Swimmer's Ear
Newsletter of the Potomac Valley Masters Committee
September 2016

    Newsletter Schedule printed 3 times a year
  • January (deadline: December 15)
  • May (deadline: April 15)
  • September (deadline: August 15)
    Newsletter Editor
  • Cheryl Wagner
  • phone: 202-387-2361
  • fax: 202-478-0948
  • email: cherylw46@yahoo.com

  Note from the Chair

G reetings fellow swimmers!

This has been a great summer for sports fans. From June's Copa America and Euro 2016 soccer tournaments, all of the Olympic Trials competitions, the Tour de France, and then the Olympics - it was a feast for the sports fan's eyes!

For many of us, the highlight of this summer's sports was the Olympic swimming! Every four years, we get to see our sport showcased in the grandest of forms. Coincidentally, we also see a jump in interest in Masters swimming around this time. It is a good time to reflect on what makes Masters so great. For me, the exercise is high up there, but so too are the friendships, the events (competitive and social), and the travel that comes along with it. Getting to see friends like you wherever I go to swim is what keeps me coming back for more.

See you on deck soon! -Jeff

PV logo

  Articles & Interviews

Michele & Ed
Interview with Ultra-marathon Swimmers, Michele Walters and Ed Riley
by Cheryl Wagner

The Lake George 32-mile Marathon Swim takes place on September 17-18, 2016. The 32-mile swim commemorates Diane Struble, the first person to swim the entire length in 1958. Since 1958, only six other solo swimmers and one relay have accomplished this feat.

Michele Walters (DC) and Ed Riley (NY) will be among the 14 individual swimmers along with 14 relay teams to participate in the Lake George swim. . Michele and Ed are veteran Potomac River Swimmers as well as 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim participants (8 bridges, 7 days/stages, 120 miles), where they fatefully met several years ago. Here is more about them.

How is training going for the Lake George swim?
Michele: I've been doing some weeks where I get up to 55,000 yards/week, but on average have been getting in around 40,000-35,000 yards/week. Iíve hit a wall of late and itís hard to keep up with the training, but Iím grateful that I have a few friends that I swim with to keep me motivated. I was able to meet some other swimmers and weíve formed an informal masters group.
Ed: This is the longest I've ever trained for anything - 9 months. My pool closed for a week and I was really glad to have the break from swimming; however the dry land routine continued.

What have you heard about the Lake George swim?
Ed: A comparison would be running a 150 mile race. We have doubled up on everything - boat captains, official observers and kayakers, since it could possibly be 24 hours in duration. Swimming through 10-12 hours of darkness with the early autumn chill in the air will be the challenge. Sunrise will never be more welcome.
Michele: The race starts at 5PM and ends the next day at 5PM. The cold water swimming at night might be a problem. Since itís a lake swim, it will more than likely be flat water, so no current. I tend to favor swims with chop since it just makes the swim more of a challenge and exciting. The swim is expected to take 16-20 hours and will be the longest swim that Iíve ever done.

Tell me about doing stage 2 of the 8 Bridges Hudson River swim (19.8 miles)
Ed: Fourteen swimmers started and four swimmers finished. Michele finished in 9 hr 14 min; I did 9 hr 4 min. There were head winds (south/southwest) and chop the whole way, from start to finish and 1 - 4 foot waves for the first 15 miles. Mother Nature changed the tide a couple hours earlier than expected so we fought a head current the last 5 miles. I think that's the worst that stage 2 has ever been. It was overcast and raining; they had actually moved the boat that was waiting at the finish by the time we got there. They were shutting down since conditions were so bad. When I finished my yakker told me that Michele was still in the water so I climbed up on a concrete piling and saw her only minutes behind me. She had significantly closed the distance between us over the last few miles, a real testament to Michele's athleticism, and her special ability and unusual enjoyment of swimming in the worst of conditions! I jumped back into the water and we swam together to the finish.
Michele: The challenge for 8 Bridges for some swimmers is that youíre swimming consecutively for 7 straight days totaling 120 miles of swimming. For Stage 2, we swam from the Kingston Rhinecliff Bridge to the Mid-Hudson Bridge. Quite a few swimmers got out early for this Stage since they had already swam the day before and were swimming the next day. The conditions were bad with the strong head wind. Given that I love to swim in chop, I made the most of it and saw it as a fun swim, especially since I was only swimming for one day.

