Grown-Up Swimming Teams with US Masters to Create Fun Adult Leagues

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Photo Courtesy: Grown-Up Swimming

When Brian Robbins returned to his old summer league in Atlanta, he was asked if he wanted to direct the adult summer league.

He was a little surprised.

This wasn’t a kids’ summer league. It was a new concept for him.

“I was like, ‘What?’ A kickball league or softball league but for swimming. I didn’t know how I hadn’t heard of this, and it is fantastic,” Brian Robbins told Swimming World.

Robbins, a former Georgia Tech swimmer, quickly realized he had found his place.

He started an organization called Grown-Up Swimming, geared toward getting fun adult summer leagues in major cities around the country.

“It grew quickly, starting in 2017. Around that time, word started to spread and I started to form Grown-Up Swimming and separate out from the Atlanta Swim Association so that we could bring this to other cities around the country,” Robbins said. “We started being active in other cities in 2021. It is just a ton of fun. This is something everybody needs to be doing. It was always a long-term vision to be in every major city around the country. This is something people should have access to.”

U.S. Masters Swimming agreed and has partnered with Grown-Up Swimming to help get the organization going – and growing.

“We needed some support to get this launched. Here comes USMS and we have some pretty well aligned visions for what this could be. We have gotten really excited about what 2024 and beyond will look like,” Robbins said.

For USMS, this vision helped the organization with something it has been trying to find.

“USMS has struggled for a long time. One of the perceptions is that masters swimming is just for the elite older adult athlete. We are not necessarily that, but since we have national championships and there is a lot of focus on records and results, a lot of our swimmers are that elite adult athlete, which gets a lot of attention,” USMS CEO Dawson Hughes said. “We are constantly trying to remind adult swimmers that it can appeal to any level of swimmer, but it is an uphill battle that we are fighting all the time.

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Photo Courtesy: Grown-Up Swimming

“We started building a new strategic plan, which included new ways to try to get adults to swim. We met Brian and looked at the parallels with our goals and it just made a lot of sense. We are hearing from our swimmers that they want shorter events, shorter distances, more fun and it was a pretty easy fit. It took a little time to weave through our governance process and get on board with this, but we are really excited about this. Our mission is the same, to get as many adults swimming as possible. Hopefully this gets people into a pattern of fitness.”

This year will start the expansion of Grown-Up Swimming and build from the ground up with the help of several resources from USMS.

“Our primary goal is recruiting. Each league has a league director that is the boots on the ground to network and help recruit team captains and get teams going. Our goal is to be about 20 leagues this year with 3-4 regular-season meets and a league championship,” Robbins said.

It is all about bringing a fun atmosphere to adult swimming.

“Hop in and swim a 25 breaststroke, get out with your friends, grab some nachos and swam again later, and then maybe got some ice cream afterward. That was swimming in the summer,” Robbins said.

That is what Grown-Up Swimming is all about bringing back.

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Nancy Knott
Nancy Knott
1 month ago

I love this idea!

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