Cocktail Recipes, Spirits, and Local Bars

Bacara Resort’s New 'Meet the Masters' Dinner Series

Bacara Resort’s New 'Meet the Masters' Dinner Series

An opportunity to taste some of the best wine and spirit pairings

The dinner series is held in the Miró Wine Cellar among imported French stones, original artwork, rustic candelabras and a grand fireplace.

Nestled between Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains, the Bacara Resort overlooks the beautiful beaches of the Gaviota Coast in California. Among other things, the luxury hotel is known for the fine dining in its four restaurants and lounges. This includes the award-winning Miró restaurant, which will host the "Meet the Masters" dinner series starting in mid-January.

According to a press release, the dinner will be held in the Miró Wine Cellar among imported French stones, original artwork, rustic candelabras, and a grand fireplace, the series is described by the Bacara Resort as "an intimate dinning experience that offers culinary enthusiasts the opportunity to dine with experts from across the globe who share a proven mastery in the art and science of wine and spirit pairing." The first of the series, a dinner which will be held on Thursday, Jan. 16, features Fred Dame, a Master Sommelier and the first American to serve as President of the Court of Master Sommeliers Worldwide. The night begins with an oceanfront champagne and hors d’oeuvres reception that is followed by a four-course tasting menu by the Miró chef Johan Denizot. The meal will be paired with Dame’s wine and spirit selections.

"It is not very often," said Kathleen Cochran, general manager of Bacara Resort, "[that] we welcome a master wine or spirit sommelier of this level to Santa Barbara. We are honored to share in their impressive talents as we offer our guests a truly exceptional dining experience they could only get at Bacara." The series, which will take place on the third Thursday of every month, will continue to welcome exciting guest masters such as Nicolas Kraft, sabrage and champagne master and president and CEO of Christofle, and Yuji Matsumoto, master sake sommelier and shochu specialist.

Category: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Jiko – The Cooking Place is pleased to announce the following Wine Dinner

A Pinotage Tasting – Thursday May 15, 2014

The following details apply to this event:

6:00PM Reception Sunset Lounge Disney’s Animal Kingdom

6:30PM Dinner Dress Code – Business Casual Evening Attire

$160 inclusive of tax and gratuity.

Please see below for Menu Offerings for the Dinner

For reservations please contact Victoria Thompson at [email protected]

This event is limited to 40 guests. This event is a credit card guarantee, and there is a 3 day cancellation policy.

Moroccan Rock Shrimp Tagine

Grilled Seitan, Delta Asparagus Jus, and Kenyan Style Mashed potatoes

Smoked Pork Belly and Green Mango Atjar

Boekenhoutskloof Semillon, Franschoek

First Course

Butter Poached Lobster, Delta Asparagus, Chipolini Onions and Heirloom Potatoes

Southern Right, Pinotage,Hamel-en-Aarde

Second Course

Fiddlehead Fern Salad, Rocket, Duck Crackling, and Dark Cherry Vinaigrette

M*A*N Family Wines Pinotage,Coastal Region

Third Course

Egyptian Stuffed Squab, Liver Pate, Prunes, and Dates

Spice Route Pinotage,Swartland

Fourth Course

Burundi-style Coffee Crusted Veal with Roasted Spring Baby Vegetables, and Ramp Emulsion

Side by Side tasting of Fairview Pinotage,Paarl

Tasting of Seasonal Peaches Local and Beyond with a White Peach Sphere

Fairview La Beryl Blanc Late Harvest Chenin Blanc,Coastal

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It’s that time again! The next installment of Rick’s live cooking class takes place Friday night and we do hope you’re hungry. Rick Bayless will be going live on YouTube at 6 p.m. (CST) Friday, April 30 to lead another one of our popular live cookalongs. These cooking classes are open to anyone who joins Rick’s &hellip Continue reading Details for our Next Live Cooking Class! &rarr

The Frontera Farmer Foundation is proud to announce its crop of 2021 grants. This year, our committee has awarded 14 Midwest family farms with grants totaling more than $160,000. Raised by Chef Rick Bayless and our volunteer restaurant staff throughout the year, the grant money will be used for on-farm capital development projects. Read more &hellip Continue reading Meet the Frontera Farmer Foundation 2021 Grant Winners &rarr

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Bacara Resort’s New 'Meet the Masters' Dinner Series - Recipes

Latest NOVA Masters News

NOVA Masters News – April 2014

2014 Virginia Swimming SC Senior Champs, SCY, Richmond, VA, March 6-9, 2014 – Rachel Nelson (18-24) showed up some youngsters, represented our Masters group and had a fantastic meet! The sprint freestyle and butterfly specialist swam the 100 fly, 50 free and participated in 3 relays.
She made the A-final in both individual events, placing 7th in the 100 fly (56.99) after swimming a 56.68 in prelims. In the 50 free, Rachel placed 4th with the blazing fast time of 23.86. Swimming the lead-off leg of the 2 nd place 400 free relay, Rachel swam a 52.01. In the 200 medley relay, Rachel had the fastest 50 fly split time: 25.08. Her time of 56.16 in the 100 fly in the 400 medley relay was also very impressive. She set three new LMSC records: 50 and 100 free and 100 fly. Check out the results here.

22nd Annual Albatross Open, SCM, Bethesda, MD, March 15, 2014 – The Albatross meet is always a good time and this year was no exception. Denise Letendre, Claire Russo, Dave Holland and Kim Krongaard made the drive up I-95 to Maryland for the meet. Denise (25-29) is quite the competitor and two days before the meet had already decided she was going to beat the other swimmer in her age group in the 200 fly. She accomplished this quite handedly, leading the entire way and setting a new meet and LMSC record (2:30.03) in the process. In the 200 breastroke, she also set a new meet and LMSC record (2:48.10). Denise's 3rd and final event was the 200 IM, in which she placed 1st with a time of 2:32.60. Claire (30-34), swam all three breastroke events. She started the meet off with a personal best in the 200 (2:56.61), a great 50 (37.37) and finished the meet with the 100 (1:22.21). It was decided that perhaps all three breastroke events in the same day might just be too much breastroke. However, it was also decided that Dave is a secret breastroker, all the butterfly he does is just a ruse. Dave started off his meet line-up in style with his racing suit on inside out. This was noticed a bit too late and the idea of a deck change was a bit too risky, so he swam the 200 breastroke with his suit inside out. This didn't seem to slow him down as he set a new LMSC record with a time of 2:41.35. He also set another LMSC record in the 100 breastroke with the fast time of 1:13.69! Dave swam the 200 fly in the meet record time of 2:18.78 and placed 2 nd in the 100 IM (1:06.64). Kim (45-49) is fun to have around and is always good for a laugh. This meet was no exception. In addition to laughing, Kim also did some swimming – the 100 free (1:19.65), 50 breastroke (43.80), and 50 fly (40.33). Denise, Claire and Dave teamed up with Adam Barley of Norfolk for the mixed 200 medley relay (120-159) and set a new LMSC record with a time of 2:04.60. Kim took some fabulous photos and cheered. Results can be found here.

2014 Colonies Zone SCY Championship, SCY, Fairfax, VA, April 4-6, 2014 – The two ladies attending Zones this year, Denise Letendre and Claire Russo showed up, took some names, set some new records, swam fast and had a great time! Denise (25-29) continued her assault on the record books: setting four new LMSC records and four new Zone records!! She swam a total of six events over two days of competition. Day 1 brought the 200 fly (2:09.97) 200 breast (2:29.17) and 200 IM (2:11.79), all three swims are new Zone records and the 200 fly and 200 breast are new LMSC records. Day 2 consisted of the 200 free (1:57.91), 400 IM (4:40.26) and 100 fly (1:01.16) – a new Zone and LMSC record in the 400 IM and an LMSC record in the 200 free. The one lament Denise had was that the 1 st 100 of her 200 fly was the same time as her 100 fly event, so there won’t be any sprinting in Denise’s future! Claire (30-34) went for one day of competition and swam the 200 free with the goal of being faster than Denise’s 200 fly. She accomplished that goal with a time of 2:08.37. In close heat of the 100 breastroke, she finished 3 rd overall and 1 st in her age group in a time of 1:11.58. After a couple years of improving her backstroke, Claire decided to give the 200 back a try for the first time. Heeding Mark’s advice about not kicking too much in the first 100, Claire negative split her 200 by a couple tenths of a second to finish with a final time of 2:25.47. The comment of the weekend was made by a fellow VMST swimmer “Claire, you’re the fastest person I’ve seen for your height. With your times, you should be 5’ 8”!!”. As we all know, Claire isn’t 5’8”, but if that ever happens, watch out!! Check out results from the meet here.

