TWIM Shines in the California Sun

Photo courtesy: Mission Viejo Masters

What could be better than spending four days swimming with friends and making memories at the 2019 Summer Nationals in Mission Viejo, California? Southern California put on quite a show with perfect 82-degree sunny days, creating a perfect stage for our three TWIMmers to perform! PSM fielded only 16 swimmers, compared to the Oregon juggernaut of 27, but still came away with 3rd place in the regional teams point category.

The women’s team was small with only four swimmers, half of those being from TWIM. Erin McPeak and Holly Lickwala did not disappoint. Erin scored an impressive 24 points with 1st in the 200 fly (negative splitting her race on the way to the win), 3rd in the 400 IM and 6th in the 100 fly. Not only was she the NATIONAL CHAMPION in the 200 fly, she also set a NEW PNA RECORD, besting the previous record by .38, held since 2001! Erin was also part of two relays placing 6th and 8th. Quite an impressive weekend for this powerhouse!

Erin readies to fly!

This is what Erin had to say about the meet:

“This was my first Master’s Nationals meet and I was super nervous, but my nerves quickly settled during the 400 IM. I had a fantastic time because I was able to catch up with my fellow swimming friends (Holly and Brent). The meet ignited a desire to race more 200 butterflies and train this next season focusing on that race. It was so nice to see Corey, Holly, Brent, and April before and after all of my races. There was such a strong support present at the meet and from my TWIM family. Having that support truly helps me to swim faster!!! “

Brent in the blue cap

Brent also participated in his first National Championships swimming the 50 breast (16th place), 100 breast (13th place) and 200 breast (13th place). He bested his time in both the 50 and 100 breast making improvements on his technique through every swim. He was also part of one relay swimming, you guessed it, the breaststroke leg! Brent felt this was a great experience which included making a lot of new friends and to encourage him to continue to work hard. Way to go, Brent.

Assistant Coach Sarah with Brent & Holly

Thank you to coach April Cheadle and assistant coach Sarah Welch for the tremendous support throughout the meet. Also, to Mission Viejo for hosting such a fabulous event.

Holly continued with the family theme of swimming the 50 breast (4th place), 100 breast (5th place) and the 200 breast (5th place). She also swam the 100 free (8th place) on her way to scoring 22 points for the team. She also contributed to three relay swims as the backstroker for both the women’s and mixed medley relays. Holly was taken aback by all of the support they received from our TWIM teammates back home. “We definitely belong to the best team out there!” Even coach April was impressed by the support from afar.

Coach April with Rick Colella
Puget Sound Masters wins 3rd!
TWIM Shines in the California Sun

Looking to do your first Tri?

If you are thinking about doing a triathlon, the Lake Tye Triathlon is a great first race. If you are trying to set a triathlon PR, you could hardly find a better course.

This triathlon is sponsored by Finish Strong Events and is always held in early August.

This year it was held Saturday, August 10, in Monroe. I competed in it for my seventh time. The Lake Tye event offers both Olympic and Sprint distances, and I elected to do the Sprint Tri this year. Race conditions were driving rain during the swim and bike with a bit of clearing as the run was finishing up!

The lake was 72 degrees, so wetsuits were optional. The Sprint-distance Swim was 400 yards while the Olympic one was 1500 yards. The Bike course is 14 miles for the Sprint – mostly flat but with a few gentle slopes – and twice around that course for the Olympic distance. The Run at Lake Tye is almost completely flat: a 5K for the Sprint triathlon and 10K for the Olympic.

Save for the rain during the bike portion, the Sprint was a fun race this year!

Looking to do your first Tri?

Escape From the Rock, 2019 Style

Late last month, TWIM Coach Tammy Koppelberger and her die-hard husband and fellow TWIMmer, Jason Koppelberger, traveled south to partake in the 27th running of the Alcatraz Sharkfest Swim.

Their mission? To brave the shark-infested waters off San Francisco… er …. wait …. no … they tell me sharks have never been a problem. Okay, they braved 58-62 degree water and a 1.5 mile crossing from Alcatraz to Aquatic Park. How’s that?!

The Koppelbergers, along with friends Doug and Jerry Brooks, jumped from the ferries shortly after 9 a.m. and successfully traversed the infamous crossing with 593 other finishers on July 27th.

That may sound like a lot of swimmers until you read there were over a thousand participants entered…SHARKS, I knew it!

So, how did our dynamic duo do, you ask? They excelled, of course!!

Tammy smashed her competition by finishing first in her age group with a time of 29 minutes 55 seconds, roughly six minutes faster than the second place winner!

