Midnite Masters is not a sanctioned USMS workout. It is uncoached and usually starts around 1 AM. It is not well attended- its record so far is two people, although a third has threatened to show up one of these days, if she's not too tired. The workout is improvised in the water. Each set starts with out a question like, "I don't know, what do you feel like doing?" Long distance sets are often retooled after someone announces that he or she has to be at work in six hours.
The best thing about Midnite Masters is that the pool is empty. In New York City, you must wait until the witching hour to have the kind of workout you can have at noon, any place else. Midnite Masters means a lane of one's own and, oh, yes, out come all the toys like Zoomers, Monofins and big, fat paddles the size of a studio apartment. Most important, Midnite Masters means you can have a workout without New Yorkers.
Hell on earth is the Fast Lane at a pool in Manhattan, between 6 and 8 PM. Fast is a relative quality most places. You pick a lane according to the speed of the swimmers already in it and you move over quick if you are unseated by someone in better shape. Fast in New York City, however, means you are the best trial lawyer in your office and why shouldn't an orator as gifted as yourself cannonball himself into the Fast Lane? You are more than qualified! After all, you went to the beach, twice, that summer you turned eight and once your mother called you the next Mark Spitz. Let the temps and menial labor types embarrass themselves in the Medium Lane.
Midnite Masters allows one to swim without rancor. The energy that goes into teaching someone to never get in your lane again can be redirected to the workout. Instead of swimming butterfly so you can accidentally hit an executive vice president in the face, you can swim butterfly for the joy of swimming butterfly, which often means not swimming butterfly at all.
Midnite Masters means your equipment stays where you dropped it. Instead of scanning the deck every five minutes because the French tourists playing Marco Polo in the Medium-Fast Lane have never seen fins like yours before and want to see how Zoomers fit on their hands, you can do a 1650 without stopping.
Midnite Masters saves money! Why spend seven or eight dollars on a bottle of makeup remover when two thousand or so yards does the job for free? Who but your barely conscious practice partner is there to see you look like a rained out rodeo clown?
Midnite Masters is not for everyone. In fact, so far it is for almost no one. You may not fall asleep before 3 AM and if you have to wake up before 10 AM, you will be wrecked. But Midnite Masters is the only time you will have your own lane for your whole workout in New York City. Wrecked is worth it.