Cold Water, Fast Current, 1500m, Richmond, VA, April 19, 2014 True to its name, this early open-water event featured a river temperature of 58° and a strong current that had some swimmers staying in place while they were swimming. Val Van Horn Pate, George Sushkoff and Randy Raggio braved the elements to participate in this inaugural event. The event featured a two loop course – swim up-river 400 meters, float back with the current and repeat. Val reports it was a bit of a shock to put your face into water that cold, but you got used to it by the 2 nd loop. She was the 2 nd woman to finish and won the Masters division in a time of 24:02. George won the Masters division with a time of 21:38 and Randy placed 3 rd in the same division by finishing the 1500m course in 26:51. The full results for the event can be found here.


Open water swims – As you can see by the above results, open-water season has begun. This is the perfect time to try something new by getting out of the pool and away from the ever-present black line. Experience some scenery while swimming in some beautiful Virginia locations. VMST offers several open-water swims throughout the season. A list of these swims and their entry deadlines can found on the website.

Peluso Open Water Masters offers a series of open-water swims, culminating in To The Bridge and Back, which is held in the James River in the fall. More information on the POWM open water swims can be found here.

USMS LCM Nationals is being held in College Park, MD, from August 13-17. Nationals isn’t always this close to Richmond, this is your chance to take advantage of a great opportunity! If you are chasing after a Top Ten listing, it is often a bit easier to achieve that goal in long course because there are fewer individuals that swim long course meters. Come for one day, two days, or all five days! Now is the time to start thinking of going to Nationals, I believe several NOVA Masters are thinking of making the drive up I-95 in August. Basic information on Nationals is available.

Check out the Virginia Masters Swimming website:

FINA world rankings – Each year, the world-governing body of swimming, FINA, compiles Top Ten listings for SCM and LCM. These listings include Masters swimmers age 25+ from around the world. Several NOVA Masters swimmers made the Top Ten LCM world rankings list for 2013. John Hogan (25-29) achieved a 3 rd place ranking in the 1500 free with a time of 17:46.06. Chris Stevenson (45-49) had five Top Ten times: 800 (6 th – 9:25.10) and 1500 free (2 nd – 17:49.63), 100 back (2 nd – 1:04.05), 200 back (6 th – 2:22.25) and 100 fly (4 th – 1:00.90). The “Lovely ladies” relay: Kate Hibbard, Claire Russo, Maura Smith and Danielle Myers (120-159) achieved a 2 nd place ranking with a time of 4:55.20. Check out the list of other swims from our LMSC that made the FINA Top Ten list. The full list can be found on FINA’s website.

USMS SCM Top Ten – USMS also compiles Top Ten listings after each season. For the 2013 season, Claire Russo (30-34) was the sole NOVA Masters swimmer to be represented in the Top Ten. Her four rankings include the 200 free, 7 th – 2:23.83, 50 breastroke, 10 th – 38.25, 100 breastroke, 5 th – 1:22.11 and 100 IM, 8 th – 1:13.80. Check out the complete list of individual and relay swims for our LMSC.

Shamrock Half Marathon, Virginia Beach, VA, March 16, 2014Kristen Kelley, the running Nelson, braved some wind and cooler temperatures in Virginia Beach during the Shamrock Half Marathon. Despite the weather, Kristen finished in a quick personal best time of 1:37.39! For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of running, a half marathon is 13.1 miles.

Monument Ave. 10k, Richmond, VA, March 29, 2014Julie Patterson and Claire Russo, along with 36,000 other runners and walkers, participated in the Monument Ave. 10k. Julie was the 8 th woman and placed 1 st in her age group with a time of 37:02. Claire surprised herself in her first 10k with a final time of 47:07. Again, for those unfamiliar with the concept of running, a 10k is 6.2 miles.

LMSC Officers – VMST President Elizabeth Cohen reports there are vacant LMSC Officer seats that need to be filled. Positions are for a 2-year term and nominations are currently being accepted for all four positions (President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer). This is a great opportunity to get more involved with the team, get to know more of your fellow team members and help make team decisions. Please send any questions or nominations (feel free to nominate yourself) to Elizabeth at [email protected] . Information regarding the election will be sent out at a later date.

Danielle Myers and husband Adam are expecting a baby in September! Congratulations!


Chris is a regular and is most often found swimming lane 9. When asked to be the Masters Spotlight, Chris was quick to reply with some rather interesting answers, which this editor was a tad bit skeptical about, but didn’t mull over too much, as Masters swimmers have been known to do some crazy things. It was then pointed out that the date was April 1 st . What follows are Chris’ real answers. This is a photo of Chris’ daughters and dog enjoying the beach.

When did you join NOVA Masters and how often do you swim?

After a few years of NOVAFit, I joined the Masters group in September 2012 and swim 4-5 days a week. I earned the “top attendance award” from November 2013 thru March 2014 due to my dedication to swimming every morning. By dedication I mean that I’m conditioned to wake up every morning at 5am, so I may as well get some exercise.

What is your background as a swimmer and athlete?

I grew up swimming in Richmond, first at the Y in the summer, then year-round at the JCC and wrapped up my high school career with NOVA, swimming for Geoff. I also played many other sports as a kid. In my adult life, I’ve continued to play tennis, volleyball, golf, soccer and attend an occasional bootcamp led by lane 10’er Kim Krongaard. One of my favorite activities is surfing, so all this swimming really helps.

What motivates you to get up and swim at 5:45 am?

I have two elementary school girls, so exercising every day gives me the energy to keep up with them. I also am intent on being a faster swimmer than my kids as long as possible. So far, so good.

What occupies your time out of the pool?

I’ve worked at Capital One for over 15 years, mostly in Human Resources. I also spend quite a bit of time around the pool, as a USA Swimming Strokes and Turns official and as head of the Wellesley Pool Committee. We also like to spend as much at the beach as possible – Hatteras Island is our favorite.

Some people might be surprised to know that…

I am in no relation to Rachel Nelson or her sister Kristen or brother Luke, who all spend lots of time at NOVA. I swam at NOVA with Brent Holsten back in the early days. And, some of my extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins), live in Petersham, MA, which is really close to where Claire Russo grew up and where her parents live.

What is your favorite song that Mark sings and dances to?

Mark can sing and dance? I guess anything from the 70’s that he morphs into a song about the particular set we’re doing.

This set is butterfly… unless it’s not.

NOVA Masters News – February 2014

River City Rumble, SCY, Richmond, VA, December 15, 2013 – The 2 nd annual cross-town rivalry meet took place at the Collegiate School Aquatics Center. It featured some go old fashioned racing, smack-talking and an all-around good time. Thanks to Chris Stevenson and his age-adjusted times, we all got to see how fast we would be if we were 20 again. Ah the days… When all was said and done, the final score was NOVA 411, POWM 320. Check out photos from the meet.

David Gregg III Memorial Meet, SCY, Richmond, VA, February 8-9, 2104 – NOVA Masters was represented at the annual meet by 18 speedy and stalwart members led by our fabulous coach, Mark Kutz. Mark was on hand to offer advice, commentary, splits, enthusiasm and all-around good fun! Below is a recap of the weekend. Full results can be found here. Dave Fellowes always takes great photos keep an eye out for them on the website.

Lots can be said about one of our youngest members, Rachel Nelson (18-24), but one thing is for sure, she loves to sprint! After lots of hemming and hawing, Rachel donned her kneeskin racing suit and blew past her competition, easily placing 1 st in the 50 and 100 free and 100 fly. Her time of 24.29 in the 50 free puts her on the NOVA All-Time Top 10 list and a 57.74 100 fly earned her a new LMSC record. It was quite a pleasure seeing Rachel swim this weekend!

Swimming for one and a half people, Betsy Bowman (25-29) swam her trademark 200 fly in addition to the 50 fly and 200 IM. Betsy was a constant in our cheering section and provided some physical therapy advice as needed for various knees and shoulders.

Denise Letendre (25-29) is one of our newest members and she showed her toughness by swimming the 200 fly, 400 IM, 200 IM, 200 breast and the 200 free. Whew! Her rocking 400 IM time of 4:44.68 set a new LMSC record. The old one, set in 1985 by Deborah Cain, is one of the oldest records for the 25-29 age group. If you do your math correctly, you will come to the conclusion that this record was set before Denise was born!

