Encouraging More Adults to Swim
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USMS Oral History


Reflections from Carl House Feb 23, 2001

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Rorie Anderson grew up in Cocoa, Florida and learned to swim the Norman Rockwell way, in a lake behind her house and with her big brothers for teachers. She continued to swim in high school, specializing in the 200 freestyle. She didn't swim competitively again until she turned 40 in 1992 and discovered Judy Bonning and Mission Bay and the great bunch of people training there. She attended her first national championship at Cupertino in 1996. Since then swimming has become more and more important and by now it is a way of life for her and her husband to be, Joel Burns . She continues to be lucky in swimming companionship as she and Joel train with the Captain Speed workout group at the International Swimming Hall of Fame which just might be the most fun Masters swimming workout group in America. We both have a world of thanks for Jim Lilley , Debbie and Cav Cavanaugh , Tim Sheridan and all the rest of the people who make it so much fun.

I'm tickled pink because she says I got her started in USMS. She's been my dental hygenist for more than a decade and she says everytime I came into her office I urged her to come out and swim with Judy. I guess that means I had a hand in introducing her to Joel since she met Joel at short course nationals in Federal Way in 1997. Joel says he had been sent there by Jim Lilley to recruit women for their workout group and everybody is thrilled that he brought Rorie back. In case you don't know Joel, he's so charming I think he'd be called dangerous. They live in a jungle alcove in Ft. Lauderdale in as close to Tarzan style as you can expect. Surely that's inspired by Johnny Weismuller.

Rorie says she didn't get really good coaching on her high school team, but she's really made up for it since. In addition to Judy's excellent coaching at Mission Bay and Coral Springs, she went to three swim camps with Judy. The first was in the Cayman Islands with scuba diving and a great swim with swarming stingrays as added thrills. Later she attended what might have been the first USMS training camp held at the Colorado Springs USS training facility. And she attended the swim camp that Judy and Scott Rabalais held in Nassau.

Rorie was elected Secretary of Florida Gold Coast LMSC when Randy Nutt was elected President and has continued to serve in that capacity ever since.

Her greatest swimming thrill was competing against her daughter, Sasha, then 19 years old, at the annual SCM meet held every October in Orlando. They were side by side in the same heat in the 200 backstroke. Rorie says she didn't mind at all that Sasha won the heat. Sasha stills swims with USMS in Gainesville. Her son took after his Dad, playing football, and now serves in the U.S. Navy in Norfolk, Virginia.

In addition to continuing pool training and competition, Rorie has become a dedicated open water competitor. She won her age group in the Lifeguard Ocean Mile Series in both 1999 and 2000. She has swum around Key West five times, always in a 6 person relay.

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