GEORGIA MASTERS PEOPLE
This page will be used to spot light people in Georgia Masters.
We will introduce you to World Record Holders, People working behind the scenes volunteering their time, and new swimmers who have just started swimming or recently joined Georgia Masters.
Hopefully you'll recognize them next time you see them at a workout or swim meet. Go over and introduce yourself; welcome them to Georgia Masters - or just make a new friend.
Member Profile of the Month
By Elaine Krugman
Matching yellow “Livestrong” bracelets. That was what caught my attention when Mark Rogers and I were warming up in neighboring lanes at the Marist Swim Meet, in 2011. “I like your bracelet!” I said to Mark, as I lifted up my arm to show him my identical wrist band. We have been buddies ever since, cheering each other on at the many swim meets we have competed at together over the past seven years.
Our swimming backgrounds prior to joining Masters were something else we had in common. Neither of us had swum competitively before joining our high school swim team, and we both left the sport for many years before returning to the pool (It was 27 years for Mark and 31 for me).
A running injury was what led Mark back to swimming. “In my 40’s I tore and ruptured my Achilles tendon and had reconstructive surgery. I said that I was never running ever again. (In 2009), I ran into (Grayfins coach) Muriel Cochran at the Northwest YMCA, and she started my journey. I was walking into the Y and I saw her leading a swim class, and I thought I should do that. The next Saturday, I introduced myself and started my journey with her.” Mark explained.
It wasn’t long after his return, though, that Mark learned about U.S. Masters Swimming and joined. “I had never heard of Masters Swimming in my life. I was in class with Muriel, and a guy who I ended up training with swam at Georgia Southern when he was in college. He recommended I go to this meet—the St. Nick’s meet— in 2009. I had no idea what I was doing; I had no clue. I did the 1000 first, and I needed a counter. I asked this guy if he would count laps for me, and then he introduced me to Walter Leen. That’s when Walter recruited me.”
“When I was at that first meet at Georgia Tech, I won high points in my age group, not knowing what this was. I was really surprised that I was competitive at my age! I’ll be 53 this year. I’m not very fast, and sometimes it surprises me that I am able to do what I do.”
It took a while, though, before Mark got used to being a competitive swimmer again and diving off the blocks for his races like he used to do in high school. “When I got on the block the first couple of years, I would always say the same thing: ‘Dear God, don’t let me (mess) up!’ It took me a long time to get comfortable in competition. Now, my goal is to do the best that I can, and if it’s a meet that has awards or ribbons, I want to win,” Mark said, adding that he has another goal: “My hope is to be 80 years old and still going off the blocks. I want to do this until I’m a shriveled up old man!”
That’s a realistic goal, especially if Mark is able to continue managing a health issue that has become an obstacle on occasion – asthma. As he explained, “At the Y where I swim with Muriel, the air quality is not the best, and there are times I struggle. When I go to Auburn or wherever, I will leave the pool deck and go outside to get fresh air, because the chlorine gas will irritate my lungs. I have to manage what I do. Every once in a while, I’ll forget, and my body will send me a signal. I have my inhaler with me on the deck, and I have to have it with me when I race. There were two meets where I was doing an event, and I had to stop. What happened was just so bad that I couldn’t overcome it. Two years ago, I was doing the 400 IM at the Auburn meet, and I had an asthma attack during the butterfly portion of the event. I struggled to breathe. I finished – I wasn’t very fast – and Muriel had to give me my inhaler. That was awful! I turned to do the last 25 of fly and all of a sudden, I died. I had a panic attack, and it freaked me out. Now, before a big meet, I go to my pulmonologist and make sure my lungs are ok,” Mark explained about his condition.
Asthma doesn’t keep this enthusiastic competitor out of the pool, though, and he has a solid training schedule to prepare for the long events he prefers racing at meets. In a typical week, Mark trains 3,000 – 4,500 yards per session during early morning workouts at a couple of different pools. “Being a school teacher, I can’t leave the building and go train during the day. So, during the school year, I train on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, 5:45-6:45, and then on Saturday and Sunday mornings. When school is not in session, I go six days a week.” Two of those weekly sessions are coached by Ryan Bried at Ace Aquatic Club where Muriel also trains. In Summer, during long course season, he swims at Mountain View and is coached by Pat Eddy.
Mark has nothing but great things to say about all three of the coaches he trains with throughout the year, especially Muriel who he also took a Level 1 and Level 2 Masters coaching class with, in 2016. As he explained, “I had never really been coached in this sport; I had no idea what to expect. Muriel by far has been the biggest influence in my coaching life. She literally has saved my life. She has helped me as a swimmer, she has helped me at meets; it has led to competition and meeting great people. She introduced me to a world that I never knew existed, and I love competing; it’s a blast! I really enjoy it. Ryan Bried, himself a very accomplished swimmer, has given me tips and has helped me to become a better swimmer.”