Appropriately enough, they awarded her with a bottle of “Bloody Red”. Congratulations, Coach!!!

Jason had a fantastic swim as well finishing with a time of 37 minutes 55 seconds. Asked about the race, he explained “it was actually easier than Swim Defiance a week earlier!”

The tides were not nearly as bad as Defiance and, as Tammy put it, the “weather and sea state in the Alcatraz Swim were marvelous with flocks of pelicans flying overhead as you swam.”

While Tammy and Jason both competed in this race last year, the Coast Guard had deemed the tides too unsafe to make the crossing and had folks swim along the shore. This year was the first time our duo actually got to swim from the Rock.

All in all, fun times and success were had by all in the City by the Bay!

Escape From the Rock, 2019 Style

TWIM is Golden at Games

It was quite the fruitful weekend for six TWIM Senior Swimmers in the 2019 Washington State Senior Games (WSSG) at Briggs YMCA in Olympia. Val Thompson, Betsey Kassen, Carl Haynie, Thomas Walker, Brent Barnes, and Dan Underbrink swam away with 30 medals and set 5 state records last Sunday, July 28.

Val swam nine events at this Senior Games! She swam all four of the 25-yard races Butterfly, Back, Breast, and Free. She also did the 50 Free, the 100 Free, and the 100 IM. To round out her schedule she also did the 200 Free and the 500 Free. Final medal tally for Val: Five Gold, three Silver, and one Bronze Nice work shouldering a heavy swim schedule, Val, and kudos on all of those medals!

Betsey gave her usual stellar effort in four events: the 100 Fly, the 200 Free, the 200 IM, and the 500 Free. It was an impressive selection of events, Betsey. Congrats on four Gold Medal performances and two State Records in the Fly and IM. Nicely done!

Carl had some fun in the 25 Breast and 25 Fly events, edging out tough competitors in both. He also swam the 50 Breast and the 100 IM. Following Betsey’s plan, Carl took home four Gold Medals and set three State Records. You are an awesome performer, Carl!

The Chairman, Tom Walker, swam in three events: the 50 Breast, the 100 Breast, and the 100 IM. His finishes included a Silver Medal, a Bronze Medal, and a fourth place. Tom often professes we all just need to show up and swim. You inspire us, Tom!

Brent, the youngster in his first WSSGs, delivered flawless performances in his three events: the 50 Back, the 200 Free, and the 200 Breast. Take-home hardware for Brent were three Gold Medals! We hope to see your winning ways at many more of these, Brent!

Dan rounds out this field of performers with seven swim events. Dan swam the 100 Back and 100 Breast events (having zero fast-twitch muscle fiber, these are the shortest events Dan typically will do). In longer events Dan swam 200 Back, 200 Breast, 200 IM, 400 IM (a solo swim!), and the 500 Free. Dan also participated in the WSSGs on Saturday, running a 10K road race. Final medal count for Dan was six Gold and two Silver. Editor’s Note: Way to go, Dan!!

A big thanks to the TWIM rooting section of Vic Pace, Holly Lickwalla, and Karin Williams. We all appreciated you coming and cheering us on!

This year’s WSSGs were just for fun. Next year, this meet will be the qualifier for the 2021 National Senior Games in Fort Lauderdale, FL. We look forward to seeing all 50 and older TWIMmers at that event next year!

TWIM is Golden at Games

Defiant and Victorious in Tacoma!

In a word, Swim Defiance 2019 this past Sunday was fantastic. It was managed expertly once again by the one and only Zena Courtney and sponsored by Blue Wave Aquatics. The weather was beautiful and the people and volunteers were awesome.

There were 55 swimmers who ended up racing in the 3K and 5K races. TWIMmers in attendance? Tammy and Jason Koppelberger, of course!

The twosome began with a calm ferry ride over to Vashon Island for the 3K race. Before long they were dipping themselves into the frigid waters of Puget Sound. Then the “gun” sounded and the race commenced!

As Tammy would sum up later: “it went quickly for the first half with beautiful Mt Rainier as a backdrop. But the second half of the race was spent battling a current that made forward progress difficult!”

In the end, Tammy decisively won first place overall among the females and second place overall among the 55 with a time of 47:52.00!

Jason took off 12 minutes from his 3K swim one year prior placing 12th overall and 2nd in his age group with a time of 1:00:00.18!

Way to go, you two!!

As they both exclaimed when it was all over: “We are glad we had the opportunity to represent TWIM at this event!”

Stay tuned for the next TWIM adventure!


Defiant and Victorious in Tacoma!

