FINA Masters Worlds in Budapest was the Experience of a Lifetime

Contributed by Kysa Crusco, GSP

Goodale, Jen Downing (CRM), Crusco, & Williams

Twenty-one New England swimmers journeyed to Budapest to swim at the FINA World Masters Championships in August 2017. The Masters World Championships featured over 9,000 athletes across multiple sports, including 6,500 swimmers. 

The Budapest facilities were amazing. The brand new Danube Arena is on the Danube River with 2 long course competition pools and indoor and outdoor short course warmup pools. A second venue, the Alfred Hajos Sports Complex, was about 15 minutes away on Margaret Island. The Hajos facility has two competition pools and a short course warmup pool. Age groups were assigned to different pools each day to allow competitors the opportunity to swim in the different pools and venues. The meet timelines were reasonable and competition finished each day early in the afternoon (as opposed to other Worlds where races went late into the night). 

Beth Estel (GSP) stood atop the podium twice in the 60-64 age group, winning the 100m breaststroke in 1:28.18 and the 400m freestyle with a time of 5:30.95. She also took second place in the 50m breaststroke, 200m breaststroke and 400m IM. Ildiko Szekely (BUMS) took the gold in the women's 35-39 200m butterfly with a time of 2:23.45, winning by over 7 seconds. Szekely also earned two second place finishes in the 100m butterfly and 200m IM. Rainy Goodale (MVM), Karen Mareb (GSP) and Mindy Williams (GSP) also earned medals. 

When polled, my teammates agreed that the camaraderie among our team was a meet highlight. The Granite State Penguins workout group had 8 swimmers, mixed in with other New England Masters teammates who are regular Nationals and Worlds entrants. This made for a close-knit group in and out of the pool. Relay day brought us all together at one pool for fast swims and fun conversation. Karin Stokes (GSP) highlighted the awesome swimming venue, the friendly people of Budapest, and the interesting architecture of the city. Karen Mareb commented that the “best times were eating and drinking out at all the fabulous restaurants with my teammates.”

Outside of the pool, New Englanders took advantage of the beautiful sights and attractions of Budapest. The city is famous for its thermal baths and I visited three of them: the Szechenyi Baths, the Gellerts Spa, and the Kiraly Baths. Soaking in the beer baths at the Szechenyi and frolicking in the wave pool (built in 1934!) at the Gellert Spa with teammates Nic Ohman (GSP) and Mindy Williams were favorites. Karen Mareb, Beth Estel and Karin Stokes all loved the 5-hour Budapest food tour. The final day of the competition was a national holiday in Hungary, which was celebrated with a huge fireworks display set off from multiple bridges on the Danube. 

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For me, this Worlds competition was the culmination of 5 years of Masters Swimming. I joined Masters Swimming in 2012 with the goal of finally following through on a fitness regimen. A few months in, there was talk at the pool about the Leaf Peepers Meet at UVAC. I went and I was hooked. Since then, I have attended USMS Nationals, Canadian Nationals, and Worlds in Montreal. The experience of training for and traveling to Budapest with my teammates surpassed all the other meets. Walking out onto the deck from the ready room, to swim in the same pool the elite and pro swimmers had competed in just a few weeks earlier, was intense. The work I put in paid off in my swims with top 10 finishes and personal best times. I enjoyed meeting swimmers from other countries and trading caps. Five years ago, I could not have imagined that swimming would take me to Budapest for the experience of a lifetime with the most amazing, supportive, and inspiring teammates and family. 

Check out my GoPro video recap at https://vimeo.com/232586357/69f80bc906.

Priscilla Davis wins 2017 Adolph Kiefer Safety Commendation Award

New England LMSC warmly congratulates Priscilla Davis on her receipt of USA Swimming's Adolph Kiefer Safety Commendation Award at this year's United States Aquatic Sports Convention. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Priscilla for her many years of service and support to Masters Swimming as a meet referee and official.

Rogacki and Epstein Break Records at Jenny Thompson LCM Meet

Contributed by Dan Epstein, Charles River Masters

Front: Susan Rardin, Brittany Harrington, Emily Cook, Mike Hurd, Pieter deHart and Ted Clark; Back: Dale Syphers and Bill Jones, all part of the winning Maine Masters group.

DOVER, NH -- It was the middle of July in New England, and the sun was up early as close to a hundred swimmers gathered for the annual Summer Meet at the Jenny Thompson LCM Pool. There were no clouds in sight, and the water was blue, crystal clear, and cold--the kind of invigorating cold that makes you smile when you jump in, that makes you want to swim fast.

And we did. Eighty-eight masters swimmers splashed 271 times during a beautiful morning of great swimming and fun. In the end, it was Maine Masters who collected 1196 points for a first place team effort, edging out host Great Bay Masters, who garnered 1078 points. This year's installment of the annual sanctioned NE LMSC event was four fantastic hours of friends, family, and swimming. 

