What is Masters Swimming ?
Masters swimming began in the USA in the 1970s when some formerly ‘elite’ swimmers organised a competition for adult swimmers. The sport has now spread all over the world. Although there are World Championships at the top end, the sport remains one in which all who want to compete can do so. Contrary to popular belief, Masters swimming is not just for ‘old fogeys’ or retired ex-competitive swimmers! It encompasses the whole range of ability from swimming for fitness to highly organised competitive swimming.
To qualify as a competitive ‘master’ a swimmer needs to be over 25 years of age, however there are an increasing number of competitions for younger adults between the ages of 19 and 24. YCBC actively encourages younger members of the club to join.
Why Masters ?
The broad objectives of Masters are better health, better fitness, and the friendship between swimmers. There is no compulsion on swimmers to compete.
Masters Swimming Opportunities at York City Baths Club
We have a number of swimmers at a variety of different abilities and ages. The only stipulations we put on swimmers joining our Masters section is that they have above average ability in all four strokes, together with good technique and are familiar and comfortable with lane swimming. We recommend you trial swimming with us and see which lane suits you.
We swim three times a week at two different pools in the city. Please visit our Schedules and Pool Locations sections for more information.
Is Competition Compulsory ?
No! Everyone has his or her reason for swimming, be it for health, general fitness, camaraderie, or just for fun. How far you go is up to you. A major survey of British masters swimmers showed that the majority of them rarely competed.
However, competitive masters swimmers are well catered for. There are keenly contested National and Regional competitions, and some county swimming associations organise masters events as well. In addition there are some 40 to 50 masters competitions organised by individual swimming clubs, held throughout the year. For those who qualify and wish to travel, there are World and European Championships. Masters competitions are held under the same rules that apply in mainstream swimming, and races are as keenly contested. But there is always an informal air. Everyone who wants to take part is welcome.
Masters competitions are organised in 5-year age bands, from 25-29 and upwards as required. The oldest age group result so far is in the 100-104 group! Most competitions also include a 19-24 or 20-24 group.
There are two national championships each year. The British Gas Masters Championships are held in June over a long course (50-metre pool), and include the whole range of 17 recognised long course events (50, 100, and 200 metres of each stroke, 400, 800, and 1500 freestyle, and 200 and 400 individual medley. Additionally there are male, female, and mixed relays swum over 4 x 50 metres). The ASA (English) championships, normally held in October over a 25-metre course, include all of these events plus the 100 metres individual medley.
The great thing about Masters swimming is that it is one of the most accessible sports. For further information, please contact the Club Secretary Alison Pickup.
An Interview With Emma Wills, Masters Squad Member