The time flew by fast in the water and the chop never let up, but I was making progress down the river. I was feeling good, but my arms were starting to get sore and I kept thinking that I would see the bridge that would mark the end of the swim. We were already 7 hours into the swim and my kayaker and mentioned to me that quite a few swimmers already dropped out. There were quite a few times I thought about quitting since the swim was just brutal and I wasnít sure if I would make it. I would ask my kayaker if Ed was still in the water and they told me yes. I just kept swimming knowing that we motivate each other to finish. By that time, the current had already switched in the river and we were fighting the current. For the last 1 Ĺ miles , I had to swim along the shore and inched my way slowly since that was the only way to make since we were able to make progress up the river with the current. I could see the bridge and think you're close -- but it takes forever! It was great to have two kayakers at the end of the swim to keep me safe along the shore line. Itís a team sport!

Where are you from and how did you start swimming?
Michele: I'm from Singapore and went to high school in Louisiana. I started swimming in high school and at first couldn't complete 25 yards. I eventually became a ďdistance swimmerĒ doing the 500 in meets. The funny thing is that I thought the 1650 was something that I would never swim. I started doing open water swims in 2005 with the Bay Swim 1 mile and did the Potomac River Swim in 2007 and have done the Potomac swim every year since itís such a great swim! †From there I just learned that I was good at doing longer distances and loved being out in the water. Itís my zen place and I feel at home just immersed out in nature.
Ed: I learned to swim competitively in Larchmont NY (small village on Long Island Sound). I mostly swam in open water except in the winter when I did YMCA leagues. I competed in the 400 in high school. When I began working in NYC, I started swimming again - mostly for sanity - Swim Across America. Open water charity swims in Boston and NY and NYC Swim events rekindled my affair with ocean waters. I love swimming in the majestic and mysterious waters of the Hudson River. The greatest thing about the Hudson is that you never know what she will have in store for you until you get into the water and swim. I enjoy the longer races - it's just you, immersed in water, and nature.

How did you meet?
Michele: We met at the 8 Bridges Hudson River swim in 2014 and it was just a friendship that developed over the years. As we started talking more, we had learned that we had been swimming against each other for several years and coming in around the same time. Itís been great to share the passion of open water swimming with Ed. Heís a great friend and I can see us having plenty of open water swimming adventures.
Ed: We motivate and compliment each other. The singular nature of marathon swims can be a real burden. Itís been great to have Michele to train with, trash talk a bit, compete against, enjoy ocean waters, planning new adventures and always reminding me that itís never a competition, even though the smile on her face when sheís waiting for me at the finish line says otherwise.

New Underwater Photo Technologies - Olympics
by Cheryl Wagner

Some interesting technologies appeared in the 2016 Rio Olympics - particularly in the pool. In an article at: http://money.cnn.com/2016/08/08/technology/olympics-underwater-robots-getty/ , Samantha Kelly describes how robots were used to help Getty photographer Al Bello get some of those great underwater shots in the diving and swimming competitions.

He said that in the past you placed static cameras in the pool and had to guess about the perfect time to shoot. If your shot cut off a swimmer's foot or finger, you were out of luck until you could repair the photograph. The stakes are high to get a stunning photo since there are 10 to 12 different agencies competing for the perfect shot. He said robotic cameras allow him to "zoom in, tilt, spin or get multiple angles".

"During a competition, Bello stands near the finish line in front of a live computer screen, with a video game controller to access the camera from afar. He uses the robot's features and the remote trigger, coupled with his best judgment, to capture a swimmer as he or she comes into the frame."

Bello is scuba-certified so that he could check on the equipment and cables daily. So thank a robot for some of those great shots of Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky.




Congratulations Potomac Valley Swimmers at Long Course Nationals

Results: https://www.usms.org/comp/meets/meetsearch.php?MeetID=20160817OMSNATL

From Jeff Strahota:
I believe every PV team that went scored!

Place Team Name Points
23 Reston Masters Swim Team 159
27 Umac-Terrapin Masters 128
90 Sport & Health Tsunami Masters 32
126 Patriot Masters Swim Team 13
140 Lane 4 Swimming 6
147 Germantown Maryland Masters 4

Margot Pettijohn Sets National Records

Margot Pettijohn set the following national records this summer, in the women's 70-74 age group:

  • 200 IM and 400 IM at the DCRP meet.
  • 50 breast and 100 fly at the Terrapin Cup.
  • 200 fly at the UMBC meet-7-24-16.



