Latest NOVA Masters News

NOVA Masters News – April 2014


2014 Virginia Swimming SC Senior Champs, SCY, Richmond, VA, March 6-9, 2014 – Rachel Nelson (18-24) showed up some youngsters, represented our Masters group and had a fantastic meet! The sprint freestyle and butterfly specialist swam the 100 fly, 50 free and participated in 3 relays.
She made the A-final in both individual events, placing 7th in the 100 fly (56.99) after swimming a 56.68 in prelims. In the 50 free, Rachel placed 4th with the blazing fast time of 23.86. Swimming the lead-off leg of the 2nd place 400 free relay, Rachel swam a 52.01. In the 200 medley relay, Rachel had the fastest 50 fly split time: 25.08. Her time of 56.16 in the 100 fly in the 400 medley relay was also very impressive. She set three new LMSC records: 50 and 100 free and 100 fly. Check out the results here.


22nd Annual Albatross Open, SCM, Bethesda, MD, March 15, 2014 – The Albatross meet is always a good time and this year was no exception. Denise Letendre, Claire Russo, Dave Holland and Kim Krongaard made the drive up I-95 to Maryland for the meet. Denise (25-29) is quite the competitor and two days before the meet had already decided she was going to beat the other swimmer in her age group in the 200 fly. She accomplished this quite handedly, leading the entire way and setting a new meet and LMSC record (2:30.03) in the process. In the 200 breastroke, she also set a new meet and LMSC record (2:48.10). Denise's 3rd and final event was the 200 IM, in which she placed 1st with a time of 2:32.60. Claire (30-34), swam all three breastroke events. She started the meet off with a personal best in the 200 (2:56.61), a great 50 (37.37) and finished the meet with the 100 (1:22.21). It was decided that perhaps all three breastroke events in the same day might just be too much breastroke... However, it was also decided that Dave is a secret breastroker, all the butterfly he does is just a ruse. Dave started off his meet line-up in style with his racing suit on inside out. This was noticed a bit too late and the idea of a deck change was a bit too risky, so he swam the 200 breastroke with his suit inside out. This didn't seem to slow him down as he set a new LMSC record with a time of 2:41.35. He also set another LMSC record in the 100 breastroke with the fast time of 1:13.69! Dave swam the 200 fly in the meet record time of 2:18.78 and placed 2nd in the 100 IM (1:06.64). Kim (45-49) is fun to have around and is always good for a laugh. This meet was no exception. In addition to laughing, Kim also did some swimming – the 100 free (1:19.65), 50 breastroke (43.80), and 50 fly (40.33). Denise, Claire and Dave teamed up with Adam Barley of Norfolk for the mixed 200 medley relay (120-159) and set a new LMSC record with a time of 2:04.60. Kim took some fabulous photos and cheered. Results can be found here. 


2014 Colonies Zone SCY Championship, SCY, Fairfax, VA, April 4-6, 2014 – The two ladies attending Zones this year, Denise Letendre and Claire Russo showed up, took some names, set some new records, swam fast and had a great time! Denise (25-29) continued her assault on the record books: setting four new LMSC records and four new Zone records!! She swam a total of six events over two days of competition. Day 1 brought the 200 fly (2:09.97) 200 breast (2:29.17) and 200 IM (2:11.79), all three swims are new Zone records and the 200 fly and 200 breast are new LMSC records. Day 2 consisted of the 200 free (1:57.91), 400 IM (4:40.26) and 100 fly (1:01.16) – a new Zone and LMSC record in the 400 IM and an LMSC record in the 200 free. The one lament Denise had was that the 1st 100 of her 200 fly was the same time as her 100 fly event, so there won’t be any sprinting in Denise’s future! Claire (30-34) went for one day of competition and swam the 200 free with the goal of being faster than Denise’s 200 fly. She accomplished that goal with a time of 2:08.37. In close heat of the 100 breastroke, she finished 3rd overall and 1st in her age group in a time of 1:11.58. After a couple years of improving her backstroke, Claire decided to give the 200 back a try for the first time. Heeding Mark’s advice about not kicking too much in the first 100, Claire negative split her 200 by a couple tenths of a second to finish with a final time of 2:25.47. The comment of the weekend was made by a fellow VMST swimmer “Claire, you’re the fastest person I’ve seen for your height. With your times, you should be 5’ 8”!!”. As we all know, Claire isn’t 5’8”, but if that ever happens, watch out!! Check out results from the meet here. 



Cold Water, Fast Current, 1500m, Richmond, VA, April 19, 2014 True to its name, this early open-water event featured a river temperature of 58° and a strong current that had some swimmers staying in place while they were swimming. Val Van Horn Pate, George Sushkoff and Randy Raggio braved the elements to participate in this inaugural event. The event featured a two loop course – swim up-river 400 meters, float back with the current and repeat. Val reports it was a bit of a shock to put your face into water that cold, but you got used to it by the 2nd loop. She was the 2nd woman to finish and won the Masters division in a time of 24:02. George won the Masters division with a time of 21:38 and Randy placed 3rd in the same division by finishing the 1500m course in 26:51. The full results for the event can be found here. 




Open water swims – As you can see by the above results, open-water season has begun. This is the perfect time to try something new by getting out of the pool and away from the ever-present black line. Experience some scenery while swimming in some beautiful Virginia locations. VMST offers several open-water swims throughout the season. A list of these swims and their entry deadlines can found on the website.


Peluso Open Water Masters offers a series of open-water swims, culminating in To The Bridge and Back, which is held in the James River in the fall. More information on the POWM open water swims can be found here. 


USMS LCM Nationals is being held in College Park, MD, from August 13-17. Nationals isn’t always this close to Richmond, this is your chance to take advantage of a great opportunity! If you are chasing after a Top Ten listing, it is often a bit easier to achieve that goal in long course because there are fewer individuals that swim long course meters. Come for one day, two days, or all five days! Now is the time to start thinking of going to Nationals, I believe several NOVA Masters are thinking of making the drive up I-95 in August. Basic information on Nationals is available.    


Check out the Virginia Masters Swimming website:




FINA world rankings – Each year, the world-governing body of swimming, FINA, compiles Top Ten listings for SCM and LCM. These listings include Masters swimmers age 25+ from around the world. Several NOVA Masters swimmers made the Top Ten LCM world rankings list for 2013. John Hogan (25-29) achieved a 3rd place ranking in the 1500 free with a time of 17:46.06. Chris Stevenson (45-49) had five Top Ten times: 800 (6th – 9:25.10) and 1500 free (2nd – 17:49.63), 100 back (2nd – 1:04.05), 200 back (6th – 2:22.25) and 100 fly (4th – 1:00.90). The “Lovely ladies” relay: Kate Hibbard, Claire Russo, Maura Smith and Danielle Myers (120-159) achieved a 2nd place ranking with a time of 4:55.20. Check out the list of other swims from our LMSC that made the FINA Top Ten list. The full list can be found on FINA’s website. 


USMS SCM Top Ten – USMS also compiles Top Ten listings after each season. For the 2013 season, Claire Russo (30-34) was the sole NOVA Masters swimmer to be represented in the Top Ten. Her four rankings include the 200 free, 7th – 2:23.83, 50 breastroke, 10th – 38.25, 100 breastroke, 5th – 1:22.11 and 100 IM, 8th – 1:13.80. Check out the complete list of individual and relay swims for our LMSC.


Shamrock Half Marathon, Virginia Beach, VA, March 16, 2014Kristen Kelley, the running Nelson, braved some wind and cooler temperatures in Virginia Beach during the Shamrock Half Marathon. Despite the weather, Kristen finished in a quick personal best time of 1:37.39! For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of running, a half marathon is 13.1 miles.


Monument Ave. 10k, Richmond, VA, March 29, 2014Julie Patterson and Claire Russo, along with 36,000 other runners and walkers, participated in the Monument Ave. 10k. Julie was the 8th woman and placed 1st in her age group with a time of 37:02. Claire surprised herself in her first 10k with a final time of 47:07. Again, for those unfamiliar with the concept of running, a 10k is 6.2 miles.


LMSC Officers – VMST President Elizabeth Cohen reports there are vacant LMSC Officer seats that need to be filled. Positions are for a 2-year term and nominations are currently being accepted for all four positions (President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer). This is a great opportunity to get more involved with the team, get to know more of your fellow team members and help make team decisions. Please send any questions or nominations (feel free to nominate yourself) to Elizabeth at [email protected]. Information regarding the election will be sent out at a later date.


Danielle Myers and husband Adam are expecting a baby in September! Congratulations!



Chris is a regular and is most often found swimming lane 9. When asked to be the Masters Spotlight, Chris was quick to reply with some rather interesting answers, which this editor was a tad bit skeptical about, but didn’t mull over too much, as Masters swimmers have been known to do some crazy things. It was then pointed out that the date was April 1st. What follows are Chris’ real answers. This is a photo of Chris’ daughters and dog enjoying the beach.


When did you join NOVA Masters and how often do you swim?

After a few years of NOVAFit, I joined the Masters group in September 2012 and swim 4-5 days a week. I earned the “top attendance award” from November 2013 thru March 2014 due to my dedication to swimming every morning. By dedication I mean that I’m conditioned to wake up every morning at 5am, so I may as well get some exercise.


What is your background as a swimmer and athlete?

I grew up swimming in Richmond, first at the Y in the summer, then year-round at the JCC and wrapped up my high school career with NOVA, swimming for Geoff. I also played many other sports as a kid. In my adult life, I’ve continued to play tennis, volleyball, golf, soccer and attend an occasional bootcamp led by lane 10’er Kim Krongaard. One of my favorite activities is surfing, so all this swimming really helps.


What motivates you to get up and swim at 5:45 am?

I have two elementary school girls, so exercising every day gives me the energy to keep up with them. I also am intent on being a faster swimmer than my kids as long as possible. So far, so good.


What occupies your time out of the pool?

I’ve worked at Capital One for over 15 years, mostly in Human Resources. I also spend quite a bit of time around the pool, as a USA Swimming Strokes and Turns official and as head of the Wellesley Pool Committee. We also like to spend as much at the beach as possible – Hatteras Island is our favorite.


Some people might be surprised to know that…

I am in no relation to Rachel Nelson or her sister Kristen or brother Luke, who all spend lots of time at NOVA. I swam at NOVA with Brent Holsten back in the early days. And, some of my extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins), live in Petersham, MA, which is really close to where Claire Russo grew up and where her parents live.


What is your favorite song that Mark sings and dances to?

Mark can sing and dance? I guess anything from the 70’s that he morphs into a song about the particular set we’re doing.


Favorite Kutzism…

This set is butterfly… unless it’s not.



NOVA Masters News – February 2014



River City Rumble, SCY, Richmond, VA, December 15, 2013 – The 2nd annual cross-town rivalry meet took place at the Collegiate School Aquatics Center. It featured some go old fashioned racing, smack-talking and an all-around good time. Thanks to Chris Stevenson and his age-adjusted times, we all got to see how fast we would be if we were 20 again. Ah the days… When all was said and done, the final score was NOVA 411, POWM 320. Check out photos from the meet.

David Gregg III Memorial Meet, SCY, Richmond, VA, February 8-9, 2104 – NOVA Masters was represented at the annual meet by 18 speedy and stalwart members led by our fabulous coach, Mark Kutz. Mark was on hand to offer advice, commentary, splits, enthusiasm and all-around good fun! Below is a recap of the weekend. Full results can be found here. Dave Fellowes always takes great photos; keep an eye out for them on the website.

Lots can be said about one of our youngest members, Rachel Nelson (18-24), but one thing is for sure, she loves to sprint! After lots of hemming and hawing, Rachel donned her kneeskin racing suit and blew past her competition, easily placing 1st in the 50 and 100 free and 100 fly. Her time of 24.29 in the 50 free puts her on the NOVA All-Time Top 10 list and a 57.74 100 fly earned her a new LMSC record. It was quite a pleasure seeing Rachel swim this weekend!

Swimming for one and a half people, Betsy Bowman (25-29) swam her trademark 200 fly in addition to the 50 fly and 200 IM. Betsy was a constant in our cheering section and provided some physical therapy advice as needed for various knees and shoulders.

Denise Letendre (25-29) is one of our newest members and she showed her toughness by swimming the 200 fly, 400 IM, 200 IM, 200 breast and the 200 free. Whew! Her rocking 400 IM time of 4:44.68 set a new LMSC record. The old one, set in 1985 by Deborah Cain, is one of the oldest records for the 25-29 age group. If you do your math correctly, you will come to the conclusion that this record was set before Denise was born!

Claire Russo (30-34) also swam a slew of events: 200 breast, 500 free, 200 IM, 100 breast, 200 free, 50 breast, 50 back and a relay. Putting lots of Kutz workouts to use, she was able to attain lifetime bests in the 200 breast, 500 free and 50 back. As Mark says, unrelenting hard work does pay off.

Sprinter Kim Krongaard (45-49) got to show off her speed in the 50 fly and 50 free. She beat her seed time in the 50 free by almost 2 seconds! As always, Kim also provided some good laughs and hospitality support throughout the weekend.

Another sprinter, Maybeth Osmun (50-54) showed her stuff this weekend. Coming so close to breaking 30.0, Mighty May took 1st in the 50 free with a time of 30.44. May also showed her racing stripes in a tight 100 free heat.

Val Van Horn Pate (50-54), or as Mark calls her, Val Van Horn Van Pate Van Winkle showed she was a sprinter in the 50 back and set a new LMSC record (32.30). Val and her husband Don graciously hosted the social on Saturday night so we could all fill up on BBQ, some beverages, yummy desserts and chat with each other.

John Hogan (25-29) still finds some time to swim despite being in law school at UR. Who needs sleep anyways?! Swimming the 200 IM on Saturday, John won the event by out-touching Jay Peluso of rival Masters group Peluso Open Water Masters. In the 400 IM, John led with a strong 100 fly leg, swam an easy 100 back and 100 breast and finished with a strong 100 free. He may be leaving his mark by coming up with a new Kutzism “Drop the hammer!”

NOVA coach Jonathan Kaplan (30-34) swam more at the meet than the previous three months combined! He swam the 200 back, 100 fly, 100 IM, 400 IM and relay. His 200 back was long and smooth and his 100 fly time just barely beat Rachel’s.

Swimming in the competitive 35-39 age group, Greg Domson “Dr. Greg”, showed his stuff in the 50 free, 100 free and 50 back.

Sprint specialist Brent Holsten (40-44) swam his trademark events: 50 free, 100 free and threw in the 100 IM for a nice swim down. After swimming his 50, Brent said the start was good, but that was the only thing. Ah, the life of a sprinter!

Dave Holland (45-49) has a tendency to “bring it” at meets, and this weekend was certainly no exception. Swimming a very nicely split 400 IM, Dave finished 3rd in a fast heat. He also tried the 100 breast and asked Claire for advice on how to swim it. The conversation went something like this – Dave: So, how do you like to swim the 100 breast, take the 1st 25 out long and smooth?? Claire: Um, no. Take the 1st 50 out like it’s just a 50, then hold on for the 2nd 50. Dave: Really? Claire: Uh, yeah. Apparently the advice worked as Dave swam a 1:10.91. Not too shabby! Dave also had nice swims in the 200 fly and 200 free.

Representing the 8 o’clock group, Randy Raggio (45-49) swam the 200 fly on Saturday and took 24 hours to recover. As Mark would say, “Age has its privileges!”. Sunday he came back recovered and swam two nicely split events: 100 free and 100 fly. Randy also swam the 50 free and the anchor leg of a mixed medley relay.

George Sushkoff (45-49) had a busy weekend: a water polo tournament on Saturday and a swim meet on Sunday. With his two kids and wife cheering him on, George showed his stuff in the 100 free, 100 back and 200 IM.

Dave Fellowes (50-54) came to take pictures, but made the mistake of bringing his suit and was talked into deck entering several events. This included the 1650 on Saturday, which he finished in 21:05.14 with a fast last 50. He also swam the 100 free and backstroke on a relay.

Recognized by his old-school start, Jeff Miladin (50-54) deck-entered all three breastroke events and swam the breastroke leg in a medley relay. I think we know what Jeff’s favorite stroke is!

William “Mori” Wood (55-59) showed some sprinting speed in the 50 free, came ever so close to breaking 1:00.00 in the 100 free and swam a nice, even 500 free. Mori and his wife were the party animals of the group, being the last to leave the social on Saturday night! 


Albatross Open meet, SCM, Bethesda, MD, March 15, 2014 – This SCM meet is held in a nice facility with a deep, fast pool and is a great way to get some SCM times, including relays. There is an entry limit of 200 entrants, and as of Wednesday, February 12, there are 76 people entered. Dave, Kim and Claire have plans to attend this meet. Rumor has it that Dave may shave and taper! Check out the meet information and registration.

RCA Dive Into Spring meet, SCY, Lexington, VA, March 23, 2014 – A meet put on by the Virginia LMSC, the Dive into Spring meet features a full compliment of events including an unofficial March Madness relay. Find more information and registration here. 

Dixie Zone and NC SCY Championship, SCY, Cary, NC, March 29-30, 2014 – Held in the state-of-the-art Triangle Aquatics Center, this championship meet offers fast swimming and good competition. Meet information and registration is available here.

Colonies Zone SCY Championship, SCY, Fairfax, VA, April 4-6, 2014 – Held at the George Mason Campus in Fairfax, the Colonies Zone meet attracts swimmers from New England to Virginia and everywhere in between. Held in a great facility this well-run meet with ample time between events makes this is a great meet to attend! Distance events take place during the afternoon of Friday the 4th, with the remainder of events and relays on Saturday and Sunday. Meet information and a link to the registration page can be found here. 

Check out the website for more information:


USMS Top Ten – Top Ten lists compiled for each age group for individual and relay events after the conclusion of each season: short-course yards (SCY), short-course meters (SCM) and long-course meters (LCM). The Virginia LMSC is usually well represented in these National rankings, which often include several NOVA swimmers. Even if you don’t place in the Top Ten, it’s fun to see how your times rank nationally. Check out the USMS page for more information.

SCY Top Ten – These listings came out several months ago and weren’t included in the previous Masters news. Val Van Horn Pate (50-54) had two top ten finishes, 200 fly and 200 back. Brent Holsten (40-44) had one in the 50 free and Dave Holland (45-49) had two: 200 fly and 1000 free. Check out all of the swimmers from the Virginia LMSC who had Top Ten times.

LCM Top Ten – NOVA Masters swimmers did very well during the long-course season, with six individuals, two relays and several #1 rankings. Kate Hibbard (25-29) 200 IM, 100 back, John Hogan (25-29) 200, 400 800, 1500 free (1st), 100 and 200 fly (1st), Claire Russo (30-34) 100 free, 100 back, 50, 100 and 200 breast, 200 and 400 IM, Maura Smith (30-34) 400 free, 200 back, 100 fly, Chris Stevenson (45-49) 200, 800 (1st), 1500 free, 50, 100 (1st) and 200 back, 100 and 200 fly (1st), Val Van Horn Pate (50-54) 100 and 200 back, 100 and 200 fly. The mixed medley relay of Chris Stevenson, Claire Russo, John Hogan and Kate Hibbard ranked 5th in the 120-159 age group with a time of 2:04.58. The “Lovely ladies” relay of Kate Hibbard, Claire Russo, Maura Smith and Danielle Myers ranked 1st in the 120-159 age group with a time of 4:55.20, almost 20 seconds ahead of the 2nd ranked team. Check out the individual and relay rankings for our LMSC.


Betsy Bowman and her husband Jonathan are expecting a baby at the end of July. Kudos to swimming that 200 fly this past weekend, Betsy! Jocelyn Adelman Vorenburg and her husband Andy are excited to be expecting twins in June! Mark will be busy babysitting during practice in a few months!

Health update from Chris Torney: I finished my latest round of chemotherapy on January 17th.  Although there is no cure for the type of lymphoma that I have (marginal zone lymphocytic B cell lymphoma) I am hopeful  about the results of the treatment I am receiving. The research of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has made my treatment possible.

I have a 4 month repreave from treatment so I can fully enjoy my daughter's March 22nd wedding!

I would really like to thank all of my Masters teammates (and my larger NOVA family) for all the love and support you have all given me.  There have been some truly overwhelming moments this last year and knowing people are pulling for me has been a lifeline.  I really can't adequately express just how much that has meant to me and my family - thank you.

MASTERS SPOTLIGHT – Rachel Nelson has been a fixture at NOVA for many years. She loves to sprint and can be seen (and heard!) in lane 8 or 9 enjoying any and all of the sprint sets Mark gives us.


When did you join NOVA Masters and how often do you swim?

I joined NOVA Masters unofficially at 13 and I was one of the original NOVA masters. I had a knee injury that took me out of the water for a while and I used Mark's group as a way to get back in shape. I have been in and out of the group ever since. I officially became a Masters swimmer and swam through my freshman year of college while Mark got me fast enough to swim at the collegiate level. I definitely owe my success to him and his practices. The picture of me is on my training trip with Liberty in Ft. Myers, Florida with some epic goggle tan lines. I swim pretty much 5 days a week. 


What is your background as a swimmer and athlete?

I have been swimming since I was 5, and at NOVA since I was 6. This place has been my home for most of my life! It used to be one pool. Imagine fitting an insane amount of kids into a few lanes... I can't complain when we only have 3. I even have been working at NOVA for 7 years teaching swim lessons. I swam here all the way into my freshman year of college and then got the opportunity to swim Division 1 at Liberty University for 2 years. Now I'm back without taking anytime off.  I have a feeling I will be like Marie Kelleher and swim until I'm 100! On the topic of an athlete... I dabbled in ballet, cycling, shooting, volleyball, horseback riding, yoga, some mad ping pong skills and kickboxing. I wouldn't run even if my life depended on it. 


What motivates you to get up and swim at 5:45 am?

At this point in my life, routine. I love the structure and my fabulous lane mates that put up with my endless chatter! This has become like a family to me and I would really miss it if I ever stopped. Plus I really enjoy smelling like chlorine, and I'm pretty sure I was born in a bathing suit. What's sad is that I didn't get much faster in college then with Mark. Now it's my motivation to get back in shape and beat my college times to show my coach I have more in me then he gave me credit for. This is my mental, physical and emotional outlet that keeps me sane. It's why I love teaching lessons so much because I get to share my passion with up and coming swimmers. 


What occupies your time outside the pool?

My family, although now that occupies my time IN the pool as well. They follow me. If you didn't know Kristen, who moves between lanes 9&10 is my big sister, and Luke, who shows up only when it is convenient to do half of a practice and kick my butt, is my little brother. Yes there is another one of us but she gave up swimming years ago. I'm still holding out hope. Baking. It is a passion that I have shared with y'all on occasion (doughnut muffins) Pintrest... because it's where I find my inspiration. And children. I absolutely love everyone else's kids that I can play with and then give back.


Some people might be surprised to know that...

I hiked a 16,000 ft mountain in Peru while doing missions work and got to see Incan ruins and ancient burial sites. I LOVE traveling and exploring new cultures and places. It fascinates me.


What is your favorite song that Mark sings and dances to?

ummmmm. I have no idea the names of any of his songs. Hello, I wasn't alive in those decades! 


Favorite Kutzism...

"To whom much rest is given, much is expected" Ahem... Duh because that means it's a sprint set!

Fall 2013


Two for One Invitational, LCM, Manassas, MD, August 3, 2013 – VeteranMasters swimmer Claire Russo and NOVA newbie John Hogan made what seemed like a 3 hour drive up 95 North to Manassas, VA for the Two for One Invitational Swim Meet. Though sparsely attended, Claire and John were able to satisfy their unique desire to race LCM while attempting to finish the summer season on a high note.

Claire (30-34) did just that, managing to swim 4 events during the brief meet. She recorded personal best times in the 100 Free (1:07.88) and 100 Back (1:19.05) while also posting stellar times in the 200 Free (2:30.47) and the 50 Breast (39.88).  She also managed to fit in a quick peanut butter and jelly sandwich in record time. Claire was overheard throughout the meet saying multiple times, “Backstroke is my new best stroke…forget breaststroke.” Let’s see that backstroke at practice Claire!

John (25-29) on the other hand, didn’t fair as well. In fact, some NOVA veterans have quietly been inquiring about his racing strategy. John’s first event was the 200 Fly (2:20.83). Though posting a decent time, his splits were highly questionable. After clocking in at 1:03.93 for the first 100, he only managed a 1:17.50 in the second 100. Ouch! John was able to finish the meet with a strong effort in the 100 Fly (1:01.07). Commenting after his races John said, “I’ve just been training too hard and too consistently over the past several months to split my races as I would like.” Sure thing John, let’s see that at practice too!

