FAQ's

Click here for our printable Membership Letter.


What is CIMST?

The Central Illinois Masters Swim Team, Inc. (CIMST) is a US Masters Swimming (USMS) sanctioned swim team dedicated to the advancement of swimming in the Bloomington/Normal area.  We provide a pool based fitness program for adults (minimum age 18, with no maximum) focused on proper swimming technique and conditioning.  


Practices are held at the Fort Natatorium Pool at the Shirk Center on IWU campus.  The schedule varies based on the school year.  Current practice times are shown on this website and on our Facebook page.  Practices are conducted by a USMS certified on deck coach. 


Do I have to be an experienced swimmer?

All levels of swimmer are encouraged and welcomed to attend; however, a new swimmer should be able to complete at least 25 yards (one pool length) of freestyle swimming without stopping before attempting to join a practice. 


What should know before my first practice?

Swimmers need a low drag swim suit (Speedo or Tyr, for example), a pair of competitive swim goggles, and a towel.  Pull buoys and kickboards are available at the pool.  Lockers and showers are available at the pool.  Please either lock your valuables (locks not provided) or bring them to the pool deck for safe keeping. 


For your first practice, plan on getting to the pool about 15 minutes before the start.  The on deck coach will talk to you about your experience with organized swim practices, circle swimming, and your current fitness level.  The coach will then assign you to a lane. 


How to most practices go?

Practices are written on a white board by the coach.  There are usually 2 – 3 groups swimming in the pool during a practice with 3 swimmers per lane swimming in a circle.  The most experienced swimmers (lanes 1-3) swim about 3500 yards per hour practice.  The middle group (lanes 4-6) completes around 2500 yards each practice, and beginners (lanes 7&8) do about 1500 yards.  


Practices consist of a warm up swim and warm up set.  During the warm up phase, swimmers do various drills designed to improve technique.  A main set focused on conditioning follows.  Main sets are broken into different repeated distances and time intervals.  Following the main set, we often do a kicking or pulling set.  A cool down swim is encouraged at the end of each practice.   


How much is it to join?

In order to swim with CIMST, you must have a current registration with the USMS organization available through their website: usms.org.  Cost for 2017 is $50, which also registers the swimmer as a member of Illinois Masters Swimming.  When completing the registration, be sure to indicate the work out group as “CENT” to connect to the CIMST.   


CIMST 2017 dues are $70 per half year payable in January and July.  If paid annually, a $5 discount is applied.  Dues may be paid by credit card, or a check made payable to CIMST, or cash may be given to an on deck coach.  Full time students and seniors age 70 and up pay $45 per half year.  New team members joining in the last 3 months of a payment period (April – June or October – December) are charged $45 for that period.


Also, to keep pool rental costs low, team members are expected to help with IWU home swim meets.  This is primarily through back up timing and some set up/tear down.  Team members should plan on helping at one home meet per year.


Do I have to be a paid member in order to try a practice?

No.  A new swimmer who has never been registered with masters swimming may use a once per lifetime 30 day free trial for USMS and CIMST.  To take advantage of this trial, a release must be signed on the first night of swimming.  See the on deck coach to begin the trial. 


I am a Member of another Masters Team, can I swim with CIMST while I am in Bloomington/Normal?

Guests with a current USMS registration may swim with the team free of charge up to 10 practices per year.  After 10 practices, a charge of $5 per practice is assessed.


Besides regular practices, what else is available to me as a CIMST member?

Team members are encouraged to compete in swim meets and open water events, but there is no requirement to do so.  In fact, the majority of swimmers are members of the team primarily to improve personal fitness and for the comradery that comes from swimming with others. 


Masters swim meets are held throughout the state of Illinois and across the country.  CIMST host a Spring Classic Swim Meet on the first weekend of March in the Shirk Center pool.  Illinois Masters hosts a state meet usually in April, and USMS hosts the Spring Nationals (short course) meet in April or May.  USMS also hosts a long course national meet at the end of the summer.  The schedule of upcoming swim meets is available at usms.org.  


Open water events are held in the summer months and are available for USMS members.  CIMST hosts the annual Central Illinois Open Water Swim in June at Evergreen Lake in Comlara Park.  This is the premier downstate open water event.  Swimmers complete either one or two laps around a 1.2 mile course. The other major open water swim in the state of Illinois is Big Shoulders held in Chicago’s Lake Michigan in October.  Several members of the team have competed in this event for each of its 17 years.


The team also holds special events throughout the year, like the ones listed below:

  • 100 x 100 – Each year around the first of January, the team holds a long swim referred to as 100 100’s.  Swimmers swim 100 x 100 yard swims on a time interval of 1:30 or 1:40.  Some swimmers will complete 100 x 75 or 100 x 50 swims, and some will do part of each distance.  This is a great way to kick off the New Year.
  • Annual Turkey Swim – on Thanksgiving morning, the team holds a regular hour practice from 6:00 – 7:00 a.m.   This is a great way for those team members who are not traveling to get ready for turkey and other festivities of the day.
  • Postal Swim Events – USMS sponsors “postal” swims each year.  These are usually long straight pool swims of 3000 or 6000 yards.  Times are recorded and mailed to the team hosting the national event.  Results are tabulated by age group and published.  CIMST has hosted a postal in the past and encourages participation in these events.  

CIMST Practice Times

Illinois Wesleyan Shirk Center

Monday & Wednesday 5:15 - 6:15 pm
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday 5:30-6:30 am
Saturday: 6:00-7:00 am (Building is locked.  Be at the lower south door by 5:55.)