TWIM On Fire South of the Border!

Those two indomitable TWIM Warriors Brent and Holly were at it again this past weekend at the Oregon SCY Championships at the Hills, Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center, that is!

It was truly the TWIM Way on steroids as Holly blazed her way to Personal Bests every time she got in the water! Her sizzling created so much smoke that we hear they were almost ready to call the Fire Department! Her trusty understudy Brent also turned in his own ration of dazzling performances! How good can these two get? Stay Tuned!

Holly was nothing short of stellar, laying down personal best times in each event she swam! She warmed up on Saturday by swimming the 100 IM in 1:09.42 before posting a scorching 1:00.70 in the 100 free! She rounded out the day with a 50 fly time of 30.36!  Sunday was equally awe-inspiring with Holly swimming the 200 free (2:19.68) and a 100 fly (1:10.73). Wow!!! Give me some of what she’s having…

Brent was able to better his best times in the 100 free (1:13.91), 200 free (2:45.36) and would have done so in the 200 breast (3:01) had it not been for that pesky DQ for overlapping hands at the wall! He was just hundredths off new personal bests in the 50 free and 50 breast. Brent also had a revelation in the 200 free; after swimming splits of 1:15 and 1:30, he realized that his back half needs a lot of work!

Show me what you’ve got and Bring It On because this guy just keeps on coming!

Congratulations Brent and Holly and Way to Rock It!


TWIM On Fire South of the Border!

Display Those Medals!

When I returned to swimming competition (a few years ago now), one of the new experiences was occasionally winning a medal. I found the medals very fun to have and very motivational for me. After I had a few of them, I had to figure out where and how I was going to keep them. I asked a few athlete friends how they were keeping or displaying their medals, and I got various responses: “mine are in my sock drawer,” “I have them in a shoe box,” and “I have mine hanging on the office doorknob.”

These solutions all seemed a little lame to me; I did an on-line search and found a wall-mounted, metal, laser-cut, medal hanger for around $100, and decided to purchase that. It is nice. It has a laser-cut motivational slogan rising above laser-cut bars to hold the medals. I mounted the hanger on a board and mounted the board on the wall in my office: a nice solution for displaying my swim medals, but a bit expensive and taking up a good bit of wall real estate.

Then I started running as cross-training for my swimming which led to trying my first half-marathon. Then I got a bike and did my first triathlon. I love doing these events nearly as much as I do swimming, and each of these comes with a nice finisher’s medal. My medal rack was filling quickly, and I needed to get another one (yes, another $100 or so). I put the swimming medals on one display hanger, and the running and triathlon medals on the other.

This has been my display solution for a few years, but recently both displays were again becoming over-crowded. I was feeling the need for more display space – as I do not plan to stop competing any time soon – and I like being able to have all my medals where I can see them and remember all those very fun events.

I needed a new display solution.

I wanted my new display solution to be compact and inexpensive, and to display the medals nicely. My existing display racks showed my medals nicely, but they were quite expensive and took up a lot of wall space. I started looking at various options, but nothing I found was really inspiring me. Then one day, I needed to buy some fabric for a project. While at the fabric store, I discovered spool racks. These are wood frames with pegs that hold multiple spools of thread. They cost under $15! I thought perhaps I could adapt these to become medal displays. They work wonderfully!

The 30-spool rack works great for swimming medals. The 33-spool rack has the rows of pegs offset from each other and is a good choice for larger running medals.

The spool racks have fold-out legs for standing them on a table. To adapt the unit for a medal display, one simply needs to collapse the legs and add picture-hanging hardware and picture-hanging wire to the rear of the rack. These can be left in their natural wood finish, but I like to spray-paint mine black.

On the left is the picture-hanger wire, installed on the rear of the painted medal rack and, on the right, the empty medal rack hanging on the wall.

When the rack is hung on the wall, the pegs protrude at an upward angle – perfect for hanging medals. There are multiple rows of pegs, so it is recommended to load medals onto the display by starting at the bottom and working one’s way to the top. One or two medals may be hung on each peg. Layering the rows of medals this way creates a nice 3-D presentation with every medal showing.

  1. Starting to load the (30-peg) rack
  2. Rack half-loaded
  3. Swimming medals rack fully loaded
  4. Running medals rack (33 pegs in offset rows)
Display Those Medals!

TWIM Triumphs at Champs

Jenny (ph: Isaac Contreras)

After a February that nobody could forget with that Alaska-like weather, it seemed like April would never come. Finally, though, it was time to muster the troops, head to Federal Way, and match strokes with the best swimmers from this time zone and beyond.