Both Claire and John are looking forward to swimming at LC Nationals next summer at the University of Maryland, tentatively scheduled for August 14-17, 2014. Mark your calendars! Full results can be found here.

DCAC’s Annual Columbus Day Classic, SCY, Washington, DC, October 12, 2013Kim Krongaard (45-49)and Dave Holland (45-49) traveled to the beautiful Wilson High School pool in Washington, DC. DCAC always puts on a very organized, competitive and entertaining event and the venue (a 50 meter pool with 8-lanes of 25 yards used for competition, width-wise) was a perfect set-up to post some early season times. Kim and Dave checked in and each received a goody bag, which consisted of one of those tote bags with drawstrings, popular among the millennials. On the outside of the bag was a prominent depiction of the Washington Monument. Inside the bags were all kinds of giveaways, including some goggles, a swim cap, some nutritional supplements and some other non-aquatic accoutrements that would normally be found in the “prophylactic” section of your local pharmacy… did I mention that DCAC puts on quite a meet?

Dave stepped up on the blocks for his first event, the 500 free, took a couple of breaths and did his best to pretend that he had been training hard six days per week. After the first 100, the reality of three days per week began to descend on him and his splits ascended. Regardless, he took first in his age group (there were 15 people in his age group, give or take 14). He went 5:28, and spent the entire warm-down trying to figure out how he could have gained 20 seconds from his time at Nationals in a mere five months. Kim was up next, racing as the top seed in lane 4 in the 100 free, against men half her age and twice her size.

I wish I could tell you that she won her heat. I wish I could tell you that she stayed up with them. What I can tell you is: she didn’t finish dead last, and people really shouldn’t enter with seed times that are 10 seconds slower than their final time. Look at the results, and you’ll see that Kim WON her age group (that’s out of 23 competing, give or take 22) and DROPPED at least a second from her seed time, recording a 1:07.97. A few minutes later, she was back on the blocks, racing in the 50 fly for the first time since a summer league meet in the 1970’s. Out in a blazing 17 seconds at the 25, she dusted the 82 year-old a few lanes over and never looked back, finishing in 37.36. Afterward, she got out and said “I finished it, yay, we have to text Mark. He has never seen me swim more than a 25 of fly!” for the record, Mark, she did complete two lengths of fly, but ask her how many dolphin kicks she took off the wall. Dave swam a few other events (50 and 100 fly), but nothing nearly as monumental or as memorable as Kim’s 50 fly. All in all, it was a very fun early season meet in the district, in a gorgeous pool, hosted by a terrific team and thankfully all the traffic lights were working despite the government shutdown. Of course, Dave and Kim did manage a few wrong turns on the way home, tried to correct the error with a few more wrong turns, and did what any AARP magazine will tell you: stopped at Starbucks for some coffee and a nap. Full results can be found here.

VMST Annual Fall Meet, SCM, Virginia Beach, VA November 2, 2013 – Claire Russomade the trip to the Bayside Recreation Center in Virginia Beach for the annual fall meet. Small but mighty, Claire Bear (30-34) represented NOVA well by winning her age group in the four events she swam. The 50 and 100 breastroke weren’t quite what the doctor ordered, but she redeemed herself with personal bests in both the 200 free (2:23:83) and the 100 IM (1:13.80). Fellow Masters swimmer Adam Barley commented “I don’t think I’ve seen you kick so hard! Ever!!”. That’s for you, Mark! Full results can be found here.


To the Bridge and Back, 5-mile river swim, Richmond, VA October 6,2013George Sushkoff and Val Van Horn Pate participated in the 2nd annual To the Bridge and Back swim put on by Peluso Open Water Masters. The swim takes place in the James River and begins and ends at American Legion Post 354 in Midlothian with the turn around at the WWII Veterans Memorial Bridge (route 288). The air temperature was approximately 35-40° warmer than the inaugural race, which began with an air temperature of 38°. This was certainly a plus! George and Val began their trek to the bridge and were cheered on by family members. After putting in lots of yards in preparation for this swim, George finished in 2:04 and Val was ten minutes behind with a time of 2:14. Former NOVA standout and current UVA med student, Abby Nunn was the overall winner in a time of 1:49. Full results can be found here.


RiverCity Rumble aka Duel in the Pool, SCY, Richmond, December 15, 2013– This 2nd annual college-style dual meet is a meet between NOVA Masters and Peluso Open Water Masters (POWM). For those of us who miss the rivalries, cheering, team spirit, competition and trash-talk of college, this meet assembles all of those requirements. So, if you swim 5 times a week, or once a week, or once every 2 weeks, or once a month, come to the River City Rumble. Find that old suit from your college days, make sure it fits and isn’t too saggy or see-through, put on your racing cap and racing goggles and dive right in. Registration opens on Dec. 1st. Meet info and registration can be found here.       

Postal swim, 400 kick for time, any SCY pool, December 1-31, 2013– For those of us who don’t like head-to-head competition a postal swim is a fun way to challenge yourself, send in your time and wait for the results. Information can be found here.

Postal swim, Postal Pentathlon, any SCY pool, swum by December 31, 2013– This swim involves choosing your distance: sprint, middle or ironman and swimming distances of all four strokes and an IM. Several swimmers from our group participated in the ironman distance last year. It was done as a regular practice with Mark timing with his trusty stopwatch. Check here for information. 

Check out the website for more events:


Here comes the bride!!! Sallie Turner is getting married! Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 2:00pm at the Centenary United Methodist Church, 411 E. Grace St. Reception of Christmas cookies and other yummy treats to follow at Remnant Church, 12 N. 9th St. All are invited, no RSVP needed. Come help Sallie’s family celebrate this special and exciting day!

“Swimmers can’t run”Many of us have heard this age old saying. Several of the young ladies in our group have recently proved that saying wrong. From a 5K to a marathon, NOVA ladies have made their mark on the Richmond roads this fall.

Maymont X-Country Festival 5K, September 27,2013 – Running on a beautiful Friday evening, in the open 5K as part of the two-day x-country festival, Claire Russo conquered the turf and hills of Maymont and Byrd Park to win the 30-39 age group with a time of 24:26.

American Family Fitness Half-marathon, 13.1 miles, November 16, 2013 – On a rainy, cloudy, kind of warm Saturday morning, Julie Patterson, Denise Letendre, and Kristen Kelley participated in the 6th annual Richmond half marathon. Averaging a blazing pace of just under a 6-minute mile, Julie ran to personal best time of 1:18;17, 37th overall and the 6th female finisher. Running the half marathon for the 2nd year in a row, Denise finished in a time of 1:46:36. Sporting bright blue running tights given to her by sister Rachel, Kristen completed the 13.1 miles in a time of 1:42:11.

Anthem Richmond Marathon, 26.2 miles, November 16, 2013 – After training for 5 months and running a few hundred miles, Danielle Myers, Betsy Bowman, Maura Smith and Kristan Jacobson completed the Richmond marathon. Battling some knee problems, Danielle pushed through and completed her run in 4:07:13. After a great first half of the race, Betsy kept moving along and finished in a personal best time of 4:37:36 Running in her first marathon, Maura had a great race and finished with the fantastic time of 3:37:30. Sporting a bright pink hat that made her easy to spot along the route, Kristan finished with a time of 4:17:41. Way to go, ladies!!

Have you ever wondered who you actually swim with during practice?Are your lane mates Eager Beavers, Sammy Save-ups, or Mental Gamers? In addition to providing all swimming related news from age group to the Olympics and everything else in between, SwimSwam has provided the answer to that question. Check out the 15 swimmer stereotypes and see who you actually swim with. Which swimmer are you?



May is pictured with her dog, Scout. Having earned the nickname Mighty May, May can be found working hard in lane 10 and sometimes in land 9.


When did you join NOVA Masters and how often do you swim?

I joined NOVA Masters in February 2012 and try to swim a least three times a week. I always think I will do four days, but it’s an ambitious goal.


Background as a swimmer and an athlete.

I learned to swim very earl in the Long Island Sound. My family lived close to the Sound, so my mom insisted all her kids swim. I started competing in the 6 & under age group for a summer league team and as I got a little older, swam for the white Plains YMCA team and eventually my high school and AAU teams. I also ran track and played volleyball.


I didn’t swim in college and actually did not swim after high school until 25 years later when I joined a Masters swim group at the Darien YMCA in Connecticut and loved it! I even did a couple of 1-mile open water swims in the Long Island Sound. Twice I placed in the top 3 overall. I think I was so scared of what was in the water that I swam extra fast.


What motivates you to get up and swim at 5:45am?

For me, starting the day with a swim workout always makes for a better day. I really like knowing that there will be people to swim with who will keep me motivated. I like the coach too. The real reason is I love a good burger and fries often.


What occupies your time outside the pool?

My husband Jeff and I moved from Connectivut to Richmond three years ago to be closer to his family. It ahs been very fun to spend time with my nephews and get involved in all their various activities – it keeps us very busy. We keep a boat in Deltaville and spend the summer exploring the Chesapeake Bay. One of my biggest joys is my dog, Scout. We do agility classes together and my goal is to have her do the pool jump at the River Rock Festival… stay tuned!


Some people might be surprised to know that…

I had a nearly 20-year career with AT&T and Lucent Technologies. I was the Executive Assistant to the first female CEO of a fortune 500 company.


Favorite song that Mark sings and dances to?

Hard to say; kind of like them all since I grew up with most of it. Mark’s dancing is the bonus!


Favorite Kutzism…

“…with all this generosity, I expect some crazy fast swims.”







NOVA Masters News July 2013


Colonies Zone Championship meet, LCM, Richmond, VA June 22-23, 2013The Zone meet was held at the beautiful Collegiate School Aquatics Center pool and was co-directed by Chris and Heather Stevenson. It was an extremely well-run meet multiple with world, national, LMSC and meet records being set. A big THANK YOU to Chris and Heather for all of their hard work, planning and time put into making this meet a success. Chris and Heather would also like to say a huge THANK YOU to all of the volunteers, both adults and kids, who helped out over the weekend. Read on for a recap of NOVA Masters swimmers!

Kate Hibbard(25-29) was looking good and back in action, placing 1st in the 200 free (2:22.69), 100 backstroke (1:13.81) and 200 IM (2:36.59). Her swim in the 200 IM bettered her previous Zone meet record, which was set in 2010.

VMST President Elizabeth Cohen (30-34) swam on Saturday and volunteered all day Sunday. With a goal to score some points for VMST, her swims included the 100 back (4th, 1:34.01) and the 200 IM (3:37.11). Aging up, Claire Russo (30-34), swam all three breastroke (200, 100 and 50) events and both IM (200 and 400) events, placing 2nd in the 200 IM (2:44.71) and 1st in the remaining events. She also set 3 Zone meet records: 200 breastroke (3:02.38), 100 breastroke (1:23.44) and the grueling 400 IM (5:52.42), which turned out to be a close race in the last event of the weekend. Maura Smith (30-34) took a break from marathon training to swim on Sunday. In a close 400 free heat, Maura placed 1st and set a new Zone meet record (5:05.45). Soon after, she hit the water again for the 100 fly, with another new Zone meet record (1:13.31). Swimming for fun in the 200 backstroke, she placed 4th with a time of 2:49.38.

Val Van Horn Pate(50-54) swam some backstroke and butterfly. She won both the 100 (1:19.67) and 200 (2:53.80) backstroke, setting a Zone meet record in the 200. Val swam all 3 butterfly events, placing 2nd in the 50 (34.33), 1st in the 100 with a Zone meet record (1:19.38) and 1st in the always difficult 200 (2:59.63). She also set 3 new LMSC records: 100 and 200 back and 50 fly.

Former Navy swimmer Peggy Feldmann (55-59) placed 1st in all 3 breastroke events: the 50 (45.86), 100 (1:42.25) and 200 (3:39.58). She was also just off the LMSC record in the 200 breastroke.

Two months after joining our group at NOVA, UConn graduate John Hogan (25-29) swam all the freestyle events, from the 50 to the 1500, in his inaugural Masters meet. Being new to Masters swimming, John asked Mark for advice on his entry times. Always the wise one, Mark advised him to enter slower times. It seems John took this advice to heart as he handily won all of his heats by a wide margin. He placed 1st in all his events, setting Zone meet records in the 400 (4:22.86), 800 (9:23.32) and 1500 (17:46.06) in addition to LMSC records in the 800 and 1500.

Another newcomer to NOVA, Greg Domson (35-39), swimming at the top of his age group, swam the 50 free (29.32) and 50 backstroke (38.21)

Co-meet director Chris Stevenson (45-49) was able to get in to swim some events, beginning with the 1500 (17:49.63). He also swam the 200 free (2:06.87), 100 and 200 backstroke (1:04.05 and 2:22.25, respectively) and the 100 fly (1:00.90). Chris set Zone meet records in the 800 and 1500 free and 100 fly, and new LMSC records in the 800 and 1500.

Warner Brundage(70-74), a member of Mark’s 8am group, swam the 50 (35.88) and 200 free (3:06.35) and placed 3rd and 2nd, respectively. In a very close 100 back event, Warner swam fast enough (1:38.76) for a new Zone record, but placed second by .59. He placed 1st in the 50 breastroke (47.66) and 2nd in the 100 breastroke (1:52.98). Warner set new LMSC records in the 100 back and 50 breast.

There were several relays that included NOVA Masters swimmers. For those unfamiliar with relay age groups at a Masters meters meet, the ages of the swimmers on the relay are added up. The aggregate number determines the age group for the relay. This allows for more possibilities than a yards meet, where the age group of the relay is determined by the age of the youngest member on the relay.

In the 120-159 age group, Claire Russo and Elizabeth Cohen were part of a 1st place 400 free relay team that established an LMSC record of 5:04.95. The “lovely ladies” 400 medley relay consisted of Kate Hibbard, Claire Russo, Maura Smith and Danielle Myers. These ladies established an LMSC record of 4:55.20 and crushed the existing Zone meet record by almost 1 minute! Thanks to sprint specialist Danielle for getting up early after a late flight home from a week of vacation in Puerto Rico! In the 200 mixed medley, Chris Stevenson, Claire Russo, John Hogan and Kate Hibbard teamed up to take 1st and set a new Zone meet and LMSC record with a time of 2:04.58. Swimming in the 160-199 age group, Elizabeth Cohen and Greg Domson were part of a 2nd place 200 medley relay. In the 200-239 age group, Peggy Feldmann was part of a 1st place 400 free relay. Warner Brundage swam the anchor leg of the 400 free relay in the 240-279 age group.

Perhaps one of the most notable swims was a new world record in the women’s 400 free relay (280-319) by the VMST relay team of Marcia Berry, Johnnie Detrick, Laura Walker and Shirley Loftus-Charley. These ladies swam a time of 5:45.80, which is 40 seconds under the previous world record.

Full results can be foundhere.

Virginia Swimming Senior Championships, LCM, Richmond, VA, July 19-21, 2013.Chris Stevenson, age 48, competed for NOVA with all the youngsters at Senior Champs at GRAP. He set two new LMSC records for men 45-49 in the process: 800 free (9:10.01) and finished 33rd. His time of 2:17.96 in the 200 fly was also a new LMSC record and was 39th overall. Chris was also 40th in 100 fly (1:00.67), 35th in 100 back (1:03.21), and 45th in 200 back (2:19.49). Full results are here.


Jack King 1-mile Ocean Swim, Virginia Beach, VA June 23, 2013, George Sushkoff provided the following recap: The 30th Annual Jack King One Mile Ocean Swim was held Sunday June 23rd at Virginia Beach. Conditions were favorable. Water temperature was in the low 70s. Skies were mostly sunny. The surf was small, and the current was moving to the North in the direction of the course. The head lifeguard who gave the safety briefing commented that it was the best conditions they had seen up to that day this summer. 147 swimmers completed the race. George Sushkoff finished 4th overall and 1st in the 45 to 49 age group with a time of 19:53.

Full results are available here.

Chris Greene Lake 1-mile and 2-mile Cable Swims, Charlottesville, VA, July 13, 2013, The annual Chris Greene Lake Cable Swim was directed by Dave Holland and was held on a beautiful day under partly cloudy skies. The water temperature was just about perfect, as was the air temperature. The cable swim consists of a ¼ mile cable strung out between 2 buoys. The 2-mile swim took place first, followed by the 1-mile swim. Although no NOVA Masters swimmer competed in the 2-mile swim, a new course record of 38:25.18 was set by 21-year old Bradley Phillips. The old course record of 38:32.00 was set in 1988 by James Kegley. It was quite a swim to witness! Three members of NOVA Masters competed in the 1-mile swim. Claire Russo took 1st in the 30-34 age group with a time of 24:32.81. Noting the fact that she loves lake swimming, Jocelyn Adelman (35-39) took 2nd with a time of 26:49.52. California transplant Jeff Miladin took 5th in the competitive 50-54 age group with a time of 27:56.46.

Full results are available here.


Check out the website:


Jocelyn Adelman“Dr. J” married Andy Vorenberg in Richmond on May 26, 2013. They spent their honeymoon on Turkey.  

Our fabulous coach, Mark Kutz, and his training philosophy appeared in the Training and Technique section of the July-August issue of Swimmer magazine.



Dave is pictured with his kids, Hank and Abby, in VA Beach this summer. Both kids swim at NOVA.


After years of putting together the NOVA Masters news, Dave handed over the responsibility to me (Claire). When I told him he was the next Masters spotlight, his fist went into the air in excitement and a huge grin spread across his face. Dave has been a fixture at NOVA for many years, is an avid meet participant and relay guru. He also provides some comic relief during practice and is always ready to “bring it”. 


When did you join NOVA Masters and how often do you swim?

I joined in the spring of 2006, I believe. Chris Stevenson told me about the group and I liked all of the people immediately. I usually make it to practice 4 x per week.


What is your background as a swimmer and athlete?

I started swimming at age 7, summer league, and progressed from there. I was 5'2" in the 8th grade, and just got hammered in football/basketball, so opted for soccer and swimming. I was halfway decent on the soccer field, but looking back, I'm pretty sure I was a ball hog. At some point, my mom was picking me up early from soccer practice and I was arriving late to swim practice, and both coaches were annoyed, so I "concentrated" on swimming. I swam year-round for a local team called the Rams out of the VCU pool, in the cellar of the Franklin St. gym. Todd Bassett was there during that time, as was Mark. I spent six years swimming for that little team, until it folded in 1984, and then spent my senior year at Briarwood (now the AC-AC pool). I made some good progress in my senior year, dropping to a 53 in the 100 fly, and thought I was good enough to swim Division I. I swam at Indiana University from 1985-89 and although I was a small fish in a big pond, I made some progress, and the experience was very worthwhile. 


I got hooked on masters at age 30. I went to short course nationals in Indianapolis in 1998 and did better than expected, went 53 in 100 fly and finished in the top 10, I believe. That summer I went to long course nationals in Ft. Lauderdale and that was terrific fun. I finished 2nd in my best event, the 200 fly, by .02. Well, that really pissed me off, so I just decided I would train harder. I have a long history of second place finishes, all the way back to 1975, but really, it's been good for my physical health as I believe my large collection of red ribbons and silver medals has kept me in the sport.


When I turned 40 I took up running, and I've done 3 marathons. It's a nice alternative to swimming laps, as the scenery is better. I also like to do some hiking and mountain biking.


What motivates you to wake up and swim at 5:45am?

I really have no idea. I can't read the settings on the alarm clock any longer in order to change it, so I just get up when it goes off at 5:18am, and put my suit on. I will say that my day goes better if I swim first, and I do like the fun group and enthusiastic coach we have.


Outside of the pool, what occupies your time?

I work as a speech-language pathologist at Ginter Park Elementary, working with children ages 4-11. I also coach swimming during the summers at Ridgetop. Both of my kids swim at NOVA, so I spend a lot of my time outside of the pool... driving back to the pool!


Some people might be surprised to know that...

Mark taught me butterfly in 1976 at Southampton, when I was 8. He was 20 years old at the time, a strapping young stud, and we all loved him. I'll never forget the first meet where he signed me up for a 25 butterfly. It was at Three Chopt and I just didn't have the guts to do it, so I hid behind a chair and made my mother tell him I wasn't doing it. I remember he just shook his head and walked away without a word. He still does that today, doesn't he?


Also, people might be surprised at my finesse in backgammon and foosball. Those skills have not declined over the years, and I'm pretty sure I can whip Bill and Chris and George and most of those other one-syllable old farts.


Favorite song Mark plays/sings and why:

It's hard to think of just one. I like it when he sings a familiar song by Elvis or the Beatles but modifies the lyrics to insert a swimmer's name. I have to say, his dancing is rather entertaining, and you gotta respect a guy who can throw down some moves on the pool deck.


Favorite Kutzism:

I like it, I love it, I want more of it.


NOVA Masters News May 2013


Colonies Zones, SCY, April 20-21, Fairfax, VAThis in-depth recap was provided by Danielle Myers’ husband, Traveling Virginia Masters Correspondent

Masters teams from the far reaches of the Colonies zone gathered at George Mason University on April 19-21, 2013 for the Short Course Championships.  The Jim McKay Natatorium was resplendent, obviously still aglow from the excitement of hosting the Colonial Athletic Association's swimming and diving championships not more than two months prior.  Whatever the reason, the facilities and staff were top notch, and as the results proved, so was Virginia Masters swimming.  Overall, VMST took home a second place finish in the combined team scores for large teams.  Of course, such tremendous team results would not have been possible without a collection of tremendous individual efforts.

 As usual, VMST got big contributions from their women.  Brianna Lovell, Alison Moore, Beth Scheiner, Judy Martin, Betsy Durrant, Laura Walker, and Lesley Francis all won events for the women.  Outside observers continue to be dazzled by VMST's strong collection of over-70 talent.  Never has a finer collection of fit old birds been assembled in one coop.

 Not to be outdone, the VMST men nearly matched the women stroke for stroke.  Adam Barley walked off the street and in to a win in the 400 IM, proving once and for all that warm-ups are unnecessary.  Kirk Clear and Greg Harris both had an outstanding meet, culminating in a first-second finish for VMST in the 50 Back and numerous other top five finishes for both fellas.  Sporting a swim cap for reasons unknown to all, Dave Holland swam the 200 free (5th, 2:03.37) and churned his way to a win in the 400 IM (4:42. 72).  Robert Romo, Ralph Swiger, David Frisch, Harry Sober, Ken Novell, Edward Gaulrapp, Thomas Lyons, Dick Scott, and Richard Briesemeister also all scored gold, and in the process amassed a collection of medals rivaling the cache at Fort Knox.

 A particular highlight for this author was scintillating sprint performances by Danielle Myers in the 50 Free, (3rd, 26.12) 100 Breast, (3rd, 1:12.15) 100 Fly, (2nd, 1:01.37) and 100 IM (5th, 1:05.22).  Danielle scored big points for her team and looked good doing it.  (Disclosure - the author is wed to Danielle Myers.)

 By all accounts, the highlight of the weekend was 100 year-old John Wolff from Fairfax County Masters blazing to a 1:35.72 in the 50 Free, missing the national record by just over 4 seconds.  We'll be expecting big things in the future from this young man.


USMS SCY National Championships, May 9-12, Indianapolis, IN– A small-yet-competitive contingent of NOVA folks (Ryann Kopacka, Val Van Horn Pate, andDave Holland) made the journey to the midwest for the USMS short course nationals at the IUPUI natatorium in Indianapolis.  Many National Championships have been held at this world class venue in the past, and the pool did not disappoint this time around.  With two courses, two warm-down pools, and over 1700 athletes, there was plenty of activity and competition for all ages.  

 Swimming in the 18-24 age group at her first Masters Nationals (and only second-ever masters meet), Ryann Kopacka had an auspicious introduction to USMS Nationals, finishing the 1000 free as the national champion (10:50.73). Ryann is a 2010 Georgia Tech grad and makes her home in Atlanta, and she is training with us at NOVA for a few months as she spends her work week as a consultant for Deloitte in Richmond.  She was representing Georgia Masters and split her allegiance by wearing her red NOVA cap for some of her races, and a yellow Georgia Masters cap for others. Her 1000 time was fast enough to earn a new Georgia LMSC record. With a taste of success, and with the support of her mother and younger brother cheering from the sidelines, Ryann didn’t slow down, setting 3 more Georgia LMSC records: 50 back (28.13, 4th), 100 back (58.50, 2nd), and 200 back (2:06.38, 1st). She also picked up some big points by winning the 200 IM (2:11.42) and finishing second in the 100 IM (1:01.54). Ryann flew back to Atlanta on Sunday night with 6 medals in tow (three of them gold) and managed to earn one last reward as the sun went down on her incredible weekend:  she caught the better part of a Tim McGraw concert with some Georgia Tech classmates. 


