Swim With A Mission A Huge Success

Contributed by Stacy Sweetser, Sweetwater Swim Studio

BRISTOL, NH -- The inaugural Swim With A Mission (SWAM) took place Friday, July 14, 2017 in Newfound Lake at Wellington State Park. The 5K, 10K and 10-Mile Relay events fundraised for the Navy SEAL Museum, Veteran’s Count, and Bridge House Homeless Shelter and Veteran’s Advocacy organization. The event was well attended with over 100 swimmers, dozens of volunteers on land and water, and spectators galore.

Navy Seals lined the beach as twenty-eight 5K swimmers took to the crystal clear water of Newfound Lake at 7:00am. Ten minutes later, nineteen 10K swimmers followed. The sixteen relay teams (2-5 swimmers) had a staggered start at 7:20am for their 10-mile swimming journey around the lake.

Crowds of spectators filled the State Park for a post swim festival. Spectators were able to get up close and personal for the beach swim finish and watch various Navy SEAL demonstrations in air, on water, and on land with their K-9 squad. Veteran George Brunstad, a B-52 bomber pilot and renowned open water swimmer, attended as a special guest.

 

RESULTS

5K

Female

Taylor Hough, age 14 of Laconia, NH, took the women's title with a time of 1:24:57. Aubrey Patrick, age 15 of Bedford, NH finished 2nd and Sarah Barrett, age 22 of Goffstown, NH finished 3rd.

Male

Edmund Gendreau (GBM), age 55 of Rye NH, won with a time of 1:14:58. He received a special award for fastest 5K in honor of SCPO Daniel R. Healy, Navy SEAL. Bruce Mohl, age 71 of Bonita Springs, FL finished 2nd and Jeff Stuart, age 56 of Manchester, CT finished 3rd.

10K

Female

Vera Rivard, age 13 of Springfield, NH with a time of 2:42:32. Jana Slezak, age 52 of Rye, NH finished 2nd and Nelle Killourie, age 44 of North Conway, NH finished 3rd.

 

Male

Connor Robinson, age 19 of Wallingford, CT, placed first with a time of 2:08:36. He received a special award in honor of Jeremiah Fitzgibbon, world-class swimmer/triathlete, for fastest 10K. Geoffrey Michaud, age 52 of Manchester, CT finished 2nd and Maury Mckinney, age 56 of North Conway, NH finished 3rd.

10 Mile Relay

The winning relay team, Team SweetWater Swim Studio

Team SweetWater Swim Studio (SWS/GSP), which consisted of Stacy Sweetser, Randy Clark, Karin Biskovich, Johanna Lawrence, and Rebecca Hecox, took the team title with a time of 4:01:38. Team Connection placed 2nd and Team Tools placed 3rd.

SWAM website

 SWAM Facebook

Union Leader Article

Event Spotlight: 12th Annual Swim & Fin Race for Salem Sound

Contributed by Charlotte Brynn, NELMSC Open Water Chair, USMS National Open Water Committee, Level 4 USMS Coach, and Executive Director of The Swimming Hole

Enjoy clam chowder, clam shell awards, and a dazzling view of the water. -Megan Podeszwa

This month we are spotlighting an open water event: The 12th Annual Swim & Fin for Salem Sound, which will be held on August 20 in Salem, MA. I was impressed by its family-friendly appeal, and that it benefits efforts to make our coastal waters clean and safe. I reached out to Megan Podeszwa, Race Director, and Susan Yochelson, Salem Sound Coastwatch Outreach Coordinator, to learn about the swim's history, and what makes it a stand-out event. After hearing their answers, I've definitely added it to my list to swim in the future!

Two of last year's Swim & Fin winners

Q: The 12th Annual Swim & Fin includes a 500 meter course, 1 mile and a 5 km option. What are some of the reasons that this is such a good event for novices to try their first open water event?

A: The Swim & Fin is a well-established event with an excellent safety record. The 500-meter has been called the "get wet, fun swim." It's a short course--less than one third of a mile, equivalent to five laps in an Olympic pool. We have considerable safety support with lifeguards and kayakers keeping a close eye on the swimmers. The harbormaster is right there if anyone needs to be rescued. 

Q: It looks like you have fun activities set up at the beach. What are some of the fun things swimmers and their families can enjoy on race day?

