Getting started is as easy as packing your swim suit and goggles and heading to the pool. But before you do, go online and register for a free week or give us a call (214-219-2300) for your free week of practice. Showing up to practice a few minutes before practice starts will give the coach an opportunity to explain the practice procedures. Don't bring any money; your first week of practice is free!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get started?
When can I start?
Right away! Try a week of free workouts and then decide-we think you'll find that DAM has an excellent program and great members. Dallas Aquatic Masters offers practices seven days a week, mornings, noon and evenings at seven Dallas locations. The practices are organized to accommodate any skill level of swimmer.
What equipment will I need?
A comfortable fitness swim suit, goggles and a swim cap if you like, but it is not required. You should also bring your own towel and toiletries. All locations offer a changing area and shower. Eventually, you may want to own your own pull buoy, fins, kick board and swim paddles. All these helpful "swim toys" can be ordered through D&J Sports, Dallas' premier swim shop. All of our practice locations offer kick boards and pull buoys with the Baylor - Tom Landry Center offering swim fins.
How "fast" do I have to be?
If you can swim one length of the pool in the freestyle (crawl) stroke, you are ready to get started. A majority of our members have never been on a swim team or had any prior coaching. Your coach will match you up with the lane that most closely matches your skill level.
Any practice tips for a new swimmer just starting out?
We recommend that for the first 2-3 weeks you start with 3 practices per week, with a rest day between practices. It easy to add more later.
Build up yardage gradually. Don't feel like you have to swim the whole practice. Allow your body to adapt to the workload. Ask the coach if you are unsure about adding to your workout.
Make sure you take as much rest as you need when you get tired and/or your heart rate gets too high.
Monitor your heart rate closely during practice. Heart rates are usually a reliable indicator of effort.
Don't let your heart rate exceed the recommended training range for new swimmers until you've been able to establish a basic level of fitness.
Don't get discouraged - it usually takes the first 3-5 practices for your body to adapt to breathing and adjusting to the buoyancy of the water. It takes another 4 - 6 weeks to feel comfortable swimming a full practice. Talk to one of the coaches if you are feeling discouraged or that you are not making the progress you think you should be making or call our office and a coach will call you back.
Do the coaches provide instruction?
Absolutely! Our coaches have over 500 years of combined teaching experience, and at all levels of instruction. They are there to teach you the proper stroke mechanics and training techniques. The coaches are also there to organize each practice and make sure practice etiquette is being followed. If you have a question regarding technique or a training set please don't hesitate to ask the coach.
How are the practices organized?
All practices last one hour except Southlake practices are one hour and 15 minutes and are divided into several skill levels so that 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 500 to 4,000 meters.
Do I have to do the "B strokes" (backstroke/ breaststroke/ butterfly) or can I just swim freestyle?
Our approach is this is an adult fitness swim program not an age group swim team. However, we encourage you to try and learn all four competitive strokes and anything else that appears in the practice. It is our experience that learning and practicing the "B strokes" will improve your freestyle and 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 take it up with the coach on deck.
What about competitions?
There are no competitive requirements to be a member of Dallas Aquatic Masters. Many DAM members who join our club further their swimming goals by participating in United States Masters Swimming (USMS) an organization which sanctions swim meets and events for adults 18 years and older. It's a great way to measure your progress. All of our members have the opportunity to compete in local, regional, national and international swim events. DAM sponsors two swim competitions a year by offering spring and fall invitational swim meet.
How about social activities?
DAM members seem to have as much fun out of the pool as they do in the pool! One of the best attributes going for DAM is the camaraderie members share in and out of the pool. There are a couple of large club sponsored parties every year, post breakfast swim practices and swim meet parties. Other than that, there are plenty of social activities that revolve around dinner after evening practices or lunch after Saturday morning practices.
Do you think I need a private lesson before I start?
The answer depends on your swimming background. If you have done little or no swimming before, if you feel afraid of water in general, if you have trouble coordinating your breathing with your strokes, or if you are just plain rusty and want to start without being in a group, we may suggest you start with private, one-on-one lessons. You can easily arrange a private lesson with one of our coaches. If you are undecided, give us a call and we will be glad to discuss the best program for you. As a rule of thumb, if you have a hard time putting your face in the water and breathing, may we suggest the beginner classes at Jim Montgomery Swim.
If you are comfortable swimming laps but have never participated in an organized practice, you are encouraged to try out a free week of DAM practices. This will give you a feel how the practices are organized and some pointers on practice etiquette, plus you can meet and ask questions of the coach.
If you have previous competitive swim team experience, you are most likely ready to hop right into a DAM practice. Even if you are out of shape, you'll find a lane swimming at the speed you need to get back into top form.
Do I have to swim at the same pool every time?
You are welcome to swim at any scheduled DAM practice and location throughout the year. There are no restrictions to how many practices you can swim.