Masters swimmers promote health, longevity

December 28, 2005

Looking for a healthy, low-impact workout routine that fits your work schedule? Looking for an indoor sport that will get you in great shape for the summer? Maybe you’re looking to try something new, meet new people, accomplish some New Year’s resolutions, lose a few pounds or get back in to a competitive sport after years of taking it easy.

If you answered yes to any of these questions, the Columbia Gorge Masters could be the program for you.

The Columbia Gorge Masters swimming program started in 2002 to provide competitive and recreational swimming opportunities to local adults. Today, the group consists of about 25 swimmers, ranging in ability from former college competitors to adults who only recently learned how to swim.

Coached by Shelly Rawding (current Hood River Swim Team Ospreys coach) and Jill Miles, the Masters work out three mornings a week at the Hood River Aquatic Center. Workouts differ from swimmer to swimmer, depending on individual abilities and conditioning levels.

“The purpose of our organization is to promote good health, fitness and friendships through regular swimming,” commented team member Sandy Rousseau. “We welcome swimmers of all ages, from 18 to 100-plus years old, regardless of previous swimming experiences.”

Opportunities on the team range from solely workout swimming to competing in pool-meets, open water swims and triathlons.

“We invite people to join us for a two-week trial,” Rousseau said. “Come try some fun workouts with new friends. Just show up and see how you like the workouts and the people.”


Workouts are held from 6-7:30 a.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays at the Hood River pool. Workouts are coached by Rawding and Miles, with routines differing from person to person.

“We have something for everyone,” said Rousseau. “The whole focus is masters swimming for life. It is a life-long fitness activity.”


For anyone interested in joining, the team is offering a free, no commitment trial. Beyond that, the membership fee is $25 a month, plus the pool user fee and an annual Oregon Masters Swimming fee of $38. For more information about the team, feel free to contact Rawding at or Rousseau at


The most recent meet the team participated in was the Northwest Zone Short Course Masters Championships at David Douglas High School in late November.

Team highlights from the meet include Nikki Weeks setting two zone records in the 30-34-year-old age group: one in the 50-meter breast stroke and one in the 50-meter butterfly.

Individual meet highlights:

Nikki Weeks (30-34) — First in 50 breast, 50 fly, 50 free, 100 free and 100

Claire Fitzpatrick (45-49) — Second in 100 IM, fourth in 50 breast

Ann Goodman (45-49) — First in 400 free, second in 50

back, 100 back, 200 back, 400 IM

Sandi Rousseau (55-59) — First in 50 fly, 50 free, 100 free, 200 free, 100 back, 100 IM

Bill Sumerfield (45-49) — (first-ever masters meet) Second in 50 breast, fourth in 50 free, 100 breast, 200 breast

Keith Seltzer (45-49) — Second in 50 free, third in 50 fly

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