Press Release courtesy of Fullerton Aquatics Sports Team.
Bob Bergstrom has been regularly swimming at the Janet Evans pool for 40 years this September, working out as a member of the Masters team at Fullerton Aquatic Sports Team in southern California.
Bergstrom, who is 76 years old, swam for two years in high school and three in college and later learned about Masters swimming, a program for adults who can choose to compete. When he came to FAST in 1977, the head coach was Craig Brown, who was also the swim coach for Sunny Hills High School.
“Since there was no masters program and I was the only adult, I swam with the high school group,’’ Bergstrom said in a letter to current FAST Head Coach Brian Brown. “I was not nearly as fast as the other swimmers and would finish a part of a set just in time to catch a quick breath and continue on.’’
But he kept swimming and also served as treasurer at FAST early on. He helped the team fundraise to purchase its first swimming pool covers. He also was instrumental in getting the pool named after former Olympian and world record holder Janet Evans, who competed for FAST.
He noted excellent coaches through the years, including Martin Craig, Don Wagner, Kevin Perry, Bill Jewell and Brian Brown.
“Kevin came in and saved a dying program and built it up to where it is now,’’ he said.
Bergstrom has been competing in Masters for years and has 19 top-10 swimming times over the last decade. All of those are in distance events from the 400-meter freestyle to the mile.
In 2008, he won the Masters National Championship in the 800-meter freestyle in Omaha, Nebraska, in the same pool where the Olympic Trials were held that year. He has also won several second and third place finishes at other national competitions.
“I am not sure what the future holds for me as I slow down and find competing more challenging,’’ he wrote. “I am contemplating whether or not to still keep competing. I do anticipate to keep swimming at some level, as long as I am able.’’
Bergstrom says he is glad he was able to swim with some great FAST swimmers such as Darren Ward, Janet Evans, Louis Vayo and currently Simon Lamar, who along with teammate Cathryn Salladin, are members of the USA National Team.
“It is only because of FAST that I have all of this: the competition, the joy of swimming, the memories, and a healthy, lifelong activity. I want to thank you as a head coach,’’ he wrote to Brian Brown, “your coaching staff, the parents, my fellow Masters swimmers and the City of Fullerton for making all this possible.’’
The FAST Masters program is currently coached by Brian Brown, Kyle Knoff and Lauren Morford.