The Vision of U.S. Masters Swimming: How We Got Here and Where We’re Going by Rob Butcher (2009)


Published


My first question is how many of you here are Masters Coaches? Every one of you is a Masters Coach. I am going to ask a blanket statement then and just throw out some answers. What is your perception of Masters or what is your swimmer’s perception of Masters? Insurance? Okay. I want to write some of these down though when you say these. Lifestyle. Longevity. Fellowship. What else? Free magazine. What else is there? Yes? Learning. Fun. Passion. No one said the C word yet. Yeah – competition – no one said it, but I was just curious. Is that? Alright – lets do this too. Since you have answered the most so far, you get the first envelope. ……………….. Stand up on one foot – no you know what – we gave him some money. We said – thank you for answering. It is not a gift certificate. It’s – how much was in there? $300. You didn’t tell me that. Anybody else want to keep answering? What do they think of Masters and their coaches think of Masters? Competition – good answer. Too early. Does anybody know when Masters was started? ‘72? ‘47? Yeah – some of these guys were around so they know it. I was born in ’72 so – Scott was probably born then too – yeah. Actually the history is – there was a guy named John Spannuth and John is actually here on this floor if you have seen him yet and if you haven’t and you are a Masters Coach – you should probably go up and shake his hand and say thank you. John was the President of ASCA in 1968 and he took over and his goal was to develop new leadership within ASCA so John sent out a survey in 1968 and he sent it out to all coaches within ASCA and said, “we are creating a bunch of new committees in order to get more coaches involved in order to find new talent in order to revitalize this sport and he said, “tell me what you think we should be doing” and there were hundreds of surveys that came back to him and John was just reading through them all at that time and there was one survey report that came in and this guy in San Diego had written a bunch of things on it, but one of the things that he wrote on there – I want to make sure I get this right- is – he said that “there should be a new committee called ‘Swimming in Older Age Groups”. Interesting – it caught John’s attention and it was from a guy named Dr. Ransom Arthur and Ransom was a medical doctor, working in the Navy in the Neuroscience Unit in San Diego at that time so John had all this information that came in. This one kind of intrigued him.

He and Ransom started corresponding back and forth. John had just built a pool down in Amarillo, Texas as well. It took him a little while. They ended up developing this kind of concept of what they thought could be adult swimming at that time. The word “Masters” wasn’t even around and they went ahead and put on their first event in 1970 in Amarillo, Texas. It was called the 1st Masters National Championship. Now – what is interesting – eventhough this was 1970 is that there were a lot of people that were opposed to this idea and a lot of it came from the medical community – thinking that these guys do not know how to turn it off – these girls do not know how to turn it off. They are going to go to this swim meet. They are going to over-compete. They are going to have a lot of heart attacks. It was all about the concern for the medical side. So, they host this first meet in 1970 and John was able to use his position within ASCA in order to promote out to the coaches across the country that we were going to have this adult swim meet. Now – here is the next question – how many swimmers do you think showed up at that first swim meet in 1970? Nell and Kerry – hold on. You guys probably know the answer so the rest of – $5.00 an hour so shut up. The rest of the audience – anybody want to take a guess? 50? If this were The Price Was Right you would be over at 50. No – there were actually 45. So – 45 people show up and again – remember – there is this overwhelming concern that older people shouldn’t be – the whole fitness movement had not caught on yet at that point, but there was this concern that older people shouldn’t be swimming.

They were going to have heart attacks, stress – too much competition – it is not good. We are setting ourselves up for something not good here at all so 4 swimmers get up on the block in the very first event. The official says “Swimmers – take your marks” – two of them fall in the water – not even on go – in the very first event – two fall in the water and at that point the official says, “Gentlemen, it is okay – you have 10 minutes to get out of the water and get back on the block” and all of a sudden the whole air was lifted out a little bit that this is not intended to be a competitive organization. This is meant to be about health. This is meant to be about fitness. This is meant to be about wellness and competition will be there as an opportunity and carrot for those that so want to do it, but this is not a competitive driven organization. So they get through that first event. They run another one in 1971 in Amarillo. John Spannuth is done with his term as the President of ASCA. He is now hired as the National Aquatics Director for the AAU and John at that time is making some pleas to the AAU that the AAU should recognize Masters Swimming and the AAU was against it. The Amateur Athletic Union – it doesn’t fit their mission. It doesn’t fit their objectives. They do not buy it. They think that this is a bunch of older swimmers that want to become professionals. They are going to come in and taint the sport – taint the opportunity for the youngsters. They are worried about the medical side. I mean – there is a whole list of reasons why they were resistant to change so John called Ransom and said if this thing has any chance of passing at the AAU – any chance – you have to come and Ransom said naw – I don’t really want to. I think you guys can do it. He said I am telling you – you have to be there. You are convincing. You are a medical doctor that can debunk all of the concerns that they have about the medical history.

