Swimmers from across the Pacific Northwest convened in beautiful Bend, Oregon, for a weekend packed with events under the banner of a “Wonderful Water Weekend.” Saturday’s schedule included a morning open-water clinic at the Juniper Swim & Fitness Center, followed by a meet in the LCM outdoor pool, and continued on Sunday with an open-water style buoy swim at the pool, and a pancake brunch social event to close the activities.
Saturday started well, with beautiful, clear skies and temperatures in the upper 60s. Swimmers participating in the open-water clinic enjoyed the heated pool and fine weather. Coach Bob Bruce led the clinic, and covered instruction in the pool for straight-line swimming, how to swim in crowds, and navigating and rounding buoys.
A total of 67 swimmers signed up for the LCM meet, swimming 267 entries over the 25 events. Ages ranged from 25 to 94 years old, representing Nike, Oregon Masters, Puget Sound Masters, Swim Fort Lauderdale, Victoria Masters Swim Club, and Unattached swimmers from Oregon, San Diego-Imperial, and Snake River LMSCs. As warm-ups started for the LCM meet, the skies began to darken and storm clouds rolled in. Swimmers’ spirits remained high, and warm-ups proceeded as planned up until 12:48 p.m., when lightning was sighted on the horizon. The pool and deck were quickly cleared, as swimmers and officials alike scrambled to gather their belongings and move to safety. Luckily, the Juniper pool deck was adjacent to the indoor fitness center and pool, with a window-lined hallway that looked out onto the LCM pool. Swimmers propped up their chairs and dumped their gear through the hallway and set up temporary camp as everyone waited for the weather to clear. Bob Bruce broke out the cookies and passed them around as swimmers chatted, keeping spirits high despite the bad weather. Thunder and lightning continued to plague the event, but eventually everyone was given the “all clear” a little after 2 p.m., and returned to the deck to get the meet underway.
The rest of the meet went off without a hitch, thanks to meet director Bob Bruce, referee Ken Hansen, clerk of course Barb Harris, announcer Kristen Brown, ET Audrey Robeson, officials Val Houghton, Kristin Winslow, and Judy Miller, and the volunteer timers. Many thanks for keeping operations moving smoothly and near on-schedule despite the hour+ weather delay! Swimmers enjoyed the heated pool, as air temperatures dipped to the low 60s and rain drizzled on the open water, and swam some fast times. This meet gave the option to swim the “pentathlon” events: the Sprint pentathlon, with a 50 LCM in each of fly, back, breast, and free, plus a 200 IM, for a total of 400 meters; the Middle distance, with 100 LCM in each of fly, back, breast, and free, plus a 200 IM, for a total of 600 meters; and the Long distance, with 200 LCM in each of fly, back, breast, and free, plus a 400 IM, for a total of 1200 meters. The all-free Brute pentathlon involved swimming the 50, 100, 200, 400, and 800 LCM free events. A total of six swimmers completed the Brute pentathlon, one swimmer completed the Long, two completed the Middle, and four completed the Sprint. Three pentathlon records fell on Saturday: in the Sprint distance, Shirlene Gonzalez broke the previous record for women 45-49 with a cumulative time of 6:52.13. In the middle distance, Ginger Pierson broke the previous record for women 70-74 with her cumulative time of 12:02.37. The previous long distance record for men 35-39 fell as Matt Miller swam his cumulative time of 17:32.53. Congratulations, swimmers!
On Sunday, swimmers returned to the pool for the open-water style buoy swim. This was a 1200-meter swim, with 12 loops around the 100-meter course, starting in the water in waves, to simulate an open-water event. A total of 11 women and 14 men, ages ranging from 26 to 74, swam the event, swimming counter-clockwise. Hardy Lussier (M 50-54) won first overall, and in the men’s division, and now has the current record with his time of 17:13.20. Matt Miller (M 35-39) finished second overall and in the men’s division, followed by Daniel Kollar (M 30-34) in third overall and in men’s, and Lisa Gibson (W 25-29 ) in fourth overall. Lisa Gibson also won first in the women’s division, followed by Bonnie Edwards (W 40-44) in second, and Suzanne Schlosberg (W 45- 49) in third. Congratulations swimmers!
The weekend’s events closed with a pancake brunch, with pancakes, eggs, sausage, and other goodies, open to swimmers and their families on Sunday following the buoy swim.
Many thanks to Bob Bruce for running an eventful weekend so successfully and thanks to all the volunteers who helped coordinate all the activities.
*Rebecca Ducore is a veterinary pathologist for Oregon Health & Science University and moved to Oregon from Washington D.C. by way of Boston. Rebecca joined Oregon City Tankers (OCT) in late June, 2015, after a 13 year break from swimming.