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Frequently Asked Questions

How can I join?

Joining Indy Aquatic Masters is easy! Simply fill out the registration form and bring it with you to your first practice. Being a few minutes early to practice will give you time to go over the registration information with the coach, understand how practices typically operate, and ask any questions you may have. Please note that you must be a registered USMS member as well as a member of IAM. The registration form for USMS can also be found on our website.


When can I start?

Right away! Just fill out your forms, grab your suit and goggles, and head to the pool and practice of your choosing. Indy Aquatic Masters offers practices six days a week, mornings, noon and evenings at five Indianapolis locations. The practices are organized to accommodate any skill level of swimmer.


What equipment will I need?

A comfortable fitness-type swimsuit and goggles (and a swim cap if you wish) are all you really need to workout. Additional training aids, like fins or pull buoys, are optional, but not required. All locations have a supply of kickboards available for team member use. For after your workout, a towel and your personal toiletries are necessary as all locations offer showers and changing areas.


How "fast" do I have to be?

If you can swim one length of the pool in the freestyle (front crawl) stroke, you are ready to get started. Many of our members have never been on a swim team or had any prior coaching before joining IAM. All ability levels are welcome; your coach will match you up with the lane that most closely matches your skill level.


How many practices per week are required?

At IAM, you can attend as many or as few practices per week as you would like. We are here to help you meet your swimming goals - whether they are fitness- or competitive-oriented. You are welcome to swim at any of the more than 40 scheduled IAM practices offered in our seven locations. Swim one practice or swim them all!


Who are your coaches and do they provide instruction?

Indy Aquatic Masters has a fabulous coaching staff, which boasts over 80 years of combined coaching experience – experience that crosses all ability levels and ages. In addition, IAM coaches are all certified by the American Swim Coaches Association. They are on deck at every practice to teach you the proper stroke mechanics and training techniques. No question is too big or too small to ask, so if you have any questions during the practice session, our coaches are there for you.


How are the practices organized?

Practices last approximately one hour and fifteen minutes. Coaches assist in grouping swimmers by ability level, so you can swim in a lane with people of your own ability. Our practices offer a variety of training techniques and emphasize improvement in stroke mechanics. Depending on skill level and training goals, practice distances range from 800 to 5000 yards / meters.


Do I have to choose just one workout or pool?

You are welcome to swim at any of the more than 40 scheduled IAM practices offered in our seven locations. There are no restrictions to how many practices you can swim per week or even per day.


What if I can't do the other strokes, but can just swim freestyle?

Indy Aquatic Masters is dedicated to helping its members choose to live healthier lifestyles through swimming. Our diverse workouts accommodate all goals and skill levels. However, there will be opportunities to swim all of the strokes throughout the week and we encourage you to try and learn all four competitive strokes. It is our experience that learning and practicing all four strokes will improve your overall conditioning. We recognize there are always exceptions to fit an individual's needs, so if there is a particular practice that you would like to modify, please talk to the coach on deck.


Do I have to compete?

There are no competitive requirements to be a member of Indy Aquatic Masters. IAM serves all swimmers, whether they are competing USMS members, multi-sport athletes, or fitness swimmers. And, while you don’t have to compete, all IAM members have the opportunity to compete in local, regional, national, and international swim events.


I’m just starting out. What do you suggest?

For swimmers just starting out, we recommend that for the first 2-3 weeks, you start with 3 practices per week being sure to include a rest day between practices. As your body adapts to your new workout, it is easy to add additional practices in to your schedule.

When just getting started, it can be tempting to overdo your workouts. Build up yardage gradually and don’t feel like you have to swim the whole practice. Your coach can guide you to appropriate distances/intervals as you allow your body to adapt to the workload.

Don't get discouraged! Starting any new fitness regimen can be daunting. It usually takes the first 3 - 5 practices for your body to adapt to breathing and adjusting to the buoyancy of the water. In addition, it can take another 4 - 6 weeks to feel comfortable swimming a full practice. Go at your own pace and talk to one of the coaches if you are feeling discouraged or that you are not progressing "fast enough". The coaches are here to help you succeed – whatever your goals may be.

For more tips on getting started, be sure to check out Starting a Swimming Routine from the USMS website.


I've never swam with a group, what do I need to know?

There are a few "rules" that are used at a typical practice. From circle swimming (always keep to your right) to send-off's (allow at least 5 seconds between swimmers), a few simple rules keep lane mates working well and the practice running smooth. Check out the USMS article on Pool Etiquette and, when in doubt, ask your on-deck coach. 


How do I keep the intervals straight or read the pace clock?

IAM workouts are interval-based. For example, a main set may be doing 20 x 50s on 1:30. That means, every 1:30 you leave the wall again to swim another 50 yards (until you reach a total of 20 swims). The coach on deck will help you keep the intervals straight and you will quickly learn how to use the clock. To get a head start on using the pace clock, try reading Using the Pace Clock from the USMS website.