2017 USMS Convention News! — Awards, Awards, Awards!

Awards, Awards, Awards!

Oregon Masters Swimming volunteers received very impressive recognition at the USMS Convention held in September in Dallas, Texas.  See page 9 for the Award winners and letters of recommendation.  Congratulations to each winner!  Their Awards are well-deserved.

MJ Caswell received the Dorothy Donnelly Service Award
Shelly Rawding received the Kerry O’Brien Coaching Award
Tim Waud received the Speedo USMS Coach of the Year Award
OREG received the Regional Club of the Year Award

Oregon Masters Swimming Club
Club of the Year Award

The Oregon Masters Swim Club (OREG) is one of 7 clubs within the Oregon LMSC.  The OREG Club is composed of 30 workout groups spread out over the State of Oregon and SW Washington, and is within the Oregon LMSC and the NW Zone territory for US Masters Swimming.  The OREG Club became a nonprofit corporation in August 2011, and has adopted Bylaws and Standing Rules which govern the organization.  The OREG Club supplies qualified swimming coach(es) to assist all OREG-registered swimmers at each USMS National Championship meet, and provides a stipend and reimbursement for expenses to the coach(es) related to travel, lodging, and relay entries.  The OREG Club also provides national team swim members with caps and T-shirts for Championship events.

Annual pool and open water events are hosted by several workout groups within the OREG Club.

Events include more than just swimming and open water events.  Several workout groups host specialized events, such as the Tualatin Hills Barracudas “February Fitness Challenge,” Central Oregon Masters’ “Beautiful Lake Juniper Swim,” the Oregon City Tankers “Swim Across America Relays for Life” event, Columbia Gorge Masters “Adult Learn-to-Swim” program, and USMS ePostal events.

Columbia Gorge Masters has offered the USMS Adult Learn to Swim program in 2016 and 2017, and had over 50 registrants both years.  Their goal was to reach out to the Hispanic community, and they were successful in doing this.  In 2016 they had 42% Hispanic, 56% Caucasian, and 2% Asian individuals attend classes.  Further, 71% attended 3 or more classes.  Columbia Gorge Masters provided 25 volunteer instructors, and 6 instructors from the aquatic center staff also participated.  Columbia Gorge Masters has also hosted LMSC meets and Northwest Zone championships.

Oregon City Tankers have hosted an annual Dual Sanction, US Masters Swimming and USA Swimming, competition every spring since 2011.  This unique event allows the younger USA Swimmers to compete in the same meet with the US Masters swimmers.  Several of the Oregon City Tankers have children who swim on the Oregon City Swim Team, and this meet provides an opportunity for parents and children to swim together.  Competitors travel from all over the United States to compete in the Tankers’ 25-meter, 6-lane competition pool.  Masters swimmers come from California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, and Washington State.  Over 20 FINA World Records and US Masters Swimming National Records have been set in the Oregon City Pool during this annual competition.  The Oregon City Tankers and Oregon City Swim Team also host two annual sock and underwear drives for school-aged children during their annual Fall Open, and Spring Ahead, competitions.  The Oregon City Pool offered an Adult Learn-to-Swim lesson program for the first time during the April, 2016, Adult Learn-to-Swim month.

Rogue Valley Masters has been hosting an open water swim weekend in southern Oregon since 1989.  For 28 years, the open water swim weekend has taken place with only one cancellation in 2015 due to low water levels.  Most years the event has been held at Applegate Lake, but there were a few years that it was conducted at nearby Squaw Lake.  The Rogue Valley Masters open water swim is believed to be the oldest currently running open water swim in the state of Oregon.  In the years 2000, 2012, and 2016, the 10K swim served as the USMS Marathon Distance Open Water National Championship.  It will serve this role again in 2018.  Additionally, in 2004, a 3.5K swim at Applegate Lake served as the USMS Middle Distance Open Water National Championship.  In addition to the annual open water weekend, Rogue Valley Masters has hosted two ePostal National Championships: the 3000/6000 yard ePostal National Championship in 2000, and the 5K/10K ePostal National Championship in 2014.

The Oregon Club accounts for approximately 85% of the membership of the Oregon LMSC.  The Club’s members are extremely motivated and active in contributing to the hosting of multiple pool USMS National Championships, Open Water National Championship events, and postal competitions.  We are a cohesive group who work well together for the betterment of Masters swimming in Oregon and southern Washington.  We have a highly participatory group of representatives at the national level, and all are from the Oregon Club.

MJ Caswell
Dorothy Donnelly Award

MJ Caswell has contributed both as a member of the Oregon LMSC Board of Directors and to USMS.

