Competitive Opportunities for Masters
Competitive Masters swimmers are well catered for, from structured national competitions in prestigious venues to challenges that can be done in the swimmer’s own time and pool. Just choose what’s right for you.
Click here to access the Masters-only calendar of events.
If you’re looking for the more competitive side of Masters Swimming then look at a number of the keenly contested national and regional events. The first port of call is to check the calendar. Click the box left to find an event near you.
One key event is the British Masters Championships held in June. It takes place over a long course (50-metre pool). There is also the ASA (English) Masters Championships, normally held in October over a 25-metre course. Details of these events can be found by clicking on the calendar above. Scotland and Wales have there own national events.
Some county swimming associations organise Masters competitions as well and in addition there are some 40 to 50 Masters competitions organised by individual swimming clubs, held all through the year. There is also the national Inter-Counties Competition swum in regions. The results are collated on a 'postal swim' basis.
For those who wish to travel further a field, there are World and European Championships, as well as a large number of open competitions internationally, just as there are in Great Britain.
Choice of races
The British Masters championships includes the whole range of recognised long course events (50, 100, and 200metres of each stroke, 400, 800, and 1500 freestyle, and 200 and 400 individual medley for both men and women. Additionally, there are male, female, and mixed relays swum over 4 x 50metres).
The ASA (English) Masters Championships include all of these events plus the 100metres individual medley.
The many club meets include only a proportion of the standard events, typically only the 50m and 100m events and 100m individual medleys and relays.
Masters who swim in 10 of the recognised 17 long course or 18 short course events throughout the year at qualifying Masters meets (i.e. meets whose results are recorded in the Masters rankings) are also automatically entered into the British Swimming Masters Decathlon Competition.
Qualification and rules
Unlike mainstream swimming, Masters’ competitions rarely impose a qualifying standard, so if you wish to take part in a Masters’ event you can … you simply join a club and send in your entry.
Competitions are almost always seeded on the basis of ability, and therefore no matter what standard you have reached it is likely that you will be in the pool with people of similar ability.
At present, only very large international events such as the World Championships need to impose (modest) qualifying standards. Otherwise, everyone who wants to take part is welcome.
Masters competitions are held under the same rules as apply in mainstream swimming, and races are as keenly contested. But there is always an informal air.
Masters and the other aquatic disciplines
Open water swimming (competitive outdoor long distance) events often include a Masters or 'veterans' section. There are regular Masters events in open water swimming. There is also a national Masters championship in synchronized swimming.
The World Masters Championships include all aquatic disciplines - swimming, open water, water polo, diving, and synchro, and there are also European Championships in these disciplines (though water polo is held separately).
If you wish to compete overseas you will need to complete an international permit to swim at least 28 days before you are due to leave the country. This allows the ASA to know who is swimming where, and gives you added insurance whilst you swim.
Click here to download the Masters International Permit to Swim.
It is not always necessary to travel to compete. There is an annual half-hour competition organised by the ASA called the T-30 Challenge. The objective is to find out the swimmers and club teams who can swim the greatest distance in 30minutes in their local pool.
It is not always necessary to travel to compete. Click here to find out more about the T-30 Challenge.There is also a one-hour competition organised by the British Long Distance Swimming Association. The aim is to swim as far as you can, in your own pool, in one hour. A team competition runs in parallel with the individual events.
Both of these are 'postal swims': each swimmer submits his or her performance to a central co-ordinator who produces an overall result, with recognition going to the best swimmers in each age group.
How Can I Get Involved?
The easiest way is to locate your nearest Masters swimming club or group and just turn up. Ask at your local pool or look for a local regional club here.
Or contact us and we will put you in touch with somebody in your area who can help you.