Sue Jensen, Jennifer Downing, Dan Epstein, Matt Wiens, and Fred Schlicher represented Charles River Masters

Individually, Dan Epstein of Charles River Masters set his first New England record by swimming a time of 36.74 in the 50-meter backstroke (men 65-69). Dan Rogacki of Pittsfield YMCA Polar Bear Masters began his assault on the men's 70-74 record books by competing in his first meet in that age group. Rogacki shattered records in the 50, 100 and 200-meter breaststroke events, with times of 39.67, 1:31.35, and 3.23.96 respectively.

There’s something about the 50-meter pool that can feel jarring, but also very honest: it just doesn’t seem to ever end. I, for one, left the meet wiser and with greater resolve for next year. I hope it’s sunny in July of 2018. And I hope you can join us there for a great event. 

MAMA Swimmers Lead the Way at the Mighty Merrimack Swim

Contributed by Al Prescott (MAMA), NE LMSC Treasurer

LOWELL, MA -- The Minuteman Masters turned out in force to support the Mighty Merrimack 1- and 2-mile Swim on August 6. Next year's race is scheduled for August 5, 2018.

Pictured left to right are:

"Big" Al Prescott, 1st overall non-wetsuit, 1 mile
Mark Devlin, 1st overall non-wetsuit, 2 mile
Kathy McGovern, 1st overall female, 2 mile
Denise Veenstra, 1st place age group, 2 mile
Maria Beconi, 1st place age group, 2 mile

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USMS to Deliver Free Stroke Clinic in Rhode Island

Bill Brenner

Bill Brenner

LINCOLN, RI -- USMS COO and Education Director Bill Brenner will lead a free stroke clinic at the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) Flanagan Campus on Saturday, September 30, 2017. This clinic is coming to New England as a result of our LMSC winning the USMS Early Renewal contest in November and December 2016.

The clinic is free (no cost) to current USMS members and prospective USMS members age 18 and up.* Registration is limited to 36 swimmers in the water and up to 12 coaches who wish to gain practical experience working on-deck with Bill. Check-in is from 8:30-9:00 AM, and the clinic runs from 9:00 AM to noon. There will be an optional post-clinic lunch at a nearby restaurant (possibly Ladder 133 Sports Bar & Grill).

The goal of the clinic is to help swimmers improve stroke technique and teach drills that will enable continued stroke refinement. All four strokes will be evaluated and corrected. Swimmers are not required to swim all strokes and may work on only those strokes they choose. All swimmers should bring goggles, fins, paddles and a towel -- fins are necessary to facilitate drills.

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To register as a swimmer or on-deck coach, email Douglas Sayles at NEchair@usms.org or call (401) 633-5756.

Because the number or participants is limited, we ask that (barring emergency) everyone who registers show up.

 

*Prospective USMS members may participate in the clinic by signing a no-cost USMS trial/guest membership form onsite. Former USMS members whose memberships have lapsed must renew to participate in this clinic.

12th Annual Swim & Fin Race for Salem Sound Goes Swimmingly

Contributed by Megan Podeszwa, Salem Sound Coastwatch

SALEM, MA -- The 12th Annual Swim & Fin Race for Salem Sound went off without a hitch on August 20. We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful morning to send nearly 150 swimmers into the clean, swimmable waters of Salem Sound!

Swimmers ranged in age from 11-74 and competed 500 meter, 1 mile and 5K races. We had so much great talent join us and swimmers of all abilities. It was a great race to watch!

On land, spectators had great views of the course as well as a DJ, raffle, kids coloring table, and touch tank! Swimmers received their choice of clam chowder or meatballs after the race and others had the option to purchase food. There was also plenty of coffee and baked goods to go around!

The energy of the crowd was great as swimmers went in and came out of the water. Swimmers received ocean-themed awards by age group as well as wetsuit and non-wetsuits. First place was a scallop shell, second was a surf clam shell, and third was a quahog shell. The fastest male and female in each race received large scallop shells. 

Robert Kysela (Portland, ME) of Maine Masters (MESC) won the men's 5k race, followed by Christopher Borgatti (Byfield, MA, Unattached) and Chris Waldman (Portland, ME). Emily Dobrindt (Milton, MA) was the women's 5k champion with Rachel Saks Aronis (Natick, MA) taking second and Tsveta Stanilova (Portland, ME, MESC) finishing third. At the 1-mile distance, Benjamin Czech (Providence, RI), Joe Wang (Framingham, MA), and Richy Puopolo (East Boston, MA) were the top three men. Lyndsay Martin (New York, NY), Kaelyn Patch (Brentwood, NH), and Fiona Price (Northborough, MA) took podium spots in the women's race.

A great day was had by all and for a great cause. It was amazing to see so many people caring about our local environment and what better way to show how much you care about clean water.  Thank you to everyone who came out to support Salem Sound Coastwatch!

