Splashing into competition

Erika Puch

Rec center offers Masters Swim Program

Kent State offers many master’s programs in its various departments across campus, but every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, avid swimmers can participate in their own kind of master’s program.

The program allows participants to improve their swim skills through coached practice, and participants also have the option of competing locally in monthly swim meets.

“There is so much interest in the program because Kent doesn’t have a swim team,” said Mindi McBride, aquatics coordinator at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center. “It is a another way to compete besides on the collegiate level.”

During practices, swimmers begin with a warm up and kick sets. Then they move on to more challenging tasks, like timed swimming. Katie Amer, the team’s coach, said she tries to get between 3,000 and 4,000 yards of swimming in a practice. She said it is definitely a workout.

“This is not a swim lesson,” Amer said. “This is for people who have a background in swimming.”

Amer explained masters swim participants must be able to swim 20 lengths of the pool without stopping. If a swimmer is unable to do this, they are referred to swim lessons.

The Masters Swim Program does not just happen at Kent State; it is a national program. Before students can participate in any of the swim meets they must become a registered member of the Ohio Masters Swim Club. Registration is $20.

After registering, students may choose what event they would like to compete in at the meet. Popular events include freestyle and breaststroke. After they sign up for an event, they must pay an entry fee of $3 and show a Kent State ID.

Graduate student Justin Montemarano has been participating in the masters swim program since September. He usually enters in three different events at the meet.

“That will knock you out for the rest of the day,” Montemarano said.

Before coming to meets, swimmers have no idea who they will be competing against. Amer said sometimes they may be swimming with past Olympians. She said at previous meets Kent State masters swim members have excelled. The next scheduled meet is in Wooster.

While Kent State’s team is small, the program is growing. Last year only a few students and members participated, but now about 20 individuals are registered for the program.

Amer said she hopes one day the Masters Swim Program will become a club sport so the program can receive university funding. Right now, swimmers are restricted to only two lanes in the pool. The pool is not a competition pool and is not equipped with many of the items swimmers need to prepare for a competition.

Students interested in the program should come to the aquatics office in the rec center for more information.

Contact Student Recreation and Wellness Center reporter Erika Puch at [email protected].