Sprint swimming is short and quick while distance events have many more challenges. In longer races, the swimmer not only swims numerous laps, but must maintain a steady pace with the plan to have enough reserves to decrease lap split times in the final yards.
Fifty-six Tuolumne County Aquatic Masters swimmers took the challenge of completing the team’s 17th annual distance swims during the month of January at Sonora Sport and Fitness. Swimmers had the option of swimming the 1650 or pool mile, 1000, or 500 free and the One Hour Swim.
A wide range of TCAM swimmers between the ages of 18 to 87 took the challenge of a distance swim.
Judi Wilson, 68 and Rita Wolf, 62 have completed the 1650 free all seventeen years. Wolf’s time was 50 seconds faster than in 2016.
Swimming on his 80th birthday with sixteen family members cheering him on, Phil Reiss swam six minutes faster than last year. He swam his fifteenth mile swim. Joining Reiss for 15 years was Bette Axial, 71.
Connie Birdsall, 71, Sheryl Parola, 68, Laurie Perry, 62 and Elizabeth Pfleging, 58 swam their 13th mile swim. Perry took 3:30 off of her time from 2016. Parola has maintained all thirteen of her swims within a narrow margin of less than two minutes.
In his 12th 1650, Larry Carter, 68 set a new personal best by 31 seconds. Bob Garretson, 83 swam a 1000 free in his 12th year of swims.
Sissy Mutzner, 87 and Toni Wivell, 80 both swam for the 11th year. Mutzner set a new team record in the 500 free in the 85-89 age division.
Joining the elite group of swimmers with over ten years of distance swims were Erv Kroeker, 76 and Jim Lucich, 57.
Leading the team with the most improved swims were Steven Holt, 59 dropping 2:47, Margott Weltin, 56 with 2:47 and Becky Alexander, 62 with 2:14.
Shaving over a minute off previous bests were Kristi Loveridge, 33 with 1:45, and Karen Kessel, 67 with 1:13 .
Joining Carter in improving just under one minute on the 1650 were Patti Philpott, 46 with 50 seconds, Fulkerson, 21 with 44 seconds, Bev Davis, 68 with 25 seconds, Faylan Cannon, 53 with 23, Jan Rea, 60 with 15, Lorie Figley, 56 with 13, Greg Jacobus, 65 with 11, Susan Loyd, 57 with 6 and Jane Lucich, 54 with 4. Tracy Russell, 71 dropped her time 4 seconds in the 1000 free.
Paul McIlroy, 50 shaved 14 seconds off last years time to drop under the 20 minute mark. His time of 19:57.06 set a new team record in the 50-54.
Making their debut in the 1000 free were Jean Mallory, 71 and Lynn Crook, 69.
First time swimmers in the mile were Dave Fairchilds, 73, Larry Marum, 69, Pete Fogarty, 65, Martha Buthmann, 64, Penny Methot, 60, Candace McDonald, 55, Lisa Crawford, 50 and Karen Nickols, 40.
Swimming numerous years and recording fast times for the women were Jan Watson, 72, Robin Carter, 65, Annie Brosnan, 58, Christine Oliver, 53, Lorena Arellano, 50, Angel Woodall, 42 and Tess Houghton, 19.
Joining the women with well paced swims were Hank Russell, 79, Barry Frank, 66, Jim Comazzi, 63, Stuart Welsh, 60, and Mark Houghton, 54.
Five TCAM swimmers opted to swim the One Hour Swim. Jenny Van Blaricom, 56 has completed the hour swim for all seven years. She swam her best distance this year.
Joining Van Blaricom with second year swims were Margott Weltin, 56 adding 115 yards, Bev Davis, 68 adding 55 yards, and Paul McIlroy, 50 adding 30. Martha Buthmann, 64 swam for the first time.
The team continues to train through out the winter with upcoming meets in San Francisco and Walnut Creek plus the TCAM Big Blue Challenge swims .
Adults interested in swimming for fitness are encouraged to contact Patti Scott-Baier at Sonora Sport and Fitness for more information about the program.