Claire Russo (30-34) also swam a slew of events: 200 breast, 500 free, 200 IM, 100 breast, 200 free, 50 breast, 50 back and a relay. Putting lots of Kutz workouts to use, she was able to attain lifetime bests in the 200 breast, 500 free and 50 back. As Mark says, unrelenting hard work does pay off.

Sprinter Kim Krongaard (45-49) got to show off her speed in the 50 fly and 50 free. She beat her seed time in the 50 free by almost 2 seconds! As always, Kim also provided some good laughs and hospitality support throughout the weekend.

Another sprinter, Maybeth Osmun (50-54) showed her stuff this weekend. Coming so close to breaking 30.0, Mighty May took 1 st in the 50 free with a time of 30.44. May also showed her racing stripes in a tight 100 free heat.

Val Van Horn Pate (50-54), or as Mark calls her, Val Van Horn Van Pate Van Winkle showed she was a sprinter in the 50 back and set a new LMSC record (32.30). Val and her husband Don graciously hosted the social on Saturday night so we could all fill up on BBQ, some beverages, yummy desserts and chat with each other.

John Hogan (25-29) still finds some time to swim despite being in law school at UR. Who needs sleep anyways?! Swimming the 200 IM on Saturday, John won the event by out-touching Jay Peluso of rival Masters group Peluso Open Water Masters. In the 400 IM, John led with a strong 100 fly leg, swam an easy 100 back and 100 breast and finished with a strong 100 free. He may be leaving his mark by coming up with a new Kutzism “Drop the hammer!”

NOVA coach Jonathan Kaplan (30-34) swam more at the meet than the previous three months combined! He swam the 200 back, 100 fly, 100 IM, 400 IM and relay. His 200 back was long and smooth and his 100 fly time just barely beat Rachel’s.

Swimming in the competitive 35-39 age group, Greg Domson “Dr. Greg”, showed his stuff in the 50 free, 100 free and 50 back.

Sprint specialist Brent Holsten (40-44) swam his trademark events: 50 free, 100 free and threw in the 100 IM for a nice swim down. After swimming his 50, Brent said the start was good, but that was the only thing. Ah, the life of a sprinter!

Dave Holland (45-49) has a tendency to “bring it” at meets, and this weekend was certainly no exception. Swimming a very nicely split 400 IM, Dave finished 3 rd in a fast heat. He also tried the 100 breast and asked Claire for advice on how to swim it. The conversation went something like this – Dave: So, how do you like to swim the 100 breast, take the 1 st 25 out long and smooth?? Claire: Um, no. Take the 1 st 50 out like it’s just a 50, then hold on for the 2 nd 50. Dave: Really? Claire: Uh, yeah. Apparently the advice worked as Dave swam a 1:10.91. Not too shabby! Dave also had nice swims in the 200 fly and 200 free.

Representing the 8 o’clock group, Randy Raggio (45-49) swam the 200 fly on Saturday and took 24 hours to recover. As Mark would say, “Age has its privileges!”. Sunday he came back recovered and swam two nicely split events: 100 free and 100 fly. Randy also swam the 50 free and the anchor leg of a mixed medley relay.

George Sushkoff (45-49) had a busy weekend: a water polo tournament on Saturday and a swim meet on Sunday. With his two kids and wife cheering him on, George showed his stuff in the 100 free, 100 back and 200 IM.

Dave Fellowes (50-54) came to take pictures, but made the mistake of bringing his suit and was talked into deck entering several events. This included the 1650 on Saturday, which he finished in 21:05.14 with a fast last 50. He also swam the 100 free and backstroke on a relay.

Recognized by his old-school start, Jeff Miladin (50-54) deck-entered all three breastroke events and swam the breastroke leg in a medley relay. I think we know what Jeff’s favorite stroke is!

William “Mori” Wood (55-59) showed some sprinting speed in the 50 free, came ever so close to breaking 1:00.00 in the 100 free and swam a nice, even 500 free. Mori and his wife were the party animals of the group, being the last to leave the social on Saturday night!


Albatross Open meet, SCM, Bethesda, MD, March 15, 2014 – This SCM meet is held in a nice facility with a deep, fast pool and is a great way to get some SCM times, including relays. There is an entry limit of 200 entrants, and as of Wednesday, February 12, there are 76 people entered. Dave, Kim and Claire have plans to attend this meet. Rumor has it that Dave may shave and taper! Check out the meet information and registration.

RCA Dive Into Spring meet, SCY, Lexington, VA, March 23, 2014 – A meet put on by the Virginia LMSC, the Dive into Spring meet features a full compliment of events including an unofficial March Madness relay. Find more information and registration here.

Dixie Zone and NC SCY Championship, SCY, Cary, NC, March 29-30, 2014 – Held in the state-of-the-art Triangle Aquatics Center, this championship meet offers fast swimming and good competition. Meet information and registration is available here.

Colonies Zone SCY Championship, SCY, Fairfax, VA, April 4-6, 2014 – Held at the George Mason Campus in Fairfax, the Colonies Zone meet attracts swimmers from New England to Virginia and everywhere in between. Held in a great facility this well-run meet with ample time between events makes this is a great meet to attend! Distance events take place during the afternoon of Friday the 4 th , with the remainder of events and relays on Saturday and Sunday. Meet information and a link to the registration page can be found here.

Check out the website for more information:

USMS Top Ten – Top Ten lists compiled for each age group for individual and relay events after the conclusion of each season: short-course yards (SCY), short-course meters (SCM) and long-course meters (LCM). The Virginia LMSC is usually well represented in these National rankings, which often include several NOVA swimmers. Even if you don’t place in the Top Ten, it’s fun to see how your times rank nationally. Check out the USMS page for more information.

SCY Top Ten – These listings came out several months ago and weren’t included in the previous Masters news. Val Van Horn Pate (50-54) had two top ten finishes, 200 fly and 200 back. Brent Holsten (40-44) had one in the 50 free and Dave Holland (45-49) had two: 200 fly and 1000 free. Check out all of the swimmers from the Virginia LMSC who had Top Ten times.

LCM Top Ten – NOVA Masters swimmers did very well during the long-course season, with six individuals, two relays and several #1 rankings. Kate Hibbard (25-29) 200 IM, 100 back, John Hogan (25-29) 200, 400 800, 1500 free (1 st ), 100 and 200 fly (1 st ), Claire Russo (30-34) 100 free, 100 back, 50, 100 and 200 breast, 200 and 400 IM, Maura Smith (30-34) 400 free, 200 back, 100 fly, Chris Stevenson (45-49) 200, 800 (1 st ), 1500 free, 50, 100 (1 st ) and 200 back, 100 and 200 fly (1 st ), Val Van Horn Pate (50-54) 100 and 200 back, 100 and 200 fly. The mixed medley relay of Chris Stevenson, Claire Russo, John Hogan and Kate Hibbard ranked 5 th in the 120-159 age group with a time of 2:04.58. The “Lovely ladies” relay of Kate Hibbard, Claire Russo, Maura Smith and Danielle Myers ranked 1 st in the 120-159 age group with a time of 4:55.20, almost 20 seconds ahead of the 2 nd ranked team. Check out the individual and relay rankings for our LMSC.

Betsy Bowman and her husband Jonathan are expecting a baby at the end of July. Kudos to swimming that 200 fly this past weekend, Betsy! Jocelyn Adelman Vorenburg and her husband Andy are excited to be expecting twins in June! Mark will be busy babysitting during practice in a few months!

Health update from Chris Torney: I finished my latest round of chemotherapy on January 17th. Although there is no cure for the type of lymphoma that I have (marginal zone lymphocytic B cell lymphoma) I am hopeful about the results of the treatment I am receiving. The research of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has made my treatment possible.

I have a 4 month repreave from treatment so I can fully enjoy my daughter's March 22nd wedding!

I would really like to thank all of my Masters teammates (and my larger NOVA family) for all the love and support you have all given me. There have been some truly overwhelming moments this last year and knowing people are pulling for me has been a lifeline. I really can't adequately express just how much that has meant to me and my family - thank you.

MASTERS SPOTLIGHT – Rachel Nelson has been a fixture at NOVA for many years. She loves to sprint and can be seen (and heard!) in lane 8 or 9 enjoying any and all of the sprint sets Mark gives us.

When did you join NOVA Masters and how often do you swim?

I joined NOVA Masters unofficially at 13 and I was one of the original NOVA masters. I had a knee injury that took me out of the water for a while and I used Mark's group as a way to get back in shape. I have been in and out of the group ever since. I officially became a Masters swimmer and swam through my freshman year of college while Mark got me fast enough to swim at the collegiate level. I definitely owe my success to him and his practices. The picture of me is on my training trip with Liberty in Ft. Myers, Florida with some epic goggle tan lines. I swim pretty much 5 days a week.

