USMS and Blue Seventy

U.S. Masters Swimming is pleased to announce that starting January 1, 2009 blueseventy will become an Official Gold Medal Partner of U.S. Masters Swimming. The multi-year partnership will see blueseventy become the official swim skin of U.S. Masters Swimming which will feature event signage, presence on www.usms.org, a special member discount purchase program, co-branding promotion at blueseventy triathlon supported events and a season long print advertising sponsor in SWIMMER magazine.

"We're very pleased to be able to put something back into Masters swimming - investing in swimming is something that blueseventy is very serious about. The U.S. Masters Swimming community is tremendously loyal and we look forward to helping each member meet his or her objectives," commented Roque Santos, blueseventy V.P. Swimming and a USA Olympian. Roque, a U.S. Masters Swimming member and Masters competitor continues, "the Masters swimming community has been a big supporter of blueseventy for several years, helping us to launch our 'Nero' suit, so we're excited to support their workouts, competitions, clinics and workshops."

Rob Butcher, U.S. Masters Swimming Executive Director commented "blueseventy has become a commonly seen brand at many of our competitions. We are thrilled to have their global brand committed to giving back to our membership. Their member incentive program we are developing extended exclusively to U.S. Masters Swimming members will more than pay for ones entire year membership. In addition, their desire to promote U.S. Masters Swimming at open water and triathlon events they sponsor will really help extend, grow and strengthen our brand."


Tech Recycling Update

In 2008, Arizona Masters Swimming collected over $300 from used technology products (toner cartridges, inkjet cartridges, cell phones, notebook computers, and iPods) from participating members. We are going to continue this program and would like to expand our collection of items.

With the holidays approaching, many of us will purchase or receive new tech goodies. This is great, but what about the old items? In the past, most of them wound up in landfills, which is a bad place for them. Most electronic items contain amounts of hazardous materials that must be disposed of properly lest they contaminate the water, air, or soil. The program that we are a part of allows us to benefit from properly recycling selected items, which is a win-win situation.

So if you or the company you work for have used items, contact me at ArizChair AT cox DOT net and we can go over details. We have worked successfully in the past with DHL, T-Sys, and Bernard-Allison on corporate collection programs, your company can be added to this list. Even if you have a couple of old cell phones laying around the house, those can be collected too. It costs you nothing and benefits masters swimming, not to mention our environment.

If you have other electronic items that you need to get rid of, contact AZStRUT or your city to see how to recycle them. Many cities have collection locations where you can drop off your used items (TVs, radios, desktop computers, monitors, etc.) to be recycled.


Sponsor Benefits

Throughout the last eight weeks we have been answering the ever-popular questions, "Why join a local Masters program" and "Why join USMS?" We first highlighted the positive impact of swimming, teammates, networking and goal-setting in a feature titled "What's the Value of Swimming: A Better You." Next we loved to read about some of U.S. Masters Swimming's most important assets, coaches, in "Like a Rock." Other features within the series included "USMS: Bringing People Together," "It's for Everyone," "Fitness Programs That Motivate," "Nothing Like the Open Water" and "USMS SWIMMER Magazine: For Us, About Us, By Us." Each feature included real stories of real people that we see and interact with every day on the pool deck, in the locker rooms and behind the blocks. Sponsor benefits is our final installment and yet another answer to our questions: "Why join a local Masters program" and "Why join USMS?"

No, sponsors aren't interested in tattooing their logos on our athletes or bidding millions of dollars to air their commercials during U.S. Masters Nationals, but sponsors do see incredible potential within the market we call U.S. Masters Swimming. Sponsors perk up at the mention of the demographics of U.S. Masters Swimming. They are intrigued by our commitment to a healthy lifestyle, and they are blown away by the loyalty of Masters swimmers.

Did you know...

U.S. Masters swimmers in regard to gender are practically an even split (52.9 percent male, 47.1 percent female).

More than 95 percent of U.S. Masters swimmers have a college degree or higher.

