August 17, 2012 North Myrtle Beach, SC – The Grand Strand Masters Swim team, based at the North Myrtle Beach Aquatics and Fitness Center, won the Dixie Zone Long Course Meters (LCM) Championships held August 4-5 in Greenville, SC. They beat home team Greenville Splash YMCA Masters by 166 points and third place Georgia Masters by 319 points.
Maria Elias-Williams Competes in 1500 Meter FreestyleAccording to city spokesman, Pat Dowling, the Grand Strand Masters broke 23 individual state records and 13 state relay records and six members of the Grand Strand Masters Swim Team also won high point awards in their age groups. The swimmers were Patti Hilton, Maria Elias-Williams, Janet Wood, Bob List, Jeff Moxie, and Steven Creek.
The rest of the 23 members of the Grand Stand Masters competing in the swim meet were Karen Fuss, Juliet Casper, Rhonda Rehanek, Julie Warner, Melinda Chappell, Judy Childers, Janet Thiel, Joel Schmaltz, Eric Wright, Jeff O’Neil, Joel Schmaltz, Tod Rehanek, Mel Creighton, Jay Preslar, Daniel McNabb, Robert List and Mike Casper.
The Dixie Zone LCM Championships hosted over 170 swimmers from 24 teams representing South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Virginia and Canada. Competition is open to any member of the SC Masters Swim organization age18 and older. In the Greenville competition were four men and three women age 80 or older. The youngest was a 19 year old male swimmer.
The North Myrtle Beach Aquatics and Fitness Center first hosted a Grand Masters Short Course Yard (SCY) swim competition in February 2009. At that time, 90 participants representing eight teams from New York, Ohio, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia attended. Ten competitors entered the events that were over the age of 70, with the oldest participant, Philip Newbig at age 79. Nana Whalen, at age 70 competed in that first event and is still going strong. At age 75, she was one of the Greenville competitors this year.
Since that start in 2009, the North Myrtle Beach Aquatics and Fitness Center has hosted the South Carolina SCY Championships in 2010 and 2012. In February of next year, the Center will again host the SCY Championships.
The Grand Strand Masters Swim Team is part of South Carolina Masters Swimming and is coached by Diane Bartlett at the North Myrtle Beach Aquatic & Fitness Center. Bartlett is the Assistant Aquatics & Fitness Center director and was awarded the U.S. Masters Swimming organization’s Kerry O’Brien coaching award in 2011.
Diane said, “Much has changed since the program started in 2009 with 20 members. We are now up to 72 and the wins reflect the increase in skills.” The Grand Strand Masters Swim team has the opportunity to train with Bartlett 4 to 5 ½ hours a week. This year they placed 21st out of 160 teams from all over the world competing in the Nationals, won both the North Carolina and South Carolina state championships and the Dixie Regional SCY and LCY championships.
They are more than just a swim club. Diane said, “We give back to the community through programs like ‘Swimming Saves Lives’ and ‘Fuel from the Pool.” The club donates their time to teach young people how to swim and uses competitive programs where canned goods, as entry fees, go to the North Strand Helping Hand.