By Patti Scott-Baier

For The Union Democrat

Distance swimming requires conditioning and pacing to have a successful swim. Forty-seven Tuolumne County Aquatic Masters swimmers took the winter distance challenge during the month of January. The swimmers had the option to swim continuously for one hour or race the 500, 1000 or 1650 free.

Thousands of swimmers across the country compete in the postal One Hour Swim during January. Distances are recorded and submitted for ranking in the five year age divisions.

The local TCAM swimmers have been participating for the past nine years in the postal event. Gail Rodd, 76, and Sheryl Parola, 70, competed for the six year. Both women have only varied their distances by less than 250 yards.

Susan Loyd, 59, raced the hour for the fourth year while Frank Helm, 78, and Martha Buthmann, 66, swam for the third year. Mark Houghton, 56, and Karen Kessel, 69, swam for the first year. Houghton, the youngest TCAM swimmer, covered the most distance with 3695 yards.

In the pool mile or 1650 yard swim, 39 TCAM swimmers set fast paces and swam consistent 100 yard splits throughout the distance. The swimmers ranged in age from 19 to 81.

Setting new team records in the 1650 were Rodd in the 75-79 and Parola in the 70-74. White broke the record previously set in 2009 in the 1000 free in the 75-79 age division.

In their second attempts, Jenn Kesterson, 40, and Lucia Sedoo, 19, both dropped their times by 2:30. Kristi Loveridge, 35, improved her time by 1:40.

Malcolm Carden, 72, had an outstanding swim in the 500 free and set a new best by 42 seconds. Rhea Gross, 68, improved by 9 seconds, and Matt Gass, 61, by two.

Breaking their times from 2018 were Laurie Perry, 64, Carden, Gross, Rodd, Larry Carter, 70, Greg Jacobus, 67, and Patti Philpott, 48.

The TCAM team has been swimming the distance swim for 19 years since 2001. Judi Wilson, 70, and Rita Wolf, 64, both have competed every year.

Rodd and Bette Axiak, 73, finished for their 17th year. Swimming for 15 consecutive years were Parola and Perry.

Swimming for over 10 years included Larry Carter, 70, 14 years, Toni Wivell, 81, 13 years, White for 12 years, Gass for 11 years and Gross and Houghton for 10 years.

Approaching the ten year mark with eight years of swims were John Brunolli, 57, Annie Brosnan, 60, Gail Segerstrom, 69, Donna Reese, 70, and Charlie Mallory, 71 while Gary Johnson, 67 has competed seven years.

Racing for six years included Chase Anderson, 68, Bev Davis, 70, and Lisa Hieb-Stock, 38. Fifth year swimmers were Jacobus, Philpott, and Ed Clinite, 63.

Finishing the mile for 2-4 years included Loveridge, Tim Neeley, 56, Sabine Wahl-Barry, 60, Karen Nickels, 42, Buthmann, Steven Holt, 61, Carlina Shepherd, 62, Jim Roeber, 66, Kesterson, and Carden.

Making their distance swim debut were Sedoo, Steve Weldon, 72, Heather Boone, 45 and George Kirk, 68.

National results for the 400 Kick

Nine TCAM swimmers broke into the top 10 results in the National 400 Kick published recently.

The swimmers raced during the month of December. Times for the distance were submitted with results being tallied in the five year age divisions.

The fastest TCAM swimmers, Casey Slater, 47, and Dick Todd, 76, topped the standings with first place finishes in their respective age divisions, 45-49 and 75-79.

Fourth place standings were recorded by Ed Clinite, 63, in 60-64, Tim Trujillo, 46, in 45-49, and Jonathan Weldon, 37, in the 35-39.

Breaking into the top five in fifth place were Pamela Blair, 59, and Linda Tangenberg, 43.

Making the top ten were Matt Gass, 61 in sixth in 60-64 and Martha Buthmann, 66, in ninth in 65-69.

Narrowly missing the top 10 were Tim Neeley, 56, in 11th, Jennifer Kesterson, 40, in 12th and Annika Graveline, 41 in 13th.