(photo by Chris Price-TexSport Publications)
By Chris Price
(THE WOODLANDS, TEXAS, September 23, 2007) Derrick Mauk and Chuck Medema each won national titles at the United States Masters Swimming Long Course National Long Course Swimming Championships held at The Woodlands.
Mauk won his first-ever national title in the 50-meter backstroke, while Medema took his title in the 400-meter freestyle.
Both swimmers, along with eight teammates, took 23rd place in the team standings, out of 133 teams, representing the South Belt Area “All Stars” Swimming Team.
The “All Stars” had ten swimmers, ages 19-53 competing, competing against 901 other swimmers.
Mauk, who was competing in the 30-34 age group, also a silver medal in the 400-meter freestyle, bronze medals in the 100-meter and 200-meter backstrokes, sixth place in the 100-meter butterfly and seventh place in the 50-meter butterfly.
Medema, competing in the 25-29 age group, took a bronze medal in the 200-meter freestyle, sixth place in the 100-meter freestyle, eighth place in the 100-meter butterfly, and ninth place in the 50-meter freestyle and 50-meter butterfly.
University of Houston swimmer Kristine Kelly, who was competing in her last meet of the summer season before reporting back to school for the college swimming season, took the silver medal in the 100-meter backstroke, bronze medals in the 200-meter backstroke, 50-meter backstroke and 400 meter individual medley. She also added a fourth place in the 200-meter butterfly and fifth place in the 200-meter individual medley. She was competing in the 18-24 age group. Kelly’s greatest competition came against Fort Lauderdale Aquatics swimmer Dawn Jason, who is a member of Great Britain’s national team at the Commonwealth Games.
Hillsdale (Michigan) College swimmer Skylar Walker (18-24 age group) was also competing in her final meet of the summer season before leaving for her junior year in college, took ninth place in the 200-meter freestyle, 100-meter breaststroke and 50-meter breaststroke, along with thirteenth place in the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyles.
Landon Howard, competing in the 18-24 age group place seventh in the 50-meter backstroke, 100-meter butterfly, eighth in the 50-meter freestyle and 100-meter backstroke and tenth in the 100-meter freestyle
Lisa Hernandez also got into the scoring with a fourth place finish in the 200-meter breaststroke in the 25-29 age group, along with fifth place in the 400-meter freestyle, eighth place in the 50-meter breaststroke, tenth in the 200-meter freestyle, eleventh in the 100-meter breaststroke and fifteenth in the 100-meter freestyle.
Former Sam Rayburn High School standout Stacey Golden also contributed to the scoring with a sixth place in the 100-meter butterfly, along with an eighteenth place in the 50-meter freestyle.
The competitive fires were not limited to the younger adult “All Stars” swimmer. Co-head coaches Darla and Robert Kelly also hit the water in the national level meet for the first time in over twenty years.
“We felt the time was right to get into the water and go for it,” said Darla Kelly. “We have been working with these youngsters for years and wanted to have some fun ourselves.”
Both the Kelly competed in two events, with Darla finishing thirteenth in the 50-meter backstroke and twenty-first in the 50-meter freestyle. Robert finished nineteenth in the 50-meter breaststroke and was disqualified in the 100-meter breaststroke for two butterfly kicks on the turn.
“After the 50-meter breaststroke, Derrick and Kristine inquired why I didn’t take a butterfly kick on the pullout. The rule that allows one butterfly kick on the start and turn is relatively new to the sport and I had not practiced doing it. I went to the cool down pool and practiced it for a while. I felt I it was fine but obviously, I was not. I got DQed by an official that works some of our high school meets, and we all got a good laugh about it. It will be a long time before I live that one down,” said Robert Kelly.
The “All Stars” success and points was not limited to individual events. They entered seven relays and all seven scored and brought home medals.
Relay entries are determined by the combined ages of all four swimmers. Mauk, Howard, Medema, and former Sam Rayburn High School All State swimmer Rick Price swam two relays in the 100-119 years old age group. In the 200-meter freestyle relay, they took the silver medal, but were disqualified for an early takeoff in the 200-meter medley relay.
Walker, Golden, Hernandez, and Kristine Kelly combined to swim their relays in the 72-99 age group, finishing in fourth place in both the 200-meter medley relay and the 200-meter freestyle relay.
Coed relays, which consisted of two men and two women, were also contested with the “All Stars” fielding three.
In the coed 200-meter freestyle relay, Price, Walker, Medina, and the youngest Kelly finished in fifth place in the 100-119 age group. Kelly, and Price, then combined with Mauk and Hernandez to take fifth place in the 100-119 200-meter freestyle relay.
Howard, Walker, Medema, and Golden rounded out the relay scoring with a fourth place finish in the 72-99 age group 200-meter medley relay.
In addition, former J. Frank Dobie swimming coach and Pasadena Independent School District aquatic director Dennis Shippey also competed and scored at the Nationals. Shippey trains with the “All Stars” but competed with the Woodlands Masters Team where he can compete in relays with other swimmers his own age.
Shippey competed in the 60-64 year old age group took silver medals in the 50-meter and 100-meter breaststroke, a bronze medal in the 200-meter breaststroke, fourth place in the 50-meter butterfly, sixth place in the 100-meter freestyle, and seventh place in the 50-meter freestyle. He also added silver medals in the Woodlands 240-279 men’s 200-meter medley relay and the 200-meter freestyle relay.
The South Belt Area “All Stars” Swimming Team is an select swimming team consisting of swimming from ages 9-65 from the Deer Park, Pasadena, Pearland, Friendswood, Clear Lake and Houston South Belt areas.