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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. 

Summer Meet & Open Water Result Links

Pan American Masters Championships Recap

Contributed by Sue Jensen, CRM & NE LMSC Secretary

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ORLANDO, FL -- The 2018 Union Americana de Natacion (UANA) Pan American Masters Championships were held from July 25 to August 8 at the YMCA Aquatic Center in Orlando, Florida. More than 2,200 athletes participated across five disciplines -- swimming, diving, synchronized swimming, water polo, and open water swimming -- making it the largest UANA Pan American Masters Championships ever held. Over 1,700 pool swimmers hailed from 30 swimming federations (most from North and South America) and broke 65 FINA world records, 136 UANA records, and 38 USMS national records in long-course meters events.

Fred Schlicher

Fred Schlicher

New England swimming legend Fred Schlicher, who recently turned 70, set world records in the 200 free and 200 fly. He also set UANA records in the 50 back and 200 back. Two weeks earlier, at the 2018 South Central Zone LCM Championship meet in Texas, Fred bested the world record in the 100 fly, as well and set national records in the 200 IM and 400 IM. Congratulations Fred. You are an inspiration to all masters swimmers!

New Englanders who attended reported that the meet was friendly and very well-run even though the hot, humid weather made for a challenging meet environment. With events spread over seven days and no New England relays able to be formed, there was a shortage of team camaraderie.

Here are reflections from some of the NE-LMSC swimmers who attended:

Szekely, Mareb, and Estel

Marian Coakley (NEM), 81, who describes herself as a "very young 80 year old," was pleasantly surprised with her 3rd, 4th and 5th place finishes usually in a group of eight. This was Marian's first meet in several years because of a couple of hip replacements. Marian goes to the pool every day of the year - but for an hour of power water walking (for rehab), not swimming. She decided to go to the meet because it was close to where she now lives in Florida. "People were really friendly, and I was glad to be a part of it." If all goes well, Marian plans to attend both Spring and Summer USMS Nationals in 2019. It is great to be back "in the swim again."

Harvey Ottinger (NEM-BASS), 61, had just returned to competitive swimming after a 40-year layoff. Harvey swam the 50, 100 and 200 breaststroke, placing 7th in the 50 and 100 and 8th in the 200 while improving on all of his seed times by a good amount. Harvey commented that, "Orlando was great and the venue was very nice. Hotels were abundant and very reasonable. Food was everywhere and fun. Everyone was treated very well, and I made many new friends. Quite honestly, I had a complete blast."

Crusco, Mareb, and Estel sporting some serious hardware!

Crusco, Mareb, and Estel sporting some serious hardware!

Beth Estel (NEM-GSP), 62, had a great meet including setting new UANA records in the 50 and 100 breast. "I was very happy with my results," said Beth. "My breaststroke friends aged up and showed up, so that made it challenging and exciting, even one from the UK. Peggy McDonnell, another breaststroker - not competing - came to cheer me on. Beth did comment on the lack of team camaraderie from New England during the day, however, felt she had great quality times with her swim buds (Karen MarebIldi Szekely, and Kysa Crusco and family), in the evening, going out to dinner and sightseeing, including a dinner at Disney, and at a Greek restaurant where Karen danced with the belly dancer.

Maria Stotts (NEM), 36, swam three pool events plus the 1.5k open water race in Daytona Beach. This was her first international meet ever, and also her first time in Florida. She found the meet very organized, and enjoyed meeting participants from around the world. The aquatic center was located in an area with plenty of things to do nearby - restaurants, shops, aquarium, wax museum, giant observation wheel and a 450-foot swing ride. She enjoyed the trip very much and hopes to go to either Mesa, Arizona or Mission Viejo, California next year for Spring and Summer Nationals.