About Pat Eddy, Mark said, “The great thing about Pat is that when he talks to you, and he’s giving you advice and encouraging, he’s always just focusing on you and the things you are doing. He’s so great in that way. Even when he’s telling you what you can do better, he’s doing it in such a positive and encouraging way.”
Muriel, Ryan, and Pat have also helped Mark to become a better swim coach at the high school where he teaches. “I have taken what they have shown and taught me, and I apply it to my high school swimmers. I write up the workouts for the team, and I always try and think about what Muriel, Pat, or Ryan, have said. I try to give lessons on what they have taught me,” Mark said, adding that when he is assigned drills at workouts that work well for him, he’s enthusiastic about sharing them with his high school swimmers.
“I love being a high school coach. I love my kids. This is my fourth sport that I have coached in all of the 25 years I’ve been a teacher and a coach, but swimming is the one I really like, and the sport I do competitively. It is very enjoyable. There’s this one young lady. When she started three years ago, she had almost no confidence. She was really a timid kid. She’s now a junior, and I teach her in class. She has come a long way and has gained confidence. It’s cool to see a kid grow up.”
In addition to Mark’s love of coaching high school swimming, his nine years in Masters as a competitive swimmer has been a wonderful experience for him. Describing what he likes most about it, Mark said, “When it comes to the swim meets themselves, it’s the people you meet. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that a lot of people are really nice to each other, so I really enjoy that. I enjoy the competition part. I love swimming and competing, but it’s the social aspect of getting to know people. We all get along really well.” In addition to the people, Mark likes winning those medals. “I should give a shout-out to Walter (Leen). He helped me figure out [what events to swim to win medals]. I got two Top Ten medals at (2011 Summer Nationals at Auburn), because Walter recommended what I should do to get a medal.”
As it turned out, it was at that meet that Mark looks back on as his favorite Masters memory. “What was really neat was that my father was there, and he used to drive me at 5:30 AM to swim practice in Chicago to the high school I attended (New Trier East), in the dead of winter. And, upon getting an extra medal, I got to give that medal to my father. It was really cool. He kind of teared up a little bit,” Mark shared.
The other favorite memory of that meet was the surprise Mark got from his family. “I got up on the blocks to do an event, I looked up, and my wife and kids were holding cards, ‘Go Mark!’ and ‘Yay, Dad!’ Mark laughed, and then added in a more serious tone, “My wife, Cindy, is the center of my life, and she has done a lot for me; more than just swimming and letting me do what I do. She means everything to me.”
2018 Member Profiles
Meet other Georgia Masters swimmers who have been profiled this year.
Click on their picture and read their stories.
Hopefully you'll find one that will inspire you.
Now that you know them - don't be afraid to say hello to them on deck, or at a workout, etc.
Britta O'Leary Mike Gaw Stan DeLair Cathy Jones
Dan Beatty Muriel Cochran Sally Newell
GEORGIA MASTERS HALL OF FAME
Herb McAuley Named to Georgia Aquatics Hall of Fame - Class of 2012
Herb McAuley was assistant coach at Georgia Tech to Fred Lanoue from 1947-61; head coach from 1962-89 (record as head coach 160-144-1). 4-year member of the Tech swim team (team captain 1946, 1947); SEC champion in 220 and 440-yd in 1942 Southern AAU; 50 and 100-yd champion in 1947. He earned BS degree in Electrical Engineering in 1947 and was inducted into Georgia Tech Hall of Fame in 1957. 3 1/2 years in Army Signal Corps in Europe (1943-46). He has accumulated more than 100 top 10 ranking in Master swimming since 1972. In addition, he earned the distinction of nine All American titles in Masters swimming
Footnote: Herb McAuley passed away on November 26, 2014 at age 92
In 2016, the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center was renamed to the McAuley Aquatic Center to honor Herb.
Click here to see Herb's Bio Video
Hal Stolz Named to Georgia Aquatics Hall of Fame - Class of 2015
On August 22, 2015, I'm not sure who was more proud -- Hal Stolz or his big brother, Irwin. That is the day Hal was inducted into the Georgia Aquatic Hall of Fame.
When asked what his reaction was when he received the news, Hal exclaimed, “Absolutely flabbergasted! I’m just tickled to death; I’m just thrilled!”
As Hal explained, “He has always been my big brother, and I will always be his little brother. He calls me ‘L.B.’ for ‘little brother.’ He’s my biggest fan. No one has ever done what he has done for me. We couldn’t be closer.”
Following in Irwin's footsteps, Hal learned to swim as a boy, too, but it wasn't until he was 14 years old that he decided to pursue it as a sport with Irwin's encouragement. Irwin became his coach for the next two years until Hal joined the high school swim team.