A: The Swim & Fin is held in a beautiful wooded park with dazzling views of the water. It's a perfect spot for a family picnic. There's a playground for young kids, two beaches and a steep old-fashioned concrete slide that has been thrilling children and adults since 1943. (It's the only one in New England and cardboard is a must for this slide!) We have food, music, a marine touch tank with local sea creatures, raffles and some activities for kids. Swimmers will have access to a changing room and outdoor shower, and will be treated to fresh clam chowder donated by Finz--a fabulous local seafood restaurant. The awards are uniquely ocean-themed-- no regular medals for us! With its rich history and cultural attractions, Salem is a great place to visit. There are shops, museums, including the world-class Peabody Essex Museum, the National Park Service's Salem Maritime Historic Site, wonderful restaurants, and more for every age group.

Q: How did the Swim & Fin get established 12 years ago?

A: The Swim & Fin was started by a neurosurgeon. Seriously. Twelve years ago, Dr. Michael Medlock walked into the Salem Sound Coastwatch offices with the proposition that we should hold open water swimming races. Dr. Medlock grew up swimming in Florida and in New England he loves Salem Sound with its beautiful coast, beaches, vibrant marine life, and charming islands that frame the view. He thought it would be a great way to highlight our clean swimmable water and connect people to the Sound. We liked the idea, especially since encouraging recreational use of these coastal waters is one of our core values. Dr. Medlock created the event and continued as Race Director for 10 years. In the beginning, swim fins were allowed, hence the name. That feature has since been dropped and now the name stands more for swimming with the fishes.

Q: Volunteers make our swim events special. Who are some of the people that help put on the race?

A: Volunteers are the life-blood of Salem Sound Coastwatch's activities, including the Swim & Fin. We have professional lifeguards who donate their time, experienced kayakers who patrol the course, medical professionals who provide first aid, and people of all walks of life who direct the cars, put out signs, handle registration and body marking, and coordinate swimmer safety. We also have many sponsors and donors. Finz, a famous local seafood restaurant, donates clam chowder for the swimmers; a local shellfish company donates clam and scallop shells that we paint gold, silver and bronze for medals, and many local companies support this event. The thing they all share in common is a love of our coastal waters.

Q: This race is for a great cause! The swim benefits the Salem Sound Coastwatch, working to make our coastal waters clean and safe. Cleaner coastal waters is a cause especially close to open water swimmers' hearts. Can you tell us a little about what Salem Coastwatch does?

A: We do so many things! Salem Sound Coastwatch is a nonprofit environmental organization. Our motto is "leading the way to a healthier sea and shore." Our flagship program is called Clean Beaches and Streams, where we test water at outfall pipes and streams that flow on to the beaches in order to identify pollution "hot spots." This information is shared with the local communities in our watershed and with the State of Massachusetts. Our work has actually uncovered homes and businesses that were not connected to the sanitary sewer system. Waste from these buildings was flowing directly into the Sound! 

Our work generally falls into three categories-identifying sources of pollution and developing solutions, monitoring and protecting marine resources and habitats, and educating the public. We have a large and active Adopt a Beach program in which volunteers are trained to monitor and clean up their favorite beach. "School to Sea" is our exciting ocean literacy program in which we work with both students and teachers to develop an understanding of, and appreciation for, the ocean in their backyard. This past year we took hundreds of students, including every 3rd and 7th grader in the City of Salem, on educational boat trips where they got to observe sea life with an underwater camera, conduct a plankton tow and hold lobsters and other marine life pulled from a lobster pot. We partner with local communities, academic researchers, other nonprofit organizations, businesses and citizens to address issues such as flooding (a serious source of pollution), building resilience to protect the coast from storms and sea level rise, monitoring invasive marine species, and raising citizens' awareness and understanding of their connection to the water and their role in restoring and protecting its health. Salem Sound Coastwatch is widely recognized throughout the region for the quality of our work, and we have received numerous awards since the organization was formed over 25 years ago.

Find out more or register for the Swim & Fin event here: https://www.swimandfin.org/

NE-LMSC Members Take on Misery Challenge

Results      Photos

Contributed by Guy Davis (GBM), NE-LMSC Vice Chair

Ildiko Szekely (BUMS) was the top female in the Misery Challenge.

MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA, MA -- Over 100 hardy competitors, including many NE-LMSC members, completed this year's Misery Challenge swim on July 15. Misery Challenge is a 3-mile out-and-back swim between the Manchester-by-the-Sea yacht club and Misery Island. The sky was overcast and the water was cooler than in previous years, but the sea conditions were very calm, making for fast swimming. As with last year's race, swimmers had to navigate low tide conditions, completing the course with a 200-yard beach run.

This year's winners were Eric Nilsson (57:11) of Tech Masters (MIT) and Ildiko Szekely (1:00:15) of Boston University Masters (BUMS). Another notable performance was Sam Levinson's (Unattached) completion of the course swimming butterfly in 1:48:48. Levinson is training to take on the channel swims of the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming -- butterfly! Many thanks to race organizer Josh Crosby and his team, volunteers, and sponsors for another terrific event.