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Dave Bright (NEM), 65, competed in his second Pan Am Masters meet after attending the one in Sarasota four years ago. "Orlando may not have been my first choice for a location. It was hot and humid, and there were lots of tourists and traffic gridlock, but it had what we needed for the meet, and I thought things went well. One of the things that happens in these big meets is that we tend to get to the pool, warm-up, swim our race and then leave. Sticking around to watch your teammates may mean a 4-hour wait in the bleachers. So, there is not as much team unity as we see at a regional or national meets. Personally, I felt the absence of having access to any 50-meter pools to train in here in Maine." Dave swam four events - one per day and then came back home at the halfway point of the meet. He was very happy with his finishes - 3rd in the 800 free, 2nd in the 400 IM, 3rd in the 200 back, and 7th in the 100 back. Both the 200 back and 400 IM were New England records! Hopefully some will hold up for US & FINA Top Tens.

CONGRATULATIONS to all swimmers from New England.

Mark your calendars for the the next Pan American Masters Championship meet, to be held in Medellin, Colombia in Summer 2020. The Colombian Swimming Federation will host this meet at the Atanasio Girardot Sports Complex, a world class aquatics facility with two long-course competition pools and six warm-up/warm-down pools. The open water event is tentatively scheduled be held in Guatupe, a wonderful small town north of Medellin. Going forward, UANA will host the Pan American Masters Championships on even-numbered years and FINA will host the World Masters Swimming Championships on odd-numbered years. 

Jenny Thompson LCM Mini-Meet Recap

Results

DOVER, NH -- On July 15, 77 swimmers from across New England gathered at the Jenny Thompson Pool to compete in the 2018 Summer JT LCM Mini-Meet. 

Granite State Penguins took home the team title with 649 points, followed by Maine Masters (587) and New England Masters (561). Twenty-two teams attended the meet. 

Douglas Sayles (SWMR), Lauren Heath (GBM), and Robert Duguay (CONN) won five events each to tie for the top individual prize with 100 points. 

Granite State Penguins

Granite State Penguins

Maine Hosts Multiple Winter Mini Meets

Contributed by Tim Lecrone, MESC, NE LMSC Registrar

Tim Lecrone and Ted Clark at the MDI Meet (pc Kayla Redman)

Tim Lecrone and Ted Clark at the MDI Meet (pc Kayla Redman)

MDI Results

Toughen Up Results 

Challenge Event Results

MAINE -- Despite weather scares, both the Mount Desert Island and Toughen Up Challenge meets ran as scheduled.

On January 28, MDI welcomed over twenty swimmers full of smiles and fun times. There just isn't a more pleasant crew of volunteers at a meet anywhere. This environment coupled with the scenic drive makes it a must-swim event. 

On February 11, the Toughen Up Challenge brought several hard-nosed competitors from New Hampshire and Maine together to compete for the titles of Sprint and Distance Champions. We saw some repeat winners with Jess Beers (MESC) and Anne Uecker (MESC) resuming their reigns as the Queen of Sprint and Distance, respectively. On the men's side, newcomers Orion Huey (MESC) and Valdis Jurka (NEM) were crowned the sprint and distance winners.   

Exeter Mini Meet Has Something for Everyone

Results

GoPro Video by Sarah Crane

Contributed by Crystie McGrail, Meet Director & NE LMSC Coaches Chair

Sue Jensen, Rozann Kraus, Margaret Muse (in her first ever masters meet!), and Dan Epstein

EXETER, NH -- On February 4, 89 swimmers from 8 clubs braved the trip to Exeter, NH to race in the speedy Roger Nekton Championship pool at Phillips Exeter Academy. With an event line-up featuring everything from 25s to the 1650 there were good options for everyone to burn some calories before Superbowl festivities.

A special kudos to those 8 hearty swimmers who stuck around to swim the longest pool event in existence (i.e. the 1650) at the end of the meet. Even more kudos to those who stuck around to count and cheer them on!

Super impressive swims included Stacy Sweetser's (GSP) 1:14 in the 100-yard breaststroke as well as the grudge match 50 freestyle where Nic Ohman (GSP) barely bested Tom Phillips (BUMS) by .1 second. Not to be outdone, the top two 55-59 women in the 50 freestyle, Karin Stokes (GSP) and Sue Jensen (CRM), raced to a .02 difference between first and second places. Another impressive swim was the 59.48 in the 100 freestyle by Amy Leveroni of NEM that took all of those younger gals (and even some of the younger men!) to task.

