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A Swimming Ambassador

Enjoys meeting inspiring people

Laura Jones | October 28, 2010

Susan Kirk has been a member of New Jersey Masters since 1989 and an active USMS volunteer since 2005, although she was involved much earlier than that in informally arranging events and sharing information with her fellow New Jersey swimmers. For the past 20 years, Kirk, 50, has also trained with, and substitute coached, the Berkeley Aquatic Masters workout group. “The camaraderie and spirit of this diverse group of swimmers is amazing!”

It is just that camaraderie that inspired Kirk to become more involved with USMS. Kirk has been the New Jersey LMSC secretary since November 2005 and the chair since December 2009. “I always wanted to do more before then, but I couldn’t while my kids were young.” Her focus is on providing the best communication she can to members, whether it is about an event or a clinic or a meet or a call for volunteers. She is proud to be known as “The email Lady.” “Mostly, its just about getting information and sharing it with our members so they can be aware of all the opportunities to participate that are available to them.”

Kirk’s first USMS convention was in Dearborn, Mich., in 2006, and she has been a fixture at all the conventions since then. She has served tirelessly for the past four years on the Long Distance Committee and helped guide USMS to even greater participation in these events.

“By being a volunteer, I get to meet all these inspiring people which is just phenomenal. And in turn I get to share those stories with more of our members and help inspire them. Our group is so diverse—as all of Masters swimming is—and there is so much to learn from each other. When you become a volunteer, it opens doors for that human connection.”

Kirk’s personal swimming passion is open water; she finished 17 open water swims this year. “My 2010 open water season started on May 29 with the USMS One Mile Open Water National Championship in Charlotte, N.C. and finished with the 10K swim in the Harrington Sound in Bermuda on October 17. We had a group from New Jersey of nine women and four men who went to Bermuda and swam various distances. We all had a blast! And the women all had custom suits for this event.”

Kirk doesn’t neglect the pool—in 2008 she completed the U.S. Masters Swimming Long Distance Postal Series. On dry land, Kirk is a pharmacist and she is married with two children.

Friend, fellow swimmer and volunteer Ed Tsuzuki has worked extensively with Kirk over the years: “Sue is incredibly passionate about Masters swimming and open water swimming She puts in countless volunteer hours to promote our pool swims, ocean swims, lake swims, postal swims, meetings, award programs, and of course—social events. And, quite often she can be found on deck, coaching the Berkeley Masters team. Sue is the quintessential Masters ambassador.”

 

 

Susan Kirk Receives The 2012 USMS Dorothy Donnelly Service Award

by Ed Tsuzuki
 

Susan Kirk is a tireless volunteer for USMS both at the local and national level. She has been involved as a local (board level) volunteer since 2004 and has served as the chair since 2009 (also serving as the secretary since 2005). As the NJ chair, she has been instrumental in developing the NJ Continuous Membership Recognition Program, which recognizes continuous USMS membership at 5-year increments with gifts at the annual NJ LMSC banquet. New Jersey’s membership and retention rates have grown significantly under her leadership.

 At a national level, she is extremely active on the Long Distance Committee, as she oversees all

11 Open Water and Long Distance National Championships with Ann Svenson. Susan is also the co-lead for the 1-Hour Postal National Championship—the largest USMS National Championship of any kind—pool or open water—with over 2,500 participants. Each year, she is the lead liaison for an Open Water National Championship ranging in distances from 1-mile to 10K and worked closely with Club Assistant on the development of the customized online entry system for the Postal National Championships. She also serves, with the LDC Chair and Vice Chair, on the General Oversight Sub-Committee of the Long Distance Committee and as the lead for the OW and Postal National Championship Bid Selection subcommittee.

USMS Wave Seperator

About the Author—Laura Jones

Laura S. Jones, a lawyer by training, has written about sports, health, and science for a variety of publications since 2001. She's also the author of a short story collection, "Breaking and Entering," published in 2011. Jones is an avid, although not speedy, open water swimmer and particularly enjoys 5K and 10K ocean swims with her much faster husband, Rob. She'll occasionally humble herself with a 400IM or 500 free in a pool meet, and a triathlon or two.

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