Swimmer Spotlight – Jeff Foster & Susie Haufler 2

Name: Jeff Foster & Susie Haufler
Age: 56 & 65

Occupation:  Retired Systems Analyst, Retired Designer

Team: Stafford Hills Club, Tualatin Oregon

Jeff Foster & Susie Haufler

Jeff Foster & Susie Haufler

Jeff and I are new to Oregon, having planned to move from the San Francisco Bay Area to Portland in 1992. We finally made it happen in January of 2022! Of course our first concern upon relocating was finding a masters team, ideally at an outdoor pool. We were lucky to find Stafford Hills Club in Tualatin, Oregon, where we are coached by three accomplished swimmers; Mike Self, Francie Haffner, and Karen Andrus-Hughes. We were warmly welcomed there by a great group of swimmers and will be competing with many of them at the upcoming OMS Championships in Bend.  We work out 3x a week at 5:45 a.m. and also swim during the summer months in the Willamette River with the River Huggers, an affiliate of the Human Access Project which is a non-profit organization dedicated to the restoration and promotion of the river as one of Portland’s most enjoyable natural resources.

One of the first things you might notice about Jeff and myself is our somewhat significant age difference. We are often asked, “Where did you meet? How did you meet?” Well, that is a story for another day, but it was not in the pool! It actually wasn’t until three months into our relationship that I noticed that Jeff could *really* swim. I had been swimming since age 4, following in the footsteps of my two older brothers, Jim and Steve Haufler. We all swam as kids with the West Contra Costa Piranhas under our beloved coaches Fred and Bill Brown at Canyon Pool in El Sobrante, California. Both of my brothers became master swimmers after competing in college. Jim dipped his toes into open water, swimming Alcatraz, and Steve has devoted his entire life to coaching, and has been the Aquatics Director and Head Swim Coach at Orinda Country Club in Orinda California for the past 20+ years. I swam through high school doing my fastest ever (and never to be repeated) 100 Free of 56.2, and then into college, one year of which was in 1975 at UCSB, where my brother Steve was my coach! We were definitely a swimming family, with every vacation spent in or around water. Whether water skiing, swimming, fishing, or hiking in Yosemite along stream beds, it all seemed to be about water.

Jeff, however, while also having joined a swim team as a six & under at Montclair Swim Club in Oakland California, had hung up his goggles by age nine! He didn’t return to competitive swimming until much much later in 2012 when I finally convinced him to join me for a masters workout. He had watched me compete in a masters meet on the UC Berkeley campus and remembered how fun it was. We went on to swim together with a large, diverse and boisterous masters team for the next 10+ years, (MEMO, Marcia’s Enthusiastic Masters of Oakland), coached by the inimitable Marcia Benjamin. Marcia taught us how to train seasonally, preparing for each swimming season specifically. She tailored our workouts, readying us for whatever event was on the horizon, from short course yards meets to long course meters, to a summer series of open water competitions. We both had a smattering of Top-10 Pacific times every year and I finally squeaked into 10th in the USMS in the 1500 SCM Free in 2018. We both developed a love for distance events, especially open water swimming. We swam in all of the Pacific Masters open water events including one our favorites, swimming the length of beautiful Donner Lake. We also did the Tahoe relay in 2019 with some of our MEMO teammates, (see photo of our ‘hand off’). In 2018 we helped our good friend Craig Coombs train for his record breaking 14.9 mile swim around the entirety of Alameda Island by buddying up with him for portions of that distance. We had fun dropping into a few miles of the swim to keep Craig company and help him pace. Jeff eventually circumnavigated the island, albeit on separate days! Then, during the pandemic when all of our local pools closed, we swam in the San Francisco Bay, primarily from the beach in Alameda.

To briefly cover our past, present and future outside of swimming…

We met in 1986 and have been married for 32 years. We have two grown kids. Our eldest Henry is a Radiologist doing his residency in New York, and our daughter Natalie is a rowing coach and Boathouse Manager for Oakland Strokes.

Jeff has a B.S. in Computer Science from Humboldt State University, and worked as a Systems Analyst at SGI, Lucas Films, and finally at UC Berkeley for the past 22 years. He is now happily retired and is enjoying gardening, printmaking, working on various electronic music and video art projects, and doing many improvements to our new home in Hillsdale.  I have a B.A. from UC Berkeley in Architecture and worked in a variety of positions in and out of the design field, although I always considered my main job as mom to our two kids. I’ve been a paper marbler since 1987 and am looking forward to teaching workshops here in my home studio. I am also an inveterate ‘junker’, buying and selling collectibles on ebay. On that note, let me know if you are having a yard sale!

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2 thoughts on “Swimmer Spotlight – Jeff Foster & Susie Haufler

  • Joseph A Oakes

    Welcome to warm, open- water Oregon. After decades swimming in SF Bay I moved here 23 years ago and never missed the Bay Area.

    People here are warmer, even if the sea is not. I urge you to try swimming in your local rivers.

    Alcatrazjoe Oakes

  • Kelly

    Wow, Susie- you both are amazing! When I read your last name in the article I figured you might be related to Steve…very cool!!! My name is Kelly Honens and we were members of OCC for many years and my children (Haley and Miles) and myself, were coached by your amazingly talented brother Steve at OCC. I currently live at the West End of Donner Lake. Since retiring from teaching in Orinda, and moving up here full time 2 years ago, I have switched from pool swimming events, to Open Water events. I competed twice in the Lake Berryessa Open water swim in June and swam in Donner Lake Open Water Event last year as well! I’m looking forward to this year’s event too! Your story is inspirational. I hope to broaden my horizons, so to speak, as I continue to do more open water competitions! Say “hi” to your wonderful brother and the other beautiful Susie for me!
    Very Sincerely,
    Kelly Honens
    Sierra Nevada Masters