Sixteen Athletes Represent New England at the 2019 Canadian Masters Swimming Championships

Contributed by Sue Jensen, Officials Chair, NEM-CRM


MONTRÉAL, CANADA — The swimming pool in the complexe sportif Claude-Robillard, built for the 1976 Summer Olympics water polo competitions, was the setting for this year’s Canadian Masters Swimming Championships from May 24-26. A record 740 swimmers gathered together for the 40th anniversary of this annual meet. Swimmers came from all ten provinces of Canada and a handful of countries from around the world, including Australia, Bermuda, Great Britain, and Slovakia. Sixty swimmers hailed from the United States, with sixteen coming from New England.

The Americans swam well, winning 108 gold medals and placing second overall ahead of CAMO Natation, the provincial home team from Québec. The New England team included: Fiona Atkinson, Christina Baudis, Dave Bright, Guy Davis, Laura Delorey, Beth Estel, David Graham, Sue Jensen, Frankin Mansilla, Karen Mareb, Janet McDonough, Nic Ohman, Tom Phillips, Kathy Slifer, Marilyn Soraghan, and Mindy Williams

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Most of Team New England drove through Vermont and across the U.S.-Canada border, passports in hand, to attend the three-day French-speaking meet. Not only was this an occasion for New Englanders to practice their French, but with the New England short course meters season having ended in December at the WPI meet, it was a welcome out-of-season opportunity to compete in short course meters. 

Highlight swims by New Englanders include:

  • Dave Bright (age 66) won the 200 IM, 400 IM, and 200 backstroke and broke New England records in 400 freestyle, 400 IM, and 200 backstroke.

  • Mindy Williams (age 38) won the 1500 freestyle while setting a New England record and logging a personal best time by 21 seconds.

  • Karen Mareb (age 60) won gold in all her breaststroke events and the 100 freestyle.

  • Tom Phillips (age 45) won the 50 freestyle and swam a lifetime best time of 24.76.

  • Marilyn Soraghan and Laura Delorey made it to the finals of the age 50+ bonus 25-meter freestyle race (amid much fanfare!).

  • The quartet of Janet McDonough, Beth Estel, Sue Jensen, and Karen Mareb (age group 240-279) took first place and broke the New England record in both the 200 and 400 medley relays and are now ranked 2nd (400m) and 3rd (200m) on FINA’s World Masters Top Ten List.

The 41st Canadian Masters Championship will be held in Toronto, Ontario in June 2020. 

NELMSC SCM Championships Recap

by Alana Aubin, NELMSC Communications Chair

Dan Rogacki and Mindy Williams

Dan Rogacki and Mindy Williams

WORCESTER, MA -- Three world records and one national record went down at the 2018 NELMSC and Colonies Zone SCM Championships, held December 8-10 at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

New Englander Fritz Bedford of the UV Rays shaved 0.10 off the world record in the men's 55-59 50-meter backstroke in 27.86. Drew Modrov (CHEL) took .77 off the men's 25-29 400-meter freestyle record with his time of 3:52.83 and Erika Braun (NCMS) bettered her own women's 45-49 100-meter freestyle record of 58.21 with a 57.89. Steve Hiltabiddle (1776) set the national record in the men's 50- 54 50-meter butterfly, taking it from 25.98 to 25.60.

Charles River Masters

Charles River Masters

In individual scoring, Dan Rogacki (NEM-PITY) scored 215 points to win the men's high point award, while Mindy Williams (NEM-GSP) and Ann Louise Onton (CONN) tied for the women's title with 209 points. Kysa Crusco (NEM-GSP) picked up 196 points to take third on the women's side and Mark Keil (NEM-MAMA) and Modrov rounded out the men's podium with 177 and 170 points, respectively.

In the team competition, Charles River Masters beat host Worcester Area Masters and 2017 champ Connecticut Masters in large team scoring, 3340 to 3094 to 2682. In the medium team division, Great Bay Masters (1767 points) beat out Granite State Penguins (1674) for first, while Maine Masters (1385) narrowly defeated SwimRI (1378) for third place. Visiting teams UMAC Terrapin Masters (845), Chelsea Piers Fitness (661), and Landshark Masters (621) turned in strong showings in the small team division. Sarasota YMCA Sharks (290), North Carolina Masters (255), and Nutmeg Masters (246) were tops in the Squad division.