82.3 percent of U.S. Masters swimmers own their own home.

Each year U.S. Masters Swimming members purchase 134,820 swimsuits, 104,580 pairs of goggles and 100,380 pairs of sneakers.

70 percent of Masters swimmers report that they consciously buy brands that support activities, organizations and interests that are important to them.

Can you name the U.S. Masters Swimming sponsors?

Adolph Keifer & Associates
Agon Sport LLC
Bank of America
Endless Pools
Hasty Awards
Hertz Rental Car
Kast-A-Way Swimwear
Libery Mutual
Total Immersion
TYR Sports Inc.
Ultra Swim

As a U.S. Masters Swimming member, you have access to these brands at local and national events as well as promotions throughout the year.

So, what can we expect in 2009? Rob Butcher, U.S. Masters Swimming executive director, who brings a successful business development and sponsorship background from his association with NASCAR, provides some insight. "We have a good partner foundation in place. The next step is help our partners better activate. For example, you will see in the January/February issue of SWIMMER magazine more of our partners using our logo and images in their ad messaging. This is important as it shows the sponsors value the partnership with U.S. Masters Swimming and creates a stronger emotional connection to the lifestyle we passionately live."

"Additionally," continues Butcher, "more of our partners will be playing a role in elevating the atmosphere for our national championships. As an example, both Liberty Mutual and BullFrog suntan lotion - new partners in the Masters family - will have naturally integrated signage and sampling at nationals."

"We are also encouraging our partners to consider offering more special discount purchase programs for members. You will see in 2009 that some have built this type of member benefit into their programs with Masters swimming."

Though sponsors benefits are important, they are but one piece of the puzzle that makes up U.S. Masters Swimming. U.S. Masters Swimming's make-up is a combination of people, athletes, coaches, volunteers, events, competitions, programs, news and information, education, and tools, but most important, U.S. Masters Swimming's most important element is a common desire for a healthy and happy lifestyle.


U.S. Masters Swimming Sponsorship News

U.S. Masters Swimming is pleased to announce Chattem, Inc. has renewed its sponsorship with UltraSwim as the Official Shampoo, and added BullFrog suntan protection, Icy Hot and Gold Bond powder as official partners as well.

“We developed a grass roots sampling and brand activation plan for UltraSwim to better take advantage of its sponsorship with the U.S. Masters Swimming membership, and it became apparent to both Chattem and us that the activation plan could naturally be extended to their BullFrog, Icy Hot and Gold Bond brands,” commented Rob Butcher, U.S. Masters Swimming Executive Director.

“With 50,000-adult members committed to their health and fitness, the U.S. Masters Swimming demographics is a terrific fit for our brands,” said Jennifer Cooper, brand manager for UltraSwim. “We’re excited to have an opportunity to get even more involved with UltraSwim and now introduce the BullFrog, Icy Hot and Gold Bond brands to the membership.”

The partnership will see increased UltraSwim, BullFrog, Icy Hot and Gold Bond presence at U.S. Masters Swimming two national pool championships and open water events via signage and sampling. In addition, the brands will be recognized in the member magazine and on the member website.


Getting Press...in Israel!

Apparently the Jason Lezak swim clinics last month have generated a lot of interest in the press. Of course there was Swimming World Magazine and KVOA in Tucson but now, the Jerusalem Post!

As many of you know, the Jerusalem Post is a large and influential newspaper in Israel. Just a few days ago the posted an article by local journalist Masada Siegel, go here to read it.

Wow, what a nice present!


Gold Medal Mel and Rob

At the Golden Goggle Awards, former Olympian Mel Stewart cornered USMS Executive Director Rob Butcher and got him to talk a little bit about Masters Swimming. Here is the clip:

What is interesting is the Mel Stewart (and his wife) are back into swimming in a big way. This will be fun to see at Nationals and to see Mel's reports in his blog. Go to Gold Medal Mel's website for more interesting clips and perspective on the world of swimming.


