Table of Contents
1. From the editor
2. CALM Advisory Board Meeting notes
3. Report on the Pacific Masters Annual Meeting 4. November team member profile: Jeremy Cohen 5. And in other news…
6. Letters to the editor
1. From the editor:
Now is the time for all good men (and better women) to swim to the aid of their country! Or—if not that—swim to take their minds off their country. And that is all I have to say about that.
This issue of your Waterlog includes a report on the Pacific Masters (your USMS chapter, in case you’re not keeping track) Annual Meeting, a profile of CALM team member Jeremy Cohen, news of your teammates accomplishments, and other bits of swimming tidbits. It does not,
unfortunately—sadly—even tragically (ok, maybe that’s taking it too far), contain any letters to the editor. Hey, fellow swimmers! I hear a lot of swim team related opinion in the water and on the deck—how about venting some of that in a letter to the Waterlog? Or is that too impossibly retro? Do you all tweet or post all that stuff? Send it to us! If we get nothing, I may have to start making letters up.
A Happy Thanksgiving to you all! _________________________
2. CALM Advisory Board Meeting notes
CALM Advisory Board Meeting, November 2, 2016
Conny Bleul-Gohlke (Board Chair), Kate Coleman (Social Asst.), Jann Ronis (Social Chair), Patrick Murray (Membership Chair), Kai Stoeckenius (Newsletter Ed.), Spencer Hawkins, Kay van der Have (Secty.)
We began with a report by Spencer, who provided some CALM related fiscal information:
- The UC fiscal year runs from July to June
- First quarter team revenues (team dues) are up over the same quarterlast year.
- First quarter expenses are also up, largely due to the hiring of a threequarter FTE Head Coach.
- Spencer said Cal Aquatics is discontinuing complimentary RSFmemberships of all kinds, including for CALM Board members. The Board asked Spencer to investigate other incentives for Board membership.The Board asked Spencer if there was a way to identify a specific amount of money to be earmarked for CALM expenses apart from coaching salaries and benefits. Spencer will investigate and report back at the December meeting.
⁃ The October Waterlog was well received. Kate was asked if she would agree to do another member profile. She is interested in Jeremy Cohen as a potential subject.
- ⁃ Conny repeated her request for a roster of all the members, theirphone numbers and email addresses.
- ⁃ The Board was reminded that a Google group and Facebookpage for CALM both exist, but it remains unclear if all membere-mails are subscribed to these.
- ⁃ Patrick will coordinate how to contact members with Spencer.
- ⁃ According to Spencer CALM currently has 163 total members,which breaks down to 20-25 students and 143 non-students.
- ⁃ Spencer indicated that Cal Aquatics is looking into incentives to increase student participation in CALM, including loweringdues for students.
- ⁃ Brunch after Saturday workouts and monthly Sunday longcourse workouts were two proposals for increasingmembership.
- ⁃ Spencer will see if we can discover the number of Cal alumnion the team.
- Meet Director:
- ⁃ Spencer reported for Ben that the CALM Short Course meet has been approved for March 19, 2017. Sign-ups for events can begin as soon as the meet sheets are approved
- ⁃ There was a suggestion for a volunteer coordinator at the meet, so that people that hadn’t signed up to volunteer could still be utilized. One of two Asst. Meet Directors will likely be tasked with this.
- ⁃ As a general reminder the Coaches should strongly try to motivate CALM members to volunteer (and swim). Talking from the deck and emailing the members are two good ways to do this.
- ⁃ We should get participating teams to help with the timing.
• Social Chair:
⁃ Jann and Kendall will work out the best date for the Holiday
The next meeting will be Thursday, December 8 at 7 pm.
3. Report on the Pacific Masters Annual Meeting
This year’s Pacific Masters Annual Luncheon and Meeting was held at the College of San Mateo. The college is a community college and has a beautiful campus in the hills above San Mateo.
The event began with a workout that was supervised by a group of top coaches. Of course the workout was in a beautiful pool.
The workout was followed by bagels and coffee.
