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USMS Oral History


Reflections from Ted Haartz Jul 19, 2000

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June Krauser 3/11/00

June was my mentor for all this Masters Swimming business back in the early 1970s. Her first suggestion after I volunteered to do Masters Top Ten in 1972 was to go to the conventions - AAU at that time - and start learning the "ropes" of sports organizations. So, in 1993 I went to the AAU and later the USAS conventions and have been there every year since. June knew the "ropes" then just as she knows them now. I've had almost 30 years of adult swimming education from her and without her leadership and interest, Masters Swimming would be poorer.

While June could be June, I always admired her ability to plan her time and get the job, whatever it was, done. Yes, many Masters found her "intimidating" failing to recognize, that June "had been there, and done that" with the AAU Swimming Committee and did not have the time, temperament or patience for reinventing "wheels" which were working perfectly well. She was running the family steel tubing supply business after her husband's untimely stroke and caring for him. She was chairman of the AAU Masters Swimming Committee, publishing a monthly Masters news letter, registrar of the Gold Coast Masters LMSC, was chief "cook and bottle washer" for 4 National Masters Meets and numerous local meets and always found the time to swim at record and All American levels as well as being a worker and contributor to the International Swimming Hall of Fame. June did not suffer "fools" and I tried very hard never to be one in her eyes.

While Ranson Arthur (and his San Diego Naval Station cohorts) were the "Father(s) of Masters Swimming", June Krauser was the "Mother" who nurtured the program with her leadership, advice and experience for which she has my utmost respect. It has always been my privilege to count June among my best of friends.

Ted Haartz , Past President, USMS

Hal Onusseit 1/30/00

Hal and I were good friends who met back in the early 1960s at the "Businessmen's Noontime Swim" at the Waltham, MA Boys' Club. Like me, we were older ex-college swimmers who swam at noontime to get away from the business pressures and telephones for an hour. We and others swam there through the 60s and when the first Masters Nationals result showed up in Swimming World late in 1970, Hal, I and two other guys started preparing ourselves for the second masters Nationals in Amarillo, TX in May of 1971. The four of us drove there in Hal's Volkwagon camper, swam, finished 3rd as a team and came home hooked on Masters. At this meet Hal volunteered to become the Masters record keeper and I volunteered to do Top Ten.

We continued to train at the Boys' Club, at Tufts University of which I am a graduate and at various municipal pools during the summer. It was at one of these pools in July of 1974 that Hal had finished his work out and gone into the locker room to shower and change. After some time when he did not reappear, one of the life guards went into the locker room and found Hal dead on the floor. As no autopsy was ever performed, the cause of death - heart attack, stroke - was never determined.

Hal also participated in tennis, skiing and road running as well as the swimming. I used to chide him often about skipping the other sports because he could be and was a Masters butterfly champion as compared to "just another athlete" in the other sports he enjoyed.

At the time, I did write an article about Hal in Swim Master. At the time we moved from the Boston area to Arizona, I donated my complete set of Swim Masters to the USMS Historical archives and the last I knew, these were in the possession of Joan P Smith , the then historian.

Larry Smith 2/3/00

Another name, Lawrence (Larry) Smith also comes to mind. Larry was another New England Masters swimmer who died while swimming in the Newton, MA YMCA pool. He was the backstroker on the NEW 45+ medley relay team at the same time Hal, Ed Reed, Sr.. Bill Uhrich (45+ free) and I comprised the two relay teams. As I understand it, Larry was swimming backstroke lengths and during one length, he just "went up in the water", the life guard went in and Larry was dead on the spot. If, I still had my old Swim-Masters, I could find his age. I am not sure whether Larry's death preceded Hal's or not because Bill Uhrich would have taken either Hal's place in the fly or Larry's place in the back in our medley.

2/25/00: He was the chief or a captain of the Newton, MA fire department and to the best of my knowledge swam at the Newton YMCA where he died of a massive heart attack while in the pool. Whether his given name was LaUrence or LaWrence I don't know and so far I have been unable to find any obit for him in the NEM News from that era. We all knew him as Larry. In the all time NEM Top Ten dated 5/72-8/77 Larry was #1 in the 3 backstrokes with times of :26.10, 1:11.10 & 2:49.90 which were probably national records at the time. Needless to say that over that period, he did other comparable backstroke times that won him those 5 years of AA status. He was the backstroker on the NEM 45+ medley relay team of Smith, Haartz, Onusseit and Reed, Sr. from 1973 until his untimely death. If I can dredge up anything further from the NEM News, I'll let you know. TED

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