So, they go to New York and they make their presentation and sure enough they walk out at the end and Dr. Ransom Arthur made a case to the AAU that Masters Swimming should be an accepted sport and at that time it became an accepted sport in 1971 into AAU and so this was kind of the first generation of Masters. You have John Spannuth, you have Ransom Arthur, you have June Krauser. Does anybody in here know June Krauser? I see a lot of people shaking their heads. She lives here in Ft. Lauderdale. They brought her in to help write a lot of rules and policy issues. Back next to David – as a matter of fact – there is a big binder back there called “Swim Master” and that is one of our early generation communication pieces – more than newsletter in black and white and I brought it just so you guys could see it. I had not seen it. Mel Goldstein actually had it and presented it to us and shared it with us and so I wanted to bring it down and show you what they thought Masters Swimming had looked like at that time in the 70’s and 80’s and if you read the old Swim Master – it is a newsletter. It is all about competition. It is all about results. It has got pictures of people standing on podiums – winning medals – all that good stuff that was back then. Next to David on the right are some of our magazines of what we look like today – a little bit more of a Splash Magazine —————- do you want to turn – sorry – you have been turning for a long time so it is easy for us to banter back and forth so then we start to go through the 70’s and then Doc Councilman hosted our first long course Championship at – was it Indiana University? In Bloomington – so he was at our first long course. He became a member in 1971.

There were some other big name swimmers who became members and all of a sudden this idea of Masters Swimming started to gain a little bit of credibility and traction through the 70’s and through the 80’s. Well, then we get into the 80’s and we start to see a little bit of – what was it? The fitness craze – with Thigh Master and everything else like that and concern about fitness and that is really where Ransom Arthur had wanted to take Masters Swimming – as he said – this is about fitness – this is about health – this is about wellness, but you certainly had people inside of the sport that thought this was about competition as well. In 1986 we unveiled a logo – which had been our logo that people had seen for years – that lane line down the middle and two swimmers ————— very much of a competitive feel – a competitive nature to it. All along – Masters Swimming is being run as an all volunteer organization. Now help me – if I am missing any details here – help me fill in and for those of you who didn’t hear Mel yesterday – Mel Goldstein – who works with us here at USMS – he is the head coach at Indy Swim Fit and is the only guy – I tell this all the time – he kind of ducks a little bit – but he is the only guy in Masters Swimming to win all four of our recognized awards: Coach of the Year, Club of the Year, The Ransom Arthur Service Award of the Year and then the Dot Donnelly Additional Service Award …… so the only guy in Masters Swimming that won all four and we are very privileged to have Mel in his experience in his Indy Swim Fit program to be a resource here to all of you coaches. I reinforce that message from yesterday.

So, now we are flowing through the 1970’s – 1980’s – we have got the health movement – the fitness movement. Mel, what did membership look like in the 80’s? Do you remember? We were probably about 10-15,000 – ————– we have spurts here and there – 2-3% – sometimes flat – sometimes below or stagnant. Our model is based very much off of USA Swimming which we have had the LMSC model and we had registrars within each LMSC that would handle our registration for us. In 1979 Masters Swimming officially got its non-profit status so we were formally incorporated as a non-profit and then with the whole “disbanding of the AAU” and NGB’s forming on their own – Masters Swimming became a stand-alone NGB on its own. Now, here is another question for you – how many Masters National Governing Bodies are there across the world – how many do you think? That are on their own – that stand on their own? What do you think? Think about all the countries – we got Australia and Canada and Mexico and Europe – take a guess. Does anybody want to take a guess? One per country? 5? – you got it – you need an envelope for that too. $300 – boy there is a theme here isn’t there? No – there is only one Masters National Governing Body in the World and that is United States Masters Swimming because in every other country – Masters Swimming sits under the Federation of that country banner or that competitive organization’s banner which means that here in the U.S. Masters Swimming is its own entity, has its own Board of Directors, has its own governance – its by-laws, its policies.

