Stiff Competition and Sunny Warm Days in SoCal

Winter in Oregon can be long, gray, cold, and wet with very little sunshine throughout most of the state.  Some Oregon Masters swimmers have discovered that there is an amazing event in southern California that not only provides a chance to escape the dreary winter weather in Oregon and get some sun and warm weather, but also offers the opportunity to compete with and watch some of the fastest Masters swimmers in the nation.  That event is the Southern Pacific Masters Swimming (SPMS) SCM Championships, which took place this year December 2-4, 2016.

Kevin Cleary with his 2 silver medals and 1 bronze medal

Kevin Cleary with his 2 silver medals and 1 bronze medal

Annually, USMS holds two national championship pool meets.  One in spring – USMS Spring Nationals – and one in summer – USMS Summer Nationals.  USMS Spring Nationals are short course yards (SCY) format, while USMS Summer Nationals are long course meters (LCM).  There are, however, three distinct seasons within US Masters swimming; the third being short course meters (SCM), for which USMS does not hold a national championship.  The absence of a USMS SCM Championship meet has led to a few very large regional meets occurring each year in fall or early winter.  One of these meets is the SPMS SCM Championships held annually in the Los Angeles area by the Long Beach Grunions Masters team.

Colette Crabbe - 1976 Olympian in the 400IM and 200 breast

Colette Crabbe – 1976 Olympian in the 400IM and 200 breast

Drawing somewhere around 500 swimmers each year, the meet begins on Friday with the 1500 free, 200 IM, 100 free and 200 back, with the rest of the events taking place on Saturday and Sunday.  Talent is deep at this event, so the quality of the competition rivals that which would be found at a USMS National meet.

There were seven swimmers who made the trip down from Oregon: Kevin Cleary, Colette Crabbe, Arlene Delmage, David Hathaway, Matt Miller, Allen Stark and Scot Sullivan.  While just seven swimmers strong, Oregon had a great showing, cracking the top 10 in the team scores without doing any relays!

David Hathaway in Lane 3 and the sunshine spotlight as he is about to launch

David Hathaway in Lane 3 and the sunshine spotlight as he is about to launch

The most notable Oregon swim was by Colette Crabbe, who set a new world record for women age 60-64 in the 100 meter breaststroke with a 1:24.39!  Colette also snagged national records in the 50 breast (38.89) and 200 breast (3:08.21).  Additionally, Colette got the Oregon and Northwest Zone records in the 200 free (2:29.23) and 1500 free (20:39.25).  Great swimming, Colette!

Scot Sullivan was able to eke out a new Oregon record in the 200 IM with a 2:24.48, besting the previous record of 2:24.49 held by Phillip Djang by just one one-hundredth of one second!  Scot also bested his own records in the 400 free and 800 free, lowering the mark in the 400 by over 5 seconds to 4:33.52 and downing his previous time in the 800 by about a second, to 9:43.84.

Both Kevin Cleary and Allen Stark swam the trio of breaststroke events (50, 100 and 200).  Allen took 1st in all three of his events.  Congrats Allen!  Kevin came home with two 2nd place finishes (50 and 200) and one 3rd place finish (100), while setting lifetime bests in the 100 and 200 breast, thanks to his new training regimen.  Atta boy Kevin!

David Hathaway, Arlene Delmage and Matt Miller all had very good swims, with each of us placing as high as 2nd in our age group in at least one event.

If you’re looking for a meet to stay motivated to train hard going into the fall and winter, put this one on your calendar.  It’s definitely worth the trip!  Bring the family and make it a swimcation, as there is a lot to do in the area including Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios and other amusement and theme parks.

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