This year marks the completion of 20 years of swimming with TAM for me. It hasn’t seemed that long. But in some ways, it feels more like a new beginning.
I don’t come from a swimming background. I began as the proverbial “back and forth” lap swimmer in my 40’s, attempting to increase my yardage and hopefully, endurance, each time I swam. What I discovered was that I just learned to swim farther with no increase in pace, all while reinforcing the same bad stroke techniques that I had developed over several years in the pool.
In 1987, a couple of work friends coerced me into going over to the San Ramon HS pool to swim laps at lunch time. As it turned out, there was a masters team working out there. Once the coach saw my stroke, he harassed me into joining the team, thinking there was a lot of improvement opportunity there. I am not sure that ever materialized but I did discover that I loved doing workouts under the watchful eyes of a coach instead of just going back and forth swimming laps. My time in San Ramon only lasted a few years but I was hooked on Masters Swimming.
From 1987 to 2002, I belonged to a number of small Masters teams in Marin. I also was receivng the Pacific Masters newsletter that showed up in my mail every few months. That was how I first learned about TAM. However, reading about TAM left me with the sense that it was a team of super fast, competitive racers and that I just wouldn’t be able to keep up or fit in.
Finally, when my last masters team folded in 2002, I decided to give TAM a try, although with much apprehension. I have to say that my fears were unfounded. Not only did everyone welcome me with open arms, but no one (openly) critiqued my horrific technique. I also discovered that everyone had interesting stories and personalities beyond their love of swimming. I felt welcomed and comfortable from day one and have really enjoyed the unique backgrounds and personalities of all members.
I remember how I felt joining the team and have tried to make a point to welcome and get to know new members as much as possible to help make them feel like they’re part of the team. The last few months have felt a bit like drinking from a fire hose. We have added quite a few new members. At one of the recent Saturday workouts, I looked around the lanes and noticed that perhaps a third or more were swimmers who weren’t on the team earlier this year!
I have slowly gotten to know a little bit about several of the members and again have marveled at the unique backgrounds and personalities of everyone. So, a new pool, fresh faces….I almost feel like our team has gotten an infusion of new energy and personalities. I hope everyone feels this way as we work our way to another Twelve Days of Christmas workout and the Hour Swim!