It is in control of itself and its autonomy as an organization so what that does is that really positions United States Masters Swimming and we are looked at quite often as the Gold Standard and the Global leader when it comes to Masters Swimming so a lot of other Masters Swimmers across the World and Mel has seen this much more than I have – we get questions all the time from a variety of countries – how are you doing things and why are you doing this and we do not like the direction that our country is going, but we do not have any opportunity to have any say so whereas Masters Swimming controls its own destiny. We are a member of FINA, along with synchronized, water polo, diving and USA Swimming as well so we follow FINA Guidelines as they have been established and we had three of our Board Members that are in high level positions in committees and appointments within FINA as well so we have good representation there and certainly I think Masters Swimming now – with much more media that is out there – internet – membership growth – has an opportunity to continue to spread its message and spread its word and continue to elevate its status that we have so now we are transitioning through and we get into the 90’s and we start to see some – what I call – governess changes to the organization. We have a lot of volunteers – volunteer run – the fitness craze has kind of taken off a little bit. More people are going to YMCA’s – Community Centers – more programs are starting. Membership is growing a little bit and there is a sense from the visionaries within Masters Swimming that you know – within the next decade or two – we are going to probably start to make some transition and try and streamline some things – maybe go like USA Swimming has and diving has – toward a streamline National Organization and a staff driven organization so those seeds of change are starting to be put into place.

We see some of them happening as we start to get into the 2000 decade with the Board being pared back from its – were you on the Board before the change was made? No – it was pretty big – yeah – pretty big. Each Committee Chairman had a position on the Board. There was about 20, plus the Executive Committee. So, you are talking a board of 100 plus at that time. You get it back down to its reasonable level today where we have 16 Board Members, Past-Presidents that are on the Board – your Legal Counsel is on the Board – your Executive Director that sits on the Board as well to try and – again – just move the organization forward in a progressive way. We found in mid-2000 USMS took control of its magazine which David has back there – another staff in the organization wanting to control its destiny – control the message that was there. We had enjoyed a great relationship with the ……………… of swimming worlds – still have it to this day – a terrific relationship. We have so much respect for what they do and are doing in the industry, but it was an opportunity for us to control our message through our magazine and it was a decision that the organization wanted to make at that time and then we see in 2008 – online registration came into play for USMS. Anybody want to take a guess how many of our members in a little over a year are using online registration? 50% – 12 ½%, 7%, 25% – you get one right over here – I have got more of these envelopes too by the way – it is actually 70% and we have people telling us that they wont use the internet and there was 500 – you guys got gypped – she is a backstroker by the way. Actually Mel – the guy yesterday that has the buckets – I cant remember his name, but he told me that you looked like a breaststroker – a little running joke – Mel is not a breaststroke fan, but yeah – about 70% of our members so far have adopted online registration.

We built a very vanilla package – just tried to get it out there – get members used to it and we are building – every day we are adding new functionality to it – new services to it – which is going to give me a chance to – does this work – okay – I have got a live screen here – I got a Dell there – I am actually going to walk – rather than a full presentation – I am going to walk you through some parts of the website that I think makes sense – that you guys may want to consider using in order to help your programs back in your area and to help your members back in your area. How many of you all do go to USMS.org? How many of your swimmers do you think go to USMS.org? More than half? I don’t know the answer I am just – I don’t have money for that either. More than half? Why – why do they go? A lot of my people hang on the discussion forum so they are kind of —————— it’s a big part of what they do. Does anybody know what he is talking about when he says the Discussion Forum? USMS has the oldest running Discussion Forum on its USMS.org website – somewhere around 13,000 registered users that we have got on there and you do not have to be a member to use our discussion forums, but there is a ton of information that get exchanged between members all the time. We found it to be a very useful tool – informational tool. A lot of triathletes are using it.

Open water swimmers are using it so it is every day that there is someone on there and if you were to go and look right now you would probably find anywhere from 50 to 100 people that are on there right now – just exchanging ideas and talking back and forth and you can post comments and you can go on and on – there is really no end to that. So let me see – I am going to make sure I have the right – so this is actually our cover of USMS.org. Unfortunately, they do not allow you to have internet in the room. I don’t know if you guys know that or not, but only in that main lobby which meant that I went to pull up a bunch of the pages – saved them and now we are just kind of walk through. So, in the front part of USMS.org – it doesn’t show up on the screen – right there, but right over here there is a navigation bar too – eventhough it is black and there is a Join USMS membership there button so I will take you to it and it takes you to this page and this is how to join US Masters Swimming. This is the easiest thing in the world to do. I mean – USA Swimming – I am having conversations with them and trying to educate them on how beneficial this is and they are trying to figure out a way to do it when they have got kids that are under age and all that other stuff that goes into it – oh my God – if you could just figure out a way to do this – I don’t know how – but do it. So, you can type in your zip code and all of a sudden it will take you to whatever page you want to and it will walk you right through the instruction from there. You can print off a card – your membership card – you can have it mailed to you.