Keeping Masters Swimmers Informed and Engaged

Betsy Durrant of Virginia Masters is the publisher of both the "Wet Gazette," the Virginia Masters bimonthly newsletter, and her local club newsletter. Betsy, like other newsletter publishers and contributors, treats her members to human interest stories, workouts, healthy recipes and calendar updates. "Not only do I like bringing people news and updates about what's going on in Virginia Masters, but I love connecting people to other swimmers in the area. Virginia Masters swimmers go to meets and recognize one another from stories or articles from the newsletter," said Betsy when asked what her favorite part of publishing the newsletter is.

Masters swimmers train hard, compete well and are conscientious about their personal health and fitness, but it is the hunger for information that sets Masters swimmers apart from the rest of the swimming community. In addition to resources provided by U.S. Masters Swimming, such as the member magazine and information via www.usms.org, Local Masters Swimming Committee and club newsletters serve as a local portal for information, news and updates about Masters programs across the country.

All of us would love to contribute to our LMSC, but often people are intimidated when presented with the responsibility of publishing a communication piece. How does Betsy stay motivated? "I always have the newsletter in the back of my mind. I ask Virginia Masters swimmers throughout the month for contributions, story ideas and full articles; by the end of the month when it is time to pull together the newsletter, I have all of the content I need," said Betsy. Want to get started with your own newsletter? Betsy offers advice: " Try to include as many members as possible. It makes people feel good, like part of the team, when they see their name in print, and use lots of pictures." Betsy's other tricks for publishing a successful newsletter include talking to a local printer about quantity discounts and not feeling hard-pressed by a deadline. "I really enjoy being a part of the newsletter. I feel connected to my LMSC and like I am contributing to the enjoyment of my teammates in U.S. Masters Swimming. Providing information to other swimmers enhances their U.S. Masters Swimming experience."

Paul and Margie Hutinger of Florida Mavericks received the 2008 TYR Newsletter of the Year award in September at the annual U.S. Masters Swimming convention. The Hutingers' newsletter has been in the top five newsletters within U.S. Masters Swimming for the last six years, and according to Margie, "it was a thrill" to receive the recognition of Newsletter of the Year. "We don't have a home workout pool so we feel that it is imperative to communicate with our members on a consistent basis."

Paul and Margie both had experience writing, and after the formation of the Florida Maverick Masters the Hutingers decided to combine their skills and started their newsletter in 1997. Like Betsy and the Virginia Masters, Paul and Margie depend on their members for most of their content. "We feel that it is important to recognize our swimmers, whatever level they are, from world record holders to fitness swimmers."

As for advice from Paul and Margie: "Your newsletter should reflect the personality of your team. Start simple and expand as you see the need. Be creative. There isn't just one way to put it all together. Recognize your members for whatever their accomplishments."

Are you green? Many newsletters are going digital to cut down on paper waste in addition to cutting the cost of communicating to their LMSCs or clubs. Tracy Grilli, U.S. Masters Swimming Director of Membership Services, sends a newsletter called "Streamlines" to LMSC officers regarding the business of U.S. Masters Swimming. Streamlines is sent quarterly, and in October "Streamlines" went green for the first time. "I think people will appreciate our effort," said Tracy, but most importantly U.S. Masters Swimming is confident that it will receive Mother Nature's seal of approval.

Whether you are a seasoned newsletter publisher or just getting started, there are plenty of stories within U.S. Masters Swimming to be told. As U.S. Masters Swimming reaches 50,000 members, we are reminded that each member has his or her own story. Each of us became a member for a different reason, each of us are motivated by various factors and each of us set unique goals, and it is up to you to seek them out.

Want a challenge? Find out who publishes your LMSC newsletter and volunteer to write an article. Tell your own story or a story of one of your teammates or coaches; offer a new healthy recipe or a clever workout.


Masters Montage

Here is a video that somebody posted on the USMS Forum a couple of days ago. If you look closely, you will see many familiar faces.

Most of the footage was shot at Austin during SCY Nationals this spring.



