For the third consecutive year, Davis Aquatic Masters won top honors in the One-Hour Swim National Championship.
In the competition, participants swim as many yards as possible in an hour during January. The team with the highest total number of yards wins the championship.
This year, 340 DAM members swam a total of 1.185 million yards to capture the national title. On average, each competitor swam 3,310 yards, which is equal to just under two miles.
According to head coach Stu Kahn, the number of participants and yards swam were records for the team, which has been participating in the One-Hour Swim annually since 1991.
The event has become a heated, but friendly West Coast vs. East Coast rivalry.
DAM members swam 61,685 yards more than the second-place finisher in the extra-large team category, the New England Masters, whose 303 members swam an average of 3,643 yards or just over two miles.
New England is a regional master’s team that covers five states. The third-place team was Oregon Masters, another regional team covering the entire state.
“This means that DAM finished ahead of the entire state of Oregon and the five-state region of New England,” Kahn pointed out.
Nearly all DAM members live in Davis.
The 2011 event marked the third consecutive year that DAM members swam more than 1 million yards and took first place. DAM also finished first each year from 1995 to 1999.
In addition, four DAM swimmers won their age group: Sarah Hernandez, 26, in the 25-29 age group; Mark Callaghan, 31, in the 30-34 group; Susan Munn, 72, in the 70-74 group; and Pat Lax, 90, in the 90-94 age group. All live in Davis.
Four DAM relay teams finished first in their age groups as well.
Some other notable hour swim achievements: The oldest DAM swimmer was Lax, five swam while pregnant, 109 swimmers competed for the first time and there were 33 husband-and-wife duos. As part of the event, DAM collected 1,200 pounds of food for the Food Bank of Yolo County.
In all, some 3,000 swimmers from across the country competed in the event.
Other news from DAM:
* Record swim day: A total of 263 members swam last Monday in DAM’s nine daily workouts, breaking the record for participation on a single day. That attendance represents far more than the size of most master swimming teams. U.S. Masters Swimming records show there are 600 master’s teams with an average membership of 38 swimmers. DAM has about 550 members.
* Swim across Berryessa — A small, but adventurous group of DAM members is seeking other swimmers to join them on Monday, May 23, for a swim across Lake Berryessa. Led by Emily Evans and Paul Landes, both of Davis, the group will swim the lake’s 16-mile length in a relay.
There is no cost or award for the swim — only the satisfaction of being part of this first-ever swim, which is a fundraiser for the Putah Creek Council. For more information or to sign up, email Evans at [email protected] or Landes at [email protected]
* Volunteers needed: Volunteers are needed to help with DAM’s Lake Berryessa Open Water Swim, which will draw between 900 to 1,000 swimmers on June 4. For information, got to http://damfast.org or contact Nellie Sperka at [email protected]
An informational and organizing meeting for race volunteers will begin at 6:30 p.m. May 23 in the Blanchard Room of the Stephens Branch Library, 315 E 14th St. in Davis.
— Tom Martens is a Davis resident and a 15-year member of Davis Aquatic Masters member who serves on the nonprofit group’s board of directors. His column appears on the second Wednesday of the month. Recently, Martens won four awards for his writing from the Outdoor Writers Association of California. Reach him at [email protected] For information on DAM, call (530)757-7946, email [email protected] or see http://damfast.org