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Mavericks of the Month - 2005

The following swimmers were selected as "Mavericks of the Month" in 2005. Our first edition of "Maverick of the Month" was in 1998, and 2005 marked the eighth year for this popular newsletter feature.

Gerry DeTore, 63, was born in Philadelphia, PA, but lived on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal Zone through high school. He joined the HS swim team as a Jr. and placed 2nd in his first race, breast stroke. That made him mad! He won every race after that. At 16, he wanted to swim from the Atlantic to the Pacific with a Navy Capt, but his mom wouldn't allow it.
He's sure he could have swum the 47 miles across the canal. In 1959, he was the outstanding swimmer of the Canal Zone.

While stationed in Turkey, 1968, he swam his only open water race. It was tiring pushing corn cobs, cigarette packs and other unmentionables out of his way while swimming. He didn't swim again until the Good Life Games at age 55.

DeTore has degrees in guidance, counseling and social psychology. He traveled the world with the USAF for over 28 years and worked in communications, electronics and logistics. His greatest accomplishment is surviving those years serving his country, in spite of being spit on, cursed at and shot at in all corners of the world. After retiring, he worked in the St. Pete, FL area for E-Systems, as a cryptographic electronic tester; private school athletic director and lastly, as an analytical lab tech for Transitions Optical Inc. He retired in 2004, but continues to work there as needed. He serves on the board of trustees for the Panama Canal Museum, Seminole FL.

He joined the Mavericks in 1988 so he could swim in the Nike World Masters Games, Portland, OR. He placed 14th out of 17, but was so pumped up about swimming with world class athletes, he was hooked on Masters. His goal is to become more disciplined in practice, so he can be an individual All American, like many of his teammates. He lives in Seminole, FL, with his wife, Inge and has two children. His two grandkids from Germany spend summers picking up swimming tips from Opa.

Charles Weatherbee, 72, was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, in a two-story wood frame hospital, on 12/30. Not a good date for a kid, but perfect for aging-up in meters competition.

His first swimming experience was with a Boys' Club in Worcester, MA.
He attended the University of Miami, ('52-'54, and was a member of the swim

For 25 years, he was a Firefighter/Paramedic for the city of Miami.
Charlie is a frequent competitor in the World Police & Fire Games. He enjoys the competition, camaraderie and traveling to meets around the world.
Two years ago, while in Barcelona, Spain, he was mugged while boarding a bus. He lost his wallet and had a severe tear in his knee cartilage, which required several surgeries. This week, he is in Quebec, Canada for his 7th meet, held every 2 years. They expect over 10,000 competitors.

He joined Masters in 1990 after heart surgery, his 36-year taper. His most unusual swimming experience occurred while swimming across a lake in Central Florida. When he reached shore, someone yelled "get out fast!" An alligator had been following him. He joined the Mavericks in 2001. "I've always been a maverick at heart and it's the best group I've ever been associated with."

Weatherbee's outstanding swim accomplishments was being an All American in ('52, and again in ('95. His very ambitious swim goal is to be a member of a 400+ relay (ave age of 100).

His greatest lifetime accomplishments include being most proud of his family and friends and being able to swim after cardiac surgery, both shoulder surgeries, left knee surgery, and four surgeries to his right knee.

He lives in Clermont, FL, with his wife Peg and granddaughter, Hailie.
In his spare time, he collects antique phonographs, player pianos and musical instruments. He restores them, as well as old cars.

Rosie Vijil, 70, was born in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. In her youth, she stayed with relatives in El Paso, TX, as she wanted to prepare for the future with a better education.
Her most gratifying experience was her marriage to a sailor. They met in El Paso when he was on leave, before he was assigned to the Philippines.
During their courtship, he asked, "Do you want to go along for the ride?" She did. Their family includes a son and two daughters.
In 1972, she formed a Masters Club in Huntsville, Alabama. Her most memorable experience occurred that same year when she competed in her first Masters meet, in Oakridge, Tenn.
³We stayed in homes of swimmers and they were most hospitable. The whole surroundings in Tennessee were breathtaking.
Vijil lived in Huntsville for 17 years. While there, she taught aquatics at the University of Huntsville, and coached youth groups and high school for the city Dept. of Recreation.
In 1974, she swam in two of the early Nationals; SCY in Ft Lauderdale, FL and LCM in Mission Viejo, CA. In both meets, she placed in the top ten in the 200 breast, one of her favorite events.
Vijil has been a Maverick since 1997, one of its first members. She competes mostly in local meets and often achieves USMS Top Ten status. In 2000, she was part of the Maverick contingency who competed at the Worlds in Munich, Germany. After the meet, she traveled to Spain, and enjoyed her visit with family and friends. One of her upcoming goals is to increase her training so she will be ready for the Worlds, in 2006 at Stanford University, CA.
Presently, she works as an Independent Medicaid provider. She provides
private duty care to persons with disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation, etc.
She works out at the Gills Family YMCA three times a week. Vijil lives in Holiday and is a full time mother to her almost eight year old granddaughter, Courtney.

James Christie, 38, was born in Dearborn, MI, and grew up in nearby Trenton.
He got an early taste of swimming success, when he won his first race at age 4, and his first trophy at age 5. At 13, he swam two miles straight out into Lake Michigan, with five other very good swimmers. It freaked everyone out onshore and they called the Coast Guard to "rescue us" He graduated from Trenton HS with seven school and pool records. After 20 years, two 50 Free records still stand; a Varsity record of 21.5 and a pool record of 21.9. He graduated from E Michigan Univ in 1990, and held one Mid-American Conference championship title.
After college, Christie worked in banking, but quickly moved to computer and media work. In 1991, he founded BubbleWorld.com, Inc. BubbleWorld offers website hosting (including the Maverick web page), development and marketing, as well as virtual reality tours and computer support services.
In 2000, with their first child on the way, he realized that he would be responsible for another person. After a 15 year layoff, he began swimming for fitness. Two years later, he was ready to renew his competitive swimming career. "I looked at every website for each team in the Tampa Bay area to see if any seemed like a good fit for me and my laid-back attitude.
When I read on the Maverick website that 'We dance to the beat of a different drummer,' I knew I had found kindred spirits in Paul and Margie."
He's been a proud Maverick since 2002. He is constantly recruiting swimmers, including his father, Owen; brother, Eric and brother-in-law, Thomas.
His outstanding swims include his first Masters relay with then 77 year old, Flo Carr and Gold and Silver medals from the 2005 World Masters Games.
His swim goals are to win more gold medals. "I really like gold medals."
Christie lives in Seminole, Sunny FL, with his wife Wendy and children, including son Owen, 4 and daughters Zaedee, 2 and Marlee 7 months. He considers his children his greatest accomplishments.


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