The 20th Fat Salmon… We came, we swam, we ate lunch.

fatsalmon crowdOn July 13, 2019, the 20th annual Fat Salmon was held… a 3.2 mile race between I-90 and 520 in Lake Washington.

TWIMmers Tammy, Carl, Jason, Erin, Jenny, and Kathy braved the surprisingly warm-ish and rather calm waters… swimming along the shore past lovely houses, boats, and even over a shopping cart! You never know what you’ll find beneath the surface…

twim before

Swimmers in rubber suits:

Tammy came in 6th overall and 1st in her age group with a time of 1:19:43.8

Carl came in 20th and 3rd in his age group with a time of 1:23:46.1

This was Jason’s first time swimming Fat Salmon and he finished it in 1:44:15.7!! This put him in 61st place overall and 7th in his age group.

Swimmers without rubber suits:

This was Erin’s first Fat Salmon experience and she finished in 1:29:24.6 placing her 19th overall and 6th in her age group.

Jenny completed the swim in 1:27:54.8 putting her in 15th place overall and 4th place in her age group.

Kathy finished in 1:26:12.6 for lucky 13th place overall and 1st in her age group.

erin tammy

Afterward there was much rejoicing because: 1. We were done for another year and: 2. Tammy organized a lovely lunch for us all. We did wonder why the other patrons of the restaurant were sitting FAR away from us, maybe the fishy smell emanating from us? The drowned rat appearance? Our posture as we slowly drooped over the table shoveling food into our faces? I don’t know, I was too busy eating!


The 20th Fat Salmon… We came, we swam, we ate lunch.

It wasn’t Just a Swim Meet, It was a TWIM Meet!

PNA delivered a rare treat when they hosted their first annual summer Long Course Meters (LCM) meet July 6 at the King County Aquatics Center in Federal Way. Swimmers from Canada, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and farther flung places took advantage.

And Puget Sound Master’s TWIM was there in force, showing that we are a team worthy of respect! With 14 swimmers registered, TWIM had the largest contingent of any workout team there.

We showed off the diversity of our TWIM talent by having swimmers entered in every individual event of the meet. Additionally, we showed off our depth, with many heats featuring two or even three TWIMmers!

Case in point, one highlight of the meet was seeing the TWIM women take first, second, and third in one heat of the 200 Meter Freestyle!

Way to go, TWIM!

Few TWIMmers at the meet had seen the Aquatic Center set up in Long Course. It was certainly nice not to have to travel to similar pools in Gresham, OR or Victoria, BC for a change!

Some astute relay entries by Coach Tammy had TWIM capturing age-group first place finishes in all five relays swum. Here is a swimmer-by-swimmer breakdown of TWIM performances at this PNA LCM event, and also a brief quote from each swimmer about their favorite event at this meet…

First up, Erin McPeak, with first place finishes in all three butterfly events (50, 100, and 200 meter) as well as a first in the 400 Meter IM. She also logged a second place finish in the 800 Freestyle, and contributed to three of TWIM’s relay wins. Erin says she really liked the 400 IM because she was able to go into it with zero expectations and the freedom to just swim her race. Very nicely done, Erin!

Holly Lickwala secured first place in three individual events, the 50 and 100 Meter freestyle, and the 100 Meter Butterfly. She received a second place in the 200 Meter Freestyle. Holly was also a key swimmer in three TWIM relay wins. Holly’s favorite event of the meet was the 200 Meter Freestyle Relay (160-199 age group). She found the relay to be, “A lot of fun and really fast!”

Colleen Wahlstrom, back with the team after baby-leave, logged first place finishes in the 200 and 400 Meter Freestyle events, as well as a first in the 50 Meter Butterfly. Colleen led off in the Women’s 200 Meter Freestyle Relay. Colleen thought about not swimming that relay, but was glad she did. She was pleased with all of her events in her “comeback meet” and really enjoyed the friendship and support displayed by the whole TWIM team. We are glad you are back, Colleen!

Coach Tammy Kopppelberger stymied her competition with five first place finishes in individual events! Those were the 50, 100, 200, and 400 Meter Freestyle and the 50 Meter Butterfly. What a powerhouse performance! She was also everywhere on deck, offering encouragement to the whole team. Her relay set-ups gave TWIM five more first place results, and she swam in two of those winning relays! She liked the 400 Meter Freestyle the best because she was “fresh”, didn’t have to worry about taking it out too fast, and was very happy with her time. Tammy, we all appreciate you as both Coach and Teammate!