MJ has most recently served as the Oregon Top Ten Committee chair since 2013 and continues to be efficient in keeping the top ten swims database up to date.  She pursues missing information when needed, and is quick to respond to swimmers’ inquiries.

Prior to filling the Top Ten Chair position, she served as our webmaster in trying to herald a revamping of the site.  She also maintains an all-time Oregon Top Twelve database.  She participates in LMSC Board meetings and regularly contributes her opinions and expertise.

MJ has attended convention for several years, and currently serves on the Records and Tabulation Committee as Vice Chair.  She is also on the Recognition and Awards Committee, and has served on the Fitness Committee in the past.

In addition to her volunteer service in the organization, MJ is a Masters coach who is always willing to share her stroke knowledge with workout group members.  She fills in for other Masters coaches, offers lessons on the side, and soothes the ‘newbies’ worries about swimming inadequacies.  She is the person who arrives on the pool deck early to be sure all is prepared for others to have a good workout.  She encourages others to swim at their potential and is always a cheerleader for teammates’ swims at meets.

She is an inspiration to fellow teammates and a great asset to Columbia Gorge Masters.  She definitely displays the spirit of Masters swimming, demonstrates what volunteerism is all about, and is a very deserving recipient for the Dot Donnelly USMS Service Award.

Sandi Rousseau
Oregon LMSC Board Member

Shelly Rawding
Kerry O’Brien Coaching Award

Shelly Rawding is Head Coach of Columbia Gorge Masters and Head Coach of the Hood River Valley Swim Team.

Columbia Gorge Masters was formed in 2002 as a local workout group within the Oregon LMSC and Oregon Club.  We are located in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge and serve several small local communities along the Columbia River, drawing members from both the Oregon and Washington sides of the river.

Our team grew in its early years and increased its membership gradually as we were able to offer more days of workouts, growing from two per week to seven per week.  Shelly was always supportive of the increase in days as long as we had growth in our membership, and she would campaign with the aquatic center staff for more pool hours.  While Shelly was also the head coach for the kids team, she oversaw the Masters coaching schedule to make sure Masters always had a coach scheduled, and filled in herself periodically when needed.  In the earlier years, Shelly was a consistent source of support and encouraged the team to host Masters meets.  She encouraged Masters swimmers to participate on the joint Board overseeing both kids and Masters teams.

She was supportive of a ‘Masters Swimming 101’ class through the local community education.  The idea was to create an environment that taught basic workout and competitive skills to those with no swimming experience in order to assure new swimmers that they too are ‘good enough’ to participate in Masters swimming.  This was quite successful and resulted in adding several new Masters swimmers to our team.

In 2015, the main Masters coach had to step down and Shelly stepped up.  She started coaching Masters three days per week on a regular basis, and recruited a dependable assistant coach as well as several substitute coaches.  She trained these individuals, encouraged attendance at the USMS Coaches Certification classes, and developed a season and weekly plan to communicate to all for consistency and variety in workouts.

Shelly creates workouts that challenge swimmers of all abilities, including the ‘I want to go the distance’ swimmer, triathletes, novice swimmers, and competitive swimmers.  She is skilled in stroke technique and in communicating that information to swimmers.  Her workouts are creative, interesting, and challenging, and she brings an enthusiasm that is motivating to swimmers of all abilities.

She provides announcements about open water opportunities for river swimming with Masters, and has been able to retain triathletes in our program.  Her appeal to all is evident on the deck.  Also, Shelly is understanding and supportive when life’s woes get in the way of a swimmer’s focus on any given day.

On deck, Shelly is constantly walking from one workout group to the next, giving the sets and interacting with every swimmer in the water.  There are only whiteboard workouts when the set’s difficulty exceeds the Masters swimmers’ mind capacity to remember the set.  Her supportiveness can be summed up by one swimmer’s statement:  “I was having a heck of a time hitting the intervals and was seriously thinking of hanging on the wall for a 50, but I didn’t quit because I knew she was standing there waiting at the wall with a, ‘Good Job, Bill’.  If she was that invested in me, I couldn’t just quit.  It’s as simple sometimes as a coach who cares.”

Overall, Shelly represents the great spirit of Masters swimming—participation is the key—which she brings home to the team with her positive attitude, by making workouts fun (well, most of the time!), and with her constant, personalized encouragement.  For supporting our existing program and for creating new opportunities for our members, Shelly is a deserving recipient for this award.

Contributor:  Columbia Gorge Masters

Tim Waud
2017 Coach of the Year

Tim indeed exemplifies the most valuable resource that USMS has with his dedication to coaching Masters swimmers and being involved with Masters swimming organizations as a volunteer.