Granite State Penguins

Granite State Penguins

The cross-age group competition was also fierce with Ed Gendreau (GBM) showing the less seasoned swimmers, Stephen Carroll (GSP) and Ben Wolfson (GBM) how to go a 1:10.0 in the 100 breaststroke. (It was close, Stephen, maybe next year!) The indomitable Guy Davis (GBM) also took many of the less seasoned age groups to task with a speedy 2:05 in the 200 freestyle; however, youth was able to prevail with an even speedier 2:03 by unattached swimmer Chris Borgatti (someone get him on a club already!). The women’s 100 backstroke was no joke with Beth Estel (GSP) crushing a 1:15 to reign over the 60-64 age group (men included).

The shortest races of the day brought on some of the biggest challenges (just ask Mindy Williams (GSP) how hard it is to get going for only a 25!) and some of the fastest swimming we’ve seen!

The Newburyport Breakers were good sports in haranguing swimmers from all over to create relays to go up against host team Great Bay Masters. It was a great way to get some practice in before the SCY Championship next month at Harvard where relays can contribute to massive team points!  

While there were no National records set (next year, guys, next year), we did have at least two swimmers experiencing their FIRST masters meet ever and that made it all worthwhile!

Great Bay Masters greatly appreciates the support of the local swimming community for a fun meet and relay racing!

Full results can be found on SwimPhone, and will be submitted to the USMS database shortly.

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!

World and National Records for NEM’s Diann Uustal at 9th Annual UVAC Leaf Peepers Mini Meet

Contributed by Barbara Hummel, Head Coach of the UVRays Masters

Thanks to UVRay teammates Sue Gray (left) and Susan Reid (right), no one goes home hungry from Leaf Peepers.

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.

Diann Uustal finished the day with one world record and two national records!

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. 

Granite State Penguins (l-r) Tyler Edsall, Kysa Crusco, Beth Estel, and Scott Machinist.

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. 

UVRay Sean Uiterwyk (far right) claims Fastest Man in the Pool honors with his 12.46 in the 25-meter freestyle. Volunteer timers are a huge part of every masters mini meet. 

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. 

Swimmers review the different legs of the Icebreaker Relay and decide who does what. 

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. 

Joel Feldman from Keene always has time to smile.

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.

Leadoff swimmers get ready for the start of the Icebreaker Relay. 

Simmons October Swim Fest Opens Short Course Meters Season

Contributed by Sue Jensen, CRM & NE LMSC Officials Chair

Ted Mills, Alana Aubin, Katie Levenstein, and Ryan Kleinert

BOSTON, MA -- Fifty hearty swimmers came out on a cloudy, rainy Saturday morning to compete in the 10th Annual Simmons College ‘October Swim Fest,’ held at Simmons’ 8-lane William J. Holmes Sports Center pool on Saturday, October 14th. This mini meet is always the first of the fall season, where Masters swimmers come to test out their fitness and readiness levels for the upcoming racing season.

Martha’s Vineyard Masters took the 6 am ferry to make it to the meet: Rainy Goodale, Jamieson DeCubellis, Elizabeth Lytle and Sue Jensen

Highlights of the meet included the ever-wonderful pool-side hot tub, a solo 100 butterfly for Guy Davis (GBM), and four back-to-back 50-meter swims by Kysa Crusco (GSP). This meet is an annual fundraiser for the Simmons College women’s swim team, who graced the deck as timers, counters, and a very enthusiastic cheering squad. Meet manager extraordinaire and long-time Simmons coach, Mindy Williams, ran the meet seamlessly with assistant coach, Christina Baudis. Mark your calendars for 2018 — Saturday, October 13th.

Christina Baudis and Mindy Williams ran a flawless meet

Our meet officials, Steve McAlarney and Steve Davidson

Nic Ohman, Karin Stokes, Kysa Crusco, Beth Estel, and Sue Jensen enjoyed the hot tub after the meet

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.