March 2024 News


Meet Report – 2023 Spring Nationals Irvine, CA

May 23, 2023  in Aqua Master Online / Events / Meet Summary by Arlene Delmage

Oregon swimmers were treated to a fast and furious Spring Nationals in Irvine, CA.  Forty-three swimmers headed south to compete in the 2023 Short Course Yards Nationals held at the Woollett Aquatic Center.  The facility underwent a $2 million renovation which included upgrades to the scoreboards for each of the two 50-meter pools as well as locker room improvements and additional shade structure. This was the largest swim meet in USMS history with nearly 2500 swimmers.  Ten lanes of competition were run simultaneously in two 50 meter pools (set up in short course yards).  Amongst the participants were 23 former and current Olympians including our own Kurt Grote and Margaret Toppel both of whom swim with the MAC Club.

There were many outstanding swims by Team Oregon and many National Champions.  The top 3 point scorers for Team Oregon were Joy Ward with 55 points, and Bob Bruce and Sara Shepherd both with 48 points.  Swimmers were limited to a total of 5 individual events.  A first place finish earns 11 points.  The most a swimmer could earn is 55 points so Joy Ward must have had a perfect meet!  Congratulations Joy.  She is a National Champion five times over.

We also want to give a big shout out to our amazing coaches Tim Waud (who spent many long days at the pool coaching and cheering for all of us), and Brent Washburne who had the arduous task of putting all the relays together.  We are very grateful for you both.

Out of 273 clubs entered, OREG placed 8th! If you only look at regional clubs (20 entered) OREG placed 4th!!

Congratulations to our Oregon stars for this meet:

Joy Ward – 2 Nat’l records, 5 Zone records, 5 OR records

Margaret Toppel – 1 Nat’l record, 3 Zone records, 3 OR records

Bob Bruce – 3 Zone records, 4 OR records

Jane Nichols – 2 Zone records, 2 OR records

Sara Shepherd – 1 Zone record, 4 OR records

Arlene Delmage – 1 Zone record, 2 OR records

Women’s 75+ Relays – 2 Nat’l records, 2 Zone records, 2 OR records  (Sandi Rousseau, Joy Ward, Jane Nichols, Margaret Toppel)


Meet Report – 2023 NorthWest Zone Champs

  in Aqua Master Online / Events / Meet Summary by Aqua Master Editor

submitted by Valerie Jenkins

A strong contingent of 33 Oregon Masters swimmers ventured to Federal Way, WA April 15th and 16th to compete in the Pacific Northwest Zone Championship meet.  The ages of our team spanned 23 (Matty McComish) to 100 (Wink Lamb).  With 270 swimmers participating, it provided great competition and fast swimming.  Some of the Oregon team members were using this as a warm-up for the upcoming Spring Nationals in Irvine, or trying out new events, or preparing for our Oregon Association Championship in May.

Highlights for Team Oregon included numerous new OMS and Zone Records and 12 new National Records! Hearty congratulations to Colette Crabbe, Joy Ward and Wink Lamb for setting new National Records!

Colette knocked off .03 seconds in the 50 breaststroke with a new record of 36.55 for the 65-69 age group.  Joy conquered both Individual Medley events in her new age 80-84 group with a 3:43.60 in the 200 IM and a 7:54.93 in the 400 IM.  This was the first short course yard meet for Wink as a 100-year-old, so he set the following National records while swimming 6 events (thankfully official splits count as official times):

50 backstroke 1:00.22

100 backstroke 2:17.43

200 backstroke 4:41.83

50 freestyle 52.18

100 freestyle 2:09.56

200 freestyle 4:32.38

500 freestyle 12:14.04

1000 freestyle 24:52.32

1650 freestyle 41:11.26

Overall, it was great to see each other on the pool deck again, as well as meet new teammates!


Ready for our biggest and most fun swim meet of the season?

  in Aqua Master Online / Fitness / Health / Motivation by Colette Crabbe

Our Association meet in Bend, May 19th to 21st

If you only participate in one pool meet this year, this is the one to do. This is the one where you will represent your workout group and where you will enjoy the company of your teammates. There is even a competition for team spirit.

Why participate?

If you are novice and have been working out from the beginning of the year, it might be the occasion to see where you are at.

This is a competition where everybody is welcome from the youngest 18 year old to our oldest 100 year old, from the fastest to the slowest competitors, from the experienced pool swimmers to the first timers, to the open water or water polo swimmers.

This is an opportunity to better know your teammates as you may not always attend the same workouts or even the same pools for the bigger teams. Even if you are swimming together, you might be in a different lane, or your coach might not give you enough time to talk!!!

On Saturday, there is a social where you will also meet swimmers from different teams but who share the same passion for swimming.

This year it is in Bend, one of the best playgrounds in Central Oregon. Come and enjoy what Bend has to offer. It is also hosted by one of the most welcoming swim teams in our area.

Now if you have not registered yet, it is time to do it as the registration is closing soon.  Register here!

