Video is courtesy of Felicia Alder.
It’s been said that exercise is the single best thing you can do for yourself, setting in motion a whole constellation of physiological, psychological, and social forces which improves lives. By that measure, the Walnut Creek Masters (WCM) Swim Team has a long history of enhancing positive life outcomes.
Under the 33+ year tutelage of head coach Kerry O’Brien, WCM has been transformed from a sleepy small town team (Walnut Creek, CA), into a national Master’s Swimming power. With 5 practice times a day to choose from, the 450+ team members enjoy an atmosphere that promotes physical fitness, personal challenge, team work, and social camaraderie. The aim is to have every member exit the pool with a heightened sense of accomplishment and self-worth.
Exercise can be hard, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Every October, the WCM hosts the Pacific Master’s Short Course Meters Championships. And every October there is a challenge race, complete with extra smack-talk, build-up, and year-long bragging rights afterward. Early on, the races were conventional 100 IM type affairs, but more recently the challenge has evolved. Last year it was the “Board Short’s 100,” the more outlandish the fabric print, the better. This year’s race was the “50 Meter Butterfly Rewind.”
The rules were simple. Straight up 25 butterfly on the way out, face down and feet first butterfly on the way back. Technically this race is a legal 50M fly all the way up until the finish when the feet hit the pads, turning it into a brand new event instead —Which means our ‘50 Meter Butterfly Rewind’ champion, Head Coach Kerry O’Brien (age 56), is a new World Record holder – FINA Pending (we feel your pain Indiana!).
Enjoy the race. Coach Kerry finished in 55.6, .4 of a second under his age — Which is probably how FINA should track the world record. Of course, any metaphors, analogies, or comparisons to the arc of a lifelong swimmer’s career are merely a coincidence. And next year, if they combine ‘The Board Shorts 100’ with ‘The Butterfly Rewind,’ it will become ‘The Balloon Shorts Rewind’ J.