Where Hal didn't follow in big brother's footsteps, however, was in which stroke he excelled at. Irwin says Hal was a "terrible" freestyler back in high school, and Hal agreed. “We were working out at the YMCA downtown in a 20 yard pool doing 40 yard freestyle sprints, and I was terrible. I got tired of them, so I said to Irwin, ‘Let me swim butterfly.’ He said, ‘You can’t swim butterfly.’ And, I said, ‘Yes I can. I’ve been watching this guy over here in the pool swim butterfly, and I think I can swim butterfly.’ So, Irwin said, ‘Oh, ok.’” Irwin had a watch and timed Hal on a 40 yard sprint, and when he saw the time on the watch, he told Hal, “You can’t swim that fast!” Hal swam it again, and Irwin looked at his watch and said, “You’re a Butterflyer!”
Hal continued, “Irwin has always been my coaching advisor. He’s my inspiration. He really made me a good swimmer. He would tell me that I could do things that I really had no visions of being able to do, and because he told me I could do it, I would do it. I beat people I wasn’t supposed to beat.”
Irwin did a pretty darn good job with "L.B.," because Hal was a high school two-year All American and repeated as a two-year All American at the University of Georgia in Athens. The exclamation point in his college swimming career was the National Record he set in the 200 Yard Breaststroke.
After graduation, Hal once again followed in his brother's footsteps by becoming a high school swim coach for two years while in college. Irwin coached swimming while attending law school at Emory, and Hal took a job with a rival high school while working his way through veterinary school. As Hal recalled, “The first year, I beat him [and his team] in the championship. I got first and he got second. The next year, he beat me [and my team] and I got second.”
Meanwhile, during his coaching days, and for a span of 35 years, Hal continued swimming for fitness. Finally, in 1989, Irwin suggested Hal jump on board with him and join U.S. Masters
Swimming, and get back into competition. Hal was 54 at the time, but it didn't take long for him to get back to his winning ways.
“In 1990, I went to my first Nationals and placed 2nd in two races, so that encouraged me a lot. In 1991, I got two first places in the 100 and 200 Breaststroke, and our relays won first places, too, so I did very well there,” Hal said.
Hal continued swimming and competing for three years until he was in an accident that resulted in some broken ribs. That forced him out of the pool and competition for awhile until Irwin lit a fire under Hal with the news that the FINA World Masters Swimming Championships would be in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2002. Even though Hal would be 68 and in the high end of his age group for that meet, he wanted to go to New Zealand with his brother. The Stolz brothers headed to World's, and Hal ended up tied for 5th in the world in the 50 Meter Breaststroke (:40.00) and 1st in the U.S.A. That was his first USMS All-American.
“I was hoping to go back to the World Championships in two years when I was 70, but I fell and broke four ribs.” Yes, you read that right. More broken ribs forced him out of swimming -- again.
Each time he broke his ribs and was out of swimming, it took him 2-3 years to get back to achieving the race times he had swum prior to his injury. Never one to give up, Hal worked very hard to swim his way back up the ranks.
At the Pan Am Games in 2013, Hal was the senior in his age group, and still won the 100 Butterfly. “When I finished the 100 Breaststroke, I got 2nd and I was right on top of the guy that won. He was 75. I told myself if I could do this time in Montreal next year [at the 2014 FINA World Masters Swimming Championships], I would be in the top three; so, I started working harder than I had ever worked.”
The hard work paid off for Hal, because he won the 100 Meter Breaststroke in Montreal and placed second in the 200 Breaststroke. He also came in second in both the 100 and 200 Butterfly.
Hal's big win in the 100 Meter Breaststroke in Montreal was his ultimate accomplishment and favorite Masters memory. "Winning the (Fina Masters 2014) World Championship was the peak for me. I worked very hard, and I’m very proud of myself for being able to do it, because I never thought I would be able to do it," Hal said with pride.
When Hal said "hard work," I wondered just what he meant by that. (At 80 years old, just how hard could he work?) Well, for starters, he usually trains 5 times per week, and on four of those days, he swims 5,500 – 6,000 yards! He also does 1,200 repetitions of breaststroke pulling where he stands with his toes up against the wall and does quick pulls while standing in place. “It has made me a lot stronger in the breaststroke, and my coat size has gone from a size 42 to 44!”
All that hard work didn't just earn him gold at World's; it also earned him three relay world records. In January, 2014 at the St. Nick's Meet at Georgia Tech, he was a member of the Men's 320-359, 200 SCM Medley Relay that broke the USMS and FINA World Record.
Then, in June that year in Greenville, he was on the Men’s 320-359, 400 Meter Medley Relay team with his brother that broke the USMS and World Record.
The following day, they returned to the pool and broke the 400 Meter Freestyle Relay World Record.
As it turned out, the gold medal he won in Montreal was just the icing on the very tasty cake that was the best year of his phenomenal Masters swimming career.