Next, everyone moved to a lecture hall to hear a talk by a noted swim scientist, Dr. Rod Havriluk, the president of Swimming Technology Research. An internationally renowned expert on biomechanics as applied to aquatic sports, Dr. Havriluk’s talk was titled Swimming Science: Technique Misconceptions. We were all expecting to enjoy this lecture, but Dr. Havriluk began by showing an underwater picture of Michael Phelps swimming butterfly, and then telling us that this was picture of poor technique. He continued in this vein , showing all kinds of charts from his research combined with pictures of swimmers and computer generated images showing how the proper technique differs from the way people are actually swimming. More and more people were scratching their heads and asking pointed questions. I’m not sure what I got out of the lecture.
We all moved to a large room with a gorgeous view of the cities below us and the bay. Lunch was served: sandwiches, salads and cake. It wasn’t a gourmet meal, but there was plenty of food and no one went hungry.
After lunch, we were treated to talk by Dana Vollmer. Dana swam for Cal, and swam in three Olympics, winning medals in all of them, including breaking the world record for the 100 fly in London. Her husband and toddler son were also in attendance. Her son was born 18 months before the Rio Olympics. She told us her life story (she swam in her first Olympic Trials at the age of 12), and how she dealt with injuries and various problems which caused her to miss the 2008 Olympics (after swimming in the 2004 games). She also told us how she decided to make a comeback after her child was born and how difficult that was. She took many questions after her talk, and answered all of them graciously-even the question about Ryan Lochte (it seems he’s actually a nice guy).
After the talks there was a business meeting with reports about various activities of Pacmasters and budgetary numbers. This part was followed by awards to various people for their service to the organization. proud to receive an award for my volunteer work as an editor of the Pacific Masters Update, a biweekly newsletter which is emailed to all registered Pacmasters swimmers.
This years Annual Meeting coincided with the end of a three day coaches clinic held at the same location. Attendees were raving about the lectures given by Sheila Taormina (author and three-time Olympian in three different sports) and swim scientist and author, Ernie Maglischo. Unfortunately, I wasn’t at these lectures so I can’t make a report. I do own one of Mr. Maglischo’s books, “Swimming Faster.” (If I lent it to one of you, I would love to have it back).
The Pacific Masters Annual Meeting and Luncheon is free to all registered Pacmasters swimmers. I urge as many of you as are interested to make it
next year. CALM was noticeably under-represented.
4. Member profile: Jeremy Cohen
Jeremy Cohen: The Journey of a latter day Renaissance Man
Assistant coach, Jeremy Cohen, 68, has been swimming with our team —then SCAM—since 1971, the second year of SCAM’S existence. All along, he has been a tireless booster and tireless volunteer for almost anything to keep our team going, be it serving as Board President, or unofficial recruiter in his friendly, welcoming manner. He also has been a competitive athlete in Masters swim meets, his enthusiasm inspiring fellow swimmers to compete with him in those early years. (Open water swims never really grabbed him, perhaps because he’s always been a tall skinny drink of water who didn’t take well to cold.)
Still, his earliest intro to swimming was just as something to do on lazy summer days in Rhode Island. His father would drop him off at what he describes as “a modest low budget club” with an outdoor pool, where their family membership began when Jeremy was 11. He’d hang around all day—in the pool some—until his father retrieved him after work and took him home.
One day his father, noticing youngsters on a swim team in the club pool, asked his son if he had any interest in joining. “I guess so,” Jeremy answered. His father talked to the coach; the coach turned to Jeremy: “Would you mind swimming a lap for me?”
“And…? ” I asked.
“I was now the fastest eleven year old on the team,” he grins.
At 13, Jeremy had switched to a new club with an indoor pool, a year round swim team, and rigorous training. “By the time I was in high school, that club had the best guys from all over Rhode Island,” he recalls, and some remain friends even now. More than that, Jeremy still gets a kick out of the fact that years later his notoriety has lasted with guys he doesn’t remember. “They remembered me ‘cause I used to always beat them,” he grinned. “My senior year I didn’t lose a single race out of forty eight meets and set several pool records.”