Carl (ph: Isaac Contreras)

The PNA and PNW Zone Championship Meet proved to be a test that TWIM members would pass with flying colors on April 13th and 14th. Deepest thanks are owed to host Blue Wave Aquatics, Meet Referee Mike Murphy and his army of judges, Boy Scout Troop 392 of Normandy Park (our timers!), Announcer Steve Freeborn, Registrar Angela Turley, a plethora of super hard-working volunteers, fierce outside competition from all you Oregon teams, and the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center.

From its inception in 2015, when amazingly the first-year team won the small-teams division, Twimmers have had their eye on the medium-team trophy. After a very respectable third place finish in 2016 we took a step back to 5th the following year. After gathering ourselves by crushing the competition back in the small team realm last year we seemed ready for the challenge; and boy, were we! Boasting an 18 swimmer contingent, we took it to the others early and often and the top slot seemed a guarantee after Day 1. But, with an attitude of never letting up, the entire group, with veteran focus and champion’s aplomb made it a certainty by pulling away to win by 87 ½ points with a TWIM team record for the meet of 615 ½ points. This broke our previous record by 133 ½ points!

And it truly was a team effort made even more amazing by the fact that one of our top swimmers, Erin McPeak, fell ill just before the weekend and was unable to compete. And another top swimmer, Maoz Alsberg, missed events due to family responsibilities on Saturday and to injury the next day. In addition to these two, Betsey Kassen had a nearly unshakable bug that came with the cold of February and lingered into March causing her to miss a ton of training. And everyone knows about Tom Fritschen’s wrist injury; Tom was a stroke slower than usual (third 200 Fr & 4th 50 Fr) but knowing him (which I do now), I’m sure he’ll be back to beating me and others in our age group again in no time.

And last, but not least, Jason Koppelberger swam on Saturday but had dire student responsibilities so had to skip Sunday. He contributed nicely though with a second in the 200 free with a very nice time of 2:30.69 and a fourth in the 50 free. We all appreciate you taking time away from academics to help out!

Jason (rt) with Brent

Leading off for the team in the first event, the 1000 free, was our own Alabama Attacker, Val Thompson. She got second for us right off the bat and seemed to set the stage for all who came after. It should be mentioned that this gal flinches at nothing as she not only swam the aforementioned 1000, but also the 1650 Free (2nd). In between those bookends were the 100 IM (2nd), the 200 Free (2nd), the 500 Free (1st), and the 100 Free (2nd). Well done!

All the while, Vic Pace (Val’s hubby, the TWIM Roadie, and our Backup TWIM Coach), was indispensable. Thank you, Vic!

Val with Backup Coach Vic

Betsey Kassen was next and despite her lack of training, she was able to pull off a victory in not only the 1000 Free but also the 50 Breast. Her only other individual event, as she just swam on Saturday, was the 50 Free (placed 3rd). She also served valiantly on two different relays.


Ironman Dan Underbrink was next; he took 3rd in the 1000 and followed that up with 3 other events and a relay on Saturday and then two events and a relay on Sunday. When the dust had settled, he walked away with 3 firsts (100 breast, 200 breast & 200 back), a second (400 IM) and two thirds! His passion about competing is infectious and nearly rivals his obsession with collecting 18th century sailing medallions. Next meet, ask him about it; they are incredible. Just no matter what, do not let him talk you into swimming around Mercer Island!

Dan (rt) with Father Tom

Coach T (for Tammy) Koppelberger also hit the water early taking 1st in the 1000 in an amazing time of 12:11.92 (She would later go on to win the 500 breaking 6 minutes for the first time as a Masters swimmer)! She was our only 11-event swimmer, serving on five relays as well as her 6 individual events. She had four firsts (the 100 Free, 200 Free to match her 500 and 1000 performances) and a 2nd in the 50 Free and also in the 1650 Free (to our very own Kathy Pelham). The duel between these two went down to the wire with Kathy pulling it out by just over 3 seconds! Thank you Coach T for all you did for us this weekend!

A sample of Coach T’s 50 points!

COB and our senior member Mr. Thomas Walker spent lots of time in the pool over both days also and contributed a lot of energy supporting others as well. He registered three third places (50 breast, 200 IM, & 200 breast) two fourths (100 breast & 200 back) and a sixth. He also swam a relay.

