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
Editor’s note: Following my interview with Muriel and writing this profile, Muriel left the YMCA. In an e-mail, she said, “I quit the YMCA to assist my parents and son (in LaGrange, Georgia). Muriel has relocated to LaGrange and hopes to start a Masters team there once she gets settled. She added, “I do plan to continue swimming and hope the Grayfins [team] continues to grow.”
Muriel Cochran is a competitive swimmer I hadn’t crossed paths with at meets until I aged up to her 55-59 age group last year. It wasn’t until she started coaching the newly-formed Northwest YMCA Grayfins Swim Team, that I noticed Muriel and her new teammates together on deck. Even when I aged up, we were racing different events, so we never even had a behind-the-blocks chat before a race. I took notice, however, when I looked at the race results at more recent meets. I also took notice when my buddy, Mark Rogers, left the Killer Whales to train and compete with Muriel’s swim team. What was the draw?
Although Muriel is a new Masters coach and earned her Masters coaching credentials (along with Mark Rogers) in September 2016, she has done a great job growing her YMCA Masters program, in Kennesaw. The passion and commitment she brings to the pool each practice has inspired 23 swimmers to join USMS this year. The Grayfins, which offers free workouts and coaching for Northwest YMCA members, evolved from adult swim lessons she was teaching at the “Y.” Management told her they wanted to start a Masters group and asked if she would be their coach. “I realized I love coaching swimming. I was teaching beginners how to swim. The neatest accomplishment is to watch someone who cannot swim a 25 [yards] to swimming a sprint and swimming open water,” Muriel said about her decision to take on the project. She had been teaching swimming at the “Y” for fifteen years and coached triathlon from 2010 – 2013. Feeling a bit burned out with triathlon coaching, this was a new challenge that she felt inspired to take on. “It was a new start. I had never coached [pool] swimming. Coaching for open water is completely different from coaching for swimming. I always wanted to be an assistant coach. I had to figure all of this out—how to do it,” the new Masters coach added about her challenge. Having been a coached Masters swimmer herself, on and off since first joining Masters in Chattanooga, in 1988, Muriel at least had experience from a swimmer’s perspective. Her mom, USMS member Rocio Lancaster, was (and still is) an avid swimmer who inspired her to swim, so Muriel swum most of her life.
Muriel began as a summer league swimmer as a child, and then swam year-around with USA Swimming at the age of 13. She had to quit when the family moved, but she returned to swimming in the 1980’s, competing in relay triathlons. About her return to competitive swimming, Muriel said that she decided to return “…for the love of it. For me, I had to have a goal. I just can’t go swim and do hard workouts unless I have a something to go for. Granted, meets drive me nuts; they tear up my stomach, and I get real nervous; but, I’m learning not to be that competitive anymore— that I don’t have to win. It’s just for the fun of it.” Although Muriel swims for the love and fun of it (and encourages her Grayfin swimmers to do the same), she does set a good example for her team by training hard herself, when she is able to get to the pool. Since she coaches her team from the deck, her workouts take place elsewhere. “I started swimming with Ryan Bried and Ace Aquatic Club, because the coach needs a coach. For a while I was really disciplined, and I could make myself swim 4,000 to 5,000 yards, four or five times a week. Now I can’t. I have way too many reasons of why I can’t,” Muriel said. Ideally, she is able to get in 3,400 – 4,500-yard workouts, four days per week with the Ace Masters team. In addition, she lifts weights twice a week. When it comes time for competition, Muriel coaches her team while also competing at meets herself. Asked about her favorite events, she said, “I like open water, because I can just set a pace and go; and, there is no wall to interrupt it. But, then again, I love swimming the different strokes. As far as distance, everything hurts, so I have no favorite one. I have no favorite event per se, but I always enter the 100 IM. It depends on what I feel like.”
