2012 Georgia Championship Series Award

2012 Georgia Championship Series Award

2013 Georgia Championship Series Award

2013 Georgia Championship Series Award

For the second year in a row, I won the Georgia Championship Series for my age group. This series is a United States Masters Swimming year-long competition that takes place in the state of Georgia. The trophy is awarded to the swimmer in each age group with the most accumulated points in a designated short course yards (25-yard pool) swim meet, long course meters (50-meter pool) meet, open water competition, and short course meters (25-meter pool) meet. To qualify, a swimmer has to participate in at least three of those four competitions throughout the year.

By no means am I the fastest swimmer in my age group. The way I win is by competing at all four events, swimming the maximum amount of races allowed at the pool meets, and racing the hardest events that most women my age would never attempt. Last year, only 16 women in the country in the 50-54 year old age group competed in the 200 meter long course butterfly, and 24 raced the 400 meter individual medley.

At the open water competition, I raced the 3K and 1K back-to-back both years and discovered how much I really enjoy swimming long distance events!

The Lotto motto is, “You can’t win if you don’t play.” My motto is, “You can’t win if you don’t show up!” Of course, for me, I also can’t win unless I race all of the difficult events that nobody else wants to swim. How else do you think I win 1st places in those tough events? I’m the only one in my age group crazy enough to race them!

I’m not that slow; however, there are a couple of my teammates who are Top Ten swimmers in the country. The gal who won high points at the first 2014 Georgia Championship Series meet is #1 in the country and used to swim for UGA (University of Georgia). At least I beat out the other three gals to place second for the meet.

Winning two years in a row was a combination of hard work, motivation, endurance, having tons of fun, and being lucky enough that the faster gals didn’t show up to all of the meets. This year, it looks like Ms. #1 is planning on competing at every meet—including the open water competition. Oh well, she’s a super nice gal and an awesomely fast swimmer.

It was great while it lasted!


For a town that averages two inches of snow per year and had no snow in 2013, this has been quite a frosty year!

We were housebound yesterday from an ice storm that caused thousands to lose power to their homes. Thankfully, our utilities are underground, so we stayed warm and toasty.

This was the scene this morning:




As a Southern California girl, snow isn’t something I have experienced very often. Before moving to Griffin, Georgia, I could count on one hand the times I had ever seen snow either falling or on the ground, and I had only seen it actually snow once. Since moving to Griffin in 2009, this is the second good snow storm we have had. Just like in 2011, this storm is expected to leave us with a few inches of snow on the ground, just enough to build a snowman just as Bruce and I had done during our 2011 storm.

Bruce and I just returned home from a rehearsal for a play (ironically, he performs “Summertime” in the prologue) that is supposed to be performed tomorrow and Thursday. I say “supposed to,” because we all just might become housebound due to black ice!

As I sit here writing this post, the snow is falling, and the temperature is 29 degrees and on its way to a low of 18. The predicted temperature for Saturday is 64/50! Is this crazy or what? Normal temperatures for this time of year are mid-50′s for the high and low-30′s for the low.

Here are some pictures taken just before returning home:







Never in my life would it have occured to me that I could experience colder temperatures in Griffin, Georgia than in Qaqortoq, Greenland. After all, when I stepped off the cruise ship in Qaqortoq it was a frosty 19 degrees, the coldest temperature this Southern California girl had ever endured. I ended up adding my nose to the list of body parts affected by Raynaud’s, thanks to a full day spent hiking up and down the hills exploring the town on that frigid day. What a wimp I was! The local boys rode around on their bikes with opened flannel shirts blowing in the breeze and just a t-shirt on underneath.

More than five years later, here I am in the deep South laughing at 19 degrees! Last night before turning in, reported a temperature of 17 degrees with a “feels like” temperature at 5 degrees. The low dipped to 14 degrees with a “feels like” of -2! I didn’t stay up long enough to find out; my bed (and Bruce!) seemed like a cozier alternative.

At the moment, it’s a balmy 27 degrees, so I wrapped myself up in my warmest duds to venture out to our waterfall- uhhhh, make that “icefall!”


Another U.S. Masters Swimming Relay Top Ten!

2013 has been a good year for me for relay rankings, especially since I have dealt with a variety of injuries. Earlier in the year, I learned that my 800 Yard Mixed Freestyly Relay just made Short Course USMS Top Ten by placing 10th. Today, I just learned that my 400 Meter Women’s Medley Relay (total ages in the 160-199 age group) placed 4th in the Long Course Meters USMS Top Ten. Now, we sit tight and wait to see how we ranked in the world. Odds are in our favor that we will make FINA Top Ten, if past history is an accurate predictor.

It was truly an honor to have the opportunity to swim with three awesome swimmers: Malena Hankins (backstroke), Cathy Jones (butterfly), and Ashley Grindlay (freestyle). I swam breaststroke and was probably at my worst ever as a masters swimmer, due to an adductor muscle injury and some other medical issues I was experiencing at the time. For better or for worse, here is our swim. We are in the second lane from the bottom of the screen, swimming next to the guys. Since there were not many teams entered in this relay, all of the men’s and women’s relay teams swam at the same time against the clock. Our final time was recorded in the USMS database and compared against other women’s relays in the combined 160-199 age group:


Interviewing others for my Encore series in Griffin/Zebulon Life Magazine is something I enjoy as much as writing their stories. In fact, I have found it to be such an enjoyable process that I am now writing artist profiles for another local publication, Kitchen Drawer.” My first artist profile will appear in the next issue with another slated for sometime next year.

Although I have been on flip side (twice) being interviewed for stories in Swimmer Magazine, I was taken by complete surprise when I was asked to be interviewed for . Julia Galan, Director and Head Coach of Swimspire contacted me after reading some of my posts on the United States Masters Swimming (USMS) Discussion Forums:

“Hi Elaine,
What a fantastic initiative to be able to help two people learn how to swim – there is no better feeling!

I’m just so impressed by all of your swimming ventures – getting through shoulder problems, striving to improve, and helping others. I also noticed you have a travel blog, which I flipped through and it looks really interesting!

My website, Swimspire, is an online coaching site but it is also a site for articles about inspiring people. I’d love to feature you in an article, if you agree! You could either send me a write-up about yourself, or I could send you interview-style questions…whatever you like!

Let me know what you think


What did I think? I was flattered! Since I had already written about my experience as a member of USMS for Griffin/Zebulon Life, I sent the story to Julia along with an unpublished story I had written. It was this story Julia chose to include in her article about me: . The story is also posted on Swimspire’s Facebook page: .

Julia, thank you very much for your story AND for your terrific swim advice on the USMS Discussion Forums thread, “The Breaststroke Lane.”

A HUGE thanks (and hugs!) go out to “COOOOOOACH!” Mike Slotnick who really deserves the most credit for improvement in my stroke techniques. Thanks to Mike, what used to be my worst stroke (backstroke) is now my second best and second favorite. Mike is also my training partner on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Steve Lundquist Center. Never has swimming 4,000 yard workouts been as much fun (and as much of a challenge) as when I swim them with Mike. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t be training 4,000 yards in a session if it weren’t for having him in the neighboring lane to challenge me!