Recently featured on the local television station ShawTV Okanagan, the Okanagan Masters are pleased to be hosting this year’s Provincial Championships. If you haven’t had a chance to sign-up for the meet you can do so through their website.
And if you are looking for a place to stay the club has organized a discount at the local Sandman Hotel. For more information go here
Have a peek at their television debut!
Caught! And caught again! Where is he? Coach Leon checks the pool’s bottom. Not there! All eyes turn to Crystal Pool’s hot tub and sighs of relief are heard….there he is, basking in the glorious heat of the hot tub. Coach laughs and says, “Thank goodness practice is almost over.”
The tall, silver-haired, and silver-tongued gentleman that inspires me to come to swim practice every day, and shake on the blocks during a race, is 90 year-old Peter Lofts.
Peter lived in Kelowna in the 80’s and only played at swimming by entering several once-a-year Senior Games where he loved winning medals. Especially gold. Bit by bit, those games gave him the bug!
In 2001, after the loss of his beloved wife, Betty, Peter moved to Victoria to live closer to his children. At the young age of 78, he decided to swim seriously and joined the Victoria Crystal Silver Streaks with the hopes of staying in top physical condition…but, secretly he needed more medals for his trophy wall.
Over the years Peter has cheerfully come to practice, attended swim meets with enthusiasm and set various new records. In addition to life’s ups and downs, Peter accomplished these feats in spite of his prolonged and scary cancer battle and the loss of the lovely Mary, his cruise partner who he met at a Victoria ball room dance club. Thankfully, Peter’s doctor has declared him cancer free and that soars him to higher heights.
Peter, with lots of hard work, managed to achieve and maintain Canadian records at each age level. His last age groups were no exception; between the ages of 85-89, he held the Canadian record for the 50 and 400 freestyle and as a 90 year old, he holds the Canadian record for both the 50 and 100 freestyle. Peter is persistent and dedicated.
A few years ago, thinking outside the box, the slim Englishman found our pool too cold, but rather than stop swimming, he purchased a short sexy warm-up suit…so now the team swims with a sleek and racy dolphin.
Peter has been through major health issues, the loss of loved ones and the hard knocks of plain life but still comes to sit around our pre-practice round table discussions with a twinkle in his bright brown eyes, ready to offer his opinion as we solve our world’s problems. Or, with his proper English accent, correct our grammar when needed. With a smile, of course, as we head to the waiting aqua waters of Crystal.
Peter Lofts is a delightful man with a mission and a drive that inspires me and our team to continue to grow in this sport and know that it can only be good…all good!
submitted by Carolyn Henderson
Do you know a swimmer who has achieved a little something extra ordinary this year, or contributed to Masters Swimming a little more than others? Tell us. MSABC wants to know!
Each year MSABC gives an award to two of our members:
- the Ted Simpson Achievement Award and
- the Stan Powell Memorial Service Award.
Ted Simpson was a valued coach of the Vancouver Y Torpedoes from 1960 – 67 and later a Masters coach. He showed interest in all who came under his tutelage, made swimming fun and made swimmers feel good about themselves. He valued achievement in all forms. The Ted Simpson Achievement Award is a fitting memorial to Ted and how he lived his life.
You can nominate one of your MSABC teammates for distinguished results in this swim season by emailing the MSABC President. Results from Worlds, Nationals, Provincials, and local meets, improvement in personal best times, overcoming injury, illness and/or disability will all be considered for this award. The recipient will be announced at the Provincial’s Banquet and have their name engraved on the Ted Simpson trophy as well as receive a framed MSABC limited edition print.
Stan Powell participated in a variety of sports as both an athlete and as a secondary school level coach throughout his life. He believed one should give something back to the community for the enjoyment received by participating in sports. With this in mind, Stan was personally involved with swimming, water polo, basketball and baseball. He gave freely of his time by volunteering for sport and saw Masters swimming as a lifestyle.
Upon Stan’s death in November 1999 his family requested donations to establish a suitable memorial.
The Stan Powell Memorial Service Award is a fitting tribute to his memory.
You can nominate one of your MSABC teammates for their contribution to the betterment of Masters Swimming in British Columbia and/or service to Masters Swimming by emailing the MSABC President. The recipient will be announced at the Provincial’s Banquet and have their name engraved on a large oak perpetual shield as well as receive a smaller plaque.
DEADLINE FOR NOMINATIONS IS APRIL 10, 2014
I swim with White Rock WAVE and a fellow swimmer who inspires me is Elsa De Leeuw.
I first met Elsa eight years ago when I joined the swim club. I joined the club in my mid-thirties after having sustained an injury from long distance running. I felt joining a swim club, and learning to swim properly would replace the cardio workout of running and also give me a valuable life skill.
On my first day in the pool, imagine my surprise as 82 year old Elsa proceeded to lap me repeatedly . She seemed to skim effortlessly across the surface of the water.
I, on the other hand, choked and sputtered my way thru the workout. I drank so much of the pool that bathroom breaks were mandatory half way thru the practice. I didn’t understand the hierogylphics of the workout board. There were four different strokes and so much to think about. More than once quitting crossed my mind.
All thru this Elsa was so kind and encouraging. She took me under her wing. She explained what the workout board meant and she gave me thoughtful, genuine compliments when she noticed improvements. She encouraged me to “keep at it”. Sometimes when I was truly ready to “throw in the towel”, I’d find a card from Elsa on top of my swim bag. Inside the card were inspiring words that with practice and patience there was light at the end of the tunnel.
Elsa kept me going during my darkest days of swimming!
Elsa is now 90 years old and I smile when I see her taking another new swimmer under her wing. I could say I find Elsa inspiring because she is 90 years old, still is a beautiful swimmer and holds many BC and Canadian records. However, that is not why I find Elsa inspiring.
I find Elsa inspiring because of her love of the sport of swimming and her willingness to pass her love of the sport along to others.
I now call myself a swimmer, swim 3x per week and no longer miss running. I can honestly say I love swimming! I know this love of swimming was inspired and made possible in a large part by Elsa De Leeuw!
– Submitted by Dr. Cheryl Tuira