From a practical point of view, here are a few tips to follow if you want to have a good first experience:

This is Central Oregon, and this is an outdoor pool. Be ready for any type of weather! Bring your coat, parka, hats and mittens, enough dry clothes and towels, socks, shoes, flipflops. You will be miserable if you are cold and wet. It can also be sunny, don’t forget the sunscreen, sunglasses, and hat.

It is also recommended to bring your own chair. There will be some bleachers but they are cold and not comfortable.

Bring your own healthy food. The swim meet will probably last until the middle of the afternoon. It is better to eat and drink in small quantities between races. Masters meets usually do not have any food concessions, be ready!!

Don’t stress about it! It’s OK to be DQ’ed, it is OK to skip races, it is OK not to dive or do flip turns. It will not be in the newspaper on Monday! Your teammates will help and support you. It will get better as the meet goes along; you need to get that FIRST race out of your system.

Remember you are setting up your new benchmarks. If you have not been in competition for a while, forget about those old times, they are old! If you are getting up in age, you are resetting your benchmarks every five years. If you have been injured or out of the water, enjoy those new times and being able to compete again.

As we are getting into the last two weeks before the meet, it is time to sleep more, eat healthier, decrease your mileage but increase your speed in the pool, practice your turns and streamlines. Review the rules of competition.

Bring your family along to cheer you on. The hosting team might also appreciate their help if they can be timers for awhile.

I am always looking forward to the Association Meet and to make new friends. Enjoy and have fun in Bend.

Swimmer Spotlight – Jeff Foster & Susie Haufler 

  in Aqua Master Online / Biography / Featured / Human Interest / Special / Spotlight by Karen Andrus-Hughes

Name: Jeff Foster & Susie Haufler
Age: 56 & 65

Occupation:  Retired Systems Analyst, Retired Designer

Team: Stafford Hills Club, Tualatin Oregon

Jeff Foster & Susie Haufler

Jeff and I are new to Oregon, having planned to move from the San Francisco Bay Area to Portland in 1992. We finally made it happen in January of 2022! Of course our first concern upon relocating was finding a masters team, ideally at an outdoor pool. We were lucky to find Stafford Hills Club in Tualatin, Oregon, where we are coached by three accomplished swimmers; Mike Self, Francie Haffner, and Karen Andrus-Hughes. We were warmly welcomed there by a great group of swimmers and will be competing with many of them at the upcoming OMS Championships in Bend.  We work out 3x a week at 5:45 a.m. and also swim during the summer months in the Willamette River with the River Huggers, an affiliate of the Human Access Project which is a non-profit organization dedicated to the restoration and promotion of the river as one of Portland’s most enjoyable natural resources.

One of the first things you might notice about Jeff and myself is our somewhat significant age difference. We are often asked, “Where did you meet? How did you meet?” Well, that is a story for another day, but it was not in the pool! It actually wasn’t until three months into our relationship that I noticed that Jeff could *really* swim. I had been swimming since age 4, following in the footsteps of my two older brothers, Jim and Steve Haufler. We all swam as kids with the West Contra Costa Piranhas under our beloved coaches Fred and Bill Brown at Canyon Pool in El Sobrante, California. Both of my brothers became master swimmers after competing in college. Jim dipped his toes into open water, swimming Alcatraz, and Steve has devoted his entire life to coaching, and has been the Aquatics Director and Head Swim Coach at Orinda Country Club in Orinda California for the past 20+ years. I swam through high school doing my fastest ever (and never to be repeated) 100 Free of 56.2, and then into college, one year of which was in 1975 at UCSB, where my brother Steve was my coach! We were definitely a swimming family, with every vacation spent in or around water. Whether water skiing, swimming, fishing, or hiking in Yosemite along stream beds, it all seemed to be about water.

Jeff, however, while also having joined a swim team as a six & under at Montclair Swim Club in Oakland California, had hung up his goggles by age nine! He didn’t return to competitive swimming until much much later in 2012 when I finally convinced him to join me for a masters workout. He had watched me compete in a masters meet on the UC Berkeley campus and remembered how fun it was. We went on to swim together with a large, diverse and boisterous masters team for the next 10+ years, (MEMO, Marcia’s Enthusiastic Masters of Oakland), coached by the inimitable Marcia Benjamin. Marcia taught us how to train seasonally, preparing for each swimming season specifically. She tailored our workouts, readying us for whatever event was on the horizon, from short course yards meets to long course meters, to a summer series of open water competitions. We both had a smattering of Top-10 Pacific times every year and I finally squeaked into 10th in the USMS in the 1500 SCM Free in 2018. We both developed a love for distance events, especially open water swimming. We swam in all of the Pacific Masters open water events including one our favorites, swimming the length of beautiful Donner Lake. We also did the Tahoe relay in 2019 with some of our MEMO teammates, (see photo of our ‘hand off’). In 2018 we helped our good friend Craig Coombs train for his record breaking 14.9 mile swim around the entirety of Alameda Island by buddying up with him for portions of that distance. We had fun dropping into a few miles of the swim to keep Craig company and help him pace. Jeff eventually circumnavigated the island, albeit on separate days! Then, during the pandemic when all of our local pools closed, we swam in the San Francisco Bay, primarily from the beach in Alameda.



