By Patti Scott-Baier
For The Union Democrat
Gold medal winning team relays highlighted the performances of Tuolumne County Aquatic Masters swimmers at the Pacific Masters Long Course Championships on July 12-14. Over 500 swimmers competed in the three-day meet which was held in the 50-meter pool at the San Mateo Community College aquatic center.
With an undermanned squad of 18 swimmers, TCAM still managed to earn seventh place in the team standings. The larger masters teams dominated the top spots with the University of San Francisco Masters winning the meet, San Mateo Masters in second and Walnut Creek Masters in third.
Relay competitions brought out the best performances in all TCAM members. The locals flew into action and won both the 280-plus mixed 400 freestyle relay and the 240-plus mens 400 medley relay.
On each of the relays, the 40-year age divisions were determined by adding the participants ages together.The relays placingin the top eight each scored doublepoints toward the team standings.
For the 280-plus free relay, all four team members were over the age of 70. Gail Rodd, 71, led off, followed by Bill Anning, 72, Susan White, 71, and Bob Garretson, 80, anchored the relay.
The winning mens 240-plus medley swimmers spanned four different decades.40-year old Kyle Stock started with the backstroke, Dick Todd, 71, swam breaststroke, followed by Matt Gass, 55, swimming the butterfly, and Garretson finished off with the free for the win.
The TCAM team had four additional relays scoring in the top eight.The 240-plus men's 200 free relay and the 160-plus women's 400 medley relay both placed fourth. The women's 160-plus 200 free relay finished in fifth and the 240-plus mixed free relay was seventh.
Ten TCAM swimmers scored significant points by placing in the top 10 in the High Point awards for each age division. Cheryl Harms, 62, was third in the 60-64 division. The husband-wife duo of Stock and Lisa Hieb-Stock, 33, both topped the awards in fourth in the 40-44 and 30-34 divisions, respectively. Garretson also finished fourth in the 80-84.
Finishing in sixth in the age group awards were Sheryl Parola, 65, in 65-69 and Anning in 70-74. Gass and White were both eighth with in 50-54 and 70-74, respectively.Rounding out the high point awards, Todd was ninth and Rodd 10th in the 70-74 division. Larry Carter, 65, narrowly missed the top 10 with 11th in the 65-69.
Swimming in the 50 meter pool as an 80-year old, Garretson had an outstanding meet. He broke team records in all seven of his events.
Swimming the 800 free,9:05.38, for the first time, Garretson had an exceptional swim as he narrowly missed breaking the nine-minute mark. His additional new records were in the 200 free (4:12.06), 50 back (58.55), 50 free (45.19), 100 back (2:08.42), 50 breast (1:05.64) and 100 free (1:53.37).
Recent knee surgeries did not slow Stock down as he set six new team records.Stock focused on the free and back events and set records in the 50 back (44.15), 100 back (1:42.28), 50 free (35.22), 100 free (1:21.24), 400 free (7:01.84) and 800 free (14:50.70).
Swimming in her first long course meet, Harms set five new records.Specializing in long distance free, Harms records were in the 800 (13:43.21), 400 (6:45.58),200 (3:07.57), 100 (1:25.63) plus the 50 fly (51.61).
Gass' versatility showed with his four records utilizing four different strokes. He set new records in the 200 IM (3:05.41), 200 breast (3:36.42), 200 fly (3:42.31) and the 100 back (1:25.84).
Setting two new records were Rodd in the 200 free (4:05.04) and 800 free (16:57.20) and White, Hieb-Stock and Stuart Welsh, 56, each had a single record. The women sprinted to new records, White in the 50 back (1:02.86) and Hieb-Stock in the 50 fly (41.92). Welsh swam a well-paced 1500 free (26:40.85) to set the record.
Laurie Perry, 59, was the most improved swimmer of the meet with four new personal bests.Perry dropped an incredible 18 seconds in her 800 free, six in both the 200 back and 100 fly, and three in 200 free.
Two bests were set by Parola in the 100 fly with a four-second improvement and one second in 50 back. Scoring single bests were the husband-wife team of Larry Carter, 64, and Robin Carter, 62. Larry dropped five in his 800 free while Robin improved a second in the 50 back.
The distance free events proved to be strong swims for TCAM.Swimming steadily-paced races in the 400, 800, 1500 free events included Anning, Larry Carter, Garretson, Harms, Hieb-Stock, Kathy Horak, 53, Parola, Perry, Rodd, Stock, Welsh and White.
TCAM trains daily for fitness and upcoming events include their team mini meet and Modesto meet in August. The group is also focusing on the open water circuit which includes the TCAM Pinecrest Swim at the end of the summer.