The following article was written in the middle of the night following my participation in the SouthSide Pentathlon last Saturday.  I have never been able to sleep through the night following a swim meet, so I have made a habit of rolling out of bed and hittin’ the keys.  

This article will appear in the next “Georgia Masters Newsletter,”  for Georgia’s U.S. Masters Swimming regional team.


By, Elaine Krugman

Since joining U.S. Masters Swimming in 2010, I have competed in a pentathlon swim meet each September.  Sponsored by the SouthSide Seals, one of the small local teams that fall under the Georgia Masters regional team umbrella, the SouthSide Pentathlon is a fun meet.  Rob Copeland, along with other members of his swimming family run the meet and do an outstanding job.  This year, Megan had the results out in a flash!

Remembering back over past pentathlon meets, one of my favorite Masters Swimming memories was the 2010 Peachtree Pentathlon (as it was called then when it was held at the Kedron pool in Peachtree City), when I participated as a newbie in the Sprint Pentathlon which included the 100 Yard Individual Medley, and 50 Yard races of each stroke (Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke, and Freestyle).  In the 50 Yard Breaststroke, I made National Qualifying Times (NQT’s) for my age group—exactly to the hundredth of a second!  Being so new to Masters Swimming, I was shocked and very excited.  It meant I could swim an additional race at Nationals beyond the three races allowed for all swimmers.

Little did I know that would be the last time I would make NQT’s in an electronically-timed meet.  (Hand-timed meets typically result in faster race times, and that was the case for me when I last made NQT’s in 2013.)

I embody the motto for Georgia Masters: “The older we get, the faster we were.”

Since that first pentathlon meet, I have looked forward to competing in it each year.  In 2011 and 2012, I raced the Sprint Pentathlon, because I was a sprinter.  (Everything I did was fast:  walk fast, talk fast, move fast—it was the only speed I knew!)

In 2012, that all changed.  I discovered the joys of distance swimming when I competed in the Georgia Games Open Water Meet.  I entered the 3K and 1K races and swam faster as I progressed through each kilometer.  When I told Coach Mike Slotnick (co-host of Masters swim meets at Steve Lundquist Aquatic Center) about it, he declared, “That’s a sign of a distance swimmer.”  I replied, “But, I’m a sprinter!”  (His declaration became a regular thing during subsequent training sessions when we swam together, and he noticed my speed increasing as the session progressed, rather than the opposite.)

Mike finally had me convinced, and I started training for the long pool events:  1650 Yard / 1500 Meter Freestyle, 400 IM, and 200 Butterfly.  After successfully completing (meaning I wasn’t disqualified and I didn’t drown) the 200 Butterfly at a meet, Rob Copeland challenged me to compete in the Ironman at the next SouthSide Pentathlon.  “You’re on!” I replied with enthusiasm.  “Uh-oh, what have I gotten myself into…” was what I later mumbled to myself.

In 2014 (there was no pentathlon meet in 2013), with much hesitation (and a stomach full of butterflies), I registered for the Ironman.  Top-Ten swimmer, Marianne Countryman did too, so I knew I wouldn’t win my age group; but, my goal was to just complete the darn thing without getting disqualified on any of my events—and, without the lifeguard having to jump in to save me.

I succeeded at both goals, and a funny thing happened after touching the wall after my last event, the 200 Yard Butterfly (Yes, they save the hardest event for last!).  In between panting like a dog and gasping for air, I said to the swimmer in the neighboring lane, “That was fun!  I’m doing this again next year!”

Unfortunately, I had to pass on the 2015 meet due to a setback after having hip surgery, but I was back at it this year with much anticipation and preparation.  Prior to the meet, I had “raced” the Ironman four weeks in a row, completing the events in 35-40 minutes with short rest in between races.  My race times were horrible under those conditions, but I figured it would make the actual meet seem easier in comparison.  It worked.  I actually took the most time off my last event of the pentathlon, the 200 Yard Butterfly, and I even had something left in the tank to anchor the 400 Medley Relay at the end of the meet!

I was proud of our small group of Ironman competitors.  Out of the eighty swimmers at the meet, only eight of us took the Ironman challenge; four women and four men.  Since we were all in different age groups, we all won first place (Hey, you have to show up to win!)

The youngest “Ironman” was Nautical Miler, Gina Grant (18); and, the oldest was John Zeigler (70).  Other Ironman participants included Sara Edwards (39), myself at 54 years-old, and Ellen Clay (57) for the women; and, meet host Rob Copeland (59), Joe Hutto (64), and 1984 Olympics Bronze Medalist for Sweden, Michael Soderlund (54).  (As a side note, Michael also competed in the 1980 and 1988 Olympics.)

Hey, Ironman guys and gals, let’s do it again next year!

*As a side note, I finished first of the four women, and I beat one of the men.  Woohoo!

U.S. Masters Swimming 2013 Summer Nationals


I’m like a Timex watch; I take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’.

