"Not all those who wander are lost."
~J. R. R. Tolkien
"If your life is free of failures, you're not taking enough risks."
"Different people have different duties assigned to them by nature; Nature has given one the power or the desire to do this, the other that. Each bird must sing with his own throat."
"Destiny is not a matter of chance. It is a matter of choice: it is not to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved."
~William Jennings Bryan
~By Gary Hall Sr., The Race Club
Last week, the world lost one of its finest distance and open water swimmers, Fran Crippen. His body was apparently discovered submerged just 400 meters or so from the finish line, hours after the completion of the FINA open water race near Dubai.
The water was allegedly very warm for competition, with temperatures reported at 84 degrees Fahrenheit or higher by others. The air temperature was allegedly near 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Several athletes ended up in the hospital after the race from dehydration or heat exhaustion. I don't know too many other details about the race other than it was a circuit course of around 2 miles and that there were some race supervisors on jetskis, but exactly how many, I do not know.
When I first learned of Fran's death, my first thought was 'this should not have happened'. Open water swimming has its inherent risks. One of the mystiques and intrigues about this fast growing sport is that one has to deal with a wide range of conditions; warm water, cold water, wind, waves, current, poor visibility, jelly fish, sharks, seaweed...just to name a few. Somehow, I cannot bring myself to believe that when considering this particular race, involving young talented swimmers among the most physically fit on the planet, that death by drowning should be one of the risks.
I suppose anything is possible. Fran could have had a cardiac arrhythmia or even a myocardial infarction, although the likelihood of either at his age and condition would be extremely rare. But if either had been the case, I would have preferred to hear that they could not resuscitate him after pulling him from water seconds or even minutes after he stopped swimming. Instead, they found him on the bottom.
The most likely cause of this tragedy is heat stroke, whereby one is sending so much blood to the muscle and skin in an attempt to reduce core body temperature, that not enough oxygen gets to the brain and one blacks out. Heat stroke is not uncommon when air or water temperatures are in the range reported in Dubai that day. Heat stroke can come on so quickly that often there is no time to prepare...no warning. Similar to shallow water blackout in free diving, loss of consciousness can occur very quickly. When it does, there had better be someone nearby to pull the body out of the water. Otherwise, within a few minutes, death will occur from drowning.
Since moving to the Florida Keys five years ago, I have known two experienced divers who drowned from shallow water blackout. I have heard of two others who were saved by having a buddy pull them out of the water immediately. In all of these cases, experience or fitness had little or nothing to do with the loss of consciousness. Supervision or lack of it had everything to do with survival.
I know nothing about the rules of supervision in FINA open water competition. Sometimes it takes a tragedy of this magnitude for rules to change. Perhaps there should be much more supervision required. Perhaps there should be limits on allowable competition in extreme conditions like in Dubai that day. I don't know. But I cannot help wondering if Fran would not still be with us if someone had been there to pull him out when he suddenly stopped swimming.
I cannot imagine what it must be like for the Crippen family to have to experience the loss of Fran.The Crippens are like the Halls. They live and breathe swimming. Maddy swam with Gary Jr on the 2000 Olympic Team. They are all accomplished athletes. I did not know Fran personally, but everyone who did is heartbroken. He was a tremendous human being. Losing Fran was a great loss to the world...and not just to the swimming world.
Yours in swimming,
Gary Hall Sr.
~By Sheryl Watkins
Almost 2000 athletes, ages 18 and over, competed over the course of the four day Championship at the 2010 US Masters Short Course Nationals at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center (GTAC) in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. This year marked the 40th anniversary of the Masters Nationals with 1,977 swimmers ranging from 18 to 93 years swimming over the course of the four-day event that took place May 20-23, 2010. The GTAC facility was the site of all swimming, diving and synchronized swimming competition as well as the swimming portion of the modern pentathlon during the Centennial Olympic Games in the summer of 1996. For the masters competition, the 50-meter pool was divided into 2, 10-lane competition pools and the diving well served as the warm-up pool. Odd and even heats were run for each event simultaneously. This was a must, with almost 2,000 swimmers and a total of 46 events (individual and relay). The most popular event, the men's 100 yd freestyle, contained 59 heats. That's almost 600 swimmers' in one event!
A total of 47 states and 8 countries were represented at the meet, so it was a true national and international event. Included were over 150 Florida swimmers making the pilgrimage, including 3 swimmers from Palm Coast's masters swim team, Dynoswim Masters and 7 swimmers from the Daytona Beach Masters Team. Dynoswimmers Glenn Partelow (62), Kate Sussman (52) and Sheryl Watkins (45) competed in a total of 12 events and brought home a total of 4 metals: Glenn took 7th place in the 200 yd Butterfly, 7th place in the 1,650 yd Freestyle (yes, that is 1 mile!), and 9th place in the 500 yd Freestyle. Sheryl brought home a 7th place in the 200 yd Backstroke. Metals were given out for the top 10 swimmers for each event and each age group. Age groups are, in general, defined by 5 year increments (i.e. 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, starting at 18 and ending at 90 and above). Glenn and Sheryl coach Dynoswim Masters, which practices at the Frieda Zamba Pool year round. Dynoswim member ages have ranged from 15 to 84, with ranging goals: fitness, triathlon training, and competitive swimming. Practices focus on technique and endurance building and are held Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at Frieda Zamba from 6-7:45 pm.
