Tough question and I'll straddle the fence a bit. For a total novice, most masters swimming programs are not a great investment. And by investment, I'm talking $65 per MONTH. Compare that with yearly LATC dues of $60 and you can see there is a substantial cost to swimming with a masters program. For the novice, there tends not to be a great deal of instruction and that money might be better spent on small group or one-on-one lessons. LATC is affiliated with a number of great swim coaches and the club also offers periodic swim clinics that cater to both newbies and speedsters.
For the more experienced swimmer or competitive triathlete, a masters program can be a great way to get structure and focus in their swimming. The social nature of masters workouts and having a coach on deck calling out sets allows you to stay motivated and get good, hard work in. But it is still pricey. Ultimately, for the intermediate or advanced triathlete, the question might be financial. The opportunity to improve with masters is definitely there.
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