GRIN Members Emeritus
When one of our fellow Hoosier swimmers reaches octogenarian status, he or she receives the designation of GRIN Member Emeritus. In addition to a beautiful plaque, the swimmer enjoys the benefit of free-USMS dues, sponsored by GRIN, for the remainder or his/her lifetime! These swimmer are traditionally honored each year at the State Championship Meet.
Doc Counsilman (deceased) – Though renowned as the most famous swimming coach of all times, Doc was also an accomplished Masters Swimming winning several national USMS titles and setting National/World records in the breaststroke. He was responsible for the first USMS LCM National Championships to be held in Bloomington, IN, August 11-13, 1972! In 1979, at the age of 58, Doc swam across the English Channel. (At the time, he was the oldest person ever to have done so.) James “Doc” Counsilman passed away January 4, 2004 in Bloomington, IN.
John Maxwell (deceased) – John, who was a fierce competitor and a wonderful teammate died in December of 2001 at the age of 93 a few months after receiving the Swimmer Emeritus. John started swimming sometimes in his 60′s to improve his health. During his Masters Swimming career John has 34 USMS TOP TEN SWIMS, and was named an USMS All American in 1993 and 1995. The first time that John competed in the White River Park State Games, he remembered noticing the abundance of patches on Irv Merritt’s warm-up jacket. Needless to say, John acquired his own abundance of patches during his Masters Swimming career.
Mary Johnston Brown
Bill Tanner (deceased) - only swam in one Masters meet, the short course nationals when they were held in Indy where he won the 50 back. There were only two guys in the race, but he was proud of his patch and medal and they are still hanging from the light in his dining room. He was surprised and honored to be selected as a GRIN emeritus swimmer. Bill swam in high school back in the days when guys wore wool suits that covered the chest. They tried white silk suits once but they hadn’t worn them in practice to see what would happen when they got wet. He swam backstroke in high school. He went to medical school at Illinois, met and married Megan (who is from Wales), served in the Pacific with the Marines during WWII, then had a very long and successful medical career in Danville, Illinois, raising 5 boys, all collegiate swimmers at Illinois and Indiana. Bill (86) and Megan (85) still swim five days a week at the local YMCA in Danville, but he has no more plans to compete.
Kate Brazil (deceased) - Though Kate did not start Masters Swimming until the early 1980′s, her swimming career goes back to the 1939 New York World’s Fair where she swam in Billy Rose’s famous Aquacade! Until his death, Kate’s husband, Bob always attended Masters meets with her, and kept track of the lengths Kate swam in her favorite long distant freestyle events! (Note: Kate moved to California sometime in 2003 to be closer to family members.)
John Patten (deceased) – John “Jack” Patten swam in junior high and at prep school. He went to the University of Michigan to pursue an education in aeronautical engineering but caught the eye of the assistant swimmer coach who recruited Jack to swim with the “Blue and Maize.” WWII dry-docked Jack’s swimming career until 1989 when he learned about the Senior Olympics and Mel Goldstein’s program at the Jordan Y.
Robert Huston – “Bob” started swimming in 4th or 5th grade. He attended Monmouth College where he was a member of the diving team. However, he was occasionally drafted to fill out swimming relays. In 1979, while teaching at Ball State, Bob’s doctor suggested that he swim to relieve beginning symptoms of arthritis in his shoulder. A fellow professor, Chuck Houck told Bob about Masters Swimming. Bob has enjoyed great success in the Area 6 Senior Games where he boasts that he always places first and last in his age group as the only participant!
June Barghahn – June swims with the Maple Leaf Masters out of Goshen, IN. She started swimming Masters in 1993 when she developed back problems and was encouraged by Brian Rathke, the high school swimming coach, to try swimming as physical therapy. Though June did not swim in high school or college, she was recognized for her achievements in Masters Swimming when the Goshen High School Athletic Director, Herb Resler presented her with a high school swimming letter in February 1994.
Howard Baetzhold – Howard started swimming in Lake Erie when he was 5 years old, and hasn’t stopped. Though a mediocre swimmer in high school he swam for Brown University until the events of WWII side tracked his swimming career. He started swimming again seriously in 1965, but did not become involved with Masters Swimming until the 1970′s at the Jordan Y. The rest is history!
Dr. Cory SerVaas – Cory, who turns 80 on June 21st of this year, taught her own children to swim, even though she grew up in rural Iowa where she “didn’t have a pool within forty miles and I didn’t swim while I was teaching children.” Now a member of Indy SwimFit, Cory hopes that other masters swimmers will continue to teach and influence others to swim into their adult years. She considers herself a beginner swimmer, but notes that “I will swim where permitted. I work out almost daily to catch up!”
Doug Strong – Doug has been swimming with Indiana masters for as long as anyone can remember. Appropriately named, Doug swims in as many events per year as possible and is always ready to challenge himself in the toughest “Strong Man” events like the 400 IM and the 200 Fly. In the distance events, he’s often seeking personal bests in the 1000 while on his way to finishing in the 1650. Doug likes the more obscure, “tough guy” challenges as well: Postal pentathlons, hour swims and other offbeat endurance events! His “199 meter” Fly in Minneapolis will be remembered for years to come! Doug trains by himself and, while Doc Counsilman was still able, Doug picked him up and took him to the pool to swim everyday for three years. Doug Strong is an icon and truly a legend in Indiana Masters Swimming.
