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Paseo Club Hero Tiffany Duque: Swimming to Success with the Masters Swim Program

December 4th, 2023 | 4 min. read

By Jen Azevedo

Usually, the Paseo Club publishes informative and educational articles based on recent research and the latest trends. Today, we are departing from that model to share a personal story about Paseo Club member and master swimmer Tiffany Duque.
Tiffany’s story is about her love of swimming, the joy she experiences from training with her fellow Masters swimmers, and how swimming is one of the best ways she takes care of herself — mentally and physically.
Tiffany’s story is both educational and encouraging. We hope you enjoy reading this article about her!

Swimming — Tiffany’s first love

Tiffany grew up in cold, wintery Minnesota. She spent her summers soaking up every last ray of sunshine and swimming in the lake. 

When she was in junior high and was able to join a school sport, it was a natural choice for her to select swimming. She joined the swim team and swam through her senior year.  

She enjoyed the experience so much that she continued to swim for about another ten years —  not yet aware that the US Masters Swim program existed. Eventually, she discovered Masters in 2014 and began to compete.

comp_978fd216-2a7b-45ae-a922-89320de27520Moving to Santa Clarita 

When Tiffany moved to the Santa Clarita Valley five years ago from living abroad in Colombia, she knew that one of the first things she needed to research was the local Masters Swim program. She had no family in the area and didn’t know anyone. 

“The Masters program was the first thing I joined when I moved to SCV — and the swimmers became my closest friends. Coach Jimmy was so welcoming that I only needed to chat with him and the team for five minutes to know I wanted to join.

I think most of my teammates would agree that swimming with Masters isn’t just a workout, it’s a lifestyle.”

The US Masters Swim and the Paseo Club

US Masters Swim is a very comprehensive, popular, inclusive, and affordable organization with registered clubs in all 50 states.

Adult swimmers, from beginners to former Olympians, can join a team with a coach, get an incredible workout, meet lifelong teammates, and compete statewide, nationally, and internationally. 

The Paseo Club Masters Swim Team is a registered team of the US Masters Swim program.

The team has 15-20 members, from college-age swimmers who join for the summer or off-season to 70+ year-olds. They are a mix of ages, genders, and skill levels, but get along like family and often socialize outside the club.  

comp_IMG_7106Masters Swim competitions

USMS records swim times from every swim meet. A swimmer’s best times are considered for championship participation. Winners at meets are grouped by age and gender.

While all of this may sound intimidating, it’s not — it’s so fun! Meets are usually relaxed, sunny, and upbeat. They are very inclusive and rarely require qualifying times. 

US Masters holds myriad sanctioned (qualifier) meets across the nation year-round.  In Southern California, there are a few meets that the Paseo Club Masters Swimmers attend each year. 

Meets are a relatively inexpensive sports competition (in comparison to other races). The cost to enter ranges from $10-20, and then an additional cost of about $10 per event. You can sign up for as many or few events as you want.

Championships are a bit more stressful but also exciting to compete in — especially when you’re swimming with former Olympians. Major championship meets may require qualifying times, but even if you only have one qualifying time, you can compete in three additional events.  

The cost for championships is more since they include 4-5 days of meets plus travel expenses.

The Paseo Masters Club competed with Team USA in the 2022 Pan American Championships in Medellin, Colombia, and in the 2023 USA Nationals in Irvine.

comp_5113DD7E-442F-4209-B28A-DD6390F0969ECross-training for swimmers

Swimming works every muscle in your body, but it is not strength training, so many swimmers do two to three resistance classes each week. 

Some team members swim to complement their primary sport as a triathlete, ironperson, cyclist, runner, tennis player, weight trainer, or yoga-goer. For some, swimming is their primary or exclusive focus.

Why swimming isn’t just about fitness

All forms of physical activity benefit physical health. But exercising is more than just getting fit. It has psychological, social, and rehabilitative qualities.  

Swimming is as important for my mental health as my physical health,” claims Tiffany. “Swimming is a full body workout that leaves me pretty depleted — but I need that, and love the ‘high’ I feel afterward. I’m too tired to be annoyed or upset about anything all day after I swim!  

Caring for my body and avoiding injury are becoming more important as I age. Swimming is an incredible physical, cardiovascular, and mental sport. When I get a minor injury running or doing who knows what, I can always recover by swimming, even if I need to modify my workouts or wear fins to make it a little easier.  

The faithful, fun friends I’ve gained may be the best part. I get to see them three times a week and travel to meets with them!”

comp_IMG_0468Tiffany’s love of swimming is infectious!

Tiffany’s passion for swimming has been a positive force in not only her life, but in her family’s as well. 

“My husband, kids, and I have moved several times, including internationally. In each place, I’ve joined a swim team.In fact, my family members are also great competitive swimmers; we all swim for Paseo clubs. 

My 13-year-old daughter frequently mentions it is NOT a glamorous activity — with the wet hair, swim caps, ‘goggle eyes,” and nothing to hide (in the attire department).  

But I think that is part of the magic — we’ve all seen each other as scraggly as can be!”

The Paseo Club’s Masters Swimmers have become some of Tiffany’s dearest friends. She is inspired by them, encourages them, and has tried new things, such as open-water swimming. Not surprisingly, she loved it and competed in US Open Water Nationals this summer with two Paseo teammates

comp_IMG_2712How to join Masters Swim at the Paseo Club

Anyone is welcome to join the Masters Program at the Paseo Club. This includes  Paseo members and non-members. The team loves getting new members.  

The newest team members are Kyu from South Korea, who was a national champion, and Luisa from Colombia, who just started swimming in her 50s, demonstrating the wide range of swimmers.

Many participants were high school and/or club swimmers in their youth, and some were lauded college swimmers. But others have never swum and join Masters to try something new, recover from injury, or because they see how much fun the others are having when they walk past the pool!   

Swim practice is on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 7:30-9:00 am.  

People who are interested in joining Masters Swim or would like more information can contact Coach Jimmy Owens

Masters Swim at the Paseo Club is an autonomous program and the fees go to rent the club’s lanes and pay the coaches. Paseo Club members pay $65 per month in addition to the club’s membership fees. Nonmembers pay $85 per month.  

Swimming at the Paseo Club

Many people know the Paseo Club as a tennis club (or maybe a tennis/pickleball/fitness club). But our junior Olympic pool is second to none. It is open year-round and is always a comfortable 82 degrees.

We offer liquid cardio (aqua aerobics) six times per week, recreational swimming, Masters Swim, and swim lessons and club swim team for youth.

If you would like to check out our pool, courts, or fitness facilities, schedule a tour of the club. Tours are offered daily and are scheduled based on your availability.

Schedule a Tour

Jen Azevedo

Jen Azevedo is a tennis professional, pickleball professional, personal trainer, group exercise instructor, and the general manager of the Paseo Club. She loves the community at the Paseo Club and that it is also a safe and fun place for her daughter. Jen’s favorite activities are joining her tribe for trail races or her partners for tennis matches. Occasionally Jen slows down to relax with a book — she reads over 100 a year!

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