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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Charleston, A Gift To The Marathon Swimming Community

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Kathleen Wilson was recently inducted in the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame. While her accomplishments as a marathon swimmer is impressive and unquestionable, her event - Swim Around Charleston - is, as she says, "a gift to the marathon swimming community."

63-year-old Michael Miller from Honolulu finished the 2017 Swim Around Charleston in 5 hours 44 minutes. He recalls his visit to South Carolina a long 7,652 km from home, "Kathleen ran a great event. Charleston, where I have ohana [family], is a great city.

With the start planned around a tide in our favor, I believe in the first hour, I swam 4 miles. Then, that very much ended as we began to proceed up the Ashley River. Swimming along the city itself provided a unique opportunity to see what most do not.

Once tide slacked, our push evaporated and the work began. As warm as it was, the kayak escorts had their own challenges of keeping my hydration up, and themselves, but we managed to get that done. From the city itself to the finish at the Charleston county boat landing, was a difficult challenge. Wind chop for nearly 3+ hours anyway proved to be a 'test' of mental endurance to get the finish done.

The finish itself was quite dramatic, into a marina, close to the I-526 high overpass, and lots of refreshments and well-wishers. Hopefully, [I will do it again] next year

Through her hard work, Wilson has given the opportunity to swim around scenic Charleston to many older swimmers [see list of competitors below].

The 54-year-old professional harpist described her own life cycle of work and swimming. "In my case, I did not have the opportunity to swim in college, but I swam with a good masters swim team and kept an acceptable, but not great level of conditioning.

Through my 20's, I swam traditional pool events and a small ocean event now and then. I was not burned out since I did not swim in college and I had training time due to the nature of my work. I never had a rehearsal begin before 10 or 11 a.m. so the mornings were mine, but I did not swim the volume in those days that I have since gravitated.

I had my first child at the age of 29, second child at 33, and by this time, was well-established at work. I still had non-traditional working hours, lots of evenings and weekends. Even if rehearsing during the day, again we never began before 10 a.m. To top it off, the pool and symphony hall were about eight blocks apart, less than 10 minutes with a Starbucks on the way if needed.

It was also around this time that I began venturing into open water events so by getting up early and accomplishing the training goals in five days per week (Monday through Friday), I was able to begin to build a base and expand my swimming horizons towards the open water and longer swims.

I found my body responded well to that routine of five hard workouts and two days off. The days off were not really so since I was playing shows and special events (like weddings, dinners, receptions galore) that were sometimes more fatiguing than training. I was also constantly moving instruments. I think my record was 12 harp moves in one day.

My 30's were consumed with the usual: small kids, lots of work and coming to conclusion that I couldn't stand traditional swimming events anymore. The ocean was far better and I made the switch mid-30's.

The late 30's and 40's were spent swimming the great swims out there and training like crazy, but the freelance work was falling off so I had some slower weekends. My right shoulder began acting up a little. It is my weaker side since I'm left-handed. My kids were much more independent and found out that other mothers were at home and didn't swim in the mornings. This shocked them.

On a stormy morning with practice cancelled, they would stare at me in disbelief when discovering me drinking coffee and reading the newspaper downstairs. I had clearly ruined their morning by being home and on occasion, they believed that someone was in the house when hearing me rustle around in the wee hours when I should be at the pool. My poor husband dealt with it and asked where we were swimming next.

In the present day, I still at it and the five workout week still rules. I need the two days off; it's not optional.

I do feel the encroachment of time. I have lost some speed due to too many shoulder rotations over the years, but I baby them. I'm very, very far ahead of other women anywhere close to my age and not ready to sleep in yet. Throughout all these years, I have spent a good deal of time in the weight room as well. This has paid off in the water and in general overall health and strength.

My specific employment has helped and hurt me. It helped in providing the time to train and being able to take time off for swims. It hurt in the constant grind on my body. One would not think that playing a harp is strenuous physical work, but it is a killer after years. The static, unnatural position seated at the instrument and the hours of playing were worse than the millions of miles that I have put in via daily workouts.

My orthopedist cringed when I gave him a weekly accounting of what my body went through during a 15-year period when everything was full steam all the time. It's not all bad, standing down and spending less time at an instrument.

My intention is to swim until my final day. This June will mark 44 years of continuous swim practice. I have never burned out and I think that my body will give out long before my mind. It's been a lifetime obsession. I was a complete nut in the water as an infant, according to my mom. I remember getting excited every time I could go to the pool as a little kid.

I also have a clear memory of failing beginning swimming back in the late 1960's. I failed because I couldn't swim the width of the pool underwater and I also remember being very peeved because I had not been told that it was a test, I could have pushed it harder. What a foreshadowing.

My best advice is to make time for swimming, find the solutions that will allow a consistent ability to swim, even if not your ideal amount. I never 'balanced' my life; I prefer the term blended.

A perfect example: for a couple of years, my daughter went to school right next to the hall where the orchestra played. When the bus situation changed, I began taking her to swim practice with me. It was the only way I was going to swim in the mornings. My son was covered, going to another school. Christine ate her breakfast, made friends with everyone, and a swim friend and my coach at the time took turns giving her a ride to school since they had to pass right by the building. After school, if we were in rehearsal, I had her walk across the street, enter the stage door and sit in the hall where I could see her, so that I would know that she was there. She could do homework or take a nap and within an hour, we would be finished and headed home.

Get creative and enlist support, even if an unlikely source. In the end, situations change, children grow, careers take good and bad turns, but swimming is forever

2011 Swim Around Charleston Results:
1. Mallory Mead (25) 3:58.52
2. Alexis Underwood (27) 4:20.33
3. Kevin Dinsmore (30) 4:22.38
4. Tim Waid (48) 4:31.58
5. Sarah Mooney (28) 4:32.11
6. Jennifer Baker (35) 4:32.38
7. Laura Seifert (32) 4:33.32
8. Traci McNeil (42) 4:46.34
9. Fran Jewison (36) 4:50.16
10. Jack Burton (55) 4:51.26
11. Luke Crawford (21) 5:00.00
12. Erin O’Leary (30) 5:07.22
13. Tiffany Scanlon (37) 5:21.43
14. Crystal Limehouse (30) 6:04.35
15. Stuart Sanders (45) 6:23.24
DNF Brent Bertrim
DNF Mike Vaughn

2012 Swim Around Charleston Results:
1. Morgan Sawin 4:13:32
2. Laura Seifert 4:32:10
3. Sean Heuston 4:35:50
4. Doug Miller 4:38:01
5. Fran Jewison 4:45:59
6. Michele Walters 4:49:02 F
7. Ann Von Spiegelfeld 4:50:39
8. Daniel Curtin 4:59:19
9. Mary Beth Brown 5:02:25
10. Greg Ralston 5:11:23
11. Jennifer Bew 5:12:15
12. Brian Lanahan 5:24:51
13. Erin O'Leary 5:25:29
14. Scott Scheff 5:27:41
15. Stuart Saunders 6:05:37

2013 Swim Around Charleston Results:
1. Matt Mauer 4:35:46 36
2. Mark Smitherman 4:39:22 55
3. Justin Vagts 4:49:56
4. Doug Miller 4:52:47 43
5. Mike Streseman 4:53:51 53
6. Robert Naylor 4:53:53 55
7. Lisa Hertz 4:58:38 28
8. Jennifer Cranny 5:01:55
9. Laura Seifert 5:05:45
10. Melodee Nugent 5:07:18 46
11. Fran Jewison 5:09:30 38
12. Karyn Scherer 5:21:29 39
13. Warren Wild 5:22:51 50
14. Tim Waid 5:23:25 50
15. Dane Griffin 5:24:18 65
16. Carolyn Moore 5:29:39 52
17. Edgar Chomer 5:31:47
18. Mark Edmunds 5:31:54 47
19. Robin Bachelor 5:32:06 55
20. Dylan Villagomez 5:42:00 33
21. Mark Mershon 5:43:23 58
22. Charles Brown 5:45:14
23. Chip Chandler 5:45:55
24. Elizabeth Almond 5:46:56 40
25. Jennifer Bew 5:47:12 37
26. Jahn Power 5:52:41 51
27. Matt Gurry 5:53:11 31
28. Elizabeth Watson 5:53:53 51
29. Thomas Whalen 6:04:09 47
30. Mike Vaughan 6:05:35
31. John Massey 6:15:36 41

2014 Swim Around Charleston Results:
1. Matt Mauer 4:40:29
2. Penny Palfrey 4:44:15
3. Cheryl Reinke 4:50:47
4. Jennifer Cranny 4:57:19
5. Doug Miller 5:01:54
6. Dani Stein 5:06:36
7. Maxwell Adams 5:11:53
8. Serbo Simeoni 5:14:03
9. Chris Palfrey 5:14:16
10. Jeffery Redden 5:15:29
11. Tamer Ibrahim 5:15:54
12. Amy King 5:18:52
13. Tim Waid 5:22:14
14. Maureen Montgomery 5:22:48
15. Kimberly Plewa 5:32:03
16. Brian Lanahan 5:32:05
17. Pat Marzulli 5:34:52
18. Joe Wolf 5:36:23
19. Charlie Brown 5:42:16
20. Dwayne Schalles 5:47:41
21. Stephanie Ortner 5:53:17
22. Suzie Dods 5:54:24
23. Voni Oerman 5:57:17
24. Jessica Vitcenda 5:57:17
DQ Sam Smith
DQ Christy Soleto
DQ Mike Stresemann
DQ Heather Taylor

2015 Swim Around Charleston Results:
1. Cheryl Reinke (51) 4:41:16
2. Chris Layton (56) 4:45:17
3. Douglas Miller (45) 4:47:07
4. Lance Ogren (44) 4:48:39
5. Sean Casto (36) 4:55:39
6. Thomas Beck (51) 5:02:52
7. Kent Nicholas (48) 5:03:04
8. Michael Stresemann (55) 5:04:01
9. Steven Dunbar (52) 5:16:21
10. Maureen Rohrs (33) 5:17:19
11. Catherine Kenner (50) 5:19:11
12. Michael Miller (56) 5:22:53
13. Janice Mattson (63) 5:24:22
14. Mark Schuette (50) 5:28:15
15. Martha Munson (51) 5:28:31
16. Sandra Ford (39) 5:29:15
17. Sean Nuttall 5:31:27
18. Amy Frick (49) 5:32:28
19. Nancy Haynsworth (58) 5:34:38
20. Michael Reardon (48) 5:38:52
21. Jill Nichols (29) 5:48:51
22. Mary Sansbury (62) 5:57:11
23. John Flynn (40) 5:58:27
24. Klaus Pless (47) 5:59:31
25. Mo Siegel (64) 6:01:11
26. George Raffa (60) 6:05:23

2016 Swim Around Charleston Results:
1. Matt Mauer 4:23:24
2. Steve Rouch 4:28:45
3. Heidi Hatteberg 4:31:42
4. Douglas Miller 4:34:16
5. Leigh Ray 4:36:55
6. Cathy Neville 4:57:45
7. Karen Feld 4:58:38
8. Lucas Crawford 5:01:13
9. Steve Gruenwald 5:06:18
10. Devon Clifford 5:07:58
11. Chris Samuel 5:10:43
12. Sandra Ford 5:11:15
13. Judy Caves 5:11:29
14. Madison Larimer 5:19:25
15. Earnest Craige 5:26:45
16. Dwayne Schalles 5:34:59

2017 Swim Around Charleston Results:
1. Sandra Frimerman (34) 4:31:47
2. Michael Jotautas (37) 4:49:44
3. Douglas Miller (47) 4:52:08
4. Rocio Mora (44) 4:55:25
5. David Staffield (43) 4:58:45
6. Michael Johmann (55) 5:04:08
7. Ben Holland (41) 5:06:05
8. Leigh Rey (40) 5:06:57
9. Carolina Solana (39) 5:09:21
10. Ishmael Johnson (32) 5:10:09
11. Joe Bakel (55) 5:10:14
12. Sue Frehse (47) 5:13:16
13. Edward Riley (59) 5:17:31
14. John Hughes (55) 5:18:24
15. Marshall Nord (51) 5:20:41
16. Samantha Simon (27) 5:22:14
17. Alexis Miller (26) 5:22:15
18. Abigail Fairman (40) 5:22:38
19. Andrew Magazine (27) 5:26:05
20. John Batchelder (36) 5:32:24
21. Molly Nance (51) 5:42:05
22. Michael Miller (63) 5:44:34
23. Teresa Torres (44) 5:44:37
24. Patty Hermann (58) 5:44:41
25. Megan Suhich (28) 5:48:24
25. Kathryn Farrell (45) 5:51:24
27. Cassandra Oliver (28) 5:52:25
28. Elise Lester (29) 5:54:33
29. Josh Reid (40) 5:58:40
30. Lori Carena (63) 5:59:53
31. Drew Gaede (34) 6:03:37
32. Sandra Ford (41) 6:04:26
33. Michael Kenny (42) 6:06:02
34. Jia Jung (36) 6:16:52
35. Bruce Roberts (60) 6:17:45
DNF Jillian Price (34)
DNF Janine Serell (55)

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