In the 50-54 age group and swimming in her first Masters Nationals in several years, Val Van Horn Pate had no trouble finding her “Nationals groove” again. Val finished in the top 6 in all 6 of her events, and highlights included two new LMSC records (200 back (2:30.74, 5th, and 200 fly, 2:35.47, 4th). Val also picked up a couple 4th place finishes in the 1000 free (12:31.83) and 100 back (1:10.14), as well as a 5th in the 100 fly (1:08.83) and a 6th in the 500 free (5:57.30). Val also teamed up with NOVA teammate Dave Holland for a couple of top ten finishes on mixed relays. Her husband Don, an Indiana native, was there for all the sessions to cheer her on, and they were able to stay nearby with Don’s sister. Val, Don, and Dave all enjoyed a minor-league baseball game on Saturday night, where they got to enjoy a social before the game and meet Olympic gold medalist Jason Lezak.


Dave Holland (45-49), a graduate of Indiana University, was happy to be back on his old stomping grounds for a few days. Dave has fond memories of breaking 2 minutes for the first time in the 200 fly in this same pool back in 1985. Could he do it again, a mere 28 years later?? Not so fast! Regardless, Dave was happy to see some old teammates and reflect on the halcyon days when swim attire was not so complicated.  Wearing an “FS Pro jammer” and a “dome cap”, he started the meet with a solid 3rd place finish in the 1000 free (10:41.08), and spent the rest of the afternoon with former NOVA masters member, Billy Gaines (originally from Trafalgar, Indiana, and now living in Las Vegas). They spent a relaxing afternoon at Billy’s parents’ house, enjoying a home-cooked meal, a lake view, and a basement tour from Billy’s Dad of his rare and exotic collection of lizards, skinks, and snakes. Dave got an up-close and personal look of several unique boas, each one pulled from its own drawer. Fortunately, the anti-venom stayed in the drawer! Dave returned to the land of aquatic mammals the next day to finish 5th in the 400 IM (4:31.76) and 3rd in the 200 fly (2:05.54). Dave placed 5th in the 500 free (5:08.28), 9th in the 200 IM (2:07.54), and 8th in the 100 fly (57.24).


Editor’s note:Looks like Dave “turned it up a notch” from his usual practice pace and found some fast-twitch muscles for some pretty sweet times!

Full results can be found on the USMS website:

Visit the VMST website for results of other LMSC members:


The Virginia LMSC is putting on several events over the next couple of months; VMST President Elizabeth Cohen wanted to highlight a few of them:

Colonies Zones, LCM, June 22-23, GRAP pool, Richmond, VA – The LCM Colonies Zone meet will be held in Richmond for the first time and Chris Stevenson and wife Heather are meet directors. Here’s the top 15 reasons you should swim at LCM Zones:

1.    You get a FREE blue, comfy, zip-up VMST hoodie

2.    Channel your inner Michael Phelps by swimming in the 2008 Olympic Trials pool

3.    Enjoy the camaraderie of fellow teammates

4.    FREE hoodie

5.    No expensive hotel stays, sleep in your own bed!

6.    The beautiful GRAP pool

7.    No long drives or flights to get to the meet

8.    Cheer on your teammates

9.    FREE hoodie

10.Represent our LMSC in a Championship meet

11.The chance to swim long course

12.See how fast you really are: put the pedal to the metal (medal)

13.Swim at a time other than 5:45 AM

14.FREE hoodie

15.Are you a champ or are you a chump?!?!

LCM Zones registration is found here:

The entry deadline for Colonies Zones is June 13th.

VOLUNTEERING at Colonies Zones

For those of you who aren’t convinced by the above reasons and would like to help out, or have significant others and/or kids that would also like to volunteer, here is the volunteer information from Heather Stevenson:

Chris and I are the meet directors and we are in the process of recruiting volunteers for the meet.  We need timers, announcers, a hospitality manager and hospitality team members (to make sure that our officials and coaches have food during the day), check-in desk folks, safety marshals, and a few set up/clean up folks for the Saturday evening dinner.  We need adults for many of the jobs, but we are HAPPY to have either adults or responsible youth (middle school/high school) as timers.  VMST can give community services hours to the youth that volunteer.  If you sign up to be the Hospitality Manager, please email me before you start planning so that we can talk about what is available at the facility.

I have created online signups (through VolunteerSpot) for the positions to make this process easier for you.  For administrative purposes, I separated the timers from the other volunteer jobs, but the links you need to sign up are below.  Chris and I hope to get all of the positions filled in the next two weeks.  

To volunteer as TIMER

1.Click this link to go to our invitation page on VolunteerSpot:

2.Enter your email address. Note that you have to enter your email before the system will let you see any of the jobs.  (You will NOT need to register an account on VolunteerSpot.)

3.Sign up! Choose your spots and click CONFIRM – VolunteerSpot will send you an automated confirmation and reminders. Easy!


To volunteer for ANY OTHER JOBS:

1.Click this link to go to our invitation page on VolunteerSpot:

2.Enter your email address. Note that you have to enter your email before the system will let you see any of the jobs.  (You will NOT need to register an account on VolunteerSpot). 

3.Sign up! Choose your spots and click CONFIRM - VolunteerSpot will send you an automated confirmation and reminders. Easy!


Note:VolunteerSpot does not share your email address with anyone, but it does use your email to send you reminders about the volunteer jobs for which you sign up. If you prefer not to use your email address, please contact me and I can sign you up manually. 

Please do not hesitate to email Heather ([email protected]) or call Heather (775-1380 during the day or 282-0124 in the evening) if you have questions about the meet or the volunteer jobs.  


ChrisGreene Lake 1-and 2-mile Cable Swim, July 13, Charlottesville, VA – Our own Dave Holland serves as meet director for this popular annual swim in Chris Greene Lake. This well-run event is always a good time with lots of laughs and Dave’s usual humor. If you’re not a big fan of open water, this is a good swim to start with: the swim is along a ¼ mile cable (imagine it is a really long black line on the bottom of the pool) and the swimmers and volunteers are very helpful! Visit for more information and registration. Register on-line by July 8th.  

Lake Moomaw 1-mile Open Water Swim, August 3, Hot Springs, VA –  This is the inaugural year for the Lake Moomaw swim. Dave Holland will be serving as co-meet director. Located in beautiful Hot Springs in Alleghany County, this swim could be part of a weekend trip to get out of the heat of Richmond and enjoy the great outdoors. Lake Moomaw is surrounded by wooded, undeveloped shoreline. Register here by July 30th.


Check out the website for more upcoming events!


MASTERS SPOTLIGHT-  Is taking a break, but will return this summer!!



Declun George Holsten was born on April 6, 2013 to Aloma and Brent Holsten. Weighing 8 lbs., and 21 inches long, Declun is our youngest and smallest member!

After a couple of years, many late nights and many hours of on-line classes, Danielle Myers graduated from Penn State with a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.





David Gregg III Memorial meet, February 9-10, 2013, Richmond, VA.This annual meet is a great way to put all of those practices to work and see where you’ve improved (or not improved), cheer on teammates and socialize; which is not easy to do during practice!

Our youngest member, Sallie Turner (18-24), swam the 100 fr (1:03.41), 1000 fr (12:59.14) and the 200 back (2:39.86). She swam the 1000 within minutes of finishing the 200 back. Claire Russo (25-29) had a busy meet, swimming the 50 breast (33.74), 100 breast, (1:12.13), 100 IM (1:06.24), 200 IM (2:21.74), 400 IM (5:06.97) and for the first time in a long time, 100 back (1:08.76) From the 8 o’clock group, Ashby Marcey (40-44) swam the 50 fr (31.23) and 100 fr (1;09.22). There was stiff competition in the women 50-54 age group between Val Van Horn Pate, May Osmun and Peggy Feldmann. May placed 1st in the 50 free and 100 with a speedy 30.65 and 1:08.65 and 2nd in the 50 breast (40.68). Peggy swam the 50 back (38.75), 50 breast (40.49), 100 breast (1:27.50), 200 breast (3:09.71) and 100 IM (1:19.88). Val swam the 100 back (1:11.27), a painful 100 fly (1:10.55) and the 200 back (2:33.87), which is a new LMSC record!

In the men’s events, Brent Holsten (40-44), swimming shaved and “tapered”, swam a smokin’ fast 22.27 in the 50 free and a 1:00.62 in the 100 IM. From the 8 o’clock group, Randy Raggio (40-44) swam the 50 free (25.34), 100 free (54.93) a smartly-split 100 fly (1:03.19) and a well-swum 200 fly (2:19.95). After several months of hard work, Chris Nelson (40-44) swam a number of events, 50 back (33.21), 50 breast (34.42), 100 breast (1:16.49), 50 fly (30.45) and 200 IM (2:32.35). Dave Holland and George Sushkoff (45-49) each had numerous swims. They faced off in the 200 free, Dave coming from behind to place 1st (2:05.73) followed closely by George (2:06.15). Watch the video here. They also swam the 100 breast: Dave (1:12.21) and George (1:13.91). Dave swam the 500 free (5:31.54), 200 breast (2:39.78) and 200 fly (2:20.76). George swam the 1000 free (11:33.06) and had a great 200 back (2:19.48). Our fabulous coach, Mark Kutz, also made time for a swim with his trademark start and swam the 500 free (6:12.25). Members of the 8 o’clock group, Dave Frisch (60-64) made an appearance in the 50 breast (35.03) and Warner Brundage (60-64) swam the 200 back (3:03.13)

Claire, May, Val andPeggy teamed up and swam a 200 medley relay. Watch the video here.

We were also treated to watching Marie Kelleher become the first US woman over 100 to compete in a USMS meet. Watch the video of her swim here and read an article about Marie’s swim from the Times-Dispatch here.

Thanks to Danielle Myers and husband Adam for hosting the social on Saturday night! Those who went had a great time!

Full results of the meet are posted here:

VA State Water Polo Championships Feb. 23-24, 2013. George Sushkoff, a member of Richmond Water Polo, provided this recap: Richmond Water Polo hosted the 3rd Annual VA State Water Polo Championships February 23rd and 24th. The event was held at the NOVA Aquatic Center in the new pool. The field of teams from this year's tournament included 4 college teams – UVA, William & Mary, JMU & VMI, and four club teams – Hampton Roads, Arlington, Nova (Northern Virginia) and Richmond Water Polo. Teams were divided into 2 groups. 12 first round games took place on Saturday. Nova and Hampton Roads finished with the best records in their groups. Sunday's action began with 2 consolation games and then moved to the semi-finals. Richmond Water Polo lost to Hampton Roads in the first semi final. Nova faced Hampton Roads in the finals. This year's winner was last year's winner as Nova defeated Hampton Roads 17-9. Just prior to the finals, the All-Tournament team was announced. The teams cast their ballots, and 2 players from Nova, 2 from Hampton Roads, 1 from VMI, 1 from JMU and one from Richmond Water Polo were selected to the all-star team.

National rankings: USMS Top Ten SCM

Claire Russo andChris Stevenson had top 10 swims for the 2012 SCM season. Claire (25-29) ranked 6th in 100 breast (1:20.36) and 7th in 50 breast (37.32). Chris (45-49) ranked 1st in 100 and 200 back (58.71 and 2:10.46), 2nd in the 200 and 400 free (1:59.62 and 4:16.19), 3rd in the 800 free and 100 fly (9:05.08 and 59.02) and 4th in the 50 back (28.80). Top 10 swims are compiled after the conclusion of each season and the times are ranked nationally.

A full listing of Top 10 swims from VMST can be found here:

World rankings: FINA Top Ten LCM and SCM

Dave Holland andChris Stevenson both had top 10 world rankings for the 2012 season: Dave in LCM and Chris in SCM. Dave (45-49) finished the season ranked 9th in the 200 fly (2:22.01). Chris (45-49) ranked 1st in the 100 back, 2nd in the 400 free and 200 back, 4th in the 800 free, 5th in the 200 free, 7th in the 100 fly, and 9th in the 50 back.

A full listing of the FINA Top 10 can be found here:


Check out the website:



Peggy, 55, a retired Navy Captain, spent nearly 27 years in the Navy.  She, her husband, Andy, and children are grateful to live three doors down from Andy's mother.  When it became apparent that her 93 year old mother-in-law was working out more than her, Peggy decided it was time to get back in the water....

When did you join NOVA Masters and how often do you swim?

I joined in May 2012 and swim 3 to 4 times a week.  I swam 5 times a week for the first few months but having to take a nap every day cut into my work schedule.


What is your background as a swimmer and athlete?

Until I was ten, I swam on the military base team in San Antonio Texas, then two years in the Philippines, then back to San Antonio through high school with my coach, Bill Walker. For college, I declined swimming at SMU with Richard Quick, and instead went to the U.S. Naval Academy. Women’s swimming was not well organized when I was at Navy, we never got to BEAT ARMY - which we would have easily done. I competed in a few triathlons out of college but for the last 30 years, pretty much only swam when I had to do the 500 yard Navy fitness swim twice a year.

What motivates you to wake up and swim at 5:45am?

Not wanting to feel like I felt the first month back in the water…

Outside of the pool, what occupies your time?

We have two children, Addie, 16, and Cory, 13, plus an exchange student from China, Yang,16, who take up most of my afternoons with soccer, band, piano, swimming etc. I am president of the Maggie Walker Governor’s School Athletic Boosters and work with Angelfish, teaching second graders to swim.

Some people might be surprised to know that...

I am a Navy qualified Hard Hat diver.

Favorite Kutzism:

If I don’t kill you, I’ll make you faster….



NOVA Masters News January 2013


Nov. 30-Dec. 2 South Carolina State Championships (SCM) Chris Stevensonmade the journey to Columbia, South Carolina to swim in the South Carolina State Championships. Placing 1st in all his events, Chris swam the 200 (1:59.62) and 400 (4:16.19) free, 100 (58.71) and 200 (2:10.46) back and 100 fly (59.02).

Full results can be found here:

Dec. 16, Duel in the Pool (SCY) The cross-town rivalry college-style 1st annual Duel in the Pool was held at the GRAP pool in Chesterfield. This meet featured a good number of our own NOVA swimmers as well as members of Peluso Open Water Masters (POWM). POWM started the meet with a strong showing in the medley relays, but NOVA was able to gain back points in many of the non-freestyle events. Just goes to show that there is more to swimming than just freestyle!  The meet featured some quality racing, good camaraderie and an all-around good time was had by all. When all was said and done, the meet was an exact tie: 490 points for each team. Hopefully this is the beginning of a new tradition!

A few highlights include:

* Maura Smith and Julie Patterson’s 200 and 500 free

* Robb Sultzer’s 100 fly (4x25 on :45)

* Mark Kutz’s 100 fly

* Bill Winters making an appearance and swimming 1 event, plus a relay

* Peggy Feldmann swimming in her first meet in a good number of years

* National Champion in the 1000, Danielle Myers, showing her inner sprinter and winning both the 50 and 100 free.

* The ladies placing 1-2-3 in the 100 breastroke and 1-2-3-4 in the 100 fly.

* Cheering, support and Sharpie writing from the Winters’ boys and Sushkoff kids

Full results can be found here:


Postal Swims

Postal Pentathlon, sponsored by Minnesota Masters.The postal pentathlon consisted of swimming 5 different events within1-3 hours. Participants could choose between the Sprint: 50’s of each stroke and a 100 IM, Middle distance: 100’s of each stroke and a 200 IM, or the Ironman: 200’s of each stroke and a 400 IM. Results were mailed in and ranked according to the cumulative time for each individual. 5 NOVA members completed the Ironman distance: Danielle Myers, Claire Russo, Randy Raggio, George Sushkoff, and even Mark Kutz! Danielle and Claire placed 1st and 2nd in the 25-29 age group with total times of 15:00.40 and 15:21.49. Randy (40-44) also placed 1st with a time of 15:38.18. George (45-49) placed 1st with a time of 15:12.33. Coach Mark had a 2-minute lead over the rest of his age group (55-59) to place 1st in a time of 16:58.20. This was a low-key “fun” way to swim some 200’s without the pressure of swimming in a meet.


400 Kick for Time, sponsored by Pacific Masters. Chris Stevenson (45-49) completed a 400 kick for time. Following specific rules about kicking, Chris did dolphin kick with a board and completed the distance in 4:52.16.


Top Ten LCM

Chris reports the Top Ten LCM for 2012 have been posted. Dave Holland and Liz Shaw made the list. Liz (18-24) is a former NOVA swimmer, UVA grad, current NOVA coach and occasional Masters swimmer. She ranked 1st in the 200 fly (2:14.50) and 200 IM (2:20.00). Dave (45-49) ranked 8th in the 800 (9:54.84), 5th in the 1500 (18:37.38), 4th in the 200 fly (2:22.01) and 7th in the 400 IM (5:16.19).



Check out the website:

Local meets:

David Gregg IIImeet (SCY), February 9-10th. It’s a fun meet in our home pool, and a great way to put all those hard practices to use! Sign-up by Feb. 1st. Paper entries only! The meet entry form can be found here:

LCM Colonies Zones (LCM), June 22-23rd. This meet is being held at the GRAP pool in Chesterfield. The meet is being co-directed by the dynamic duo of Chris and Heather Stevenson. This will be the first Zones meet held at the GRAP pool, come out and enjoy some long-course swimming in this beautiful facility! See the latest issue of the “Wet Gazette” for more information about being involved in this meet.



Val is a consistent lane 9 swimmer who seems to be one of those individuals who enjoys swimming a lot of butterfly.

When did you join NOVA Masters and how often do you swim?

I joined NOVA Masters last February (2012).  I generally swim MWF.

What is your background as a swimmer and athlete?

I first started competing for a summer league team (Nassau Swim Club) in Princeton, NJ when I was eight yrs old.  That winter, I began swimming for Princeton Y.  At eleven I stepped it up in the summer and trained with Jeff Lowe, the Peddie School coach, at a local 50m outdoor pool every day.  It was at this time I developed a love for training as we swam from 7:30-10 AM every morning. I loved long course too!  As a teenager, I swam with Princeton Aquatic Association, coached by Bill Farley, the Princeton University Men’s coach, for a couple years before realizing my sister was having all the fun at the Y.   I returned to Princeton Y for high school where my focus was to qualify for Y nationals and earn a trip to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida – which happened twice. 

When I left for college, St. Lawrence University (up, upstate NY), I took a break from swimming to pursue other sports, namely, field hockey, ice hockey and lacrosse.  While in college, I captained each of these teams and received accolades of All-State, All-Star, MVP etc. but missed the way swimming left me feeling.  My senior year, with my ice hockey coach’s approval, I returned to the pool for one collegiate season, while also fulfilling my obligation as captain of the ice hockey team.  With back to back practices and often two-a-days (swimming) the first two weeks were exhausting but the benefits paid off in both sports as my fitness level rose and energy increased.  I was a mediocre swimmer at best, but the team was happy to have me filling in the holes (i.e. events no one wanted to swim – 200s). 

Out of college, I got a teaching/coaching job at Collegiate School in Richmond, VA.  It was a few years before I found a Masters group, namely Briarwood(now ACAC), under coach Dr. Jim Miller.  With that team we traveled for all kinds of meets including Nationals and even had a softball team.  It was on that Masters team that I met the “now famous” Mark Kutz!  Yes, he did play softball! With a family and the birth of my third child, swimming temporarily took a back seat.  For fifteen years I swam at Tuckahoe Y.  Open water swims (i.e. VA Beach & Chris Greene Lake) became more appealing as mini vacations for my husband, Don, the kids and me. Now with the kids moving on, I once again am finding time to concentrate on swimming again.   Although I love the camaraderie at swim meets, I find a long open water swim in most any body of water unique and challenging.  I’m always looking for a new swim…  over the years I’ve swum- the Brooklyn Bridge (in the East River)1K, Dave Holland’s Chris Greene 2-mile cable swim, Potomac River 3K, Choptank River 3.1, Lake Lure, NC 1.0, VA Beach 1.0, Chesapeake Bay Bridge 4.4, Ft. Lauderdale Beach 3.5. Anyone have a favorite I don’t know about? 

What motivates you to wake up and swim at 5:45am?

What better way to start the day?  Nothing beats the feeling of finishing a challenging workout with a dedicated group as the sun is rising and if that doesn’t do it then Mark’s singing or energetic antics on deck! I’m also back home before the kids take off for school.

Outside of the pool, what occupies your time?

Mostly my family –enjoying time with my husband, Don and three kids, Elliott, 19 (though he’s a freshman at UR now), Kyle, 18, senior in high school and Kakie, 16, a sophomore.  I love being a mom.  I also coach a Masters swim group at Tuckahoe Y every other Friday morning, lacrosse with the Tuckahoe Middle School Club team and a travel team with New World Sports.  I have been known to get caught up in a sewing, knitting and/or embroidery project when the urge hits me.  (The picture with the VMST banner in the most recent “Wet Gazette” was one of them!)

Some people might be surprised to know that...

I have a twin sister, Barb, who’s the real swimmer in the family.  She lives in Snowmass, CO now, but one summer long ago (1982) while vacationing at our family cottage in the Poconos (on Lake Wallenpaupack), she talked me into swimming the length of the lake.  Seven hours and five minutes, a wee 15 miles later, we checked that off her “list of things to do”.  Oh… what one does for a sister.

Favorite Kutzism:

“Lots of rest, boys and girls- means when you’re swimming, the pedal’s to the metal!”

NOVA Masters News November 2012


Oct. 13, 2012:   1st annual Peluso Open Water Bridge and Back Swim.The inaugural event in the James River featured three NOVA affiliated swimmers: Abby Nunn, Maura Smith and Alice Phillips. Abby and Maura swam the 5-mile event, while Alice swam the 2.4-mile event. Both events started at the American Legion post #354 in Midlothian. The 5-mile event went to the WWII bridge (Rt. 288) and back, while the 2.4-mile event swimmers swam up-river 1.2 miles and then returned to the American Legion. Amid a beautiful sunrise and fog rising from the James, the swimmers took the plunge. All three women had strong finishes. Abby was the overall winner in the 5-mile event with a time of 1:46:03. Maura was the 3rd female finisher and 1st in her age group (18-30) with a time of 2:10:15. Alice finished her 2.4-mile swim in 58:11. She was 3rd overall and the 1st female finisher. Following their swim, swimmers were treated to a hot tub, a catered breakfast, a massage and a beer and wine garden.

Full results are listed here:

Below is a recap of the swim provided by Maura Smith as well as a photo of the gorgeous, but chilly, morning!

Back in March 2012,when I was actually in-shape and swimming quite a bit, I signed up for the first annual "To the Bridge & Back" 5 mile swim in the James River. 


Why, you ask?  For a number of reasons:

-I had previously completed two 5K swims in Florida, so this would be my furthest open water swim ever

-I wanted to be a part of Jay Peluso's first annual race

-if the race was in Richmond, I didn't have to travel or stay in a hotel.


It was the prefect trifecta of reasons, so I paid the entry fee and convinced Elizabeth Cohen to be my safety kayaker.


Fast forward to the day before the swim - air temperature dropping, water temperature dropping, and Facebook messages from Abby Nunn asking if it would be wimpy to wear a wetsuit.  As I ran out the door to rent a full arm/full leg wetsuit for a race that I hadn't exactly trained for, I wrote Abby that it definitely wasn't wimpy to be warm . . .


The morning of the swim, I relied on Elizabeth Cohen to keep me calm.  We arrived to the site on-time, and tried to stay warm despite the 38° temperature.  As the sun came up, the race site seemed so beautiful . . . until you dunked under the 62° water.  Once Elizabeth boarded the inflatable kayak we borrowed from Julie (Rechel) Patterson, I had Claire Russo to keep me company.  I think I would have hid in the bathroom if it hadn't been for Claire's words of encouragement.  Soon enough, the race started and I began the 2.5 mile trek to the 288 bridge.


Elizabeth and I bobbed and weaved our way to the bridge.  She threw me water whenever I needed it, and I continued to give her inconsistent instructions about where I wanted the kayak.  "Stay in front of me"; "Get behind me"; "Paddle next to me".  She was a saint for putting up with my babble.  Elizabeth will say it was all a part of her plan to keep me entertained and to make me talk so she could check for symptoms of hypothermia :-)


We made the turn at the bridge in an hour and 15 minutes or so, and swam and paddled back to the American Legion building through the crystal clear water for another hour.  I finally exited the river after 2 hours and 10 minutes, relieved and proud of myself.  Thanks to Claire, Elizabeth, and my husband Adam who stopped by for a surprise visit on his way to work, I was able to enjoy the post-race festivities where I was awarded third-place female overall.  In the end, it was a great day, and I would highly recommend the race to everyone . . . who owns a wetsuit and trains long distance.



