Many swimmers turn to their local Masters swim teams for guidance and accountability to help them reach their goals. But is Masters swimming really worth it? Check out the pros and cons of Masters swim teams!

What is Masters Swimming?

You can think of Masters swimming as an organized swim team for adults. Masters swim teams are open to swimmers ages 18 and up in the U.S., and many teams have very wide age ranges, with the oldest swimmers in their 70s or 80s and the youngest in their 20s.

Being part of a Masters team gives you access to coached workouts at a set time each week. You’ll also get more opportunities to compete in swim meets and open water events, which often require swimmers to be registered with their local and national masters organizations.

What is Masters Swimming Not?

Despite the word “master,” Masters swimming isn’t professional swimming! It’s open to swimmers of all skill levels and ages. You won’t earn any money from competing in Masters swimming events. 

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Many people often associate Masters swimming with high profile events like the Masters Golf Tournament. They are not the same!

Who is Masters Swimming For?

Related: MySwimPro is Helping Me Break Masters State Records at 51 Years Old

Masters swimming is for fitness swimmers who enjoy the social aspects of the sport and want to build community. Swimmers who like competing regularly often like Masters teams, too.

If you’re looking for personalized workouts tailored to your specific goals or if your schedule is tight, Masters swimming may not work for you. Masters teams have to cater to a variety of skill levels and often have limited workout time slots, which doesn’t align with every swimmer’s needs.

Pros of Masters Swimming

Related: How MySwimPro Helped Me Compete for the First Time in 30 Years

Masters swimming can be a fun way to get involved in your local swimming community! Check out these pros of Masters:

  • Social Time: Masters teams are a great way to meet fellow swimmers. 
  • Coached Workout: On a Masters team, you never have to worry about writing your own workout. You simply show up to the pool and the coach walks you through it.
  • Competition: Masters swimming provides numerous competition opportunities at the local, national and international levels. If you love to race, joining a Masters team can ensure you’ll have a squad to sit with at meets, and that you’ll get to race relays!

Cons of Masters Swimming

On the flip side, there are a few cons to consider when determining if Masters swimming is right for you:

  • One Size Fits All: Due to the (often) wide diversity in age, skill level, speed and goals on the team, your workouts won’t be personalized to your goals. Some people may want to improve technique, while others are training for a triathlon, and others want to improve their 100 free time. The coach does their best to accommodate everyone, but it’s tough to get the balance right. 
  • Space Concerns: Masters teams typically rent a specific number of lanes, so workouts can get crowded quickly, or it may be tough to snag a spot in a workout due to social distancing requirements. 
  • Time: Masters workouts may not be at the best time for your schedule. Additionally, your workout likely will not be as efficient because you have to account for other swimmers.
  • Financial Commitment: Depending on your team, Masters swimming can be expensive, ranging from $30 per month up to a few hundred dollars. Many Masters teams also require swimmers to pay membership dues for the national Masters organization.

Resources for New Swimmers 

If you’re new to swimming and need guidance or extra support, you’ve come to the right place! Check out these great resources to help you work on technique, swim faster, and stay accountable. 

  • MySwimPro Facebook Community: Join our free Facebook group and connect with thousands of swimmers from all over the world! Many of them swim alone and turn to the group for tips and motivation. 
  • MySwimPro App: Make the most of your solo swimming journey with the MySwimPro app! Download the app for free and start logging your workouts, or try out ELITE COACH for free to unlock swimming and dryland training plans, daily workouts, analytics and more.
  • Educational Videos: Check out our YouTube channel for swimming tips and inspiration!

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What are your thoughts on Masters swimming vs. solo swimming? Let us know in the comments below! Download the MySwimPro app and try our ELITE COACH subscription for full access to our library of swimming and dryland workouts, training plans and 1-on-1 coaching!

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  1. I love masters swimming b/c of the swim meets. (Masters just means adult, ages 18 up.) Great fun, camaraderie & competition. All are equal participants, slowest to fastest. Heats are organized by times, so u race against those of same approx times – makes it competitive. In yur heat can be all ages & sometimes mixed (m/f), which makes it more fun. Everyone has personal goals to reach. Tons of energy & friendship.
    Many pple travel to neighboring states for meets, as well.

  2. Hi All
    Pros: I meet very good swimmers who gave me answers for my questions, tips, even free private lessons… helped me improve small details in my technic to swim better…
    Cons: freestyle, freestyle, freestyle….and one more: I don’t like the fact that people often race if they see that the theoretically slower swimmer from other line overtakes them suddenly accelerate …

  3. Masters plus solo, not masters vs. solo.
    Each answers different needs of training. The team answers the need for coaching, community and commitment to a common goal ( we race both as individuals and as a team, so I need to be at my best for the team’s sake as well).
    Solo is the fun part of swimming for me.
    Hope to get back in the pool soon, this lockdown is awful.

      • Diana, I agree completely! I swim both ways and this is also the only way I have access to pools for the number of times per week that I want to swim. I also use my optimal masters swim times to set the intervals for MSP workouts. This way, I know I am being consistent across both platforms. I am willing to shoulder the financial burden of both to just stay moving in the water during the era of covid.

  4. Great Video Fares! Masters is a wonderful group of wonderful people who just love to swim. Most people get so much out of swimming with a group, make connections, and have fun! You don’t have to be good, just over 18!
    Thanks for sharing the love of Masters with all of the MySwimPro swimmers!

  5. Marise Baiocchi on

    I’m 67, and I’m a master swimmer from Brazil. I begun at 53 and never stopped. Master swim is life, I loved it, I have been made so many friends all over the world and great moments. Last year I was South American champion on 800m and at the same competition we got the South American record on female relay 4x100m free, 280+, that puts us on fina top ten 2019. I already back on the pool, after seven months. Hope this pandemic momentum finishes soon. My swim pro, have been a great help to improve my techniques. Thanks 😊🏊🏼‍♀️🏊🏼‍♀️🏊🏼‍♀️🏊🏼‍♂️🏊🏼‍♂️🏊🏼‍♂️

  6. The Master Swim that was at the YMCA (hopefully it will resume in Jan) had three lanes for three levels: beginners, intermediate and experienced. I have not tried it but want to once its available. I think the coach tailored each group depending on experience.

  7. I belong to a masters team. We have competed usually once a year. What I love is the social aspect. We have become friends over the years and socialize outside of the pool when we can. The group is so welcoming to everyone regardless of ability. We swim three times a week and I will usually add in a solo swim on Saturdays which I enjoy too. I have learned a lot from the coach as far as technique too.

  8. Michael McFarland on

    I was promoted to advanced lane, then next day told I didn’t cut the mustard. I got mad and quit. I am retired age 59. Next day at 10:30am I went for my routine swim at local Y, and witnessed a caravan of 80 + year old men with one foot in the grave in the locker room. I went back to Masters fearing this demographic.

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