Paul Epstein makes the local news

Many in Connecticut Swimming know Paul Epstein as an avid open water swimmer who isn’t afraid to compete in pool competitions, a great competitor, serious competition, a friendly face, and sometimes- the man behind the camera.  The Hartford Courant and Valley Life have recently written articles, with great pictures, honoring our teammate Paul.  Please click these links: Hartford Courant Article and Valley Life Article to read the articles.

Reminder information from the Registration Page

A reminder for registration season:

During the online registration process, you will be asked to pick a registered USMS club.  If you do not pick a club, you will be automatically assigned to UC05, which is the unattached club*.  Once you pick a club, if that club has workout groups (not all do), you will be asked to pick a workout group.  All members of the same club can participate on relays together, regardless of workout affiliation.  When participating at meets, you will be listed by your club, not your workout group.  So for example: if you register for club CONN, and workout group Wilton, you may participate in relays with someone who registered for club CONN, and workout group Meriden or someone who is registered for club CONN, and did not pick a workout group.  You may not participate in relays with someone who registered for Chelsea Piers, as they are a different club.

*UC05 is referred to as a club for the technical purposes of FINA Master’s Swimming rules, but does not include any of the benefits of being part of a club.  UC05 members may NOT do relays.  You are encouraged to sign up for a club, even if you do not currently plan on doing relays.  While our registrar has been great about fixing swimmers team affiliation extremely quickly, it would be a shame to miss an opportunity because you were not able to coordinate with her.

Also, to clarify: USMS and CONN masters does not care which pool or which team you practice with when registering.  You are welcome to self designate your team/workout group as you see working best for you.  Please check with your pool/team first, however, if you would like to use a different group as they may have other expectations.  If you would like to change your team/workout group status, please contact Sian Nimkoff.

Galen thanks Cornerstone Meet attendees.

Galen would like to thank all who attended the meet this Sunday in West Hartford.  She says,  “It was a great turnout and exciting to have so many first time master swimmers compete.  It was great to have a lot of New England Masters attend.”  It was a great turnout: 93 swimmers entered from 10 different teams.  There were 21 relays in age groups ranging from 25+ up to 65+ up.  Thank you to Galen, the staff at Cornerstone Pool, and the Conard/Hall swim teams for putting together a great meet.

Who’s up for lunch after the Cornerstone Meet

For those going to the Cornerstone Meet this Sunday, please fill out this form:, especially if you are interested in going to lunch after the meet.  We would like to make reservations well in advance of the meet so that all who are interested might be included.

Wilton Wahoo Meet

Thanks to all those who participated in the Wilton Wahoo SCM Meter meet on Sunday, November 2, 2014.  There were very new to very experienced swimmers who all swam fabulously.  Most impressive was Jim Dragon’s 50 fly, setting a new world record.  Congradulations to everyone who participated and thank you to all the officials, timers, and staff who helped coordinate the meet.  Click here for results.

Two meet links added.

First added is a local Connecticut meet to be held at Cornerstone pool in West Hartford.  While this is the first USMS sanctioned meet to be held at Cornerstone, it will probably be quite popular due to it’s convenient location of of Rt 84.  Please register early Cornerstone meet.

The second meet added is the SCM Champs at Boston University.  This meet generally serves as the New England SCM championships, but this year it will also be half of the Colonies Zone SCM Championships. The other half of the Colonies championships is being held at George Mason University in Manassas, VA.  The two meets will be held the same weekend, with results being combined, and is unofficially being called the “North versus South” meet.  This meet might also be quite popular as there may be a big push from both sides to see who will win.  Registration starts November 1st SCM champs.


Results from the Fairfield Y Open Water Mile Swim

The inaugural Fairfield Y Open Water Mile Swim saw 61 swimmers attempt to “conquer mother nature’s lap pool,” under clear blue skies in near-seventy degree water. State Representative Kim Fawcett, who is now running for a seat in the State Senate, was joined by Kevin Conyer, himself a candidate for State Representative, in counting down to the start of the September 20th race held at Penfield Beach.

