U.S. Masters Swimming

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Dawson Hughes, CEO of US Masters Swimming and a native of Newport Beach, California
USMS open water swimming clinic in Morse Lake, Indiana
Rob Butcher, Immediate Past Executive Director of United States Masters Swimming

noun - U.S. Masters Swimming (USMS) is an organized program of swimming for adults. U.S. Masters Swimming was founded in 1971 and is a non-profit membership national governing body led by Executive Director Rob Butcher. It sanctions a number of open water swims including a 25 km marathon swim. It also recruits and hires Open Water Compliance Coordinators to provide second level reviews of its sanctioned open water swimming competitions. It also gives out numerous annual awards and recognitions to its volunteers including the Ransom Arthur Award.

USMS is the premier resource for adult aquatic fitness in the United States and endeavors to make fitness through swimming available for as many adults as possible. Founded in 1970, USMS is a membership-operated national governing body that promotes health, wellness, fitness, and competition for adults through swimming. It does so by partnering with more than 1,500 adult swim programs across the country that offer a USMS-licensed Masters Swimming program; educating and certifying coaches and instructors that are teaching adults; promoting information via the bimonthly member magazine, SWIMMER, monthly e-newsletters, STREAMLINES, and usms.org; and by sanctioning and promoting pool, open water, and virtual events and competitions.


More than 65,000 adults are registered members of USMS.


Its current president is Nadine Day and its current executive director is Dawson Hughes.


The program began when the first National Masters Swimming Championships were held on May 2, 1970 at the Amarillo Aquatic Club pool. Captain Ransom J. Arthur, M.D., a San Diego navy doctor had persuaded John Spannuth, President of the Coaches Association that the event would give older swimmers (ex-competitors and beginners) a goal for keeping physically fit. Ransom's mission of encouraging adults to improve fitness through swimming has grown over the years into a nationwide organization that currently includes over 42,000 adult swimmers.

Members participate in a variety of ways ranging from lap swimming to international competition including organized workouts, competitions, clinics and workshops for adults aged 18 and over. Programs are open to all adult swimmers (fitness, triathlete, competitive, non-competitive) who are dedicated to improving their fitness through swimming. In order for swimmers to be eligible for USMS competition, they must sign up with USMS and obtain a membership card for a fee.



While there are over 500 local and regional competitions around the country that are available for masters swimmers to participate in, less than half of the members compete in these meets. However, for those that do, there are a variety of events to choose from including pool meets, postal meets and open water swims. Two national championship pool meets are held each year, which help to determine the USMS Top Ten; the top ten fastest times in the nation in pool meets that are sanctioned or recognized by USMS during the current season and is organized by age, sex and course. The swimmer with the fastest time in the USMS Top Ten in each age group, event and course plus the age group winners of the long distance events are further named to the All-American list. In each age group, the swimmer with the most All-American titles is named to the All-star team. All of the results from the competitions, as well as a record of the USMS Top Ten, All-Americans and the All-Star team members are recorded and maintained on the web in the USMS Archives.

It also sanctions the 1-Hour Postal or Speedo USMS 1-Hour Postal National Championship.


Training is a large aspect of the USMS organization, which is fortunate enough to have a variety of coaches with experience and expertise on swimming. However, not all USMS members train with a masters swim team or have a USMS organization in their area. With this in mind, USMS.org created an archive of tools on their website to give their members all of the information they need to train on their own. The website includes training tips, stroke technique tips, nutrition tips, motivation techniques, and many other bits of information that are useful for the competitive swimming community.

Core Objectives

In 2003, the USMS created their Core Objectives of Educate, Serve and Build the membership. To stand by these core objectives, the USMS SWIMMER magazine was created and provides education about the sport through featured stories, training and technique tips, health advice and equipment reviews.

Another way the organization lives by these objectives is by serving their members through the Oral History project. Oral History provides a chance for any one to give honor to a Masters Swimmer who has in some significant way made an impact on the sport, on a local team, or on a particular person. This is not necessarily one of our elite swimmers - in fact, it is geared more to those who have "labored in the fields" and changed some aspect of Masters Swimming for the better. Lastly, they build their membership by creating a growing national presence as seen from a plethora of News Releases found on USMS.org/news/.

External links