COB Tom (center) with Dan and Jen

Big Tom Fritschen swam four total events with one of those being a relay and though his times were not up to his standards he picked up valuable points for us. I’m looking forward to some great matches with you in the freestyle when you’re back to normal!

FT and Coach T (OK, last year’s photo but same result!)

Jenny Ferries was another that was able to make it just for one day but what an impact she had; three firsts on Saturday (100 IM, 50 breast & 100 breast) and a third in a hotly contested 400 IM. She also helped on a relay. Didn’t I hear that you were an All Star softball player in college too? Please don’t become a triathloner.


Brent Barnes and Holly Lickwala arrived with kids in tow. They proceeded to show their prowess in the pool and also on dry land as parents that had it figured out; those kids were perfectly mannered! Brent had an amazing swim in the 100 breast where he dropped 7 seconds to finish in 1:20.53; good enough for 4th place. He also got 4th in the 50 breast but captured a second in the 200 breast. He also competed in the 50, 100 & 500 freestyles, registering good times while nabbing 7th, 6th & 5th in those events. Not bad for a guy born in White Salmon; isn’t it required that everyone is a good swimmer from there?

Brent (ph: Isaac Contreras)

Holly swam 5 individual events and 4 relays. She won firsts in the 50 free, 100 breast & 200 IM (amazing time of 2:35.59!) and got second in the 100 IM with a 1:10.71 & 50 fly (:30.52). Another one of our incredible point machines! And always ready with a great smile.

Holly (rt) with Carl

Maoz Alsberg, as previously mentioned, was only able to show us some of his considerable talents. He smoked ‘em in the 100 IM in :59.73 for a 1st and did the same in the 50 fly (:27.11). Those were times I did in my twenties for cripe sakes! No wonder you hurt your shoulder. Hey, thanks for sharing stories with me; fascinating. This guy has been all over!

Maoz (50 Fly)

James Mange, in the grand spirit of TWIM swimmers, absolutely crushed it this weekend too. Three firsts (50 breast, 200 IM & 1650 free) and three seconds (100 back, 100 breast & 50 back) while also contributing nicely in 2 relays. Inspirational!

48 points!

Jenifer Tighe, in her maiden meet, not only did supremely well but she went above and beyond and served valiantly on three relays! She got 4th place in both the 50 free & 50 back but captured a nice second place in the 50 breast. Welcome aboard and nicely done! You had to have swum for old Homestead High, right!? Oh, and thank the hubby once again for the valuable information regarding the Masters Golf tournament. Information from the outside world comes at quite the premium.


Robert Moore, the pride of Fort Vancouver High, swam for us on Sunday and I think we won him over as he says that he’ll be back; and we’d love to have him! He scorched it, anchoring one relay and individually swam to a 3rd in the 200 back (2:25.16) a fourth in the 50 fly (:29.02) & also the 50 back (:31.71). Next meet you have to bring your musical instrument of choice and serenade us in between events; just do it!

Bob Moore

Kathy Pelham, though she only swam 1 individual event (1st in 1650 free) served on two relays. This gal is fast, fast, fast! To beat our coach in any event, you have to be. Just tell me you are NOT a Chicago Bears fan (from a suburb of Chicago)!

Val, Dan, Tom, and Kathy

Next is the indomitable Carl Haynie. There’s a reason this guy is top-5 nationally every year; that backstroke is as smooth as silk. There is only one reason he did not capture 6 firsts and that is due to friends like Brad Hering and Dan Phillips. Anyway, 4 firsts (100 & 200 back, 100 & 200 breast) and 2 seconds in PNA scoring (50 back, 50 breast) is an amazing haul and then contributing huge on 4 relays. Nicely done old boy!


Lastly me, Scott Neuhaus. Thanks to the coaches for having the confidence to let me swim 4 relays. Those were a lot of fun. Individually: 3 seconds (100 IM, 200 breast and a tie in the 50 free :28.03), a third (100 breast) a fourth (100 free) and a fifth (50 fly). Every meet I swim I learn what I need to do more of and that is DRYLAND WORK!! And it was so nice to meet those of you I hadn’t before (sorry Jenny Ferries; somehow I missed an introduction). Looking forward to the next one.

[Editor: “That’s Scott…I mean Brent…I mean…”]

In closing, since I’m sure I will never again be given the task of blogging about our meet by the COB [Editor: “nice try!”] , I would like to share simply this: Events we share together, such as this, become more and more special as we age. If only for a weekend, they are all opportunities to make time stand absolutely still. As everyone has noticed, Father Time seems to get in a bigger and bigger hurry the older we get. The camaraderie and caring I felt this weekend made the entire event very special, and I look forward to stopping time with more TWIM victories in the future!!!

