The Curry Coastal Pilot

CRESCENT CITY - Swimmers of all ages and skill levels from Curry and Del Norte counties converged on the All Comers Swim Meet Saturday at Fred Endert Municipal Pool.

True to its name, approximately 60 swimmers completed a series of strokes and relay events over three and a half hours.

Twenty-seven of those 60 came from the Crescent City Swim Club, the youth organization sponsoring the event alongside the Promote Our Pool Foundation and the Wild Rivers Coast Masters swim club.

"The kids were asking, 'What are those guys in swimsuits doing?'" said Lana Walker, a Brookings parent and volunteer coach with Crescent City Swim Club.

The Masters swimmers, including 71-year-old Ralph Mohr of Coos Bay, swam in lanes adjacent to kids one-seventh his age and younger.

"We (Masters swimmers) have a little saying we use," said Mohr - believed to be the oldest individual in attendance. "We've found the Fountain of Youth - you just have to swim in it."

The event proved to be a local affair with surprising reach, as swimmers came from as far away as Bend - 272 miles away.

"There are a lot of people driving down from Brookings," Brookings resident Jodi Harvey noted. "It's wonderful.

Harvey's daughter Breezy, 12, and son Denali, 10, had joined Crescent City Swim Club the week before and were swimming in the first meet of any consequence in their young lives.

"We want them to be swimming constantly for safety reasons, and it's a lifelong sport," Harvey said. "For me, the competitions are all about personal bests and relationships with everyone on the team. That's what sports should be about.

"Swim club is one of the great things offered (in the area). Up here, you kinda gotta make stuff happen."

Competition was at the back of the minds of most swimmers, save four lifeguards who joined in for a wild and fast 50-meter freestyle race. Each swimmer was granted three places in individual races and could enter any relay race. Timers kept track of race results, and all participants received ribbons.

Endert Pool acquitted itself well, containing all the activity and soaking in the adoration from natives and visitors alike.

"The pool is the most useful physical education apparatus you can have because everybody uses it," Mohr said. "Adults should get into it more."

That said, competitive fire is stoked in myriad ways. Breezy Harvey was proud of her 50-meter freestyle dash time of 39.41 - not bad for the first real race of her life.

"I think she was surprised about how fast her time was," Jodi Harvey said. "She was speedy."