from all over the United States.
Lodging for the week was very reasonable. My sister (a Masters swimmer from Pacific Northwest Aquatics) and I stayed in a University of Hawaii dormitory room for $20 each per night. That, and the breakfast/lunch ticket in the dorm cafeteria, were great deals! We ate dinner each night somewhere in Honolulu, after touring around each afternoon when the day's races were concluded. We enjoyed several beaches on Oahu, but we also visited many other places of interest.
Hawaii is a beautiful place, but attending Nationals was the most meaningful part of the trip for me. Being part of an event like Nationals would be fun in any location, because Masters swimmers are such interesting people. There was also a sense of accomplishment in participating. If you've ever considered going to USMS Nationals-long or short course-I heartily recommend it.
By Paulette Bradburn, Fort Worth Area Swim Team Masters
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