The Man Behind the Scenes
Enjoyed swimming against the legends
In 1986, eight years after completing a successful NCAA Division II career, I entered my first USMS nationals as a member of Gold Coast Masters (GOLD). Not knowing what to expect, I began reading through the heat sheet and there, listed in the lane next to me in the 50 free, sat the name Jim Montgomery. My wife at the time, having no clue about swimming history, flatly stated "don't worry about it, you can beat him!" In the next breath she added "who is he anyway?" Well, as we all know, Jim was the first swimmer to break 50 seconds in the 100-meter free on his way to the Olympic gold medal in 1976. I used to read about Jim in Swimming World and I never thought I would swim against him. Welcome to United States Masters swimming.
Also on that fateful day I ran into several childhood friends from Pennsylvania whom I had lost track of over the years. We had a marvelous reunion of sorts and renewed our friendships. I made a commitment to swim with them the following year, representing Colonials 1776 (Delaware Valley LMSC). That core group of friends has attended nearly every SC nationals since. Mark Schuman , Peter Dardaris , Mike Casciato and Stu Marvin, a loose collection of low-profile Philadelphia area swimmers, have managed to win continuously at nationals. We were joined in 1989 by Charles Norelli, another Pennsylvania star, and most recently by Trip Hedrick, one of our former "victims" who became teamless when moving to Iowa in 1996. Along the way we have posted victories over some impressive relays such as: Rocky Mountain Masters (featuring Richard Hess, Holden Bank, Jim Lilley and Richard Abrahams ), Baylor Lone Star Masters (with Bobby Patten, Jim Montgomery and friends), SCAQ Masters (with Clay Evans and Gerry Rodrigues), and The Olympic Club (with Robert Placak, Mike Keck and company).
In 11 years of swimming Masters I have managed lifetime best swims in every event except the 200 free, missing that by only .27 seconds in 1990. My Masters (and career!) highlight was finally breaking the :21 second barrier in the 50 free by going 20.99 in 1987. I have traveled around the country and the world thanks to my involvement with USMS. When you have a chance, ask Chester Miltenberger from Team Orlando Masters and Ernie Leskovitz, now in Hawaii, about the trip Mike Casciato and I took to Rio de Janiero for the FINA World Masters Championships in 1990. The story is always funnier when Chet tells it.
I get plenty of ribbing from fellow workout partners here in Florida about swimming for a team in Pennsylvania. It is difficult to explain to Hall of Famer June Krauser, perennial standout Cav Cavanaugh, and newcomer Tracie Moll, why the manager of the International Swimming Hall of Fame Aquatic Complex does not swim for the "home club." I tell it this way: after family, I value long-term friendships the most and this is how I keep some of them close.
Oh, that 50 free in 1986? I beat the legendary Jim Montgomery in a close race, prompting an expected "I told you so" from my wife. I lamented that I still had to swim the 200 free against him but she waved me off saying "no problem." Not much reassurance from a non-swimmer, but she was right. I won again in a memorable eight-lap, stroke-for-stroke battle that I will never forget.
Welcome to United States Masters swimming.
Stu Marvin lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Stu swam for Gold Coast Masters (GOLD in the Florida Gold Coast LMSC) in 1986 and represented the Colonials "1776" (Delaware Valley LMSC) from 1987 through 2000. In 2001, he was Unattached in the Florida Gold Coast LMSC. From 2002 through 2005, Stu represented the GOLD club (Florida Gold Coast LMSC). He was Unattached (Florida Gold Coast LMSC) in 2006 and 2007, and has returned to being affiliated with Colonials "1776" (Delaware Valley LMSC) for 2008.
Stu Marvin Receives the 2004 Florida Gold Coast LMSC Hall of Fame Award.
The following is the introductory speech by Debbie Cavanaugh at their awards banquet on January 22, 2005:
I am up here tonight to talk about one of our biggest behind the scene contributor to Masters swimming. He has done so much for the Masters swimming program both in and out of the water that you would be amazed. But before I tell you what he has done for us and our sport, let me tell you a little bit about him.
Stu Marvin was born in Pennsylvania in 1955. He grew up in a town called Oreland a suburb of Philadelphia. He started swimming as a nine year old in a summer league. His first practice was a time trial; he swam the 25-meter free in 16.6 seconds. That made him the second fastest 10 and under after just one swim. He continued his swimming career in high school but never swam AAU. In 1975 he entered Bloomsburg University. His honors included Outstanding Underclass Athlete his freshman and sophomore year. His senior year he was captain of the swim team and was also the Outstanding Senior Class Athlete of the year. He was an 11-time NCAA All-American. He graduated in 1978 with a BA in Sociology & Anthropology.
In 1978 he moved to Ft. Lauderdale. He left in the spring of 1979 but returned in the fall of 1980. I think he liked the warm weather. He became a beach patrol guard; eight months later he was promoted to lieutenant and in February of 1988 he was hired as the pool manager of the Ft. Lauderdale Aquatic Complex. He remained manager until this past November when he retired with 24 years of service.
Stu's involvement with Gold started 19 years ago when he competed in his first USMS nationals for GOLD Coast Masters. To this day he still holds the 30-34 age group Florida Gold Coast Records in the 50, 100, 200 free, 50 back & 100 IM for SCY.
As pool manager Stu began to put on meets from age group to Masters. In the summer of 1988 he hosted his first Masters meet, a one-day long course event. In 1990 he took over Judy Bonning's annual meet when she left Mission Bay. It is now the Masters Challenge.
In 1991 he rescued the YMCA kids meet in Orlando by driving our timing system up at 4:00 a.m. after theirs crashed. In 1992 Stu brought that meet to Ft. Lauderdale and has hosted 12 of the last 13. He has also hosted YMCA Masters Nationals in 1993, 1994, 1998, 2002, and 2004. In the years he did not host them, he was assisting. He has been the YMCA Liaison since 2000.
He successfully bid for the USMS SCY Nationals in 1995, LC 1998 and SCY 2005. In 1998 USMS awarded him the National Championship Award for the person who has contributed the most to USMS National Championship Meets.
While Stu has run over 45 masters meets from local to national, pool and open water, he also created the dual meet between the Colonies and the Dixie Zones. He hosts three meets a year for us and if we need a last chance meet or a relay meet, he will step right in. He was a member of the USMS Championship Committee from 1990-1999. He is currently involved in USMS as a member of the Ad Hoc International Swimming Hall of Fame Committee and YMCA Liaison.
Most of you only see the finished product. But what you don't see is what Stu really does. The hours upon hours he puts in to running a meet. He is the conductor of the orchestra. When you arrive at the pool, the touch pads, timing system, heat sheets, officials are all in their places. The only thing you worry about is finishing your race. Without the conductor leading there would have been no meets. I have been fortunate these last 10 years to be a volunteer and have had the chance to see what really goes on behind the scenes. It is a thankless, time consuming job. But while that may be true, Stu never stopped giving of himself and putting on great swim meets. Even though he is retired, he has made a commitment to the Florida Gold Coast and USMS and is still the co-meet director of the 2005 SC Nationals at the Aquatic Center. Anyone as dedicated as this has a true love of the sport. His first Love though is his lovely wife Meg and his two wonderful boys Kel, seven and Matthew, five.
For all his endless efforts, Florida Gold Coast Masters truly appreciates everything that you have done for us. Your contributions both in the pool and out will never be forgotten.
We Thank You!
For the man behind the scenes, swimmer, peer, and friend. I present to you Hall of Fame Award winner Stu Marvin!