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.


(coming soon)


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

Maria Vazquez - 2011 Mexico Nationals

 In my Father's Memory.

I was thrilled about competing in the capital city of my country. Located 7,350 ft above sea level, I reminisced how I was trained under my father’s vigilant coaching.

The idea of going back to Mexico to compete after six years of being away of the Mexican swimming scenario was exhilarating and I was filled with anticipation. Reconnecting with old swimming friends sounded exciting and experiencing again the environment of a competition in a complete Mexican fiesta was going to be a lot of fun after 6 years of being away.The last time I swam In Mexico was in the short course Nationals back in 2005 where I won 1st place in the 400 freestyle and 2nd place in the 50, 100 and 200 backstroke. I left that competition with the desire and drive to someday get 1st place in the backstroke events and wanting to set a Mexican National record.With that wish in my heart, life took me in a different path. In January 2006, a company offered me a job in Atlanta, so I moved to the United States. Because my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer , I knew it was going to be difficult to be separated from him. We both knew that the move would be good for my career. Unfortunately, my father passed away in January of 2011 and it was a difficult way for me to begin the new year. This loss was the most profound loss that I had experienced in my life. I had a difficult choice to make at that point, do I stay in the pain of his loss or use that loss as an incentive to improve in all aspects and swimming, that had always been one of the most important parts in my life and my father’s role as one of my first coaches was crucial to my success as a swimmerSo after my strong performance this year in the LC Nationals in Auburn, I thought that a great way to end 2011 would be to participate at the Long Course Nationals in Mexico City and try to meet my goals in my father's memory and to do it in my country of origin. In October the 5th 2011 I went to Mexico City to compete at the LC Mexican Nationals at the Olympic pool – Alberca Olimpica Francisco Marquez.What was an awesome experience, seeing old friends, making new ones, experiencing again how it feels to swim in a crowded event and the most important thing, was setting two Mexican National Records honoring my father's memory.

Malena Hankins at 2011 Pan American Championships 

Participating in the Pan-American Masters Championship in Rio de Janerio , Brazil this year was great. You could feel the adrenalin going around the pool from many swimmers from different countries, not only from being great swimmers but also because of the enthusiasm of meeting different people from other countries. There was a lot of exchanging caps and shirts! I wish I would have been more prepared since the US Masters caps were a hit ? everyone wanted one!
I decided to attend this meet because a club from Ecuador invited me to participate with them. I found the invitation very honoring because I was not only representing that particular club but also the country where I was born – Ecuador. The whole thing started with a need for a fourth person for relays but I also ended up signing up for some other events: the 800, 400 & 200 freestyle and the 3K open water. I ended up winning the 800 and the 3K in my age group and got a second place on the 200 and 400 free. The icing on the cake was a record holder title for me in the 800 free and a Podium stand for the 3K open water with lots of people watching the medal ceremony and the president of the association putting the medal around my neck……made me feel 15 again! ? I know it is hard to do that in a masters meet where there is a lot of participants BUT WOW it was a great moment and worth the wait. I would definitely consider going again in two years to the next Pan-American Games and this time hopefully wearing the USA jacket ?

Other Georgia Masters swimmers attending the Championships - Irina Vazhenin, Igor Vazhenin and Megan Melgaard. Igor and Megan won their age groups in the open water swim!

Megan Melgaard, 31, of Georgia Masters, may have had the most masterful performance of the games. She not only was the first female overall in the open water race, she beat all the men. Her time for the 3K was 34:35, nearly a minute faster than her closest competitor.
She thought the games, her first Pan Am Masters but not her first Pan Am games, were “absolutely amazing. Rio is … unique with its bustling city streets, tropical climate, vibrant nightlife, and beautiful beaches. The 3K open water event was held on Copacabana Beach. It was a two-loop course totaling three kilometers. … The water was slightly rough, but it was the 69-70 degree water [that] kept most of us doing our warming up on the beach. There were over 50 lifeguards on paddle boards, boats, jet skis, and in kayaks, which was absolutely wonderful. The race was very well organized.”

(see photo gallery for additional pictures)

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.

Paul (Tank) F McNamara

May 4, 2011

Meet GTD Swimmer Paul ‘Tank’ McNamara

by Greta van Meeteren

When asked: "why did you start swimming?" Paul McNamara answers: "My mother thought it would be good exercise when I was age 10." He swam competitively in high school and all four years in college on a scholarship. "After college, I swam Masters briefly but quit for 20 years to do the family thing until about 2.5 years ago."

McNamara works for Roane State Community College near Knoxville, Tenn. on the professional staff and as adjunct faculty. He teaches world religions and swimming. He actually lives in Canton, Ga., which is three hours away from Knoxville, so he stays on campus during the week. He reads and studies theology and enjoys that along with swimming. He also likes fishing with his youngest son and swimming with his daughter. He and his wife have four children, including three adopted from the Ukraine.

McNamara likes to compete. "My wife calls me a fierce competitor. I swam at SC nationals at Georgia Tech in 2010 and several SCM meets this past fall. I also plan on LC Nationals at Auburn in August."

When he first started swimming Masters, he felt it was a bit self-centered but he has since changed that attitude. His daughter swims because of him, his niece is just starting to train. Several of his friends have started some sort of exercise because of his example of swimming. McNamara also coaches his daughter and his niece. And sometimes other swimmers join the workout. He swims five times a week, with his workouts ranging from 3K to 5K per practice.

He often swims alone, due to the nature of his work travels and schedule, but he does enjoy training with the University of Tennessee Masters team and Swim Atlanta, where his daughter also swims, as much as he is able to.

In college McNamara was a pure freestyle sprinter, 50, 100, 200. He has since changed to distance freestyle and he has competed in the 1500M and 800M. He also enjoys breaststroke and butterfly sprints.

McNamara participates in GTD because he enjoys tracking how much he swims. He finds that very rewarding. His advice to other GTD participants would be to continue GTD (It is free with USMS membership), as it is very rewarding to track and see all the mileage one will accumulate. Also, order the shirt, which is a great conversation piece. His goal for 2011? "I’m just under the target of 450 miles for the year but I hope to hit 500 miles."

McNamara received the nickname Tank because of the comic strip “Tank McNamara,” from the 1970s. A fellow swimmer was making fun of him and as he was doing breaststroke—yelling “Tank” as his head was popping out of the water. The nickname has stuck with him for over 30 years now.

When asked what his friends would say about him, he responds: "they would likely say that I am a fierce competitor and I am passionate about swimming and its many benefits. Also I’m generally a very loyal person and passionate about theology and respect for all persons of different faiths and cultures."


If you have someone you would like to see profiled or recognized - just send a picture and bio information to the Georgia Masters Web Master listed below.

 Francine Williamson 

Francine has long been a shining star in Georgia Swimming and on the National and World stage. She currently holds the World and American record for the 100M Freestyle in the Women's 60-64 age group (LCM) and 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. 

 She has made the USMS All American list 44 times in SCY, SCM, LCM and O/W events. (1993, 1994, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2008). 

Francine has a daughter Erin who also swims for Georgia Masters in the W20-24 age group. 

Next time you see Francine say hello.


June Callaway (75-79)

June returns from the Georgia Golden Olympics with 5 Gold medals! She should be an inspiration to all of us who have not gotten past 70 yet. Hopefully, we will all get past 70 and we'll still be swimming just like June and other >70 swimmers!!! For those of you under 30, you never feel old if you keep swimming.

June holds (6) individual Georgia State Records.