The following swimmers were selected as "Mavericks of the Month" in 2007. Our first edition of "Maverick of the Month" was in 1998, and 2007 marked the tenth year for this popular newsletter feature.
Chuck Hutinger, 53, was born in Kansas City, Missouri.
The first column was called "New on the Blocks," and was first featured in the March, 1998 edition of the Maverick Lane Lines . This was the first article, plus an update.
James Browne , 67, was born in Brooklyn, NY. His earliest competition included four years of high school at St Johns Preparatory School, in Brooklyn. He also competed four more years at Niagara University, in Niagara Falls, NY, just four miles north of the world-famous waterfall.
Karen Swanigan, 52, was born in Marshfield , WI . She graduated from Wausau West HS in Wausau , WI . She moved to Florida in 1978, and graduated from USF with BS degrees in Social Science and Accounting. She started working with Florida Power (now, Progress Energy), where she continues to work.
“I spent the first 30 years of my life out of the water due to fear, and never learned to swim. Meeting, and marrying, Rod changed that. I quickly learned that he is part fish and fearless in water of all types and temperatures. I first joined a Fitness group and came to the pool in the evenings. George Bole was kind enough to teach me to swim. It was a real feeling of accomplishment to learn to put my face in water without panicking.
Swanigan relates an interesting swim experience. “Several years ago, as Rod and I swam in the Gulf, we watched a school of stingrays swim around us as we stood very still.”
For several years she stopped swimming due to her work schedule. When she come back, she discovered her fear of water had returned, and she had to fight the battle, again. “It was a great accomplishment to feel comfortable in the water, again.”
When asked what her greatest accomplishment in her life has been, she replied with a grin, “I'm very proud to be humble.” She did elaborate and added, “Starting college at 27 and completing my degrees 10 years later was a challenge, while working. I think I am more proud of refinishing all the
old popcorn ceilings in our home. And...I achieved the near impossible
task of luring Rod away from Dolly Parton!”
Swanigan's goal: “To learn the breaststroke and swim it while moving forward, not backward! Or, perhaps this stroke could become the 5th stroke and be renamed the Swaniganstroke?”
She and Rod live in St Pete, FL, in a house surrounded by a jungle of Florida native plants. They are the proud parents of 3 cats, 2 cocatiels, 1 Betta fish, 1 snail and 7 outside goldfish.
He continued to swim while attending Seton Hall University , NJ , only 14 miles from New York City . Again, he excelled in his specialty, and was an All American in the Butterfly. Kurtzman was inducted into the Seton Hall, Hall of Fame, for his outstanding accomplishments.
Kurtzman swam in the 1950 Maccabiah Games, in Israel , and was the champion in the 200 m Butterfly. He served in the Navy during the Korean War, and in 1952, was a member of the US Navy Olympic Swim Team.
After college, he was the President of his own business forms company.
Kurtzman had an interesting experience with his favorite fly stroke, but not in the usual sense. In 1948, he swam in the 4 Mile Senior National Long Distance Championship, in NJ. You guessed it......four miles of butterfly! Why? “I was 18 and did it for a steak dinner and a medal. I finished, and wasn't last!”
In 1980, he joined Masters, while living in NJ, “Because
my brother, Joe, belonged.” He's been with the Mavericks since 2000,
following Joe's example.
Among his outstanding achievements, he lists winning an Eastern Collegiate 200 Butterfly Championship and in 1985, he was a National Masters Champion in the same event. For many years, he has also been ranked as a USMS Top Ten swimmer.
Kurtzman has another specialty, which takes him from the pool to the croquet court. Another accomplishment he is most proud of, is his National Masters Croquet Championship.
His goal is to keep in shape so he can swim at another Masters Nationals, when he's 80. Kurtzman is retired and lives with his wife, Joan
(married since 1951), in Palm Beach Gardens , FL. Their family includes
three sons and six grandsons.
John Sampedro, 44, was born in Tampa Florida , the youngest of five. He has always lived in the Tampa Bay area.
John learned to swim in a unique style. When he was six years old, he went fishing with his grandfather, off of the Keys. While they talked on the bow of the boat, “My grandfather pushed me overboard, to “teach” me how to swim. Talk about “tough love!” I thrashed around enough to keep from dying.”
While in high school, he competed on the wrestling team. Sampedro didn”t swim very much, except during his surfing years, into his twenties.
After high school, he worked as an ironworker and welder. In 1990, he fell from a high beam and suffered extensive injuries. He spent the next 2 1/2 years going through considerable rehabilitation . By 1993, he was no longer interested in the high-risk business of working on iron beams ten and twelve stories high. He launched a new career after attending massage school.
Currently, he is a Licensed Massage Therapist, and works in sports medicine with patients who have chronic and acute injuries, to assist them through their rehabilitation.
“Margie responded to my massage ad in the MAD DOGS newsletter, in 1997.
She wanted relief for her unused muscles, after three months of being cooped up in a halo, with a broken neck, from a horrible car accident. I joined the Mavericks soon after meeting Margie and Paul, and learning that their new club offered me an opportunity to train in a less restrictive atmosphere than I was used to.”
He considers his five-time survival of the 1 1/2 K swim portion of the
St Anthony”s Triathlon, as his most outstanding swim accomplishment. We”ll
see him in the pool more often, as he trains for two major goals--Hawaii Ironman and ultra distance races.
His sons, Jeremy and Zeb are two of his greatest accomplishments. “They rock!” In addition, “I”m most proud of becoming a massage therapist and having patients trust me with their care for fourteen years.”
Sampedro lives in St Petersburg with his new Vizsla puppy, Molly.