Frequently Asked Questions

What is PNA?

PNA (PN) is the Pacific Northwest Association of Masters Swimmers. It is a not-for-profit Local Masters Swimming Committee (LMSC) of U.S. Masters Swimming (USMS). Geographically, PNA includes most of Western Washington except the southern region. PNA governs Masters swimmers from the state of Washington west of but not including the counties of Okanogan, Chelan, Kittitas, and Yakima, and north of but not including the counties of Cowlitz, Skamania, and Klickitat. In 2018 there were 1767 members in the PNA ranging from 18 to 93 years old.

What's this "Masters" thing -- must I be an elite competitor to be a Masters swimmer?

Absolutely not! Masters swimming is an organized program of swimming for adults. The program began when the first National Masters Swimming Championships were held on May 2, 1970, at the Amarillo Aquatic Club pool. Captain Ransom J. Arthur, M.D., a San Diego navy doctor, had persuaded John Spannuth, President of the Coaches Association, that the event would give older swimmers (ex-competitors and beginners alike) a goal for keeping physically fit. U.S. Masters Swimming is simply an outgrowth of Ransom's mission of encouraging adults, from beginner to elite, to improve fitness through swimming. Competition is not a requirement. In fact, no more than 25% of the membership competes; all members swim for the fun, fitness, and friendship.

What is U.S. Masters Swimming?

USMS is a national organization that provides organized workouts, competitions, clinics and workshops for adults aged 18 and over. Programs are open to all adult swimmers (fitness, triathlete, competitive, non-competitive) who are dedicated to improving their fitness through swimming.

Founded in 1970, USMS is organized with over 500 clubs in 52 LMSCs throughout the United States. Membership numbers more than 62,000, with individual members ranging in age from 18 to over 100. The national headquarters are located in Sarasota, Florida.

How do I become a registered Masters swimmer?

You can become a registered Masters swimmer by filling out a PNA/USMS Membership Application for Individual Registration. Registration can be done on line or by printing the paper forms. Click Member Services above and then Registration to find membership application tools or click here.

What benefits does my membership provide?

Your USMS registration means that you are automatically covered by the USMS insurance, which provides secondary accident and liability coverage during all sanctioned events and organized workouts as long as ALL participants are USMS members. You will also receive six issues of USMS SWIMMER magazine and six issues of The WetSet, PNA's newsletter, crammed full of articles on swimming, training, fitness, and other articles of interest to swimmers. Online workouts are available to members through the usms.org website. You may register for and participate in USMS and PNA sanctioned swim meets, clinics and open water events. (Entry fees generally apply.) In addition, your membership gives you the opportunity to train with other clubs/teams/workout groups with USMS affiliation (usually separate workout fees apply).

What is the Annual Membership Fee and How do I Sign Up?

Full membership is currently $54 annually (with reduced rates for needs-based upon request). The registration year is the calendar year, January through December. Reduced fees apply after September 1 for the remainder of the year. New member registrations on or after November 1 count for the entire next year (14 months for the price of 12!).

Online registration is available for new and renewing members. Go to the Member Services tab then Registration on this site. Fill in your registration details via our secure web interface, pay the registration fee and any donations you wish to make with your Visa® or MasterCard®, and print a copy of your membership card in one easy transaction.

Anyone 18 or older is welcome to join who wants to swim. Whether you want to improve your overall health and fitness, compete in pool, open water, or postal events, or just lose a few pounds, PNA and USMS welcome you and invite you to join and train with one of our local workout groups. Don't wait any longer!

What membership discounts are available?

Individuals who need financial assistance (needs-based) are eligible for registration discounts. 

What is my USMS number?

The USMS number is a registration number assigned to you by USMS. The first four characters signify your current LMSC and registration year while the remaining five will never change. The last five represent your permanent ID number. No matter whether you change LMSCs or what years you are registered, the unique part identifies you in perpetuity for USMS record-keeping.

Event directors use your number to verify current USMS membership.

PNA’s Top Ten chair uses your ID when reporting your competition times to USMS.

The USMS Records and Tabulations Committee uses your ID to track your times and recognize you if you make the National Top Ten or set a National or World Record.

What does “Unattached” mean?

When you sign up for membership, there are checkboxes for choosing club and team affiliation. If you don’t care to associate with one or the other, you indicate your independence by selecting “unattached” (UNAT). The implications primarily affect relay participation and point accumulations at our two local annual “Champs” meets and at Spring and Summer national competitions: 

  Affiliated with a local Team Unattached locally
Affiliated with a National Club
(e.g., PSM, BWAQ, or ROCK)

Swim relays and earn team points at Champs;

Swim relays and earn team points at Nationals for your Club.

Swim individually at Champs (no relays);

Swim relays and earn team points at Nationals.

Unattached
nationally
(not available)

Swim individually at Champs (no relays);

Swim individually at Nationals (no relays).

How can I find a team near where I live or a place to swim out of town?

Click PNA Places to Swim for general information about clubs in this area. Details on places to swim locally and out of this area can be found through the link to the USMS Club Finder. Click any of the resulting locators on the map for details on the club or team. Use the filters and search feature for locating a workout group when you're planning a trip as well. We suggest that you call the Team Rep or Coach to confirm practice days and times.

Can I transfer my USMS membership from another LMSC to PNA?

Yes! You may transfer your membership each year during renewal on the registration form (online or paper) and do not have to worry about the 60 day waiting period discussed below. To change your registration during the year, please contact our Registrar at PNregistrar@usms.org. You must observe a 60 day waiting period during which you do not compete for your previous club prior to applying for the transfer. During this time you still can compete, but you must swim as Unattached. There is a very small fee to transfer your club - between $1.50 (USMS fee) and whatever the new club charges ($0.00-1.50) depending on the club.

How do I volunteer?

PNA remains strong because of the dedicated work of our many volunteers. To volunteer with PNA, simply contact any member of the Board of Directors (click Contact Us) to discuss how you could help. Come to a PNA board meeting (click Board Meetings for schedule). It’s a great way to find out how things work and what opportunities are available as well as meet avid Masters swimmers from other areas and teams.

Why should I participate in meets?

Meets are fun! They are a great way to meet new people who share your passion. All swimming levels and abilities are encouraged to swim in meets.

Where can I learn about local meets?

You can learn about local meets on our Events page or on the Calendar.