USMS has articulated its "core objectives" and clearly holds the goal of growth in membership. It has grown from 12,092 members in 1982 to 42,181 in 2002. In different terms, that's growth from 42 members per million population in 1982 to 146 members per million population in 2002. Generally, Florida Gold Coast has grown similarly, doing better in years when we have nationals and not so well when we don't have the benefit of nationals. Service and education are also included in USMS "core objectives".
Meanwhile, we read every day that fitness and obesity have become major national problems. 64% of U.S. adults are obese (31%) or overweight (33%) according to recent figures from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. "Overweight" has replaced smoking as the most important health problem to conquer. Health problems caused by obesity and overweight are costing the nation as much as the Iraq War is costing us. Obesity and overweight are defined in terms of body mass index (BMI); 30+ means obese, 25-30 means overweight, 25 is desireable.
Big and simultaneous events like this that point in the same direction get called convergence by planners and marketing people. The direction they are pointing us in is to welcome and seek growth. From a self interest viewpoint, growth could mean we'd pay our coaches better and we might get space in more pools.
Our potential for growth is considerable. Japan has 48,000 registered Masters swimmers for a population of 127 million. The United States has 42,000 registered Masters swimmers for a population of 293 million. So, Japan has 378 Masters swimmers per million people compared with 143 per million people in America. If we matched Japan's "development", we'd have 111,000 Registered Masters swimmers instead of 42,000.
We don't have a crowding problem in Florida Gold Coast. If we want to respond to this, we have some wonderful advantages and I see the beginning of a list of things we can do.
The Beginning of a List of Things We Can Do
Do we want to take up this challenge ?