ILMSA Frequently Asked Questions

What is ILMSA?
Illinois Masters Swimming Association is a not for profit Local Masters Swimming Committee (LMSC) of U.S. Masters Swimming (USMS). Geographically, ILMSA governs most of the state of Illinois. The web site can be found at

What is U.S. Masters Swimming?
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 48,000, with individual members ranging in age from 18 to over 100.
Find out more about USMS at .

How do I become a registered Masters swimmer?
You can become a registered Masters swimmer by filling out a calendar year ILMSA/USMS Membership Application for Individual Registration. Membership forms can be found at:

What benefits does my membership provide?
Your USMS registration means that you are automatically covered by the USMS insurance, which provides accident and liability insurance during all sanctioned events and organized workouts as long as ALL participants are USMS members. You will also receive USMS SWIMMER magazine. Online workouts are available to members. In addition, your membership gives you an opportunity to train with other teams/clubs with USMS affiliation; a fee may apply.

What membership discounts are available? Students, new members, members over 75, and officials... 

ILMSA swimmers under 25 - Waive ILMSA portion of dues for qualifying members under the age of 25.

ILMSA swimmers age 75 and over who have been members of ILMSA for the 5 consecutive preceding years are eligible for a free ILMSA/USMS membership. Individuals who qualify still need to fill out an individual membership form.

USMS Officials with the approval of the Officials and Safety Committee may have their membership dues waived.

Individual teams may have discounts for students or new members in regards to team fees. That would need to be discussed directly with the team you are interested in joining.

What is a USMS number?
The USMS number is a registered number assigned by USMS.
Meet directors verify your USMS membership number.
The Records and Tabulations Committee uses your USMS number to track your times and recognize you if you break a National or World Record or make the National Top Ten. The Top Ten chair reports your times to USMS.

What is the difference between a Team and a Club?
The terms “team” and ‘club” have very specific meanings within the USMS organization. “Club” refers to a group that is recognized as an organization registered with USMS through the local masters swimming committee (LMSC). Throughout most of the state, ILMSA is the governing LMSC, but ILMSA is not a club.  It is your “club” affiliation, which determines your membership for events outside of Illinois (i.e., USMS events, clinics, meets sanctioned by other LMSCs, national championships, international meets). Often clubs are comprised of numerous subgroups or “teams.” The term “workout group” is also used particularly at the national level to refer to a team.

Within Illinois, and varying with each year, there are approximately 12 registered “clubs,” one of which is Illinois Masters.  Other recently-registered clubs include Academy Bullets Masters (ABM), the Joliet Park District (JPD), and Mount Greenwood Masters (MGM). Illinois Masters (IM) is the largest club in Illinois, comprising approximately forty (40) teams (or subgroups). It provides swimmers, who are registered with IM, the opportunity to swim on relays at meets outside of Illinois. If an individual member is a part of a team that is registered with ILMSA under the auspices of IM, that individual member can compete with their team and/or under the IM banner at meets held by other LMSCs outside of ILMSA. For example, if you are a member of the Park Ridge Penguins, you can compete for the Penguins at all meets within Illinois and swim for IM at a national championship meet or a meet held by the Indiana LMSC.

How can I find a team near where I live?
You can search for teams in your area by going to the ILMSA web site under Resources, Places to Swim:
This will list the registered Illinois clubs/teams. Also, you can search for Clubs across the United States by going to the USMS web site at choose a state on the map or a swim club from the dropdown tab for team information.

What is the difference between independent and unattached?
An unattached swimmer is a swimmer, who has registered with the LMSC but has decided not to affiliate with a club and/or team. An unattached swimmer may swim in any event, local or national, but may not compete on relays. An independent swimmer is a swimmer, who is not a member of a team/subgroup/workout group, but is a member of Illinois Masters (IM). Such a swimmer is counted as Independent for meets sponsored within ILMSA, but is eligible to represent IM at national events or events held by other LMSCs outside of Illinois, and can swim on IM relays. There is no additional membership fee for swimmers wishing to swim as Independent Members of IM. You may register as an Independent member of IM by checking the appropriate box on the ILMSA individual member registration form.

Can I transfer my USMS membership from another LMSC to ILMSA or from one Team to another Team under IM?
The application for Transfer of Club/Team Membership is found at: Fill out the form, attach a copy of your current USMS card, and mail with the $10.00 fee to the ILMSA Registrar. You must observe a 60 day time 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 an unattached.

How do I become an ILMSA volunteer?
ILMSA remains strong because of the hard work of the many volunteers. To volunteer with ILMSA simply contact a member of the Board of Directors and find out what opportunities are available. You can find them listed with all contact information at the ILMSA web site under Check Us Out, Board of Directors: Come to an ILMSA board meeting. It’s a great way to find out 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! It is 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 the ILMSA web site under Competition and Upcoming Meets:

How can I participate in an ILMSA Masters meet?
You can participate in an ILMSA swim meet by being an ILMSA/USMS member, and submitting all the required forms (see “What forms are needed to sign up and swim in a Masters meet?”). Upcoming masters meets are listed on the ILMSA web site. Each meet has specific meet information, which will include information about how to register. If you plan to deck enter a meet, see “Can I enter a swim meet the day of the meet?" below.

What forms are needed to sign up and swim in a Masters meet?
In order to participate in a Masters meet, you will need to register online, which will link your registration to your ILMSA/USMS membership number to track your records. In some cases, meets will allow you to register on-deck the day of the meet. There you'll need to use the Consolidated Entry Form, which can be found on the ILMSA web site under Resources, Consolidated Entry Card and the following link: For State, National and World competitions (or any meet outside of Illinois) specific entry forms are used and they accompany the meet information. Your ILMSA/USMS membership number is still required.

Can I enter a swim meet the day of the meet?
Sometimes, you can enter the swim meet on the day of the meet. This is considered a deck entry and sometimes carries and additional fee. Please check the meet information sheet first; not all meets such as open water events or postal events accept deck entries. State, Invitationals, Zone meets, National and World Championships do not allow deck entries and often have a cut off date well before the scheduled competition.

What are deck entries?
Deck entries are done prior to the meet for those participants who did not pre-register; essentially, this is a same day registration. Each meet will have a specific time period that deck entries are accepted. This process usually occurs during warm-up, however, each meet is different.

Where can I learn about other Masters meets?
You can learn more about other Masters meets across the United States and in other countries. Pool Events are listed at: Open Water events can be found at: