UANA PANAMERICAN MASTERS in MEDELLIN COLOMBIA
May 20-27, 2021
Press Release from LOC Medellin 2020 in regards to the 2020 UANA MASTERS Championships. As of today, March 13, 2020 the Championship will continue as scheduled
FINA / UANA MASTERS COACHES CLINIC
The first FINA / UANA Masters Coaches Clinic was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in conjunction with the South American Masters Championships. The South American Masters Championships was an ideal location to host this first clinic, with over 1200 Swimmers representing 130 Clubs throughout South America.
The presentations given by Bill Brenner, US Masters Swimming COO/Director of Education, and Marty Hendrick, US Masters Swimming Coach were outstanding. There were 50+ coaches from 9 Federations in South America who attended the Clinic. The clinic lasted 4 hours and they wanted more. The objective of the clinic was to teach a simple progression of drills for all four competitive strokes, so swimmers and coaches can enjoy swimming and have a healthy lifestyle.
While there have been many other Coaches Clinics around the world, this was the first Clinic just for Masters Coaches. The objective was to show coaches how to understand the adult athlete and how to teach the adult athlete with a simple drill progression in each stroke.
I wish to thank CONSANAT President Juan Carlos Orihuela for his support, and the support of CONSANAT of Masters Swimming. Thanks also to Fernando Terrilli, president of the Argentine Swimming Federation for his support of this project. His administrators, Julio Clement, Secretary General and Sergio Antonini, Vice President, provided leadership and hospitality to me and our coaches. Thanks to US Masters Swimming for providing quality instructors for this international project
A final THANK YOU to FINA and UANA for their constant support of Masters Swimming.
This Clinic was more successful that I could have imagined, and was regarded a "Home Run" !
UANA Masters Spotlights
With every special competition comes a pool of special competitors. Particularly in the Masters division, you will find athletes from all over the world with rich and powerful stories and experiences that we would like to shine a light on!
Spotlight #1: Robert Chandler
Never Give Up, Never Surrender, Never Quit!
These seven words come together to form the life mantra of U.S. Masters Diver Robert Chandler. Watching him send himself off the platform and take gold last week at the 2018 UANA Pan American Masters Championships in Orlando, Florida, you can’t help but be amazed at how a father, a writer, and a full-time environmental and health safety specialist finds time to preserve himself in such good health and train to compete at a world-class level. What will truly leave you in amazement, however, is the testimony of recovery and faith that can’t be seen, only heard directly from Chandler himself.
Chandler began training with his son for the 2014 U.S. Masters Nationals and the 2014 FINA World Masters Championships in Montreal respectively, when one afternoon everything he had worked for would come to a sudden halt.
“I’m an ex-paramedic so when I hit the bottom I knew exactly what had happened…” These were Chandler’s words as he recalled the dry-land foam pit accident in a gymnastics training facility on February 22, 2014 that would result in the most physically and emotionally tolling year of his life. “My son was there at the time of the accident so when I was at the bottom of the pit the first thing I said was ‘someone needs to go get my son.’ ” Chandler went on to speak about the brilliant job that the first-responders did in not only handling him in his condition, but in comforting his son which he recalls to be somewhat in a state of shock. Arriving at the hospital to be met by his wife and mother-in-law, the general feeling was one of bewilderment and surrealism, until the diagnoses came from the neurosurgeon hours later. Chandler had a compression fracture of the C4 and simple fracture of the C5 spinal vertebrae and he remembers it as the news hitting his family “like a ton of bricks” and the general feeling that hung in the air would quickly shift to one of uncertainty.
Uncertain how his family would endure in the coming months.
Uncertain whether he would be able to walk again.
Uncertain whether he had taken his last dive.
When asked what his driving force was to recover and keep moving forward through his recovery he mentioned what one might expect -- family and his desire to compete -- but Chandler says that these factors were not at the front of his mind during the gruesome the moments where he had to learn to walk again. “One thing that for some reason never gets out is when I went into that pit, I was upside down, it was dark and then as I’m screaming I feel a hand up against my back and all I hear was ‘Do not be afraid, I’m with you’ and at that moment I literally stopped screaming and this calming presence just came over me, and I just waited.”
According to Chandler, the neurosurgeon told him that if he would have moved an inch in either direction it could have meant permanent paralysis. The day after his injury he underwent surgery and two days later he was asking to walk and took his first steps. Eleven months later (instead of the typical 18 for an injury like his) he was cleared to return to diving. A year and a half later Chandler would dive with his son and at the State Games of America in Lincoln, Nebraska on July 29, 2015. He wants it to be reiterated that his recovery was because of the treatment his doctors, therapists, and nurses, the love and support of his family and loved ones -- notably all the band moms from his daughter’s high school marching band that brought dinners after dinners to his home to help alleviate some of the pressure from his wife which was a support system all her own, and most importantly due to his faith in God.
“That news from the neurosurgeon just really solidified my faith. Since then so many doors have opened for me and even if they don’t and I feel that it’s where God wants me, I kick them in. Nothing is stopping me now. I am very grateful and blessed to be where I am.”
When asked about the U.S. Master’s Diving experience he mentioned how fortunate he was to meet not only all of the talented athletes he competes with, but to take in their stories and the “couple of hundred years of combined experience and wisdom out on that pool deck.”
Chandler is currently preparing for the 2018 National Masters Championship in Indianapolis and then the 2019 FINA World Masters in South Korea.
Aside from his competitive aspirations, Robert Chandler has taken to motivational speaking and has written a book on his journey titled Taking “IM” Out of Impossible: The Robert Chandler Story in an effort to inspire others to reach their greatest heights from their lowest points.
Spotlight #2: Ibone de Belausteguigoitia
As Bad as You Want to Eat!
Born May 23, 1930, Ibone de Belausteguigoitia has been a decorated fixture in the Mexican diving community for the better part of the last century. Today at 88-years-old, you can find Ibone on the pool deck between her own events still passionately admiring the sport with the same awe and wonder that she did when she discovered it as a young woman.
Ibone’s diving story goes back to her adolescence when she was one of four women to compete for Mexico in the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, England. These were the first games following World War II and they were purposefully held in London to stimulate some economic growth and global attention for a war-torn nation.
“They were such different times. Every nation had to bring in their own food and resources because of the conditions in the country after the war. The male and female delegations were housed in different areas several miles apart. When the food arrived it was all sent to the 20 or so male athletes and the five other girls and I ended up eating what many of the locals were eating -- powdered eggs and sausage stuffed with a meat and bread type mixture,” Ibone recalls about her time in London. However, that was not the end of it, the practice facility assigned to the female divers only had a depth of two meters and on one of her practice dives, her right arm impacted the bottom of the pool and she ended up with a broken wrist only days before the pinnacle of her diving career. Luckily, Ibone’s father was a doctor and contacted a colleague in London that helped her out with a temporary splint which was able to get her through her competitive dives until she could get back home and receive proper attention.
While these are circumstances that many of us would turn our noses up to, Ibone remembers them not with distaste or disapproval, but with fondness and honor. She was incredibly proud of the privilege she had to be one of the few women to represent her country on one of the biggest stages in the world, especially in an era when many women did not feel this was a possibility.
Ibone carried this mentality and resilience for the rest of her life and her quality of life reflects it. When asked what her secret was to her longevity, she said simply “You have to get to the point where you want to exercise as bad as you want to eat. If you don’t eat, your body will deteriorate. Likewise, if you do not exercise, your body will deteriorate at a much faster rate. It doesn’t have to be much, it just has to be something consistent. When you are young, you can get away with days off, but at my age one day off turns into another. Exercising is much more fun than sitting in a hospital.”
Ibone has no plans of stopping her daily exercises or her tennis on the weekend with her beloved husband, cameraman, and spokesperson, Hermann von Bertrab. Although winning gold has progressively become simpler due to lack of competition in her age group, her competition now more than ever is herself and she has no plans of ending her competitive career any time soon either.
About the Writer: Frank E. Barberena, 21 was born in Santa Clara, Cuba and raised in Orlando, Florida. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Human Communication with a minor in Technological Entrepreneurship from the University of Central Florida.