Bob Bruce—USMS Long Distance National Championship Service Award


by Tim Waud & Matt Miller (edited for space)

Tim Waud’s comments:

I have enjoyed working with Bob for the past 12 years with Oregon Masters Swimming and U. S. Masters Swimming on the local, zone, and national level.  I can’t think of a more deserving individual who embodies the spirit of Masters swimming.

When I first became aware of the Long Distance National Championship Award, I immediately thought of Bob Bruce.  Bob is currently the Open Water Committee Chair for U.S. Masters Swimming and the Long Distance Chair for Oregon Masters Swimming.  Bob has been an outstanding advocate for Long Distance swimming for the past 19 years in both the pool and the open water events he promotes.

Bob says that “the world belongs to those who show up.” He has shown up!  And, as all OMS swimmers know, he has made a tremendous difference in long distance/open water swimming in Oregon.

Bob Bruce has contributed greatly to Masters swimming at many different levels in the organization.  To name a few:  USMS National Committees, LMSC Long Distance Chair, Oregon Club Postal Chair, director, official, coach, clinician, volunteer, and swimmer all at different levels (national, LMSC, and/or local).  Despite his extensive national and LMSC involvement, Bob says that “the everyday business of USMS is really held every day at your local pool or pond” and this is where he focuses his work.

As a swimmer, Bob insists that we never forget that he is a swimmer first; he clearly believes in leading by example.

  • He has participated in 23 USMS open water National championship swims in six states. This number would undoubtedly be higher if he weren’t directing many of these swims.
  • He has participated in 89 USMS postal National championship swims, including 15 years in which he completed all five swims (2000-2001 and 2006-present).
  • He has been named to the USMS Long Distance All Star Team eight times (2007, 2009-2010, and 2013-17).
  • He broke the National record in the 10K Postal championships in 2018, a record that lasted 15 minutes. Bob says, “easy come easy go,” as if you could easily say that about a 10K swim!

His achievements constitute an extraordinary portfolio of work for any one individual.  It is hard to picture Oregon long distance swimming without Bob Bruce.  He has personally created, and continues to manage and lead, one of the most dynamic long distance scenes for adults in the United States.

Matt Miller adds his support below:

I am fortunate to have started my Masters swim career in Oregon, where Bob has long been the impetus for building a strong culture of open water and long distance swimming.  In the 8 years since I started swimming with USMS, I have had the opportunity to swim at a plethora of events that were organized and directed by Bob.  Many of these events were National Championships and all of them were a huge success by any measure.

In the last three years, I have worked alongside Bob as a novice event director for several open water events in the Oregon LMSC.  It is a true blessing to have Bob as a mentor.  His guidance has been invaluable to me and many others in our LMSC, for sanctioning open water and ePostal national championships and successfully running the events.  In 2018, Oregon hosted the “My Oregon Swimcation” which included three open water national championships in one week, a very successful idea created and seen-through by Bob.  I served as the race director for the Applegate Lake swim, one of the 3 open water national championships, and Bob was instrumental in assisting and supporting me all the way through the process.

Bob was the inventor, developer, and builder of the Foster Lake Cable Swim course, the only fixed cable swim course west of Indiana and one of only four in the nation.  This was a significant effort to accomplish and has resulted in strong participation in this relatively rare style of event.  The result is that Oregon Club now holds 32 of the 37 USMS cable swim relay records.

Bob’s exceptional commitment and enthusiasm for our sport and USMS are apparent with his dedication as a swimmer himself as well as the profound amount of time and energy he invests as a volunteer to ensure that high-quality opportunities exist for USMS members.  Bob does an extraordinary job of encouraging Oregon participation in the USMS postal swims, linking participation in those events to preparation and participation in open water events.

I honestly cannot think of any other individual who is more deserving of the Long Distance National Championship Service Award than Bob Bruce.

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