History of Swindon Area Masters
The idea for Swindon Area Masters (SAMs) arose at a Masters' gala at Basingstoke in 1991 when swimmers from Dolphins, Tigersharks and Swindon ASC (the three Swindon Swimming Culbs) chatted about not having enough swimmers there to enter the relays. SAMs was formed and affiliated to the ASA in 1992.
SAMs always competes in the annual Wiltshire Masters and has won the top team trophy twice, most recently in 2004. SAMs came 2nd in 2005 and 3rd in both 2006 & 2007.
Members have regularly competed in Western Counties and sometimes the National Masters and even occasionally in International Meets.
SAMs has two sessions per week at 9pm in the Link Centre in Swindon's West District Centre on Wednesday and Friday evenings. Initially Wednesdays was shared with a triathlon club and SAMs only had thee of the six lanes. The triathlon club has now moved on and SAMs uses four of the six lanes.
History of Masters Swimming
Masters groups exist for most sports now with the intention of providing a more structured environment in which to keep participating in your chosen sport beyond the normal competitive age.
The history of Masters Swimming is brief. The first recorded meet was held in Amarillo, Texas, in May 1970, which attracted 65 swimmers. Gradually the idea that you could swim after the age of 20 spread world wide. FINA introduced a World Masters Swimming Championships meet in 1984, and Masters Swimming formed a major part of the first World Masters Games, held in 1985.
The first masters meet in Great Britain was promoted by the Otter SC at the City University pool London, in 1972. The first English (ASA) championships were held at York in 1981, and the first GB Masters Championships were held at Port Talbot in 1987, the same year as the first LEN European Masters Championship, held at Blackpool.
The general format of masters meets is similar the world over. Events are swum either as graded heats (with swimmers arranged from slowest to fastest with no age consideration - the winners in any age group are declared after all heats have been swum) or, in some major competitions, in heats arranged by speed within age groups. Age groups are almost universally the standard five year groups starting from 25-29 years. Many competitions, including the ASA and British Swimming Championships, incorporate younger age groups such as a 19-24 year group as well.