How can I join?

Joining iSWIM is easy! First you must be a US Masters Swimming Member. The registration form for USMS can be found here.  Next, just visit the Club Assistant website and fill out your information (click here).  It’s as easy as that!

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. iSWIM practices six days a week, with morning, noon, and evening practices at three Greater Lafayette 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 work out. Additional training aids, like fins or pull buoys, are optional but not required. Our swim facilities have a supply of kick boards 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.

What kind of swimsuit should I buy?

Our swimmers generally wear competition- or fitness-type swimsuits. Women most often (but not always) wear one-piece suits and men generally wear jammers, briefs, or square-leg suits. You can wear swim trunks like you would wear to the beach, but they’ll drag in the water and slow you down! Check out a selection of suits locally at Tri-n-Run or online at Speedo.

How “fast” do I have to be?

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

If you’re interested in learning how to swim, check out the Adult Learn to Swim program.

How many practices per week are required?

At iSWIM, 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 scheduled iSWIM practices offered at all of our locations. Swim one practice or swim them all!

Who are your coaches and do they provide instruction?

iSWIM has a fabulous coaching staff, with coaching experience that crosses all ability levels and ages. In addition, iSWIM coaches are all certified by the American Swim Coaches Association. We are also proud to boast having 2 former NCAA Division I swimmers on our coaching staff! There will be at least one coach 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. Coaches assist in grouping swimmers by ability level, so you will swim in a lane with people at a level similar to your own. 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 iSWIM practices offered at Purdue University and the Old YMCA located on 18th Street. There are no restrictions on 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?

iSWIM 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 to 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 iSWIM. iSWIM serves all swimmers, whether they are competing USMS members, multi-sport athletes, or fitness swimmers. And, while you don’t have to compete, all iSWIM 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 regiment 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.

If you don’t know how to swim, check out the Adult Learn to Swim program.

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-offs (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?

iSWIM 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.


  1. Amy

    What times are practice?

  2. Tom

    In reference to suits, are trunks acceptable, or are Speedos preferred? I would like to train for a sprint level triathlon.

    1. iswimmasters

      Hi Tom!

      Great question. You can wear Speedo brief, Jammer (like shorts, essentially) or trunks. It is whatever you feel most comfortable with. Most of our guys wear jammer suits. The trunks can cause a lot of drag and not necessarily be conducive to swimming a lot of laps. But it is completely up to you! We have some who prefer trunks. We have others who prefer the brief.

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