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A Lifetime of Swimming

Still competing at age 70

Cheryl Gettelfinger | June 5, 2012

Susan (Rothert) Meyers

by Cheryl Gettelfinger  

At the United States Masters Swimming (USMS) Short Course Yards National Championship held at the end of April 2012 in Greensboro, NC, Susan Meyers of Columbia City boasted four wins and two second places in the 70-74 age group.

Meyers has been very successful since her re-introduction into swimming in 1996 after a 35 year break from water sports.  Diving was Meyers's introduction to water at the age of 11.  She dived during summers for the Riviera Club and its renowned coach, Johnny Galvich.  The divers swam laps whenever the diving pool had a leak, and when the fourth person on a 200 freestyle relay got sick, the coach put in Meyers to swim on what turned out to win a National Juniors Olympics championship. When asked to compare the equipment of her early years to that of today Meyers remembers black (only), nylon suits which required shoestrings to hold the straps together.  And she chuckles how her doctor thought he was doing her a favor by administering her small pox vaccine at the top of her leg because "no one would see it."   Her favorite summer meets were:  Lakeside, Hamilton, Ohio and Shakamak.  The winter meets shifted indoors to Green Bay, South Bend and Chicago.

Meyers dived two years at Purdue but quit due to the time commitment and joined a synchronized swim club and continued to compete.  She appreciates that at that point in time, her coach, Richard "Pappy" Papenguth (ISHOF 1986 Honor Coach), had a women's team as most didn't. Meyers began competing in Masters swimming at age 55. A lap swimmer at her YW in Fort Wayne suggested that she join a competitive team because she was so much faster than he was. The lack of a coach led her to read books, watch videos and her first clinic she attended was at Miami of Ohio. It's at this time of her life that she learned butterfly and flip turns!

Since her return, Meyers has been an All-American (Number one in the nation in her age groups) eight times for pool races, five times for open water races and three times in postal events (computation of time to complete a specified distance).

As of today's date, Meyers has amassed 372 top ten times for national individual events, 18 top ten times for national relays, 22 top ten times for world individual events and one top ten time for relays for FINA. In addition, she has snagged long distance All-Star three times.

Meyers won the prestigious Irv Merritt Award for service in 2000 from Greater Indiana Masters Swimming where she currently serves as Sanctions Chair. She won the long distance swimmer of the year award in 2006 for her local club and she holds countless state records. Born and raised in Fort Wayne, Meyers teaches swimming at two Fort Wayne school systems and coached high school swim teams at Northrop and Bishop Dwenger. Her commitment to swimming along with her emphasis on correct stroke technique should keep her sharp in competition for years to come.

She will be competing in the World Masters Swimming competition in Riccione, Italy in June 2012.

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