The following swimmers were selected as "Mavericks of the Month" in 2008. Our first edition of "Maverick of the Month" was in 1998, and 2008 marked the11th year for this popular newsletter feature.
Harrison Homans, 80, was born in Bangor , ME. When he was 9, he learned to swim at the YMCA, but it was strictly dog paddle and side stroke.
He attended Bangor HS and Fryeburg Academy before joining the army in 1946. After the army, Homans attended the University of Maine , and worked on the railroad during the summer. After graduation, he worked in the building material business as a salesman. “I played a lot of golf, but no swimming.”
With two kids in age group swimming, Homans and his wife, Peg, attended their meets and even became officials. Peg joined Maine Masters, when their last child finished swimming in college. Harry watched or helped run the meets. “In 1984, at a meet at Harvard, I saw an older swimmer with a big pot belly and bowed legs, like mine, fall in the water and swim 500 yards.
I decided, I could do that! Little did I know what was ahead of me! The next day, I started. I didn't know how to swim with my face in the water.
I “swam' 50 yards and Peg said, “Now, swim another one.' I told her I was half dead and she was trying to kill me!!”
After several years of complete misery, he slowly improved. In his first meets, he only swam the 50 free and 50 back. It took him over six years before he entered the 500 free. but was DQ because he only swam 450 yds. He blamed his counter, but later learned he was responsible for his own count. “I learned the hard way.”
In 1993, they moved to Sun City Center , FL , and joined their Masters team. In 2002, he joined the Mavericks. “With help from Paul, Peg and other swimmers, my times improved.” Now, he enters all the local meets, and even Nationals, and swims all the back and free events. “Now that I'm 80, my times are as good as two years ago. My goal, is not to go backwards!
I'm happy with my swimming accomplishments and my five hole-in-ones on the golf course. I really enjoy the friendships I've made with fellow swimmers. It's fun to swim. I couldn't say that, after my first dreadful workout!”
The Homans are snowbirds, and spend summers in Bath , Maine.
Owen Christie, 72, was born in E Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada, a saltwater harbor 300 miles north of Maine. His Dad was a Sgt. Major in the Canadian Royal Air Force. They moved to Michigan, after WW II.