Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hall of Fame

We are delighted to induct into the MCSL Hall of Fame as our inaugural class the following individuals:

League Founders:
Bill Assmus--Merlands Club
Forest Gustafson--Kenmont
Frank Martin--General Aquatics
John O’Neal--Merlands Club
Stan Tinkham--Northern Virginia Aquatic Club
Peggy Whilden--Cedarbrook

Iona Brown--Long Branch
Ron Camp--West Hillandale
Joe Fratantoni--Potomac Woods
Peg Hincke--Potomac Woods
Judy MacArthur--Aspen Hill
Cal Moon--Whetstone
Carol Nickel--County Glen
Don Swedenborg--Old Farm
Ray Weil--Flower Valley

Bill Bullough--Glenwood, Merlands, Oakview
Burt Hall--Montgomery Square
Al Murray--Robin Hood
Paul Phillips--Seven Locks
Peggy Whilden--Cedarbrook

Mike Barrowman--Montgomery Square
Clay Britt--Montgomery Square
Kelly Davies--Ashton
Jude (DeSando) Lozupone--Manor Woods
Dave Goch--Whetstone
Patty Marks--Oakview
Pam Minthorn--Darnestown
Susan (O’Brien) Williams--Wildwood Manor
Mike Plitman--Wheaton Haven
Alan Stevens--Wildwood Manor
Rick Stringer--Cedarbrook
Dan Veatch--Montgomery Square

Congratulations and thank you to all our inductees.

Hall of Fame--introduction

When I was MCSL vice president, I started counting on my fingers and realized I'd be president when the league celebrated its 50th season. This made me a little nervous, and as soon as I stepped into the president's role, I started fussing at the MCSL Executive Board, asking them what we could do to celebrate our half century mark. Robbye Fox, our secretary, said her husband had come up with a great idea--well, he stole a great idea from Georgetown Prep: Why didn't we have a virtual Hall of Fame?

I want to publicly thank Pam Ambrose, Bill Bullough, and Greg Fox for their hard work on this endeavor, and thank as well everyone who sent in a nomination. The Hall of Fame has been a work in progress, evolving as we felt our way, and it will continue to evolve. We are inducting a limited number of people this year--their names will be announced this morning at the Individual All Star meet and on this blog after the meet. Over the winter, we’ll design a Hall of Fame web page that will list short biographies of each individual and then we will present their awards during next season.

The selection of this first class of inductees was very difficult. First we went through the names of all the people nominated by coaches, team reps, and others. Here are two of the qualities we are looking for:

1. Far-reaching impact. Inductees should have distinguished themselves beyond their home pools. Many people nominated truly wonderful individuals who've done very significant things for their teams. These folks would be excellent candidates for a hall of fame at their pool--and we think that would be a great thing for teams to start. But to be inducted into the MCSL Hall of Fame, an individual should have contributed at the league level or been recognized for their achievements beyond the MCSL.

2. Significant, long-term impact. An individual should have had a significant effect for some extended period of time. We looked at the breadth and depth of a person's contributions.

We want to recognize those nominated individuals who met many of the qualities for induction into the Hall of Fame. They have made significant contributions to the league and may well be inducted in future years. And we hope you will all nominate many more individuals--parents, coaches, and swimmers--who have contributed significantly to the league’s development and the quality of its swimming. At this time we aren’t--with one notable exception--inducting people who are still actively involved in the league.

So, without further ado, here are the wonderful and talented folks who were selected to be Hall of Fame nominees. Many of these individuals will become inductees down the road, and we invite you all to send further descriptions of their achievements to Pam Ambrose, our Hall of Fame chairperson. (And, of course, we invite everyone to send Pam testimonials supporting new candidates as well.)

2008 MCSL Hall of Fame Nominees

Frank Caporusso--Westleigh
Marty Cohen--Mill Creek Towne
Jim D’Ambrosia--Ashton
Jack Dickerson--Palisades
Tom Exarhakis--Garrett Park
Bill Ferguson--Flower Valley
Jim Garner--Darnestown
John Howard--Westleigh
Walter McGough--Potomac
Barbara Modine--Garrett Park
Frank Negro--Flower Hill
Bill Nolte--Calverton
Bob Palian--Wheaton Haven
Sid Plitman--Wheaton Haven
Mark Silverman--Ashton
Paul Vincent--Merrimack Park & River Falls

Pam (Mauro) Ambrose--Country Glen
Brian Camp--Aspen Hill & Robin Hood
Mark Eldridge--Potomac Woods
Kerry Ellett--Garrett Park
Joe Flaherty--Flower Valley & Manchester Farm
Dave Greene--Darnestown
Bob Jennings--Quince Orchard
Clay Miller--Connecticut Belair & Woodley Gardens

