Aqua Notes - The Race Club

Speedo Swim Miami 2005

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Already on my first weekend down in Islamorada with the Race Club, after 4 weeks summer break (“tradition” in Switzerland after the Swiss National Championships held in July), and after only 3 easy workouts, I went to Miami for the Open Water Speedo Swim meet on Saturday, August 27, 2005, together with Anthony Ervin.

Anthony and I left our house in Islamorada the day before, as we both don’t like to get up early in the morning (meet started at 9:00 a.m.). So we drove down to Miami in the early evening of Friday, to spend the night at Gary’s house.

On Saturday, at exactly 9:00 a.m., without having done any warm-up and not really feeling ready to do this 1 mile open water swim as early in the morning as 9:00 a.m., the race started with an impressive number of participants. We had to swim one round of the circuit which had been set out. The first straight I just wanted to get out of the crowd without losing too much energy already at the beginning (take it as a short warm-up). Read more


From Switzerland to Islamorada

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Last summer after graduating from my 4 years of study in Trade and Commerce, I decided to make my dream come true and focus on swimming for at least one year. What I want to find out in this time is, if I can go further in swimming than “only” Swiss National Championships or if I just love this sport and have fun with a couple of workouts a week.

So I began to write Emails to leading swimming clubs all over Europe to find a place I could stay for a while in a professional surrounding with professional workouts. As a fan of Gary Hall Jr., the Race Club was always in my head and on top of my list, but everybody around me told me that I would never be accepted to stay over there. Encouraged by my former American coach, Chris Morgan, and because I always go my own way, I decided to try it anyway. And look where I am now!! Read more


Ha Cha Cha

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“Hey,” I say. What’s going down. Big congratulations to Anthony Ervin and Nicolas Messer on the new Race Club record. As a team effort the three of us landed a grouper that tipped the scales at over 50 pounds, the largest fish in Race Club history. How it happened.

The three of us set out on The Race Club clipper looking for good times and fish, heading towards the Bahamas. We swam tirelessly throughout the day. Then, in the early afternoon we found a reef system teeming with life. We anchored and swam out scouting the perimeter. I located a decent sized grouper and shot it, splintering it’s tail. It swam for a ledge and made it. I shot it again through a hole in the ledge. The grouper was too large to pull out through the hole so I called for help and Anthony speared the fish again from under the ledge and we got the fish out and to the boat. I dove down to take a deeper look into this ledge. I tell you now before God that I saw a mighty fin. Not knowing the size of the beast I shot and made contact. My pole spear shook violently, thrashing back and forth as a combination of sand from the bottom and blood filled the waters around me. “Holy Indian!” I surfaced. Read more


Mission Viejo Master’s Nationals

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For the second time in two years, the Race Club was represented at the Master’s National Championships. Last year, we were at the Spring Nationals in Indianapolis and this summer, at Mission Viejo, for the long course Championships. Of course, last year, with the Olympics, we had a group of the world’s fastest sprinters training with us and so the Race Club made a pretty big splash (they were still talking about it in Mission).This summer, Gary Jr and I represented the Race Club, and Gary did most of the splashing (with a world record in the 50 m fly). Like everyone else at the meet, we both had a blast!

First of all, kudos to Mark Moore, the coach of the Nadadores Master’s program and the meet organizer and host! It seemed the meet could not have been run any better. The meet volunteers to all the services provided and the great reception dinner were superb! Even Mark’s surfer-dude son and beautiful daughter devoted their entire weekend to helping their dad (good training, dad!). As expected, the southern California weather cooperated beautifully. Read more


The Fantasy Camp

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For the first time in my life, I went to camp this summer; Swimming camp that is! Now, that may not be a big deal for most kids but for a 52 year old masters swimmer, (who less then 2 years ago was reintroduced back to swimming after 32 years), that’s a big deal.

My swimming career wasn’t much in the first place. I never swam in college and progressed modestly in high school. What made this week even more special and exciting was that I spent it with Gary Hall Jr. – a three time Olympian, and his “Race Club” crew which included another Olympian, Coach – John Olsen and Andy our inspirational strength and fitness coach, Steve our friendly New Zealand helper (and family friend) and the whole Hall family. Read more


The World Master’s Games

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Last week I swam in my first competition since 1997 at the World Master’s Games in Edmonton, Alberta. I must tell you that the entire experience was incredibly fun, but the competition was definitely a rude awakening. Most of us have heard about the concept of being in “race shape.” Well, that was clearly where I was not.