What is your background as a swimmer and athlete?

I have been swimming since I was 5, and at NOVA since I was 6. This place has been my home for most of my life! It used to be one pool. Imagine fitting an insane amount of kids into a few lanes. I can't complain when we only have 3. I even have been working at NOVA for 7 years teaching swim lessons. I swam here all the way into my freshman year of college and then got the opportunity to swim Division 1 at Liberty University for 2 years. Now I'm back without taking anytime off. I have a feeling I will be like Marie Kelleher and swim until I'm 100! On the topic of an athlete. I dabbled in ballet, cycling, shooting, volleyball, horseback riding, yoga, some mad ping pong skills and kickboxing. I wouldn't run even if my life depended on it.

What motivates you to get up and swim at 5:45 am ?

At this point in my life, routine. I love the structure and my fabulous lane mates that put up with my endless chatter! This has become like a family to me and I would really miss it if I ever stopped. Plus I really enjoy smelling like chlorine, and I'm pretty sure I was born in a bathing suit. What's sad is that I didn't get much faster in college then with Mark. Now it's my motivation to get back in shape and beat my college times to show my coach I have more in me then he gave me credit for. This is my mental, physical and emotional outlet that keeps me sane. It's why I love teaching lessons so much because I get to share my passion with up and coming swimmers.

What occupies your time outside the pool?

My family, although now that occupies my time IN the pool as well. They follow me. If you didn't know Kristen, who moves between lanes 9&10 is my big sister, and Luke, who shows up only when it is convenient to do half of a practice and kick my butt, is my little brother. Yes there is another one of us but she gave up swimming years ago. I'm still holding out hope. Baking. It is a passion that I have shared with y'all on occasion (doughnut muffins) Pintrest. because it's where I find my inspiration. And children. I absolutely love everyone else's kids that I can play with and then give back.

Some people might be surprised to know that.

I hiked a 16,000 ft mountain in Peru while doing missions work and got to see Incan ruins and ancient burial sites. I LOVE traveling and exploring new cultures and places. It fascinates me.

What is your favorite song that Mark sings and dances to?

ummmmm. I have no idea the names of any of his songs. Hello, I wasn't alive in those decades!

"To whom much rest is given, much is expected" Ahem. Duh because that means it's a sprint set!


Two for One Invitational, LCM, Manassas, MD, August 3, 2013 – VeteranMasters swimmer Claire Russo and NOVA newbie John Hogan made what seemed like a 3 hour drive up 95 North to Manassas, VA for the Two for One Invitational Swim Meet. Though sparsely attended, Claire and John were able to satisfy their unique desire to race LCM while attempting to finish the summer season on a high note.

Claire (30-34) did just that, managing to swim 4 events during the brief meet. She recorded personal best times in the 100 Free (1:07.88) and 100 Back (1:19.05) while also posting stellar times in the 200 Free (2:30.47) and the 50 Breast (39.88). She also managed to fit in a quick peanut butter and jelly sandwich in record time. Claire was overheard throughout the meet saying multiple times, “Backstroke is my new best stroke…forget breaststroke.” Let’s see that backstroke at practice Claire!

John (25-29) on the other hand, didn’t fair as well. In fact, some NOVA veterans have quietly been inquiring about his racing strategy. John’s first event was the 200 Fly (2:20.83). Though posting a decent time, his splits were highly questionable. After clocking in at 1:03.93 for the first 100, he only managed a 1:17.50 in the second 100. Ouch! John was able to finish the meet with a strong effort in the 100 Fly (1:01.07). Commenting after his races John said, “I’ve just been training too hard and too consistently over the past several months to split my races as I would like.” Sure thing John, let’s see that at practice too!

Both Claire and John are looking forward to swimming at LC Nationals next summer at the University of Maryland, tentatively scheduled for August 14-17, 2014. Mark your calendars! Full results can be found here.

DCAC’s Annual Columbus Day Classic, SCY, Washington, DC, October 12, 2013Kim Krongaard (45-49)and Dave Holland (45-49) traveled to the beautiful Wilson High School pool in Washington, DC. DCAC always puts on a very organized, competitive and entertaining event and the venue (a 50 meter pool with 8-lanes of 25 yards used for competition, width-wise) was a perfect set-up to post some early season times. Kim and Dave checked in and each received a goody bag, which consisted of one of those tote bags with drawstrings, popular among the millennials. On the outside of the bag was a prominent depiction of the Washington Monument. Inside the bags were all kinds of giveaways, including some goggles, a swim cap, some nutritional supplements and some other non-aquatic accoutrements that would normally be found in the “prophylactic” section of your local pharmacy… did I mention that DCAC puts on quite a meet?

Dave stepped up on the blocks for his first event, the 500 free, took a couple of breaths and did his best to pretend that he had been training hard six days per week. After the first 100, the reality of three days per week began to descend on him and his splits ascended. Regardless, he took first in his age group (there were 15 people in his age group, give or take 14). He went 5:28, and spent the entire warm-down trying to figure out how he could have gained 20 seconds from his time at Nationals in a mere five months. Kim was up next, racing as the top seed in lane 4 in the 100 free, against men half her age and twice her size.

I wish I could tell you that she won her heat. I wish I could tell you that she stayed up with them. What I can tell you is: she didn’t finish dead last, and people really shouldn’t enter with seed times that are 10 seconds slower than their final time. Look at the results, and you’ll see that Kim WON her age group (that’s out of 23 competing, give or take 22) and DROPPED at least a second from her seed time, recording a 1:07.97. A few minutes later, she was back on the blocks, racing in the 50 fly for the first time since a summer league meet in the 1970’s. Out in a blazing 17 seconds at the 25, she dusted the 82 year-old a few lanes over and never looked back, finishing in 37.36. Afterward, she got out and said “I finished it, yay, we have to text Mark. He has never seen me swim more than a 25 of fly!” for the record, Mark, she did complete two lengths of fly, but ask her how many dolphin kicks she took off the wall. Dave swam a few other events (50 and 100 fly), but nothing nearly as monumental or as memorable as Kim’s 50 fly. All in all, it was a very fun early season meet in the district, in a gorgeous pool, hosted by a terrific team and thankfully all the traffic lights were working despite the government shutdown. Of course, Dave and Kim did manage a few wrong turns on the way home, tried to correct the error with a few more wrong turns, and did what any AARP magazine will tell you: stopped at Starbucks for some coffee and a nap. Full results can be found here.

VMST Annual Fall Meet, SCM, Virginia Beach, VA November 2, 2013 – Claire Russomade the trip to the Bayside Recreation Center in Virginia Beach for the annual fall meet. Small but mighty, Claire Bear (30-34) represented NOVA well by winning her age group in the four events she swam. The 50 and 100 breastroke weren’t quite what the doctor ordered, but she redeemed herself with personal bests in both the 200 free (2:23:83) and the 100 IM (1:13.80). Fellow Masters swimmer Adam Barley commented “I don’t think I’ve seen you kick so hard! Ever!!”. That’s for you, Mark! Full results can be found here.


To the Bridge and Back, 5-mile river swim, Richmond, VA October 6,2013George Sushkoff and Val Van Horn Pate participated in the 2 nd annual To the Bridge and Back swim put on by Peluso Open Water Masters. The swim takes place in the James River and begins and ends at American Legion Post 354 in Midlothian with the turn around at the WWII Veterans Memorial Bridge (route 288). The air temperature was approximately 35-40° warmer than the inaugural race, which began with an air temperature of 38°. This was certainly a plus! George and Val began their trek to the bridge and were cheered on by family members. After putting in lots of yards in preparation for this swim, George finished in 2:04 and Val was ten minutes behind with a time of 2:14. Former NOVA standout and current UVA med student, Abby Nunn was the overall winner in a time of 1:49. Full results can be found here.


RiverCity Rumble aka Duel in the Pool, SCY, Richmond, December 15, 2013– This 2 nd annual college-style dual meet is a meet between NOVA Masters and Peluso Open Water Masters (POWM). For those of us who miss the rivalries, cheering, team spirit, competition and trash-talk of college, this meet assembles all of those requirements. So, if you swim 5 times a week, or once a week, or once every 2 weeks, or once a month, come to the River City Rumble. Find that old suit from your college days, make sure it fits and isn’t too saggy or see-through, put on your racing cap and racing goggles and dive right in. Registration opens on Dec. 1 st . Meet info and registration can be found here.