Sept. 29, 2012:  1st annual VMST Pickin’ Up Steam (SCY) at Randolph-Macon College, Ashland.  The first annual "Pickin' Up Steam" meet was held on the campus of Randolph-Macon College. Former RMC swim coach and NOVA member Dave Holland served as co-meet director with Brent Kintzer, the current RMC swim coach. They coined "Pickin' Up Steam" as the name for this new meet as it is one of the first meets of the 2012-13 SCY season in the area, and to promote the unique proximity of the venue to the Ashland railroad station.  The pool itself, built in 1998, is less than 100 yards from the tracks, and the impact of those freight trains coming by is a sensation that is felt before it is heard, especially underwater.


In all, there were 56 people at the meet, including three from NOVA:  David Frisch (60-64), John Bullard (50-54), and Dave Holland (45-49). Dave Frisch stuck to what he knows best:  sprinting!  He won both the 50 free (27.76) and the 50 breast (35.21).  John tackled the 100 breast (1:20), 100 IM (1:13), and 200 IM (2:49), finishing first in each.  Dave Holland took second in the 500 free (5:40), and won the 1650 free (18:58) and 100 fly (1:02). 

Dave and Brent were pleased with the turnout for this inaugural meet and hope to see more NOVA folks next year!


Results are here:

and photos are here:


Nov. 3, 2012: 32nd Annual VMST Fall Swim Meet in Virginia Beach (SCM).  The NOVA contingent was small but forceful again this year.  Claire Russo andChris Stevenson made the drive to Virginia Beach and made quite an impact, finishing 1st in all their events in their respective age groups. Claire (25-29) swam the 50 (37.32) and 100 breastroke (1:20.36), 400 free (5:06.85) and 100 free (1:06.83). Chris (45-49) swam the 800 free (9:05.30), which is a new LMSC record, the 200 back (2:14.30), 400 free (4:24.46) and the 50 back (28.80). This is always a well-run meet and a good chance to swim some SCM times.


Full results are here:




Check out the website:



On October 27th, Betsy Turner married Jonathan Bowman in Appomattox, VA. Several NOVA folks were in attendance to witness this historic event. Flying out of Richmond just prior to the arrival of Hurricane Sandy, Betsy and Jonathan enjoyed a honeymoon in Antiga.


Former NOVA Master’s stud and current Las Vegas Master’s swimmer, Billy Gaines made several guest appearances at practice during the month of October.



Our Master’s Spotlight this month is Brent Holsten, who started off in lane 9 in February, but quickly moved to lane 8. As Brent himself said, asking a sprinter to talk about himself is like asking a lawyer to say a few words for the camera. Brent is certain to provide a laugh in the pool and with his Master’s Spotlight. Enjoy!  


Outside of the pool, what occupies your time?

I moved this question to number one because this is really who I am. Family definitely occupies my time out of the pool, whether it is spending time with my wife Aloma, my son Jackson, my daughter Addison, waiting for number three to arrive, or working in the family business. Family is the sun that my world revolves around (I think Robert Frost wrote that somewhere). Some outside my circle might say golf, but golf is more of a moon that causes the tides to change.


When did I join NOVA Masters and how often do you swim?

Although it feels like I’ve been coming for years and years and years, I recently jumped in with the NOVA crew in February of 2012. My goal as I go to bed each Sunday is to make three practices a week, as you all know sometimes it works for us and sometimes it does not.


What is your background as a swimmer and athlete?

This is a loaded question. I could spend a lot of time talking about my sporting pursuits, but I will keep it as short as I can. At times it feels like I have done nothing else except swim, but actually I got into swimming late compared to most competitive swimmers. I started innocently enough as a summer league swimmer at the age of 12, what delayed the process for a week was I did not want to wear the ‘suit’. I was a soccer player back then traveling all over the state on Saturdays. It was not until sophomore year in high school that I actually made the commitment to year round swimming with a new team called NOVA. I had to try out at Raintree where the coach, someone by the name of Geoff Brown, watched me swim a lap of each stroke and told my mom I could be a pretty good breastroker/distance swimmer (insert pushing off the bottom, wearing paddles jokes here). After a few years of NOVA tutelage I made the long trek to University of Richmond, where after a lot of 200 freestyles and 200 backstrokes, I was finally allowed to swim some sprint free. After college I joined the NOVA coaching staff for a few years and enjoyed being there as we built the new pool. The night before the official opening I was there with Don Farmer, Geoff Brown, and Jay Brinson and swam some laps before everyone else. I actually beat Jay into the water, so I was the third person to swim a lap in the pool. After coaching I did the quick triathlon circuit for two years. In 2000 I finally hung up my suit and I pursued volleyball for several years. Volleyball is where I found my wife or as I like to joke, she found me. Today sporting life is occupied with golf and swimming with you guys.


What motivates you to wake up and swim at 5:45am? 

Can flab or having enough energy to keep up with my children be a motivating factor? Actually the atmosphere of the NOVA masters is all I really need. NOVA Masters Atmosphere as defined by Webster’s:  1. The slightly serious, with a hint of negativity, with the constant mix of Mark’s jocularity, throw in a splash of outdated music. What else could you ask for? And I was already up because of dad duties.

Bonus Answer: Who knew I could survive so many 1650 Fridays. It still beats the 2000’s for time we used to do at NOVA on Friday mornings, or my favorite: 4 x 400 IM for time.


Some people might be surprised to know that...

Mark actually coached me for one long weekend back in 1990. I will have to say Mark was quite patient with us, not sure he knew that it was our third shave and taper meet in four weeks. My roommates and I arrived in Maine ready to let loose, yes, Maine, Bangor, Maine to be exact. The first night we arrived none of us wanted to go to sleep, so around 12:30 on HBO, this came on: . Please continue reading if you actually watched the clip. So you can imagine for the next 2 days everything was Canyon Man! So much so that half the Virginia team was quoting the lines that we had been spewing for days. After the first night and getting maybe 2 hours of sleep I was up on the blocks for the 200 free. After exiting the water and seeing I was 6 seconds slower than I had been two weeks earlier, I walked up to Mark and he said something like, “That wasn’t really your best was it?” he didn’t grind it in that I swam awful, but I could tell he knew something was amiss.  Mark only had to put up with two more days of us screaming out, “Grab onto my bumper and I will drag you to safety.” Not sure if Mark remembers how we behaved that weekend, but Mark, my room had a blast and I am sorry I cost the team about ten or twelve points.


Favorite Kutzism:

As a sprinter it has to be: “With great rest, great effort is expected.”




Mark earns National Coaching Honor from USMS

Congratulations to Coach Mark Kutz, for being honored with the Kerry O'Brien Coaching Award at the USMS Convention in Greensboro in September. Mark is one of a handful of coaches from around the country to earn this annual award.  According to USMS, "the award honors USMS-registered coaches who are building our membership in communities throughout our country. Originally named the "Grass Roots Coaching Award", it was renamed in 2008 to honor Coach Kerry O'Brien of Walnut Creek Masters, who embodies the passion, dedication, and heart that these coaches bring to the pool deck."


Mark certainly brings passion, dedication, and heart (as well as some unique 

singing/Kutzisms) to our pool deck every day, so we can all agree that this award is well deserved.

New LMSC Records and USMS Top Ten for SCY 2011-12

Chris Stevensonreports that four of our ladies took down one or more LMSC records this past season in SCY.  Congratulations to:

Maura Bolger, 30-34:  200 free, 100-200 fly, 200-400 IM (April 2012 at SC Nationals)

Danielle Myers, 30-34:  1000 free, 100-200 breast, 200 fly (April 2012 at SC Nationals)

Jocelyn Posthumus, 30-34:  200 back (February 2012 at VMST Winter Meet)

Liz Shaw, 18-24, 100 fly (59 split) and 200 fly (2:03, also a Colonies Zone Record), February 2012 at VMST Winter Meet

Maura, Danielle, Liz, and Kate Hibbard also recorded performances in the national Top Ten for SCY.  Chris, competing for NC Masters this past year, recorded 9 performances in the Top Ten for men 45-49, including the top spot in the 50-100-200 back.  The entire list from our LMSC can be found here:



George Sushkoff, Val Van Horn Pate, and Abby Nunn had especially good showings on the open water circuit this past summer.  George trained like a beast in preparation for his first crossing of the famed 4.4 mile Great Chesapeake Bay Swim, putting in several 15,000 yard workouts in the weeks leading up to the June 10 event.  His training paid off very well, as he finished 55th overall (of 640) in 1:47:37 (avg pace of 24:28 per mile).   Abby was phenomenal as well, crossing in 1:36:06 (avg pace of 21:51), good enough for 9th overall, and 2nd among women.

George and Val both competed in the annual Jack King One Mile Ocean swim in Virginia Beach on June 24.  George won the 45-49 division in a very swift 18:15, and Val, who has been the overall female winner at this event a couple times in the past, rose to the occasion again, winning the 45-49 age group in 20:45. 

Val, looking for calmer waters, also made the 6-hour trip to Lake Lure, NC (near Asheville) for the USMS 1-mile open water national championship on August 25, and proved that she is a force to be reckoned with in pristine lakes, too.  Val finished in 23:57, which was good for the second spot on the podium for women 45-49.  Dave Holland and Chris Stevenson each made the trip as well.  Dave was fifth for men 45-49, finishing in 21:47.  Chris, who had broken his foot in a mountain biking accident only a week before, relied on his upper body to get the job done in the lake where “Dirty Dancing” was filmed.  Chris wasn’t exactly dancing as he limped the final 25 yards on the beach with two left feet, surviving the jeers of the announcer along the way, but he got the last laugh as he easily won the 45-49 division in 20:55.

Then there was Abby Nunn and her busy summer.  “Busy” doesn’t even begin to describe it.  Besides the great performance at the Bay, Abby also won the Jim McDonnell 2-mile lake swim in Reston (42:18) in May and the 2-mile cable swim at Chris Greene Lake in Charlottesville (41:48) in July.  Between the two, she managed to squeeze in a little swim around Manhattan, but I’ll let her tell that story (see below).  Abby is now recovering in Charlottesville, enjoying the ho-hum life of a first year medical student at UVA…we can only hope she doesn’t get any crazy ideas from that famed neurologist, Sir Roger Bannister…


30th Annual 28.5 Mile Manhattan Island Marathon Swim-June 23, 2012

NOVA’s Abby Nunn is the winner in 7:30:26 (15:48 per mile average)

                                     Recap by Abby: 
                                     While flying from New York after the race to Omaha to watch my sister  
                                     at Olympic Trials, I wrote a race report about my adventure swimming  
                                     around Manhattan Island! If anyone is interested in reading it, here  
                                     is a link, published as a guest post (complete with pictures!) on my  
                                     friend Evan's blog:
                                     I am truly blessed to have had this wonderful (well, most of the  
                                     way...) experience, and I really want to thank everyone for all the  
                                     help and support I received while preparing/training for and competing  
                                     in the race! I honestly could not have done it without you, and I am  
                                     so grateful!!


Chris Greene Lake Swim- July 14 in Charlottesville


Recap by Claire Russo:

The annual Chris Greene Lake Cable Swim took place on July 14th at the picturesque Chris Greene Lake outside of Charlottesville. With the winning combination of the water temperature at a comfortable 82, a yummy food table and great race directing by our own Dave Holland, four NOVA Masters swimmers made their mark in both the 2-mile and 1-mile swims. In the 2-mile, NOVA was represented by Abby Nunn and Val Van Horn Pate. Just a few weeks after completeing the 28.5 mile Manhattan Island Marathon swim, Abby was the 1st female finisher, 2nd overall and 1st in the 18-24 age group with a time of 41:48.27. Val had a strong swim as shown by her 1st place finish in the 45-49 age group with a time of 48:30.67. She was the 5th female finisher and 11th overall. In the 1-mile swim, Claire Russo and Maura Smith (Bolger) had strong showings. Swimming at the top of the 25-29 age group, Claire finished 1st with a time of 23:50.58. She was the 3rd female finisher and 7th overall. Swimming for the first time as Maura Smith, Maura was the 1st female finisher, 3rd overall and 1st in the 30-34 age group with a time of 21:59.03. Her time is a new Chris Greene Lake record in her age group, besting the old record by almost 4 minutes! 

For more info about CGL, visit


FINA World Championships / USMS LC Nationals

NOVA had one representative at each of these championship meets. Chris Stevenson made the trip to Riccione, Italy for the World Championships in June.  He reports that it was a huge meet with 8,300 people competing (that’s not a typo), which made for a challenging  warm-up and some long days.  In the 100 freestyle alone, there were 224 heats.  Chris reports that he was “always the bridesmaid” in Italy, placing second in four different events, to four different winners (100-200 fly, and 100-200 back).  He also got a 4th in the 200 free.  Sounds like someone should’ve signed up for the 50 back!!   Regardless, Chris’ wife Heather and their sonIan joined him toward the end of the meet and they enjoyed a relaxing Mediterranean vacation.  Full results are here:


There were 10 swimmers from our LMSC at the USMS LC Nationals in Omaha in July, and Dave Holland represented the NOVA folks well by placing in the top 10 in each of his four swims.  Dave aged up to the 45-49 age group for this meet, and recorded new LMSC records in the 1500 free and the 400 IM.  He also got credit for the 800 free LMSC record (as a split in his 1500).  Dave enjoyed a few days of the Olympic Trials before the meet, and reports that the venue set-up was ideal for swimming, socializing, and snoozing.  Dave roomed with former NOVA star Billy Gaines, who now lives and swims in Las Vegas.  Full results are here:




When did you join NOVA Masters and how often do you swim?

I joined NOVA Maters way back when Mark first started it. Back in 2005 I think? My brother Taylor and I were actually the very first NOVA Maters swimmers! :) There was a small break in there though...haha... I left and went to college in South Carlolina in 2008 and finally came back last year.  I usually swim every day. Unless I am dead tired or gone. >_< 

What is your background as a swimmer and athlete?

I started swimming at NOVA when I was really little. 7 yr. old maybe?? I swam for Avalon every summer till I was 17 or so and NOVA year round. I also swam for Shady Grove YMCA for a couple years in there.

 What motivates you to wake up and swim at 5:45am?

 Knowing that it will help my back feel better and I will feel really good practicing the violin!! :) I also just plain LOVE TO SWIM!!! And I love swimming for Mark. I would get up and swim for him any day. :)

Outside of the pool, what occupies your time?

Practicing the VIOLIN!!!! I am senior violin performance major at VCU and spend most of my time in a practice room ;) In addition to school and practicing, I teach private piano and violin lessons. I also am very into health and nutrition and I enjoy researching nutrition and cooking healthy food whenever I get the chance. 

Some people might be surprised to know that...

George (YES, OUR George!!) was my very first swim coach back in like 1996 at NOVA!! HAHA! (My brother didn't even know this!)

Favorite Kutzism:

"Alright boys and girls..." ;) I also just like when Mark turns up his music and starts singing and dancing around the pool deck!! :D


May 7, 2012

Peluso Open Water Swim- April 29 on the James

The first race in a three-race series was held Sunday, April 29th at the American Legion Post at the Upper James River in Midlothian.  Entries were capped at 100 swimmers (I don’t know how many were entered).  The current was strong.  Water temperature was approximately 62 degrees.  The race course was originally set for 1500 m.  Due to the strong current, the race was shortened to 600 meters, or 2 loops around a 150 meter course.  Many people deferred their entry to the next race because of the strong current.  Debris was frequent, but not too large.  Only 18 people finished the race.  Some were pulled upon warming up as they drifted downstream past a buoy that indicated the boundary of the race course.  Others completed the first 150 m and simply floated back to the starting point of the race.  Still others never made it to the first 150 m. mark.  George Sushkoff finished second overall and first in the Masters (45-49) age group.  Results are here:


USMS SC Nationals April 26-29 in Greensboro, NC

One week ago, a large handful of NOVA Masters and NOVA Masters affiliates (most representing VMST) made the 3.5 hour journey south to the new Greensboro Aquatic Center (GAC) in Greensboro, NC. High level swimming took place in this gorgeous new aquatics facility amongst some of the most elite Masters swimmers in the country. VMST placed 1st in the Local Club division with a combined point total of 1,555.5. The VMST women lead the way with 949.5 points, dominating the rest of the field. The VMST men finished second with 442 points. The NOVA swimmers left quite an impression on the rest of the competition. Here’s the rather long recap:


Swimming in the 25-29 year old age group, Danielle Myers started the meet off in high style with a 1st place finish in the 1000 free and a new LMSC record of 11:00.56, breaking a record set in 1985 by Deborah Cain. Danielle also set 3 more LMSC records: 100 breastroke: 1:09.68 (4th), 200 fly: 2:13.85 and hung on to finish 2nd after a rather aggressive 3rd 50, 200 breastroke: 2:32.49 (3rd). She also swam the 100 fly (1:01.25), despite going out a bit too fast, and 50 breastroke (32.72) to finish 7th and 5th, respectively.


Betsy Turner channeled her inner sprinter and inner breastroker for some great swims and dropped time in almost every event she swam. She also started off with the grueling 1000 free and dropped 13 seconds to finish 5th with a time of 11:43.70 (with some very pretty splits). Her 400 IM time of 5:08.08 placed her 7th. Some strong and powerful butterfly put her in 10th in the 100 with a very nice 1:03.88 and 5th in the 200 with an equally impressive 2:20.63. She had some more time improvements in the 100 (1:14.60, 4 second time improvement) and 200 breastroke (2:42.34, 5 second time improvement), finishing with 14th and 10th.


Claire Russoalso had time improvements in almost every event that she swam. Claire started off her meet schedule with a 400 IM (5:02.95) which placed 6th, and Chris Stevenson pointed out, “Usually when I see you swim backstroke I think that you’re not a backstroker, but I didn’t think that today”. Swimming all 3 breastroke events she swam the 50 (32.82, 6th), 100 (1:11.25, 6th), and 200 (2:37.36, 5th). Rounding out Claire’s meet schedule were the 200 free (2:07.55, 9th) and 200 IM (2:20.16, 6th which was over a 2 second time improvement).


In the 30-34 age group and swimming in her first Masters Nationals, Maura Bolger was magnificent in all of her events and improved on her seed time every time she entered the water and set 5 new LMSC records (200 and 400 IM, 100 and 200 fly, 200 free). Maura began her weekend by swimming the first 3 events starting with the 400 IM and placing 1st with a 4:44.90. She then moved on to conquer the 100 fly (1:00.17, 1st) and 200 free (1:58.35, 2nd). The following morning, Maura started off with the 500 for breakfast (5:21.30, 2nd) and finished 1st in the 200 fly in a time 2:12.37 with beautiful splits that Mark was still talking about 2 days later. Maura finished her Nationals debut with a very close and exciting 2nd place finish in the 200 IM (2:14.62).


Previous NOVA Masters swimmer Katie Webb made the drive down for Saturday and as a true sprinter, made her mark in the 100 IM and 50 free. She easily won her heat in the 50 with a time of 28.67 (24th) and had a 5 second improvement in the 100 IM, despite hugging the lane line in backstroke (1:14.86, 9th). Katie’s great laugh is always fun to have on deck.


Representing NOVA in the 35-39 age group was newcomer Kristan Jacobson swimming for Quest Masters. Kristan had some nice seed time improvements and was always offering “Good luck, swim fast!” Swimming the 50 (30.13) and 100 (1:09.57) fly, Kristan placed 10th and 7th, respectively. She also channeled her inner sprinter in the 50 free (28.04, 13th). Kristan also swam the 50 breastroke (35.79, 9th), 100 IM (1:08.67, 8th), and stayed for the last event of the meet, the 200 IM (2:32.40) and placed 5th with a 2 second time improvement.


In the 45-49 age group was Alice Phillips, who makes an appearance at NOVA every once in awhile, but is usually found at ACAC. Alice certainly made a mark for herself and placed well in all her events and set a new LMSC records in the 100 fly (1:05.45, 6th). In the 100 free (58.60), she placed 10th, the 50 fly (29.06), placed 8th and 100 IM (1:06.01) placed 7th. Alice also swam the 200 free (2:08.26, 9th) and the 200 IM for her highest finish (2:26.10, 4th)


Heather Stevensonrepresented the 50-54 age group and beat her seed time in both of her events, the 100 IM and 50 backstroke. She swam her 100 IM in a 1:15.53 to place 17th and her 50 backstroke in 34.71 to place 10th. Heather also braved the splashing while counting for husband Chris Stevenson.


Rounding out the individual swims by NOVA affiliated women was Nancy Betts in the 55-59 age group. Nancy had some time improvements as well while swimming the backstroke and freestyle events. She started off her meet with the 200 free (2:27.62, 8th) and finished with the 200 backstroke (2:53.12, 9th). In between she swam 100 back with a 4 second time improvement (1:18.60, 9th) and the 500 free (6:36.83, 10th).



On the men’s side, former NOVA Masters member, Billy Gaines flew in from Las Vegas and swam in the 30-34 age group. Billy was a shaved, bronzed bullet speeding through the water and posted some impressive times. He swam freestyle and butterfly and started with the 1000 free and finished 4th with a time of 10:08.27. In the 500 free he swam a time of 4:45.92 (2nd), the 200 free in a time of 1:44.26 (a tie for 2nd), and 4th in the 100 free with a time of 48.57. Butterfly Billy placed 4th in both the 100 fly (53.06) and the 200 fly (1:57.33).


Dave Holland (40-44) brought Mark Kutz down early Saturday morning and as Mark said, “Dave was up against the Maura challenge”. Dave swam the 200 fly and 500 free, in both events trying to beat the times posted by Maura earlier in the meet. Dave did not beat Maura in the 200 fly, but did place 6th with a time of 2:12.42. He did succeed in besting Maura’s time in the 500 free (5:20.42, 18th) with some impressive descending splits.


Chris Stevenson(45-49) swam for NCMS (North Carolina Masters Swimming), but was impressive as always in backstroke, butterfly and freestyle. Chris started with the 1000 free and finished just over 10:00, (10:03.66) to finish 2nd. In a very tight 4-way race in the 500 free, he finished 3rd with a time of 4:50.50. Swimming butterfly, Chris was 2nd in the 100 (52.49) and 200 (1:58.46). In his backstroke events, Chris finished 1st in both the 100 (52.52) and 200 (1:55.76). Teaming up with his former high school teammates in the 200 Medley Relay, Chris broke his own National record, posting a very impressive 23.96 50 backstroke leadoff split! Watch the relay on YouTube below:



From Mark’s 8:00 AM group, Dave Frisch (60-64) also made the trip to Greensboro. He swam several 50’s: breastroke (33.37, 9th), butterfly (29.93, 12th) and backstroke (31.67, 9th). He beat his seed time in several events. Dave also swam the 100 breastroke (1:14.33, 10th) and 100 IM (1:07.03, 10th).


Warner Brundage (65-69) also made an appearance and swam the 200 free (2:29.46) and 100 IM (1:17.33) and placed 9th in both events.


The one and only Bill Winters also made an appearance on Friday in his brightly colored puzzle suit during warm-up and his running gear a bit later in the morning. In between running laps around the parking lot, Bill offered his good cheering and attempted to fill in for Mark.



Relays are a big draw at Nationals and are a lot of fun with so many different swimmers and combinations. Dave Holland, Elizabeth Cohen andBetsy Durrant put a lot of time into the VMST relays. These relays had a lot of success and quite a few relay records were broken. Below is a list of relays that included at least 1 NOVA affiliated member.



In the Mixed 18+ Free Relay A, Maura Bolger swam with Stephen Gomez, Amy Charley and Justin Stauder to finish 4th with a time of 1:37.87. Mixed 18+ Free Relay B placed 11th with a time of 1:42.43 and included Kate Hibbard and Danielle Myers swimming with Brian Hofmann and Kurt Sprenger.  Mixed 18+ Medley Relay B: Kate Hibbard andBetsy Turner swam with Adam Barley and Justin Stauder to place 7th with a time of 1:49.93. Mixed 18+ Medley Relay A placed 15th with a time of 1:57.36 and included Maura Bolger and Danielle Myers teaming up with Brian Hofmann and Stephen Gomez.


In the Women 25+ Free Relay A, Kate Hibbard, Maura Bolger andDanielle Myers teamed up with Erin Tudor of Roanoke to place 4th with a time of 1:44.60. Kate (26.13) rode the wave into the wall to lead off the relay, followed by Maura (26.36) and Danielle, who posted an impressive 25.99! Also swimming in the Women 25+ Free Relay B, Claire Russo andKatie Webb teamed up with Maggie Lamb and Amy Charley to finished 10th with a time of 1:52.65. Claire swam a 27.04 and Katie posted a 29.03. Women 25+ Medley Relay: Kate Hibbard (bk, 29.14), Claire Russo (br, 32.58) andDanielle Myers (fly, 28.16) again teamed up with Erin Tudor (fr, 25.41) to finish 3rd and set a new LMSC record of 1:55.29, breaking the previous record of 1:56.60 set in 1994.