In high school, and only 15 years old, he began a subscription to
Swimming World magazine. “The first cover I got was Mark Spitz!” (In the course of my friendship with Jeremy, I recall that he told me he’d identified with Spitz as an age group contemporary and followed Spitz’s career as they both matured into a Masters swimmers. Once, I think, Jeremy—in his senior prime—got pretty close to Spitz’s times, which thrilled him.)
That 15 year old quickly absorbed the famous names and their times, and who was who in the swimming world. In his zeal for world competitive swimming, Jeremy has always had an encyclopedic memory of swimming lore over the years, often sounding like the New York baseball fan who recites earned run averages and batting stats, or a track shill spouting odds.
Jeremy’s love of swimming, eagerness to head farther from home, and academic excellence led him to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (which had a winning swim team). Undaunted by the condescension of the swim coach—“He would remind me that he hadn’t recruited me”—he swam his heart and lungs out to keep up with his world class teammates six days/week, two or three hours a day. He says he realized he was not in their class, but was proud when, in the final meet that year he scored a point; a major accomplishment in such company.
Still, he accepted that he would not be another Mark Spitz. He describes Ann Arbor in those mid -60s as a cultural and political cauldron so very much like the Berkeley of that time. “The campus was a turmoil of protest and the hippie life style. MC5 was around with their revolutionary outlook; Iggy Pop—a Michigan high school grad—was opening for bands.” He describes becoming alienated from the academic rigors of his Economics major—increasingly not who he was.
“It was time to do something different.” He stopped cutting his hair, and became a very bushy young man—a veritable Furry Freak Brother. His alienation (except from music and a girl friend) was compounded with depression when, at 19 the tragic death of a female cousin from asthma sent him spiraling.
He dropped out of the University in the turbulent year of 1968 at the height of the Vietnam War. (Although his depression was real, his appointments with a shrink, he admits, also served the purpose to getting him out of the Vietnam draft). His parents didn’t upbraid him for dropping out. “My parents were very smart people, and very nice. There was no need for me to rebel against them. My mother was such a booster of me, if I were a murderer, she’d go out and brag about how great a murderer I was.”
While he drifted away from swimming, he was buoyed by another passion integral to Jeremy to this day: his love of all kinds of music. His musical talent, fostered by his prescient parents who had taken him to a music store when he was only 10 years old and asked him (as they did with his siblings) what instrument he would like to learn to play, had led him to the U of Mich. orchestra playing classical music. But in his hippie days he began going to clubs and joining bands, playing rock or folk—“I didn’t care which,” he says. His musician history also includes playing in a modern Klezmer group (originally, Jewish music of Eastern Europe; but today, in the West, at least, modernized) along with rock, folk and jazz groups.
Jeremy ended up heading to California with a girlfriend; briefly to L.A., and then up to the Bay Area. Solo by then, he auditioned for a band in Berkeley who were living in a group household. He joined the band and the household. He was playing bass guitar”for hours and hours, playing along with radio,” he says. He wasn’t in school and began feeling uncomfortable about that. Perusing a Cal summer school catalogue he noticed there were no pre-requisites to get in. He signed up for two classes, one, poetry and the other, music. Along the way found an untraditional teacher who became his mentor. He was turned on to education again, but sagely waited until he became a resident before applying to Cal in 1971, ultimately graduating with a music degree.
That auspicious year of 1971 also saw Jeremy find something more than a helpful mentor in an even more fortuitous turn for the swimming prodigy and musical everyman: he signed up for a class in contemporary Polish literature in translation to meet a requirement for his music degree. The class was taught by the great poet and prose writer Czeslaw Milosz (later to win the Nobel for literature). “I’d looked at the reading list and some of the books I’d already read,” Jeremy recalled, ” and I met Jane in that class!”