Postal swim, 400 kick for time, any SCY pool, December 1-31, 2013– For those of us who don’t like head-to-head competition a postal swim is a fun way to challenge yourself, send in your time and wait for the results. Information can be found here.

Postal swim, Postal Pentathlon, any SCY pool, swum by December 31, 2013– This swim involves choosing your distance: sprint, middle or ironman and swimming distances of all four strokes and an IM. Several swimmers from our group participated in the ironman distance last year. It was done as a regular practice with Mark timing with his trusty stopwatch. Check here for information.


Here comes the bride. Sallie Turner is getting married! Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 2:00pm at the Centenary United Methodist Church, 411 E. Grace St. Reception of Christmas cookies and other yummy treats to follow at Remnant Church, 12 N. 9 th St. All are invited, no RSVP needed. Come help Sallie’s family celebrate this special and exciting day!

“Swimmers can’t run”Many of us have heard this age old saying. Several of the young ladies in our group have recently proved that saying wrong. From a 5K to a marathon, NOVA ladies have made their mark on the Richmond roads this fall.

Maymont X-Country Festival 5K, September 27,2013 – Running on a beautiful Friday evening, in the open 5K as part of the two-day x-country festival, Claire Russo conquered the turf and hills of Maymont and Byrd Park to win the 30-39 age group with a time of 24:26.

American Family Fitness Half-marathon, 13.1 miles, November 16, 2013 – On a rainy, cloudy, kind of warm Saturday morning, Julie Patterson, Denise Letendre, and Kristen Kelley participated in the 6 th annual Richmond half marathon. Averaging a blazing pace of just under a 6-minute mile, Julie ran to personal best time of 1:1817, 37 th overall and the 6 th female finisher. Running the half marathon for the 2 nd year in a row, Denise finished in a time of 1:46:36. Sporting bright blue running tights given to her by sister Rachel, Kristen completed the 13.1 miles in a time of 1:42:11.

Anthem Richmond Marathon, 26.2 miles, November 16, 2013 – After training for 5 months and running a few hundred miles, Danielle Myers, Betsy Bowman, Maura Smith and Kristan Jacobson completed the Richmond marathon. Battling some knee problems, Danielle pushed through and completed her run in 4:07:13. After a great first half of the race, Betsy kept moving along and finished in a personal best time of 4:37:36 Running in her first marathon, Maura had a great race and finished with the fantastic time of 3:37:30. Sporting a bright pink hat that made her easy to spot along the route, Kristan finished with a time of 4:17:41. Way to go, ladies!!

Have you ever wondered who you actually swim with during practice?Are your lane mates Eager Beavers, Sammy Save-ups, or Mental Gamers? In addition to providing all swimming related news from age group to the Olympics and everything else in between, SwimSwam has provided the answer to that question. Check out the 15 swimmer stereotypes and see who you actually swim with. Which swimmer are you?


May is pictured with her dog, Scout. Having earned the nickname Mighty May, May can be found working hard in lane 10 and sometimes in land 9.

When did you join NOVA Masters and how often do you swim?

I joined NOVA Masters in February 2012 and try to swim a least three times a week. I always think I will do four days, but it’s an ambitious goal.

Background as a swimmer and an athlete.

I learned to swim very earl in the Long Island Sound. My family lived close to the Sound, so my mom insisted all her kids swim. I started competing in the 6 & under age group for a summer league team and as I got a little older, swam for the white Plains YMCA team and eventually my high school and AAU teams. I also ran track and played volleyball.

I didn’t swim in college and actually did not swim after high school until 25 years later when I joined a Masters swim group at the Darien YMCA in Connecticut and loved it! I even did a couple of 1-mile open water swims in the Long Island Sound. Twice I placed in the top 3 overall. I think I was so scared of what was in the water that I swam extra fast.

What motivates you to get up and swim at 5:45am?

For me, starting the day with a swim workout always makes for a better day. I really like knowing that there will be people to swim with who will keep me motivated. I like the coach too. The real reason is I love a good burger and fries often.

What occupies your time outside the pool?

My husband Jeff and I moved from Connectivut to Richmond three years ago to be closer to his family. It ahs been very fun to spend time with my nephews and get involved in all their various activities – it keeps us very busy. We keep a boat in Deltaville and spend the summer exploring the Chesapeake Bay. One of my biggest joys is my dog, Scout. We do agility classes together and my goal is to have her do the pool jump at the River Rock Festival… stay tuned!

Some people might be surprised to know that…

I had a nearly 20-year career with AT&T and Lucent Technologies. I was the Executive Assistant to the first female CEO of a fortune 500 company.

Favorite song that Mark sings and dances to?

Hard to say kind of like them all since I grew up with most of it. Mark’s dancing is the bonus!

Favorite Kutzism…

“…with all this generosity, I expect some crazy fast swims.”

NOVA Masters News July 2013


Colonies Zone Championship meet, LCM, Richmond, VA June 22-23, 2013The Zone meet was held at the beautiful Collegiate School Aquatics Center pool and was co-directed by Chris and Heather Stevenson. It was an extremely well-run meet multiple with world, national, LMSC and meet records being set. A big THANK YOU to Chris and Heather for all of their hard work, planning and time put into making this meet a success. Chris and Heather would also like to say a huge THANK YOU to all of the volunteers, both adults and kids, who helped out over the weekend. Read on for a recap of NOVA Masters swimmers!

Kate Hibbard(25-29) was looking good and back in action, placing 1 st in the 200 free (2:22.69), 100 backstroke (1:13.81) and 200 IM (2:36.59). Her swim in the 200 IM bettered her previous Zone meet record, which was set in 2010.

VMST President Elizabeth Cohen (30-34) swam on Saturday and volunteered all day Sunday. With a goal to score some points for VMST, her swims included the 100 back (4 th , 1:34.01) and the 200 IM (3:37.11). Aging up, Claire Russo (30-34), swam all three breastroke (200, 100 and 50) events and both IM (200 and 400) events, placing 2 nd in the 200 IM (2:44.71) and 1 st in the remaining events. She also set 3 Zone meet records: 200 breastroke (3:02.38), 100 breastroke (1:23.44) and the grueling 400 IM (5:52.42), which turned out to be a close race in the last event of the weekend. Maura Smith (30-34) took a break from marathon training to swim on Sunday. In a close 400 free heat, Maura placed 1 st and set a new Zone meet record (5:05.45). Soon after, she hit the water again for the 100 fly, with another new Zone meet record (1:13.31). Swimming for fun in the 200 backstroke, she placed 4 th with a time of 2:49.38.

Val Van Horn Pate(50-54) swam some backstroke and butterfly. She won both the 100 (1:19.67) and 200 (2:53.80) backstroke, setting a Zone meet record in the 200. Val swam all 3 butterfly events, placing 2 nd in the 50 (34.33), 1 st in the 100 with a Zone meet record (1:19.38) and 1 st in the always difficult 200 (2:59.63). She also set 3 new LMSC records: 100 and 200 back and 50 fly.

Former Navy swimmer Peggy Feldmann (55-59) placed 1 st in all 3 breastroke events: the 50 (45.86), 100 (1:42.25) and 200 (3:39.58). She was also just off the LMSC record in the 200 breastroke.

Two months after joining our group at NOVA, UConn graduate John Hogan (25-29) swam all the freestyle events, from the 50 to the 1500, in his inaugural Masters meet. Being new to Masters swimming, John asked Mark for advice on his entry times. Always the wise one, Mark advised him to enter slower times. It seems John took this advice to heart as he handily won all of his heats by a wide margin. He placed 1 st in all his events, setting Zone meet records in the 400 (4:22.86), 800 (9:23.32) and 1500 (17:46.06) in addition to LMSC records in the 800 and 1500.

Another newcomer to NOVA, Greg Domson (35-39), swimming at the top of his age group, swam the 50 free (29.32) and 50 backstroke (38.21)

Co-meet director Chris Stevenson (45-49) was able to get in to swim some events, beginning with the 1500 (17:49.63). He also swam the 200 free (2:06.87), 100 and 200 backstroke (1:04.05 and 2:22.25, respectively) and the 100 fly (1:00.90). Chris set Zone meet records in the 800 and 1500 free and 100 fly, and new LMSC records in the 800 and 1500.

