I started my swimming career when I was 7 years old at the Chehalem pool in Newberg. I wasn’t a very tall guy, so basketball or football might not have worked well, so I tried swimming one day. I really liked it and have been swimming ever since. I have surprised myself by being good at what many swimmers say is the most challenging stroke: butterfly. I swim the 200 yard/meter distance quite often. I like the long distance events too, including the 400 IM and long freestyle events.
To make the long events even more challenging, I often enter several of them all in one swim meet. In high school, I often swam the 100 fly and 500 free as my individual events. A memory that sticks out in my head during my senior year in high school was when I made the age group sectional cut in the 200 fly by 1/100 of a second! It reminds me of when Michael Phelps won the 100 fly in the 2008 Olympics by 1/100th of a second.
I started competing in Masters meets during college at Western Oregon University. I took the fitness swimming physical education class every trimester of school – fifteen times to be exact. The professor, Elke Asleson, who swims for Corvallis Masters got to know me pretty well. She often called on me to do butterfly demonstrations for the rest of the class. One time I even did a 400 butterfly at a steady, gentle pace – the other classmates couldn’t believe their eyes! Another good memory during my college years was when I attended a swim camp with Tom Jager. We watched a video of him breaking the world record in the 50 meter freestyle!
I began swimming for Stafford Hills right after college under Head Coach Mike Self and Olympic trial qualifiers Karen Andrus-Hughes and Francie Haffner, who keep me going in the water to this day! One interesting drill that coach Karen has us do sometimes is called the “cup” drill. We have to balance a partially-full cup of water on our foreheads while swimming backstroke. It is challenging to keep the cup from falling off our heads but is a good learning experience. It helps us improve our backstroke technique by keeping our heads still.
The other master swimmers at Stafford Hills are great. We always support each other and keep each other motivated throughout workouts and at swim meets. I look forward to swimming Masters for many years to come!