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by Cheryl Gettelfinger

February 9, 2011

Started in a 20 yard pool

The Boy Scouts sponsored a meet at the Muncie YMCA which was Jerry Meyer’s first competition. It was the late 40s, there was no such thing as goggles and there was a running track above the pool at the Y facility. You could finally see when they introduced goggles by the late 50s; however, they were quite large and looked like scuba goggles. Also, by that time Jerry was out of high school and college. In the meantime, Jerry used mineral oil on his eyes. Also, there were no lane lines, but you would be disqualified if you hit somebody else. His high school, Muncie Burris, swam at the Ball State University Pool and was second in the state in 1956.

In the 40s and 50s, indoor pools were commonly 20 yards and with a low ceiling. Therefore, a 200 distance was a 220 and a 50 was a 40. Of course it allowed for more records when the switch was made to 25 yard competition. The state meet in 1955 and 1956 was held in Lafayette, Ind., (Purdue) at a 25-yard pool. Also, Culver, Ind., (military school) had a 40-yard pool.

Jerry helped to break the state record (1956) in the 200 free relay with Tom Shute, Bill Powell, and Steve Hatch. Jerry won the 100 free that same year but because the relay counted as one event and you could only swim two, he was held to those two events.

In 1956, when Jerry won the 100 free, it was in a time of 55.2 (didn’t go out to hundredths). In the Y Nationals in 1986, Jerry swam a 55.86 at the IUPUI Natatorium coming very close to his time set 30 years previously. If you ever watched Jerry from in the water or above, it will become obvious how efficiently he swims as he moves an enormous amount of water with each stroke. Others knew to always beware if he was anywhere close to you; he was probably going to catch you.

Before coming back to swimming, he started playing racquetball at the YMCA in the early 80s. Although he wasn’t in the group of eight original Arthur Jordan Y members, he joined shortly thereafter as his first meet was in 1982. He went to the 1983 Y Nationals in Chicago at the University of Illinois Chicago campus.

He has obtained 39 top ten swims in all three courses and has one of the oldest state records in the men’s 55+, 800 free relay that was swum at the Miami of Ohio pool in 1995 with Mel Goldstein, Francis McAree and Dave Costill.

Jerry fondly remembers many meets, but particularly enjoyed the White River Park Games in which the time trials were held at the outdoor Noblesville Aquatic Center (Forest Park) and finals held at the IUPUI Natatorium. In the last several years before the games were canceled, they were changed to a one day event renamed Hoosier State Games. He doesn’t particularly miss swimming in Lake Michigan when the temps were in the 60s. Nor does he miss swimming in lakes when the algae counts were high. Jerry currently practices at Carmel High School during their lap swim time.


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