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Father's Day: Swim Style

22 June 2024

Coming to Indianapolis to race at the US Masters Swimming National Championships has brought many delights - swimming at my favorite pool in the world, seeing friends, meeting some new people and, naturally, the joy (& sometimes agony) of racing. But, more than all of those combined, what got me most excited to come to Indy was to see my parents and to see my octagenarian father get up and race again.

I owe my love of swimming entirely to my parents. While I imagine that my siblings and my introduction to swimming was initially driven by my Dad, a former high school standout in Florida and then member of the University of Southern California team back in the early 1960s, my Mom was as much a driving force as him throughout our competitive swimming days. They were both hyper-engaged in the operations of swimming - from timing to working the scoring room (back in the old days before computers) to officiating to hosting team events to serving on the board, ... and on and on and on. I can recall very few meets, even when we traveled to other pools, where my parents were not volunteering in some capacity.

As much as they supported my swimming, what I didn't realize at the time is that my Dad was role-modeling what a lifelong sport this could be. He was an early adopter of Masters Swimming, joining in the early 1970s not long after it started up. I remember going to Masters meets with him when I was less than eight years old. I'm sure I didn't consciously think at the time - "I can do this sport forever" - but I am equally sure that watching him planted that seed. I recall watching him race when the 1988 Nationals were held at the University of Texas, when I was wrapping up my third year competing for the Longhorn team. I was deep in "Animal Lane" style distance training in those days, so the thought of training again for the fun of it after my university days was anathema to me at the time ... but I was far more able as a 21 year old versus my 8 year old self to be impressed with what my father could do in the pool.

It took my thirteen years from there to truly find my way to Masters Swimming and, when I did, my parents were there. I went to my first USMS National Championships in Santa Clara in 2001, marking the first time my father and I had competed together at the same meet. Since that time, we've raced together at National meets many times

  • 2002 - Honolulu, Hawaii

  • 2003 - Tempe, Arizona

  • 2008 - Austin, Texas

  • 2010 - Atlanta, Georgia

  • 2011 - Mesa, Arizona

  • 2012 - Greensboro, North Carolina **

  • 2016 - Greensboro, North Carolina **

  • 2022 - Richmond, Virginia

** At both of the Greensboro events, we were able to create our own team - Brundage Swim Masters - and swim family relays:

  • In 2012, my two sisters (Lisa and Susan) joined my Dad and I for mixed relays.

  • In 2016, we had a three generation mixed relay with my oldest daughter (Maia), my oldest sister (Lisa), Dad and I racing together.

I loved hanging out with my parents this weekend. While we marveled at many accomplishments of other swimmers, the racing that made me the happiest was to see my Dad behind the blocks again. Here's hoping we still have many meets to come:


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