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Mavericks of the Month - 2008

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.
"I learned to swim (or sink) in the Boy Scouts. I enjoyed the water and going to the local lakes to show off my talents. My swimming was recreational, so I wasn't on a swim team. I graduated from HS in Lincoln Park, MI, and attended Wayne St Univ, Detroit. I was a lifeguard in the Army, at Ft. Hood, TX.
"I joined the Mavericks in 2004. My son, James, convinced me that competition would be good for my old bones. He was right! My general health, blood pressure and weight have never been better. My very first meet was in 2005, St. Pete, FL, as a 68 year-old. We swam family relays (son-in-law Tom, sons Eric and James) as a warm up for Edmonton. I had to learn to swim competitively, as my style was outdated. I really fell in love with swimming, after spending 20+ years in the stands, sweating and cheering on our children and grandchildren!
"My most interesting swimming experience was the World Masters Games in Edmonton, Canada, 2005. The high altitude, 6,000 ft, and swimming LCM was an experience that left me breathless! Our two family relays placed 9th and 13th. I finished 11th in 3 individual and was totally hooked on swimming! Besides us swimmers, my wife, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law and three of my grandchildren joined us, and we had a wonderful time in Edmonton. "
In 2006, he swam at the MI Masters State Championships, and placed second in his age group. After eye surgery and nine months out of the water, his goal is to compete at the World Masters Games in Sydney, in Oct, 2009.
His greatest accomplishment is his wonderful family. "I've been married 48 years and had three children and five grandchildren who are all great swimmers. Our daughter died in 2007, and our 19 year-old granddaughter and five bunny rabbits came to live with us. Life is always a challenge, but every day we try to enjoy it as much as we can."

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