What is U.S. Masters Swimming?
U.S. Masters Swimming (USMS) is a national organization that provides 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.
Founded in 1970, USMS is organized with over 500 clubs in 52 LMSCs throughout the United States. Membership numbers more than 48,000, with individual members ranging in age from 18 to over 100.
Illinois Masters Swimming Association is a not for profit Local Masters Swimming Committee (LMSC) of U.S. Masters Swimming (USMS). Geographically, ILMSA governs most of the state of Illinois.
You can become a registered Masters swimmer by completing the online registration on the usms.org website. Renewal of membership may be completed on the same website.
The following groups are entitled to membership discounts:
ILMSA swimmers under 25 – Waive ILMSA portion of dues for qualifying members under the age of 25.
ILMSA swimmers age 75 and over who have been members of ILMSA for the 5 consecutive preceding years are eligible for a free ILMSA/USMS membership. Individuals who qualify still need to fill out an individual membership form.
USMS Officials with the approval of the Officials and Safety Committee may have their membership dues waived.
Your USMS registration means that you are automatically covered by the USMS insurance, which provides accident and liability insurance during all sanctioned events and organized workouts as long as ALL participants are USMS members. You will also receive USMS SWIMMER magazine. Online workouts are available to members. In addition, your membership gives you an opportunity to train with other teams/clubs with USMS affiliation; a fee may apply.
Team vs. Club
The terms “team” and ‘club” have very specific meanings within the USMS organization. “Club” refers to a group that is recognized as an organization registered with USMS through the local masters swimming committee (LMSC). Throughout most of the state, ILMSA is the governing LMSC, but ILMSA is not a club. It is your “club” affiliation, which determines your membership for events outside of Illinois (i.e., USMS events, clinics, meets sanctioned by other LMSCs, national championships, international meets). Often clubs are comprised of numerous subgroups or “teams.” The term “workout group” is also used particularly at the national level to refer to a team.
Within Illinois, and varying with each year, there are approximately 12 registered “clubs,” one of which is Illinois Masters. Other recently-registered clubs include Academy Bullets Masters (ABM), the Joliet Park District (JPD), and Mount Greenwood Masters (MGM). Illinois Masters (IM) is the largest club in Illinois, comprising approximately forty (40) teams (or subgroups). It provides swimmers, who are registered with IM, the opportunity to swim on relays at meets outside of Illinois. If an individual member is a part of a team that is registered with ILMSA under the auspices of IM, that individual member can compete with their team and/or under the IM banner at meets held by other LMSCs outside of ILMSA. For example, if you are a member of the Park Ridge Penguins, you can compete for the Penguins at all meets within Illinois and swim for IM at a national championship meet or a meet held by the Indiana LMSC.
Also, you can search for Clubs across the United States on the the USMS Places to Swim page.
Independent vs. Unattached
An unattached swimmer is a swimmer, who has registered with the LMSC but has decided not to affiliate with a club and/or team. An unattached swimmer may swim in any event, local or national, but may not compete on relays. An independent swimmer is a swimmer, who is not a member of a team/subgroup/workout group, but is a member of Illinois Masters (IM). Such a swimmer is counted as Independent for meets sponsored within ILMSA, but is eligible to represent IM at national events or events held by other LMSCs outside of Illinois, and can swim on IM relays. There is no additional membership fee for swimmers wishing to swim as Independent Members of IM. You may register as an Independent member of IM by checking the appropriate box on the ILMSA individual member registration form.
ILMSA remains strong because of the hard work of the many volunteers. To volunteer with ILMSA simply contact a member of the Board of Directors and find out what opportunities are available. You can find them listed with all contact information at the ILMSA web site under Check Us Out, Board of Directors. Come to an ILMSA board meeting. It’s a great way to find out what opportunities are available as well as meet avid masters swimmers from other areas and teams.
You must be a USMS member to participate in meets and sanctioned open water swims.
Most competitions require in advance registration. For those that don’t, deck entries or day of registrations are permitted. These are typically done an hour before the start of the meet are are listed on the meet information sheet.