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Members of the Simon's Rock PaceMakers Masters Swim Team at their competition at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Photo courtesy Bard College at Simon's Rock Pace Makers

Simon’s Rock Pace Makers rack up wins in USMS New England Northeast competition

By Saturday, Dec 22, 2018 Life In the Berkshires

Worcester — The Bard College at Simon’s Rock Pace Makers masters swim team competed with gusto in the U.S. Masters Northeast Zone Short Course Meters Championship at Worcester Polytechnic Institute Dec. 7-9, tallying two team relay wins and three individual victories.

Swimmers Bronley Boyd, Dan Epstein, Ray Zelehoski and John Olander. Image courtesy Bard College at Simon’s Rock Pace Makers

Eighteen Pace Makers competed in dozens of events during the weekend along with teams from throughout the New England region. In the medium-sized swim club category, Pace Makers placed sixth among 10 teams, with 1073.50 points. Great Bay Masters from New Hampshire scored more than 1,700 points to win.

Pace Makers who competed range in age from 32 to 76; there are more than 70 Pace Makers in the Simon’s Rock masters club.

“The Pace Makers has grown each year with a wide range of abilities and ages,” said Bill Meier, head coach of the Pace Makers. “We’re not just a swim team, but we are a tightknit group that depends on each other as a community as much as we depend on each other as a swim team. We are connected by a great love of swimming.”

Mixed medley relay swimmers Neil Purdy, Mark Freed, Cheryl St. Pierre-Sleboda and Jill Fleming. Photo courtesy Bard College at Simon’s Rock Pace Makers

The following swimmers placed first in events for their age groups: Aaron Baden (40-44), 100-meter breaststroke; Daniel Epstein (65-69), 50-meter backstroke; Mary Stephen, (75-79), 50-meter freestyle.

In the team relays, Pace Makers won the men’s 200 -meter freestyle (70-75) with the following swimmers: Bronley Boyd, Dan Epstein, Ray Zelehoski and Johnny Olander. Their relay time surpassed an old record by 10 seconds. In the men’s 200 medley relay, swimmers Dan Epstein, Ray Zelehoski, Starbuck Smith and Johnny Olander also won. Both relays set New England records.

Other competitors included Julia Erickson, Jill Fleming, Mark Freed, Michael Harke, Rozann Kraus, Bill Meier, John Olander, Neil Purdy, Bob Putz, Cheryl St. Pierre-Sleboda, Tim Susse and Al Thorp.

See video below of Cheryl St. Pierre-Sleboda, 50-meter butterfly, topping her time of two years ago by a full second:

See video below of the Pace Makers cheering section encouraging Ray Zelehoski in his breaststroke race:

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