If you haven’t done this yet or if you do not want to do a paper registration anymore I would highly encourage you to have your members use this. Now, a useful tool for you guys as coaches is – Mel asked this question yesterday – about promoting USMS membership and how do you know if your swimmers are USMS registered or not. I mean – you are really – you see 30 people in the water – you have no idea. You know their names – you know a little bit about them – but we make it available through the club assistant which is our online partner and if you were to click on – there is a link down here at the bottom – it will take you directly to the club assistant page. It is a very useful tool though for you coaches – especially since we have all the coaches in the room here – so this is the club assistant page and again – if you were to – because it doesn’t blow up on the whole entire screen – down here where it says USMS Information – this is their home page club assistant. If you click on that you can find your LMSC link there and I use Frank and Jim’s team – Curl-Burke – last night in order to pull it up. It will take you to this page – which they are part of Potomac Valley. You can click on the USMS Club link and you see Curl-Burke – which would be right up here. It is all done alphabetically for you and the next thing you know you have got the whole entire Curl-Burke Swim program which is here – 501 registered members – all done – lets see if I can shrink this up here just a little bit – (could I ask you a question – where on USMS did you click to get into the ———?) I will walk you right back to it – that is okay, but you can see right there – it goes alphabetically and they can print off every member they want or they can print off the list and this is the active list for 2009 – privacy is protected in here. You do not see Social Security number – you do not see birth date – so your members do not have any concerns. This is just the active list for 2009 so for those of you coaches that want to ensure that your swimmers in the water are actually Masters Registered – there you are.

Lets go back to this one – it is not a live link so it will not let me click on it, but on the Join/Renew button – there are two ways to get there – you can either type in clubassistant.com and off their portal home page you can find your club or this is off of USMS.org The Rag where it says retrieve a copy or look up your current copy – when you click on this it takes you to the club’s assistant website, you know. Question/Answer: Right. That is the benefit to being a club. When you are a registered club rather than part of a state umbrella team – is your club and all your members get listed individually that way and broken out. I am sorry. Yup. We run our team off a —————- and I was talking to the folks over there and we are a sub-group under Illinois Masters and the report – the source is our workout group so assuming that everybody followed my instructions when they joined – you can sort it so that all the people that receive any workout are able to pull up the list so it is not perfect like the Curl-Burke, but about 95% of the way. Let me ask you this question though – we will go back to one of the first ones – what is your perception of Masters – a disclaimer – membership revenue for USMS is about 85% of our revenue and it is how the organization is able to operate USMS.org, put the insurance in place, do the magazine, support our events all across the country – the new marketing efforts that we have in place. Why do your members sign up for USMS? Insurance? Swimming meets – competition? Anything else? —————————-

Does anybody know how much of USMS’s membership is competitive? Any by competitive meaning they swim in a sanctioned event. It doesn’t have to be just Nationals. It could be a regional event as well. Out of our 50,000 does anybody want to take a guess? 15,000 – what is that 20% – 25%? 30%, it is give or take – it is roughly in that 25-30% each year are competitive and what we are able to do is look at the entire membership – break that down into the membership ID’s that actually enter into events and the registration as well and the results that come in. How many of you have heard of – I will back up – this one will be an envelope question so do not all yell at one time and Chris and Kerry and Mel – you cannot yell – sorry. You didn’t tell us about money. What is USMS’s most popular event and by popular I mean in terms of participation? That has the most members that participate in it? Who said the Postals? First – who said it first? Right there – you are right. How many are in the Postals? How many are entered? It is around 3,000 members that do the 1 hour. Do you know why it is called a postal? Because people hearing the results go postal? You know what? I thought that the Postal service was the sponsor on it when I came on board – I am like – that is pretty cool – we got a sponsorship with the Postal service and it was like no, no, no you idiot – it is because it is mailed in and I am like okay – now it makes sense.

