Swimming as an adult is a strange little world. If your desire is to learn how to swim as an adult or if you’re already an elite Masters swimmer who competes at a high level, you have plenty of options when it comes to swimming. But what if you’re nestled somewhere in between the kiddie pool and the deep end?

Cartoon image of three swimmers and the comment "low pressure, high fun" on the image to describe Grown-Up Swimming League
Grown-Up Swimming Caters to Swimmers From The Casual To Competitive–But All Who Like Fun

Enter Grown-Up Swimming. Grown-Up Swimming is a casual and social adult swim league that caters equally to the beginner and to the more experienced swimmer. If you like to be around water and be social, Grown-Up Swimming might just be what you’re missing in your life. (If you’re, shall we say, a little bit more on the aggressive side, check out our post on Underwater Torpedo League).

A New Twist On An Old Sport For Adults

Atlanta-headquartered Grown-Up Swimming is led by Brian Robbins, who grew up swimming as a kid and went on to be a 200m freestyle D1 swimmer at Georgia Tech. When Brian was first asked to manage the Atlanta Adult Swim League, a division of the Atlanta Swim Association, he didn’t even know adult swim leagues were a thing.

“I was working a professional job after college and thought swimming would become part of my past. I didn’t realize there could be programs for adults beyond more serious types of swimming clubs,” said Brian.

Brian leapt at the opportunity, and the program was so successful it eventually spun off into Grown-Up Swimming in 2020.

Grown-Up Swimming is purposely casual. But don’t take that to mean there isn’t any level of competition within the league’s swim meets. There is. Just think of it more like competition minus the intimidation factor that is often present when participating in sports events.


Cartoon image of a swimmer

Grown-Up Swimming is a collection of goofy swim leagues across the country for adults who want to have a laid-back atmosphere to race and be social.


The Grown-Up Swimming leagues offer a variety of swim meets where members can compete with and against each other and end the day by having a hot dog and a beer together at a cookout.

What To Expect From Grown-Up Swimming

Adults in pol with kids hanging out on the platforms on edge of pool
Grown-Up Swimmers Encourages Bringing The Kids To Events

While you won’t find typical adult swim lessons or hardcore swim meets at Grown-Up Swimming, you’ll get to experience casual swim meets where you can dust off rusty swim skills from your past or further develop the swimming skills you may have recently learned through adult swim lessons. You can swim in relay races and individual races.

Simply put, if you love the sport of swimming, you’ll love Grown-Up Swimming.

Here are the four typical personas of Grown-Up Swimmers (if you don’t fit one of them, they won’t hold it against you):

  • The young recently graduated “swimmer” who is still a little burnt out from training but would definitely hop in the pool to race some 25s
  • The former intramural flag football/soccer/basketball/softball star approaching age 40 whose knees and back are telling him/her that a low-impact sport might not be a bad idea these days
  • The parent who, after a few kids, has decided it’s time to get back in shape
  • The year-round Masters phenom who wouldn’t miss anything having to do with swimming, from training five days a week to racing in a Grown-Up Swim meet
approximately 20 swimmers around a pool at a swim meet, with two swimmers in the pool and one diving in
Grown-Up Swimming Championship Meet

Here’s how Grown-Up Swimming structure their meets: 

SPRINT MEET

The blazing-fast 25s give swimmers a chance to get back to their 10 and under days with some short races.

  • 25s of each stroke (freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly)
  • 100 IM
  • Relays

TRADITIONAL MEET

After warming up with the 25s, swimmers get back to the basics and swim the events and distances offered at a typical swim meet.

  • 50s of stroke (freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly)
  • 100 IM
  • 100 Freestyle
  • Relays

OLYMPIC MEET

Grown-Up Swimming celebrates the Olympics with their own swim meet. The Grown-Up Swimming Olympic Meet is also every four years. The meet includes 50s (one lap), with the exception of a 100m (two laps) freestyle, and the 200 IM.

Newbie Adult Swimmers To Experienced Adults Swimmers: What You Need to Know About Grown-Up Swimming

While Grown-Up Swimming is available for all skill levels, there are some things to consider.

If you’re a beginner who’s taken adult swim classes to learn some of the skills you need, this league is a great way for adults to refine their swimming skills through the encouragement of more experienced swimmers in the league.

If you don’t know how to swim but want to join a Grown-Up Swimming swim team, it’s probably best to first enroll in an adult swim school and take group lessons or private lessons. Once you learn the basics of swimming and want to continue, Grown-Up Swimming will welcome you with open arms. Remember, it’s never too late to start.

For experienced swimmers, Grown-Up Swimming is a great way to participate in friendly competition but think of it as more of a recreational swim team. If you’re looking for only high-level competition, there are certainly more elite programs out there through United States Masters Swimming.

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The Social Swim Team

The social aspect is really what makes Grown-Up Swimming unique. There are plenty of social sports leagues for land sports (check out our post on the mega list of social sports leagues), but not so much for swimming.

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As adults, getting involved in sports after high school or college–or later–is often partly driven by wanting to create more social connections. Grown-Up Swimming is acutely aware of this, so while swimming is the thread that connects its members together, the league also aims to make its meets fun and encourages Grown-Ups to get to know each other beyond only the swimming.

a group photo of about 15 swimmers of various ages by a pool with one holding a championship trophy
Grown-Up Swimmer Champions

Even though there is someone in the league who is 88 years old (can you say ‘rock star’?), the majority of Grown-Up Swimming members tend to fall between the late twenties to mid-forties, and they often have children.

“Bring them along,” says Brian of the kids. “We use them as our timers. But in all seriousness, we often start our relays where the kids can get in the water and participate as well.”

The Expansion of Adult Swimming In The U.S. Through Grown-Up Swimming

Whatever they’re doing at Grown-Up Swimming is working because they are growing quickly. They currently have eight locations and expect to be up to 18 by 2024. Current locations include Atlanta (2), Houston, Washington, D.C., Jacksonville, Nashville, Pittsburgh, and the Triangle Area of North Carolina.

While the locations are primarily on the East Coast, there are plans to venture west, with Southern California likely on that list of new leagues.

If you feel like your area is lacking when it comes to adult swimming options, you can even take the initiative to start your own Grown-Up Swimming league.

If there isn’t a Grown-Up Swimming league in your area, and you’re not ready to start your own, you can always check our adult sports directory for other options.