In the Mixed 35+ Medley Relay B, Dave Holland swam the breastroke leg with Lee Lewis, Donna Hodgert and Rebecca Franklin to finish 18th in a time of 2:01.40.


Women 45+ Free Relay: Alice Phillips teamed up with Jenny Kellinger, Molly Dean Bittner and Annette Patterson to finish 3rd with a time of 1:48.11. This is a new LMSC record and bests the old record of 1:51.48 set in 2003. Women 45+ Medley Relay: Alice Phillips swam the butterfly leg with Annette Patterson, Patricia Miller and Jenny Kellinger to finish 2nd in a time of 2:01.16! This is another new LMSC record and bests the previous record of 2:13.74. Alice Phillips also swam in the 45+ Mixed Free Relay with David Malsbury, Annette Patterson and Gregory Harris to finish 4th with a new LMSC record time of 1:39.35.


Women 55+ Free Relay: Nancy Betts swam with Marcia Berry, Kitten Braaten and Shirley Loftus-Charley to finish 4th with a time of 2:08.09 in a new LMSC record beating the old record of 2:13.11. Women 55+ Medley Relay: Nancy Betts led off the backstroke leg with the same ladies to finish 4th in a time of 2:23.43, which is another LMSC record, beating the old record of 2:30.86. Men 55+ Free Relay: Dave Frisch teamed up with Jim Miller, Tom Woods and Randolph Wise to finish 17th with a time of 2:04.06. In the Mixed 55+ Free Relay, Dave Frisch swam with William Throne, Marcia Berry and Shirley Loftus-Charley to finish 7th with a time of 1:54.27. Nancy Betts andDave Frisch swam with William Throne and Shirley Loftus-Charley in the Mixed 55+ Medley Relay to place 9th with a time of 2:12.57.



All total, there were 15 NOVA affiliated swimmers in Greensboro. These 15 swimmers tallied an impressive 57 Top 10 individual finishes, 12 Top 10 Relay finishes, 10 new individual LMSC records, 7 new LMSC Relay records and 1 individual National record. 

For more info, check out Chris’ recap on the website:


Todd pictured with is daughter Kate

When did you join NOVA Masters and how often do you swim?

I had been swimming with the Masters Group at ACAC (with Bill & George) but when my daughter Kate started swimming in Brent’s group in 2007, I began swimming the first hour of their 4:30 am practice a few days a week. In 2008, when she could drive herself to practice, Mark “recruited” me to start swimming with his masters group. I think Kate paid him to get me to leave Brent’s group. I try to swim three days a week, but most of the time it is difficult due to my travel schedule. I travel about 100-120 nights a year.

What is your background as a swimmer and athlete?

Growing up in Richmond in the 70’s and early 80’s I swam year round at Briarwood (now ACAC) with Mike Wren and his brothers. When I could drive, I swam my Junior and Senior years in high school at the CAC Rams at VCU and got to swim with Dave Holland! I swam my freshman year (1982-83 season) at the University of Tennessee for Coach Ray Bussard. I took a break from swimming after that and then got back into swimming again when I turned 40 (almost 8 years ago).

 What motivates you to wake up and swim at 5:45am?

It’s later than 4:30 am…plus at my age I can’t sleep late anymore. No, seriously, I swim to keep in shape (can’t you tell!) and I the enjoy the camaraderie of the NOVA Masters group. What a way to start your day with Mark and his sage Kutzisms!

Outside of the pool, who are you?

Husband to Robin (married 23 years), Dad to Kate (freshman at UCLA), Henry (junior at The Steward School), and Jack (freshman at St. Christopher’s). I own and operate an international industrial distribution business (Fi-Tech, Inc.) with my brother Jeff.

Some people might be surprised to know that...

 Coach Mark was one of my coaches at the CAC Rams (1980-1982). Don’t remember any Kutzisms from those days. I guess he has become wiser with age!

Favorite Kutzism:

“For those whom much rest is given, much is expected!” And the classic “Are you going to finish like a champ or a chump?”



April 6, 2012

On the dry side of life, a few of our folks put on their running shoes and did the Monument Ave. 10K in impressive fashion last weekend.  Maura Bolger, Jocelyn Posthumus, and Kristan Jacobson were each in the 47-48 minute range.  That’s fast!  In addition, Elizabeth Cohen walked the race with her mother and raised $1,100 for Comfort Zone Camp!    Elizabeth also reports that one of our former members, Julie Rechel, was 6th overall on the female side (35:19).

Chris Stevenson reports that the final Top 10 lists have been published for the 2011 SCM and LCM season; Grab some coffee and settle in, because the NOVA folks did well!  We begin with the World Rankings and keep scrolling down for the USMS rankings…

FINA Top Ten (SCM and LCM)

Each year, the international governing body for swimming (FINA) compiles a list of the best times in the world, and we’re fortunate to have quite a few from NOVA!  Congrats to Lisa Bennett (6 indiv. events), Nancy Betts (3 relays) Maura Bolger (3 indiv. events, including 2nd in the world in the 200 fly SCM), Billy Gaines (4 indiv. events, including top 3 in 3 events, plus 2 relays), Kate Hibbard (1 indiv, 1 relay), Dave Holland (2 indiv, 2 relays), and Chris Stevenson (9 indiv, 3 relays).  Chris finished 2011 as tops in the world in the 50-100-200 back SCM, 100-200 back LCM, and 100 fly LCM !!

The complete list is here:

USMS Top Ten (SCM)

Congrats to the following “Senior Greys” who made the list for the 2011 SCM season, which officially concluded on Dec. 31:

Maura Bolger, Danielle Myers, Claire Russo, Suzanne Newell, Lisa Bennett, and Chris Stevenson.  The complete list is here:

Congrats to Maura (200 fly) and Chris (50-100-200 back), who each finished with #1 rankings, thereby earning them the distinguished honor of…

USMS All-Americans and All-Stars

Each year USMS publishes a list and confers “All-American” status to the swimmer who finishes the year with the #1 ranked time in the country for each event, across SCY, SCM, and LCM courses.  The award is given for several long distance categories as well, including the postal swims.  In addition, “All-Star” status is given to one male and one female in each age group who recorded the highest number of top times. 

At NOVA, for 2011, the following people had at least one #1 swim (individually or in a relay) and earned USMS All-American awards:  Elizabeth Cohen (Long Distance), Kate Hibbard (pool indiv.), Maura (both LD and pool indiv!), Billy Gaines (pool indiv), Nancy Betts (pool relay), Chris Stevenson (pool indiv.), Lisa Bennett (pool indiv.), and Suzanne Newell (pool indiv.).

The complete lists are here:

Pool Individual and LD:

Pool Relay:

We had one “All-Star” from our group:  Congrats to Chris Stevenson, who finished the year as the top ranked stud in the 45-49 age group.  Chris was one of only 3 All-Stars in our LMSC.  Mark, it’s time to blast that song by Smash Mouth in Chris’ honor!!


With the warm weather, it’s time to start thinking about signing up for an open water event.  We  have several good ones in the area, so mark your calendars:

April 29:  Peluso Open Water 1.5km - Midlothian

May 26-27:  Jim McDonnell Lake Swims- Reston

June 24:  Jack King 1-mile Ocean Swim- Va. Beach

July 14:  Chris Greene Lake 1- and 2-mile Cable Swims- Charlottesville

NEW THIS YEAR:  t-shirt contest-  design the logo for this year’s tshirt and receive a $50.00 licensing fee and a free t-shirt (see Dave Holland for details).

For the full list of all upcoming meets and open water swims, check out the masters’ website:

with husband

When did you join NOVA Masters and how often do you swim?

I joined NOVA Masters in October of 2010.  When I first started attending NOVA practices I generally came to practice twice a week.  After having some mild success in Arizona at spring nationals last year, I got a bit more motivated and started coming to practice about 4 times per week.

What is your background as a swimmer and athlete?

I started swimming on a YMCA team when I was 4, along with taking gymnastics classes.  When I was 7, I decided that I liked swimming better so I decided to focus on that.  After that, I swam for the Retriever Aquatic Club at UMBC for two years.  Then made the switch to NBAC where I stayed until I went on to swim at West Chester University for 4 years.  


After swimming at WCU with a demonic Hungarian transplant of a distance coach, I really thought that I never wanted to swim competitively again.  While teaching in Pennsylvania I also was fortunate enough to coach the high school swim team, which kept me involved with the sport and kept me from missing it too much.  When I got married and moved to Richmond in 2010, I started to really miss being around the sport, so I decided on a whim to email Mark Kutz to ask about his masters practices, and the rest is history.


When I’m not swimming in the mornings I’m usually running.  I ran cross-country in high school and actually got more recruiting interest from college coaches for running cross country than for swimming.  Nowadays, I enjoy running for fitness more than running races.


What motivates you to wake up and swim at 5:45am?

I have always been a person who loves a challenge, so there is nothing better than starting the day with one of Mark’s practices. Also, I’ve found that starting the day off with a swim really helps me manage my stress throughout the day. I love coming in every morning and seeing my friends. At Nova, I really feel like I got a transplant family after moving to Virginia.  I love my teammates, and I don’t know what I would do without them.  They are my social group, support system, and some of the coolest people that I have ever met. 

 Outside of the pool, who are you?

Outside of the pool, I fight the war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, I teach good sportsmanship and fair play, how to balance a checkbook and how to apply for a job. In short, I teach math to students in grades 6th – 9th.  I find my job to be very entertaining.  Middle school kids, at times, say and do some very bizarre things. Teaching this age group really requires you to be able to roll with the punches. My other favorite Mark…..Mark Twain, once said that "the American male does not live beyond the emotional age of 14." Maybe that's why I like to compare teaching middle school to a beer certainly keeps your attention.

I also enjoy spending time with my own “American Male” at home.  I have an awesome husband (aka NOVA swim fan #1), who is a fixture at our swim meets. 

Some people might be surprised to know that...

 I was a rambunctious and intrepid child.  One example that has been repeated countless times is worthy of sharing.  On this particular occasion my poor mom took me and my 3 siblings (all 4 of us under the age of 9) to the mall for some shoe shopping.  The story goes that I asked my mom if we could stop for ice cream, but my mom said that we were in the wrong mall for that. Well, apparently I wasn’t going to have any of that, so I went off on my own merry way in search of ice cream.  I was and still am very quiet when I want to be, so slipping away was no problem.


Everyone's memory gets fuzzy after that but the next thing my mom knew she found her 5 year-old daughter being questioned by police, refusing to reveal her name and holding two batman action figures, one of them without a head.  To this day, nobody has any idea where that head went.  I think that pretty much sums me up.


Also, and I know Dave will kill me if I don’t mention this….I held the NAG record in the 100 Fly (LCM) when I was 10 years-old for about 2 minutes.


Favorite Kutzism:

I don’t care WHO you are – this is FUN!”  and “It’s fun to go Fast!”



November 16, 2011


August 3-6, 2011 USMS Long Course Nationalswere held in Auburn, Alabama.  Chris Stevenson, Billy Gaines, Kate Hibbard, Dave Holland, Danielle Myers, Nancy Betts, and Mr. War Eagle alumni himself (Bill Winters) made the trip.  Bill, Chris, and Dave flew down together on August 2 and were greeted at the airport by Billy, who had flown in from Las Vegas earlier in the day.  The foursome shared a rental car to make the 100-mile trek from Atlanta to Auburn, dragging Kate along for at least 50 of those miles in a ruse that Billy was nowhere to be found.  Oh, the beauty of texting.  The entire group enjoyed a few days of southern hospitality and fast swimming, helping the Virginia Masters team to a third place finish in the team standings. 

Nancywas impressive at her first Nationals, setting a new LMSC record in 50 back and also being a part of two national championship relays.  Each of the NOVA folks was fortunate to bring home at least one national championship medal, with Chris and Billy leading the way with 5 each.

In the records department, the Kutzies accounted for 15 new LMSC records (Nancy in the 50 back, Billy in the 50-200-400-800 free, Kate in the 200 free, 200 IM, 100-200 back, Dave in the 800 free and 400 IM, Danielle in the 100 fly, and Chris in the 200 back (also a WORLD RECORD), 50 fly (also a Colonies Zone record), and 200 fly (another zone record).  Read more about Chris in our Master’s Spotlight below.

Highlights from the meet are also available here:

Oct. 16, 2011 22nd Annual Bermuda Round the Sound Open Water SwimElizabeth Cohen made the trip to beautiful Bermuda and swam the 10k event.  Here is her recap:

What open water race is only a 2 hour plane ride from the east coast and offers multiple practice swims, two event socials, clear blue tropical ~78 degree water, a race bag that includes everything from Garfield Band-Aids to airplane-size bottles of rum, lots of warm weather and sunshine, and a unique and picturesque palm tree-lined race course with 5 distances to choose from ranging from 0.8K to 10K...?

Bermuda Round the Sound!

With almost 300 swimmers, approximately half from “overseas”, my first tropical/destination race (of hopefully many) was a great combination of well-run events, plus plenty of time for lying on the beach, sightseeing, scuba diving, cave exploring, and more. The race conditions were ideal: overcast, calm water for over half the race, a little current assist in the middle, and just a bit of chop towards the end for a little extra challenge and variety.

Staying at the host hotel (at approximately $200 off/night for being part of the race!) and being surrounded by other swimmers and their friends and families was a great way to meet other athletes from all over the place and have a great and unique swim vacation experience.  Swimmers of all ages and abilities participated and even though I may have been one of the slower 10K swimmers, I could always see others swimmers and/or boat support around me. The race went just as I hoped. I took my time, didn’t swallow too much salt water, avoided the one large jellyfish I almost swam into, and finished (in 3 hours, 41 mins and 45 seconds) with a little energy to spare. 10K results included 67 swimmers (ages 17 to 61) with times ranging from 2 hours 17 minutes to 5 hours 16 minutes.  

There was one master’s team at the event from NJ that had 12 swimmers competing in a variety of distances. So who wants to join me next year for the 22nd annual Bermuda Round the Sound swim?! Or maybe the St. John Beach to Beach Power swim, St. Croix Coral Reef Swim, or Grand Cayman Pirate Week Swim? There are so many to choose from!! :)     ~ Elizabeth C.


Nov. 5, 2011: 31st Annual VMST Fall Swim Meet in Virginia Beach (SCM).  The NOVA contingent was small but forceful this year.  As Mark described them, “not one of them over 5’2” but they’re a force to be reckoned with.”  Maura Bolger, Danielle Myers, and Claire Russo went down there and took names! Elizabeth Cohen made the trip as well, providing support from the sidelines.  Maura led the charge with 5 new LMSC records, subjecting herself to some kind of masochistic iron cross and nabbing 3 records within a single (albeit very long 1500 meter) swim.  Maura’s records were set in the 400-800-1500 free, 400 IM, and 200 fly.  Claire was dominant in the breaststroke as usual, and Danielle earned two records of her own (800 free and 400 IM for women 25-29).  Maura provided the recap:

The meet started off with a bang: Danielle swam to a win in the 800m free in a new Virginia record for the 25-29 age group in 9:51.62.  Danielle and Claire swam next to each other in the 4th event, the 50m breast with Claire edging Danielle 37.34 to 37.70 for the win.  Danielle earned the win in the 50m free in 29.68. Event 9 was Claire's 100m breast, and you guessed it, she won the 25-29 age group in 1:20.54.  In Danielle's last event, she and I swam the 400m IM next to each other.  Each of us won our age group (I'm 30-34!) and broke the VA records.  Danielle swam a 5:32.11 to break Betsy's record from last year!  I swam a 5:18.55 to break Lisa Bennett's record.


Clairecarried the torch after Danielle left to work on her graduate school classes.  She swam to a first place finish in the 200m breast with a 2:58.24 to sweep all three breaststroke events.  I swam event 17 next, the 200m fly, and won in a VA record 2:29.28.  Claire finished up her meet with the 100m IM and the 50m backstroke back-to-back.  She finished first in the IM in 1:15.59 and first in the back with a 38.52.  I competed in the VERY last event - the 1500m free and many thanks to Claire and Elizabeth Cohen for cheering and counting!  I won in a new VA record of 18:38.38.  


It was a good meet with lots of wins for the NOVA contingent!


Full results are here

Top Ten SCY

Chris Stevensonreports that the final Top 10 lists have been published for the 2011 SCY season; the table below shows how the NOVA masters swimmers did in individual swims.



TT swims

#1 swims

Chris Stevenson



Billy Gaines



Kate Hibbard



Dave Holland



Jordan Arencibia



Danielle Myers



David Frisch



Rachel Nelson



 We also had two partly-NOVA relays get ranked:

·        Kate, Danielle, Lucy Carrig and Rachelnabbed 4th in the Women’s 18+ 200 medley relay

·        Chris, Lisa Bennett, Mark Kutz and Suzanne Newellgot 6th in the Mixed 45+ 200 medley relay



Check out the website:


When did you join NOVA Masters and how often do you swim?


I joined in summer 2006 – I think I may have been (almost) a charter member! They were starting up the program and running a special “month free” program to get people interested. Back then, I think the “fast lane” was basically me, Dave Holland, Bill Winters and Eric Cornell. And we didn’t all make it every day, of course. I remember having more age-group swimmers with us at the time. 

I like to swim 5 times a week but whether I get to that depends on work and family duties. I would prefer 6 times per week if I could. 

 What is your background as a swimmer and athlete?

I’ve been swimming competitively year-round since I was 7 years old, starting in summer league in San Jose, California. We moved to Greece when I was 12 years old and I continued to swim there. In order to swim with a Greek team I had to get “Greek nationality papers,” not quite the same thing as citizenship but along the same lines. I think it declared that I had at least one parent who is Greek (my mother is a Greek immigrant). I swam there until I was almost 16 but was plagued by a series of accidents (broken knee, broken elbow, each involving surgery with complications). We moved to Raleigh NC when I was a HS junior and I swam thru college at UNC-CH.

Other sports? Are there other sports? Kidding, I played various other land-based sports, mostly baseball and soccer. But considering that I broke my knee while playing soccer and my elbow while riding a bike, it is probably safer for everybody if I stay in the water.

I was a mathlete in high school, does that count? Probably not…I probably shouldn’t admit it in public, either…

I had no plans to continue swimming after college, but I met a masters swimmer (Eney Jones) while I was in grad school in Florida and she persuaded me to join. This was back in 1987 I think, I’ve been a member ever since. I met my wife at my very first USMS meet, an outdoor meet in St. Petersburg, FL. We were on a relay together, I was very sunburned, she knew me as “Crispy Chris.”

Back then they had beer relays at meets; I don’t know exactly how USMS grows its membership these days, but it was a big draw back then.

What motivates you to wake up and swim at 5:45am?

Mark’s singing, of course. It’s better than a cuppa Joe.

Actually when I finished college I swore up and down that I had done my very last AM swim practice. I stuck to that for a decade and swam in the evenings. But then I tried morning practices again and love it. Staying fit is my #1 reason for swimming and I like getting it “over with” early before I get tired or work/family distractions happen.

Outside of the pool, who are you?

I’m a chemistry professor at the University of Richmond; my specialty areas are analytical chemistry (don’t ask) and environmental chemistry. Currently I’m also the coordinator of the Environmental Studies program and the chair of the Geography Department. I have no idea how that last happened: the only geography skill I have is map-reading.

Some people might be surprised to know that...

No surprises, I’m a completely open book. Since all the court documents from my wild days have been sealed, that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

I was a very minor celebrity in Greece for a short period of time; swimming is significantly more popular there than here, and strangers would recognize me by sight. But back then my hair was chlorine-bleach white and I’m not exactly what one might consider olive-skinned: I stood out just a little bit. I gave TV interviews, signed autographs, one of my relative even said I was the answer to a game-show question. My 15 minutes of fame.

Favorite Kutzism:

“I don’t care WHO you are, that’s FUN!”




August 2, 2011


April 15-17, 2011, Colonies Zone Champs (SCY).  Claire was nice enough to send in a recap of the weekend:

Rachel Nelson, Elizabeth Cohen, and Claire Russotraveled to George Mason Univeristy in Fairfax for the Colonies Zones Championships held April 16-17th. Rachel had some competition in the 18-24 age group and finished with several 1st and 2nd place finishes, including one LMSC record in the 50 fly (27.58). She managed this despite swimming with a double case of bronchitis, something else, and almost pneumonia. Ask her for a full list of her illnesses. Elizabeth (25-29) reports that she was happy to not get last place in any of her events. Her most exciting event was 100 bk where she placed 5th with a 1:20.00. She is also secretly happy that her 500 free time was faster than Nancy's 500 time from the NOVA meet in February. Claire (25-29) also had a decent meet with 4 personal best times in the 100 fr, 200 IM, 200 br, and 100 br. Claire's best event was her 100 br where she swam to a 2nd place finish in a 1:11.91. She almost missed the 200 br and had to run to the blocks, but that must have gotten the adrenaline going as she swam to a 1st place finish in 2:37.44. Claire and Rachel also teamed up with Adam Barley from VA Beach and Kirk Clear from Northern VA for a 200 Free relay. They swam a 1:38.95, good enough for 1st in the 18-24 age group. However, a short stroke on Claire's finish and eagerness on Kirk's part led to a DQ. Check out the relay on YouTube:


April 28-May 1, 2011 USMS Short Course Nationalswere in Mesa, AZ.  Chris Stevenson, Billy Gaines, Kate Hibbard, Betsy Turner, Dave Holland, Lisa Bennett, Tracy Hernlen, Dave Frisch, Danielle Myers, Suzanne Newell, and Coach Mark Kutz made the trip.   A recap of results can be found here:

The Kutz-trained group accounted for 12 new LMSC records, as well as two new national records (Chris in the 100 and 200 back).  Mark even got in on some action himself, as he was a part of a Mixed 200 medley relay that set a new record (45+ with Chris, Lisa, and Suzanne, 1:53.63).   Shaving pays off after 25 years, doesn’t it Mark?

June 26, 2011.  Jack King 1-mile Ocean Swim, Va. BeachElizabeth Cohen and George Sushkoff each braved the rough surf for the annual swim in Va. Beach.  Elizabeth and George were both 4th in their respective age groups!

July 9, 2011.  Chris Greene Lake 1- and 2-mile cable swims, Charlottesville, Va.  As usual, there was a good turnout from the NOVA group.  On the male side, Cliff Parker and Chris Stevenson competed in the 2-mile swim.  Cliff finished 3rd in the 30-34 age group, while Chris was 1st in 45-49.  Chris also captured the overall men’s title for the 5th time.  On the female side, Maura Bolger and Claire Russo went 1-2 for the 25-29 age group, while Nancy Betts and Heather Stevenson were 1st- 2nd for 50-54.  Dave Holland, Elizabeth Cohen and Danielle Myers did not swim, but stayed very busy on the administrative sidelines as meet volunteers for the day.  Full results are at


When did you join NOVA Masters and how often do you swim?

I joined NOVA Masters in March 2010 after I decided that I wanted to compete again.  Prior to joining NOVA I had been swimming for a few months at ACAC, usually three to four days a week.  Now I try to swim at least five to six days a week if I can.

What is your background as a swimmer and athlete?

If you ask my Mom, my swimming career all started back in the womb...  While pregnant with me, my Mom would get her exercise by swimming at the local high school pool during open swim at 4:00pm (I mention the time for reasons you’ll understand as you keep reading...) When talking about my swimming, my Mom likes to point out that I was born a breech baby, and she says I never turned around because I wanted to be swimming in the same direction she was swimming.

I grew up in the town of Belmont, MA where I remember spending a lot of time outdoors with my Dad, and learning to play tennis from my Mom, but I don’t think I really enjoyed swimming when I was very young. When I was around the age of six our family joined a small swim and tennis club near our home, where I had some one-on-on swim lessons, and began to enjoy swimming a little more. One summer the club was hosting a summer league meet and they were short on kids for the team.  I was asked to swim in the meet, and apparently I enjoyed it! Around the age of seven I joined my first USS club team and practice was at the high school pool... at 4:00pm.  How’s that for a coincidence?

When I entered high school I joined the varsity team, and my passion for swimming kicked into high gear.  I continued to swim for a USS club team, but the high school team was strong and brought together a lot of fast swimmers from all over our town.  After helping to break nearly every freshman relay record on the books, I quickly found that swimming fast and winning was fun!  A few of the girls I trained with on the high school team convinced me to step up my game and train with them year round, so I joined the (team formally known as) Mass Bay Marlins at Harvard. It was this move to a new team that eventually connected me to the University of Richmond where I swam as a scholarship athlete under Matt Kreditch for three years.  