It's not just the medals and records that he has enjoyed during his 25 years as a Masters swimmer, though. In addition to loving the competition, Hal said, "It’s all the people; they’re just so good. Swimmers are just great people. I don’t think I have ever met a swimmer that I didn’t like.”
Hal Stolz won multiple SEC Championship titles for the University of Georgia from 1953-1956. Stolz was the SEC men’s champion in the 3x100y medley relay, which is no longer an SEC event. In 1955 and 1956, Stolz won SEC titles in both the 200y breaststroke and the 200y butterfly. Stolz also won the 200y individual medley during the 1956 SEC Championships. Prior to swimming at UGA, Stolz was a three-time state high school champion and state record holder in the 100y breaststroke.
As a United States Masters Swimming (USMS) swimmer, Stolz has earned over 100 National Top Ten rankings and was the 2014 World Champion in the 100 Breastroke. Also in 2014, Stolz was a member of three World Record setting relays, the 4x50m short course medley relay, 4x100m long-course medley relay and the 4x100m long course freestyle relay.
- 6x SEC Championship titlist
- 2x All-American
- 2014 USMS World Championship titlist
- USMS Top Ten
- USMS World Record Holder
Click here to see Hal's Bio Video
Francine Williamson Named to Georgia Aquatics Hall of Fame - Class of 2018
Francine has long been a shining star in Georgia Swimming and on the National and World stage. She is Georgia’s most decorated female Masters swimmer. During her career, she has held 50 first place national rankings ranging from 50-meters to 2 miles. Additionally, Francine has been ranked the top female swimmer in the following age groups: 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, and 65-69. She has also held 10 National Records and World Records in the 100-meter Freestyle. At one time she held the American record in the Women's 60-64 100/200/500 yard Freestyles (SCY); not to mention countless Georgia and Dixie Zone records in several age groups. At age 70, she shows no sign of slowing down.
Francine has a daughter Erin who also swims for Georgia Masters.
Click here to see Francine's Video Bio
Georgia Masters Members - Major Honors
Rob Copeland Wins U.S. Masters Highest Honor - Ransom J. Arthur Award
Click on Picture to see Rob's Aquatic Talents which led to this award
(Speech read by Michael Heather in honor of Rob Copeland's receipt of the Capt. Ransom J. Arthur M.D. award, at Spring Nationals in Mesa, Ariz., April 29, 2011)
As part of the leadership of U. S. Masters Swimming, one of the most important responsibilities is to recognize the service accomplishments of our members. Today we will be awarding our most prestigious award, the Capt. Ransom J. Arthur M.D. Award.
Ransom Arthur was the founding father of U. S. Masters Swimming. His vision for promoting adult health through fitness and competition was revolutionary in 1970. He created a stage upon which adults could gather, compete, have fun and support each other in the lifelong pursuit of fitness goals through training. Today, fitness has become a normal part of everyday life for millions of adults. This was not so in 1970, when 46 athletes gathered in Amarillo, Texas for the first Masters Short Course National Championship. Forty-two years ago Ransom had a passion and a vision. Today, our 55,000 members are the result of that vision and the torchbearers of his passion.
Each year U. S. Masters Swimming recognizes one of its members who embody the dedication, leadership and passion required to carry the vision forward. By promoting our core objectives of education, growth and service our recipient for 2011 continues the rich tradition.
It is with great pleasure that U.S. Masters Swimming recognizes this year’s Ransom J. Arthur Award recipient Rob Copeland. Rob’s love of the sport is evidenced by his long-term involvement in both the competitive side as well as with the organizational side of Masters swimming. He has a deep understanding of our rich heritage and our vision for the future. Rob has worked, and continues to work, at maintaining and improving our high level of quality programs and services.
Over the years Rob’s contributions to US Masters Swimming have been many. On the national level, Rob has served on, and often chaired, multiple committees and task forces, including Legislation, Long Distance, Rules, Finance and Governance, just to name a few. More recently, Rob was the President of U.S. Masters Swimming from 2005 through 2009 and continues to serve on the Executive Committee as the Immediate Past President. Rob’s calm demeanor and ability to calm the waters has served him well in the past, will continue to do so in the future, and is highly valued by the organization.
Rob is also active within his LMSC. He has served on the Board of Directors as well as being the Long Distance Chair and Safety Chair for the Georgia LMSC. In addition, he runs the very successful Peachtree City Short Course Yards Pentathlon every year and directs at least one open water event each summer.
Rob has been a tireless volunteer for U.S. Masters Swimming as shown by these few examples we have talked about. We are proud to give him the much-deserved recognition as this year’s Ransom J. Arthur Award recipient.
Please join me in thanking Rob for his service to U.S. Masters swimming and congratulating him for being the 2011 Ransom J. Arthur Award recipient.