Camaraderie, not competition

Robert Husseman, The Triplicate

Men were not separated from boys, nor women from girls, at the All Comers Swim Meet Saturday at Fred Endert Municipal Pool.

True to the meet's name, 68 swimmers completed a series of individual pursuits and relay events over three and a half hours.

Twenty-seven of those 68 came from the Crescent City Swim Club, the youth organization sponsoring the event alongside the Promote Our Pool Foundation and the Wild Rivers Coast Masters swim club.

"The kids were asking, 'What are those guys in swimsuits doing?'" said Lana Walker, a parent and volunteer coach with Crescent City Swim Club.

The Masters swimmers, including 71-year-old Ralph Mohr of Coos Bay, Ore. - believed to be the oldest individual in attendance - occasionally swam in lanes adjacent to kids one-seventh Mohr's age and younger.

"We (Masters swimmers) have a little saying we use," Mohr said. "We've found the Fountain of Youth - you just have to swim in it."

The event proved to be a local affair with surprising reach, as swimmers came from as far away as Bend, Ore. - 272 miles away.

"There are a lot of people driving down from Brookings," Brookings resident Jodi Harvey noted. "It's wonderful.

Harvey's daughter Breezy, 12, and son Denali, 10, had joined Crescent City Swim Club the week before and were swimming in the first meet of any consequence in their young lives.

"We want them to be swimming constantly for safety reasons, and it's a lifelong sport," Harvey said. "For me, the competitions are all about personal bests and relationships with everyone on the team. That's what sports should be about.

"Swim club is one of the great things offered (in the area). Up here, you kinda gotta make stuff happen."

Competition was at the back of the minds of most swimmers, save four lifeguards who joined in for a wild and fast 50-meter freestyle race. Each swimmer was granted three places in individual races and could enter any relay race. Timers kept track of race results, and all participants received ribbons.

Endert Pool acquitted itself well for its first swim meet in "at least five years," according to Walker.

"The pool is the most useful physical education apparatus you can have because everybody uses it," Mohr said. "Adults should get into it more."

That said, competitive fire is stoked in myriad ways. Breezy Harvey was proud of her 50-meter freestyle dash time of 39.41 - not bad for the first real race of her life.

"I think she was surprised about how fast her time was," Jodi Harvey said. "She was speedy."

Reach Robert Husseman at .

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Tuesday October 25, 2016

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