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Abstract

Knowing the psychosocial themes in a specific sport context allows us to understand athletes’ experiences and informs approaches of coaches (Côté et al., 1995) and sport programmers (Danish et al., 2005). Few qualitative studies focus on psychosocial conditions of adult athletes in coached sport settings. The purpose of this study was to capture important psychosocial themes from the perspective of Masters swimmers involved in day-to-day coached swimming environments. Data were collected using semi-structured open-ended interviews with 10 competitive swimmers (5 male, 5 female; M age = 53 years; range: 45-65 years). Analyses revealed four over-arching themes that represented athletes’ a) motives for swimming, b) perspectives on competition, c) experiences specific to being a Masters swimmer, and d) perspectives on being coached. Using a qualitative narrative approach (Denison, 2011), we developed three narrative profiles to depict how our Masters swimmers had different experiences relating to these themes. Discussion focuses on how swimmers’ understanding of the four over-arching themes depends on their profile.

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