Rich Bader--Aspen Hill
Tim Bridgham--Woodley Gardens
Candy Camacho--Darnestown
Judy Colross--Cedarbrook
Beth Cuddeback--Flower Valley
Janet Ellison--Ashton
Sharon Flaherty--Flower Valley
Susan Habermas--Damascus
Donald Hall--Whetstone
Jonathon Lee--Country Glen
Steve Lopez--Oakview
Scott Meredith--Carderock Springs
Sue Nealis--Cedarbrook
Eileen O’Brien--Wildwood Manor
Cheryl Patteson--Calverton
Michael Raab--Tilden Woods
Bill White--Cedarbrook
Grace Whiteis--Regency Estates
Karla Wilson--Aspen Hill

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ladies and gentlemen

I give you the 1965 Glenwood Tigers. I'm the lovely young lady sitting in the front row with the Glenwood jacket and hair band, fourth from the right. I'll let the other MCSL swimming folks identify themselves if they wish to--there are at least two former or current coaches in the crowd.

It's been a great season. I hope you've enjoyed this blog and the other things the league and the teams have done to mark our 50th anniversary. Tomorrow at Individual All Stars I'll announce our inaugural class of Hall of Fame inductees--and those names will be posted here afterwards and placed on a Hall of Fame web page that will be developed over the winter. That will be my last post--like many of you, I'm heading out of town, catching a plane to San Francisco for a little sightseeing and a professional conference. (I do hope I manage to get a shower between All Stars and airport.) Then it's time to catch up on all that work that didn't quite get done during the season--I'm sure that sounds familiar to many a team rep! I have book revisions I managed to get an extension on till mid-August.

If you're interested, MCSL has two boxes of documents at the Montgomery Historical Society. I hope to find time this winter to poke through the papers and maybe flesh out the skeleton league history we currently have. So if you still have questions or history bits to share, please email them to me at

Have a great August everyone--and do stop by tomorrow to read the Hall of Fame information and inductees.

Oh, and one final bit of housekeeping. I'm going to turn off the comments when I head to bed tonight--which will be early because I'm the designated donut buyer for the All Star meets. Since I'm truly going to be scrambling to get my plane tomorrow, I won't have time then--and I don't know that I'll have a chance to get on the Internet while I'm gone. Plus, there's that bit about book revisions, remember? My editor is only so understanding. But, as I mentioned above, if you still have things to share, you can send them to me--just don't expect a reply until September at the earliest!

Friday, July 25, 2008

MCSL families

I love the Manor Woods display board highlighting their multi generational families--it's pictured in the post below. (And notice it also features the 50th anniversary logo--very nice!!)

Manor Woods is not so unusual. Dave--from Glenwood, my aquatic alma mater--collected a list of over 20 families who have two generations in the MCSL, sometimes at the same pool but more often at different pools. And a few more multi generational folks have stopped by this blog. We haven't yet uncovered a three generation family, however, though there certainly could be some out there.

I find it wonderful how special MCSL has been to so many people--even those of us who weren't stellar swimmers. I know when I went house shopping, I told the real estate agent I wanted a neighborhood that had a pool with an MCSL team. I fondly remember riding my bike to Glenwood and seeing my summer friends, sitting up on the hill eating candy during swim meets (not an approved activity in our modern swim world, btw!), and feeling physically fit and more than competent in the water (I had no trouble passing my high school and college swim tests.) I wanted that experience for my kids--and I have to say, as the "baby" graduates from MCSL this weekend, I got it many times over. I even found I enjoyed--for the most part--being a summer swim parent. I walk, not bike, to the pool, but I still have my summer swim team pals--the parents of my sons' teammates.

But I think the best testament to how wonderful MCSL swimming is was left by Mark in the comments here.

Manor Woods 50th Anniversary Celebration Party

Back in the winter and spring, the MCSL board began encouraging teams to plan their own celebrations to mark the league's 50th anniversary, as it's probably a safe bet to say most swimmers--current and former--feel more connected to their pool than to the league. Manor Woods held such a party. Team rep Jean Crabtree reports on the festivities:

Manor Woods 50th Anniversary Celebration Party
Friday, July 11, 2008

Every Friday following afternoon practice, Manor Woods has a spirit activity at 5 pm and pasta dinner at 6 pm. On this particular day, we continued the festivities with a 50s party from 7-8. We had a DJ playing music, dancing, a limbo contest with the kids, and a show. The actors in the show are part of a long-standing group at MW called the CoffeeMates. They are dads who are willing to make fools of themselves so that others might be entertained.