Granite State Penguins Came to Play at NE LMSC & Colonies Zone SCM Championship

Contribute by Alana Aubin, CRM, NE LMSC Communications Chair

WORCESTER, MA -- Four hundred sixty-two swimmers from 70 teams flocked to the WPI Sports & Recreation Center for another fantastic NE LMSC and Colonies Zone SCM Championship Meet from December 8-10, 2017. 

Great Bay Masters' Guy Davis concluded a stellar year of swimming by racking up 215 points to take the men's High Point award by a wide margin. The Granite State Penguins (GSP) were well-represented on the high point list, taking four of the next five spots. Brendan Wright led the way for his team by finishing second overall with 194 points, followed by George Coupe in third (187). Stephen Carroll (174) and Mark Rubacky (172) battled it out in the 45-49 age group and ended up in fifth and sixth place, respectively. Ken Kwa from Charles River Masters (CRM) snuck into fourth place with 174 points.

Granite State Penguins celebrate their victory with meet director Alford Green

Granite State Penguins celebrate their victory with meet director Alford Green

The GSP ladies couldn't let the men have all the fun; with 203 points, Mindy Williams captured the women's High Point award just ahead of teammate Kysa Crusco, who scored 198 points. Sue Garland (191) and Ginger Howell (183) of CRM were third and fourth, and Charlotte Brynn (170) of Stowe Masters rounded out the top five.

In the team competition, Connecticut Masters won the Large Team division and Zone Championship by accruing 3,114 points. Unsurprisingly, GSP won the Medium Team division with 2,766 points. UMAC Terrapin Masters (815) took the Small Team title home to Virginia, and Stowe Masters (322) were the Squad champions.

Kudos to Worcester Area Masters for doing such a great job hosting the meet, and thank you to all who competed, coached, or volunteered, especially our officials. See you in March!

FINA Masters Worlds in Budapest was the Experience of a Lifetime

Contributed by Kysa Crusco, GSP

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

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY -- 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. 


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

Competition Etiquette... "Competiquette"

Contributed by Crystie McGrail, NE-LMSC Coaches Chair

A few notes on the “lay of the land” for the racing waters we inhabit.

New England does meets like no other. We have two of the biggest, fastest, bestest (that's a word, right?) championship meets every single year. On top of that, we have multitudes of fun mini meets of all styles and a slew of open water events for the truly crazy folks. 

With this many events it’s often evident that a few folks didn’t quite get the memo on the etiquette surrounding some of the rules and common practices of Masters competition. As such, I was enlisted to write a quick article sharing some of the taboo things that happen at swim meets. 

The most common issues surround the enigmatic meet warmup, and that is what this article will focus on.   

Just kidding! Let's help each other out!

WarmUp TaDas and TaDon’ts



There are only two instances when it is okay to dive in the pool during a competition - the first is when the starter beeps, signaling the beginning of your race (don’t miss that one; it’s important) and the second time is when the officials have opened specific lanes for sprints.  

Two key words in that sentence are officials and specific. If you are unsure if a lane is a sprint lane, ASK! They may look all official and scary in their pristine white shirts hovering about your lane like sharks… no wait, these are masters meets - they are likely lounging in a chair nearby chatting with other swimmers to catch up on the kids and family.  


SPRINT LANES are for sprinting

If you see a completely empty lane during a fairly busy warm up, it is safe to say that it’s probably not some Utopian turn of fate to allow you a perfect warm up - it’s a sprint lane. ASK an official if it’s a sprint lane and if it is - please don’t get in and start doing your normal laps. Sprint lanes only happen during the last 15-20 minutes of a warm up and are usually announced. 

A note about “sprinting”: The definition of sprinting is moving at full speed. Always respect that each individual's “full speed” is very different. You can do this by observing the lane you are going to sprint in to make sure that those before you have the opportunity to finish their sprint as they wish without being impeded. 



Leave ‘em at home. No one wants to be whacked with your paddles in the middle of a frenetic warm up pool. Oh, and this is actually in the rulebook - no paddles.  



Much like life, swimming depends on a lot of non-verbal communication. We can’t very well yell out “ON YOUR LEFT” underwater when passing someone like runners do (though most of us probably wish we could). Make sure you pick up the clues and follow the general rule of thumb that passing happens on the left (similar to driving).  