39th Annual Celebrate the Clean Harbor Swim Draws Swimmers from Near and Far

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

NE LMSC Treasurer and ANA swimmer Al Prescott

Charles River Masters swimmers David Bentley and Andrea Sonan

GLOUCESTER, MA -- Now in its 39th year, the New England Open Water Swimming Association's ever popular Celebrate the Clean Harbor Swim was held on August 19th. The swim follows a 1.2 mile rectangular course out and back from Niles Beach, a sheltered cove on the north side of Gloucester Harbor. The event now includes a 500m youth swim, an introduction for 8-12 year old swimmers to the fun and challenge of open water racing. Although more overcast than the usual perfect summer sunshine that this event typically enjoys, the conditions were perfect for racing with comfortable water temperatures and very little breeze or chop. North Shore and Boston area swimmers dominated the nearly 90 entries, including longtime former race director Richie Martin in the largest and most competitive division of Men 60-69 years. There were also participants from all over New England and from as far afield as Illinois. 

This year's non-wetsuit overall winners were Kaitlin Pratt (Wakefield, MA) and Graham Lott (Gloucester, MA). Wetsuit overall winners were Hannah Perkins (Beverly, MA) and, for the third consecutive year, Ethan Saulnier (Salem, MA). Kaitlin and Hannah are both 13 years old, and Hannah is a former winner of the youth swim. Overall winners received Megalodon teeth and division winners received shark teeth as prizes. Many thanks to race director Dave Swensen and his team, volunteers, and sponsors for the professional management, a relaxed and family-friendly atmosphere, competitive racing and the coolest prizes.

Miles 4 Michelle Raises Over $3000

Contributed by Alyssa Farnsworth, Event Director

LANCASTER, MA -- The 4th Annual Miles 4 Michelle, hosted by Worcester Area Masters, was held at Fort Pond on July 22nd. We had a great turnout this year! Over 60 swimmers participated, supported by many volunteers, family, and friends. We asked that everyone bring a little breakfast item, so we had plenty of food and drinks for after.

Every year, Cathrine Thibault and her amazing staff from Compassion Massage Therapeutic Clinic in Leominster, MA are there to give the swimmers post-race massages. We also had many awesome raffle prizes, including a one hour massage from Compassion Massage and gift certificates from the Claw Shop in Leominster, Sneakerama in Worcester, and Slate Bar and Grill in Leominster, to name just a few!

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It was just an amazing day to bring everyone together -- those that knew Michelle and those that just know her story. I look forward to this event every year because I know Michelle is not forgotten and never will be. We were able to raise over $3,000 to go towards the Michelle Farnsworth Scholarship Fund. We hope to continue this event for years to come! Please keep an eye out for next year's date. 

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Maine Swimmers Dominate at Nubble Light Challenge Revival

Contributed by Guy Davis, GBM & NE LMSC Vice-Chair

YORK, ME -- Southern Maine's popular Nubble Light Challenge open water race made its triumphant return on August 12 after a three year hiatus. The picturesque two and a half mile course takes swimmers from York's Long Sands beach around the rocky Cape Neddick headland, through “the Gut” - the narrow passage of water that separates Nubble Island from the mainland, and on to finish at Short Sands beach. Weather conditions were very favorable, with water temperatures in the low 60s, light winds, and a moderate swell. Nevertheless, the swim's long stretches of open ocean and unpredictable tidal currents around the headland most certainly warrant the race's moniker. The warmly cheering crowds on the rocks overlooking the Gut and at the finish provided great encouragement to the swimmers.

Maine Masters swimmers dominated this year's event with wetsuit winners Cheryl Daly and Justin Burkhardt and non-wetsuit winners Susan Knight and Simon Wignall. Congratulations to all who swam and completed the Nubble Light Challenge!

The race is a fundraiser for the great work of the Maine chapter of NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) whose programs enhance the lives of any one impacted by mental illness through support, education and advocacy.

Great Bay Masters swimmers at the Nubble Light Challenge

Big thank yous go to Bob Reed, Bob Fernald, and Jen Zorn for their great work reviving and organizing this terrific event and to the many wonderful volunteers and sponsors who contributed to the fantastic atmosphere and very enjoyable event.

Race website

Fundraising page

Race Facebook page

NAMI Maine website

Photos by Tracy Phillips Photography via Nubble Light Challenge Facebook page

Masters Coaching Position Available in Brookline, MA

Seeking Masters Swim Team Coach

What: The City of Brookline is seeking a masters swim team coach to effectively design and administer workouts to US Masters swimmers. The position comes with competitive pay and excellent working conditions.

Where: Evelyn Kirrane Aquatics Center, 60 Tappan Street, Brookline, MA 02445, (617) 713-5435

When: Practices are Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from 6:15 – 7:30am

Requirements:

  • At least one season coaching competitive swim team: age group, club, or USMS
  • Prefer experience coaching or teaching adults.
  • Minimum age: 21 years old

Contact Deb Cohen at dcohen@brooklinema.gov or call (617) 713-5434