USMS History

Florida Gold Coast

About your swim organization - Some interesting history about Florida Gold Coast LMSC, it's Clubs and Members

by eddie ames

If you look at your registration card you will notice that it lists your LMSC as Florida Gold Coast LMSC. LMSC stands for Local Masters Swimming Committee. The LMSC is the geographic organizing scheme for the entire United States in the management structure of USMS. In 1997, June Krauser was officially named by our LMSC as our "founder" and is so identified on our stationary. This is because she played a major role in the original formation of our LMSC, in addition to her playing a major role in the formation of USMS. Our chronology and some of our stories follow.

In 1959 a group of swimming enthusiasts in south Florida petitioned the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) to create the Florida Gold Coast Association consisting of Monroe, Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. These counties were part of the Florida Association of the AAU. The petition was granted and the four counties became the Florida Gold Coast Association of the AAU. The Association was the geographic boundary for all amateur sports including swimming.

Sometime during the 1960's FGC AAU petitioned the AAU to add half of Hendry County to our boundaries. Coach Buddy Baarck had a swimmer living in Hendry county, then part of the Florida AAU, and he wanted to be able to register the swimmer with his Palm Beach team at AAU National Championships. At that time swimmers could not participate for teams outside of their AAU Association. Incidentally, Buddy Baarck was the first world record holder in the 100 m fly after it became an official stroke with the dolphin kick in the early 1950's. Buddy's petition was successful and the boundaries of the Florida Gold Coast Association then included half of Hendry County with the original 4 counties.

In 1971, Ransom J. Arthur and John Spanuth invited June Krauser and others to a meeting held at Yale University. This meeting was for the purpose of forming goals, rules and regulations for a Masters Swimming program to be presented to the joint swimming committees of the AAU for inclusion in the AAU. The Masters Swimming program was presented to the committees at the AAU Convention held in Lake Placid, NY and the AAU voted to adopt the Masters Swimming program. Ransom Arthur Remembering... was named the chairman of the AAU Masters Swimming Committee. The program became official on January 1, 1972. June Krauser formed a club (now known as the Gold Coast Masters) and the Club became a member of the Florida Gold Coast Swimming Committee of the AAU.

The FIRST official AAU Masters Swimming Meet was held at 6 PM, January 1, 1972, at the Swimming Hall of Fame pool in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. AAU President, Jack Kelly, started the meet off with an exhibition 100 meter freestyle. Kelly also presented medals to the swimmers. ASCA (American Swimming Coaches Association) president Bob Ousley was the referee while Dick Steadman of Monmouth College and Buck Dawson, ISHOF director, acted as an announcing team with anecdotes on the swimmers. Some age groups were combined, as the New Year's Day date limited entries to 35, yet every event was sprinkled with former Olympic swimmers, national champions, World and American record holders.

The Gold Coast Masters held 5 National Short Course Yards Championships - 1974, 1975, 1977, 1980 and 1983 with 561 in attendance at the 1974 meet and 1208 at the meet in 1983. The team held an invitational meet every November until the High School changed their schedule with the championships in November instead of May.

Congress broke up the AAU in 1979-1980 and every sport had to be incorporated into an NGB (National Governing Body). Masters Swimming was a separate sports supervising committee of the AAU and formed their own NGB as did Swimming, Diving, Synchronized Swimming and Water Polo. These five disciplines became the USAS ("United States Aquatic Sports") the member of FINA ("Federation International Natation Amateur"). NOTE: As of September 14, 2000, FINA changed the name of the Federation to "Federation Internationale de Natation".

It is with this incorporation that Masters Swimming came to be know as an LMSC (Local Masters Swimming Committee). We also took the name of the old AAU Association - Florida Gold Coast - and came to be known as the Florida Gold Coast LMSC.

Currently there are 11 clubs within the Florida Gold Coast LMSC plus unattached swimmers (swimmers not affiliated with any club). The largest club within FGC LMSC is Gold Coast Masters with 587 swimmers while the smallest club is KJ Swim America with 0 swimmers. A list of FGC LMSC clubs as of Oct. 31, 2000 is as follows:

Clubs & the number of registered swimmers for each:

Gold Coast Masters 587
Bone Island Masters 7
Sea Dragon Masters 15
YMCA Boca Masters 9
Flying Fish Swim Club 17
Stingray 13
Michael Ann Russell Masters 9
KJ Swim America 
Plantation Swim Team Masters 24
Lake Lytal Masters 59
North Palm Beach Masters 6
Unattached 34

Several of the clubs listed above and some not listed have played a major part in the history of our LMSC.

