Eight stalwart Oregon Masters swimmers went to Whiskeytown Lake, Sept 8, to swim amidst desolation and ashes. Last year the Whiskeytown races were not held due to the disastrous Carr Fire near Redding.
From the starting line at Brandy Creek, swimmers could see fire-swept hills in the distance and charred oak trees nearby. Brandy Creek itself was full of mud from winter rains sweeping slides into the water.
The Redding Swim Club carried on, running two races, One mile and Two Mile for 104 swimmers. Matt Miller of SOMA and Oregon won the overall One Mile event, going 21:54.15 into a stiff breeze from the west on the first leg of the triangular course.
Jayette Pettit, 50-54 women, was 12th overall and third in her age group with the time of 24:03.30. She was followed by Suzy Jajewski, who was 25th among everyone and first in the womens age group of 40-44 with 25:22.55.
Bob Bruce won the 70-74 men in 26:51.95 and placed 28th. Kermit Yensen was second in the 65-69 men, was 34th across the finish line in 27:04.45.
Jeanna Summers was second in the 65-69 women, going 30:06.40, and Ralph Mohr beat the only other 75-79 men’s swimmer, placing 69 out of 104, in 31.46.25.
The Two Mile swimmers had only a 30 minute break between the two events, but fortunately the wind that had bothered everyone in the One Mile started to die down. The Two Mile course at Whiskeytown is fun, as swimmers must go behind two islands before heading back to the finish line.
Matt Miller again led Oregon swimmers in the race and was the first overall Masters swimmer finishing in 43.09.90. Jayette Pettit was the first Oregon female to finish, winning the 50-54 womens race in 48:09.25, placing 13th overall.
Suzy Jajewski won again in her age group, in 50:42.25; 23rd overall. She was followed by Bob Bruce, 35th, and first in 70-74 men again, swimming 53:49.65.
Ed Ramsey in the 60-64 men was 44th at the finish and fifth, going 56:22.20. Jeanna Summers won the 65-69 women, 52nd overall, in 59:33.70.
Matt Miller, Jayette Pettit, Bob Bruce and Ed Ramsey had already swum at Lake of the Woods the previous day, and then made the two and a half hour trip to Redding for the Whiskeytown events.
The support and efforts of all Oregon swimmers at the meet were gratefully acknowledged by the Redding Swim Club in various conversations with RSC members. The Whiskeytown event literally rose from the ashes of catastrophe to be held again.