Jenifer Tighe had a great meet with a first place finish in the 50 Meter Backstroke, and second place finishes in the 100 Meter Backstroke and the 50 and 100 Meter Breaststroke events. She particularly liked the 50 Backstroke. “It was over fast!”, she said. Indeed, it was fast! She smoked the competition in that heat! Nice job, Jenifer!

Valerie Thompson showed some great TWIM competitiveness, taking first in the 200 and 400 Meter Freestyle events. She also placed second in the 100 and 800 Meter Freestyle races and third place in the 50 Meter Freestyle. Valerie’s favorite event in this meet was her 400 Meter Freestyle because she got to stretch it out. Great performances all around, Val!

Betsey Kassen took first place honors in a grueling race, the 400 Meter IM. In addition, she snagged second place finishes in the 200 Meter IM and the 50 Breaststroke. Betsey was also instrumental in the Mixed 200 Meter Medley Relay (ages 200-239) win. When asked about her favorite event of the meet, she was in a toss-up between her 400 IM and her 50 Breaststroke. “I just love to swim”, she said. No one has ever had reason to doubt that, Betsey!

Jason Koppelberger was also there, adding to TWIM glory. Jason placed first in the 800 Meter Freestyle, second in the 100 and 200 Meter Freestyle events, and third in the 50 Meter Freestyle. Jason also swam the anchor leg on the winning Mixed 200 Meter Medley Relay (age 160-199) team. His favorite event was the 50 Freestyle where he knocked 5 seconds off his best time! He also really liked the 50 Meter pool set-up. Way to go, Jason!

Vince Carmosino was not settling for anything short of first place at this meet! He captured the top spot in the 400 Meter Freestyle and in the 50 and 100 Meter Breaststroke events. He followed up by swimming the third leg of the winning Men’s 200 Meter Medley Relay (age 200-239). Vince’s favorite event of the meet was the 50 Breaststroke. “One length!” he exclaimed. “I love to sprint!”

Brent Barnes had some great performances, too, bringing home second place in both the 50 and 200 Meter Breaststroke events. Brent also placed third in the 100 Breaststroke. He rounded out his performance with excellent swims in three of TWIM’s winning relays. The best event for Brent was the 50 Breaststroke. “It just felt good!”, he asserted.

Brad Jones was another guy who wasn’t settling for anything short of first place, and in some tough events! 50 Meter Butterfly – first! 100 Meter Butterfly – first! 400 Meter IM – first! Brad also helped bring TWIM to victory in the Men’s 200 Meter Medley Relay (age 200-239). Brad’s favorite race of the day was the 100 Butterfly, and his reasons? “My stroke didn’t fall apart, and it was my last event!”

Next we come to Mr. Carl Haynie with first place finishes in all four events he swam. Carl rang the winner’s bell in the 50, 100, and 200 Meter Backstroke events and also in the 100 Breaststroke! He followed that with critical contributions to two of TWIM’s winning relays! The best event for Carl was his 50 Backstroke. Carl says he “loved getting into the 32-second range!” in that race.

Dan Underbrink once again went Beast Mode. He made his contributions known with five first place finishes in the 400 Meter IM, 800 Meter Freestyle, 100 and 200 Meter Breaststroke, and 200 Meter Backstroke. Dan also took second place in the 100 Meter Backstroke and contributed strongly to two TWIM relay wins. Dan had two favorites, his 200 Backstroke and his 100 Breaststroke where he bested aggressive seed times in both events.

Rounding out this fabulous field of performers is our beloved Chairman of the Board, Thomas Walker. Thomas placed first in both the 100 and 200 Meter Breaststroke events, and came in third in the 50 Meter Breaststroke. Thomas felt that the 50 and 100 Breaststroke events were his best performances. Thomas says every time, “The most important thing is that we are all here to swim!” All of TWIM agrees with you, COB!

Thanks go out to Meet Director Sally Dillon, Meet Referee Dave Baer, and to the many judges, timers, and volunteers for putting on such a great meet. Swimmers, be sure not to miss this meet next year!

TWIM would be negligent if we did not acknowledge our own Vic Pace who is always there to help the team, even as he supports Val in her endeavors. Thank you, Vic, for your tireless efforts!

One final shout out to our injured teammate, Father Tom, who even though he was unable to swim with us, still volunteered his whole day as a timer, helping make this meet the success that it was. We all thank you and wish you well, FT, for a speedy recovery!

While both Meet Mobile and PNA’s HY-TEK software weren’t geared to score the meet this time around, it is pretty clear TWIM walked away the runaway winner after reviewing the results!

Very nice work, TWIM!

It wasn’t Just a Swim Meet, It was a TWIM Meet!