Having a left leg 1/2″ longer than the right and a pelvis that tilts to the right throws the entire body out of proper alignment, and is one of the causes of many of the injuries I have experienced. Couple that with inheriting a whole host of ugglies from my father, including severe degenerative disk and joint disease, I am an accident waiting to happen.

Just as I was finally getting my injuries under control and having great results from trigger point dry needling physical therapy, I showed up to U.S. Masters Swimming Summer Nationals with what I thought was a mildly strained muscle in my torso. Swimming made it feel better; however, I think I jammed my leg and hip on a misstep on uneven terrain. On the night before my biggest day of competition, I had severe muscle spasms and was up all night. So, the following morning, I went to the sports medicine massage tent, prior to my 400 Meter Individual Medley race.

As it turns out, the muscles spasms had caused my 1/2″ longer left leg to appear to be 1-1/2″ longer, according to the therapist, Chuck. He said I had a subluxation (dislocation) of my last rib which is a floating rib. The dislocated rib was pressing on my kidney, causing the pain. So, he did what he could to get the spasms under control, however, he wasn’t qualified to set the rib back in place. He said to return on Sunday to see Dr. Mike.

Unfortunately, Dr. Mike didn’t arrive until I was just about to swim the 200 Meter Butterfly, so I had to see him after the race to get my rib set. As it turned out, I ended up racing my 400 IM, 200 breaststroke and 200 fly (three of the most difficult races in competitive swimming) with a dislocated rib poking my kidney on every stroke.

Although I was unable to race at my top speed, I completed all of my races successfully without getting disqualified. I ended up 9th in 200 Meter Breaststroke, winning my first individual Nationals medal (top ten win medals) and placed 4th in 200 Meter Butterfly for my other individual medal. My time was 1:13 slower than when I raced the same event last summer at a long course meters meet at Greenville (and much slower than my 2,000 yard butterfly pace), but I did it!

Now, there is a disclaimer I should add to that 4th place. Out of 88 women competing in my age group, only seven signed up to race in that grueling event and five showed up to the blocks to race it. And, one of the women got disqualified. Hey, you can’t win a medal if you don’t show up!

Of the five individual races and one relay I competed in, the highlight was racing breaststroke in the Women’s Mixed Medley Relay (and winning my third medal) with three of my teammates, including Diann Uustal, a multiple world record holder. Only seven of us from Georgia attended Nationals, so I was fortunate to have that opportunity. Not only is Diann the best in the world in her age group in freestyle and backstroke, she is a class act. When I first saw her at the pool upon arrival, she ran up to me, gave me a hug and said, “I get to swim on a relay with you!” I looked at her stunned and replied, “Uhh, I think you have that backwards. I get to swim with you on a relay!” And, after the relay, Diann actually thanked me for swimming on the relay and gave me a big hug and kiss afterwards.


Relay teammates Lisa Watson, Diann Uustal, and Francine Williamson.  We placed 6th and won a medal, my first of these Nationals.

The icing on the cake was arriving to the starting blocks for the race, looking over to the next lane to check out my competition, and seeing my good friend Deb smiling back! We knew each other would be competing in that relay, but we had no idea it would be in the same heat and neighboring lanes. Awesome! Her team ended up placing 3rd and we placed 6th, however, I was ecstatic. It was Deb’s first ever medal and it meant the world to her competing with her teammates, just as it meant for me to race with mine.
As it turned out Deb’s team, Arizona Masters, won the meet with their contingent of 35 swimmers, including Olympian Clarke Burckle. Our little team of seven women placed 7th out of 19 regional teams. We may have been small, but we were mighty!


My goodfriend and fellow USMS Discussion Forums “Forumite,” Debbie Duane, known as “Debaru” on the forums.

In one word, the entire experience was AWESOME. Mission Viejo did an outstanding job organizing and running the meet, leaving no detail out. From the poolside steel drum band that welcomed us, to the reading glasses hanging from strings at the results board, they thought of everything to make it a terrific experience.



2000 U.S.A. Olympic Gold Medalist, Misty Hyman filming a USMS highlight film.


David Guthrie, men’s 50-54 age group world record holder practicing a start off the blocks.


Dara Torres came early and stayed late to meet fellow USMS swimmers, pose for photos, and autograph free souvenir photos.

The highlight, though, was seeing my friends (especially my Forumite friends, like Deb, from the U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums) and making new ones. U.S. Masters Swimmers are a great bunch of people; from the youngest at 18 to the oldest at 95 (Rita rocked the pool with her beautiful freestyle and backstroke!), they were all there doing what they loved. And, by the looks of the smiling faces around the pool, they were all having a blast doing it!


Four of my six Georgia Masters teammates who traveled to Mission Viejo:  Mary Kalafut, Donna Hooe, Francine Williamson, and Diann Uustal.


Chief Official (and teammate), Ed Saltzman pulled me aside after racing the 200 Butterfly.  “Did I DQ (disqualify)?”  My heart sank as I waited for his reply.  “No, but I’m just curious why you stayed underwater so long after the start before you surfaced to start your stroke.”  Your kick was weak, and you almost came to a complete stop when you surfaced!”  I am not a procrastinator, but the last thing I wanted to do with a dislocated rib was swim full butterfly.  It was “Ouch!” on every stroke!


