recaps

Are You Willing to Go The Distance?

Contributed by Sue Jensen, CRM, NE LMSC Officials Chair

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100x 100 participants got a jump on their 2018 distance goals

100x 100 participants got a jump on their 2018 distance goals

NEW ENGLAND -- Congratulations to our New England LMSC, which logged 27,831.80 miles in USMS's 'Go the Distance' (GTD) program last year. One hundred fifteen New England swimmers participated in 2017.

The GTD program is an enormously popular free event offered by USMS each year. Any USMS member can set a mileage goal for the year and use their online Fitness Log (FLOG) to track their swimming progress, as well as other training, on a regular basis. GTD swag is available for purchase when you reach various milestones.

Those New Englanders who swam 300 miles or more in 2017 include:

Brian McLaughlin 1,439.39, Charlotte Brynn 1,312.85.

Paula Yankauskas 789.81, Sue-Ellen Booher 728.65, Nancy Tunstall 705.12.

Bob Burrow 661.09, Margaret Haskins658.75, Cheryl Daly 644.29, Jane Cheney627.57, Maura Twomey 621.70.

Patricia Saint Aubin 595.05, Michelle Toner 500.20.

John Shumadine 488.66, Mark Rubacky 488.38, Jen Downing 481.13, Cynthia Needham 486.94, Becky Hunnewell 484.18, Kevin Sullivan 437.24, Sue Jensen 434.02, Susan Knight 415.01, Steven Pohnert 411.81.

Dorothy Mullaney 375.48, Alana Aubin 369.60, Benjamin Morse 369.17, Amy Rolnick367.96, Kate Beard-Tisdale 365.82, Daniel Moran 365.31, Laura Delorey 357.89, Thomas Burt 353.90, Christopher Landry 346.75, Rob Schiller 325.16, Mark Alexander 325.12, Sarah Dombrowski 320.74, Beth Eggimann 320.40, David Welch 317.00, Elizabeth Mancuso 306.51, Catherine Laramie 304.74 and Hilary Sullivan 300.02.

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.

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.

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

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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Pat McDermot Swims Across Lake George

Contributed by Stacy Sweetser, GSP

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LAKE GEORGE, NY -- Pat McDermot (GSP) has been swimming for six years, the last two of which have included long distance open water swims. He recently completed an official unassisted marathon swim in Lake George, NY. Pat's crew included his wife Lynn McDermot (kayak support for 20+ hours), his brother Jay McDermot (support boat captain), and additional crew of Sharon McDermotKatie McDermotLaura FoleySheryl Scott (GSP) and Karen Cole (GSP). Pat departed Diane's Rock on July 18 at 3:23 pm and swam against the wind during the day. Thankfully the wind relented during the night and Pat held his expected pace. The next morning, Pat battled headwinds to finish at the south end of Lake George around 4:15 pm on July 19. His total time was 24 hours and 50 minutes. Amazing!

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