Coach Tim has also been invaluable in helping with the operations of the Oregon City Swim Teams meets as head meet director over the last 6 years.  These meets are big events with hundreds of swimmers coming through the Oregon City Pool doors over the course of the weekend.  There are a lot of moving parts and Coach Tim has been able to continuously coordinate great events!  I think one very special achievement is being able to coordinate and plan one of the first dual-sanctioned meets in the nation.  We’ve had teams contact us on how to make a dual sanctioned meet happen, as we’ve been able to run this meet and make it better each year over the last 3 or 4 years.  It is great for young athletes to see what it really looks like to have swimming as a lifelong sport!

Tim has also become meet director for home meets that have become excellent annual fixtures on the Oregon meet calendar.  Showing breadth of skill and interest, he has also been the safety director for five years for the Portland Bridge Swim in the Willamette River, Oregon’s longest (17-km) and most complex-to-manage open water event.

In just six short years, Tim has transformed a loose group of around 8 to 10 swimmers into a strong competitive team of 60 Masters Swimmers, and the number of practices went from 2 a week up to 6 practices a week.  He has done this despite the limitations of a 6 lane, 25 meter pool, and a 5:00 am workout time.  Of those 60 swimmers, about half are competitive swimmers and half triathletes or fitness swimmers.  Tim and his athletes have won both Regional and National awards.

His practices are always early in the morning, — 5:00 AM to 6:00 AM Monday through Friday and 6:30 AM to 8:00 AM on Saturday, — and very well attended.  People drive as far as 30 miles, at 5:00 am, to swim with the Tankers largely because of Tim and his coaching style.  Tim is actively involved with each swimmer at every workout, whether he or she is a national champion or newly learning their strokes.  When he is on deck he gives each swimmer the best he has to offer and receives their best in return.  He has a mastery of technique and is constantly searching for ideas and methods to communicate that understanding to his swimmers.  The culture and group he has cultivated with the USMS team is special, and I am proud in the way the OC Tankers bond and support each other.

Tim has contributed not only to his local workout group, but has also made significant contributions to the Oregon LMSC.  Within the Oregon LMSC, Tim has been recognized with our top two service awards as well as a Special Service Award.  This last award is given to an individual who has gone beyond the usual volunteerism to contribute in some outstanding way to our organization.  Tim was co-meet director of the 2016 U.S. Masters Swimming Summer Nationals held in Oregon in August, 2016.  This was a two year commitment to plan and execute the National event.

Tim has an outstanding record of leadership at the LMSC level.  I think that Tim always secretly wanted to be the LMSC Coaches Chair, but since this position was long filled by coaches such as Dennis Baker and Bob Bruce, he found many other ways to contribute.  He served two terms/seven years as LMSC Vice Chair (the coordinator of the calendar and pool meets), four years as LMSC Souvenir Chair (in which he completely reinvented the position), and finally as Coaches Chair in 2015.  He has assumed an active role in that position, and has written some impressive articles for our LMSC newsletter.  Topping this curve, he has become the Chair of the LMSC in the past year.  Tim has been recognized with all of the service awards awarded by the Oregon LMSC.

Beyond Tim’s technical expertise, his dedication to the sport and the personal approach he takes with his swimmers, the thing that separates Tim from other coaches is his enduring enthusiasm.  It is not by chance that the team has won the spirit award at our association meet every year Tim has coached the Tankers.  The joy he feels for his swimmers and for swimming is infectious and apparent in everything he does, whether coaching a 92 year old or an 18 year old, whether swimming in a race or running a meet, whether at a pool or in the open water, and whether coaching on deck or serving on a committee.

Tim is dedicated to the idea of swimming for life.  He makes sure his Masters swimmers are models for the children of the USA team as manifested by his coordinating the first dual-sanctioned meet in our region.  He also makes sure we reflect the values of humility, respect, and effort – characteristics that mark his own behavior.

He has the ability to interact with others in a leadership role, and to create enthusiasm in every volunteer.  Tim is organized and talented at creating an environment that draws in other volunteers.  He is meticulous in paying attention to details and following through with every task.  He is an individual one can count on, and it is a pleasure to work with him. It has been a great experience working with Coach Tim and experiencing his passion for the sport of swimming.  Whether it is helping out with a USA swimming practice, running his Masters practice, writing for the Oregon Masters newsletter, troubleshooting our troubled Colorado scoreboard, or head-coaching the USMS world championships, he always brings an enthusiasm for people and a love for swimming to each of his interactions!

Coach Matthew Crum; Oregon City Head Coach
Sandi Rousseau; Oregon LMSC
Britta Daubersmith and Tom Phipps; OCT swimmers
Coach Bob Bruce; Bend Coach and 2003 “Coach of the Year”

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