“It was incredible to see so much support from the local community,” said Karen Backus, Executive Director of the Fairfield YMCA. “An event like this is important for us because proceeds benefit the YMCA Annual Campaign, which provides financial assistance for children, families and individuals in our community to participate in Fairfield Y programs.”

As participants and spectators celebrated after the race with fruit, water, pizza and other treats supplied by many local businesses, many of them were talking about the blistering pace set by the top finishers. Jeremy Virgil finished first with a time of 16:24, just beating out Greg Sargent (17:23). Staples swimmer Willow Woods was the top overall female finisher at 19:24, which also helped Willow and her dad, Chris, win the award for top family finishers.

Despite the tremendous performances, Race Director and Fairfield Y Board Member Andy Davis (who is also a legendary open water swimmer himself) knows this race is not about record-setting times. “We wanted this event focus on three things: Fun, Fitness, and Family,” said Davis after his duties as awards presenter was complete. “A one mile swim is a perfect introduction into open water swimming so we didn’t want this to feel like an ultra-competitive race. We worried that might scare off the first-timer. At the same time, you have to be in good shape to complete this race. It’s a reminder of the importance of being fit, so you can participate in fun events like this – and hopefully inspire someone in your family to swim with you. We had seven family teams competing this year and we hope to increase the dramatically next year.”

Trophies were handed out to the top two overall male and female finishers, the top two finishers from every age category (as well as the wetsuit division), and the top two family teams.

Located on Old Post Road in the heart of the Fairfield, the Y offers an array of health and human services to all including their summer camp and swim programs, to teen leadership and senior wellness, In 2013 Fairfield YMCA gave away $65,000 in scholarship money to help families in need. This year the Y needs to raise $100,000 for the Annual Campaign. Since the Y is a non-for-profit organization, it depends on their community to help with scholarship funds.

If you were unable to swim in the race, you haven’t missed your chance to support the Fairfield Y Open Water Mile Swim and the YMCA Annual Campaign. There are several raffle prizes showcased at the Fairfield Y branch – winners will be selected on October 5. An NFW watch, a free year of membership at the YMCA and a ride in a Fairfield Police care are just some of the prizes that will appeal to boys, girls and families.

Click here for complete results.


Invitations to Meets in Metropolitan and New England

Both Metropolitan (southern New York including NYC and Long Island)  and New England (all of New England minus Connecticut) LMSCs made specific points to invite Connecticut Master’s to their upcoming swim meets.  Highlights of the fall season include: Post SCY in Brookville, NY on October 5th, October Swim Fest at Simmons College in Boston on October 18th, Leaf Peepers Meet in White River Junction, VT on October 25th, Hawktoberfest at Roger Williams University in Bristol on October 26th, and the Dr. Bill Ross Annual Memorial Meet (all proceeds to support pancreatic cancer research) at the Nassau County Aquatics Facility, in East Meadow, NY on Nov 23.  While Connecticut is hosting two meets also, Wilton on November 2nd and Cornerstone on November 16th, please consider finding one meet in a neighboring state to support also.  All registrations can be found under Meet Results.  As always, these meets are open to all registered masters swimmers- there are no qualifying times or speed expectations.  These are for fun and often for fundraising: everyone’s participation is welcome.

A message from the Chair

A cool 54 degrees greeted me this morning as I got in my car to drive to Wilton Y for morning practice. The chill in the air and the (not so welcome) view of the bubble over Wilton’s pool signifies the end to another summer, and in our case, the end of Long Course and open water season and the start of short course meters and yards season.

