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Live on TransWeb...1998 US Transplant Games

Varsity Pool Hosts Swimming
Story by Maureen Fox; photography by Joel Lerner, Nick Dean, and Maureen Fox; audio by Bob Garypie


See 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 their race.

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

Listen here to our interview with Kristin Zimmer, 13 (Team Central New York) who receieved a liver transplant 12 years ago


Flashback to 1996:



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Last modified: 11 May 2000