Varsity Pool Hosts Swimming
Story by Maureen Fox; photography
by Joel Lerner, Nick Dean, and Maureen Fox; audio
by Bob Garypie
Swimming Results at
Peppe Aquatic Center's Varsity Pool hosted swimming competition
on the final day of the 1998 U.S. Transplant Games. The pool, built
in 1932, has hosted many meets over the years, but none with a more
enthusiastic, loving crowd. The old adage "it's not whether you
win or lose, but how you play the game" held true once again with
the warmest applause given the swimmers who gave their all to finish
Looking around the crowd, it was difficult at times to pick out swimmers
from spectators -- the heat was so stifling everyone looked soaking wet,
as if they had just come from the pool. Heat, humidity, and enthusiasm
surely were in the high 90's. Around 3:30 in the afternoon, a fire alarm
sounded in Larkins Hall and the whole building had to be evacuated. Since
it was actually cooler outside than in, it was a welcome break, although
the meet was delayed by about a half-hour.
|Silver medalist (100 free) 21 year old Marisa McFate of Team Minnesota
received her liver transplant May 1, 1988. She found more competition
this year than at her first Games in Salt Lake City. When at the World
Games in Australia, her competition came from the British team.
|Bruce Byrd of Team Colorado says the competition "just keeps getting
stiffer." He won a gold medal in the men's 36-45 100 free and had
three more events to go as of this report. A 1987 kidney recipient,
he is attending his 5th U.S. Summer Games in addition to winter games
in Tigne, France and Aspen, Colorado. Returning to the Games over
the years he has had a chance to watch people mature and grow-up and
feels "lucky" to return to these reunions and be a part of this large
family. Every year he gives thought to staying home, but the pull
of the Games is strong, and he always returns.
|Cheri Jones of Team MoKan took to the awards podium to receive her
gold medal, in her new two-piece racing suit. Her husband came home
the week before the games with the suit telling her she needed to
wear it so everyone could see her scar and know she had a transplant!
Could he have forgotten these were the "transplant games"? Cheri,
a more than full-time veterinarian from Leawood, Kansas had a kidney/pancreas
transplant five years ago - the same year she married. Attending her
second games, her zest for life is evident.
Not every swimmer in the pool knew the technical points of race
turns, diving from the blocks, and stroke efficiency, but they knew
they were surrounded by love.
Listen here to our interview with
Sally Joy of Team Michigan