Swimmers of many ages Masters
For many athletes, once a certain age is reached, the ability to compete falls by the wayside. But for Masters swimmers, the competition has only just begun.
"We have some swimmers that swam when they were in college, young and still very fast. We have some swimmers that are just getting into swimming, tried Masters, and they are doing just fine," said swim coach Lorin Koszegi, who instructs Masters, as well as other swimmers at the Clay Road YMCA, 10655 Clay Road.
Koszegi, a Heights resident, explains that Masters swimming is not like golf masters where former professionals are over 50 and still playing. The age spread is broad.
Kevin Small, 54, has been swimming since he was 7-years-old. He was on the swim team at Colorado School of Mines. Small says he swims because it keeps him in shape.
"It's really hard to hurt yourself. I used to run but stopped when I had to ice my knees all the time," he said. "Lorin is the best swim coach I ever had, a unique ability to explain swimming to people. Swimming is kind of like a fountain of youth. It de-stresses me, provides exercise and I enjoy the water."
U.S. Masters Swimming 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 who are dedicated to improving their fitness through swimming. Koszegi says Masters brings together professional coaching with swimmers, helping them move forward, keep fit, understand their strokes and increase their speed.
Holly Foster, 37, is new to getting in the pool herself, but not to swimming.
"A year ago, last January, I couldn't put my face in the water. I decided since I take my kids to swim lessons, it was time for me to conquer that fear," she said. "I went to adult beginner swim class at the YMCA for a month and got to where I could get across the pool, but I wanted more instruction. I heard through word of mouth that the masters coach would work with beginners. He did and about April or May he said, 'Alright, you are ready for a real lane and jump in.' I haven't looked back. It has been a really great experience.
"Every time I came back he (Koszegi) would give me another piece of the puzzle. He has such an eye for detail. He can take somebody from the beginning and really get them moving quickly.
"The group experience just pushed me way further than I could have ever gone on my own, super friendly, accepting and very challenging. You have to keep going or you will be left hanging on the wall because there is always somebody right behind you."
Foster's first and only Masters meet was last September.
"I won, but I think the lady next to me may have let me win," said Foster, who swam a 50-meter distance in less than 50 seconds.
Koszegi also coaches 10-14 year old Juniors and Elite Juniors with Houston Cougar Aquatic Sports, and privately instructs numerous swimmers that compete locally and internationally. He can be reached at CoachLorinKoszegi@operamail.com.
Koszegi says the swim team at Clay Road YMCA has 51 regular swimmers and another 20 or so that are occasional swimmers.
"There are all age brackets, some in 20s, a couple in their 60s," he said.
The core group tries to swim meets four to five times a year at different places around the city and state.
More information about the Clay Road Family YMCA can be obtained by calling 713-467-9622, or by calling Koszegi at 832-771-6466.
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