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Diving back into competition …

Masters' swim foursome back to making waves in pool

Roth, Turecky, Zuorski, Jones compete against 56 swimmers, unseen rivals for U S national ranking bragging rights
By Staff | Jun 07, 2021
Courtesy of: Martin Turecky From left, masters' swimmers who train at the Penobscot Bay YMCA in Rockport, Ashley Zuorski, Martin Turecky, Doug Roth and Bill Jones.

Salem, N.H. — Finally, area masters’ swimmers emerged from their COVID-19 cocoons and the results spoke for themselves.

As public-health measures shut down swimming pools and athletic gatherings, US Masters’ Swimmers shifted gears, deluging its 65,000 members with home-exercise suggestions, said veteran swimmer Bill Jones, 84, of Hope.

Maine Masters’ swimmers had no pool access for a long stretch and no competition. There had been no masters’ swim competition in Maine since January 2020 and only two other masters’ New England meets during those 16 months — until Saturday, May 22.

That is when the Granite State Penguins organized a mini meet limited to 60 competitors. Four Penobscot Bay YMCA swimmers were quick to enter.

During COVID, many masters’ swimmers got out of top physical condition, Jones said.

Three Pen Bay swimmers, Doug Roth, 59, of Warren, Martin Turecky, 55, of Camden, and Ashley Zuorski, 33, of Rockport trained as regularly and as scientifically as they could under the circumstances, usually together, Jones said. Roth’s mentee, Jones, older and slower, also made an effort to regain swimming condition, Jones said.

The showing at Salem of the Midcoast foursome, amid elite swimmers, mainly from New England, but also from as far away as Virginia and Texas, showed that intelligent hard work paid off.

Roth, Turecky, Zuorski and Jones competed not just against the other 56 swimmers at the New Hampshire meet, but against unseen rivals for U.S. national ranking bragging rights.

Jones, easily the slowest swimmer at the meet, he said, had no competition in his age group and was far slower than the record times he set four years ago. Nevertheless, his times in his four events likely will place him in national top 10.

As of now, he is the only U.S. male in his age group to have completed a 200-yard butterfly this year and one of two to complete the 400 individual medley, Jones said.

For the younger Pen Bay swimmers, making national top 10 is not just a matter of finishing. Despite the much deeper competition, Roth and Zuorski appear likely to make it, Roth in the 400 IM and maybe the 1,000 freestyle, Zuorski also in the 1,000 free and 50 and 100 backstrokes.

Turecky’s 100 IM in 1:09.53 is 11th in the U.S. among 32 competitors. He missed 10th place by less than a second — 0.68.

While May marked the end of the truncated 2020-2021 masters' swim year, results were still coming in across the country. However, Martin is out of luck for national top-10 ranking for this year because late results can only make a tentative ranking go down, Jones said.

"We won’t know for a while yet whether Bill Jones has backed into a national championship and whether, in Salem N.H., our four local swimmers, who swam 17 races, garnered nine national top-10 awards, but Turecky missed by a hair," Jones said.

Jones said it had been a long wait for competition during the pandemic and Maine Masters’ swimming nearly disappeared.

"There haven’t been organized workouts here ever since Pen Bay Y has opened the pool again," Jones said. "But Saturday [May 22], the three hardest working mature swimmers at Pen Bay and I got ourselves into the first masters’ meet in the Northeast for over a year. The results speak for themselves."

The results from the New Hampshire meet for the area swimmers, with event, place swimmer, age, time and tentative national rank listed, were:

100 free — 3, Turecky, 55, 1:01.26, 25th of 54.

500 free — 2, Roth, 59, 7:22:70, 22nd of 24.

1,000 free — 1, Zuorski, 33, 13:14.93, four of five; 2, Roth, 59, 14:37.60, 10th of 10; and 1, Jones, 84, 24:09.89, first of two.

50 back — 2, Turecky, 55, 33.69, 16th of 28; 2, Zuorski, 33, 35.49, seventh of 12th; and 3, Roth, 59, 38.91, 20th of 28.

100 back — 1, Zuorski, 33, 1:18.53, ninth of 11.

50 breaststroke — 1, Roth, 59, 49.22, first, 22nd of 23.

50 butterfly — 4, Turecky, 55, 30.18, 20th of 29; and 2, Zuorski, 33, 32.24, 14th of 20.

200 fly — 1, Jones, 84, 8:37.30, first of one.

100 IM — 2, Turecky, 55, 1:09.53, 11th of 32.

200 IM — 1, Zuorski, 33, 2:45.70, 15th of 23; and 1, Jones, 84, 4:51.37, fourth of six.

400 IM — 2, Roth, 59, 7:41.71, fourth of five; and 1, Jones, 84, 11:16.78, third of three.

Courier Publications' sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com or by phone at 594-4401.

Bill Jones in the 400 individual medley. (Courtesy of: Martin Turecky)
Bill Jones makes breaststroke turn. (Courtesy of: Martin Turecky)
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