The water was boiling, as ten Tuolumne County Aquatic Masters swimmers kicked furiously down the pool in their annual postal 400 Kick.
Each December, masters swimmers from around the country are challenged to race a 400 yard kick. Swimmers can change kicks to include the free, back, breast or fly. The kickers are required to use a kick board and cannot use their arms. The finishing times are submitted and rankings are done in each five year age division.
After a five year hiatus, breaststroke specialist, Dick Todd, 75 led the TCAM swimmers with a time of 7:14.52. Todd was the oldest competitor for the team.
Not far behind Todd and breaking the 8:00 barrier were Linda Tangenberg, 42 with 7:20.52 and Matt Gass, 60 with 7:41.71. Tangenberg was a first time kicker while Gass kicked for the fourth time. Gass’ four times have only varied 14 seconds.
Joining Gass with four years of kicking were Darci Scanlin, 51 with 9:08.96, Jon Mahanna, 70 with 9:43.66 and Gary Johnson, 66 with 9:44.02. The men finished less than a second apart. Both Scanlin and Mahanna’s four years of times ranged less than 30 seconds apart. Johnson kicked a personal best.
Martha Buthmann, 65 in her second year of kicking dropped 18 seconds off of her previous best.
Making their debut in the kicking event were Jenn Kesterson, 39, Steve Weldon, 71, and Andi Thomas, 36 with times of 8:43.29, 10:14.10, and 10:33.55 respectively.
With winter training in full swing, the TCAM swimmers are preparing for the upcoming distance free events to take place in January.