And don’t hang out in the middle of the lane. If you’re at the wall, stopping in the middle is always bad news; stay to the right if you are stopping.  



There is nothing worse than the highly responsible first heat of the meet standing cold and ready behind the blocks, waiting to race, while the officials or meet directors chase up and down the pool trying to clear that last person (or few people) out of the competition pool. Respect your fellow swimmers and clear the pool at the scheduled time. Don’t know what time it is? ASK.



99.8% of masters swimmers are super friendly. Be one of them. Many of the notes above say “ASK” because at a Masters meet you will be instantly surrounded with some of the best people in the universe and they are extremely helpful. Don’t feel bad asking questions; it’s a great way to make new friends!  

Got questions, comments, or criticisms?  Track me down at a swim meet and tell me!  Or I guess you could email me:

SCM Championship Meet at WPI a Huge Success

Contributed by Alford Green, Meet Director

Mark Wild, Danielle Caron, & Craig Mitchell of meet host WAM

WORCESTER, MA - Last weekend, for the first time in the history of the meet, more than 500 swimmers journeyed to the WPI Sports and Recreation Center (Worcester, MA) for the 2016 NE-LMSC & Colonies Zone SCM Championships. Swimmers came from as far away as Texas and California to compete in one of the nation’s largest masters meets, and by all accounts, it was well worth the trip.

In addition to the numerous personal best times and New England records that were broken, the weekend saw 3 world records and 6 national records being smashed.

Diann Uustal, SwimRI (Women 70-74)

  • 50m Free – 32.38 – World, National
  • 100m IM – 1:23.23 – World, National
  • 50m Back – 38.21 – National
  • 100m Back – 1:22.75 – National

Scott Heber, Rockwall Aquatics (Men 50-54)

  • 100m IM – 1:00.57 – World, National

Beth Estel, Granite State Penguins (Women 60-64)

  • 50m Breast – 38.97 - National

The beautiful facility at WPI

Worcester Area Masters (WAM) and the WPI Swimming and Diving varsity teams served as hosts for the meet. New this year were a revamped order of events, a tradition of championship collectors’ pins, and custom meet t-shirts.

Special thanks to the meet officials Bob Fredette, Priscilla Davis, Kevin Curly , Sue Hoey, and Jack Kurke for helping to make these championships successful.

GBM coach Crystie McGrail competes in backstroke.

Individual Awards

Female High Point

1. Beth Estel, Granite State Penguins – 181

2. Melinda Williams, Granite State Penguins – 170

2. Charlotte Brynn, Stowe Masters – 170


Male High Point

1. Michael Emmons, Charles River Masters – 184

 2. David Stiles, St. Pete Masters – 176

3. William Jones, Maine Masters – 175



Members of CRM accept their team awards.

Team Awards

Large Teams (31+)

1. Charles River Masters - 3,802

2. Minuteman Masters Swim Club - 2,775

3. Great Bay Masters Swimming - 2,477


Medium Teams (10-30)

1. SwimRI - 2,305

2. Connecticut Masters - 2,276.50

3. Worcester Area Masters - 2,206


Small Teams (4-9)

1. Waltham Masters Swimmers - 857

2. Umac-Terrapin Masters - 690

3. Boston University Masters - 514

Don't Forget to Thank Your Officials!

Contributed by Sue Jensen, NE-LMSC Officials Chair

Thank you WPI meet officials !

A huge shoutout and thank you to our amazing team of meet officials at this past weekend’s NE-LMSC & Colonies Zone SCM Championship at WPI: Priscilla Davis, Bob Fredette, Kevin Curley, Sue Hoey and Jack Kurkel. They were the ones with the white shirts, the whistles, the clipboards, and even the cowbells. Together with meet director Alford Green and their combined decades of experience running swim meets, they kept our meet running smoothly, fairly, and efficiently, and in an incredibly professional way too.  

On behalf of the entire NE-LMSC and Colonies Zone, an enormous thank you Priscilla, Bob, Kevin, Sue and Jack. We are grateful for the 25+ hours you spent on deck during this 3-day meet, and for your enthusiastic support of masters swimming. We couldn’t run our meets without you.

