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An introduction to Masters swimming competitions

There is no shortage of chances to get your competitive juices flowing with Masters swimming competitions at local, national and international level.

The majority of Masters club meets include 50m and 100m races for the different strokes, as well as relays. Meanwhile, larger competitions may include longer races over distances such as 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m.

If you’re not confident in your fitness or ability, don’t be put off from competing. Most Masters swimming competitions don’t impose a qualifying standard.

And don’t worry – you won’t find yourself swimming against a fresh-faced youngster with biceps bigger than your head. Unless perhaps you are one yourself, in which case, have you tried Grant Turner’s Gym Workout?

Nearly all Masters races are seeded so people swim against those with a similar entry time. And results are ranked in five-year age groups, so you will be aiming to go faster than your contemporaries.

How to find events and enter

Head to our Competition Calendar here to find a Masters swimming competition near you.

The event calendar pages feature entry forms and any other documents you will need.

Key Masters Swimming Competitions

Five of the key Masters swimming competitions in the domestic calendar are listed below. Click or tap the links to find out how to enter, or read below for more information.

British Championships and Swim England National Championships

Two of the biggest competitions in the domestic Masters calendar are the British Championships and the Swim England National Championships.

The British Masters and Senior Age Group Championships take place over three days in June and take place in a long course 50m pool. They feature the full range of long course individual events (50m, 100m, and 200m of each stroke, 400m, 800m, and 1500m Freestyle, and 200m and 400m Individual Medley for both men and women) as well as relays.

Butterfly swimmer in front of Swim England Masters branding.

The Swim England National Masters and Senior Age Group Championships are usually held over three days in October and take place in a short course 25m pool. The same events are competed as at the British Championships, with the addition of the 100m Individual Medley.

Scottish Swimming and the Welsh ASA also run their own national Masters competitions throughout the year.

T-30 Challenge

You don’t always have to travel to compete. Masters swimmers can take part in a unique 30-minute racing challenge from the comfort of their own pool

The T-30 Challenge tests how fast you can swim in 30 minutes.

Everyone who wants to ‘compete’ submits their time between November and January and winners are calculated in each of the respective Masters five-year age groups.

The Masters Decathlon

The British Masters Decathlon adds a bit of spice to the calendar. The Decathlon ranks Masters swimmers according to their performances across the full range of swimming events.

Swimmers earn points based on their performances at Masters competitions throughout the year. They accumulate a points total from up to 10 of the 18 individual swimming events.

The top individual and team points earners at the end of the calendar year win prizes.

European and World Championships

Conquered the best the Britain has to offer? Then the next step is to try your chances against international rivals!

European aquatics governing body LEN host a European Masters Swimming Championships and World aquatics governing body FINA host a World Masters Swimming Championships.

Guildford City SC Masters world record relay quartet from the World Championships 2017

A lot of British Masters swimmers usually attend these events and there is always a great atmosphere.

Masters swimmers wishing to compete overseas will need to complete an international permit to swim at least 28 days before they leave the country. This allows us to know who is swimming where, and gives added insurance.