Being a Masters athlete is challenging. Working around odd pool times, finding times for meets, juggling work, kids, significant others, etc. These difficulties make Masters swimming a challenging, but fulfilling element in many lives. Masters swimming can improve your mind, body, and soul. Unfortunately, many don’t take full advantage of this opportunity, often narrowing on the social aspects of the sport. Certainly, socializing and having fun during a workout are important aspects of Masters swimming, but there is a dogma around improvement and seeking improvement. I found this out as a young substitute Masters coach, just after finishing my swimming career at Purdue University. At the Masters workout, I talked with the coach and he told me the emphasis was freestyle. With this in mind, I figured the following:
- The majority of this group’s main goal is fat loss and/or improving swimming speed.
- They haven’t gone of the blocks in a while and/or performed a maximal effort set.
With my knowledge of exercise physiology, I put together a great workout of sprints and fitness activities, helping swimmers burn more calories (See how high-intensity swimming is more effective than aerobic training), improve their biomechanics, and swim faster.
Oh was I naive, as this practice hit a wall of resistance. Swimmers were complaining about the set, saying it was too hard or they didn’t want to go off the block. Others didn’t want any stroke corrections. Some even wrote written complaints to the Masters program…there goes my Masters coaching career (thankfully I had a Doctoral degree to fall back on…).
In retrospect, this practice was too much change for the Masters group and if I could go back, I would have made numerous changes. However, this one instance highlights many common issues with Masters swimming, most importantly the unwillingness to improve.
Simply put, most Masters swimmers don’t want to improve!
Does’t this sound crazy? These swimmers put in 3 – 20 hours a week and don’t want improvement? A comparison to this scenario is finishing college in 8 years to party, when you could finish in 4. Sure, you could have some more fun in 8 years, but you are wasting so much time and energy, when you could have just as much fun in 4 years and improve at a quicker rate.
Here is my declaration to try and improve the Masters Swimmer mindset. October 25th from 9 – 11 am at COR (3530 Lochinvar Ave. Santa Clara, CA 95051), I am hosting a Masters Swimmer Performance Workshop.
Come learn about nutrition, injury prevention, flexibility, strength training (read my Swimming World article, 4 Reasons Why Masters Swimmers Need Strength Training), many more topics.
Come, improve, and change the culture of Masters Swimming!
Also, if you can’t make the live event, we’ll post it in the Members area on Swimming Science!
See the Upcoming COR Events and Sign-up Below!
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Dr. John Mullen
PHYSICAL THERAPIST, PERFORMANCE COACH
MASTERS SWIMMING RECORD HOLDER, SWIMMING WORLD, USA SWIMMING, AND SWIMMER MAGAZINE COLUMNIST
Dr. John Mullen, DPT, CSCS is a World renowned expert and speaker in sports training and rehabilitation. He received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy at USC, as well as the Josette Antonelli Division Service Scholarship, Order of the Golden Cane, and the Order of Areté. At USC, he also performed research on swimming biomechanics and lung adaptations in swimming training. Dr. John has worked with multiple professional and Olympic athletes, helping them earn Olympic medals. His dedication to research and individualization spurred him to open COR in 2011. Since 2011, Dr. John has been featured in Stack Magazine, Swimming World Magazine, Swimmer Magazine, USA Swimming, USA Triathlon, Swimming Science, and many more. Before his Doctoral program, Dr. John swam on an athletic scholarship at Purdue University. At Purdue, Dr. John was an Academic Honorable Mention All-American and was awarded the Red Mackey Award and R. O. Papenguh Award. He also won the Purdue Undergraduate business plan and elevator pitch competition, as well as 1st prize with the Indiana Soy Bean Alliance. Dr. John was born in Centerville, Ohio and was a 24-time high school All-American Swimmer. Dr. John is still a swimmer and holds a Masters swimming World and Pacific Swimming Record.