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by Laura S Jones

December 31, 2008

So many ways to swim a postal!

Dave Sebastian of Illinois Masters was the meet director for the 2011 3000 and 6000 yard postal swims, and he was in awe of both the selection process and the feats of the swimmers. 2011 was the first year these postals could be swum in either a 25 yard or a 25 meter pool, and there were a total of 536 entries. This was also the first postal championship his all-volunteer team, the Chicago Smelts, has run. Money raised from entry fees went to several local charities and to assist with costs associated with sending Illinois Masters relays to various meets.

“I had no idea how much goes on behind the scenes in the bid process,” Sebastian said. He was also glad to see that it was important to USMS that the team awarded the championship had a core group of member who regularly did the postal swims. The Smelts often had “pool parties” where half the group would swim and the other half would record splits and then the group would switch. (Pictured above are Sebastian and fellow Illinois Masters postal swimmers.)

Here is a rundown of some of the outstanding and outlandish or just fun feats performed by the 3000 and 6000 yard postal swimmers:

1) Illinois Masters member Ross Bogue, 55, did his 3000 postal all butterfly. And Greg Rotole, 57 and a member of Florida Maverick Masters, made an IM out of the 3000.

2) Five couples did the 3000 on the same day: North Carolina Masters swimmers Greta and Hans Van Meeteren, Novaquatics members Michael and Tina Catlin, Jenny and Peter Dehart (they also did the 6,000), Niagara District Masters swimmers Bruce and Dana Gianniny, and Prairie Masters members Jeff and Jenny Hodges.

3) Sarah Gershon, 49 and a member of Illinois Masters, Cathy Pribis, 66 and a member of Adirondack Masters, and Ginny Saunders, 64 and a member of Oregon Masters all celebrated their birthdays by competing in the 3000 postal.

4) Shirley Loftus-Charley, 60 and a member of Virginia Masters, did the 3000 postal twice, once in the 55-59 age group and once in the 60-64 age group. She won her age group both times and set a new record with a time of 37:31:06 in the 60-64 age group. Loftus-Charley did the same double in the 6000 yard postal, also setting a record in the 60-64 age group of 1:15:32:34. Sebastian says it “just really gets me revved up that her kids swam with her on all her swims.”

5) Gator Swim Club member Sara Holman also swam the 6,000 in two age groups, setting a national record as a 25 year old with a time of 1:10:09.79.

6) Jim Mc Conica, 60 and a member of Ventura County Masters, broke the record in his age bracket in all five postal swims in 2011. His time was 33:55.46 in the 3,000 and 1:09:22.71 in the 6,000.

7) Other swimmers who broke national records in the 3,000 were Pacifc Northwest Aquatics members Suzanne Dills, 66, who went 44:11.55 and Sally Dillon, 65, who went 45:23.26.

8) Other swimmers who broke National records in the 6,000 were Kelsey Withrow, 29 and a member of Salt Lake Masters Swimming, with a time of 1:10:41.48, Dills went 1:33:38.55, James McCleery, 65 and a member of Pacific Northwest Aquatics, swam 1:16:46.74, and Robert Beach, 81 and a member of St. Pete Masters, went a blazing 1:53:58.99.

9) You can also do a postal swim as a team. It is kind of like a simultaneous relay. Illinois, Oregon and St. Pete garnered awards for most yards swim by their members.

The next postal event is the USMS 5 and 10 Kilometer Postal Championships. It will run from May 15 - September 15, 2012 and will be hosted by Indy Aquatic Masters. Swims must be completed in 50 meter pools.

Frank Sinatra did it his way; in 2012, pick a postal and do it your way!