Entries Open for 2016 NE-LMSC & Colonies Zone SCM Championships at WPI

Contributed by Alford Green, Meet Director

Entries are now open! Worcester Area Masters are pleased to again host the NE-LMSC & Colonies Zone SCM Championships at the WPI Sports and Recreation Center on December 9-11, 2016. Last year was our first time hosting the meet at this location, and with that came a few teething problems. We took note of which new additions were a hit, and worked on ways to improve the aspects that were not up to standard. I am pleased to report that these overhauled championships should be an even greater experience for New England swimming!

Exciting features of these championships include:

  • A revamped order of events.
  • Online and deck individual event check-in, which open at noon on the prior day and close at 9:30 am on the day of the event.
  • On-site screen printing of meet t-shirts. You will be able to choose your t-shirt color and have the names of your team members printed on the back.
  • Coaches’ hospitality room
  • Free meet collector’s pin for each meet entrant
  • Warmer competition course
  • Free parking
  • Photo area and a special Snapchat filter
  • Complimentary photography
  • An incentivized 4x100m I.M. relay at the end of the meet.

I urge you to visit the updated meet website to learn more about the meet, and to find directions and partner hotels. The final entry deadline is November 28, and late entries will not be accepted. Also, please note that spaces in the 800m Free are limited, so register early.

I look forward to seeing you all in December for what will be a truly great experience!


Alford Green, Meet Director

USMS 10-mile Open Water National Championship Recap

Contributed by Charlotte Brynn, NE-LMSC Open Water Chair

Results      Photos              

LAKE MEMPHREMAGOG, NEWPORT, VERMONT - Excellent conditions, top times, and tight finishes sums up a great day of racing in Newport, Vermont on July 30. To follow are the USMS Open Water Championship results in full, as well as New England highlights.

The start of the 2016 USMS Open Water 10-mile National Championship

The start of the 2016 USMS Open Water 10-mile National Championship

USMS OWN Ultra Marathon - 10 Mile

Overall Male

  1. 4:10:03                     James Biles                          55                    Cedarburg, WI
  2. 4:10:40                     Stephen Rouch                    36                    Indianapolis, IN 
  3. 4:22:32                     Guy Davis                           57                    North Hampton, NH


New England Age Group Highlights - Male

In the 35 - 39 age group, Anuj Sampat of Waltham, MA, grabbed third in 6:22:02.

Christopher Graefe of Jamaica Plain, MA won the 40-44 age group with a time of 4:24:14, narrowly missing the overall podium. He was followed by Willy Blumentals of Sudbury, MA, in 6:46:35.

In the 45-49 age group, John Langton of Lynnfield, MA placed second, in a time of 4:52.01. Talbot Crowell from Lexington, MA was fifth in 6:15:22.

New Englander Elaine Howley provides kayak support during the 10 mile race

New Englander Elaine Howley provides kayak support during the 10 mile race

The 55-59 age group was the most competitive division, with James Biles winning the National Championship in a time of 4:10.03. He was also the overall 10 mile event winner. Hot on his heels was Guy Davis of Great Bay Masters, from North Hampton, NH, throwing down a strong swim to take second place in a time of 4:22.32, and the 3rd fastest time on the 10 mile course. Frederick Hirsch of Hull, MA, and Gregory Gomez of Newtonville, MA, finished 5th and 6th, respectively.

A strong New England presence was felt in the 60-64 age group, with Westley Richards of Windham, MA taking 2nd place in a time of 5:35.72, and Brian Mc Laughlin of Nashua, NH taking 3rd place in a time of 5:38.13. Brian is also a leading Go The Distance Swimmer.

Overall Female

  1. 4:25:32                     Laurie Hug                                 51                     Ambler, PA
  2. 4:26:17                     Nancy Steadman Martin             62                     Oceanport, NJ
  3. 4:29:08                     Shirley Loftus-Charley                64                     Afton, VA


New England Age Group Highlights - Female

Jenny Wolf of Concord, MA was third in the 30-34 age group, finishing in 5:16:50.

In the 35-39 age group, Mina Elnaccash of Somerville, MA was sixth in 7:01:33.

In the 45-49 year age group, Theresa Peck of Plymouth, NH placed third in a time of 5:57.48.

In the 50-54 year age group, Martha Wood of Manchester, NH, finished second in a time of 4:45.11, and Sheryl Scott of Pelham, MA took third in a time of 5:23.32.

Congratulations to all swimmers who competed in the 2016 10+ mile OWN. It was terrific to see so many NE-LMSC swimmers challenge themselves to this National Open Water event.