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Mavericks of the Month - 2004

The following swimmers were selected as "Mavericks of the Month" in 2004. Our first edition of "Maverick of the Month" was in 1998, and 2004 marked the seventh year for this popular newsletter feature.

Matt Watkins, 30, was born on the 4th of July in St Augustine, FL. He first learned to swim in his family’s back yard pool, when he was seven. Watkins joined the Y swim team when he was in the 3rd grade, so “I could learn how to swim like a normal person.” At a Jr Olympics meet at the North Shore Pool, in St Petersburg, FL, his main interest was in playing with his friends on the hill behind the bleachers. After several years on the team, swimming stopped being fun, so he left the team. He avoided the pool after that, until college, when he began swimming laps to stay in shape. Watkins graduated from the U of Florida with a BS in Zoology, which he considers his greatest accomplishment, so far. Presently, he is attending the U of S Florida, and working towards his degree in International Business. His work has taken him to north to Alaska. In Nevada, Watkins worked for the Park Service, 35 miles from Las Vegas, where he took advantage of the nearby casinos. Unfortunately, “I lost everything I ever won.” He moved to St Petersburg, FL in 1999, and presently works at the Pier Aquarium. Watkins’ most unusual swim was when he flipped his sailboat and had to swim one mile against strong winds and currents to reach shore. His outstanding swimming accomplishment is finishing a 5K open water swim (first planned one) in Ft Myers, in 2003. Two years ago, he started swimming laps in St Pete, FL, and asked swimmers about Masters. He searched the net for more info and after talking to Paul, knew the Mavericks were the right team for him. He is the newly elected President of the Maverick 2020 chapter. One of their goals is to set world records in 2020. Ask him for more info on how to join the chapter. Watkins resides in St Petersburg, FL.

Ruth Hoskinson, 74, was born in Boston, MA, on Friday the 13th, a lucky day for her and the Mavericks. Most of her schooling and work took place in the Boston area. Her work experience was at the Beth Israel Hospital, Cardiac Division and Massachusetts General Hospital, doing physics research and as a technician for brain scans (now known as MRI’s). Hoskinson’s main interests were in the equine field, where she instructed, trained, competed in steeplechases and showed horses. She rode in fox hunts in New England and Southern Pines, N Carolina. She was a Recognized Judge with the American Horse Show Association, and traveled extensively, to give clinics for the riders. Hoskinson’s greatest accomplishment was being inducted into the Equestrian Hall of Fame as the USPC Instruction Legend, in Philadelphia, PA, in January.

Although she swam all her life, she never competed until age 51. Her most unusual swim occurred at her first meet. On the start, “I did a beautiful swan dive, thinking it would give me extra points.” In 1999, she joined the Mavericks. “They are so helpful, supportive and fun and I am happy to enjoy all they have to offer.” Her outstanding swims are those that make the USMS Top Ten, especially in the fly events. A serendipity which she is extra proud of is her World Top Ten ranking in the 200 meter fly.

Her goals are to improve her technique and endurance in the fly in an effort to improve her times. Hoskinson has a multifaceted personality. Besides swimming, she keeps busy with belly-dancing (we saw the video of her recital) and metal work classes, running, collecting unique art pictures, school crossing guard and traveling to far-off and unusual places, like Belize. She lives in Clearwater, FL, with her patient husband, Larry, and Black Cat, their black cat.

Honorary Maverick Bill Volckening, 38, was born in Atlantic City, NJ. He learned to swim when his family joined a community pool in North Caldwell, N.J. The policy wouldn’t allow lessons to anyone under age 5, but when little Billy refused to stay in the shallow end of the pool, he was allowed to start at age 4.

Bill’s secondary education was at the Peddie School in Hightstown, NJ. He did Undergraduate Studies at the Rhode Island School of Design, and the School of Visual Arts, NY, for two years each, with a B.F.A. He did his Graduate study at the International Center of Photography, NY and NYU. He missed his college swimming days, and joined Masters in 1989. His first involvement with the Mavericks came after the 2001 LCM Nationals.