Warner Brundage(70-74), a member of Mark’s 8am group, swam the 50 (35.88) and 200 free (3:06.35) and placed 3 rd and 2 nd , respectively. In a very close 100 back event, Warner swam fast enough (1:38.76) for a new Zone record, but placed second by .59. He placed 1 st in the 50 breastroke (47.66) and 2 nd in the 100 breastroke (1:52.98). Warner set new LMSC records in the 100 back and 50 breast.

There were several relays that included NOVA Masters swimmers. For those unfamiliar with relay age groups at a Masters meters meet, the ages of the swimmers on the relay are added up. The aggregate number determines the age group for the relay. This allows for more possibilities than a yards meet, where the age group of the relay is determined by the age of the youngest member on the relay.

In the 120-159 age group, Claire Russo and Elizabeth Cohen were part of a 1 st place 400 free relay team that established an LMSC record of 5:04.95. The “lovely ladies” 400 medley relay consisted of Kate Hibbard, Claire Russo, Maura Smith and Danielle Myers. These ladies established an LMSC record of 4:55.20 and crushed the existing Zone meet record by almost 1 minute! Thanks to sprint specialist Danielle for getting up early after a late flight home from a week of vacation in Puerto Rico! In the 200 mixed medley, Chris Stevenson, Claire Russo, John Hogan and Kate Hibbard teamed up to take 1 st and set a new Zone meet and LMSC record with a time of 2:04.58. Swimming in the 160-199 age group, Elizabeth Cohen and Greg Domson were part of a 2 nd place 200 medley relay. In the 200-239 age group, Peggy Feldmann was part of a 1 st place 400 free relay. Warner Brundage swam the anchor leg of the 400 free relay in the 240-279 age group.

Perhaps one of the most notable swims was a new world record in the women’s 400 free relay (280-319) by the VMST relay team of Marcia Berry, Johnnie Detrick, Laura Walker and Shirley Loftus-Charley. These ladies swam a time of 5:45.80, which is 40 seconds under the previous world record.

Full results can be foundhere.

Virginia Swimming Senior Championships, LCM, Richmond, VA, July 19-21, 2013.Chris Stevenson, age 48, competed for NOVA with all the youngsters at Senior Champs at GRAP. He set two new LMSC records for men 45-49 in the process: 800 free (9:10.01) and finished 33 rd . His time of 2:17.96 in the 200 fly was also a new LMSC record and was 39 th overall. Chris was also 40th in 100 fly (1:00.67), 35th in 100 back (1:03.21), and 45th in 200 back (2:19.49). Full results are here.


Jack King 1-mile Ocean Swim, Virginia Beach, VA June 23, 2013, George Sushkoff provided the following recap: The 30th Annual Jack King One Mile Ocean Swim was held Sunday June 23rd at Virginia Beach. Conditions were favorable. Water temperature was in the low 70s. Skies were mostly sunny. The surf was small, and the current was moving to the North in the direction of the course. The head lifeguard who gave the safety briefing commented that it was the best conditions they had seen up to that day this summer. 147 swimmers completed the race. George Sushkoff finished 4th overall and 1st in the 45 to 49 age group with a time of 19:53.

Full results are available here.

Chris Greene Lake 1-mile and 2-mile Cable Swims, Charlottesville, VA, July 13, 2013, The annual Chris Greene Lake Cable Swim was directed by Dave Holland and was held on a beautiful day under partly cloudy skies. The water temperature was just about perfect, as was the air temperature. The cable swim consists of a ¼ mile cable strung out between 2 buoys. The 2-mile swim took place first, followed by the 1-mile swim. Although no NOVA Masters swimmer competed in the 2-mile swim, a new course record of 38:25.18 was set by 21-year old Bradley Phillips. The old course record of 38:32.00 was set in 1988 by James Kegley. It was quite a swim to witness! Three members of NOVA Masters competed in the 1-mile swim. Claire Russo took 1 st in the 30-34 age group with a time of 24:32.81. Noting the fact that she loves lake swimming, Jocelyn Adelman (35-39) took 2 nd with a time of 26:49.52. California transplant Jeff Miladin took 5 th in the competitive 50-54 age group with a time of 27:56.46.

Full results are available here.



Jocelyn Adelman“Dr. J” married Andy Vorenberg in Richmond on May 26, 2013. They spent their honeymoon on Turkey.

Our fabulous coach, Mark Kutz, and his training philosophy appeared in the Training and Technique section of the July-August issue of Swimmer magazine.


Dave is pictured with his kids, Hank and Abby, in VA Beach this summer. Both kids swim at NOVA.

After years of putting together the NOVA Masters news, Dave handed over the responsibility to me (Claire). When I told him he was the next Masters spotlight, his fist went into the air in excitement and a huge grin spread across his face. Dave has been a fixture at NOVA for many years, is an avid meet participant and relay guru. He also provides some comic relief during practice and is always ready to “bring it”.

When did you join NOVA Masters and how often do you swim?

I joined in the spring of 2006, I believe. Chris Stevenson told me about the group and I liked all of the people immediately. I usually make it to practice 4 x per week.

What is your background as a swimmer and athlete?

I started swimming at age 7, summer league, and progressed from there. I was 5'2" in the 8th grade, and just got hammered in football/basketball, so opted for soccer and swimming. I was halfway decent on the soccer field, but looking back, I'm pretty sure I was a ball hog. At some point, my mom was picking me up early from soccer practice and I was arriving late to swim practice, and both coaches were annoyed, so I "concentrated" on swimming. I swam year-round for a local team called the Rams out of the VCU pool, in the cellar of the Franklin St. gym. Todd Bassett was there during that time, as was Mark. I spent six years swimming for that little team, until it folded in 1984, and then spent my senior year at Briarwood (now the AC-AC pool). I made some good progress in my senior year, dropping to a 53 in the 100 fly, and thought I was good enough to swim Division I. I swam at Indiana University from 1985-89 and although I was a small fish in a big pond, I made some progress, and the experience was very worthwhile.

I got hooked on masters at age 30. I went to short course nationals in Indianapolis in 1998 and did better than expected, went 53 in 100 fly and finished in the top 10, I believe. That summer I went to long course nationals in Ft. Lauderdale and that was terrific fun. I finished 2nd in my best event, the 200 fly, by .02. Well, that really pissed me off, so I just decided I would train harder. I have a long history of second place finishes, all the way back to 1975, but really, it's been good for my physical health as I believe my large collection of red ribbons and silver medals has kept me in the sport.

When I turned 40 I took up running, and I've done 3 marathons. It's a nice alternative to swimming laps, as the scenery is better. I also like to do some hiking and mountain biking.

What motivates you to wake up and swim at 5:45am?

I really have no idea. I can't read the settings on the alarm clock any longer in order to change it, so I just get up when it goes off at 5:18am, and put my suit on. I will say that my day goes better if I swim first, and I do like the fun group and enthusiastic coach we have.

Outside of the pool, what occupies your time?

I work as a speech-language pathologist at Ginter Park Elementary, working with children ages 4-11. I also coach swimming during the summers at Ridgetop. Both of my kids swim at NOVA, so I spend a lot of my time outside of the pool. driving back to the pool!

Some people might be surprised to know that.

Mark taught me butterfly in 1976 at Southampton, when I was 8. He was 20 years old at the time, a strapping young stud, and we all loved him. I'll never forget the first meet where he signed me up for a 25 butterfly. It was at Three Chopt and I just didn't have the guts to do it, so I hid behind a chair and made my mother tell him I wasn't doing it. I remember he just shook his head and walked away without a word. He still does that today, doesn't he?

Also, people might be surprised at my finesse in backgammon and foosball. Those skills have not declined over the years, and I'm pretty sure I can whip Bill and Chris and George and most of those other one-syllable old farts.

Favorite song Mark plays/sings and why:

It's hard to think of just one. I like it when he sings a familiar song by Elvis or the Beatles but modifies the lyrics to insert a swimmer's name. I have to say, his dancing is rather entertaining, and you gotta respect a guy who can throw down some moves on the pool deck.

Favorite Kutzism:

I like it, I love it, I want more of it.

NOVA Masters News May 2013


Colonies Zones, SCY, April 20-21, Fairfax, VAThis in-depth recap was provided by Danielle Myers’ husband, Traveling Virginia Masters Correspondent

Masters teams from the far reaches of the Colonies zone gathered at George Mason University on April 19-21, 2013 for the Short Course Championships. The Jim McKay Natatorium was resplendent, obviously still aglow from the excitement of hosting the Colonial Athletic Association's swimming and diving championships not more than two months prior. Whatever the reason, the facilities and staff were top notch, and as the results proved, so was Virginia Masters swimming. Overall, VMST took home a second place finish in the combined team scores for large teams. Of course, such tremendous team results would not have been possible without a collection of tremendous individual efforts.

