Article image

by Sally Dillon

July 19, 2000

Maintained USMS women's records and top 10s

Enid and Ed (Reed) received the Captain Ransom J. Arthur, M.D. Award for their volunteer work in continuing the records and Top Ten compilations after Ted Haartz was elected chairman of Masters swimming. Enid maintained all of the women’s records, Top Ten, and relay times while Ed did the same for the men.

Retyped by Sally Dillon from various accumulated sources - 7/7/10

More on Enid:

In 1985 SWIM magazine called Enid Uhrich a dominant force keeping Masters swimming running smoothly behind the scenes. As one of the prominent doers and shakers in the formative years of United States Masters Swimming, Inc., her skills helped nurture USMS through its infancy, and her tough-minded will was not surpassed.

A confessed lap and fitness aficionado, Enid rarely mounted the blocks in competition. A notable exception to her non-competitive attitude occurred at 1985 Short Course Championships in Brown Deer, Wis., where Enid entered the 200-yard breaststroke. "I didn't try to go fast, I concentrated on staying legal." It paid off when the only other competitor in her age group was disqualified, and Enid was the national champion in the 200 breaststroke.

Most often she was working "behind the scenes" on the management of the competitions—from seeding heats to formulating and running software programs for recording results. She was never averse to rounding up "volunteers" from the deck or the audience to fill missing slots of timers and officials. At the first USMS Nationals at the Indianapolis Natatorium in 1983, Mel Goldstein had enlisted several Whiz Kids to handle the meet computerization, using the USS Meet Management software. Discovering that this software could not handle the multiple age groups of Masters swimming, Mel asked Enid to take over. When he received her program, Mel said he wanted to walk in on the Whiz Kids and say "See what a little old gray-haired lady can do and you guys can't"

Enid's career in Masters swimming started as the meet director for New England's first Masters meet in 1972, a competition in which her husband, Bill, returned to swimming after 32 years. Bill went on to many years of Top Ten Times and several national relay records, and is still competing. Enid poured her talents into the management side.

Godmother of the New England Masters Swim Club, she was its registrar, director of many meets, and the smarts and power behind the throne for years. In 1977 she recruited Tom Lyndon to become the NEM Club's next president. She developed a cutting-edge database program on her pre-Macintosh Apple computer to manage the club. A year later New England Masters, with Enid as meet director, ran a successful National Long Course Championships. Enid staged several pentathlons with her young age group swimmers and Masters swimmers in successive heats. It was impossible to tell whether the kids or the adults were more stunned to be sharing the pool in competition.

Enid is a first-generation computer guru, and a born organizer. Enid's expertise as a math and computer teacher in high school, and coach of high school and age group swim teams, prepped her well for a series of USMS positions at the national level. She was elected USMS secretary in the Ted Haartz administration (1978-1981), becoming the first registrar (volunteer) when USMS separated from the AAU umbrella organization. Enid, Ted Haartz, and Ed Reed, Sr. were National Top Ten recorders from 1974 through 1976. In 1977, Enid and Ed became National top Ten Co-Chairs with Enid preparing the Women's Top Ten National list while Ed did the Men's National Top Ten list. Enid and Ed were honored with the Ransom J. Arthur Award in 1980 for their work as Top Ten Co-Chair.

When Dorothy Donnelly succeeded her as USMS secretary, Enid became the official registrar. The USMS delegates, who felt the 25-cent per athlete figure was too low, upped her bid to 50 cents. Enid developed the program and managed the database on her Apple (still pre-Macintosh) for the membership, which grew from 12,000 in 1982 to 27,000 in 1987, the five years of our greatest growth.

Following Bill and Enid's "retirement", they departed their New England home for Sun City Center, Florida. Naturally they became heavily involved with the Sun City activities. In addition to arranging the scheduling of volunteers for the swimming pool, crafts, and associated activities, both became certified EMTs, and served officially in that capacity. They have traveled the country in their trusty RV—and did the same when they went "Down Under" to New Zealand and Australia for the 1988 World Championships in Brisbane—not the least daunted driving that big RV over the mountains on "the wrong side of the road." As square dance aficionados, they traveled to events around the country, and a cultural exchange trip to Russia.

Enid sums it all up: "To me, Masters swimming has been the people. They are sociable, and there's an aliveness. At Masters meets you tend to forget how fat and flabby the rest of the world can be. No matter what the age, there's a certain joie de vivre and I like the mixture of different ages all enjoying one another. Masters are intensely competitive without being aggressive. My times are getting better. I'm still at the bottom, but who cares? I'm better than I was, and that's what counts. Everyone is as happy for you as for anyone else."

Enid Uhrich has earned a place among those prominent in the building of the United States Masters swimming program. Few have cared more about Masters swimming, or worked harder or more intelligently for its well-being than Enid. She has served us well!

by Tom Lyndon and Dorothy Donnelly