We are actually migrating our postal events to online – similar to club assisted so our 3,000 and 6,000, 5K and 10K events this year had an online option for you and we are not building the program that allows the one hour swim in order to go online. We are looking to create more of these fitness type events. We are looking at a 15 minute swim and a 30 minute swim as well – some things that are more fort the fitness oriented swimmer or the person that maybe says I cant swim an entire hour – they will have some options that are available to them. Now, here is a question and this is an envelope question too – what is USMS’s fastest growing event? Open water? That’s a good guess – it is growing, but it is not our fastest. Mile? You are close when you say February Fitness. Yeah – who said Go the Distance? Scott? That is an envelope question. I told you – see – this good to come this morning wasn’t it? Who else is giving envelopes out? Alright – since he said Go The Distance Scott – what is Go The Distance? Well – a lot of my folks that do this – they keep track of their yardage in a fitness logs on the website and it tabulates how many miles you swam or yards or meters or whatever and toward the year – the run or whatever – so I guess they are going to swim Key West right now – Go the Distance is a program that was started through our fitness committee a little less than three years ago and it was exactly that. It was a way for you to track how much yardage you are doing in increments of 50, 100, 150, and on through 362.5 = I think 1 mile per day that they have in there.

It goes all the way up to 1,500 miles and when you hit certain milestones along the way you are eligible for prizes and certificates and awards and caps – it has got more than a thousand participants in it in less than two years that have signed up for it and it used to be all done by Excel and it was all emailed into a gal that lived in Oregon – Mary Sweat – there is still an option that you can email it in to her on a spreadsheet and whatever format you would like she will manually input it into – on the homepage of USMS.org there is an icon up there called MyUSMS and in there you can find the fitness logs – any member can. It is easy. I use it on a regular basis – on a daily basis – just to track my workouts and it just all auto populates and you can – if Mel wants to compete against Kerry and Kerry wants to see about Mel to see how they are doing they can blink each others and do all the share swapping and stuff like that. It is a really cool program that a lot of people are really embracing and taking advantage of, but again – you are seeing a theme here which is automation. You know – we are going more and more toward automation and trying to take advantage of technology that has come along so I was hired a year and a half ago in order to ultimately professionalize the staff at the National level. We had a very delicate balance where we are still working with our volunteers which are the DNA of our organization. They are the heart of our organization. I know there were some people that were concerned why we hired one guy ———— they are going to take over the whole organization. There will be no room for volunteers to do anything.

All committees are going to be disbanded and that is not even close to the case. We have a total staff of 8 this year. We have the same staff number of 8 next year. We had established our headquarters in Sarasota Florida. They have a great Masters program down there and then they had another program that trains out of a local pool there. We had access too for volunteers for pool if they ever want camps or clinics or anybody ever wanted to come and visit and wanted a place to swim – certainly that option is available, but at the National level ………………………….. we are charged with looking at membership services – servicing our members. The magazine is a part of that. Insurance benefits that we provide of that. Administrative programs like Go The Distance – bringing you automation and functionality to it is a part of that. We are looking at ways that we can continue to enhance the value of membership. For example – we ……………. Newsletters this year. You know – everyone is talking about E-newsletters, but what we found is that our members – we had more than 50% open rate ….. newsletter when it goes out and we had about all 49,000 and change members that we had email addresses for and we did a knock out rate of less than – I think the most we have every had was probably 35 people that at any one time said I don’t want it.

What that is telling us is we are probably doing a pretty good job of information and our technology partner there is blown away by A. the number of people that are opening it and passing it on and B. the number of people that are opting out. We don’t see this. Usually we get 2-3-4% that are opting out because they just don’t want the garbage that comes their way and we are trying to provide useful information out to our members. We have a second email that we send out once a month as well – specifically – for just our coaches. It is written for coaches, by coaches – about coaches within the Masters area. That one has a list right now – about 1800 coaches or people that are interested in coaching that opted in for that. We are adding now a new job bank section in there as well too so it is easier about jobs that are available in the Masters Swimming World. You can send those to us and we will start including that in that member newsletter and they can have that information available too so that falls under our Membership Services domain. The second thing that we are doing is ———— services. I really wish that – I would like to take the credit for this, but I cant because in my first week when I was on and Mel will tell you this – my first week that I was there I wanted to go out and see all the staff and I wanted to go and see as many volunteers as I could and I started on Monday and by Wednesday I was on a plane to go and see Mel in Indianapolis and it is not that you guys ………………………….. really well I just knew that you had a tremendous reputation inside of Masters Swimming and all of you had done good in the sport that I wanted to sit down and listen to him and get as much history and knowledge that I could about the organization, challenges and opportunities and so Mel told me that we had got this pilot program that we were dealing with.

