Foothills Masters Swim Team - The Ridge Pool


The philosophy of the Foothills Masters Swim Team is to provide fun, fitness, and optional friendly competition in a positive environment of athletic encouragement.

We welcome anyone (at least 19-years old) who wants to improve his or her swimming, regardless of your previous swimming experience. Swimmers are assigned to lanes with others of similar ability, and workouts are adjusted according to the experience and ability of swimmers in each lane. Our swimmers come in all age groups, and include:
  • Former high school, college, or masters competitive swimmers
  • Experienced triathletes and open-water swimmers
  • Entry-level triathletes
  • Adult fitness swimmers with no previous swim team experience

If you are just beginning to swim or have been out of the water for a long time, please check with the coach for recommendations on the appropriate way to get started. Please consult with your personal physician before starting any new fitness program.

The only requirement is that each swimmer participate willingly and show respect for coaches and teammates (see etiquette section below). Lap swim times are available outside of Masters Swim Team practices for those who do not want to follow the workout or who simply want to swim on their own.

We promote team spirit and collective swimming expertise by trying to have all swimmers start and finish each set together. Therefore, faster swimmers will be assigned additional distance or more repeats within each set; less experienced swimmers will swim less. To accomplish this, we use the terms "chunk" and "stack" (see Glossary).

USMS United States Masters Swimming, the governing body for Masters Swimming competition in the USA.
COMSA Colorado Masters Swimming Association, an affiliate of USMS, and the governing body for Masters Swimming in Colorado. COMSA membership is strongly recommended. The modest membership fee includes a subscription to SWIM Magazine, authorization to enter swim meets, insurance, lake swim training, and a subscription to the COMSA Newsletter.
Chunk A chunk is a standard distance used to guide swimmers of different ability so that all will finish approximately the same amount of work in the same amount of time. A freestyle chunk (in yards) will take approximately 6 minutes (about 7 minutes in sc meters).

For example, if the coach said to do a half-chunk of backstroke, the fastest backstrokers might do a 300, medium speed swimmers would do 250 or 200, and the slowest backstrokers might only do a 150 -- if everyone does it right, they should all finish at approximately the same time.

For a complete chart of Chunk calculations, click here.
Stack A stack is a number of repeats that will allow people of differing abilities to finish at about the same time. Your stack is your chunk divided by 100. In other words, if your chunk is 500, your stack is 5. If your chunk is 350, your stack is 3½.

For example, if the coach said to do a double-stack of 50s with 10 seconds rest, the fastest group might do 11 x 50 on :35 (yards), while the slowest group might complete 7 x 50 on a 55-second sendoff. Again, everyone should finish at about the same time.

For a complete chart of Stack calculations, click here.
"Texas" Since "everything's big in Texas", a "Texas" swim is one where you add a bit to the start and finish of the designated distance, usually in order to emphasize turns and turn technique. For example, a "Texas 25" would start going into the wall, executing a turn, swimming one length, and then executing a final turn -- a two-turn length. A "Texas 50" would consist of a turn, a regular 50, and a final turn (for a total of 3 turns).

Etiquette for Lap Swimming
  • The coaches are there to help you achieve what you want from the program. Talk to the coach about your goals and special needs.
  • Share lanes with other swimmers of similar ability.
  • Listen carefully (and quietly) when the coach explains the set. Ask questions if you don’t understand.
  • Get to practice on time—late arrivals disrupt the other swimmers.
  • Don't stand where you'll block anyone's view of the pace clock.
  • Save social conversation for appropriate times.
  • You’ll be inside the personal space of others, so practice good personal hygiene. Brush your teeth before practice. Scents tend to sit right on the surface of the water, so do not apply perfumes or strongly scented lotions until after practice. Accidental collisions can also occur, so groom nails to remove jagged edges.
  • Unless you've talked with the coach about it (injuries, etc.) do the exact set described by the coach—sets are designed to accomplish specific training goals. Do not shorten intervals—instead, work harder so you’ll need the rest.
  • If there are more than 2 people in the lane, swim in a circle (usually counter-clockwise). All swimmers must be courteous and stay completely within their half of the lane. Practice and improve your swimming skills—better, more streamlined swimmers take up less lane space.
  • Start and finish at the wall. Push off underwater in streamlined position. Finish at the wall, then immediately move to the “starting” side of the lane and turn your body sideways to give room for others to finish.
  • The fastest swimmer in the lane leads the set. Next fastest is second, and so on. Wait the full 5 seconds after the previous swimmer, unless you have asked for and received permission to draft.
  • Never interrupt another swimmer until they have finished the current repeat or set.
  • If sharing a lane with swimmers of equal speed, go first on your fair share of repeats. Don’t be a “leech”.
  • Always be aware of the position of all other swimmers in the lane. Avoid collisions and discourtesies by following these rules:
  1. Always yield the right of way to faster swimmers. Pay attention to your lane mates so that you always know where everyone is and when someone is coming up behind you. When a faster swimmer approaches, pull over to the outside of the lane, then stop at the wall if necessary to let them pass.
  2. To pass, gently tap the foot of the person in front and go around to the inside of the lane. If you tap accidentally, back off so that the person knows they should continue to lead, and so that you won’t repeat the accident.
  3. If a faster swimmer is approaching to do a turn when you are to leave on an interval, wait until they have gone by, and then start.
    If a slower swimmer is approaching to do a turn when you are to leave on an interval, cut your rest short and leave before they get there.
  4. When swimmers are swimming different strokes in the same lane, the person swimming the stroke with the lower order of precedence must avoid the person swimming the stroke with the higher order of precedence. Order of precedence is: backstroke, butterfly, breaststroke, freestyle, kicking.
  5. Finish all the way to the wall. When finished with a repeat, pull over to the side of the lane to let others turn or finish. Turn sideways and hold the wall with only one hand so you’ll take up less space.
  • Support your fellow swimmers with encouragement, recognition of good effort, and cheerful enthusiasm.

Use good common sense and courtesy. If you have questions, ask the coach or lane leader. The golden rule is in effect; “Act as you'd like others to act.”

Special Events and Workouts

100 x 100 New Year's Workout, early January each year.

Visit the Colorado Masters Swimming Association website ( for a complete schedule of meets and other competitions.


No other announcements at this time.

Swimming Tips
If you'd like more info about the program, or you'd like to talk to the coach, please call 720-984-7821 or submit the following form.

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