Mindy Williams (GSP) was third overall female and won her age group.

Martha Wood (Unattached) and Guy Davis (GBM) each won their age group.

Swim Across America Boston Harbor Raises Over $220,000 for Cancer Research

Results     Photos

 Contributed by Jessica Stokes, Charles River Masters

The 21st Annual Swim Across America Boston Harbor Swim was a big success! Spirits were high among the passengers on Timeless and Secret Love, despite the overcast sky. Team members were able to jump off their boats and complete three or four 15-minute swims in the Harbor. (Usually, swimmers swim four to six times, but there was a delay in the action this year due to fog.) Team members included seven Olympians: Carlton Brunner, Janel Jorgenson, Kristy Kowal, Alex Meyer, Heather Petri, Eric Vendt, and Eric Wunderlich. The Boston Harbor Swim and the Boston Pool Relay (which took place in April) raised a combined $325,000 for Dana Farber Cancer Institute's Perini Center and Mass General Hospital for Children's cancer research group.

Gary Isherwood Memorial Swim Meet Recap

Contributed by Tim Lecrone, NE-LMSC Registrar & Photos by Mike Hurd, MESC

BANGOR, ME -- With an amazing turnout out of 56 competitors, the first annual Gary Isherwood Memorial Swim Meet on June 24th was an incredible success. It was MESC's first ever summer mini meet to exceed 40 swimmers, and more excitingly, the majority of swimmers were first time masters meet participants. 

The high participation couldn't have been for a better cause, as proceeds from meet entries and t-shirt sales went to the Gary Isherwood Memorial Scholarship Fund. The fund honors the late Gary Isherwood, longtime swim coach at John Bapst Memorial High School in Bangor. The meet raised about $2,000.

Swims were fast, smiles were huge, and next year's event promises to be even bigger. A huge thanks goes to the Bangor YMCA, the staff and volunteers of the Bangor Y Barracudas, and several meet enthusiasts from local high school teams.

12th Annual Narrow River Turnaround Swim

Contributed by Alison Kates, Program Coordinator, Narrow River Preservation Association

Results

Race photos

NORTH KINGSTOWN, RI -- On Saturday, June 24th, 114 swimmers took part in the 12th Annual Narrow River Turnaround Swim, braving torrential rain. Starting and finishing at La Farge Park in North Kingstown, the route led swimmers a half mile down the Narrow River, where they turned around to return and complete the mile swim.  

2017 Narrow River Turnaround Swim first place finishers (L to R) Stuart Cromarty, Diane Leith Doucett, and Matt Gilson. Photo credit: Frank McQuiggan 

This year the swim was held on the birthdate of the late W.E.R. La Farge, a longtime benefactor of the Narrow River. W.E.R. donated the land for La Farge park to the Town of North Kingstown and a nearby plot of land to the University of Rhode Island Rowing Team for their boathouse and access to Narrow River. W.E.R.’s daughter, Louisa La Farge, and granddaughter, Lindsay La Farge Rosston, swam in the race and his step-daughter, Heather Lee, was the honorary swim starter.

Stuart Cromarty won the Men’s Wetsuit Division while Matt Gilson placed first in the Men's Non-Wetsuit Division. Diane Leith Doucett took first in the Women’s Non-Wetsuit Division and Emily Mitchell won the Women’s Wetsuit Division.

The Narrow River Turnaround Swim is hosted annually by Narrow River Preservation Association (NRPA), which aims to protect and preserve the Narrow River and its Watershed. The swim is generously supported by local sponsors and by URI Rowing and O.A.R.S..

Check out The Narragansett Times coverage of the race here.

Athlete Report: ANA Masters Podium at Hyannis Sprint Triathlon

Contributed by Leslie Dumont, ANA YMCA Masters

HYANNIS, MA -- Two teams from the Andover/North Andover (ANA) YMCA Masters group traveled to Hyannis for a the Hyannis I Sprint Triathlon on Saturday, June 17. Both teams were mixed gender. It was a great team-building opportunity, and we had a blast. In a comical turn of events to start the day, the water was so rough that the organizers replaced the swim leg with a beach run! Our two "swimmers," Leslie Dumont and Carl Cronin, kicked things off by "running" the beach. Thanks to the cyclists, David Polanco and Jamie, and runners, Bri Lajeunesse and Janice, our teams placed first and second in the 3-person co-ed relay team competition!

Leslie and Carl, the "swimmers", running the beach.

Leslie and Carl, the "swimmers", running the beach.

ANA masters swimmers formed two teams at the Hyannis Sprint Triathlon.

ANA masters swimmers formed two teams at the Hyannis Sprint Triathlon.

