Article image

by Dorothy Donnelly

May 29, 2005

Perfect combination of swimmer, coach and administrator

Betsy Durrant is a wonderful combination of dedicated swimmer, teacher/coach, and able administrator, currently serving her first term as USMS Secretary. A long period of varied service preceded her election. She first came on the national scene as the Colonies Zone Representative, and in 1991 became a valuable member of the Executive Committee as Zone Chairman, adding stability, common sense and good humor, all her stocks in trade. She added new depth to the zone chair position, re-writing election procedures, soliciting candidates, circulating credentials and monitoring the election process.

Betsy served as Chairman of the Executive Secretary Search Committee in 1996, and the next year chaired the sub-committee of Planning, exploring the concept of an Executive Director or Business Manager for USMS. Since its inception in 1993, she has maintained the subscription lists for the three issues of National Top Ten Times. For these and other activities, Betsy deservedly received a USMS Service Award in 1997.

Well known in Masters circles long before she came on the national scene, Betsy was the first Chairman of the Virginia LMSC in 1980, and was Virginia Registrar for ten years, presiding over a growth from 100 to 450 members. Coming full circle, Betsy has again taken over the Virginia Masters and Virginia LMSC newsletters that she had originated and edited in the early 1980s. She began Masters swimming in 1975, with on/off participation until 1979, while she was living in Virginia Beach, when she renewed her interest in Masters with enthusiasm and diligence. She participated and co-directed the annual fall swim in Tidewater for the past 18 years, and co-directed the traditionalJack King One Mile Ocean Swim for 12 years—in 1991 and 1995 these were National Open Water Championships.

Betsy is faithful to workouts. Though she modestly says she is a "middle-of-the-top-tenner" she was a 1995 Long Distance All-American, and 1997 All-American in the pool. Betsy coaches on both on land and in the water—her high school's computer team and the varsity swim team. She managed all this volunteer work in addition to her position as head of the math department at First Colonial High School, where she taught advanced math and computer analytical programming until her retirement in June, 1998. Her husband Steve, who was a career Marine officer and a runner rather than an aquatic aficionado, gives full support to Betsy's many volunteer activities.

Betsy Durrant is a fine example of an individual who has made significant contributions to the goals and objectives of Masters swimming. Her infectious smile softens some of the stern verdicts she sometimes delivers. Her outstanding performance and contribution at the national, regional and local levels are exemplary.

September 1998, Dorothy Donnelly , with input from Forrest Sullivan

Betsy Durrant was announced as the recipient of the Ransom Arthur Award at the 2005 USMS Short Course National Championships in Fort Lauderdale. The award is given annually to the person who has done the most to further the objectives of Masters swimming.