U.S. Masters Swimming, Swim.com Partner for First Virtual National Championship

2020 Toyota USMS Virtual Championships

U.S. Masters Swimming and Swim.com are teaming up to host the 2020 Toyota USMS Virtual Championships from Aug. 12-23, a first of its kind virtual championships for masters swimmers.

The event will feature competition in the pool (standard distances and strokes over 25-yard pools) and open water races up to 10 miles. All USMS members with access to a suitable competition pool are eligible. Times will be tracked by individual performers and submitted to swim.com via its app, either by smartwatch or manually entered.

“Our strategic partnership with Swim.com is creating an opportunity to greatly reduce the barriers for swimmers to compete against each other,” Dawson Hughes, the CEO of U.S. Masters Swimming, said in a press release. “While we look forward to the return of in-pool competitions, these virtual competitions give every one of our members the opportunity to participate safely without the need to travel or attend crowded events. It’s a game changer.

“This championship is the latest project that has come out of our partnership with Swim.com, following our successful integration of members’ My USMS and Swim.com accounts and launch of our enhanced Workout Library.”

The push for virtual competition has been on in many (especially endurance) sports, especially given the social distancing requirements of COVID-19. Technology is playing a key role in that development. USA Swimming last week released a new website tool to set up virtual competitions via sanctioned or unsanctioned meets, essentially allowing in-house intrasquad meets or time trials to be compared from one team to another and scored in a formalized way through their database. The objective of USA Swimming in developing that tool was to create the infrastructure in a way that wouldn’t burden clubs with new costs, via third-party apps, to hasten the return of competition in some way.

Swim.com is one such third party, and their long-standing partnership with USMS means that the 2020 Toyota USMS Virtual Championships could be just a start. With the technology in place and a better understanding of how socially distant competitions could work, it opens up opportunities beyond the period of coronavirus lockdowns.

“We were already heading in this direction with the Swim.com platform but the impact of COVID-19 on swimming pools and competitions accelerated our focus and development,” Swim.com president John Anthony said. “… We are giving coaches and swimmers new tools to improve the overall swimming experience. Swimming can be highly structured and, more recently, isolated, so we are focused on delivering fresh, new experiences that keep swimmers and coaches connected and engaged.”

Information on the features and perks of the 2020 Toyota USMS Virtual Championships is available here.