As usual, VMST got big contributions from their women. Brianna Lovell, Alison Moore, Beth Scheiner, Judy Martin, Betsy Durrant, Laura Walker, and Lesley Francis all won events for the women. Outside observers continue to be dazzled by VMST's strong collection of over-70 talent. Never has a finer collection of fit old birds been assembled in one coop.

Not to be outdone, the VMST men nearly matched the women stroke for stroke. Adam Barley walked off the street and in to a win in the 400 IM, proving once and for all that warm-ups are unnecessary. Kirk Clear and Greg Harris both had an outstanding meet, culminating in a first-second finish for VMST in the 50 Back and numerous other top five finishes for both fellas. Sporting a swim cap for reasons unknown to all, Dave Holland swam the 200 free (5 th , 2:03.37) and churned his way to a win in the 400 IM (4:42. 72). Robert Romo, Ralph Swiger, David Frisch, Harry Sober, Ken Novell, Edward Gaulrapp, Thomas Lyons, Dick Scott, and Richard Briesemeister also all scored gold, and in the process amassed a collection of medals rivaling the cache at Fort Knox.

A particular highlight for this author was scintillating sprint performances by Danielle Myers in the 50 Free, (3 rd , 26.12) 100 Breast, (3 rd , 1:12.15) 100 Fly, (2 nd , 1:01.37) and 100 IM (5 th , 1:05.22). Danielle scored big points for her team and looked good doing it. (Disclosure - the author is wed to Danielle Myers.)

By all accounts, the highlight of the weekend was 100 year-old John Wolff from Fairfax County Masters blazing to a 1:35.72 in the 50 Free, missing the national record by just over 4 seconds. We'll be expecting big things in the future from this young man.

USMS SCY National Championships, May 9-12, Indianapolis, IN– A small-yet-competitive contingent of NOVA folks (Ryann Kopacka, Val Van Horn Pate, andDave Holland) made the journey to the midwest for the USMS short course nationals at the IUPUI natatorium in Indianapolis. Many National Championships have been held at this world class venue in the past, and the pool did not disappoint this time around. With two courses, two warm-down pools, and over 1700 athletes, there was plenty of activity and competition for all ages.

Swimming in the 18-24 age group at her first Masters Nationals (and only second-ever masters meet), Ryann Kopacka had an auspicious introduction to USMS Nationals, finishing the 1000 free as the national champion (10:50.73). Ryann is a 2010 Georgia Tech grad and makes her home in Atlanta, and she is training with us at NOVA for a few months as she spends her work week as a consultant for Deloitte in Richmond. She was representing Georgia Masters and split her allegiance by wearing her red NOVA cap for some of her races, and a yellow Georgia Masters cap for others. Her 1000 time was fast enough to earn a new Georgia LMSC record. With a taste of success, and with the support of her mother and younger brother cheering from the sidelines, Ryann didn’t slow down, setting 3 more Georgia LMSC records: 50 back (28.13, 4 th ), 100 back (58.50, 2 nd ), and 200 back (2:06.38, 1 st ). She also picked up some big points by winning the 200 IM (2:11.42) and finishing second in the 100 IM (1:01.54). Ryann flew back to Atlanta on Sunday night with 6 medals in tow (three of them gold) and managed to earn one last reward as the sun went down on her incredible weekend: she caught the better part of a Tim McGraw concert with some Georgia Tech classmates.

In the 50-54 age group and swimming in her first Masters Nationals in several years, Val Van Horn Pate had no trouble finding her “Nationals groove” again. Val finished in the top 6 in all 6 of her events, and highlights included two new LMSC records (200 back (2:30.74, 5 th , and 200 fly, 2:35.47, 4 th ). Val also picked up a couple 4 th place finishes in the 1000 free (12:31.83) and 100 back (1:10.14), as well as a 5 th in the 100 fly (1:08.83) and a 6 th in the 500 free (5:57.30). Val also teamed up with NOVA teammate Dave Holland for a couple of top ten finishes on mixed relays. Her husband Don, an Indiana native, was there for all the sessions to cheer her on, and they were able to stay nearby with Don’s sister. Val, Don, and Dave all enjoyed a minor-league baseball game on Saturday night, where they got to enjoy a social before the game and meet Olympic gold medalist Jason Lezak.

Dave Holland (45-49), a graduate of Indiana University, was happy to be back on his old stomping grounds for a few days. Dave has fond memories of breaking 2 minutes for the first time in the 200 fly in this same pool back in 1985. Could he do it again, a mere 28 years later?? Not so fast! Regardless, Dave was happy to see some old teammates and reflect on the halcyon days when swim attire was not so complicated. Wearing an “FS Pro jammer” and a “dome cap”, he started the meet with a solid 3 rd place finish in the 1000 free (10:41.08), and spent the rest of the afternoon with former NOVA masters member, Billy Gaines (originally from Trafalgar, Indiana, and now living in Las Vegas). They spent a relaxing afternoon at Billy’s parents’ house, enjoying a home-cooked meal, a lake view, and a basement tour from Billy’s Dad of his rare and exotic collection of lizards, skinks, and snakes. Dave got an up-close and personal look of several unique boas, each one pulled from its own drawer. Fortunately, the anti-venom stayed in the drawer! Dave returned to the land of aquatic mammals the next day to finish 5 th in the 400 IM (4:31.76) and 3 rd in the 200 fly (2:05.54). Dave placed 5 th in the 500 free (5:08.28), 9 th in the 200 IM (2:07.54), and 8 th in the 100 fly (57.24).

Editor’s note:Looks like Dave “turned it up a notch” from his usual practice pace and found some fast-twitch muscles for some pretty sweet times!

Full results can be found on the USMS website:

Visit the VMST website for results of other LMSC members:


The Virginia LMSC is putting on several events over the next couple of months VMST President Elizabeth Cohen wanted to highlight a few of them:

Colonies Zones, LCM, June 22-23, GRAP pool, Richmond, VA – The LCM Colonies Zone meet will be held in Richmond for the first time and Chris Stevenson and wife Heather are meet directors. Here’s the top 15 reasons you should swim at LCM Zones:

1. You get a FREE blue, comfy, zip-up VMST hoodie

2. Channel your inner Michael Phelps by swimming in the 2008 Olympic Trials pool

3. Enjoy the camaraderie of fellow teammates

5. No expensive hotel stays, sleep in your own bed!

6. The beautiful GRAP pool

7. No long drives or flights to get to the meet

8. Cheer on your teammates

10.Represent our LMSC in a Championship meet

11.The chance to swim long course

12.See how fast you really are: put the pedal to the metal (medal)

13.Swim at a time other than 5:45 AM

15.Are you a champ or are you a chump.

The entry deadline for Colonies Zones is June 13 th .

VOLUNTEERING at Colonies Zones

For those of you who aren’t convinced by the above reasons and would like to help out, or have significant others and/or kids that would also like to volunteer, here is the volunteer information from Heather Stevenson:

Chris and I are the meet directors and we are in the process of recruiting volunteers for the meet. We need timers, announcers, a hospitality manager and hospitality team members (to make sure that our officials and coaches have food during the day), check-in desk folks, safety marshals, and a few set up/clean up folks for the Saturday evening dinner. We need adults for many of the jobs, but we are HAPPY to have either adults or responsible youth (middle school/high school) as timers. VMST can give community services hours to the youth that volunteer. If you sign up to be the Hospitality Manager, please email me before you start planning so that we can talk about what is available at the facility.

I have created online signups (through VolunteerSpot) for the positions to make this process easier for you. For administrative purposes, I separated the timers from the other volunteer jobs, but the links you need to sign up are below. Chris and I hope to get all of the positions filled in the next two weeks.

To volunteer as TIMER:

1.Click this link to go to our invitation page on VolunteerSpot:

2.Enter your email address. Note that you have to enter your email before the system will let you see any of the jobs. (You will NOT need to register an account on VolunteerSpot.)

3.Sign up! Choose your spots and click CONFIRM – VolunteerSpot will send you an automated confirmation and reminders. Easy!

To volunteer for ANY OTHER JOBS:

1.Click this link to go to our invitation page on VolunteerSpot:

2.Enter your email address. Note that you have to enter your email before the system will let you see any of the jobs. (You will NOT need to register an account on VolunteerSpot).

3.Sign up! Choose your spots and click CONFIRM - VolunteerSpot will send you an automated confirmation and reminders. Easy!