Each year it gets a little bit harder to fool your body into believing it can still race, and this nearly 54 year old body was not about to be fooled. Having worked out only three times per week for the past year and a half, I certainly was in no position to have delusions of grandeur. Nonetheless, almost as if someone upstairs is teasing me a bit, every so often, I actually feel pretty good in practice; good enough to think that I might still be able to get up and race. Racing has a way of quickly bringing one back to reality. Read more


Camp Race Club: A Family Affair

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I’ve always thought that a family run business would be the best kind of business to have. Not that our family always gets along. The fact is, when you raise a bunch of strong-willed athletic children, you consider yourself lucky to get through a family dinner without a major fight breaking out. But since none of my six elected to follow their father into the field of medicine, thereby breaking the string of three generations of doctors, I decided, ”if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”

This year, after 50,000 plus eye surgeries spanning a 24-year career, I am retiring from ophthalmology. Well, not quite. I am changing my focus from the surgical treatment of eye disease to the prevention of eye disease. One of my pet peeves of ophthalmology is that day after day I see solar-related eye diseases galore; cataract, macular degeneration, pterygium, lid cancer etc. Yet not many out there in the world get it. They don’t understand how damaging the sun is to the eye. So I am going to try to change that and hopefully, prevent some of these serious eye diseases for future generations. More about this in a moment… Read more


Elizabeth’s Empanadas

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In the year leading to the Olympics, I served as a sort of den mother to the athletes training with my husband, Gary, in Islamorada. I cooked, cleaned and generally made sure that everyone was getting what they wanted and needed and that they were happy and comfortable. From my experience with Gary, I realize that rest-time is as important as the workout. A swimmer needs to eat good food and have adequate rest.

Fortunately, I LOVE to cook!

One week, after a weekend spent together at home in Miami, I sent Gary down to Islamorada with a batch of empanadas. Sabir Mohammed has recently requested the recipe. Apparently, he liked these tasty little meat-filled pies. Read more


Opening Camp Race Club

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We are getting close to opening Camp Race Club. The coaches and swimmers and folks that have signed up are really excited about this. Here at The Race Club we continue our efforts to promote the sport of swimming. We support top level swimmers that are in a position to promote the sport and advance the sport through faster swimming. We provide what I feel is the optimum training environment. We look to bring out the best in our swimmers and the sport.

Thank you to all of you that have sent in emails. I do try to get back to everyone but there are so many and I have been so busy. But keep them coming, I love to hear from you.

Natalie Coughlin posted The Race Club’s most flattering comment on the US Swimming website when she mentioned that she would like to come down at some point to train. Thank you Natalie! Know that you are always welcome here for any amount of time. As a matter of fact, let me know when you would like to come down. Terri McKeever (Natalie’s coach) is welcome to come down as well. Read more


Ann Peters – Diabetes

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Olympics 2004: Gary Hall, Jr and Diabetes

August 10, 2004 Los Angeles, before Athens

Our patients often teach us more than we could ever teach them. Gary Hall, Jr, currently an 8 time Olympic medal winner, is one such patient. I was there with him when he won four of those medals, and am heading to Athens to see if he can win more. This is the first in a series of reports as I start on my journey to the birthplace of the modern Olympics and is a recounting of the past 6 years as the physician on the team of an elite athlete.

The Olympics are in Gary’s blood. His father, Gary Hall, Sr, is a three time Olympian and an uncle on his mother’s side was on an Olympic team. All swimmers, built with long lean muscles. But Gary also has some extra-fast twitch muscle mass that makes him a fantastic sprinter. His best race, the 50-meter freestyle sprint, is, as he puts it, the classic race that every kid who leaps into the water with his best friend and challenges ”race you to the other side” is talking about. The event is one lightening fast flash of eight men, springing into graceful action, leaping from the starting blocks, churning through the water, hearts beating, lungs breaking, racing until they hit the wall. The difference between winning and losing is measured in hundredths of a second. Hard to tell who wins from watching; only the electronic scoreboard knows for sure. Read more