When we compete, we are connected by a spirit of camaraderie that transcends the clubs we train with. The energy and enthusiasm of everyone who loves swimming knows no age. As I walked around the Juniper Swim Center during Associations to do interviews for this article, the smiling faces in front of me all spoke of their appreciation of the friendships they have made through OMS. Norman Shidle said, “A group becomes a team when each member is sure enough of himself and his contribution to praise the skills of others.” I watched many swimmers cheer for their OMS friends who weren’t on their same club. In Oregon, we are truly all on the same team. How lucky we all are!
Dennis Baker’s Oregon Reign Masters has an amazing new member. His name is Abbas Karimi, a 20-year-old refugee from Afghanistan. Abbas said, “I love my team and my coach! My teammates say I inspire them, but it is my teammates who inspire me with their dedication and hard work.”
COMA brought 54 swimmers to Associations, most who raced in 6 individual events. Eighty-one-year-old Kaleo Schroder, from Klamath Falls, has been swimming with COMA since the 1970s.
Everyone was also happy and inspired to see COMA’s Tom Landis back in the pool.
Mike Self, with the Stafford Hills Tiger Sharks, praised his new swimmer Francie Haffner, for her State Record in the 200 SCY Free.
The Columbia Gorge Masters ladies were in the house, and wanted to make it loveingly clear to their men back in Hood River, “You’re all loosers!”, for not coming to Associations. Lol (Those 6 ladies won 2nd place in the Small team category)
The MACs newest member, 1964 Olympian Margaret Toppel, CRUSHED IT, setting several new State Records.
Tim Waud, coach of the Oregon City Tankers, said, “Everyone is happy with their swims and achieved their goals this weekend.” Tim expressed pride in 3 of his Tankers being recognized at the OMS Awards Social for their 2016 achievements.
Collette Crabbe with Oregon Reign Masters, praised the meet officials for their efficiency and organization.
Thank you COMA, and great racing everyone!