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by Rich Barkan

July 1, 2006

Inspiring others

All-American Masters swimmer and member of the Freeport Wrecks Metro team, Pearl Sobel, passed away on Monday, February 12, 2001 at the age of 89. Pearl was married to multiple world record holder, Gerson Sobel. Pearl is survived by her husband, Gerson, three children (Jim, Tom and Judy), and numerous grandchildren. Services were held on Wednesday, February 14 at the Gutterman Funeral Home in Rockville Centre.

While Gerson Sobel has been a swimmer since high school and college days, Pearl only started swimming 15 to 20 years ago because "she was simply tired of sitting around while Gerson swam in practices and meets" and decided to join in the action. Pearl was ranked at the top of her age group in 1997 with the fastest times of the year for the 50 butterfly (yards and meters), and again in 1999 for the 100 individual medley. Since 1993 when age group record-keeping and rankings were compiled, Pearl was ranked in the Top Ten of her age group 29 times.

Addie Quinn of Lido Beach swam with the Sobels and says, "Pearl was a great lady. She inspired us all. She once told me that `If I can do a 200 IM, then you can do a 400 IM.' And I did. I told her, `Pearl, you're in the top ten for your age group!' She said, `There's not ten of us IN our age group!'" Pearl was personally inspiring to many people over the years with her gracious smile and attitude, and her determination to master and excel at the more difficult strokes and events. She will be missed by everyone here in Metro.

Metropolitan Masters Swim News; March, 2001