Among the entrants were a number of Olympians, including Rowdy Gaines, Cullen Jones, Mark Gangloff, Josh Davis, Roque Santos, David Sims, Sue Walsh, Chris Stevenson, Jeff Farrell, David Wharton, Ryan Papa and Bumpy Jones. In addition, Swimming World's 2009 World Masters Swimmers of the Year Rich Burns, Laura Val, Michael Mann, and Mike Ross also competed. There were an amazing 103 individual and 19 relay record-breaking performances at the meet.
This meet was so exciting and inspirational! There were so many adult swimmers defying age boundaries, or those who have overcome serious illness or injury and are back in the pool competing and serving as role models for other adults. Swimmers in their 80s and 90s stepping on the blocks, diving in, and even swimming grueling events like the 1,650 yd Freestyle and the 200 yd Butterfly!
Here are just a few of the highlights and most amazing swims:
University of Pittsburgh Assistant Swim Coach Tanica Jamison, 28, shattered six national records and won every event she competed in, in her age group 25-29. Here are a few of these records: 50.14 in 100 free, 25.26 in the 50 back, 55.26 in the 100 IM, and 54.06 in the 100 back.
Richard Abrahams, just hitting retirement at age 65, celebrated by shattering records in the 50 free with a 22.10 (the old record was 23.66); the 100 free with a 49.42 (52.76); the 200 free with a 1:57.54 (2:00.61); the 50 fly with a 24.94 (25.99); the 100 fly with a 56.36 (1:00.91); and the 100 IM with a 1:00.32 (1:02.26). Abrahams' 50 free time would even stand up against today's college swimmers! Abrahams' performance sends an inspirational message to young people to keep swimming!
A trio of swimmers broke the women's 50-54 100 breast national record of 1:12.85 set by Lisa Bennett last year. Cokie Lepinski, 51, earned the close victory and the final standard with a 1:12.45. Bennett, 54, finished second in 1:12.46, while Brigitte Heuer, 50, took third in 1:12.50. Lo Knapp, 55, followed with a 1:14.67 in the women's 55-59 100 breast. That swim eclipsed the 1:16.47 set by Deb Walker a year ago.
Other seemingly significant barriers were breached as well: Jon Blank, 50, became the first guy to reach the half century mark and break a minute in the 100 breast, with a 59.94. Charlotte Davis, became the first 60 year old to break a minute in the 100 free, with a 59.41. Zsolt Gaspar, 33, posted a 21.65 to break the record in the men's 30-34 50 fly. That swim erased the long-standing time of 22.22 set by Brian Alderman back in 1999. Charlotte Davis demolished another record, this time stopping the clock in 2:31.84 in the women's 60-64 200 IM. That effort cut more than 10 seconds off Carolyn Boak's 2005 record of 2:43.09.
Nick Brunelli, 28, beat the men's 25-29 100 free national record with a 42.62. He beat SwimMAC teammate Cullen Jones (43.17) to the wall and cleared the national record of 42.91 set by Sabir Muhammad back in 2004. David Sims, 47, won the men's 45-49 100 free in record time with a 46.46. That swim beat Rich Saeger's 46.72 from 2009, while Richard Hughey took second today in 46.65, also under the former mark.
Sheri Hart, 39, and Erika Braun, 38, both beat the women's 35-39 100 IM national record of 58.31 set by Susan Von Der Lippe in 2004. Hart came in at 57.67 with braun a close second at 58.13. Another pair of swimmers surpassed a national mark, this time in the women's 60-64 100 IM. Charlotte Davis, 60, defeated Diann Uustal, 63, 1:08.64 to 1:11.61, as the duo cleared Carolyn Boak's 2007 mark of 1:12.31.
Brad Horner, 56, clocked a 2:03.18 in the men's 55-59 200 fly, breaking the 2007 national mark of 2:05.59 set by Greg Shaw.
Ellen Reynolds, 45, turned in a 57.83 in the women's 45-49 100 back. That time beat the 58.29 set by Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen back in 2008. Chris Stevenson, 45, touched in 52.21 in the men's 45-49 100 back. That effort wiped out the 52.33 set by Clay Britt in 2008.
In the 50 frees: Steve Scheren, 23, turned in a 19.69 in the men's 18-24 group. That swim beat the long-standing 20.25 set by Eric Mauer way back in 1994. SwimMAC training partners Cullen Jones, 26, and Nick Brunelli, 28, rocked the men's 25-29 sprint free event. Jones posted a remarkable time of 19.14, while Brunelli took second in 19.40 as both cleared Sabir Muhammad's 2004 mark of 19.44. Lance Asti, 30, touched in 19.85 in the men's 30-34 division, beating Muhammad's 2009 time of 20.08 that stood as the record.
~By Glenn Partelow
Kate Scully and I swam the Senior Games in Gainesville this past Sunday. Kate won 2 gold medals and one silver and I won 3 gold and two silvers.
Kate Scully won the 500 yard freestyle, the 100yard Breaststroke, and took second in the 200 yard freestyle.
I won the 100 yard butterfly and set a new State age group record for men 60-64. I won the 500 yard freestyle and the 50 yard butterfly, while taking second in the 200 yard freestyle and 100 yard freestyle. The Games were for all competitors over 50 in the State of Florida. Glenn and Kate both compete for Team Dynoswim based in Palm Coast and train 3 nights a week at the Frieda Zamba pool. Currently we have 12 members who swim for the team. This past August two members, Kate and Sheryl Watkins swam the 2.5 mile ocean swim at Jacksonville Beach and each won their age group with over 60 swimmers competiting. The strong currents that day stretched the distance to 2.8 miles! You can contact the team at 386-586-3437.
Thanks, Glenn Partelow / Coach of Dynoswim
"The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them."
~George Bernard Shaw