Here is the story behind this show.
Cool greaser guys ride around the pool on motorcycles (i.e. small bikes with motorcycle sound effects), flexing their muscles and generally trying to impress each other and the attending ladies.

Weird nerdy guy comes by and gets thrown into the pool. Greaser guys challenge each other to a race. They leap into the pool, taking their time with various strokes, still looking to impress.

The ladies are NOT impressed, so they encourage one of their own to outshine the guys. She takes off her poodle skirt, dives in, laps the guys who then try to figure out what just happened to them. Beat by a girl!
The kids were treated to their favorite line dances Cotton Eye Joe and the Cha Cha Slide, and were joined by parents and the non-team pool members that happened to be there at the time. We also featured a display board that showcased the multi generational families on our team and a Gazette article from 1994 about the 25th anniversary of the pool. It was viewed with great interest. And we discovered at least one more family that should be added. Everyone had a great time!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A few old rules

Lisa mentioned place judges here. I swam during the time place judges were used, but I don't remember them--too bad, as it sounds as if they were quite the amusing spectacle.

If I am understanding the rule correctly, each judge was assigned a place--1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th. They stood on the sides at the finish end and decided which swimmer had come in "their" place. Once a judge made his decision, he would go to that lane. And here's the fun part--they held ping pong paddles or badminton rackets (people have reported both) with the place they were judging displayed. It's a wonder parents didn't start whacking each other when the race was close. One of my informants thought place judging was stopped at least partly because parents couldn't always be impartial when their children were involved.

Mary P. remembers that the place judges trumped the watches' times, so the race winner might have a slower time than the second place finisher. Bill R. remembers in his last all-star (championship meet) at Rockville Municipal Swim Center in 1970, the 50 fly was very close--only 1-2 tenths separated 1st through 4th. The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place judges all came to his lane. It was then up to the referee and sweep judge to sort out. He ended up 4th.

Here are a few more of the many changes that have happened over the years:

1. The season used to start later. In 1971, the first meet was held on July 3; divisionals was August 7; and the All Star meets were August 14 and 15.

2. Back when I swam, you had to hang up your goggles--except we didn't have goggles--after you were 17. The 15-17 events weren't changed to 15-18 until 1975.

3. Up until about 1967, kids who swam on winter swim teams were not allowed to swim in the MCSL.

I wonder how things will have changed by the league's 60th season?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Where have they gone?

A commenter asked a couple times--or two commenters asked once each--what happened to Merlands. That's a good question. We don't track teams after they leave the league. Maybe all of you out there in blogland can help us fill in the details on our former members. Here are the teams that have bowed out of MCSL and the year they last competed:

1. Merlands (1964)
2. Cinnamon Woods (1990)
3. Hungerford-Stoneridge (1990)
4. Carter Hill (1991)
5. Park Forest (1993)
6. Wheaton Haven (1996)
7. Pleasantview (2002)
8. Aspen Hill (2004)

There have also been Montgomery Village teams such as Northgate and Stedwick that have stopped competing, but the swimmers from those teams just move over to another Village pool--the Village is a special case.

Of the 8 pools I've listed, I think only 3 still exist--Cinnamon Woods, Carter Hill, and Pleasantview. (At least I hope these 3 are still around.) The others were sold to developers and have houses instead of water on their property. Costs are high for community pools and many have struggled to make ends meet. Park Forest had an added challenge--a fire destroyed a good part of its property.

Back to Merlands. Here's what happened, according to my informant, Bill Bullough: "To the best of my recollection (and my recollections are somewhat foggy these days) I was coaching at Merlands the day it was closed. The land was privately owned by an old [gentleman] who acquired the property through connections he had in the Truman administration. The club [Board of Directors] members had a lease with an option to buy. At the end of the lease the [gentleman] did not want to exercise the option because the land was worth so much. To break the option he tried to prove the property had not been kept up by showing pictures of the pool in March etc. He got an injunction to close the club until the trial. The county sheriffs came to the pool unannounced while I was coaching and sent everybody home and locked it up. It was just before the Divisionals and we had a good team, but no pool. Daleview was nice enough to allow us to practice there after their own practice. The coach that year was Jack Graham, who is the currently principal of Good Counsel!

"[The gentleman] had the trial delayed over several years and moved to Denton MD where he knew the judge. I use to go to the hearings. The members without a club, and assessments to pay the lawyer, finally gave up. The property reverted back to [the gentleman] who sold it to a developer who built the Foxhall community between Glenmont and Aspen Hill."