Hometown and Current residence: I was born and raised in New York City, where I swam in high school. College swimming was at Syracuse University.
Family and Occupation: I am married to Texarkana native Sandy Crawford. I have two grown children and three granddaughters, the youngest of whom I am teaching to swim at the Hendrix College pool. My son Aaron was a top high school swimmer and a member of the Arkansas Dolphins team under Coach Paul Blair.
Professionally, I am a writer with extensive background in Arkansas history and biography and more than a dozen books published under my name or ghost written. In 2017, I wrote “Racing Starts: A History of Swimming in Central Arkansas,” which recounts the early days of Boys Club and YMCA teams through the modern years. Over the years, I have had several feature articles published in USMS SWIMMER magazine.
Swimming background: I began masters swimming in 1985 and have attended USMS nationals for all but four of those years. I am currently in the 70-74 age group, and have no plans to quit. I have been ranked in Top 10 nationally every year I have completed, and I have won eight national USMS titles. In 1996, I was inducted into the Arkansas Swimming Hall of Fame
Favorite event/race: My best events are the 400, 800, and 1500 meters freestyle. I have won national titles in those events, as well as in the 100 and 200 meter backstroke. Though I train through the year at the Little Rock Racquet Club, I rarely compete short course. The 50 meter outdoor pool at the LRRC is only a short walk from the back gate of my house.
Swimming hero: My Little Rock Masters teammates are a continuing inspiration. Each member of our small group (6 competitors) has been a multiple national champion or world record holder. I believe no other team in the country has that achievement.
Swimming goals: I want to stay in the national top 3 in my age group. In recent years, I have become more aware of “age appropriate training,” which means structuring workouts that yield maximum results in relation to the work capacity of an aging person. Several Olympians have conducted swim clinics here, and I have adapted to the new techniques they shared. To swim my best, I have learned to train smarter – shorter yardage but with a strong focus on technique, controlled speed, and race tempo.
Advice to new masters swimmers: Racing is the fun part. But, especially for older swimmers, don’t push yourself to the risk of injury.
Hobbies: I am an avid mandolin player, and each day join friends in music sessions.
Favorite Drills: I am a big proponent of precise and mindful swimming. Get the clock in your head, so you can feel the speed and exertion at any phase of the swim. By mid or late season, I like a set of 3 x (3 x100 meters on 2 minute send off). Drop 2 seconds inside each set of three: 1) 1:30-1:28-1:26. 2) 1:28-1:26-1:24. 3) 1:26-1:24-1:22. Take as much time as you need between the sets. The objective is awareness of controlled speed and the ability to identify your time before you look at the clock.
Winter is maintenance time. I do a lot of core/torso training, jump rope, balance, stretching and strength building. Six training days per week – 2 days of dry land and 1 day in the water, then repeat. In summer, the speed work begins, preparing for the USMS nationals in August. Summer involves 2 days of push training (2,000-2,500 meters) and one day of recovery swim (easy 1500). I usually take off Saturdays.
Do you participate in other sports? No
Where do you currently swim? Little Rock Racquet Club.