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by Greta Van Meeteren

March 26, 2010

Happy swimming with goals

Emily Dozier grew up in Seattle and first swam on a team in seventh grade after breaking her  leg in a skiing accident. The doctor suggested that swimming would be a good way to rehab. Dozier enjoyed it, though she was much slower than the other kids her age, who had been swimming competitively for years. She only swam on that team for a year, and went back to other sports.

Dozier got into swimming again after college, when she lived in Oakland, Calif., near a community college. The coach had an early morning practice for community members of all ranges of abilities. Dozier liked backstroke because then she didn't have to worry about breathing—which she was still figuring out, in addition to re-learning flip turns. She eventually joined a local Masters team: the Temescal Aquatic Masters and she swam with them for about four years. This team mainly does open water swims, which Dozier really enjoyed— especially Lake Berryessa and the Trans Tahoe Relay.

The first time Dozier did the Lake Berryessa race she went with a friend who was on a different team (SCAM, based at UC Berkeley). They planned to camp with her friend's team the night before, but when they arrived after the two hour drive, the friend realized that she had left her swimsuit at home. Dozier's friend was mad, and drove home, leaving Dozier with her team. Luckily, the team members were really friendly (as most Masters swimmers tend to be) and Dozier had a great time at the race. "The lake is beautiful, and everyone has a festive picnic afterwards," says Dozier.

While in graduate school at UC Berkeley, Dozier joined the triathlon team and did a lot of races—everything from small triathlons using college pools to collegiate nationals competitions in Arizona. She met her husband Curtis on the team. At the time, he was just learning to swim. Now he swims faster than she does, but they have always enjoyed swimming together, finding new pools on trips, traveling to competitions, and practicing with their team at home.

Two years ago Dozier moved to Poughkeepsie N.Y., when her husband got a teaching job at Vassar College. They found a Masters team at the local middle school: the Dutchess Bluefish.They practice three mornings a week for 90 minutes, typically swimming 4,000 or more yards. This team does pool meets, which Dozier hadn't done since seventh grade. She is still working on starts and turns and says: "there's lots of room for improvement, that's for sure." At her first meet Dozier didn't understand the starting sequence and when everyone dove in she was still standing on the blocks, so she kind of 'jumped' in in a panic. "Luckily it was a small meet and the officials were really patient," she says.

Dozier enjoys long distance freestyle the most—the longer, the better. "I'm not particularly fast but I can keep up a pace for a long time," she says. Her team did the one-hour postal this year which she really enjoyed. Dozier typically signs up for the maximum number of events at a meet. "I don't usually place very high but I can score a decent number of points for our team just by swimming a lot," she says.  In addition to distance freestyle, Dozier likes the backstroke and she has been working on her IM.

She mainly swims for fitness and loves the feeling after a long hard workout. "I injured my back several years ago and swimming has been my saving grace when I couldn't run or ride my bike," says Dozier.

Dozier joined GTD one morning when the pool was closed due to snow. She was up at 5:30 and figured: "why not?" She had read about it in USMS Swimmer and her team captain Carolyn had been pushing it. Dozier was already recording her workouts in a logbook, but  liked the idea of setting a mileage goal and winning rewards "who doesn't need another swim cap? It's fun to track my progress, and to compare my miles to my husband... I think I can beat him. I usually swim at the Vassar pool once on the weekend, which he doesn't always do," she says.

Professionally, Dozier is an urban planner. She currently works for the Dutchess County Planning Department in Poughkeepsie. They do land use planning for the county, advise local towns and cities on planning issues, and Dozier also works on regional transportation planning. She is currently working on a long-range transportation and land use study for a county road, a sidewalk feasibility study for one of the towns, and reviewing development proposals for another town. 

"In terms of hobbies, living near a college is great. I go to a lot of concerts, plays, dance and other events at Vassar. There's also a close community of young faculty, and we have a lot of fun exploring the Hudson Valley together," says Dozier.


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