It is called club development and I want you to support it and I said – what is the goal? And he said – Big – you know – Mel all business –is to go out there and help programs grow. It is to go out there and help coaches become better coaches – just go out there and give them resources and give them tools and to give them more and more and more. There is stuff that we haven’t done over the years and we did a really good job at lip service, but by God – we are going to do it, OK – we are going to do it so we went into convention and we asked for some budget money and the budget money got approved …………….. seed money and here we are in 2009 really kind of our first year of club development and we have gone to what? 24 states so far. We have actually gotten on a plane and gone out and seen coaches in those areas – sat with them – spent time on the deck with them. One of the coolest things that came out of it is we were talking to ……………..I don’t know if you all saw this, but this coach said we need a better way to market our programs and we are in a YMCA or we are in a Community Center or Park and Fitness – how do we get more people to come and join our program? Well, we went ahead and took your suggestions and we started making up stickers. These are great. Everywhere we go now we hand these out. Put these on your locker room – put these on your front door when you walk in. Put it on your aquatics office if you are near a pool anywhere. It is designed to get people talking when they are near you and it is designed – it is giving you a chance as an opportunity for referral so that you can start to tell somebody a little bit about your Masters program – the social sides of it – the competitive sides of it – the fitness sides to it. Whatever is of interest to you and guys – we are doing more of this. You want to be ————– that is incorporated with USMS – call us – we will do it. We will ship it to you. We are not asking you to pay for it.

This is our way of giving back. We want to help you. You know – I listen to Chuck talk on his keynote address. Man – I could not agree with him more. Coaches are the system. What is the number to call for the ————? You know what? I will give you my card and you can call me. I am going to show you too – because this is really – we wanted to raise the awareness on our programs and for our coaches so we went ahead and worked with a local producer down in Sarasota and I just got this spot last night so I am going to show it to you and we are going to virally place it on the internet and we are going to do some ad buys with it. There is no volume to it – none intended so you should be able to just follow along – Mel – tell them about your “Get Wet” program. The “Get Wet” program is a kind of an adult learn to swim program. It is broken down into 3 categories and the categories are Get Wet – Get Wet One and Stay Wet. Get Wet is a program designed for people – especially adults – who are terrified of water and we have an instructor who has a degree in Psychology and she works with some of the people. Get Wet One is the next step where we actually teach them how to swim and teach the techniques that we coach in the Indy Swim Fit Program and then Stay Wet is a kind of a pre-cursor to the Indy Swim Fit Program where they get a little bit of a workout. They meet once a week. They learn the pace clock. They learn a couple of new strokes and it gives them the opportunity in the set because each of those sessions are 7 weeks.

It gives them an opportunity to practice while they are still learning and coming back each time so it is an adjunct to a full load structured adult fitness program that we have so adult learn to swim is very important and one aspect that we have really learned and I advise and point home a great deal and that is we use adults teaching adults. A 55 year old woman relates to a 55 year old woman. If you are a ———- you ask some college student teaching these classes – it is not the same – it is not the same. A grandmother relates to a grandmother and they can converse a little bit better so that is what that focus is. When you talk about how you recruit more members in offering a learn-to-swim program for adults and if you have ——– pool space – you know – aquatic director supported – if you are an entrepreneur running your Masters program – by volume – it will be one of your most successful revenue opportunities for you which is the adult – I see a lot of people shaking their heads – like either you have it or you believe it – so that is an opportunity for you. We want to drive your awareness for you and for you coaches across the country to your programs that there are opportunities to get involved with and you do not have to be the fastest swimmer in the water in order to feel like you can be part of this. We talked yesterday about all the social aspects to it. I love it. I love doing it.

I went to visit Frank and his program earlier in the year and as much as I had fun walking around on the deck and talking to him – the joy for me was going to Frank’s house afterwards and seeing the 50 swimmers that were and he was cooking 25 pizza’s up on his brick oven that he has got out back and everyone was just kind of joking and sharing. I spent 25 minutes taking to one of the ladies – I never heard anybody ……………. Cancer survivor – Jennifer Johnston and her husband who swam his very first meet – Dave Johnston swam the 50 freestyle the very first time – what are they 65? Yeah so they were in their 50’s and 60’s and I was just like blown away by this whole thing. This is so cool. This was so much fun. That is an example where Frank and Jim and their program are creating that social and a lot of you are. It is just purely one example of how they tie back in and they get the brand new person – no matter what age they are – they care about their health and their fitness or their doctor says this is something that you should be doing so we so membership services. We do club and coach services. We are marketing and promotion as you saw. We have new partnerships that are coming in place. One of the most fun partnerships we have right now is that we have put together with the American College of Sports Medicine. Does anybody here know the American College of Sports Medicine? You guys are?