Athlete Report: Mashpee SuperSwim

Contributed by Matthew Wiens, Charles River Masters

Charles River Masters after the Mashpee SuperSwim

MASHPEE, MA -- One hundred thirty-nine swimmers participated in the Mashpee SuperSwim during the cloudy morning of June 19. The water of Johns Pond was cool, but pleasant, and quite comfortable for a swim. Swimmers of diverse backgrounds and ages competed in one of three race distances: ½ mile, 1 mile, and 3 miles. 

Local masters athletes, including several of my Charles River Masters (CRM) teammates, took many of the top podium spots. CRM's Kendra Walton took first overall in the women's 3-mile race, while Jessica Stokes won the women's wetsuit division and Christina Smith matched that at the 1-mile distance. SwimRI's Vince Burks and Bruce Novis took top honors in the 1-mile wetsuit and non-wetsuit races, respectively. Bill Ryan, from Pinehills Masters, won the half mile race and Guy Davis of Great Bay Masters won the men's 3-mile wetsuit division. This was my first Mashpee SuperSwim, and I'm already looking forward to next summer!

Athlete Report: NEM Places 5th at 2017 USMS Spring Nationals

Contributed by Jen Downing, 15-year member of Charles River (Cambridge) Masters

The NEM crew at Spring Nationals in Riverside, CA

RIVERSIDE, CA -- New England Masters (NEM) was represented at the 2017 Nationwide USMS Spring Nationals from April 27-30 by a small but energetic contingent of athletes. This was my 11th short course nationals and by far the most fun! I think because there were only twenty of us, we really got to know one another and made sure to cheer each other on. I think other teams were actually jealous of how much noise we made behind the lanes! Many thanks to Tracy Grilli for working her magic with the relays, to Karin Stokes for ordering our awesome team shirts, and to Sue Jensen for organizing a delicious team dinner at the Spaghetti Factory. The Riverside complex was rather impressive, with two 10-lane competition pools and two 6-lane warm-up pools, plus a diving well. And it was hot! Not much shade for spectators, but if you'll remember how Boston was in April, it was really nice to enjoy the sunshine and swim outside.

NEM finished 5th overall in the Regional Club division behind Colorado, Arizona, Puget Sound, and Wisconsin. Our very own Diann Uustal broke 6 USMS records as a 70-year-old in the 50, 100, and 200 backstrokes, 50 freestyle, 50 butterfly, and 100 IM. Congrats, Diann! Four of our NEM relays finished in the Top 10 in their age brackets, including the W 35+ 200 freestyle and 200 medley, and the W 55+ 200 freestyle and 200 medley. We had teammates returning from injury, trying new events for the first time, swimming best times, and more than anything, having fun! If you've never participated in Nationals before, it's a terrific opportunity to see old friends and meet new ones, compete in fast venues across the country, and celebrate our sport with like-minded people. You're even allowed to swim up to three events without making the qualifying time, so don't let qualifying discourage you from taking the plunge. Next year's meet is at the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis, May 11-13, 2018. Hope to see you there!

Becoming a Team

Contributed by Todd Whitford, Great Bay Masters Coach

As USMS members, we are all part of a team, club, or workout group: a group of people who get together, jump in a pool, and swim endless laps together. We probably know the names of the coaches and the people in our lanes, and we might even know the names of most of the rest of our teammates. But are we really members of a "team"?

In November at the USMS National Coaches Clinic in San Mateo, CA, the attendees of the clinic were treated to a presentation by longtime coach Ron "Sickie" Marcikic, of the San Diego Swim Masters, about team building. As a coach for over 30 years in all levels or swimming, Sickie has a lot of experience in how to build a team from a bunch of swimmers into a cohesive whole, and shared some ideas with us.

As he went through his presentation, a common theme stood out: the coaches are the main drivers in team dynamics. We are the ones who set the tone, work with the board or other governing body to set organizational goals, help the swimmers set their goals, and generally be the leaders of the team as a whole. It is within our power to shape, or at least guide, our organizations to become something that we are proud of and that are fun to be a part of.

So how can we, as coaches and swimmers, help to build the "team" mindset? It starts with building camaraderie in the pool and on the deck. Get to know the people you swim with: their names, a little about them, what kind of people they are in and out of the pool. Then take that idea and move it out of the pool. Do something as a team that isn't a workout or a meet.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Going out to eat or for drinks
  • A picnic
  • Beach day!
  • Volunteer work
  • Other sporting activities such as fun runs, bike or triathlons
  • Camping

Bonding as a group in the workout pool and outside it will translate into an increased feeling of being a team, rather than just a group of people who all happen to swim together. You may be surprised at the results!