Associate Producer Produces Records

Most of us know that Jeff Commings is an amazingly fast swimmer. What some of you don't know is that he is also an Associate Producer on the Morning Swim Show for Swimming World Magazine. When you see him on the show, it is not because he has special access, it's because he is setting records.

Jeff was among the record-breakers at Long Beach last weekend. You can get the results by going to the meet host site, there were many other notable swims at that meet.

Check out the video segment by going here and watching. Great job Jeff, on both fronts!


Polar Bear Meet

As we close-out the 2008 swimming season, next year looms on the horizon. We have published the provisional schedule on the Events section of the website and will now detail the first meet of the new year.

The 19th annual Polar Bear Meet takes place on Sunday January 25th at the Hillenbrand Aquatics Center on the University of Arizona campus. The meet entry form is available here so if you are considering swimming in it, download the form and send it in.

This is a great first meet of the year and is always well-run. So make your plans on attending this meet and getting some fast times in. Good luck to everybody!


USMS SWIMMER Magazine: For Us, About Us, By Us

As each of us sorts through electric bills, bank statements and junk mail, we are thrilled every other month when we receive a publication for us, about us and by us. USMS SWIMMER magazine tells the stories of countless U.S. Masters swimmers, teaches us perfect stroke technique and provides us with calendar updates and other important U.S. Masters Swimming news. Why join a local Masters program and why join USMS? As a U.S. Masters Swimming member you receive information from around the country about the sport you're dedicated to and people who you call family.

The first publication about U.S. Masters Swimming, Swim-Master, began distribution in the early 1970s. This grassroots newsletter was written, printed and distributed by June Krauser and circulated for nearly 20 years. Many volunteers such as Gail Dummer, Suzanne Rague and Nancy Ridout, to name a few, contributed to the ongoing publication and distribution of U.S. Masters swimming news and information to the general membership. In 1992 U.S. Masters Swimming partnered with Sports Publications to publish SWIM Magazine. In 2005 U.S. Masters Swimming made the decision to publish its own magazine geared specifically towards its members. Current editor Bill Volckening (a long-time Masters swimmer), has contributed to the U.S. Masters Swimming publication for eight years and continues to satisfy our hunger for information.

Bill's interest in writing and publishing began in high school, where he was the co-editor at the Peddie School in New Jersey. Bill earned a bachelor of fine arts in photography at the School of Visual Arts in New York and a graduate degree from NYU. He also studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and the International Center of Photography. "I joined the aquatics staff at Peddie where I started a Masters club and grew it to 100 members in one year. That's when I started writing and publishing newsletters and writing more articles. My first feature in SWIM Magazine was published in 1995," says Bill. A year later Bill moved to Oregon to coach another Masters group and started writing for his club's newsletter. After receiving the Newsletter of the Year award at the U.S. Masters Swimming convention, Bill was asked if he would be interested in volunteering as the USMS editor for SWIM Magazine. Bill has and continues to play a key role in the progress and growth of the U.S. Masters Swimming publication and continues to bring a smile when each of us opens our mailboxes to find our USMS SWIMMER magazine waiting for us.

With roughly 50,000 members, how do Bill and the U.S. Masters Swimming volunteers determine what stories should be told in each issue? "We spend a lot of time reviewing ideas. Fortunately, we receive more than enough great ideas and stories from our readers. The trick is keeping our finger on the pulse of Masters swimming and our members' interests," according to Bill. The neoprene feature from earlier this year serves as a perfect example of Bill's talent of predicting successful features and stories. "We knew the wetsuit debate would be among the most passionate topics at the convention and that's why we wanted our readers to know about it in advance. We planned that feature in August of 2007 and published the feature in May of 2008." Coupled with time, dedication and total commitment from Bill and the U.S. Masters Swimming volunteers, a well-organized editorial plan serves as the most important element in the success of USMS SWIMMER magazine

Why is SWIMMER so successful among us? Bill thinks, "Our readers love SWIMMER because it is member-driven and published specifically for Masters swimmers. We profile Masters swimmers and those of interest to our members." Bill continues, "In the proposal stages, SWIMMER was called Swimming Magazine. I felt strongly about the name SWIMMER because the magazine was meant for each and every swimmer."