    Winning relay team for 400 medley at Terrapin Cup

    Winning relay team for 400 medley at the Terrapin Cup
  • OLoughlin, Jonathan (M33)
  • Grover, Mollie K (F35)
  • Strahota, Jeffrey R (M36)
  • Randolph, Courtney M (F25)

    Winning Medley Team


    Joann Leilich Inducted into ISHOF

    Congratulations to former Potomac Valley swimmer, Joann Leilich, for her induction into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

    Joanne has competed in Masters Swimming since 1981 and has been in the Top Ten for 35 years. She has set 26 FINA Masters World Records, 12 long course and 14 short course meters all in the breaststroke.

    May 2000 Interview with Joann





      Meet News

    Potomac River Swim June 4, 2016

    Potomac Swim

    24 swimmers and 30 paddlers (many from Chesapeake Paddlers Association) completed the 7.5 mile Potomac River Swim on June 4, 2016. Swimmers, kayakers, and kayaks were transported across the Potomac River to the start at Hull Neck, VA very early Saturday morning. (Loading started at 6AM.) When we arrived at Hull Neck, each kayak had to be lowered into the water followed by a kayaker, while the swimmers waded to shore. Then the kayakers found their assigned swimmer on shore and the race began. Conditions were perfect - the best ever in 21 years. The water was flat, the skies were overcast and the temperature was around 75. All 24 swimmers completed the swim and joined their kayakers in a delicious lunch prepared by the St Mary's Watershed volunteers. 1st place (wetsuit) was Tony Colalillo from Baltimore, in a time of 2:47:56. 1st place (no wetsuit) was Reeven Nathan of Highland Park, IL in a time of 3:12:50.


    Potomac Valley Masters finishers include:
  • Michele Walters 3:47:17 (1st female No Wetsuit),
  • Austin Frazer 3:55:00 (no wetsuit)
  • Dana Page 4:30:35 (no wetsuit)
  • Robert D McDougall 5:28:10 (Top fundraiser, wetsuit)

    Proceeds from the swim are donated to environmental groups dedicated to the health of the bay and river http://www.potomacriverswim.com/benefactors.htm

    Results: http://www.potomacriverswim.com/PRS-16/prs2016-results.htm


    Maryland Swim for Life July 9, 2016

    P hotos and Results: http://swimforlife.swimdcac.org/swimforlife/2016_Event.html

    The District of Columbia Aquatics Club (DCAC) www.swimdcac.org hosted the 25th Annual Maryland Swim for Life on Saturday, July 9, 2016. Proceeds from Swim for Life support a number of small local organizations assisting individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS, as well as the Chester River Association, which advocates for the health of the Chester River.

    Founder, Joe Stewart, joined them at their big Silver Anniversary Celebration!
    Joe Stewart


    DCRP Meet June 26, 2016

    P HOTOS: http://www.pvmasters.org/~newsletter/Sep-16/DCRP-Meet/

    UMAC LCM Meet July 8-10, 2016

    P HOTOS: http://www.pvmasters.org/~newsletter/Sep-16/Terrapin-Cup/

  •   Announcements


    Volunteers Needed at NBC4 Health and Fitness Expo, January 7-8, 2017

    by Christina West

    P otomac Valley Masters Swimming is planning to again sponsor a booth at the NBC4 Health & Fitness Expo which will be held at the DC convention center January 7-8, 2017. The Expo attracts thousands of visitors from DC, Maryland and Virginia and features hundreds of booths, food and health demos, exercise classes, and kid-friendly activities.

    The Potomac Valley masters swimming booth features information about all Potomac Valley clubs and is an opportunity to share information about U.S. Masters Swimming with hundreds of DC-area residents. Kids and their parents enjoy an opportunity to win a USMS swim cap or sticker by throwing a pair of goggles into the cornhole.

    While many visitors to the booth are familiar with masters swimming, many more are not, providing booth volunteers an opportunity to share information about our area clubs and encourage visitors to take home information about specific clubs in their area. Maps of DC, Montgomery County, Prince George's county, and Northern Virginia showed which pools are used by our clubs, giving visitors a clear idea of which team is convenient for them.

    Nearly twenty Potomac Valley masters swimmers volunteered at the booth last year at the two-day event, answering questions about how masters swimming works and encouraging visitors to get back in the pool and give it a try!

    Volunteers are needed for the January 2017 Health and Fitness Expo. If interested, please email Christina at pvfitness@usms.org.


