meets

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

Contributed by Sue Jensen, Officials Chair, NEM-CRM

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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. 

Fix Your Turns before the Big Meet

The New England LMSC SCY Championship is just a month away, and you know what short course yards means... turns! U.S. Masters Swimming maintains a large collection of articles on all sorts of swim topics. Check out these relevant articles to brush up on racing and turns before the meet:

NEM Swimmers Celebrate in Sarasota

Contributed by Lisa Zraket, NEM-YNS

Diann Uustal, Andi Freedman, Lisa Zraket, and Beth Lott at the Sarasota Sharks Master Meet

Diann Uustal, Andi Freedman, Lisa Zraket, and Beth Lott at the Sarasota Sharks Master Meet

SARASOTA, FL — YNS Sharks Andi Freedman, Beth Lott, and Lisa Zraket celebrated their birthday weekend by swimming in the Sarasota YMCA Masters’ Shark Tank SCM Meet in sunny Sarasota, FL on Nov 3-4, 2018.

As an extra gift, Diann Uustal (NEM-SWMR), also competing at the meet, was able to join the NEM-YNS ladies to form a New England Masters Swim Club (NEM) relay team. The foursome swam the 200-meter freestyle relay together and walked away with a first place finish!

Lott spent her 60th birthday participating in her first ever swim meet, diving headfirst into her 60s while crushing distance and sprint events. Freedman grabbed a first place finish in her signature backstroke event — and was asked to be a model for Swimmer Magazine! — while maintaining an impressively positive attitude in the face of mishaps (pulled muscle, foot bruised on a turn, and a DQ). Zraket decided to cram 5 events into each day and tackle her worst fears: trying the 50 butterfly and the 200 IM. Uustal was the strong, determined, unofficial coach giving positive feedback and support throughout the meet. 

The Sarasota Sharks were very welcoming and friendly. It was an amazing and fun meet filled with a group of Master swimmers coming together, regardless of age, skill, and motivation, to share their passion for swimming and competition. 

Summer Meet & Open Water Result Links

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. 

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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.

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

 

NO DIVING  

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. 

 

NO PADDLES 

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.  

 

ON YOUR LEFT

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.  

 

KNOW WHEN WARMUP ENDS

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.

Lastly…

BE FRIENDLY 

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: NEcoaches@usms.org

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 www.scmchamps.blogspot.com 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!

Sincerely,

Alford Green, Meet Director