There would be someone from ACSM – is going to come to the convention next week and talk to our Sports Medicine Committee about this. ACSM is made up of 20,000 professionals across the country. About half of them are MD doctors. The other half are —————- and fitness consultants, aquatics directors – they – on their own initiative – have created a program called “Exercise is Medicine” and what they did is they got their membership to support this concept that one of the ways that they can reform the health of our country is that by – when you go in and see your doctor – if you need a prescription great – you get it, but a doctor also gets to maybe know you a little bit better and says do you like swimming? Do you like running? Do you like tennis? They have an avenue to refer you to that form of exercise that you enjoy so Masters Swimming has not partnered with the American College of Sports Medicine and Exercise Medicine so that when you go in and see – and it is not going to happen over night – I mean – this is stuff that is getting seeded right now and you are going to start to see it swirl into a bigger and bigger with acceptance, but in ten years from now we are going to have this really awesome ———- referral opportunity for our coaches, but the doctor will be able to or a nurse practitioner will be able to turn around and go into their laptop computer and say – oh – you want to swim? And the doctor says you should? No problem. We found that there is a local adult swimming program right up the street for you. Here is the coach – he is also an instructor.

We have a partnership with them so we trust them – why don’t you go down and try it out and maybe there is even a way in there that the doctor can say, by the way, your first 5 lessons are free or your first 2 lessons are free. The big picture of stuff guys that we wanted you to help raise the awareness and the promotion is something that we can never necessarily do completely on our own. So – marketing and promotion – we want to support you. If you want a banner – you can call us and we will do a banner – no cost. We will ship it out to you. You can have it and put it up at your pool. You might have seen the Sarasota one in that video. It looks similar to that where it is ——— on the right and then your club logo goes over there on the left. We are happy to do that. We will help you. We want to raise awareness and credibility and stamp of approval for your program. The final kind of key ingredient that we are doing in our national office is we are becoming more active in events and event support and in some cases even in that operation. Next year – Puerto Rico for example – our Long Course Nationals – USMS – is going to operate that event and we are going to run it. We are going to operate it. Our staff is going to be in charge of it. We are working very closely with the local Puerto Rico delegation to insure it is a successful event and insure that it is a fun event for all of our members which means that we will probably do some fun new stuff for the event.

I have been on record – in 2012 – I want to take our long course Nationals to Omaha. I want to go to the Olympic Trials pool with it. I want to create one of the most memorable experiences for our members – especially those that enjoy the competitive side that you could ever have. There are certainly some very real hurdles that we have to work our way through and we are working with USA Swimming ————— in the Quest Center in order to see if this can be achieved – not the least of which is based around the Quest Center, but if it is within our power we will do everything we possibly can to insure that that is the most unbelievable experience – especially for our competitive swimmer. There is no way that Masters Swimming could ever buy this or pay for it on its own so the only way that this can happen is by us working with USA Swimming and partnering with those guys in order to create this really terrific event experience for ——– members so that is kind of the four areas of business that you find the National side just getting in. There are certainly so many opportunities for volunteers. If you have members in your program that want to volunteer – that want to give of their time – whether it is at the local level – LMSC level or if he has a special expertise in some areas of need at the National level – volunteers will always be a part of this organization – A key part of our DNA.

David Marsh was up here and said his three best coaches are Masters coaches, you know? I can tell you this too because I was there at Mecklenburg Aquatic Club. David was – and we will talk more about this in the afternoon session, but to just give you a little taste. In 2008 David took 23 swimmers to the Olympic Trials and 4 swimmers of those associated with Mecklenburg Aquatic Club actually made the Olympic Team. That is a huge cost though to take 23 swimmers to the Olympic Trials – professional swimmers – some of them were high school – most of them were professional swimmers – post-graduates – given a chance to train. Given housing – pay for their air fare – pay for their hotels. They had massage therapists. They had nutritional therapists. They had mental counseling as well as sports psychology comes into play. I will give you one guess who paid for it all – one master swimmer – anonymous donation was made to Mecklenburg Aquatic Club from one Masters Swimmer. Previous to David coming on board – Masters was not even on the register at Mecklenburg Aquatic Club. They were a team of around 600 or so – mostly competitive age group swimmers out of about 5 different locations. I had swum a little bit of Masters at that time and I told him – I said David – listen to me – I love you like a brother, but you are stupid if you do not start a Masters team – you are just crazy. Figure it out. I mean – these guys are the ones that have credit cards – they have checking accounts – they will volunteer their time. David, when you want to go after something – the most natural audience for you to go and ask for it is from your Masters swimmers. They are closest to it. You go after the local business guys all the way down the road and you might get one out of ten people that will say yes or one out of a hundred, but if you ask your Masters Swimmers your odds go up pretty great. I said, it is not only that David, Masters pay dues every month.