    Tiburon Swim San Francisco - 9/11/16

    For information: http://www.rcptiburonmile.com/overview/

    MD Senior Olympics - 9/17/16

    For information: http://www.mdseniorolympics.org/

    20th Annual Swim around Sandy Cove Island - 9/17/16

    Online Entry is open for the Sandy Cove Island swim in Kinsale, Ireland, at the following link

    Entry to the event will close at midnight on the 13th September at midnight.
    Cork Masters Swimming Club

    Swim Across America - Sep 18, 2016 - 1/3/5 Mile Swim Magothy River

    F or information: http://www.swimacrossamerica.org/

    Escape to Lewes Open Water Swim Classic Oct. 1, 2016

    10 mile Swim to the Bridge and Back (also 5 mile and 2.4 mile) Oct. 1, 2016

    Open Wager swim - 10.1.16 - Richmond, VA
    Upper James River

    Patriot Masters Sprint Classic - 10/30/16

    F or information: http://www.patriotmasters.org/sprintclassic.htm

    Germantown Solstice meet - 12/3/16

    F or information: https://www.clubassistant.com/club/meet_information.cfm?c=2124&smid=8156


    U.S. Masters Swimming Levels 1 and 2 Coach Certification Course - Nov. 6, 2016

    U .S. Masters Swimming is hosting Levels 1 and 2 Coach Certification Courses
    Coach Certification Levels 1 and 2
    Sun., Nov. 6, 2016
    Baltimore, Md.
    Classroom instruction
    Courtyard Fort Meade
    2700 Hercules Road
    Annapolis Junction, MD 20701

    Registration closes at midnight, PST on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, or when course enrollment reaches 40.

    Questions? Marianne Groenings, Education Manager mgroenings@usms.org

    Who should attend?
    - Current full-time, part-time, and volunteer coaches, or anyone interested in becoming a U.S. Masters Swimming coach
    - Anyone interested in supporting their existing club and coach
    - Anyone interested in starting a U.S. Masters Swimming program

    Current USMS membership required.

    - $180 for Levels 1 and 2 Certification
    - $100 for Level 1 or Level 2 only

    - Check-in: 8:30-9 a.m.
    - Classroom training: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    - Lunch: 12:30 to 1 p.m. (provided by USMS)

    - Mel Goldstein, Coach, Indy Aquatic Masters Past President, USMS
    - Bill Brenner, USMS Education Director

    Check with your LMSC for scholarship availability.


    2017 Great Chesapeake Bay Swim Registration

    I nformation for the June 11, 2017 Great Chesapeake Bay Swim registration will be available on September 14, 2016 at http://linmarksports.com/.

    Registration Notes
    • The last PV-LMSC Board Meeting of the year will be at the conclusion of the Sprint Classic at GMU on October 30, 2016. Meeting start time will be announced closer to the meeting. PV-LMSC by-laws require attendance to at least one board meeting each year (if you attend at least one meeting or host a sanctioned event, you receive a $50 ďrebateĒ at the end of the year). The following teams have not yet met the attendance requirement this year:
      - Anthony Bowen YMCA, Arlington Masters, Central Park, DC Tri, Fort Belvoir, Herndon Aquatic Club, Life Time Mid Atlantic, Machine, Maryland Suburban, Masters Aquatics at Spring Hill, Megan ALTS, NOVA JCC, Potomac Marlins, Right Duff, Riptide, Sea Devils, SportFit Lab, Swimspire, Team America Commandos, Swim Spray, Tollefson, Wave One.

    • The following clubs did not renew for 2016:
      - Elite Rays Swim Club and Nationís Capital Swimming


    Memo - PV Registration Fees

    P V registration fee memo. memo

    Private Swim Clinics

    T here is information at http://www.claybrittswimming.com/masterstriathletes.html about lessons, Masters workouts and how to arrange a private clinic for your team or friends. Iím excited to be able to offer private lessons again and I hope this can benefit you.

    Clay Britt http://www.claybrittswimming.com

    PV LMSC Meeting Minutes - July 23, 2016

    July 2016 minutes

    Open Water & Pool Swim Camp in Barbados November 6, 2016

    O pen Water & Pool Swim Camp in Barbados!
    October 30 - November 6, 2016



    USMS Sponsor Partner Benefits

    Because of the time, energy and resources our partners dedicate to USMS, weíre able to provide valuable membership benefits. For more information see: http://www.usms.org/merch/sponsors

    Private Swim Instruction

    Clay Britt http://www.claybrittswimming.com

      Photo Credits


    A ll photos by Cheryl Wagner except for:

  • photo of Michele Walters & Ed Riley (Michele Walters)
  • photo of Joe Stewart (Joe Stewart)
  • photo of 400 Medley Relay winners (Jeff Strahota)

  •   Events Calendar



    Pool Event Calendar



    Long Distance/Open Water Calendar