The Early Days*
May 2, 1970 – The First Masters National Championship
Who organized it?
Capt. Ransom J Arthur – a Navy M.D. and John Spannuth, president of the American Swimming Coaches Association. It was sanctioned by the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU).
To encourage older swimmers to stay active and research the effects of swimming on health. Swimmers were actually tested before and after events.
Word got out and swimmers wanted in! One hundred and twelve swimmers came to the next year’s meet including “Doc” Counsilman and Paul Hutinger, who represented Illinois. The 1971 meet was sanctioned by Masters Swimming, a new governing body within the AAU.
How did people find out about it?
Buster Crabbe, a 1932 Olympic Gold Medalist in the 400m Freestyle, promoted the meet. He had many fans due to his success as a film and television star. When word spread that he would be participating in the 1972 first ever masters long course meet in Bloomington, IN, a crowd of people showed up to watch. Others not satisfied with watching participated. Noted Illinois swimmers were Paul Hutinger and Irene Clarke David. Both Paul and Irene captured individual events. Paul won the 1500 freestyle in a time of 22.45.56 (age group 45-49).
When did Illinois host a meet?
Two teams co-hosted this event, University of Illinois Chicago Circle and B. R. Ryall YMCA Masters. The meet directors were Irene David and Watson Lawrence.
Who ran the early meets?
Officials: Fred Pigott, Don Drumm and Rich Mueller
Registrar: Pat Sengstock
Volunteers: Russ Lyman and Cynthia Jones
Did other countries also develop masters teams?
In March of 1974, two of the first international meets were held in Sydney, Australia, and Auckland, New Zealand. Thirty-six swimmers representing the United States attended. One of the events held at this meet was a beer relay race!
*This picture of Dave Malbrough and Mary Pohlmann was taken at the 1999 LC Nationals in Minneapolis, MN.
The First Illinois Masters
Illinois Masters who paved the way
CMSA – Central Masters Swimming Association (1971 -2005)
Lincoln Masters (1983-1995)
Illinois Masters Swimming Association (2005-present)
Olympians who swam for Illinois Masters
1948: Barbara Jensen Reeve (100 Backstroke)
1956: Richard Hanley (200 Free & 4 x 200 Free Men’s Relay)
1956: Sam Kooistra (water polo)
1960: Bill Mulliken – Gold Medal 200 Breaststroke
1976: Peder Dahlberg – Coach for Spain
1980: Plamen Alexandrov (100 and 200 Breastroke)
1980: Dave Sims (1500 free)
Early USMS All-Americans
To be named an USMS All-American, you must post the fastest time in an event/age group in at least one course (SCY, LCM or SCM, or a long distance open water national champion.
Thomas Cureton Jr. (2 times)
Jurgen Schmidt (24 times)
Barbara Jean Reeve
Paul Hutinger (14 times)
Art Koblish (8 times)
Jeannette Eppley (12 times)
Betty Bennett (8 times)
Bill Mulliken (7 times)
Mary Pohlmann (11 times)
Irene David (12 times)
Later USMS All-Americans
There are literally 100s of Illinois Masters who have this recognition. Search the list.
Illinois Recipient of the Ransom J. Arthur Award
This award is given annually to the USMS volunteer who has done the most to further the objectives of USMS over an extended period of time. The one and only winner from Illinois Masters was Paul Hutinger.
Long Distance/Open Water
1987: The first 10K held in Illinois.
Where: Little Grassy lake in Makanda, IL
Event Directior: Clay Kolar
Sponsored by: Saluki Masters
1991: Big Shoulders 5K premiers
LMSC Social Events
Paul was disqualified for 100m back at a St. Pete meet for going past the 15m mark underwater. When told he was DQ’d he sought out the judge.
“Can you please fill out a DQ slip for me? Specify how far I went underwater. I want to send it to an exercise physiologist at the University of Texas. He said it would be impossible for an 80 year old to go very far underwater.”