“It was a small class,” Jeremy begins, narrating what follows with obvious satisfaction and wonder over this happy chapter of his life. “We were checking each other out from the beginning; then one day, we left class at the same time and just took each other’s hand. We both had really big hair. I remember she was wearing a patchwork skirt. And…we kissed on the stairs.”
Years later, in 1980 shortly after Milosz won his Nobel, Jeremy ran into him at Toots Sweet in Berkeley around the corner from his and Jane’s home. Jeremy says he approached the poet and congratulated him.
“Thank you, ” said the professor.
“I’m not congratulating you for the Nobel prize,” Jeremy said, “but because I met my wife in your class we both took, and now she’s the mother of our child.” The poet smiled back. Like Jeremy and Jane, he had only one child–a boy. (Jane has a career as a voice coach and technique specialist for jazz and opera singers. These days, she’s also become a crack fisherwoman, going out can catching her and Jeremy’s dinner in lakes, estuaries…et al. She loves being on the water, if not in it
like her husband).
After swimming 100 laps most days during rec swim at the Strawberry Canyon pool, one day Jeremy saw a notice about the Strawberry Canyon Aquatic Masters (SCAM). He signed up and rediscovered the joy of competitive swimming. He was having fun, competing like mad and doing well, winning points for the team. His strategy for winning points: “[At most meets] everyone enters the 200 free. I decided I’m going to enter the event right after that—no matter what it is. One meet I won a 50 back, which is NOT my stroke. I’d do a 200 fly, or 400 IM.”
In 2010 life threw a punch at Jeremy: he was diagnosed with bladder cancer. Major surgery in 201l kept him hospitalized for six weeks. “But as soon as I could,” he said, “I was back the pool.” Another illness—one that puzzled doctors—saw him in the hospital again the following year. Eventually he got better but was left with nagging neuropathy and a lot of pain, especially in his feet. Still he swam—with socks and fins. And he walked. And he got better. “The pain specialist I saw along the way said that the reason I’m getting better is because I tried to get better,” he says, “it hurt, but now I can park blocks from my destination and manage to walk to and from where I’m going.”
And one other thing about Jeremy: he’s a computer genius. Taught himself how (his son works up in Washington State in Microsoft land). Says it was a breeze.
Jeremy Cohen: the 21st Century Renaissance man. ________________________
5. And in other news…
• The annual CALM HOLIDAY PARTY, our premier social
event, will be held the evening of SATURDAY,
gift exchange that is always a highlight of the evening.
- Among top swimmers listed in the program at the PMS Annualmeeting, are our own Kate Coleman in the Open Water Division, andKim Larson in the Open Water Wetsuit Division.
- On Saturday morning, Nov. 19, three brave CALM swimmersundertook the Brute Squad swim (swim a 200 fly, 400 IM and 1650 free back to back without stopping): Pamela Waxman (the only Board member to take up the challenge—what can I say, we’re all wimps), Angela Andelson and Ryan Monaghan. Kudos to you, guys! Your teammates are in awe, and not worthy!
⁃ (Below left to right: Brute Squad day dawns auspiciously at Golden Bear; Coaches Tiffany and Kendall supervise the action; Angela Andelson finishes the Brute Squad swim)
• Next up, the 400 kick for time postal challenge. Those up for that one
will be doing it at workouts on Thursday, December 15.
- Coach Tiffany attended the coaching clinic that preceded the PMS Annual Meeting (see article above). If you’re interested in checking out materials from the presentations including the perhaps somewhat abstruse lecture of Dr. Rod Havriluk referred to in the article above, here’s a link: https://vumc.app.box.com/s/ fxrp6j0se5eqzbu8vrm0i8pfoi59quik
- It’s USMS membership renewal time. Join or renew before December 31, keep yourself eligible for for meets, open water swims and other fun events (like the Brute Squad. Hah!) and maybe help CALM win the membership sign-up contest. Click this link to sign up or renew: http://www.usms.org/reg/________________________________ 6. Letters to the editor[e-mail letters with subject line “Dear Waterlog” to firstname.lastname@example.org; please specify if you want your letter to appear signed or anonymously]