*Update 7JAN08: I get a good amount of visitors to this post from people with questions about swimming unattached. If you have a question you want to ask me about it feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org!
I’ve now competed in 2 masters events as an unattached swimmer, 1 open water and 1 in the pool. I was apprehensive about tackling my return to swimming unattached but it has proven to be a good thing so far. It’s not necessarily a complete experience though.
I can do whatever I want and train whenever I feel like it
I don’t have to pay team fees
I can go to any meet that I want, it doesn’t matter if my team is going or not
Masters swimming seems to be an inherently friendly organization and even if you’re not part of a team people you don’t even know will still be nice and support you. At the Naples Island swim the host team was friendlier to me than teams I have actually been a part of! At Davis I had strangers congratulating me on winning my heat in the 100 IM. Very cool.
(on a personal level) I can ride my bike to my current pool. The nearest masters team that seems decent is too far to do that and I don’t want to give up my cross training on the bike
It’s hard to write your own workouts and stick to them
There’s no one to hang out with, watch your stuff, cheer for you at a swim meet
There’s no coach to tell you what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong.
It gets a little lonely sometimes to train and compete alone
As it stands right now I’m happy swimming unattached. Swimming is an individual sport and being responsible for your own workouts and results isn’t a bad thing. I may breakdown and join a team someday but I don’t think that day will be coming anytime soon.