To briefly cover our past, present and future outside of swimming…

We met in 1986 and have been married for 32 years. We have two grown kids. Our eldest Henry is a Radiologist doing his residency in New York, and our daughter Natalie is a rowing coach and Boathouse Manager for Oakland Strokes.

Jeff has a B.S. in Computer Science from Humboldt State University, and worked as a Systems Analyst at SGI, Lucas Films, and finally at UC Berkeley for the past 22 years. He is now happily retired and is enjoying gardening, printmaking, working on various electronic music and video art projects, and doing many improvements to our new home in Hillsdale.  I have a B.A. from UC Berkeley in Architecture and worked in a variety of positions in and out of the design field, although I always considered my main job as mom to our two kids. I’ve been a paper marbler since 1987 and am looking forward to teaching workshops here in my home studio. I am also an inveterate ‘junker’, buying and selling collectibles on ebay. On that note, let me know if you are having a yard sale!


Two New Vancouver-Area Masters Teams 

  in Aqua Master Online / Featured / Human Interest / Team Updates by Aqua Master Editor

In January of 2023 a new masters team was launched in Vancouver, WA, at the Clark County YMCA.  The new team, Clark County YMCA Masters (CCYM) offers workouts Monday through Saturday. The team is led by head coach David Crippen with assistance from Colette Crabbe, Arlene Delmage, and Valerie Jenkins.

The small but enthusiastic group has really enjoyed getting to know one another and working out together. We are excited to be bringing a small group to the Association Meet in Bend in May.

A second workout group also started around the same time.  Gold Aquatics Club Masters (GACC) is a workout group in Camas Washington. The team trains in the 8-lane 25m pool at the former Lacamas Athletic Club, now Gold’s Gym Camas. Workout times are 10-11 AM Monday-Friday and 8-9 AM on Saturday. The group has about 25 members and typically has 12-15 swimmers at each workout. The team is coached by Westley Mejias.

Clark County YMCA Masters teammates and coaches

Gold Aquatics Club Masters after a workout

Jeff Commings Breaststroke Clinic 

  in Aqua Master Online / Breaststroke / Clinics / Coaching / Events by Aqua Master Editor

Oregon Masters Swimming held a breaststroke clinic on May 6 at the Parkrose Swim Center in Portland, with Masters world and national record holder Jeff Commings as host. Jeff was an eight-time NCAA All-American swimmer at the University of Texas and a three-time U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials competitor in the 100-meter breaststroke (1992, 1996, 2012).

Masters swimmers from across the state took part in this clinic which focused on three breaststroke essentials:

1)    Timing
2)    Body Position
3)    Grabbing Water

Jeff stressed that timing is the most important skill in breaststroke. Swimmers should make sure that the arm pull and leg kick are separate actions. Once the arm stroke is near completion, the leg kick will propel the swimmer into a streamline position with the arms reaching forward. The streamline position is the most efficient part of the swim. To practice timing, swimmers worked on the arm stroke while using the flutter kick. Swimmers were able to work on sweeping out and sweeping in while extending their arms into a streamline position.

The body position in breaststroke should be more horizontal than vertical. The less resistance in body position makes for a smoother stroke. Be careful not to bring the arms too far under chest.  Before swimming a length of breaststroke, drape your arms over a lane line with your body in a horizontal position while initiating the breaststroke pull. The lane line will keep you from pulling too far under your horizontal body and allow you to keep the arms out in front of your body. A few simple drills are using flutter kick with breaststroke arms to work on fast hands moving forward into a streamline, and using a dolphin kick with breaststroke arms to work on horizontal body position and timing of the stroke. Be careful not to bring your knees up under your body.

The hands should feel like you are grabbing the water. Imagine a large bowl of ice cream, big enough for you to reach into, and scoop ice cream with your hands starting at the edge of the bowl. Continue to scoop to the bottom of the bowl and use your hands to present a large scoop of ice cream in front of your body. This grabbing and holding onto the water should continue through the entire arm stroke.



During warm up, practice grabbing the water with your hands while using a small flutter kick to keep the body balanced and horizontal in the water. Once you have mastered grabbing the water, change to a dolphin kick to work on the timing of the stroke. The leg kick also plays an important role in breaststroke. You should feel like you are grabbing the water with the bottoms of your feet. Practice using your legs to kick ‘around’ while using your feet to scoop and grab the water. Complete the kick by closing your legs together.

Use these three breaststroke essentials to improve your swims. Practicing breaststroke drills on a regular basis will help improve your feel for the water. Use warm up and cool down swims to refine the arm movement and leg kick. When possible, take video of your swims so you can make immediate corrections.