After graduating from U of R in 2006 and retiring from competitive swimming, I stayed in Richmond, moved into the Fan, and tried to adjust to a “normal” lifestyle (one that didn’t include waking up at 5:00am only for the first workout of the day).  I tried to take up new activities like running, and going to classes at the gym, and I even started to play tennis again.  It was fun to do something differnt, but I never seemed to enjoy running or going to the gym the way I enjoyed swimming, and I would often try to swim whenever I had the chance.  So in the fall of 2009 I committed to swimming more regularly with the Masters group at ACAC, and it felt great!  I never thought I would compete again, but that winter I was talked into swimming in my first Masters meet which happened to be over at NOVA.  It was after the meet that I realized how much fun meets could be, and I decided I wanted to train more often and start competing again!

What motivates you to wake up and swim at 5:45am?
For many years of my life swimming somewhat defined my lifestyle, so when I decided to start competing again it only seemed normal to me that I would train as often as I could, wake up early, go to bed early, and spend my weekends at a meet.  For some people that lifestyle probably doesn’t sound very appealing, and maybe they would prefer to rely on the Folgers in their cup to wake them up, but I don’t drink coffee, so I start my day with a cup of Mark Kutz and surround myself with some great people!  To me there is something really satisfying about being able to challenge your limits, compete with yourself (and others), and strive to do something great all before 7:30AM! Being able to do something you didn’t think you could do makes the sacrifices all worth it, and I feel really fortunate to have found such a great program at NOVA that provides so many athletes the opportunity get better everyday.  

Outside of the pool, who are you?
Outside of the pool I spend my 9 to 5 working with a fantastic organization called The Nature Conservancy.  Our mission is to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive -- or simply put, we try to save the planet. The work is meaningful, challenging, and rewarding when I get to go home at night knowing that I did a little something to ensure that future generations have the same kind of outdoor experiences I had growing up.  In my spare time I remain involved with the University of Richmond as co-chair of the Greater Richmond Alumni Chapter. We work with the University to plan and provide events for local alumni in the area, such as golf clinics and networking events. I did a lot of growing and had a lot of life changing experiences in college, so I really enjoy being able to give back to the University as a volunteer and staying connected to the Spider community.  I guess when I’m not swimming, not working, and not volunteering, I enjoy spending time outdoors, going for walks or playing tennis, cooking/eating, following Boston sports, and keeping in touch with my wonderful family and friends.

Some people might be surprised to know that...
I fell in love with the sport of swimming during the 1996 Olympics and as a result I developed my first teenage crush... on Bob Costas. I thought he had the coolest job as a commentator for the Olympics, and I would daydream about one day being his wife with front row seats to all of the swimming events!

Favorite Kutzism:
There is a little story behind this, and it’s not exactly one of the usual Kutzisms, but I think it belongs on the list...  I’ve grown to admire Mark’s ability to tell it like it is, and after returning from my first ever US Masters Nationals last year -- where I won the 200 backstroke -- I eagerly went into practice the next morning, and the first thing Mark said to me was, “so, how does it feel to swim a mediocre race and still be a National Champion?”  I’ve been known as the mediocre national chapion ever since :)

April 6, 2011


The FINA Masters World Top 10 Rankings for 2010 (SCM) recently were posted and it appears that Kutz-trained swimmers accounted for 21 of the 56 rankings in our LMSC. Congratulations to Chris Stevenson (45-49, ten events), Billy Gaines (25-29, four events), Kate Hibbard (25-29, three events), Lisa Bennett (50-54, three events), and Dave Holland (40-44, one event) for making the “top ten” list in individual events.  In addition, there were 4 relays that made the list that were predominately comprised of NOVA studs, including one with Claire Russo (25-29).  The entire list from our LMSC is here:  (indiv)  (relays)

But’s that’s not all.  Billy was #1 in the world in the 800 free (8:39.2) and Chris finished the year with paramount planetary times in the 100 fly (57.37), 200 fly (2:11.40), and 200 back (2:07.55).  On the relay front, Chris, Lisa, and Dave teamed up with Shirley Loftus-Charley (combined 200-239 age group) to record world-bests last year in both the 200 mixed medley relay (2:05.35) and the 400 mixed medley relay (4:35.02, also a world record).

Way to go, kids!


Feb. 12-13, 2011, VMST David Gregg III Memorial Meet (SCY) at NOVA.   Everybody came, everybody swam, everybody did lifetime best times.  It’s been so long, it’s a blur, but results are here:

March 6, 2011, WAVA Masters “Dreaming of Spring” Meet (SCY), Warrenton, Va. Lisa Bennett, Rachel Nelson and Chris Stevenson made the trip.  Chris slipped under 5:00 for a new LMSC record in the 500 free (45-49), while Lisa and Rachel won several events each (Lisa- 50 free, 50 breast, 50 fly, 100 fly, 100 IM, Rachel-200 free, 50 fly, and 200 IM).  Full results are here:

March 18-20, 2011 New England SC Champs, Boston, Mass.  Kate, Billy, and Claire flew up to Boston and made a splash.  I couldn’t seem to get a meet report from them, although I did hear that Kate crushed Billy in the 200 back, 2:08 to 2:10.  Ouch.  Full results are here:


April 15-17, 2011, Colonies Zone Champs (SCY) will be at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.  More info can be found here:  Deadline for entries is midnight on April 6.  Online entry here:

April 28-May 1, 2011 USMS Short Course Nationals are in Mesa, AZ.  There will be several from NOVA making this trip:  Chris Stevenson, Billy Gaines, Kate Hibbard, Betsy Turner, Dave Holland, Lisa Bennett, Dave Frisch, Danielle Myers, and making his debut at nationals, drumroll please…our very own Mark Kutz.   Info is here:

May 20, 2011.  Peluso Open Water Race Series # 1, James River, 750meters.  Local masters swimmer and triathlete Jay Peluso is kicking off a series of 3 open water swims with a 750 meter swim in the James.  Water temperature should be in the 70’s.  More info is here:

May 22, 2011.  The 3rd Annual 5280 Swim (1- and 2-mile), Falls Lake, Wake Forest, NC.  USA-Triathlon membership is required, and it’s wetsuit legal.  Elizabeth Cohen reports that she’ll be attending for the third consecutive year and she invites others to join her.  In previous years it was run in conjunction with the Beaverdam triathlon, but this year it will run as a standalone.  More info is here:

May 28-29, 2011.  Jim McDonnell Lake Swims, Reston, Va.  An open water clinic and practice swim are available on Saturday, with the 1- and 2-mile races on Sunday.  Each race is limited to 400 swimmers, and it does sell out, so register early.  More info is here:

June 26, 2011.  Jack King 1-mile Ocean Swim, Va. Beach.  A great event that is hosted by VMST.  Snail mail entries can be downloaded here:

July 9, 2011.  Chris Greene Lake 1- and 2-mile cable swims, Charlottesville, Va.  The One of the longest-running open water events in the country, hosted by VMST. This year the 2-mile event will start at 8:30am, with the 1-mile event to follow at 10:30am.  A cable swim provides a nice introduction to open water as the course is clearly marked with a rope stretched for a ¼ mile straightaway.  Online entry is here:

August 3-6, 2011.  USMS LC National Championship, Auburn, AL.  Looks like we’re heading south to Bill Winters’ old stomping grounds to soar with the War Eagle and party at Toomers Corner.  I have no idea what any of that actually means, but there should be some fast swimming, too.  More info is here:

As always, check for a complete listing.  Chris stays up until the wee hours of the morning maintaining the finest website in the land, so if there’s a meet nearby, he’s got it posted.


When did you join NOVA Masters and how often do you swim?

I joined somewhere around September, 2008.  I used to swim with the Masters group at ACAC.  I swim Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays, my wife goes to the Y to work out. I get the kids to the bus stop on those days.

What is your background as a swimmer and athlete?

I grew up in Southern California. I was a high school All-American in the 500 free.  I still hold the school record in that event.  I was a Junior National finalist and Senior National qualifier.  In college, I was a Western Athletic Conference finalist and broke the freshman record (there really was such a thing) in the 1,650.  My two best brushes with greatness were beating future (albeit brief) world record holder John Moffet in the 100 breastroke (when he had blown out his knee) and swimming the 400 meter free in the LA Olympic pool with then-world-record-holder Vladimir Salnikov.  It was a situation where *all* prelim heats were circle seeded. 

What motivates you to wake up and swim at 5:45am?

I've always been an early riser.  With kids, there is not much opportunity to sleep in.  NOVA is a 5 minute drive from my house.  It's a nice pool, a great group of athletes, and a fun coach.  Swimming keeps me in some sort of shape, and it's good for water polo. 

Outside of the pool, who are you?

I'm an Application Engineer at a small software company.  I also play water polo.  I guess that doesn't qualify for outside of the pool.  My wife Rosey and I have two children -- Nikolas and Alexandra.  No real reference to the Czar there, it just worked out that way.  I met Rosey at a Masters meet in Raleigh, NC and proposed to her at the end of a triathlon in Richmond. 

Some people might be surprised to know that...

My parents are both Russian, but they were born in China.  My dad grew up in the very cold Harbin (  He also lived in Shanghai while the Japaneese occupied the city during WW II.  A large group of people were eventually evacuated to the Phillipines where they survived on US Army surplus supplies for about 2 years before coming to the United States.  My dad was drafted shortly after moving to San Francisco, and served in the Korean war.

Favorite Kutzism:

May the force be ... wait, wrong type of Master.  To whom much rest is given, much is expected. 


December 23, 2010
USMS makes it very convenient to establish and stick to your New Year’s resolutions with the “Go The Distance” program. This online system allows you to set goals and track your mileage automatically with your individual Fitness Log (or “FLOG”). Better yet, it’s free with your USMS membership. All of the details can be found here:
To see how the swimmers from Virginia did in 2010, see the results here:
Dec. 10-12, 2010: New England LMSC and Colonies Zone 2010 SCM Championship, Boston University.  
Lisa Bennett, Kate Hibbard, Betsy Turner, Billy Gaines, Dave Holland, and Chris Stevenson made the trip and got to spend the weekend in Kate’s hometown. Fueled by some home-cooked meals with Kate’s parents in Belmont, the group flew home with a sleigh-load full of new records and accolades. Billy Gaines and Kate Hibbard led the charge, with each setting 3 new LMSC records and 3 Colonies Zone records. Billy swam 10 events and won all of them, scoring 153 points for VMST single-handedly, which was good enough for 4th in the men’s high point standings. The VMST contingent (NOVA’s 6 plus Adam Barley from Va. Beach) managed to finish 3rd overall in the “USMS Clubs” category. In terms of records, Chris has crunched the numbers and impressively, each VMST swimmer came home with at least one record:
Lisa Bennett, who swims with Mark in the “AARP” group at 8am, now owns all of the 50-54 SCM records! Way to go, Lisa!
Full results are here:
Jan. 30, 2011 : Tropical Splash (SCY) in Alexandria. Entry is here:
Feb. 12-13, 2011 , VMST David Gregg III Memorial Meet (SCY) at NOVA. Our meet in our home pool. Participation within our group is highly encouraged, and please note that if you have never competed or it’s been several years, there is a “novice” category that is designed especially for you. The entry is snail mail only. Download it here:
The social on Saturday night will be at Billy’s house.
March 6, 2011 , WAVA Masters “Dreaming of Spring” Meet (SCY), Warrenton, Va.
March 19, 2011 , Albatross Open (SCM) in North Bethesda, Md. Entry will be online in early 2011.
April 15-17, 2011 , Colonies Zone Champs (SCY) will be at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Visit the Patriot Masters website for the entry:
April 28-May 1, 2011 USMS Short Course Nationals are in Mesa, AZ. There will be several from NOVA making this trip. Flights to Phoenix are reasonable right now. Info is here:
Elizabeth was introduced to us by her friend Allison Czapracki, who left us a few months ago for sunny California. Elizabeth graduated from JMU in 2003, and works as an Investment Operations Analyst for UR’s Spider Management Company.  She grew up locally and competed as a synchronized swimmer for many years, helping her team finish in the top 8 nationally on several occasions. She claims to be a “health nut” but be sure to ask her about the secret ingredient in those pretzel treats she brought to our holiday party…

When did you join NOVA Masters and how often do you swim?
I joined in August 2010 and swim 4 times a week.  Before NOVA I spent some time swimming with the UR master’s team, but most of the time swimming on my own (which got pretty boring!)
What is your background as a swimmer and athlete?
In the spring of third grade none of my friends could hang out after school because they all had swim team practice. So....I joined the swim team. Next thing I know, swimming pretty much consumed my life. I spent the following year swimming winter swim team with the JCC Dolphin Club. At the time, I decided year round speed swimming was too boring for me, so I started synchronizing swimming at the JCC at the age of 10. While I continued summer swim team for 10 years, I spent most of my time from the ages of 10 to 17 as a nationally competitive synchronized swimmer. After high school I didn't spend as much time being active until I got introduced to road cycling a few years ago. After cycling for a while, I decided to set aside my life time hatred of running and get into triathlons. I spent 2 or 3 summers doing sprint and Olympic distance triathlons, and even ran a half marathon (which was a big deal for me, and not something I plan on repeating any time soon). The best thing about triathlon is that it introduced me to open water swimming. After doing triathlons for a while, I stopped riding and started doing open water swim races and aquathlons (swim/run only races). Even though I am a total germaphobe, I really enjoy the freedom and challenges of swimming in open water, even if the water is questionable. Long story short, I have stopped cycling and running, and my main focus now is open water swimming, with some pool swim meets thrown in for “fun”. I have competed in several one and two mile open water swims and will be competing in my third 4.4 mile Great Chesapeake Bay swim next June.
What motivates you to wake up and swim at 5:45am?
Getting it over with. It’s so nice not to have to worry about training after a long day at work. And swimming with the team is a lot of fun too!
Outside of the pool, who are you?
Outside of the pool, I am pretty much a health nut. Most people would say I am a little obsessed with nutrition/ being healthy. I like to cook mostly vegetarian/vegan foods and have read a few too many nutrition books over the last couple years. I also enjoy traveling and playing with my 2 year old nephew.
Some people might be surprised to know that...
even though I stay active with all my swimming and whatnot, I can be very lazy, too, and have no problem watching TV for countless hours on end.
Favorite Kutzism:
Hmmm....Since I just joined the team a few months ago and since lane 10 barely gets long enough breaks to breathe, much less hear what Mark has to say, I don’t have many to choose from. But I think I will go with “Right here, right now”. It really sets the tone for an all-out swim.
November 11, 2010
Oct. 2, 2010: Giant Acorn International Triathlon, Lake Anna, Va. Michelle Kitt attended and dutifully reported that she finished her first international distance tri in 3:01:42. She placed 4th in the swim for her age group (1.5 K in 30:28) and ran her fastest 10K ever- 1:02.45.
Nov. 7, 2010: 30th Annual VMST Fall Swim Meet in Virginia Beach (SCM). The NOVA contingent was large and forceful this year: Chris Stevenson, Dave Holland, Kate Hibbard, Billy Gaines, Betsy Turner, Elizabeth Cohen, Cliff Parker, and Lisa Bennett survived the Hampton Roads Tunnel and the tepid waters of the Bayside 8-lane jacuzzi to enjoy some quality racing. Lisa led the charge with 4 new LMSC records (200-400-800-1500 free for women 50-54), and Betsy and Billy picked up one each, too (Betsy in the women 25-29 800 free, Billy in the men 25-29 200 free). There was one other LMSC record that was noteworthy: Kate, Claire, and Billy teamed up with local Va. Beach youngster Adam Barley in the mixed 100-119 400 medley relay. Their time of 4:23.50 was not only a new LMSC record but also broke the existing FINA World Record by 7 seconds! Check out their splits, and keep in mind that the pool was 25 meters:
Kate- bk- 1:08.90, Claire-br- 1:21.24, Adam-fly-1:00.72, Billy-free-52.64
Nov. 27, 2010: Second Annual Crawl Brawl (SCY), George Mason Freedom Center, Manassas, Va. This meet features every freestyle event from 25 yds to 1000, and 50’s of each stroke.  There is also the unofficial “Plunge” competition, whereby each participating swimmer will be given one opportunity to “plunge” from the blocks and go as far as possible without kicking or taking a breath.  The person going further than others will be declared the champion.  Plunge awards will be presented to the male and female Champions. Entries are online, with a deadline of Nov. 22:
Dec. 10-12 , 2010: New England LMSC and Colonies Zone 2010 SCM Championship, Boston University. Several from NOVA will be attending. Enter by Nov. 17 here:
 Jan. 30, 2011: Tropical Splash (SCY) in Alexandria. Entry is here:
Feb. 12-13, 2011, VMST David Gregg III Memorial Meet (SCY) at NOVA. Our meet in our home pool. Look for the entry in the January newsletter. If you swim with NOVA with any consistency, you will be coerced into coming to this compulsory and commonly comedic competition. Capish?
March 6, 2011, WAVA Masters “Dreaming of Spring” Meet (SCY), Warrenton, Va.
March 19, 2011, Albatross Open (SCM) in North Bethesda, Md. Entry will be online in early 2011.
April 15-17, 2011, Colonies Zone Champs (SCY) will be at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Visit the Patriot Masters website for the entry:
Betsy is a mild-mannered redhead (they do exist!) who is often seen churning away at butterfly in lane 8 or 9. She seems to gravitate toward extreme endurance sports and has completed a marathon (Disney last year) as well as several tris. She is an active member of our “under-30” crowd and makes her living as a physical therapist when she’s dry. 

When did you join NOVA Masters and how often do you swim?
I joined NOVA in the spring of 2009. At that point I think I was one of the youngest members of the team, especially on the female side. It was quite interesting swimming at the beginning with all of those old men. I usually swim 5 days a week with NOVA and try my darndest to get a 6th swim in, but most of the time sleep gets the better of me on the weekends.
What is your background as a swimmer and athlete?
I began competitive swimming for the local summer league team when I was 5. I transitioned that winter season into swimming for the local Y team in Lynchburg, VA. I guess I should give some credit to my brother for getting me into swimming. I saw him swim and of course being the younger sister that I was, I had to do whatever he did. I swam for the Lynchburg YMCA for 14 years before heading off to college, where I enjoyed other activities other than swimming. I am more of a middle distance swimmer who would rather swim a mile than sprint 10 50’s with 30 seconds rest. As you all know I swim a lot of butterfly, it would probably have to be my favorite stroke. I have always enjoyed a challenge and to me butterfly is a challenge. I have never been one to take the easy way out. I also played about 8 years of soccer throughout my childhood as well. I have competed in 4 Olympic distance triathlons, which I enjoy doing during the summer months, and I have run one marathon (not my most favorite of feats, but I can check it off the list). 
What motivates you to wake up and swim at 5:45am?
Kate Hibbard, Claire Russo and Billy Gaines to name a few. I enjoy the atmosphere of swim practice, the seriousness plus the joking around that goes on. I have always enjoyed working hard and there is nothing better, in my mind, than starting the day with one of Mark’s practices. There is something about swimming at 5:45 am that gets me ready for my day, who cares that I have to nap at lunchtime in order to make it through the rest of my day (good thing work provides me with tables and pillows and an hour for lunch). 
Outside of the pool, who are you?
Outside of swimming….I am from a small town in Virginia (if you haven’t noticed certain members of the team like to make fun of my accent, not going to name any names, but you know who you are J) called Appomattox. Some of you may know what happened there, some may not. And no it is not in Northern Virginia (I get that all the time). I went to Virginia Tech for undergrad and graduated in 2006. I then made my journey to the big city for PT school. I graduated from MCV in 2009 with a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. I now practice as an outpatient orthopaedic physical therapist for West End Orthopaedics. I mainly work with individuals who have joint and/or back pain or who have had joint or back surgery. I really love my job. I have too much energy to be cooped up behind a desk all day. I enjoy seeing people on their first day of PT when they are in significant pain (and are always skeptical about if PT will really work) and about 4 to 6 weeks later are almost completely pain free.
I love being outside and doing all things active. In the winter, I really enjoy snow skiing, however, being a Virginian it is sometimes hard to get some good skiing in.
Some people might be surprised to know that...
 I am a huge college football fan. I like the NFL as well, but not to the extent that I like college football. I have been known to start watching football when I wake up in the morning and not stop until I go to bed that night. I also love to cook and bake and have been dubbed Betsy Crocker by a few of my friends.
Favorite Kutzism:
“To whom much rest is given, much is expected”
“Finish like a champ or a chump”


September 22, 2010


May 20-23, 2010, USMS Short Course Nationals, at Georgia Tech, Atlanta, Georgia.

Claire Russo, Kate Hibbard, Lisa Bennett, Billy Gaines, Dave Frisch, and Chris Stevenson represented NOVA and contributed to VMST’s National Championship title in the club category.  Some highlights:

  • Claire Russo had 5 lifetime bests in her events, and got to meet Cullen Jones and Nick Brunelli.  See facebook for the photos of her towering over these guys.
  • Billy Gaines had a lifetime best in the 200 free (1:42.74), finishing second for men 25-29, and was overheard bragging to Rowdy on the pool deck that he had been the fastest Gaines at the meet.
  • Kate Hibbard won a national title in her first swim ever at USMS Nationals (200 back, 2:07.06) and set 5 LMSC records (in 5 events).  When asked if she had enjoyed her first Masters Nationals, she responded, “Obvi !”
  • Lisa Bennett was under two previous national records, though she got touched out in heart-breaking fashion both times. She set 6 LMSC records (in 6 events). Not bad when you consider that, at 54, she is at the “top” of her age group. 
  • Dave Frisch set one LMSC record (50 back) and seemed to better all his entry times.
  • Chris Stevenson swam extremely well despite a cold and poor sleeping the first couple of nights.  He swept the top spot in the backstrokes, breaking the national records by the slimmest of margins in each (.03 in the 50 and 200 back, .12 in the 100).
  • Kutz-coached swimmers scored 198 points in individual events, almost one-third of VMST’s title-winning total (and that doesn’t count relays).

May, 2010, GroundForce IT Power Sprint Tri

Michelle Kitt dropped 8 minutes off her personal best to finish in 1:18:30.  She reports that most of her improvement was on the bike and run.  She ran her first 5K under 30 minutes and placed 15th in her age group.  Says Michelle:  “My hate/hate relationship with running is slowly turning to like/dislike.” 

Old Point Tidewater Triathlon, Buckroe Beach, VA, June 12, 2010. 

Betsy Turner, Jocelyn Adelman, and Dave Holland competed in the International event (1500 meter swim, 20-mile bike, 10K run).  It was Dave’s first foray into triathlons, as Jocelyn talked him into the nonsense with only a week to prepare.  He was the first one out of the water and thoroughly enjoyed the bike portion for the first 90 seconds or so.  For the next hour and twenty minutes, he heard a non-stop mantra of three words from fellow cyclists: “on your left”.  Actually, it wasn’t until Jocelyn came by in the transition area that he heard an entire sentence:  “Dave, I need the glide stick!” Complete results are online somewhere.  Suffice it to say that Betsy and Jocelyn crushed it, and Dave is still recovering three months later.

June 27, 2010, Jack King One Mile Ocean Swim, Virginia Beach, VA. 

Allison Czapracki and Elizabeth Cohen both made the trip and broke 30 minutes in the 27th edition of this classic beach swim.  On the male side, George Sushkoff and Todd Bassett were both age group winners.  George won the 40-44 division in 22:46, and Todd prevailed in the 45-49 group with a 22:24.  Way to represent!!

July 10, 2010, USMS 2-Mile Cable Open Water National Championship, Chris Greene Lake, Charlottesville, VA. 

NOVA had a terrific turnout as usual for the annual cable swim.  Betsy Turner, Claire Russo, Allison Czapracki, Michelle Kitt, Lisa Bennett, Heather Stevenson, Quad Bush, Chris Stevenson, Chris Torney, and Dave Frisch were there to compete with the best of the best.  Every one went the full distance in the warm water, and many drove home with a large medal hanging proudly from the rear-view mirror.  Pictures, records, and full results can be found at

August 21-22, 2010, Colonies Zone Long Course Championship, College Park, MD

Chris Stevenson loaded up his van with a throng of youngsters (Betsy, Claire, Kate, and Billy), they hauled butt up to College Park, and proceeded to kick some butt.  Each one in the NOVA contingent managed a win.  Betsy won the 400 free, 200 fly, and 400 IM.  Claire touched first in the 100 fly (really?), while Kate prevailed in the 100 back and 200 IM.  Katie Webb must be back in the water, as she won the 50 back and 50 breast, and Chris didn’t disappoint, winning the 200 free and 50-100-200 backstrokes.  From all reports, though, Billy’s 200 free was the highlight.  He went out fast enough to do a lifetime best in his 100 (55.48 at the feet) before deciding to rip a page from the Maura playbook… He finished in a respectable 1:59.83.  You do the math.  Billy won’t.  You’ve got to respect a guy who packs his swim bag with sentimental keepsakes from meets past, but maybe it’s time to make space for a calculator in there.  Regardless, the guy knows how to go for it, and he came home with seven gold medals in the 25-29 age group:   50-100-200-400 free, 50 back, 100 fly, and 200 fly.  His 54.86 in the 100 free was a new LMSC record!