Asked what advice she has for those who would like to improve their race times at meets, Muriel replied, “What you practice is what you’re going to race. If you practice correctly, you will race correctly.” She emphasizes this to her team at practices and gives them plenty of tools to help them achieve their goals. “Every week, I send out an email for my team on upcoming events, drills we will work on for that week. I have strokes of the month where we are just focusing on drills of that stroke, so they can improve...” Muriel uses the app, www.commitswimming.com to send out her workouts, so her swimmers can keep track and add notes. In addition, she sends out YouTube links to stroke technique videos she recommends by Go Swim, Phlex Swim, Swim Science, The Race Club, and Swimming Skills NT. She doesn’t recommend, however, that her swimmers necessarily emulate the swimmers in those videos. “Everybody’s different. Your body is different from their body. I don’t really want anybody to swim a certain style. I want them to swim the 1000 [freestyle] correct for their body, because sometimes you have to adjust to be able to swim. To be able to swim this long, you cannot be doing straight arm recovery like some of those Olympic 50’s sprinters. You can’t do that for any length of time without some type of injury happening. You have to adjust to what works for you… To prevent injuries, do a lot of drills, slow down, and really focus on what you’re doing,” she explained.
What about those Georgia Masters members that don’t compete but may be thinking of giving it a try? “I would say the best thing is to just go and experience a meet. Don’t swim in it; just go see what it’s like, because their biggest fear is what they will look like in a bathing suit. When they realize that there’s all sorts of sizes and skill levels, it’s like, ‘Oh, ok, I can do this.’ Muriel replied, adding “For my team, I gave them a taste of it. We hosted an unsanctioned meet. I encouraged all members to swim in it. When the meet was over, they realized what a Masters’ meet was like, hopefully they’re thinking about it [for the future]… I think if you can get into an unsanctioned, hosted meet, you’ll realize it’s a lot more fun than what you think it is.”
Muriel is thrilled when her swimmers decide to compete. “[The experience since becoming a coach] has been the most rewarding one ever…
When you just see people improve… it’s a good thing. And then, when you see them go and compete in a race, it’s awesome! Every time I have had a swimmer who has decided to cross that line, and dive into racing at a Masters meet; that is a memorable and happy moment for me.” Equally as thrilling for Coach Muriel, though, is seeing an adult break through their fear of the water, make the decision to learn how to swim, and
then succeed. As she explained about one of her swimmers, “Tina Carwile, when I first met her, she was one of the first participants (in a day-time adult swim class). She confessed to me that when she was little, girls had held her underwater; so, she had been terrified of the water ever since. Two weeks ago, she swam 2,000 yards! She has
overcome that fear of the deep end, and she is starting to learn the butterfly. Every lady that’s in that (beginning) level just inspires me. They overcame a fear of the water, they walked out on the deck with their suit, and decided to blow bubbles.”
Summing up how Muriel feels about teaching swimming, coaching the Grayfins, and being involved with Masters, she says, “I think it’s just the friendship and camaraderie. It’s being with other people and enjoying what they’re doing and what you’re doing. It’s very, very rewarding, and that’s what I look forward to.” “I’m with people that support each other, and they help each other. They have fun at practice. That’s another thing I like about it. I don’t like doing always the same stuff. I think that’s the way of the world; it’s variety, and they enjoy it. Anybody that has come to this team has not been a mean person, or someone I wished had not joined… “It’s not about me; it’s about this team and showing people that swimming is a good sport to be in and it’s good for them. It’s a good environment.”
When Muriel looks at future hopes for her team, she wants them to experience more of what that “good environment” is all about. “My favorite (Masters) memory is doing the [Ft. Lauderdale] Nationals with that team out of Chattanooga. That was the most inspirational thing watching those 90-year-olds-- I think the oldest one at that time was 98—swimming. This is the epitome of swimming; you can do it all the time… “Once my son is out of high school, I will be going to Nationals [again]. My dream is to take enough swimmers to Masters Spring Nationals and do a relay."
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
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.