The publication of an edition of USMS SWIMMER involves weeks of planning, hard work, information-gathering, writing, printing and distributing. Dozens of people, including handfuls of U.S. Masters Swimming volunteers, spend countless hours on each issue before it arrives in each of our mailboxes. The January/February issue is the largest run of copies, but general circulation is over 48,000 copies every other month.

If you have a story or idea for the member magazine, please send it to Bill Volckening at williamvolckening@comcast.net.


2009 Arizona Open Water Series

Next year, we will have at least five open water swimming events within Arizona! Local sporting events company DCB Adventures is expanding their slate of open water swims in 2009 and adding new venues. This is exciting news to open water swimmers everywhere.

The swims will be held at three different lakes around Phoenix during both the late spring and early fall. This will extend the open water season for those swimming events in other states. All of these events will offer both 2k and 4k distances for participants. You can get more details by going to the Events page on the AZ LMSC website.

We've already received some press on this on the 10k Swimmer website, no doubt we will get more in the near future.

Thanks to David Benjes from DCB Adventures, Mark Gill from USMS, June Hussey from Skyline Masters, and everybody else involved in this series.


Open Water Recognition for Four U.S. Masters Swimmers

I'm sure most of you thought the election was over, but the voting has just begun. Four U.S. Masters swimmers are up for awards granted by www.10KSwimmer.com: Open Water Man of the Year and Open Water Woman of the Year. Representing U.S. Masters Swimming, Randy Nutt, Bob Placak, Alex Kostich, and Marcia Cleveland are among others in the poll and need your support.

Open water swimming, as we learned with Monday's feature, is an event for all swimmers. Swimmers, competitive and fitness alike, embrace the sense of freedom that open water swimming provides. Swimmers test themselves in distance events, destination swims and other challenges in the open water. Open water swimming continues to gain popularity among swimmers around the world and U.S. Masters Swimming is committed to contribute to its growth by sanctioning events throughout the United States.

Ashley Gangloff, a U.S. Masters Swimming staff member, interviewed Randy about his passion for the open water and his www.10KSwimmer.com recognition.
Ashley: How long have you been swimming in open water events?

Randy: My high school held a swim-a-thon off Fort Lauderdale Beach in the 70's and about that time I started swimming in Fort Lauderdale's Galt Ocean Mile Swim -now called the Fort Lauderdale Rough Water. In college our Coach, Bob Saunders (Marshall University), took our team to Brazil to teach kids to swim. I fell in love with travel, adventure and open water swimming there.

Ashley: What was your first open water experience?

Randy: Jones Beach body surfing as a kid, holding my younger brother and sister up above the surf. Then growing up along Fort Lauderdale's beach offered lots of early open water experiences.

Ashley: What is your most memorable open water experience?

Randy: I received a phone call from Sharon Luka who said she had tried and tried to enter several open water swims but was always told no she was not allowed - because she was blind. A friend of hers told her to call me because at that time I was directing the 12-mile Swim Around Key West . She asked if I would let her in. I said "Absolutely" right away, and "Not only can you enter but I'll help assemble the crew to help you." She could not believe that I let her enter and that she had an event to swim in. The end of that story is she swam 12 miles around Key West and we named an award after her -the Sharon Luka Spirit Award. All she needed was someone to believe in her -and give her a chance. All my open water experiences are memorable when I can help someone accomplish a goal of theirs.

Ashley: What does the recognition from www.10KSwimmer.com mean to you?

Randy: I am humbled. It is nice to see those mentioned and notice that they give so much back to the sport of open water swimming, making it better for everyone. Not only are there gold medalists mentioned, but many serve behind the scenes working thousands of hours to make it possible for everyone to enjoy open water.

