2014 USMS Summer Nationals:
Inspiring Swims, Inspirational Swimmers
By Julia Galan
The University of Maryland at College Park welcomed over 1000 swimmers and 195 clubs from across the country and around the world to the Eppley Recreation Center (“ERC”) Natatorium for the 2014 U.S. Masters Swimming Summer Nationals from August 13 – 17. Sanctioned by the Potomac Valley LMSC, hosted by UMD’s Campus Recreation Services and co-directed by CRS’ Natalie Ferdinand and Carrie Tupper, this summer’s national championships took place in an ideal aquatics facility and a fantastic location, a mere 20 minutes away from our nation’s capital.
Home to the University of Maryland Aquatic Club/Terrapin Masters, this state-of-the-art aquatics complex was the perfect venue for a championship meet of this caliber. After having hosted several World Cup events and more than a few National Championships over the years, the ERC facility continued to live up to its reputation as a record-setting pool during the course of this year’s event. A total of 19 world records and 24 national records were broken over the five days of the competition, in addition to the many personal records achieved by so many swimmers and teams, resulting in some very pleased participants!
One of the most unique aspects of masters swimming is its ability to bring together individuals of all ages, levels, backgrounds and goals, and the Nationals at College Park were no exception. College swimmers such as 20-year old Lance Rutkin from Swim Fort Lauderdale shared the pool deck with nonagenarians like 98-year old Georgia Masters athlete Anne Dunivin. Olympians like Canadian Tobias Oriwol or world record-holders including Ventura County’s Glenn Gruber and New England’s Diann Uustal swam alongside newbies to the sport. Participants from across the entire United States were represented together with international swimmers. Among them were Georgia Chatzigeorgiou from Greece, who won the women’s 35-39 year 50, 100 and 200 freestyle events, and Tasmania’s Maciej Slugocki, who won the men’s 60-64 year 1500 freestyle and placed in the top 8 for several additional events.
USMS’ top administrators were also seen in the pool, with Executive Director Rob Butcher participating in five events representing the Sarasota YMCA Sharks, alongside teammates such as Membership Director Anna Lea Matysek or Board of Directors President Nadine Day from Indy Masters.
In addition to being staunchly individual, swimming is also a team sport and this summer’s participants represented their clubs with boundless enthusiasm. Swim Fort Lauderdale dominated the overall team scores, with Virginia Masters and Colonial 1776 coming in second and third, respectively. Host club Terrapin Masters came in 7th overall, their highest ranking in the history of the club according to board member Jeff Strahota. The Terps boasted 6 individual national champions and one champion relay, in addition to dozens of new personal and team records. All of the 159 teams represented at Nationals demonstrated their spirit and dynamism with flair!
From an organizational standpoint, this year’s Summer Nationals were equally impressive. Real time results and live video stream were available for family and friends to follow the event from home, while the Meet Mobile app allowed participants to keep track of their events directly from their smartphones. Result sheets and medals were available almost immediately, and participants praised the friendliness and professionalism of the many volunteers, timers, officials and host committee members, who were clearly dedicated to making the competition the success that it was. Many thanks again to United States Masters Swimming, the Campus Recreation Services and the University of Maryland, the host committee members, all of the officials, volunteers, timers, coaches and especially the athletes for a fantastic and well-run event.
But don’t take our word for it. Without further ado, we present our free photo gallery of over 2000 pictures, embodying the spirit of friendliness and competition that is U.S. Masters Swimming!