The Swim Fort Lauderdale Masters Team enjoyed a successful outing at the 2018 UANA (Union Americana de Natacion) Pan American Masters Swimming Championships at the YMCA Aquatic Center in Orlando. Fort Lauderdale was well represented with 42 swimmers and four divers competing in the international meet.

This marked only the second time that the United States has hosted the biennial event, which is scheduled to take place in Medellin, Colombia in 2020. The Orlando turnout was the largest Pan American Masters Championship ever held with 2,500 athletes from 46 countries competing.

For water enthusiasts, there was a little bit of something for everyone. Besides the swimming events, there was also diving, synchronized swimming and water polo competitions during the two-and-half-week tournament.

Swim Fort Lauderdale Masters head coach Marty Hendrick made sure his troops came in prepared and more importantly geared up the close-knit group to go out and have fun. There were multiple former Olympians at the tournament led by three-time gold medalist Olympian Rowdy Gaines.

Cecelia McCloskey enjoyed an outstanding meet with five Pan American records established. The New Jersey transplant has been with the Swim Fort Lauderdale Masters program for two years. As a resident of Fort Lauderdale, she is a familiar figure at the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex, working out four to five times a week.

McCloskey has come full circle with the Pan American Games. In 1967 she was a member of the Pan American Youth team at age 17 and now at age 68, she was entering her first Masters competition after a long layoff from the sport.

“I met up with Marty (Hendrick) who encouraged me to get back into swimming, and he is very specific and watches me closely and tells me what I can do, including correcting my technique all the time,” McCloskey said. “I wasn’t too surprised in winning since that what I was working for, but I always think I can do better. I was happy with my performance but I still want to swim faster.”

McCloskey was victorious in the women’s 65-69 200-meter backstroke with a Pan Am record of 2:54:54. She established another Pan Am record in the 100-meter butterfly with a time of 1:20:13. McCloskey was also part of three winning relay teams that set Pan American records: 200-meter freestyle relay team of McCloskey, Rosa Ventura, Jamie Herrington and Maria Hung; 200-meter medley relay of McCloskey, Carla Albano, Hung and Mary Shawn Kelly; and Mixed 200-meter medley relay with Andre Steynberg, David Zubero, McCloskey and Herrington.

“It’s been a great experience and I really like this team-oriented group,” McCloskey said. “I was really drawn to the Fort Lauderdale team and the atmosphere that Marty brings to each practice. It is all upbeat and fun. After swimming with a couple of other swim clubs, I realized that Fort Lauderdale was where I wanted to be.”

There were other Pan American record-setting performances by Swim Fort Lauderdale members. Ventura won the women’s 50-meter and 100-meter backstroke events, while Valeriy Krishtal duplicated the gold-medal performance by winning the men’s 50-meter and 100-meter backstroke races. Andre Steynberg set a World and Pan Am record in the men’s 60-64 50-meter backstroke and then proceeded to set a Pan Am record in the men’s 50-meter butterfly.

Gerry Delong won the men’s 75-79 200-meter butterfly event and was joined on the podium by 80-year-old teammate Ira Rimerman who set Pan Am records in the men’s 80-84 400-meter freestyle and the 200-meter butterfly.



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