What is masters swimming?

Heard the term ‘masters swimming’ a fair bit but don't know what is it, and who it is aimed at? John Wood explains all you need to know about masters swimming

What is masters swimming

Masters swimming is analogous to age-group racing in triathlon. It’s effectively swimming for over 18s with the option of competition split into five-year age bands. There are masters clubs and groups all over the UK, and beyond.


Masters swimming can range from casual fitness swimming all the way up to top-end competition. As with triathlon, how much you want to put in is up to you.

Anyone can be a part of a masters swim club and race. It’s something I recommend to many triathletes to change their focus somewhat, similar to competing in cross-country races in the winter or hitting your mountain bike or cyclocross bike.

There are numerous benefits to triathletes joining a masters swim programme. You get to swim with other athletes who are faster than you, which can only help in terms of pulling you along. You’ll also be coached by swim experts. Yes, they might not know much about triathlon, but they can definitely help you nail your freestyle and be more efficient.

If you choose to race, it’s very much like triathlon – you have to be a member of British Swimming. Normally, if you’re part of a club, this’ll include your race licence, but if you only intend to race once or twice, you could get a temporary membership.


All in all, there aren’t really any reasons NOT to get involved with masters swimming. It can add a new dimension to your swimming and super charge your first discipline for the next tri season.