Just starting out? Swimming is an excellent whole-body exercise that is gentle on the joints. The vast majority of USMS clubs will accommodate swimmers of a wide variety of skills and experience, from novices to former collegiate stars.
Even though most USMS clubs are very welcoming to beginners, it can be an intimidating leap from “lap swimmer” to so-called “masters” swimmer. Recently Matt Luebbers, a coach at About.com Swimming, put together an 8-week plan to help increase your swimming fitness and confidence levels. Coach Luebbers has workout plans for a variety of swimmers, and the website also explains some key terms and concepts.
Of course, there are plenty of great workouts on the USMS pages, too (some are restricted to USMS members). And let’s not forget Betsy’s 1-Hr Workouts thread by our very own Betsy Durrant, up to 418 entries and counting!
Web workouts are nice when you swim alone, but there is nothing like a real-live coach on the pool deck and fellow swimmers in the pool! Once you feel ready, you can visit a local USMS club to get coached workouts and help with stroke technique. Where should you go?
There is a current list of LMSC clubs on our website, and a more extensive list on the USMS Places to Swim page. If you are in the DC area, you should also look at the list of clubs in the Potomac Valley LMSC. Many clubs will offer a trial period for you to sample their wares.
The USMS page is geocoded, which is pretty cool: you can go here and list all the places to swim within (say) 25 miles of a specific zip code or address. Unfortunately, information on Places to Swim can sometimes be outdated, which is why you should check both places.