Article image

by Dorothy Donnelly

July 19, 2000

Has quite a story about a silver in the 200 fly

Mike Laux has been associated with swimming most of his life, starting competition at 8 years old, in club, local, state and then national meets. From age group AAU swimmer, coach and administrator, he is now a top-level Masters competitor just aged up into the 55-59 age group.

Coach and guru of the Westport YMCA Masters since 1972; Meet Director for the YMCA Masters Nationals in Westport, Conn., in 1982, Mike has epitomized the high ideals and dedication to the advancements of Masters swimming in the United States.

Mike Laux graduated from Lawrenceville School and Amherst College, where he was captain of the swimming team, and made butterfly and individual medley records which stood for many years. A graduate of Fordham University Law School, Mike also swam for and was captain of the New York Athletic Club Swim Team, and played on the NYAC Water Polo Team. He has achieved All-American honors in butterfly, individual medley, and relay events. In addition to national championships, Mike won three world championships at the 1992 World Championships in Indianapolis; the 200-meter breast and the 200 and 400-meter individual medley.

Appointed Northeast Coordinator of Masters Swimming by the AAU in 1972, Mike was co-sponsor of the first formal AAU Masters competition east of the Mississippi, a founding member of Connecticut Masters Swim Team, President of the Connecticut AAU and the Connecticut YMCA Swim League, and Chairman of Law and Legislation of the AAU of the U.S., and, for one year, was Legal Counsel to both USMS and USS.

Mike served as President of USMS from 1981 to 1984, thereafter was Chairman of the Insurance Committee. He was the Ransom Arthur Award winner in 1985, USMS's highest honor, and was awarded the John deBarbadillo Trophy for outstanding service to the YMCA's swimming programs. He has led the Westport Y Masters Swim Team to highest honors in YMCA competition. In 1996 Westport won the middle team championship for men, women and mixed.

A practicing attorney in Westport, Conn., Mike and wife Marisol have college age twin daughters. Mike was head coach of the Westport Y Swim Team 1968-1978 and is currently a member of the Board of Directors as well as a Trustee of the Westport Y. He is also an assistant coach of the Westport High School Girls Swim Team. His public service is not limited to swimming. He is Past President of the Kiwanis Club and the Westport Tennis Association, serves on Westport's "Project Return" and the Westport Youth Commission. Mike is currently Commodore of the Saugatuck Rowing Association (Mike and his team placed second in the national 55 and over rowing race).

Mike Laux has been a lifelong participant and contributor to age group and Masters swimming on the local, regional and national levels. He is the quintessential Masters swimmer—he's in it for the health of it, the fun of it, the competition of it, and the logic and order of it.

No story about Mike is complete without a brief mention of his 200-meter butterfly at the Toronto World Games in 1985. Making the turn at the 100, Mike realized he could never make the second 100, and decided he'd get out at the 150. (Un)fortunately, the wall at the farther end was very high—he couldn't quite make it; turning around, he saw only one swimmer ahead of him—biting the bullet, he used the frog kick on the last 50, earning a silver medal!

Michael A. Laux lives in Westport, Conn., and swims for Connecticut Masters Swim Team.