Swimmer Spotlight – Robert “Bob” Voll 1

Robert “Bob” Voll, age 60
Retired UPS driver
Oregon Reign Masters

Bob Voll

Bob Voll

I started competitive swimming when I was 9, after a bout with rheumatic fever and Rheumatoid Arthritis when I was 8.  The doctor recommended swimming as a sports activity to help with my recovery.  I joined the Parkrose Swim Club with Coach Tom Anderson, and discovered that this was a sport I could be good at.

The experience of AAU Age group swimming was fulfilling for our entire family: Camp outs at meets, Junior Olympics, Columbia Basin Swim Championships, a whole lot of ribbons, medals, trophies and dozens of friends that I still see today and compete against!

At age 12, my family moved into the Reynolds school district and I transferred to the Reynolds Swim Club (RSC) with Coach Martin McLain.  I swam all through high school, qualifying for state all four years.  I won numerous district titles and set a few records.  I made two trips to Junior Nationals in Lincoln, Nebraska, and Ithaca, New York.  I took 5th place in the 400 IM and got a kiss on the cheek from Olympian Donna de Varona on the podium.

I had college swim scholarship offers and ended up accepting a tuition, books and fees scholarship to Texas Christian University with Coach Rufe Brewton.  Coach Brewton also coached Greg Troy, the U.S. Men’s Olympic Coach.  I had a very successful freshman year and qualified for the NCAA Division 1 Championships and the 1976 National Championships in Long Beach, California.  Under the threat of TCU possibly dropping all the minor sports programs, I decided to transfer to the University of Oregon.  I came home, sat out a year and attended Mt. Hood Community College.  I joined the David Douglas Swim Club with Coaches Don Jackson, Burt Stratton and a host of phenomenal swimmers including Olympic gold medalist Kim Peyton.  In 1977 I qualified for Nationals in Canton, OH.

Unfortunately, my transfer to Oregon was foiled by having to sit out (red shirt) for another year because of eligibility rules.  This was a major frustration for me: I dropped out of college and joined a Rock & Roll band with my brother Jim (a University of Oregon diver) and another world-caliber swimmer out of Tacoma and the University of Washington, Randy Sauro.  We formed a power trio band called “Layce”.  We performed at all the major clubs in Portland, Boise and Seattle as well as smaller cities.  We were together for three years, met tons of accomplished musicians, opened for a couple of concerts and sparked interest from Cream Records.  We were chosen to be on KGON’s first “home grown album.”

In 1980, I married my wife, Judi, and had 3 children over the next 3 years.  We currently have 6 grandchildren!  I worked pumping gas, giving guitar lessons and coaching age group swimming for the Eastmont Aquanauts.  In 1982 I landed a job as a driver for UPS, and retired after 31 years, in 2013.

After a long hiatus, in 1997, I decided to get back into performing music.  I formed a Classic Rock & Blues band called the “Too Loose Band” – www.toolooseband.com and we are still together and gigging today!  We perform at all types of venues and events: clubs, small brew pubs, duos, weddings, country clubs, festivals, private parties and corporate functions.  This past year, we performed on New Year’s at The Resort at the Mountain and Timberline lodge, the Bite of Portland and the Portland Rose Festival.

For a short time from 1995 through 1998 I swam Masters and achieved a couple of USMS top-tens, then took a long break from swimming.  After retiring, I decided to get back into competitive swimming and I’m so glad I did.  I called my buddy and former team mate Dennis Baker, and he coerced me into joining the Oregon Reign Masters Team, which he coaches.  So far it has been challenging and rewarding to make some kind of comeback.  Things are going well.  In April of 2017, I qualified and swam in the SCY nationals in Riverside, CA.  I ranked in the top 15 in several events and enjoyed being there competing along with 22 Olympians.  I have lost 50 pounds and am regaining my strength and wind.  My goals are to make top 10 rankings in long and short course nationals in 2018.  Thanks Oregon Masters Swimming!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One thought on “Swimmer Spotlight – Robert “Bob” Voll

  • Jeff Piette

    Enjoyed swimming with you today, and darn you beat me in the 200 free. You had a better second 100 . Enjoyed reading your story ! See you at another meet or at one of your shows.