Contributed by Barbara Hummel, Head Coach of the UVRays Masters
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, VT -- The UVRays hosted their 9th Annual Leaf Peepers meet, famous for its friendly atmosphere, fast pool, and phenomenal awards table, on October 28. This year’s version of the short-course-meters meet attracted 75 swimmers from 9 states.
Rhode Island’s Diann Uustal had a stellar meet. In her first swim of the day, Uustal set a new national record for women age 65-69 in the 200 IM with a time of 3:13.05. In the women’s 200 backstroke, Uustal clocked a 3:04.82, breaking the existing world record by four tenths of a second and shattering the national record by nearly eight seconds.
Eight New England regional records were set at the meet. Dan Rogacki (Pittsfield YMCA) set three records in the men’s 70-74 age group. His 30.54 in the 50 freestyle broke Al Craig’s record from 1998. His 100 backstroke (1:20.23) and 100 freestyle (1:08.18) were also regional records. Karen Beirwert (NEM) set two records in the women’s 65-69 age group: 200 breaststroke (3:25.63) and 100 butterfly (1:36.16). Arnold Meardon (UVRays) set two records in the men’s 85-89 age group. His 44.05 in the 50 freestyle and 1:49.10 in the 100 freestyle broke records set by Alexander Luther in 2000. On the record board for men 80-84 was William Jones (Maine Masters), with a 54.88 in the 50 breaststroke.
Dozens of meet records were broken, including four by the UVRay host team. Sean Uiterwyk (men’s 40-44) blitzed the 25 freestyle “splash ‘n’ dash” in a meet record 12.46 to earn bragging rights as the fastest swimmer in the meet. Rob Starkey (men 40-44) posted a 1:10.15 meet record in the 100 butterfly. Jeff Kuvin (men 50-54) set a new meet record of 2:13.16 in the 200 freestyle. UVRay coach Barbara Hummel (women 65-69) posted a meet record 47.41 in the 50 breaststroke.
There were many exciting races, including the 400 freestyle duel between Robbie Allen (Ventura County Masters) and Jeff Kuvin, with both swimmers under the meet record. And, as always at Leaf Peepers, there was much joy and emotion for those like Halina Nowak (Mountain View Masters) who were swimming in their first-ever masters meet.
Once again, the popular Ice Breaker relay turned total strangers into fast friends. This year’s version involved kickboards, pumpkins, apples, and swimming while connected by noodle to another swimmer. Somehow…it came down to a photo finish!
Thanks to all who participated in the meet, and the Rays look forward to seeing everyone at the 10th Annual Leaf Peepers in October 2018.