Gold Coast Masters with 587 swimmers is by far the largest club in our LMSC/ This had not always been the case. June Krauser formed this club in 1972 as a means for adults to compete and to be able to go to Nationals. Despite being responsible for the formation of the Florida Gold Coast LMSC, June was unable for many years to get local coaches to agree to allow competitive swimming for adults. According to June, "when I brought it up at meetings they would all laugh at me".

The original team included June Krauser, Herb Kern (who had dark hair), Bob Dunkel, Jerry Delong (who had long hair), Mary Ann Meekins and June's sister Cynthia Bruce . June, Cynthia and Mary Ann were half of the AAU National Championship Teams that won Senior Nationals in 1941, 1942 and 1943. And so the three went to the first Masters Long Course Championships held at Indiana University in 1972 and won the Women's division.

In the early 1990's there was a push by many of the smaller clubs in existence at that time to form one major club. Apparently Judy Bonning , then the coach at Coral Springs, led this effort. June and Ann McGuire, despite being the only two attending Nationals for Gold Coast Masters would earn more points than the then 10 swimmers Judy brought to Nationals. The selling points for a "Super Club" were that a larger team would have more depth to do better at Nationals and would give more people opportunities to compete on relays. After much negotiations a "Super Club" was formed which kept the name Gold Coast Masters. There were several clubs including Sea Dragon Masters, Plantation Masters, and Lake Lytal Masters which decided not to become part of the Gold Coast Masters super club. These clubs are still in existence today. However, Jeannie Neal, the coach of the Sea Dragons has said she will be folding the Sea Dragons into Gold Coast next year.

Boca Masters is no longer in existence. This club, coached in its heyday by Bill Kirkland, had approximately 150 swimmers and was a major force. This club was headquartered at Meadows Park Pool in Boca Raton. A few of the original swimmers still swim at Meadows Park Pool. Tim Sharpe is one of these original swimmers who is still at Meadows Park Pool. Tim was responsible for putting on some amazing swim meets in Boca Masters heyday. Several of the former Boca Masters swimmers, including Pat Howe, have moved to the Florida Atlantic University (FAU) pool in Boca Raton. Tad Berkowitz, who has been our newsletter editor, not only swam for Boca Masters in it's heyday, but as the Aquatic Director at FAU was very instrumental in the Masters coming to the new 50 meter pool and complex (the newest in our LMSC).

Mission Bay also is no longer in existence. This club also had approximately 150 swimmers and was a major force. This club was headquartered in an area known as West Boca Raton. This facility unfortunately is no longer in existence. All but one of the pools have been bulldozed for tennis courts. Several of the former Mission Bay swimmers, including Phil Lustig, have moved either to Meadows Park Pool or to FAU pool in Boca Raton. Another large group of swimmers, lead by Coach Judy Bonning, went to Coral Springs.

KJ Swim America is John Leonard's club. I mention this club because it is interesting to note that in its several years of existence it has never had any swimmers!

Lake Lytal Masters and Plantation Masters as mentioned are still in existence. Lake Lytal Masters has been successfully run for many years by Coach Ken Nemet. Coach Ken has consistently been at more meets than any other coach within our LMSC. Go Ken! Plantation Masters was formed when Coach June Woolger left the Fort Lauderdale Swim Team at the Hall of Fame for a job at the Plantation Aquatic Complex. June recently stepped down and handed the reins over to Jimmy Parmenter . Jimmy, with the assistance of his coaches and volunteers, has been working hard to develop Plantation Masters. He has even been working on getting USMS Short Course Nationals at Plantation in 2002!

While clubs have been discontinued and new clubs have formed, overall the Florida Gold Coast LMSC has increased from 535 swimmers in 1989 to 780 swimmers presently. See chart below.

Year & the number of Registered Swimmers

2000 780
1999 809
1998 745
1997 636
1996 613
1995 650
1994 642
1993 455
1992 386
1991 484
1990 469
1989 535

Note from the webmaster/archivist: Ed (with June's help) has done something important here in creating a skeleton that we can hang much more material on. Here are some suggestions of more material we find someone to write it. If you have more material to add, please send it to the WebSteward.

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