3 Mercer Island masters swimmers net nationally ranked times in meet

6 a.m. swim practices, four times a week. This is the normal weekly routine for the masters swim team that trains at Mercer Island Beach Club. It takes a special dedication to get up that early in the mornings as it gets darker, but these masters swimmers ranging from 47 to 71 years old, have heart, guts and a team camaraderie that pushed them to compete — resulting in times that ranked nationally in the top 10 in their age groups.

Masters swimming is an inclusive, competitive class of swimming for swimmers 18 years and older with varied levels of experience. While most of the members train and enjoy getting fitter, stronger and feeling better, four MIBC teammates signed up to compete in the Snohomish Aquatics Masters Meet on Nov. 7.

Caroline Koplowitz (37), Eric Dorre (47), Chuck Robinson (65) and Lenny Zilz (71) found themselves in awe of all who came out to compete on that rainy November day, where they competed alongside several former Olympians and Charlotte Davis, a 71-year-old woman who broke three national records that day. There were also swimmers who were competing for the first time. The 133 swimmers who came out to compete were all very inspiring.

Robinson swam four events, earning top 10 national rankings in 50 Back, 100 Free and 100 IM. Dorre’s 50 and 100 Butterfly swims rank him 7th nationally in the 45-49 age group for those events. Zilz’s 50 and 100 Breaststroke times rank 8th and 6th fastest in the United States for 2021, respectively. Robinson and Dorre had not been in a swim program for over 25 years, and recently returned to the pool before the pandemic. Zilz has been regularly swimming in masters programs for the past 40 years.

The masters program at MIBC is growing, with 16 members regularly swimming in the year-round program.

“Masters Swimming is an excellent way to stay in shape, learn new techniques, and be competitive if you want to,” said Jason Chechitelli, coach of MIBC masters swimming.

Whether you swam competitively when you were young, want to train for triathlons, or are just getting into the water to train for the first time, the masters swim team is a fun, inspiring and welcoming group that can help you achieve your goals. The MIBC masters swim team trains on Monday, Wednesday, Friday (at 6 a.m.) and Saturday mornings (6:30 a.m.), and welcomes members and non-members to take the splash, get fit and make new friends.

If interested, email jasonchechitelli@gmail.com or visit www.mibeachclub.com/activities/aquatics.