Muriel Dykema – Muriel taught herself to swim in the Long Island Sound at the age of 4. She continued to swim every day, every summer until age 16 when heading to college as a Cadet Nurse in WWII. After marriage and children (two boys, one girl), both boys swam on the Riviera Swim Team. In 1980, she started swimming laps at the Jordan YMCA. Mel Goldstein invited her to swim with the masters and recruited her to swim in the 1986 Y Nationals. Muriel swam the Y Nationals consecutively until 2005 which she missed due to a back injury. Muriel was successful in recruiting others also taking the Y “Swim for Fitness” class. Many that wouldn’t have considered joining masters did as a result of her invitations, emphasis on plural! Fun and fellowship were a priority as she hosted team breakfasts, baby showers, and team parties while on the road. Muriel’s granddaughter, Kristina, graduates from Emory University in May ’06 and swims with the Atlanta Masters while other granddaughters: Rebecca, Gwen, Amanda and Melissa are continuing the legacy of swimming as well.
Art Cross (deceased) – Art swam at the Jordan YMCA since 1977 and joined Masters in 1980 at the suggestion of Ivan Chalfie. He learned to swim at the University of Colorado as a child and advanced in the lakes of Madison, WN and U of Michigan. He served as a lifeguard in Boulder, CO, Company swim instructor in the Navy at Farragut, ID, and USO lifeguard in Medford OR. He joined the “Y” swimming program with his children in Cincinnati, OH and the Cincinnati Marlins from which his son, Geoff, won a swimming scholarship at Miami U and later swam the English Channel. Art swam laps and was a Marlin timer and stroke judge. In Indy, he was a stroke judge, timer and swimmer for the Splash Jordan YMCA team. He swam in the White River Games, State Meets and the YMCA and USMS Nationals. Believing that swimming is great for body and greater for the mind, he continued to practice with Indy Swim Fit three times a week with his buddy Ivan.
Bob Welklin (deceased) – Back in the 1930′s, Bob had nothing more than a duck-chasing Springer Spaniel to drag him to the water, and a gang of taunting friends that challenged him to swim across the lake. Despite the lack of an organized swim team, another masters swimmer was born. In the 1960′s and for many years thereafter, Bob was a well known fixture at the Fort Wayne YMCA. After he did all the normal “Y” activities like track and racquet ball, he left his buddies to throw in a quick 50 laps in the pool just to fill out the day. The eccentric activity of swimming back and forth in a pool by an older person was quite uncommon in those days. Bob’s favorite stroke is the freestyle which allows him to throw in his distinctive scissor kick “booster” on every stroke, without being disqualified. Bob Welklin’s love of swimming is shared by all his children and grandkids. Some of the kids swam on college teams and some of the grandkids are tops in age-group state competitions. This year, Bob’s family set the record for “greatest number (5) of family members swimming in the Greater Indiana Masters (GRIN) Championship meet,” including: Bob’s oldest son, Dan, Dan’s wife Laura, Bob’s daughter Sharon Richardson, and his son, David. Of note, David Welklin, age 40, still holds (after 30 years) the record in the 100 M butterfly for the Indiana State Meet (1976), when he was 10 years old.
Peter Boerner – a swimmer from childhood on. He swam in Estonia (where he was born), in Germany (where he grew up), and for almost fifty years in the United States (where he taught at various universities, most recently at I.U.). He is a current fitness swimmer, and enjoys being in the water.
Louise Crandall – learned to swim (dog paddle style) at age 5, while vacationing with my family in West Texas; lived in Houston at the time. It was about 50 years later before she swam competitively for the first time. Marcella Lammey was her inspiration for signing up for the Hoosier State Games. Louise’s current goal is to keep on practicing the fly so she can some day enter the 100 yd. I.M.
Ivan Chalfie – Ivan began swimming as a way to rehabilitate his thin legs and weak heart after contracting rheumatic fever at the age of six. Beginning by splashing around in a bath tub, he went to an indoor pool at the Kirshbaum Center (predecessor to the Jewish Community Center) the summer he turned nine. A lifeguard, Earl Montgomery, worked with Ivan and by age thirteen after winning several summer races told Ivan to move on to year round swimming. Indoor pools were housed at private clubs which turned down Ivan due to his Jewish faith. However, when he went to the Central Y (downtown Indianapolis) they had no restrictions and he joined the team. By the end of the first year, Ivan won the city championship for 13 and 14 year-olds and held records later broken by Olympian Frank McKinney. Ivan continued to swim with the Y and was given a letter from Shortridge High School, even though they had no school program, due to his success. He swam for Indiana University and made Scholastic All American his freshman year. In addition, he was an alternate (fly) to the 1948 Olympic Team. He served in the 822nd Engine Aviation Battalion and swam on a team representing those serving in Guam and won the Far East Championships. Ivan is one of the original members of the inaugural Arthur Jordan (now YMCA Indy Swimfit) team. He’s had many successes in both the pool and life. The James L. Kittle, Sr. Lifetime Achievement Award which is the highest honor bestowed upon a volunteer was given to Ivan in the fall of 2010.
Robert Badger – Bob became interested in competitive swimming while his father was the Treasurer of the Military Academy at West Point in 1946. He began workouts with the “plebes” (freshmen). He attended the Hotchkiss School and had great success. He broke the school record in the 100 yd breast stroke in 1949. In 1950 he broke a record almost every time he swam and was Captain of Swim Team. He was selected for the 1950 All-American Prep School team. He entered West Point in 1950 and broke the “plebe” 100 yd breast stroke record. Bob swam the breaststroke leg of the 300 yd medley relay and selected for the All-American Swim Team in 1953. After becoming a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army and swam in two All-Army swim meets. Shortly after retiring from the Army, Bob joined GRIN and won several records in his age group. He continues to swim but his body is showing signs of wearing out.