2014 has been a good year for Connecticut Masters. As of this morning, membership stands at 471, up from 405 at end of 2013. This puts us well on our way to meeting my goal of 500 members by end of 2015, a goal that may in fact be less aggressive than I originally feared. 3 new workout groups have registered with Conn Masters since June 30. I’d like to welcome Swim 70, What Masters and Shelton Community Center Masters to the fold. For those of you who are currently registered with a club as opposed to a workout group, I would encourage you to contact your coach and have them make the change from club to workout group. It is all about semantics, but it does give greater opportunity to you athletes to participate on relays, even if you are the only representative of your group at a meet. I can tell you that of the 17 relays that Conn Masters placed in the short course Top 10 last season, 15 of them were made up with members from at least 2 different workout groups. Conn Masters also had 2 relays at the top of the FINA World Top 10 rankings for 2013, both of which were made up of swimmers from different workout groups. Workout group over club identification gives much needed flexibility in an LMSC as small as Connecticut. If you want more clarification on this, please contact me directly at or any of the other Board members.

Connecticut Masters swimmers could be found all over the state at the various open water races and triathlons. Greenwich hosted both a 1 mile and 2 mile race, Westport had their annual 1 mile at Compo, and a new 1 mile race was added in Fairfield. Connecticut Swimming Inc. and Connecticut Masters joined together to sanction the Connecticut Open Water Championship at Lake Quassapaug in June. Sanctioning open water races is an expensive proposition for LMSC’s as the insurance requirements are rather cost prohibitive. It is hoped that USMS will have a solution to this issue, but it is not expected before 2016.

In the pool, Conn Masters resumed its assault on the record book. A total of 31 individual state masters records were broken by 16 individuals. 11 records were broken in the men’s 50 – 54 age group alone, with Andy Reul and Jeff Sargent each setting 4 new marks, while Pete Holmquist, Doug Gugino and Matthew Gordon set 1 each. Additional records were set by Melissa Stango, Bill Flick (2), Jeremy Virgil (2), Whitney Ross (3), Myles Lynch, Tait Michael (2), Paul Harris (3), John Craig (2), Mike Laux, Ann Onton (2) and Pam Wilson.

22 Conn Masters made their way up to Montreal to swim at FINA Masters World Championships. Mike Laux, Paul Harris, Doug Gugino, Andy Reul, Jeremy Virgil, Whitney Ross, Pam Moss, Tait Michael, Ann Onton and Pam Wilson all placed in the Top 16 in their events. Congratulations to all! The following week, 4 Conn Masters made the trek down to the University of Maryland for USMS Long Course Nationals. Ally Sega, Christie Anbar, Robert Duguay and Bill Flick all came away with hardware, leading the team to a 54 place finish overall (out of 144 teams), while the men were 52nd and the women were 61st.

Lastly, as we look ahead to short course season, Wilton Wahoo Masters will host a short course meters meet on November 2nd and Cornerstone Masters will host a short course yards meet on November 16. Additional information and entries can be found on both the Conn Masters site or on Click on “Events and Results” and then “Calendar of Events”. Additionally, I am trying to arrange for coached weekly practice times for all registered Connecticut masters, must likely on a Sunday morning. Please be sure to check the Conn Masters website for information about the practices and for additional meets.

Happy fall everyone and hope to see you at the pool.


Jeff Sargent

Chair, Connecticut Masters


Master’s Swimming and Triathlons just go together

There have been many Connecticut Masters participating in Triathlons this summer.  Whether a swimmer that tried a tri, or a triathlete that wanted more experience swimming and joined USMS, the sports really to seem to draw many of the same people.  If you are a Connecticut Master’s swimmer and notice a triathlete who is interested in becoming a stronger swimmer, please encourage them to seek out a master’s swim program.  Many triathletes are finding that the best way to improve their swimming over the winter is by joining a master’s program as it both will work on their technique and keep them training harder.  USMS has strongly encouraged master’s coaches to work with triathletes and positively include them in their teams.  If you meet a person who is interested in joining a master’s program and don’t know any programs in their area, feel free to contact a board member.