Ashley: Why do you think there is so much growth in open water swimming?

Randy: The adventure, the excitement, the friendships and the people. I can step off a plane and meet an open water swimmer for the first time and before we are at the hotel we are friends. These friendships carry on year after year, island to island, event to event. My volunteers and I work as hard as we can to make each event as much fun for the participants - in and out of the water - as we can. It reminds me of my favorite band, Led Zeppelin. They wanted to have a party and give others a fun experience. They worked hard and played hard, and when they did that they had fun too! Life is an adventure!

Ashley: What are your swimming goals for the future?

Randy: Next year's Bermuda Round the Sound Swim in October will be a blast - with a distance for everyone. The Bermuda swim is a charity event and over $300,000 has been raised so far. So I'll keep on giving back to the sport, trying to make others smile, all while living life to its fullest.
Like all U.S. Masters swimmers, Randy continues to set goals for himself. To find out more about U.S. Masters Swimming open water events visit http://www.usms.org/comp/ldcalendar.php.

Want to get in on the action? U.S. Masters Swimming will be hosting a clinic for coaches, pool swimmers and open water swimmers May 22-24. Learn to swim and coach in the open water with the best of U.S. Masters Swimming. Mark your calendar; more details to follow.


Save Money, Help Swimming!

Want to save 50% on goods and services you already buy? One way to do it is by purchasing the Entertainment Book(tm), which is full of discounts, coupons, and special offers. You can order your's online and get it shipped right to your door. Need to get a gift for somebody this holiday season, buy them a book!

Entertainment has over one hundred books for metropolitan areas in both the US and Canada. Chances are there is one for your area. Plus, the proceeds from these books goes to support masters swimming! It's a win-win, which is especially important during tough economic times.


Nothing Like the Open Water

Open water events provide freedom, fun and a challenge to all kinds of Masters swimmers. Why join a local Masters program and why join USMS? U.S. Masters Swimming offers events around the country that are perfect for fitness swimmers, triathletes and competitive swimmers alike.

What is an open water event? An open water event is any swimming event that takes place in a lake, a river, an ocean, a quarry or any other body of water other than a pool. "A pool doesn't compare to the open water," according to Mark Gill of Kentucky Masters Swimming. "Open water is free of the restrictions of lane lines and walls, pace clocks and scoreboards. There is a certain enjoyment that is found in open water events that is different from pool events."

The concept of open water swimming can seem daunting, so how does someone get started? "If you are at the beach and decide to swim out to the first buoy and back, you have just completed an open water swim," says Mark. Open water events are often coupled with iconic distances, locations and landmarks: a swim around Manhattan, the English Channel or around Key West. Many open water swimmers set completion goals rather than goals measured in time standards, much like running a marathon. "People understand when I tell them that I completed the Alcatraz swim," says Mark, who completed the swim last year. "They know what that distance is, they can visualize the conditions; they do not care how fast I swam it."

As open water challenges continue to grow in popularity, Mark hopes to see more open water clinics and educational material to help bridge the gap between pool swimming and open water swimming. "Most open water swimmers train primarily in the pool," says Mark. He believes that any swimmer has the capability to swim in an open water event. "Swimmers must learn to be comfortable in the open water. We are all used to the black lines at the bottom of the pool and the pace clock on the wall, but if we can help teach swimmers to be comfortable in the open water, open water events will see a tremendous amount of growth," continues Mark. "Open water is a perfect fit for fitness swimmers. It provides a specific, recognizable goal, and to some is considered less intimidating than a pool event."

Open water events can host thousands of athletes at one time. As a successful open water event coordinator, Mark says, "I can run one event for a thousand athletes and be finished and socializing in two hours. Open water events are fun because everyone starts together and everyone sticks around after the event to enjoy the location and their fellow swimmers." Open water events allow many participants to swim together, creating a challenging but fun atmosphere.

U.S. Masters Swimming hosts five open water championships and sanctions countless events every year. For more information regarding U.S. Masters Swimming open water championships, go here.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?