You can make revenue off of this so just lets figure it out. So he saw it because David is a big picture visionary and he also had his dream of wanting to take a bunch of his swimmers so that ended up forming – not forming – it was already in place, but he ended up putting his stamp of credibility saying, we really should grow our masters so this was in ’06 and then in ’07 it really grew and he was getting a lot of awareness in the local marketplace. Masters swimmers were buying into it. The Masters swimmers saw him with the trial qualifiers and in some cases where David would bring them in in order to do camps and clinics for them at no cost – just a kind of reward to give back and the next thing you knew we had one Masters swimmer – we had no idea who this guy was – he was the father of a bunch of kids – had an inheritance – had a situation where he was – needed to do some things tax-wise and he needed to do it before the end of the year and also believed in the program and he came in and wrote a pretty sizeable check – 6 figure check – a big one. He said, I want half of it to go towards improving our facilities here, but the other half you can go ahead and use for your vision that you have got for this Olympic Trials, you know? Not only a private businesses entrepreneur can do that – maybe you will but I think your best chance of getting that success is going to be from your masters program. So, I have done a lot of talking here and covered a lot of information, but I am happy to answer any questions I can – if there are any.

Question: You know – Mel’s program – is there a model for that? We have a lot of triathletes – we are a very triathletes city and a lot of the new swimmers come in and they are very intimidating when they get into the pool.

Answer: I will try to get our head coach to write that. (That would be wonderful) You know, it is in our program, but she devised it. She worked – she works it and I would like to be able to do that. That is a good thing and we will get something on paper for you. SWIM FEST: Why don’t you talk about it. Swim Fest is a clinic that we – that United States Masters Swimming did and we had our first Swim Fest ’09 in Houston, Texas. It was a tremendous success. It was set up essentially for swimmers – not necessarily as a competitive swim. We had some competitive swimmers there, but for the most part – of the 125 people that we had there – these were swimmers and triathletes that we were trying to serve with learning techniques and filming and so forth and so on and it was really a tremendous success in Houston. Next year, Swim Fest ’10 will be in San Diego. It will be June 4th, 5th and 6th. We have got a really tremendous amount of great coaches that we are writing up – Kerry O’Brien is one, Dr. G. Granadius is going to be there to do some filming of work on stroke philosophy. I think Gary Hall is going to be there as well and we are going to have about 6 or 7 other coaches there. Last year we also had Sara McLarty who is a top pro triathlete and she did an open-water thing and there is an ocean by San Diego. We are going to try and use it for open-water …………… In Houston we had to do it in a pool. So, look for that flyer. The general announcement is going to come out next week at the Convention, but it is June 4, 5, and 6 and I would hope that all of you attend and we invited coaches to come to Swim Fest – not only to learn, but also to go one on one and I think we had – in addition to the 125 swimmers we had 40 – 45 coaches so it was almost a coach to 2 swimmers. How many of you are full-time Masters coaches? This is your profession – this is your livelihood. Four – how many are part-time? Where you work additionally. How many are volunteers? You don’t get paid – you do it just because you love it? Or you would love to get paid? I am a substitute and you count. We appreciate it. How many would like to be fulltime? Ah, these are the people that I want to see because you can do it. You can do it.

You have to think outside of the box. You have to think of how you can make it happen. Yeah, you know – we have had a little fun here giving away some envelopes. We really had some money and we cant, unfortunately, come in and write checks in order to subsidize programs, but we do have people like Mel and Kerry who are fulltime coaches and who have figured out a way where this can become their fulltime livelihood and we can help you overcome some of those obstacles – some of those ——– you have heard – some of the challenges you have run into along the way. We make ourselves available to come visit and sit with you to help think through – strategize options. If you are in a YMCA, hypothetically speaking, and you would like to create a fulltime program. “I want to start a program at a YMCA – you talked yesterday – that is why I am asking you”. There is no better person in the YMCA system than Mel because he cracked the code and figured out how to do it there. Yes, he has given me his card. And certainly there are challenges along the way, but we are here to help you try and thing through them – keep you motivated – keep you positive and help give back a little bit to you guys as well because you really are the life blood for us – Masters Swimming and you know what? More importantly – your swimmer in the water looks up to you. You know, no one is telling the Masters swimmer – you don’t have a parent sitting there saying 5:30 – you have got to go to practice – or at 7 o’clock you have to give up dinner and go to practice – they are doing it on their own so that is a pretty motivated group. Thank you.

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