“Paul and Margie visited my home, and we discussed creating a web site. They gave me a Maverick swim cap, and I created the first logo. I felt strongly that the Mavericks could really grow by having a web site. Soon after, we went live with the Florida Mavericks Web Site. “

In 2003, Bill was the first person to compete in all 12 National Championships, in the same year. This led to one of his most outstanding swim experiences, when he was selected as the Long Distance All Star for men, 35-39. He is most proud of overcoming great adversity and losing 70 lbs, in 2002. The following year, he reached his highest level of fitness, and surpassed lifetime best performances in swimming events, more than 50 times in one year. His swim goals are to continue to improve until age 50, and beat Paul’s times when he was 50. Bill’s sister lives in MA and his parents live in ME. He is currently single, very content and lives in Portland, OR, with his two cats, Shadow and Boo.

Amar Lathi (born 6/7/36; deceased 5/16/04): Excerpts from a tribute to Amar by his brother, Subhash, at the memorial service.

“Amarnath came into this world facing challenges. He was born in a remote village in India, where there were no doctors or hospitals. After a difficult birth, he clung to life and after a long struggle, finally made it.

“These challenges never left him. If there were no natural challenges, he created them by going into competitive sports. His youth was a whirlwind of dates, sports, dancing, more dates and lastly studies. He excelled in school with minimal studies. He was always among the top ten in his class.
He did not believe in being a geek to be at the top. His philosophy was maximum benefit with minimal work. No wonder he excelled in jobs that required managerial skills.

“We were not affluent. He was intent on making his family comfortable. So, at the tender age of 22, (chemistry degree from the U of Bombay) he embarked on a journey across the oceans to New York, with enough funds to survive for six months, and absolutely no one to fall back on. During summer vacations, he drove a truck in New York City and lived on foot long hot dogs costing 30 cents, which was his daily food budget.”

After graduating from the U of Tennessee (chem and engineering) he worked for Bristol Myers, Jacob's Engineering, Squibb, and FMC. He supported his family in India and helped his brothers and sisters come to USA. With the same tenacity and mental strength he fought his cancer, but
lost that fight. Amar, had a heart of gold and will be missed by us all. Amar joined the Mavericks in 2001. In 2003, he swam on a National record 400 Mixed Medley relay and helped the men’s team win a National Championship at Rutgers. GOD BLESS YOUR SOUL

Gertrud Zint, 87, was born in Wilhelmhaven, Germany.
Zint was forced to learn to swim at age five. Her father was a tug boat captain, but would not allow her on board until she was able to swim. She was a life guard, and at age 16, she taught the city policemen in her life guard class. In order to pass the class, they had to free themselves from her ferocious holds.

She attended college for one year, then spent three years in a nurse�s program, with work duty in Hamburg, Germany. For two years, she was a community nurse in Germany and Poland. After World War II, she was a nurse in the Russian navy, until she escaped back to Germany while on vacation.

In 1952, Zint�s uncle in Chicago sponsored her, a poor immigrant, to come to the United States, where she continued her nursing.

In the spring of 1981, she discovered Masters swimming. She began as a breast stroker, but has since learned all the strokes. At her first Nationals, 1981 in Canton, OH, she won the three breast events. Since her Masters debut, she has made the USMS Top Ten list every year, most of them as an All American. Zint has held many National and World Records, as an individual and relay member. She still holds three National Records in breast from 1993. Gertrud joined the Mavericks in 2000. Arthritis and a hip replacement several years ago have slowed her down in the pool, but her perseverance and exuberant spirit remain intact. Her swimming goal is �To keep on swimming!�

Her most unusual swim was during her college years, when she swam a 13K in 4 hours and 20 minutes, across a bay in the Baltic Sea. .Zint is also an avid rower. In 1995, she teamed up with another rower and they won a World Title in Germany. She considers this her greatest lifetime achievement.

Zint lives in Edgewater, FL and survived the nasty 2004 hurricane season with little damage.

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