Check out the LMSC calendar:

Our very own Chris Stevenson does a very nice job of keeping that website updated.  Please email him if you know of other upcoming events that should be added!



When did you join NOVA Masters and how often do you swim?

I joined NOVA when I first moved to Richmond, back in 2004.   At first, it was a small group and not as organized as it is now so I ventured to ACAC for a couple years and have probably been back at NOVA for almost 3 years now. How often do I swim? Not much. Normally the most number of practices I can make is 2 but then I will try to swim on my own at least 2 other times. 



What is your background as a swimmer and athlete?

I've basically been a swimmer my whole life.  I started competitive swimming when I was about 6, and other than 1 year of little league baseball, never did anything else. I grew up swimming in Austin, Texas, with some of the best coaches in the world which is really how I eventually ended up at Auburn.  Both Eddie Reese and Richard Quick, who were both at Texas when I was there, thought it would be a good fit for me since they had both coached there as well. That's a nice way of saying they didn't think I was good enough to swim at UT. I've been in Masters since the late 1990's and I've done about a dozen or so triathlons as well.  I’ve also swum the Maui Channel relay as  a Master's Swimmer about 5 times. That is a trip that being a Masters Swimmer is all about.

What motivates you to wake up and swim at 5:45am?

Look at me. I'm pretty fat compared to my college days and would love to try to lose weight, but really I love the social aspect of swimming. Like this morning when I suggested to Billy that we do a certain distance on a set and after the second one I came into the wall and said, "What the F was I thinking?" He said he was laughing through the whole next swim.



Outside of the pool, who are you?   

Same old wise ass as in the pool, but I'm also a full time Dad and love to spend time with my boys. Yes they have the tendency to make me raise my voice on occasion, like every 5 minutes, but there is nothing like these young years when every time I come home from work they all jump up and down so excited to see me.


Some people might be surprised to know that:

I love to cook and try new recipes. I'm actually well known for my pasta sauce (which has a secret ingredient no one has gotten right yet!), chicken tortilla soup, fajitas, fish, etc. A couple months ago I made a Creole dish that my wife said she would never have thought of making, and the neighbors all loved it.


Favorite Kutzism: 


I don’t care who you are- that’s funny.



May 10, 2010
April 23-25, 2010, Colonies Zone Champs (SCY) at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.
Claire Russo, Betsy Turner, Kate Hibbard, Lisa Bennett, Billy Gaines, and Dave Holland competed and contributed to VMST’s team championship in the “large team” category. David Frisch had a busy weekend, helping the Quest Masters to a second place showing in the “small team” category. Special congratulations go to Kate for establishing five new LMSC records in the 25-29 category, to Lisa Bennett, who won six events (3 new zone records), and to the 25+ relay team (75% in NOVA colors) that set a new LMSC record:
Kate Hibbard, Claire Russo, Adam Barley, Billy Gaines (25+) Mixed 400 Medley Relay, 1st, 3:56.65, LMSC record
Kate Hibbard (25-29)
50 back, 1st, 28.60, LMSC record
100 back, 1st, 1:00.13, LMSC record
200 back, 1st, 2:08.48, LMSC record
100 IM, 1st, 1:02.21, LMSC record
200 IM, 1st, 2:12.34, LMSC and Zone record
Lisa Bennett (50-54)
50 free, 1st, 26.89, Zone record
100 free, 1st, 59.89
200 free, 1st, 2:12.06
500 free, 1st, 5:55.54
50 breast, 1st, 34.09, Zone record
100 breast, 1st, 1:13.46, Zone record
In addition, in the highly competitive 25-29 division, NOVA had three athletes competing: Claire Russo finished in the top 8 in six events, including a third in the 100 breast (1:14.58); Betsy Turner won two of the toughest events to be found in competitive swimming: the 200 fly (2:35.27) and 400 IM (5:25.31); and Billy Gaines swam unshaved and uncorked great times in seven events, including a win in the 500 free (4:52.42) and runner-up finishes in both the 100 and 200 free (48.64 and 1:45.99). 
Dave Holland (40-44) swam one day and finished third in the 100 breast (1:12.70) and 8th in the 100 IM (1:03.29). David Frisch (60-64), a true sprinter who considers the 100 a distance event, finished second in four events: the 50 free (26.54), 50 back (31.92), 50 breast (32.93), and 100 breast (1:14.80). David came up a fingernail short in some close races all weekend, but did prevail in the 100 IM, winning in 1:06.40.
Open water season is upon us! If you’ve never participated in an open water swim, you might enjoy the challenge. Let’s face it, if you can survive swimming 4000 yards on a crowded, choppy day at NOVA, isn’t it time to escape the (dis)comfort of lane lines and black lines and go pillaging for some new treasures out on the high seas?
May 29, 2010, USMS 1-Mile Open Water National Championship, Lake Norman, Charlotte NC. Entry is here:
May 30, 2010, Jim McDonnell Lake Swims (1 and 2 Miles), Lake Audobon, Reston, VA. Entry is here:
June 27, 2010, Jack King One Mile Ocean Swim, Virginia Beach, VA. Paper entry can be downloaded here:
July 10, 2010, USMS 2-Mile Cable National Championship, Chris Greene Lake, Charlottesville, VA. Entry and info is here:
For a complete calendar, visit
Jocelyn joined our group two years ago. She is a violinist in the Richmond Symphony and recently completed her doctorate at Catholic University. In this spotlight, “Doctor Jocie” gives Mark a big compliment and tells us a little about her life outside of lane nine. Jocelyn set a new standard with her response to “people might be surprised to know that…” and her scandalous list had to be pruned down to two items.
When did you join NOVA Masters and how often do you swim?
I think I remember joining Masters in the fall of 08. I swim usually 3-4 times a week. There has sporadically been a week, here and there, of being MIA.

What is your background as a swimmer and athlete? 
My dad was a competitive swimmer and claims to have had me in the water swimming butterfly at age 2. I joined a summer league, Donaldson Run in Arlington, Virginia, when I was seven and continued to only compete in the summers until I was 16. It was then that I left for Interlochen Arts Academy in northern MI, where there is no sports whatsoever, for high school my junior and senior years. I picked up running there and dropped swimming all together until college, where the pool was directly across from the music school. Very convenient.  I then started swimming on my own, however, nothing like what we do at NOVA. I began doing running races and triathlons in grad school (the first was the Rock n Roll tri in Cleveland, OH where we swam in Lake Erie...very eerie, indeed). I found a Masters team during grad school in Cleveland, as well. Other than doing triathlons and the Chesapeake Bay swim 4 years in a row, I hadn't competed in a swim meet until last year's NOVA meet.

What motivates you to wake up and swim at 5:45am?
Mark. I'm a big fan...maybe the biggest.

Outside of the pool, who are you?   
A concert violinist and violin teacher. Specifically, a member of the Richmond Symphony and, finally, a Doctor of Musical Arts (just got my DMA from Catholic U. in DC).  I love teaching and am proud of my students, including a few who swim here at NOVA.
Some people might be surprised to know that:
·          In high school I was a grungy granola-type and had boy-short hair that my roommate dyed pink and red.
·          At a party I was playing at a few years ago, Alan Greenspan came up to me and requested to hear a movment of Vivaldi's Four Season. I didn't get a good glimpse of who he really was and told him no because I had just played it.
Favorite Kutzism: 
"To whom much rest is given, much is expected." Ironically, as the straggler of Lane 9, I get the least amount of rest.
MARCH 2010
March 5-7, 2010 , Virginia Senior Champs ( SCY ) in Charlottesville What drives someone in our group to go to this highly competitive age group meet and face off against teenagers who are one-third of his age? In the case of Chris Stevenson, he’s actually outgrown the mid-life crisis. Maybe he’s just a kid at heart who loves the multiple sessions of competition, camaraderie, coaching, and chloramines. Luckily Mark was on hand wearing many hats: “that old guy’s coach”, “the pace man”, and perhaps most importantly this year, “the pool guy” who rescued the meet from noxious fumes. Despite some bad air, Chris scored some valuable points for the NOVA machine, helping the team win its 11th straight overall title. On the master’s front, he also established 3 new national USMS records, and 5 new LMSC standards in the men’s 45-49 age group. Increase your font size, don some reading glasses, and let’s look at the numbers:
200 freestyle- 16th in prelims- 1:45.92-new LMSC record
100 butterfly- 7th in finals- 51.70 (51.36 in prelims- new LMSC & USMS record)
200 butterfly- 14th in prelims- 1:57.08- new LMSC record
100 backstroke- 8th in finals- 52.06 (51.74 in prelims- new LMSC & USMS record)
400 medley relay- 3rd in finals (100 backstroke- 52.75 leadoff)
200 backstroke- 10th in prelims- 1:55.05 new LMSC & USMS record
Full Results from Senior Champs are here:

March 14, 2010 , 2nd Annual Dreaming of Spring ( SCY ) in Warrenton , Va .  Charlie Tupitza and his team up in Warrenton played host to the second annual “dreaming of spring” classic in their beautiful 11-lane, 25 yard pool on the Eve of the Ides. Dave Holland convinced Andrea Randle to take a day off from running and they made the trip up north on a rainy Sunday morning. Andrea competed in the 45-59 age group, finishing first in the 50 free (29.56) and 200 free (2:27.68), and second in the 100 fly (1:14.70). Dave swam in the 40-44 age group, taking first in the 100 (1:00.11) and 200 butterfly (2:13.81). Full Results from Warrenton are here:

March 20, 2010 , Albatross Open ( SCM ) in North Bethesda , Md.   The NOVA caravan left Richmond around 11am for the annual Albatross Open, negotiated the traffic around D.C., and settled in for a long afternoon filled with records, relays, and risible ridicule. Chris Stevenson, Dave Holland, Kate Hibbard, Claire Russo, and Li sa Bennett combined for 10 individual and 3 relay wins on the day, assaulting the short-course meter record books in the process. Chris won the 100 fly, and was second in the 100 IM (1:02.18, new LMSC record) and 200 IM (2:15.74, new LMSC record). Dave took first in the 200 fly, second in the 100 fly, and third in the 100 IM. 
Kate and Claire, each competing in the 25-29 age groups, were phenomenal.   Claire swept the top spot in the 50-100-200 breaststrokes (38.31, 1:22.93, and 2:58.53), and added a runner-up finish in the 200 free (2:25.50). Kate swam like a collegian, winning the 100 back (1:07.86), 200 back (2:25.05), and 200 IM (2:28.82), setting new LMSC records in each. She and Claire work ed their congeniality and charm and recruited two young guys off the deck to join them for a relay, thereby allowing Kate to add the 50 back LMSC record (31.77) while leading off the VMST 200 medley relay. Claire blazed through her breaststroke leg in a sparkling 37.23 split, helping the team achieve a new LMSC record in the 100-119 200 mixed medley (2:02.65).  Li sa Bennett, who comes over to NOVA and swims with Mark on occasion ( Li sa and Mark are the same age and swam on the same AAU team in New Jersey back when lane lines were ropes and goggles were for the ski slope, but that’s another story…), was resplendent as usual, winning the 50 breast and 100 free in the 50-54 division. 
Li sa joined forces with Dave, Chris, and Shirley Loftus-Charley to win the 200 (2:05.35) and 400 (4:35.02) mixed medley relays in the 200-239 age group. The latter relay established a new USMS and World record! The spry 202-year-old foursome can be seen posing poolside here:
Full results are here:

April 10, 2010 , Sunfish Masters Spring Splas ( SCY ) at the Freedom Center in Manassas , Virginia Paper entries are here: SWIM %2010%20April%202010.pdf
April 23-25, 2010, Colonies Zone Champs ( SCY ) will be at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.  Entry is online:
May 1, 2010, Jim Montgomery Adult Swim Clinic , St. Catherine’s in Richmond . Olympic Gold Medalist Jim Montgomery is coming to town to lead two clinics for adults! The details and the entry can be found here:
For a complete calendar, visit

Claire joined our group last November and has been plugging away quietly ever since, progressing from lane 9 to 8, and sometimes 7. Claire work s at the Nature Center at Maymont, where she gets to observe the aquatic skills of turtles and otters on a daily basis. About the accompanying photo, Claire reports: “ That water is the cooold Maine ocean on New Year ' s day, I did not swim in it, just put my hands in, and that was enough!!”

When did you join NOVA Masters and how often do you swim?
I joined NOVA Masters in the middle of November 2009. I swim 3 days a week, sometimes 4, depending on how tired I am.

What is your background as a swimmer and athlete?     
As long as I can remember I ' ve always been in or around water: pools, lakes, ponds, the ocean. I started swimming in water babies and swim lessons at my local YMCA in Athol , MA where I grew up. My Dad tried to get me to join the swim team when I was 6, but after watching one practice I said "No it looks too hard" and decided to stick to swimming lessons for several more years. I finally came around from the dark side in middle school and swam in a summer league. I really started swimming my freshman year of high school for our YMCA team. I ' ve never looked back.
I swam in college at the University of New England , in Biddeford , ME. My first 3 years we were a club team and did a lot of work to finally earn varisty status for my senior year. After college I took 5-6 months off from swimming and then joined USMS and started competing in Masters meets in 2006. Since then I ' ve trained by myself in Maine and North Carolina and competed in several meets a year. It was great to find NOVA where I can train with a coach and a team! :-)
Aside from swimming, when I was really little I also tried gymnastics and indoor soccer, which also didn ' t work out: I was scared of the balance beam, and wasn ' t aggressive enough for soccer. I ran track in high school, and was never very good at that. I ' ve run off and on since college, doing a few 5Ks. I ' ve also done several mini/sprint triathlons.
What motivates you to wake up and swim at 5:45am ?
I really just love to swim. Seeing everyone else and their bright smiling faces! :-) Being able to push myself to do things I didn ' t think I could do, or do them better than I thought possible. I like the feeling of accomplishment at the end of a practice, stress relief, and endorphins.

Outside of the pool, who are you?   
Being relatively new to Richmond , I ' m enjoying getting to know the city and the surrounding area. I work at the Maymont Nature Center , so I enjoy nature and spend as much time outside as possible. I like traveling: especially camping and road trips. The ocean is one of my favorite places to be: I really wish Richmond had an ocean, but alas, no such luck.

Some people might be surprised to know that:
I went to the MA State Geography Bee twice in elementary school. I ' ve gone skydiving, been to both Alaska and Hawai ' i , driven the entire  Blue Ridge Parkway , been to all the North Carolina lighthouses, and I like to cook a lot and am always looking for new receipes to try.
Favorite Kutzism: 
Finish like a champ, not a chump.


February 17, 2010
Feb 13-14, 2010. The annual David Gregg III Memorial Meet at NOVA was attended very well by the NOVA group. There were many highlights. Here’s a list of the top ten, in quasi- particular order:

10. Maura’s 200 fly. Oh, how reckless the youth can be these days! She was out in 1:03 at the halfway point, and we watched with smiles and cringes. The current 25-29 LMSC record holder (Diane Caycee, 2:14.8 from 1984) was on hand to observe history in the making, and then, wait, a collective “oh, poor Maura” as Diane’s jinx took over. In Maura’s own words: “I felt like someone had grabbed my arms and was holding them against my body.” She finished in 2:17 but was laughing about it later, which means she learned her lesson and perhaps next time that record will belong to the perky compliance gal who was splashing around the baby pool back in 1984.

9. Nine of our people swam the 500 free, but only two of them managed to tie for first. Betsy Turner and Claire Russo both finished in 5:59.12 to share the podium for the 25-29 women.

8. Allison Czapracki doing best times in all her events (100 free, 500 free, 100 back, 50-100-200 breast). Unrelenting hard work pays off. That could be a Kutzism…

7. Claire Russo earning career best times in the 50-100-200 breast (34.3, 1:14.9, 2:41.1). Who says you can’t get faster after college?

6. Chris Stevenson’s national record in the 200 back (1:56.05), swimming unshaved. Now that Chris has aged up to 45, the record books are in serious trouble.

5. Five. That’s the number of events that Bud Swiger swam on Saturday within the space of two and a half hours (200 fly- 1000 free-1650 free-400 IM- 500 free). No, he doesn’t swim for NOVA, but Mark was watching, so look for this set in a future workout.

4. Billy’s 100 and 200 free were impressive (49.1 and 1:47.2). He was just trying to impress Kim, who maintains some sort of informal “stud muffin” list. Billy was at # 3 before the meet and as far as we know, he remains there. The inside scoop is that Billy might have to shave his chest and/or break a record if he wants the #2 spot.

3. Betsy and Jocelyn’s 100 free. They were both 1:03’s, which means the one minute barrier is within striking distance if they just started doing doubles.

2. John Bullard opting to try a meet… for the first time. He’s 50 but looks 10 years younger. Swimming can do that. Good meet, John!

1. What else… Quad’s 100 free. He has a real name, by the way: it’s Ed Bush. He also now has his own video on youtube. The third try was the charm as Quadman broke through the one minute barrier and kept going, recording a 58.41. The video is here:
February 27, 2010, Frank Clark Masters Open (SCY) in Greensboro, NC. Entry is here:
March 6-7, 2010 , 33rd Annual Maryland Masters UMBC Meet (SCY), Catonsville, Md. Entry is online:
March 14, 2010, 2nd Annual Dreaming of Spring (SCY) in Warrenton, Va. Entry is online:
March 20, 2010 , Albatross Open (SCM) in North Bethesda, Md. Entry is online here:
April 23-25, 2010 , Colonies Zone Champs (SCY) will be at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Entry is online:
Please visit the new VMST website ( for the full list of upcoming meets.
Mike is one of the original members of our group. His two sons grew up in the NOVA program and both compete at UVA on the varsity team (Garrett is a senior and David is a sophomore). They were recently highlighted in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Feb. 11, 2010) in the “Around Campus” section of the sports page. Now it’s their father’s turn, as Mike was chosen as this month’s Master’s Spotlight, the most esteemed accolade known to the senior grays!!
When did you join NOVA Masters and how often do you swim?
I joined NOVA Masters 3 or 4 years ago. I had been swimming in lane 10 during NOVAFit when Mark put the sales pitch on me to try the group and I wasn't too old to still compete.  My goal is to swim at least 3 days per week depending on my work & travel schedules.

What is your background as a swimmer and athlete?     
It's all genetics. My dad swam and ran track at Michigan State 1938 to 1947. World War II interrupted his college years. I started competitive swimming at age 8 at Ridge Top pool and was followed by my sister Linda along with brothers Andy & Matt. Linda stopped at age 15 because she thought boys were more interesting. Andy, Matt, and I continued swimming at Dolphin Club and eventually at Briar Wood which is now ACAC. From there, I went on the the University of Richmond as a scholarship athlete. Andy and Matt went on to UVA as scholarship athletes.

What motivates you to wake up and swim at 5:45am?
Quad (Ed Bush), Dave Fellowes, and the whole group.  It takes a dedicated individual to train this way and we have a great group of swimmers at NOVA Masters. The overall health benefits and weight control are also motivating factors. Being a "baby boomer" I am fighting the aging process all the way, every day.
Outside of the pool, who are you?   
I am the Regional Marketing Manager for a medium size P&C insurance company. My travels take me to West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and sometimes Ohio. I married my college sweetheart, Ann. We have 2 children in college with 1 about to graduate in May 2010.
Some people might be surprised to know that:
That Mark Kutz and I swam against each other while in college. I don't recall ever losing a freestyle event to him.
Favorite Kutzism: 
To whom much rest is given, much is expected.
December 31, 2009
Dec. 13 , 2009 : Last Chance SCM Meet, Wilson Aquatic Center , Washington , D.C.   Michelle Kitt attended this meet at a new pool in northwest D.C., winning 3 events (50 free, 100 free, 50 back) in the 35-39 age group.  Michelle reports that she dropped times from last February, and now she is less than 10 seconds away from Dara Torres’ national record in the 50 free.  Bring it on, Dara!  Pit the two of them against each other on “The Weakest Li nk” and my money is on Michelle.  Results are here:
Dec. 11-13, 2009 New England Masters SCM Championship, Boston Chris Stevenson made the trip and got his money’s worth, setting 3 new World Records (50-100-200 back).  Swimming World carried the meet recap here:
A few days later, Chris appeared on The Morning Swim Show.  That video can be seen here:
USMS 2009 Top Ten LCM
Each year, U.S. Masters Swimming publishes a list of the Top Ten times that have been swum in every event for each of the three pool courses.  The list includes relays.  As 2009 comes to a close, the top 10 times for long course (LCM) has been posted.  NOVA was fortunate to have two athletes make the list:  Dave Holland and Chris Stevenson.  Dave was 4th in the 200 fly and 8th in the 100 fly.  Chris finished tops in the nation in the 50-100-200 back and 100 fly, earning him the “All-American” designation.  He was also third in the 200 free and 400 free.
Jan. 31, 2010 :  Tropical Splash ( SCY ) in Alexandria .  Entry is here:
Feb. 13-14, 2010 , VMST Winter Meet ( SCY ) at NOVA .  Our meet in our home pool.  Look for the entry in next month’s Wet Gazette newsletter. 
March 20, 2010 , Albatross Open ( SCM ) in North Bethesda , Md.   Entry will be online here:
April 23-25, 2010 , Colonies Zone Champs ( SCY ) will be at GeorgeMasonUniversity in Fairfax , Virginia .  Visit the Patriot Masters website for the entry:
Tomas is a recent addition to our group.  He attended Washington & LeeUniversity , where he competed on the swimming and water polo teams.  He work s at DuPont.  We subjected him to the usual barrage of questions:
When did you join NOVA Masters? 
I joined NOVA Masters in September of 2009. It is a nice group of people
and the pool is fantastic. Mark Kutz does a great job coaching. I have
enjoyed myself over the last four months swimming three or four times a
week for about 60 minutes each practice.

What is your background as a swimmer and athlete?    
I retired from swimming in 1991 after a long career. Alas, my success
as a youth did not translate into fame as a college swimmer. After around
15 years of year-round swimming in the
Shenandoah Valley it was nice
to hang up the goggles.

I picked up water polo in college and enjoyed myself immensely playing
at Washington and LeeUniversity
. I also used to play pick-up basketball
and intramural soccer as well as jog.

Why did I un-retire? Many people who retired and then successfully
came back to achieve excellence inspired me to return to the water. Some of
my role models were Michael Jordan, Silvio Berlusconi, Rocky Balboa, Rambo,
Marion Berry, Britney Spears,
Li ndsey Lo ... (wait, I am getting carried away!).
In addition, my doctor told me the water would be better for my creaky
back than land sports.

I hope to keep swimming for a long time. If I can get into decent shape
maybe 2010 will see me compete in races again. My goal is to get lifetime
best times for my age group.

What motivates you to wake up and swim at
5:45am ?
When I exercise, I can eat more food without gaining weight.

Outside of the pool, who are you?   
I am the same person as in the pool! I enjoy spending time with my wife and
young daughter when I am not busy with my Marketing job.
Favorite Kutzism: 
Don ' t fear swimming butterfly!


