COMPETITION SWIMMING by Sally Bolar

There are readily available opportunities to compete in two programs, the Senior Games (aka Senior Olympics) and the US Masters Swim Program. In the Senior Games and Masters Swimming Programs the emphases are on participation and enjoyment. You direct the nature and intensity of your activity so that it is safe, healthy and fun for you.

Swim Club workouts are designed to accommodate people interested in preparing for competition as well as general fitness and recreation. If you are interested in but uneasy about competing, you may want to consider entering 1 or 2 events the first time or attending a meet with the team and watching.

Coached workouts, individual assistance, and/or information you can use on your own are offered so that you feel prepared to compete and enjoy the experience.

SENIOR GAMES (aka Senior Olympics)
Everyone 50+ years old who wants to swim is welcome. No experience is needed. Participants compete in age groups 5 years in length. E.g. 50-54, 55-59, etc. (If you are under 50 years of age and want to compete, you may do so in the US Masters Swim program described below.)

The Senior Games are good “entry level” meets for new competitors. Meets are generally short, and are very “user friendly,” i.e. relatively informal. Most meets are held in 25 yd. pools, the same length as the SaddleBrooke lap pool.

Traditionally, the SaddleBrooke Swim Team has participated in 3 local swim meets (Sierra Vista, Tucson and Green Valley), the State meet and the Relay meet held in the Phoenix area. These meets are listed on a separate sheet entitled, “Senior Games Swim Meet List.”

UNITED STATES MASTERS SWIMMING (USMS)

If you are between the ages of 18 and 104 and a member of USMS you may compete in USMS meets. No experience is necessary. Swimmers compete in age groups and use the same rules as are used in the Senior Games.   Generally, the USMS meets are longer (i.e. include more events and have more swimmers) and sometime there is a higher level of competition. Meets may be held in pools that are 25 yards long, 25 meters long or 50 meters long.

Traditionally, the SaddleBrooke swim team has not participated in USMS meets as a team, but individual swimmers from SaddleBrooke are USMS members/competitors. Membership in USMS is required in order to compete in the meets. Membership information is the File Box and is also available on line at the sites listed below. You may also join on line at www.usms.org. Last year the cost of membership was $40.00. For more information about USMS, its schedule of meets and the names of local teams you may use the web sites: www.azlmsc.org and www.usms.org.

Swimmer Friendly Rules in Brief

 StartsThere is no need to dive in unless you choose to. A freestyle, breaststroke, butterfly or individual medley (IM) race may be started in any one of three ways;

a)    By entering the water feet first before the beginning of the race and hanging on to the edge of the pool with at least one hand (pool start).
b)    By diving off of the pool deck (deck start)
c)    By diving off of the starting block (block start)
Turns– It is not necessary to do a flip turn during freestyle or backstroke races. You may use an “open turn” or touch the end of the pool and turn as best you can. When doing breaststroke and butterfly turns and finishes, both hands must touch the wall simultaneously.
Backstroke– The race is started in the water. Any stroke(s) will do as long as you swim on your back.
Starting blocks are available at the Desert View Pool for competition swimmers to use during practice.
Remember that diving is not permitted in the SaddleBrooke I lap pool. Also, there are no flags for backstrokers to use there.  There are starting blocks and flags at the Desert View Pool.