Twice is nice in Tempe


Phil Simpson

One year ago your faithful poolside scribe reported that the SaddleBrooke Masters Swim Team was victorious in avenging a 2015 Haunted Halloween second best showing at the annual Ron Johnson meet held at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center on the Arizona State University campus. After licking their wounds for an entire year, SaddleBrooke’s intrepid natators churned the waters to score a convincing win at the 2016 short course meters state championship.

This year, on the sun-splashed weekend of November 18 and 19, SaddleBrooke’s swimmers found early on that their competitors do not readily cotton to taking a dunking as their chief rivals, Tempe’s Swim Devil Masters, Goodyear’s YMCA Westside Silver Fins and the Phoenix Swim Club each brought their A Game, fielding a talented complement of swimmers, resulting in an exciting, hotly contested meet.

Forty-three SaddleBrooke swimmers, almost evenly split between guys and gals, journeyed to Tempe. SaddleBrooke earned the distinction of capturing the lion’s share of the coveted high point winner awards in the more senior age groups, with this honor accorded those swimmers who place highest in their age groups in a maximum of eight individual events. Earning that prestigious honor were Gloria Tolaro, Bob Sears, Glenn Tewksbury, Corinna Goodman, Wendy Weinberg, Ken McKinney, Ke Wang and Coach Doug Springer.

The meet witnessed a number of most notable performances both in the individual and relay events. Newcomers to this championship contest, Ann Lowry, Karen Poortvliet, Leslie Kurykchak, Debi Truesdale and John Leet, acquitted themselves most admirably. Len Kershaw and Joan Pierce exited the waters recording their first state championships, Len in the 200 meter breaststroke and Joan in the 100 meter back. And for the first time, SaddleBrooke fielded a 320-plus relay team, where the ages of the competitors must total at least 320. Jill Fritz, Carol Honeywell, Gloria Tolaro and Corinna Goodman finished first in the 200 and 400 meter freestyle and the 200 meter medley. Should their times prove to be the best posted for 2017, the team may garner U.S. Masters Swimming All American honors.

Special kudos are due the SaddleBrooke women swimmers. Their strong turnout and performances shifted the tide in favor of SaddleBrooke. Whereas the men were virtually deadlocked with the Sun Devil Masters in the individual event tally, the women out-dueled the Devils by just over 400 points. When the waters were still and the relays recorded, that margin proved to ensure that SaddleBrooke would return home as Arizona State Champs. Congratulations to our DesertView Pool Sharkettes.

As always we are indebted to those volunteers who generously give of their time and efforts in planning for, organizing and carrying out our team’s participation in this grueling, two-day marathon swim-fest in the Valley of the Sun. Thank you to Joan Pierce and Debi and Steve Truesdale for their administrative assistance and to Nancy Springer and Jay Selnick for their on-deck support.

To Coach Doug and his SaddleBrooke team – Congratulations, Champs, on a job well done!