Table of Contents
1.CALM Advisory Board meeting minutes
2. Pac Masters Short Course Championship
3. Waterlog Profile: Conny Bleul
4. Swimming in Cuba
5. Do Pain Relievers Heal Tendinitis orJust Ease Pain? Gretchen Reynolds
6. Open Water Clinic, May 1, at the Dolphin Club
1. Advisory Board Meeting Minutes — 04/06/2016
Present: Kai, Jeremy, Hilary, Kay, Spencer, Kate, Kjersten, Maayan Absent: Robin, Jann, Ben
Kate will proceed with interviewing team members for inclusion in WaterLog. She and Spencer will prepare an item on Spencer’s role in regard to the team.
No report; Kay and Spencer will consult on membership matters.
Maayan was asked to convey the Board’s consensus that we need another social between now and the summer team meeting. (It was decided last month that having a party directly following our CALM annual swim meet, as we’d done in past years was usually a disappointment in attendance as everyone was usually tired from racing and volunteering for the meet. So now we will try to get a “fresh” one on our calendar before summer.)
Our team gave feedback to the coaches that they liked the clinics. ((THANK YOU TIFFANY) We will be getting a banner from USMS .
The coaches may sponsor a “video night” to watch elite swimmers in action.
Coaches discussed distributing some mesh bags for schlepping equipment to the team with an eye toward having swimmers buy and bring their own fins, paddles, buoys, snorkels, etc. This could address the problem of equipment disappearing or being damaged from exposure at
Kjersten Walker Kate Coleman Kate
Angela Andelson NY Times
Spieker (and save a lot of expense in replacing such items.
2016 CALM Meet wrap-up
There were 285 athletes participating in our meet, representing 53 teams. The number of competitors was somewhat down from last year, possibly due to iffy weather plus this year’s earlier date in March.
The meet generated over $8K in gross revenue (entry fees and sponsorship) and should net close to $4k after meeting expenses.
We will aim to have the meet later in March next year, depending on co-ordination with the NCAA schedules.
Jeremy pointed out that last minute changes made to mix men & women’s heats, and switch the order of heats are against USMS rules and should in the future be avoided.
Communication with Cal Dining services regarding food at the meet have been somewhat problematical; Spencer will look into other options for next year
We nearly fell short of a full complement of timers frequently during the day; will need to generate more volunteers committing ahead of the day of the meet in the future.
Winter Points Challenge
Winners were John Grisafi and Lynn Yamashita. Way to go!!!
Spencer will arrange for gift certificates for massages to be awarded to the winners as prizes.
Discussions of a team budget and turnover of Board Positions were tabled for a future meeting.
The next meeting will be May 4, 6:30pm, location to be announced.
2. Pac Masters Short Course Championship Roundup (and don’t forget to give your teammates a congratulatory pat on the back)
Jeremy Cohen: 100 free 50 breast
100 IM 50 free
100 fly 50 fly 100 free
Jann Ronis (1st masters meet ever)
100 free Kai Stoeckenius 50 breast
9th 6th 4th 7th
4th 4th 3rd
100 breast 6th Kate Coleman 100 fly 1st 100 IM 4th 1000 free 1st
3. Waterlog Profile: Conny Bleul
Keeping up with Conny Bleul
It’s hard enough keeping up with Conny Bleul in her 1:15 pace lane during the midday workout at Spieker, but just imagining keeping pace with her in the 50-year-old-mother-of–three’s everyday life is enough to flatten me and most people I know. She is a Dervish of energy for a list of interests, projects and accomplishments that is astonishing, housed as they are in only one pint-sized, pixyish fit woman.
Her history is equally rich. We sit outside Spieker, at tables overlooking the now manicured, verdant green Cal baseball diamond and talk an hour before the midday workout.
Conny hails from Berlin and even the fact of her birth in East Berlin–her mother’s home where many family members remain– followed by a move early on to West Berlin–her father’s roots– hint at a life in a changing Germany and the compartmentalizing to come even after her later stint here in California: “I was 23 years old,” she recalls, “when the Berlin Wall came down over three days in 1989. I was there hitting the wall with my little hammer.”
By then she was a veteran national swim champion. Her mother, who had been an accomplished swimmer for the German Democratic Republic (Communist East Germany), searched for a pool for her six-year-old youngster. Connie explained the very different kind of youth swim programs in Germany form those in the US. Over there, youngsters joined swim clubs and remained in them year round, not during school, and trained and matured as swimmers and young people, even remaining as members as adults.
“These clubs were cheap and we did really good work. I’m a member of this same club,” she says, “and still in contact with my old coach who is still alive. He used to hold my baby when I came for swim practice.” For Connie it made life-long friendships with her fellow swim members and more: “It became travel abroad for swim meets, celebrations together and community.”
The rigor began right away. Conny explained one didn’t just sign up: even young children had to enroll in tryouts. She was pulled away from the other kids for more serious training, admitting the coach saw something in her. It took hold.
“I became better and better–had to juggle between school and swimming.” But it was worth it. She landed on her country’s junior national team “It was a big deal, very selective.” According to Conny, they system of nurturing young swimmers is very different than what she’s encountered her. In her native Germany, “No one says ‘good job’ when they don’t win. ” But at the same time, in Germany “it’s not the end of the world if you lose. Over here they can’t tolerate failure.”
Conny was “always an IMer,” she tells me, and did well at the Junior European Championship. She won in the ’82 and ’83 championships and was on track after winning ’84 qualifier meet to race on the German 1984 Olympics team when she tore up her knee in a skiing accident. It ended any Olympic dreams. But these days she’s fully philosophical about it. Her mother, who’d been her stalwart booster, chauffer, and loyalist through her young swim career (unlike her father, she shrugs, who only asked “did you win,” and didn’t come to watch her), simply opined, “You were doing too many things.” (Another sport she’s competed in is running: over the years, she’s completed the Berlin marathon 9 times!)
Conny, who was out for one whole year on crutches is equally blunt: “I was a teenager. I was so sick of swimming.” She was flown home and operated on right away; had “the best physical therapy,” and came back to swimming because it was the first thing she could do after the accident. She came back, she said with a different perspective.
Ultimately, that knowledge she gained in her recovery led to a book (following an article) published in 1988, Water Gymnastics, published by Limpert. She claims that in Germany she is considered the founder of water gymnastics, or as we say here, aerobics.
By then, she was in a university, working on a PhD. in what she calls “sports science” and also in education, with publishing articles, studying, and living more of an academic life. But in the post unification Germany that followed the fall of the Berlin Wall, there was a glut of teachers. Her Sports Science department was cut, and any teachers could not get jobs.
Conny was not one of them. Because of her Education department studies, she got a job right away in the sector that had been presided over by the Allies. Luckily, she says, an empty building in the American sector was turned over to Berlin when the GIs went home to be a school from first to 7th grades. Teachers in public school, she explains are civil servants; paid throughout the system for 13 months of salary. That summer on full pay, Conny and six other teachers (the only workers on the job) cleaned, scraped, painted and built “from the bottom up,” to get the school ready. “It was a lot of fun,” she says cheerily of the hard collective work and bonding over bagels and beer. She expresses gratitude as well for her teaching work at public school and for the fact that the generous leaves of absence provided by the German government meant that while she wan not on salary during this hiatus, she could return and still have her job.
And somewhere along the line, Conny married her husband who had been a student of hers when she taught “physical science” in the University. She had given birth to the first of 3 children (today her two boys, are 10 and 19; her daughter, 11) He was working for Bayer, the pharmaceutical company, when he received an offer to work in a US Bayer subsidiary in Richmond. She describes her husband with a sly smile: “He’s not easy with decisions.” But for her, it was an immediate, “let’s go.” It was to be for 11 months. They arrived in 2002 and stayed for 14years. She quotes her laconically-inclined father as saying from the first, “‘You’ll never come back.'”
But she does every year to visit and says she misses Berlin, even as she’s gone full tilt into her life here with special joy in “being able to swim outdoors with our CALM team.
She leads an impossible scheduling of activities which I will list, partially below, with, she enthuses, the full support she’s “lucky to have” from her dear family–her beloved husband, Martin, her independent kids (“They see that I’m a little crazy but they love it”).
She can follow her bliss as an artist: mural painter–the one she painted at the children’s playground in the Berkeley Marina has appeared in the NY Times; her art installation consisting of a deer and a bench carved with a built-in seated couple can be viewed in front of their house on steep Marin street, But she will paint anything, it seems: furniture, mail boxes…an almost Picasso-like compulsive decorator of objets and walls around her. She told me she’s been an artist since she was a little girl.
She has two museum projects on-going stemming from obtaining her Masters degree at the University of San Francisco in Museum Studies last year. She is, as such, an independent curator and collection manager, and now an NEA grant recipient to manage the series of murals known as “Precita Eyes” in the Mission district of San Francisco. She’s developing a plan to build an archive with documentation, research and references for preservation. “Currently” she says, “it’s like a big junk yard.”
Her other big art project is in New Mexico where she was headed over the weekend to curate an exhibition for an anthropology museum North of Santa Fe at Ghost Ranch” an erstwhile redoubt of Georgia O’Keefe and the so-called “Ladies of the Canyon,” from a book of the same name.
Locally, she is the Director of the German School of the East Bay. It has German language learning classes on Saturday morning and afternoons only and is open both children and adults. (15 Saturday classes for $280–“inexpensive,” she notes.)
Oh, and lest I forget: Conny told me she’s also a midwife. What!!!! We never got to that some how: it was time for her to go to the locker room so she could join our team practice. And I almost forgot, one of the first things I learned about her is that she goes every week to the AMC movie theater to see Metropolitan Opera closed circuit live broadcasts to hear and see operas and while I love opera, I don’t understand why I can’t find the time if Ms. Bleul squeezes that in too.
We said goodbye. I was too tired to think of swimming just thinking about Conny’s teeming life. I walked home, delighted but shall we say, breathless, to get to know better this Renaissance woman from East and West Berlin.
4. Angela Andelson’s “Cuban Swimming Adventure” ((this is a great tale of Swimming in Cuba by our own CALM gal)
5. Do Pain Relievers Heal Tendinitis orJust Ease Pain? New York Times Well Blog
6. Open Water Clinic, May 1st at the Dolphin Club (Suzy Dods a fellow Dolphin Club experienced long distance open water swimmer and a good teacher ….Kate)
Non members welcome ( $10 day use fee)
NOT a swim lesson:.you must be able to swim 400 yards unassisted 🙂
About 3 hours of your time. Q/A lecture for about an hour, a tour of BOTH clubs and a brief swim.
PLEASE RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Max 12 participants
Details are on the DC website. www.suziedodsswimcoaching.com