TWIM Triumphs at Champs

TWIM Brings the Heat to Arizona!



The Redoubtable and Ever Amazing TWIM Tag Team of Holly Lickwala and her trusty Side Kick Brent Barnes brought the Way this last weekend to the Arizona Masters SCY State Championships at the beautiful Hillenbrand Aquatic Center at the University of Arizona!

They were just in town for Spring Break with the boys and decided to stop in and knock it out of the park, TWIM Style. They were happy to have packed their swim gear in their carry-on bags since their baggage never made it out of San Francisco!

But when it came time to get on down to the Getting Down, they Got Down, Big Time!

It must be true romance because they both swam the same events, the 500 Free and the 50 Breast-


Mr. Barnes set new personal bests in the 500 Free with a time of 7:59 and 38:54 in the 50 Breast!

The Boss Lady was able to improve her 500 Free time to 6:30 and broke the 37 second barrier in the 50 Breast with a time of 36:84!

Give us Ten more like these and we shall Rule the World!
Hail TWIM Long Live!



TWIM Brings the Heat to Arizona!

TWIM Leaves a Mark on Port Angeles

DanOnly a single, solitary TWIM member made it up to the USMS meet in Port Angeles on March 10, 2019. Yes, many of his teammates were busy preparing for the inaugural TWIM Freestyle Clinic in Sammamish that night which included our entire coaching arsenal.

Was he lonely? No. Asked about it afterwards, he was all smiles: “it was a chance to catch up with my friends from the peninsula!”

Dan swam five events in all. He must not have it in his blood to swim less than five!

He logged first-place finishes in both the 200 Breast and 500 Free, second-place finishes in the 200 IM and 200 Back, and a third-place finish in the 200 Free!

“It was a good swim day”, he modestly quipped, “with excellent competition.” This was Dan’s first visit to the Port Angeles facility, which is scheduled for closure and remodel later this year.

Way to go, Dan! Onward and upward to the PNA Championships!


TWIM Leaves a Mark on Port Angeles

First Ever Swim Clinic a Huge Success

TWIM’s first ever swim clinic was conducted this past Sunday, March 10, at the Sammamish Community YMCA, and by the comments received, it was a huge success!

This brainchild sprouted when Thomas Walker, Tammy Koppelberger, and Erin McPeak traveled to Oregon last fall to get certified as USMS coaches. They not only got certified, but they learned how to put on a clinic.

And then the lightbulb went off in Tom’s head. Why can’t we do this?

Chairman Tom deserves a mountain of credit for tirelessly bringing this USMS-style Freestyle Clinic to fruition.  Executive Director Dave Mayer of the Sammamish Y supplied us with an exceptional venue while his team handled all the online registration details. Wow!

Without these two, this clinic would not have been possible. Way to go, guys!

Head Coach Todd Doherty and a team of experienced coaches put on an exemplary clinic for 33 swimmers teaching us all great drills and good technique. He and his two talented daughters, Lindsey and Anna, came equipped with a video they all crafted. In it, Anna demonstrates 11 drills flawlessly.

From left to right in the photo, our excellent coaching staff consisted of TWIM phenom Jenny Ferries, Head YMCA Coach Laurie Jones, Chairman Tom Walker, Coach Lindsey Doherty, Head Masters Coach Todd Doherty, TWIM Coach Tammy Koppelberger (back), Triathlon and Y Coach Kainoa Pauole-Roth (front), TWIM Coach Erin McPeak, TWIM Head Coach Brian Guillen, and the star in the video, Anna Doherty.


Kathy Pelham fed us all like royalty, both at the coaches meeting and afterwards. Many hungry swimmers were appreciative! I can only imagine what your shopping experience was like, Kathy. Thank you!

Kudos to Michelle Murray and Vince Carmosino who did a fantastic job checking everyone in at the door, polling swimmers according to ability, and above all, dishing out goody bags!  Thank you, Vince, for stuffing those bags beforehand and helping out in the kitchen. Thank you, Michelle, for making sure everyone was accounted for and checked off.

Finally, thank you all who signed up for the clinic. Your enthusiasm and your persistence in nearly 3 hours of coolish water was truly inspiring!

Stay tuned for more clinics. This is only the beginning.

— Carl





First Ever Swim Clinic a Huge Success