Swims for himself and coaches for others
Nobody is more regular than Pat Howe at Masters swim meets. And nobody has more consistently good swim times combined with generous encouragement to others. The new news about Pat is that for the past year he has been head coach of the Boca Raton High School boys and girls swim teams. In his first season as the new coach, his boys came in fourth and his girls fifth in the County Championships held yesterday at the North Palm Beach Country Club.
Pat got started in this when he heard that the City of Boca Raton was looking for someone to coach the summer recreation team. He applied for the job and found himself coaching 135 swimmers with 50 boys and girls on a waiting list. They competed in a ten team recreation league and at the end of the summer some of the parents went to the high school and urged that Pat be asked to coach the high school swim teams.
Now he coaches 40 swimmers and divers, many of whom train year-round. One of his girls is ranked fifth in the nation for 15-16 year olds in the 100-meter back with a time of 1:05.4 (Jen Wood). Another is ranked sixth in the U.S. in the 800 free with a time of 9:08 in long course meters (Ashley Eldridge). His divers have finished number one and two in their last three meets. His girls team has depth as well, and only three of his 26 girl swimmers are seniors so they should be as strong next year as they are this year.
Ashley's big brother is a senior who has gone 9:16 in the 1000 free and is likely to be an Olympic qualifier at his next chance. Jorge Wahner, another senior, has gone 56.4 in the 100 fly and 59 in the 100 back. Nine of his 14 boy swimmers are seniors, so next year he may be looking among us Masters for ringers.
Pat clearly enjoys the people he trains with even more than he enjoys winning. He has been the Y-Nationals Champion in the 1650 both of the past two years, but the most fun he has ever had swimming was joining Sam Frieze, Doug Buchin and Gaylord Hopkins and winning the 200 free relay in the 1992 Y-Nationals. That was a good year for Pat. He also put a mixed medley relay together with Brigitte Edelmaier , Pat Richards and Doug Buchin for a silver medal and came in third with his men's 200 IM relay. Pat competed in seven individual events that year and placed in the top six in all of them. He has been slowed by a shoulder problem during the past year, but still won the 1650 Y-Championship.
His wife, Veronica, is also a swimmer; both train with Boca Masters at Meadows Park Pool. His daughter, Maria, now 18, did very well at swimming for a couple of years and now runs cross-country. Pat says different sports makes for a healthy distance with his now grown up daughter.
Originally published in the October, 1993, Florida Gold Coast LMSC Newsletter