Donna and I tried to sneak up on Ed as he was officiating a race, but he caught on…


“That Guy,” Doug Jelen, is one of my favorite Forumites.  He’s a hoot!  But, until this moment, I had never met him in person.  He caught up with me immediately after my 100 meter breaststroke race as I was bent over with an aching side from my injured rib.  When he greeted me by name, I looked up with a “Who the heck are you?” look.  I hadn’t a clue, because I expected That Guy to be bald (as he appeared in a race video he had posted.)  My first words to him when I learned his identity were, “You have hair!”  Lifting his cap, and rubbing his head probably wasn’t something he expected… 


I absolutely LOVE the logo that was designed for these Nationals!  Having lived most of my life in San Diego and being a So. Cal. Native; surfboards, palm trees, and water are what it’s all about!


My three medals were for the Women’s 200 Meter Medley Relay (breaststroke leg), 200 Meter Breaststroke, and 200 Meter Butterfly.

2013 Goals: She SCORES!

I’m not one for making New Year’s resolutions, but I am big on setting goals; something I have done for as long as I can remember.

This past year, I did pretty darn well achieving my goals and even succeeded in making some I didn’t even have set at the beginning of the year (including winning the Georgia Championship Series for high points in U.S. Masters Swimming and swimming 3K & 1K races to achieve it).  Like the experts say, always write your goals in pencil!

I will admit that I “write” my goals on the computer.  But, I do leave plenty of room at the bottom of the printed out page to add more goals or make changes.  This last year, I added winning the series and the open water swims, just so I could have the satisfaction of putting a big fat check mark next to it!  Same goes for my 900, 2000, and 1000 yard butterfly swims. “Are you KIDDING me?”  That’s what I would have asked YOU, if you had asked ME if I could even swim 200 yards of fly!  But, I tried it one day, amazingly felt like I could keep going after 200 yards, and kept going… and going… and going…

But, when I added that new goal of winning the Georgia Championship Series, there were three goals (the only goals I did not achieve) that I was not able to achieve because of it:  Making National Qualifying Times in my three breaststroke events; my core events that I am best at.  Swimming a full slate of events at each meet to win high points meant not being rested enough for each race, in order to swim my best.  My breaststroke times, for the most part, suffered this year.  So, I was unable to achieve NQT’s for Spring Nationals (a meet it turns out that I won’t be attending, anyway).  But, I sure did have a lot more fun at meets this year!  I hate sitting on the bench…

2013 Long Course (50 meter pool) Summer Nationals, in Mission Viejo, California, is really what I am shooting for, when it comes to making National Qualifying Times.  By making NQT’s in my three core events, it would give me the opportunity to swim three additional individual events, for a total of the maximum six individual events allowed per swimmer.  In 2010, at my first Nationals, I did not qualify in any of the events, so I only got to swim three events.  The following year, I made NQT in the 50 yard breaststroke, so I earned the right  to swim four events, at both spring and summer Nationals.  And, the same thing happened this past spring.  So, I have been working towards qualifying in all three breaststroke events, so I could swim six events, just like the big boys (and girls).

As it turns out, I have officially made NQT’s, according to the U.S.M.S. rules that allow swimmers to use their best times going back two years.  I recently received confirmation from a staff member at headquarters that my times from the St. Nick’s short course meters meet, in November, 2012, count.  When entered in Swimming World’s Time Conversion Utility, I qualify with time to spare in both the 50 meter and 200 meter breaststroke, but make it EXACTLY in the 100 meter breaststroke:  1:42.58!

Now, having said all that, U.S.M.S. doesn’t actually verify your times; it is all on the honor system.  But, even if I don’t swim those times on race day in Mission Viejo, I absolutely wanted to honor the honor system going into the meet.

So, my main swimming goal for 2013 (once again) is to re-qualify, so my times are up-to-date; at least more current than going back to 2011!

This is where Nationals will be held, August 7-11; the pool where several Olympians, including Greg Louganis (diver) and Dara Torres (swimmer) trained:

My chosen events will be:

August 7:  1500m Freestyle

August 8:  100m Breaststroke

August 9:  50 Breaststroke

August 10:  400 Individual Medley and 200 Breaststroke

August 11:  200 Butterfly

And, if our team can field enough swimmers for relays, I hope to swim relays each day, as well.

As for other 2013 swimming goals, I have set 475 miles for my U.S.M.S. Go the Distance goal (I set 400 miles in 2012 and swam 452 miles).  And, there are a few non-core races I have set goals for swimming personal best times.  Oh yeah, and I’m going for the Georgia Championship Series, again, too.

Meanwhile, I also have non-swimming goals, too; just the usual stuff.

How about you?  Have you set goals for this year?  If so, feel free to post your goals in the comments section; I would love to hear about them!

Happy New Year!