November 24, 2009

Sept 12, 2009:  19th Annual Big Shoulders 5K in Chicago.  Bill Winters finished 10th overall in his age group (40-44) in 1:09:08.  The event was a national championship this year.  Congrats to Bill on his top ten national finish!  Pictures and full results can be found at:
Oct. 25, 2009:  Sprint Classic at GMU.  Katie Webb and Kim Krongaard attended and represented us with high distinction.  Competing in the 30-34 age group, Katie finished 4th in the 50 free (29.01), third in the 100 free (1:04.79), and 4th in the 100 IM (1:15.23).  Kim went 4-for-4 with no DQ’s !!  She dominated the 40-44 age group with wins in the 100 free (1:10.23), 50 breast (37.67), 100 breast (1:24.15), and 100 IM (1:19.44).  Results are here:
Nov. 8, 2009:  VMST Fall Classic in Virginia Beach.  Lucy Carrig, Chris Stevenson, and Dave Holland trekked down to the Bayside Y for the annual SCM meet.  Chris broke his own World Record in the 200 back, and also set two WRs in relays.  FINA decided this past October to start keeping WRs in the 400 and 800 relays.  Chris, Dave, and Lucy joined with Kitten Braaten to set a WR in a 400 mixed medley relay (160-199), and Chris and Dave joined with Charlie Cockrell and Michael Picotte to set one in the men’s 800 free relay (160-199).  Results are here:
Dec. 13 , 2009: Last Chance SCM Meet, Wilson Aquatic Center, Washington, D.C.  This event is taking place in the brand new Wilson HS Aquatic Facility, completed in August.  Entry is online:
Jan. 31, 2010:  Tropical Splash (SCY) in Alexandria.  Entry is here:
Feb. 13-14, 2010, VMST David Gregg III Memorial Meet (SCY) at NOVA.  Our meet in our home pool.  Look for the entry in the January newsletter.  This is the year that Quad goes under a minute !!
March 20, 2010, Albatross Open (SCM) in North Bethesda, Md.  Entry will be online in early 2010.
April 23-25, 2010, Colonies Zone Champs (SCY) will be at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.  Visit the Patriot Masters website for the entry:
MASTER’S SPOTLIGHT- BILLY GAINES is a 28-year old graduate of Carnegie Mellon, where he competed as a distance swimmer.  He went to law school at University of Richmond and worked at a law firm in Chicago before launching his own business.  He is the co-owner of
When did you join NOVA Masters?  I began mentally swimming with the group once I knew I was moving to the area and found the program sometime over the summer of '09. I physically showed up and started swimming mid-September 2009 
What is your background as a swimmer and athlete?   I have always been drawn to the water and been comfortable in it and on it. However, I did not first swim competitively until fifth grade – if you count a one-month long middle school season as swimming competitively. (Hint: it’s not; it’s getting wet for a month.) 
Things shifted after my eighth grade year because a new coach came and resurrected a year-round club program. During that summer, I also played AAU basketball, but for my freshman year of high school, I had to make a decision between swimming and basketball because they had conflicting seasons. It was a tough choice, and had the new coach not come and started a year-round program, I probably would have chosen basketball. Any guesses which one I chose? 
I then had another tough choice for college. I wanted a school with a strong engineering program, which severely limited choices because many strong engineering schools do not have strong swimming programs. I ended up swimming for Carnegie Mellon University. (I guess I didn't choose basketball, eh?) Unfortunately, this year, the new suits these days allowed a group of four less talented individuals to take down the one remaining record I had (the 800 free relay), but as much as I peed in that pool, I feel like a part of me has got to still be living on in the CMU pool. 
I continued swimming off and on since college, but work, among other things, has made it difficult to keep up a regular training schedule. Whenever I started to feel like I was getting back in shape, work would get overwhelming, thereby forcing me to take a break again. The plan is to now get back into a more regular rhythm and train for some lifetime bests. 

What motivates you to wake up and swim at 5:45am:   I guess I have a dependency on pool chemicals, or maybe it’s only because that’s the only time the group swims. I miss swimming. I miss pushing myself in the water to do things I never thought were possible. I miss the pain. Who wouldn’t get up at 5:00 in the morning to get in the cold water by 5:45 for that? 

Outside of the pool, who are you?   My personality outside the pool probably reflects my personality in the pool – it’s just a little easier to talk when my face isn’t in the water. I’m an entrepreneur and creative person who likes to be different. Tell me it can’t be done, and I’ll find a way to prove you wrong. (And if I can’t, well . . . you’re wrong, ok?) I have a B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering and a law degree. I practiced law with a large firm in Chicago for two and a half years, focusing my practice on intellectual property. But while the law firm paid extremely well, it prevented me from being myself. I quit practicing law at the end of 2008, have refused to put a straight razor to my face since then (at least for the time being), and am now focusing on what I want to be doing, not what a bunch of partners in a large law firm want me to be doing. I think I may have also forgotten to cut my hair since then, too. 
Favorite Kutzism:  There are so many to choose from here. There are the obvious ones, but two of my favorites are probably a little less obvious: (1) “When you hold back a little, you're preventing progress”; and (2) "If you’re not going hard, you’re wasting this set.”

August  2009

Shelley Lantz had surgery last week at St. Mary’s to correct scoliosis.  She is at home now and her mother (Cynthia) reports that she is doing well, up and walking around.  She will be out of the water for about 6 months.  I have a card that I’ll bring to practice tomorrow morning for us to sign and send.  If you would like to send a personal card, the Lantzes are at 9512 Pine Shadow Dr., Richmond, VA23238.
June 28:  I Love The Tavern Triathlon, in Richmond Kim Krongaard won the aquabike division for women, and Leigh Robbins was 6th in her age group for the tri.
July 11:  ChrisGreeneLakeSwim, Charlottesville.  Six members of our team (Chris Stevenson, Heather Stevenson, Betsy Turner, David Fellowes, Ed Bush, Michelle Kitt), our coach Mark Kutz, and NOVA business manager Scott Campbell competed at the annual Chris Green e Lake cable swim. For Mark, it was his first time back to CGL since 1983. In the 1-mile race, Dave Fellowes won his age group (45-49), Heather Stevenson was second (45-49), and Michelle Kitt was third (30-34).  In the 2-mile race, Betsy Turner finished second among women 25-29, Quad was fifth (35-39), Chris was first (40-44), Scott was sixth (45-49), and Mark was second (50-54). Congrats to Chris for breaking his own national record (41:03.05) and for finishing second overall (NOVA’s own Abby Nunn won the event in 40:39.67).  Full results and the press release are here:
Dave Fellowes took photos and a few can be seen here:
If anyone has some more, please send them my way!
Aug. 6-9:  U.S.Masters LC Championships, IndianapolisDave Holland and Chris Stevenson made the long drive to the Midwest together (12 hours in a Honda Civic, and still friends J ).  Dave defected from VMST for this meet to compete with a group of IndianaUniversity alumni (Doc IU Masters).  He finished 2nd in the 200 fly (2:21.38), 3rd in the 100 fly (1:02.26), and208th in the 50 fly (28.02).  The highlight for him was swimming on the 1st place 400 medley relay (160-199 age group) with former Sullivan Award winner and marathoner John Kinsella
Chris had a phenomenal 200 backstroke, going 2:12 in his first event and obliterating the world record (45-49) by 6 seconds.  Unfortunately, he was disqualified for going past 15 meters on the start.  He handled the news much better than the rest of us, claiming it was “easy come, easy go”.  Chris rebounded to win the 100 back (1:00.55) and 100 fly (59.10), and also finished 2nd in the 200 free (2:01.76), and 3rd in the 400 free (4:21.26).  All four of his times were new LMSC records for men 45-49.
Sept. 12, 2009, Chicago:  19th annual Big Shoulders 5K Swim.  This year the event is also a U.S. Masters 3-6 mile National Championship.  Bill Winters has competed several times and will return this year.  Enter now if you’re interested as the cap is fast approaching:
Sept. 26-27, 2009 SmithMountainLake swims (5K on Saturday, 1 mile on Sunday).  Info and entry form is here:
Sept. 26, 2009:  DCAC Fall Swim Ball in Washington, D.C.  An old tradition returns to a brand new pool.  Info:

October 25, 2009:  Sprint Classic at George Mason.  This meet has Rob B. written all over it.  The 25 breaststroke is on!  Entry details later.
Nov. 7, 2009:  29th annual VMST Fall meet in Virginia Beach (SCM).  Entry will be online this year and available soon at:
If you’ve already received your May issue of the magazine, you might have noticed that the cover photo shows a cartilaginous creature emitting bubbles in a familiar setting.  Yes, it’s none other than Chris Stevenson! Although we get the opportunity to observe his underwater proficiency on a regular basis, it is nice to see him in focus for once. In addition, the feature article is written by our very own Mark Kutz. Congratulations to both Chris and Mark for some well-deserved recognition.
Daniel Owens, Betsy Turner, and all the young college kids who try to keep up with us.
On May 3, Allison Czapracki competed in the Nanticoke River 3-mile swim and sprint triathlon” in Bivalve, MD. She finished 6th in her age group in 1:38:42. Results can be found here: and more info about open water can be found on Allison’s blog:
Allison Czapracki, Kim Krongaard, and Dave Holland traveled up the road to George Mason University for the annual Colonies Zones Championships April 24-26. Kim had the best cheering squad as her parents were in the stands. They didn’t seem to notice when she false started in her 200 breaststroke. Unfortunately, both officials on deck did. You should have seen Kim’s expression when the Referee broke the news to her with a polite “ma’am”. Full results can be found here:
Last week, our underwater superhero, Christopher Stevenson, represented us quite well at the U.S. Masters National Championship (SCY), held in Fresno, California. Swimming at the “top” end of the 40-44 age group, Chris put up quite a showing against the younger forty-somethings. Of the 1,582 participants in the meet, Chris was one of a handful to win multiple events. His individual results were as follows:
200 free:   2nd, 1:45.55, 100 back: 1st, 50.97, 200 back: 1st, 1:51.10 (LMSC record), 100 fly: 1st, 50.81 (LMSC record), 500 free: 3rd, 4:42.67 (LMSC record), 200 fly: 2nd, 1:54.85 (LMSC record).
Another noteworthy performance that must be mentioned here was the 100 breaststroke turned in by Richmonder and LMSC Registrar Lisa Bennett, who set a NATIONAL record in the women’s 50-54 100 breast (1:12.85). As an aside, Lisa grew up swimming in New Jersey on an AAU team with Mark Kutz. Congrats, Lisa!
Full results from the meet are here:
Sunday, May 24: Jim McDonnell Lake Swims and Open Water Clinic in Reston, VA:
Friday-Sat,May 29-30: NC Open Water Championships, Seven Lakes, NC:
Saturday, May 30: Potomac River 7.5 Mile Swim:
Saturday, June 20: 14th Annual Plunge For Patients 1 Miler in Wildwood, NJ:
Sunday, June 21: Jack King One Mile Ocean Swim in Virginia Beach: (HOSTED BY VIRGINIA MASTERS)
Saturday, July 11: Chris Greene Lake 1 & 2 Mile Cable Swims in Charlottesville:   (HOSTED BY VIRGINIA MASTERS)
Saturday, July 11: 18th Annual Maryland Swim For Life (1,2,3,4, and 5 mile swims on the Chester River) in Chestertown, MD:
·         Swimming with NOVA Masters since:   I joined NOVA about 1.5yrs ago and have enjoyed it ever since. 
·         What is your background as a swimmer and athlete?   I started swimming in small summer programs when I was 10yrs old --- at the British Embassy and American base pool in Ankara, Turkey.   I swam another year when living in Iran.   Swimming then took a 30-year break when I moved to Elizabeth City NC (city without a pool at the time).   As for other sports, I was a distance runner with HS records and lots of 10k races plus more than a decade of volleyball and windsurfing competitions and golf.  Cycling has been added in the last two years. 
·         What motivates you to wake up and swim at 5:45am:   Let’s see… listening to Kim K chatter, coach Kutzisms and working my way into fast lane 8 one of these days…  It’s actually a great way to start off the day and the best way to stay in shape.  I even go out of my way to swim with other Masters programs when on business travel 70+ nights a year…  From outdoor competition pools in Phoenix and Ft. Lauderdale, open water swims with the Waikiki Swim Club to outstanding HS, collegiate and public pools throughout the US and Canada – and even George Mason University’s pool in Fairfax last week.   It’s great being able to swim on the road!
·         Outside of the pool, who are you?  Married to a wonderful wife (Lynn) with two great kids - Miranda(10) and David(9) who are NOVA swimmers too.  I’m also an area vice president of sales for an international telecommunications company --- selling high capacity data services to other telecommunications service providers like AT&T, Verizon, Google and Sprint.
·         People might be surprised to know that:   I dropped 65lbs over 18 months…  starting with lap-swimming at a local health club before NOVA Masters, cutting back on meal portions and cycling on weekends.  Getting back into shape last year (’08) allowed me to compete in my first swim meet in over 30 years and finish with respectable times in a 2-mile cable swim and an Olympic distance triathlon.
·         Favorite Kutzism:  “I don’t care WHO you are – this is FUN!”  Followed closely by “Age has its privileges.”
March 25, 2009
WHEREAS, on March 15, Kim Krongaard, Jocelyn Adelman, and Dave Holland attended the 1st Annual “Dreaming of Spring” Meet (SCY) hosted by Warrenton Masters; and
WHEREAS, the meet was the first masters’ competition held at their new 10-lane natatorium; and
WHEREAS, the mayor of Warrenton was on hand signing “Pool Record Proclamation” certificates for anyone winning an event; and
WHEREAS, the NOVA contingent collectively claimed ten first places;
THEREFORE; IN WITNESS WHEREOF, let it be herewith decreed that I don’t care who you are, it’s fun to get a parchment with gold seals and blue ribbons and whereas(ses) all over it.  Fu ll meet results can be found here:
Chris Stevenson is currently on “sabbatical” but obviously that term does not apply to his swimming.  The only one who has been to more swim meets this month is Mark.  Chris and Mark both attended Senior Champs at UVA a few weekends ago and showed the young kids the true meaning of a “senior” champ.  Mark was the paceman, and Chris was the raceman.  He qualified for finals in the 100 back (50.67 prelims), 200 back (1:52.93 prelims)20and 100 fly (50.85 prelims) and led off NOVA’s 400 medley relay that finished second.  NOVA won the team competition in convincing fashion.  Results:
Chris’s times in the 100 back, 200 back, 100 fly, and 200 free (1:44.37) were new LMSC records for the 40-44 age group in short course yards.
Chris was coerced into taking an obligatory weekend off but was back in the water at the annual Albatross Open (SCM) in North Bethesda, MD on March 22.  Because your age for meets in meter pools is your age as of Dec. 31, Chris competed in the 45-49 age bracket for the first time (he really doesn’t turn 45 until October).  Despite the premature aging, he found his way to the right pool, setting two new LMSC, USMS, and WORLD records in the 100 back (58.33) and 200 back (2:09.05).  Premature aging has its privileges!  CONGRATULATIONS, CHRIS !!  Results are here:
Fri-Sun, April 24-26:  “Colonies Zone SCY Championship” in Fairfax, VA:
Sun, May 3:  “Nanticoke River 3-mile swim and sprint triathlon” in Bivalve, MD:  (Allison Czapracki is going and welcomes others who want to carpool).
Saturday, May 16:  “First Annual Gator Swim Meet” in Roanoke, VA: 20Gator%20Swim%20Meet%202009.pdf


Kim has been a regular devotee of NOVA Masters since 2006.  We asked her to share some words about her athletic background, the path that brought her to NOVA Masters, and her life outside of lane 10:
I grew up being a part of a wonderful summer league swimming program in Northern Virginia, but stopped at the age of 11. Swimming came easily for my five siblings and me (especially breaststroke).  I just wished I had stayed with it. I ran cross country my senior year in high school and was a walk-on at Radford University.
I became involved in triathlons wh en I lived in San Clemente, CA- my husband Mike was an officer based at Camp Pendleton and I was based in LA as a=2 0flight attendant - plenty of down time to train and get my Masters of Education at Cal.State LB.  I swam with a masters’ program in San Onofre- an outside pool with a view of the Pacific Ocean! Oh, how I miss that! I was in lane 10 then, and I am still in lane 10!
            I competed in a few Body Building shows, judged purely on muscle development- none of that beauty stuff. Thank goodness Mark & Leigh pegged me as a “sprinter”-now I am learning to capitalize on that quality!
I returned to Northern Virginia to begin family life and start a business with the Golds Gym Family. We currently own three Golds Gyms in the Richmond area, and I teach a few classes in my spare time.  Once my three kids were in school, I started training with my husband for the sprint triathlons, and began training with the NOVA studs!  I comp eted in my first Masters Swim Meet last year and it keeps me training hard. I learn something new every time I swim with these dedicated athletes! I love to bug the coaches with my questions. Just like I tell my kids, “hard work DOES pay off, and being uncomfortable is part of the process. So stop complaining and make something happen!”   My biggest obstacle to date (besides the 200 test sets!) is teaching my three kids to follow the above advice!

~ news compiled by Dave Holland ([email protected])
February 20, 2009
The annual David Gregg III Memorial Meet at NOVA was another successful event hosted by VMST.  Some highlights from the two day adventure in our home pool:
  • Watching Lucy Carrig tear up the pool as her mom sat in the stands thinking “after all these years, here I am again.”
  • Quad’s (aka Mr. Ed Bush) annual brush with the one minute barrier in the 100 free. Will it happen before he hits 40 ?
  • Mark breaking his own LMSC record in the 200 fly without having to mount and dismount the blocks multiple times like last year.
  • Jocelyn’s pre-concert 500 free with Mark yelling “hurry up, you’re going to be late!”
  • George’s sprint performance in the 50 fly, i.e. sprinting to get to the blocks after walking in the door about 30 seconds earlier.
  • Amanda Kutz stopping mid-stroke in the 50 breast to gawk sideways at all 9 lanes of her competition. Who is her coach anyway?
  • Dan Doherty claiming his gold medal like a kid in a candy story.
  • Team Krongaard yelling “ GO MOM !”
  • Marie Kelleher setting national records in the 50 free and 50 breast at age 96. As our coach would say: Age has its privileges ! 
  • Dave and Chris swimming a 200 medley relay together (Chris-Dave-Chris-Dave) and the DQ judge raising his arm after saying “wait a second…”.
  • Mark as Elvis.   I don’t care WHO you are, this was fun.
The team photo can be found here:
Full results can be found here:
New LMSC records:
Men 50-54, 200 fly:& nbsp; 2:45.26 by Mark Kutz
Women 18-24, 50 fly: 27.60 by Lucy Carrig
If you didn’t get your Elvis t-shirt with the Kutzisms on the back, it’s not too late. I have 1 XL, 2 L, and 1 M remaining. They are $ 12.00, first come, first serve.
Sun, March 15: “1st Annual Dreaming of Spring” SCY meet in Warrenton, VA: a new meet in a beautiful new natatorium. The walls, water, and windows are immaculate… and so are the records ! Al l event winners will receive an official proclamation from the Warrenton mayor for owning a pool record. Info can be found here:
Sat, March 21: “Albatross Open” SCM meet in North Bethesda, MD:
Fri-Sun, April 24-26: “Colonies Zone SCY Championship” in Fairfax, VA:
Dan Doherty joined NOVA Masters in January 2009 and competed in his first-ever swim meet last weekend at NOVA.  He placed first in the men’s 18-24 50 breast (novice) and 100 breast.  Here is what Dan shared with us:

I am currently a junior at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia.  I am majoring in International Studies with an Asian Studies minor.  I am also in my second full year of Japanese language study.  Next fall, if all goes according to plan, I will spend the semester in Japan.  I was in Tokyo last January and greatly enjoyed the experience.  I play tennis for Randolph-Macon and enjoy every minute of it.  As for swimming, I swam when I was much younger, but never in real competition or in high school.  My junior year of high school I was diagnosed with cancer; Synovial Cell Sarcoma, and underwent treatment at Georgetown University Hospital and the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.  I missed the latter half of my junior year, but was able to return and g raduate in 2005. I was a manager for the Potomac Falls High School swim team my senior year and had a blast.  I’ve always enjoyed the water and was a summer lifeguard at pools in my community.  Out of the pool and off the courts I enjoy watching movies, spending time with friends, and have a passion for automobiles.  I see both Swimming and Tennis as lifelong endeavors and wish to pursue both with vigor.  My goal is to become better than yesterday and faster tomorrow.
 ~ news compiled by Dave Holland

December 2008

Zones SCM Holiday Classic at Rutgers

On Dec. 5-6, five swimmers braved the D.C. traffic and snow flurries to attend the Colonies Zone championship at Rutgers.  The competition was superb, but the Kutz-trained athletes were well-prepared and well-suited in their black NOVA caps and sleek, supple fabrics.  Four forty-something males (Evan Davis, Dave Holland, Chris Stevenson, and Bill Winters) and one brave twenty-something female (Allison Czapracki) collectively set 10 new LMSC records:

Age Group Gender Course Event Time        Name
40-44        Men SCM 1500 free 17:53.15 Dave Holland
40-44        Men SCM 50 back        26.56 WR Chris Stevenson
40-44        Men SCM 100 back 55.90        Chris Stevenson
40-44        Men SCM 200 back 2:04.96 WR Chris Stevenson
40-44        Men SCM 100 breast 1:10.64        Evan Davis
40-44        Men SCM 100 fly        56.99        Chris Stevenson
40-44        Men SCM 200 fly        2:10.99 Chris Stevenson
40-44        Men SCM 200 IM        2:24.26 Dave Holland

160-199Men SCM 400 medley  4:10.47 Stevenson, Davis, Holland, Winters
200-239Mixed SCM 200 med 2:36.56 Czapracki, Brundage, Stevenson, Durrant

Special congratulations are in order for Evan Davis and Allison Czapracki, who each etched a name in the masters’ record books for the first time.  And yes, it almost goes without saying that Chris Stevenson broke some more world records, this time his own !   Chris lowered his own world records in the 50 and 200 backstrokes, and dropped 1.5 sec from his previous WR in the 100 back while finishing second in an epic battle with wunder-whippersnapper Mike Ross (54.85 and 55.90).  Chris also missed the 100 fly WR by less than one second.  Not bad for a guy who ages up in a few months.
Full results can be found here:

VMST Winter Meet at NOVA - Feb. 14-15   

You have two months to prepare for this premiere event.  Entry is here:

Are you registered with USMS?
If you are swimming with NOVA Masters, it is required !!  You can register online at:

If you’re interested in doing relays at the Feb. 14-15 meet, you should register with VMST.  If you don’t plan to do relays or compete in 2009, your best bet is UNAT.

New Member Spotlight

Michelle Kitt is new to our group.  I asked her to send us a little swimming bio and she was nice enough to do so.  Here is what she shared:

After a 15 year break, I’ve come back to the pool to get in shape and train for a triathlon (TBD) this summer. Swimming was my first sport and where I’m most comfortable. I’m known as "determined" and "committed" rather than "fast." (I swam for the JCC Dolphin Club and my best performance was a  B-time in backstroke at age 13). I believe life is for trying things and I’ve enjoyed some unique experiences simply because I am willing to sign up for them! The best way to explain my day job is that I lead the design of middle and high school science courses for K12, Inc. - an education company located in Northern VA. I also coach at a lifestyle and wellness center for kids, teach the occasional indoor cycling and strength conditioning classes at Gold’s Gym, and volunteer at the Positive Vibe Cafe - a restaurant that trains people with disabilities to work in food service. I live in the West End near Innsbrook and have a cat named Penny. I look forward to meeting everyone!


Summer of 2008

In May, Jeff Wyatt competed in the Brazil iron distance triathlon (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run), finishing in a remarkable 11:22:20, good enough for 52nd out of 201 in his age group. Detailed results can be found here:

In June, Allison Czapracki completed the Alcatraz swim in July. Her report can be found on her blog:
In July, most of us worked and trained. Who has time to compete ? Ok, there is always Chris Stevenson. He went to the Virginia Long Course Senior Champs (in North Carolina, of course) with the strong young contingent from NOVA and held his own just fine.  He finished 13th in the 100 back and was a part of two NOVA relays that finished in the top 8. Not bad for a 43-year old, unshaved and without naps.
In August, Chris Stevenson, Bill Winters, and Dave Holland made the trip to Gresham, Oregon for the USMS Long Course National Championship. Chris won three events (50 back, 100 back, and 200 back), setting a world record in the 100 back with his 1:00.56. He was also second in the 100 fly and 3rd in the 400 free. Dave and Bill each had top 3 finishes (Bill in the 50 back, 100 back and 200 breast, Dave in the 200 fly). The highlight of the meet occurred on August 16. While Michael Phelps was making history with his 8th gold medal in Beijing, in Oregon all eyes were on the showdown between Dave and Bill in the 200 IM. After months of trash talking, the two 41-year olds decided that bragging rights and global history would be on the line for 3 important race details: reaction time, breaststroke split, and final time. Swimming in the same heat, Dave finished in 5th and Bill in 6th. Point to Holland. Running back to the coaches on deck, the duo discovered that reaction time battle had gone to Bill, .69 to .74. Then there was the matter of that pesky breaststroke split. Bill had clearly been the stronger breaststroker in college, but those knees are ancient history. Examining the handwritten stopwatch splits on the clipboard, it became evident that it was too close to call. The final deciding point would come down to a careful look at the official pad splits:  In the end, it was Holland with the slight edge, winning the breaststroke split and Trash Talk Title (for at least at year) from his nemesis, 42.90 to 42.98. According to the reports the next day in the New York Times and Washington Post, it was “an epic performance.” 
Putting all kidding aside, the threesome got down to serious business in the relays. Representing Virginia Masters and the NOVA senior grays with pride, they placed third in the 200 medley relay (Chris Stevenson, David Malsbury, Dave Holland, and Bill Winters, 1:55.46) to claim a bronze medal.
Full results from USMS Nationals can be found here: