Demographic Changes Highlighted By U.S. Masters Swimming

Demographic Changes Highlighted By U.S. Masters Swimming

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

From far and wide, many marathon swimmers will descend upon Indiana’s Morse Reservoir on June 18th.

Dick Sidner (shown on left) and his team of dedicated volunteers will host the 2011 U.S. Masters Swimming 25 km National Championships. Besides the hoards of solo swimmers, the event will also have a single gender (3 x 5K) and mixed gender (4 x 5 km) relay national championships. Each swimmer will swim one loop of the course simultaneously for a cumulative team time.

The relays will compose of 3 men or 3 women in the 15 km or two men and two women in the 20K mixed relay. A 5 km solo swim will be available for individuals unable to build a relay team.

In the marathon swimming world in America – whether in competitions or solo swims – as the distance increases so seemingly does the average age of the swimmer. This phenomena was not always the case – at least in America. While the young Lynne Cox, Penny Dean, John York, Paul Asmuth, James Kegley and their contemporaries dominated the marathon swimming scene in the 1970s and 1980s, swimmers under the age of 25 no longer dominate in the 21st century.

As USA Swimming canceled its 25K national championships years ago, the U.S. Masters Swimming began their version and the numbers continue to increase year after year. With an average age of 36 and an increasing number of baby boomers taking to the waterways, the demographic trends in the open water – exemplified by the Half Century Club are mirroring the changes that also occurred in the marathon running world.

By analyzing the data and looking at the trends, it is clear that the health of the marathon running world is a precursor to what will happen in the open water world.

Copyright © 2011 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones