Profiling Esther Lyman
"Be excellent at what you do"
New England Master Esther Lyman of Londonderry, NH, lives by her credo, "Whatever direction you take in life, be excellent at what you do." Faithfully following that credo Esther has been of enormous benefit to many organizations and activities—none more so than her favorite—Masters swimming.
Esther joined New England Masters late in 1974, worked out three to four times a week and took part in several meets a month. Her NEM swimming career produced the usual bouquet of blue, red and yellow ribbons and medals. However Esther's attitude was "It isn't whether you win or lose, it's whether you show up". She soon started "giving back" to the sport, becoming assistant to then newsletter editor Jim Edwards and was club secretary for a term. During this period she worked 48 hours a week, raised three teenagers, earned a B.S. with High Honors in computer science. In 1984 she went to work for a major computer firm.
Raised in Denmark, her introduction to swimming was in the salty, pungent waters of Copenhagen Harbor. After marriage to a US serviceman in 1954 when she was pursuing a career in language translation, she relocated to he United States, raising her children intermittent with leadership in Girl Scouting and teaching adult and pre-school swimming at the YWCA in Nashua, N.H.
Esther took over New England Top Ten Times at a time when several people had been trying to patch it back together. After bringing the job "up to snuff" she continued to maintain Short Course Yards. She then searched back to 1972, "an utterly tedious and time consuming job" to create an All Time Top Ten for Long Course Meters and then an All Time New England list for the One Hour Swim. Fellow NEM Ed Gendreau took on the task for Short Course Meters.
In mid-1998 the New England LMSC was in need of a major tune-up. The Interim Chair, John Woods of Maine, asked Esther to serve as New England's first Vice-Chair. She brought her usual thoroughness to the task, becoming expert on each of the LMSC's areas of responsibility. She suggested excellent candidates to fill vacancies that occurred, solving problems and offering suggestions. Feeling her mission as Vice-Chair accomplished, Esther returned to her Top Ten responsibilities. The minutes of October 1998 Annual Meeting noted special thanks to Esther Lyman for invaluable services during this transition.
For her Top Ten endeavors, Esther created a database to store all old times, into which meet results could be added electronically. It contains the current personal best times of all swimmers, and the current Top Ten line-up. It can automatically identify and qualify times for submission for national Top Ten. Times for New England swimmers are electronically downloaded from national results. New national and world records are added to the database as an upper limit for comparison, and prior years' top ten last places as a lower limit. The database does most of the selecting once the times are in the system. It is capable of providing similar services to individual clubs such as Maine Masters.
In her spare time Esther has been working with Carl House and others on the National Archives project. The goal is to identify birthdates and club affiliations from early Top Tens and All-Americans, and to develop a permanent type of identifier for all swimmers to unify each swimmer's data and help with "quality control" of the web pages.
Masters swimming continues its phenomenal growth because the Esther Lymans "just show up" and are excellent in what they do.