Note:VolunteerSpot does not share your email address with anyone, but it does use your email to send you reminders about the volunteer jobs for which you sign up. If you prefer not to use your email address, please contact me and I can sign you up manually.

Please do not hesitate to email Heather ([email protected]) or call Heather (775-1380 during the day or 282-0124 in the evening) if you have questions about the meet or the volunteer jobs.

ChrisGreene Lake 1-and 2-mile Cable Swim, July 13, Charlottesville, VA – Our own Dave Holland serves as meet director for this popular annual swim in Chris Greene Lake. This well-run event is always a good time with lots of laughs and Dave’s usual humor. If you’re not a big fan of open water, this is a good swim to start with: the swim is along a ¼ mile cable (imagine it is a really long black line on the bottom of the pool) and the swimmers and volunteers are very helpful! Visit for more information and registration. Register on-line by July 8 th .

Lake Moomaw 1-mile Open Water Swim, August 3, Hot Springs, VA – This is the inaugural year for the Lake Moomaw swim. Dave Holland will be serving as co-meet director. Located in beautiful Hot Springs in Alleghany County, this swim could be part of a weekend trip to get out of the heat of Richmond and enjoy the great outdoors. Lake Moomaw is surrounded by wooded, undeveloped shoreline. Register here by July 30 th .

Check out the website for more upcoming events!

MASTERS SPOTLIGHT- Is taking a break, but will return this summer!!


Declun George Holsten was born on April 6, 2013 to Aloma and Brent Holsten. Weighing 8 lbs., and 21 inches long, Declun is our youngest and smallest member!

After a couple of years, many late nights and many hours of on-line classes, Danielle Myers graduated from Penn State with a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.



David Gregg III Memorial meet, February 9-10, 2013, Richmond, VA.This annual meet is a great way to put all of those practices to work and see where you’ve improved (or not improved), cheer on teammates and socialize which is not easy to do during practice!

Our youngest member, Sallie Turner (18-24), swam the 100 fr (1:03.41), 1000 fr (12:59.14) and the 200 back (2:39.86). She swam the 1000 within minutes of finishing the 200 back. Claire Russo (25-29) had a busy meet, swimming the 50 breast (33.74), 100 breast, (1:12.13), 100 IM (1:06.24), 200 IM (2:21.74), 400 IM (5:06.97) and for the first time in a long time, 100 back (1:08.76) From the 8 o’clock group, Ashby Marcey (40-44) swam the 50 fr (31.23) and 100 fr (109.22). There was stiff competition in the women 50-54 age group between Val Van Horn Pate, May Osmun and Peggy Feldmann. May placed 1 st in the 50 free and 100 with a speedy 30.65 and 1:08.65 and 2 nd in the 50 breast (40.68). Peggy swam the 50 back (38.75), 50 breast (40.49), 100 breast (1:27.50), 200 breast (3:09.71) and 100 IM (1:19.88). Val swam the 100 back (1:11.27), a painful 100 fly (1:10.55) and the 200 back (2:33.87), which is a new LMSC record!

In the men’s events, Brent Holsten (40-44), swimming shaved and “tapered”, swam a smokin’ fast 22.27 in the 50 free and a 1:00.62 in the 100 IM. From the 8 o’clock group, Randy Raggio (40-44) swam the 50 free (25.34), 100 free (54.93) a smartly-split 100 fly (1:03.19) and a well-swum 200 fly (2:19.95). After several months of hard work, Chris Nelson (40-44) swam a number of events, 50 back (33.21), 50 breast (34.42), 100 breast (1:16.49), 50 fly (30.45) and 200 IM (2:32.35). Dave Holland and George Sushkoff (45-49) each had numerous swims. They faced off in the 200 free, Dave coming from behind to place 1 st (2:05.73) followed closely by George (2:06.15). Watch the video here. They also swam the 100 breast: Dave (1:12.21) and George (1:13.91). Dave swam the 500 free (5:31.54), 200 breast (2:39.78) and 200 fly (2:20.76). George swam the 1000 free (11:33.06) and had a great 200 back (2:19.48). Our fabulous coach, Mark Kutz, also made time for a swim with his trademark start and swam the 500 free (6:12.25). Members of the 8 o’clock group, Dave Frisch (60-64) made an appearance in the 50 breast (35.03) and Warner Brundage (60-64) swam the 200 back (3:03.13)

Claire, May, Val andPeggy teamed up and swam a 200 medley relay. Watch the video here.

We were also treated to watching Marie Kelleher become the first US woman over 100 to compete in a USMS meet. Watch the video of her swim here and read an article about Marie’s swim from the Times-Dispatch here.

Thanks to Danielle Myers and husband Adam for hosting the social on Saturday night! Those who went had a great time!

Full results of the meet are posted here:

VA State Water Polo Championships Feb. 23-24, 2013. George Sushkoff, a member of Richmond Water Polo, provided this recap: Richmond Water Polo hosted the 3rd Annual VA State Water Polo Championships February 23rd and 24th. The event was held at the NOVA Aquatic Center in the new pool. The field of teams from this year's tournament included 4 college teams – UVA, William & Mary, JMU & VMI, and four club teams – Hampton Roads, Arlington, Nova (Northern Virginia) and Richmond Water Polo. Teams were divided into 2 groups. 12 first round games took place on Saturday. Nova and Hampton Roads finished with the best records in their groups. Sunday's action began with 2 consolation games and then moved to the semi-finals. Richmond Water Polo lost to Hampton Roads in the first semi final. Nova faced Hampton Roads in the finals. This year's winner was last year's winner as Nova defeated Hampton Roads 17-9. Just prior to the finals, the All-Tournament team was announced. The teams cast their ballots, and 2 players from Nova, 2 from Hampton Roads, 1 from VMI, 1 from JMU and one from Richmond Water Polo were selected to the all-star team.

National rankings: USMS Top Ten SCM

Claire Russo andChris Stevenson had top 10 swims for the 2012 SCM season. Claire (25-29) ranked 6 th in 100 breast (1:20.36) and 7 th in 50 breast (37.32). Chris (45-49) ranked 1 st in 100 and 200 back (58.71 and 2:10.46), 2 nd in the 200 and 400 free (1:59.62 and 4:16.19), 3 rd in the 800 free and 100 fly (9:05.08 and 59.02) and 4 th in the 50 back (28.80). Top 10 swims are compiled after the conclusion of each season and the times are ranked nationally.

World rankings: FINA Top Ten LCM and SCM

Dave Holland andChris Stevenson both had top 10 world rankings for the 2012 season: Dave in LCM and Chris in SCM. Dave (45-49) finished the season ranked 9 th in the 200 fly (2:22.01). Chris (45-49) ranked 1 st in the 100 back, 2 nd in the 400 free and 200 back, 4 th in the 800 free, 5 th in the 200 free, 7 th in the 100 fly, and 9 th in the 50 back.

A full listing of the FINA Top 10 can be found here:



Peggy, 55, a retired Navy Captain, spent nearly 27 years in the Navy. She, her husband, Andy, and children are grateful to live three doors down from Andy's mother. When it became apparent that her 93 year old mother-in-law was working out more than her, Peggy decided it was time to get back in the water.

When did you join NOVA Masters and how often do you swim?

I joined in May 2012 and swim 3 to 4 times a week. I swam 5 times a week for the first few months but having to take a nap every day cut into my work schedule.

What is your background as a swimmer and athlete?

Until I was ten, I swam on the military base team in San Antonio Texas, then two years in the Philippines, then back to San Antonio through high school with my coach, Bill Walker. For college, I declined swimming at SMU with Richard Quick, and instead went to the U.S. Naval Academy. Women’s swimming was not well organized when I was at Navy, we never got to BEAT ARMY - which we would have easily done. I competed in a few triathlons out of college but for the last 30 years, pretty much only swam when I had to do the 500 yard Navy fitness swim twice a year.

What motivates you to wake up and swim at 5:45am?

Not wanting to feel like I felt the first month back in the water…

Outside of the pool, what occupies your time?

We have two children, Addie, 16, and Cory, 13, plus an exchange student from China, Yang,16, who take up most of my afternoons with soccer, band, piano, swimming etc. I am president of the Maggie Walker Governor’s School Athletic Boosters and work with Angelfish, teaching second graders to swim.

Some people might be surprised to know that.

I am a Navy qualified Hard Hat diver.

Favorite Kutzism:

If I don’t kill you, I’ll make you faster….

NOVA Masters News January 2013


Nov. 30-Dec. 2 South Carolina State Championships (SCM) Chris Stevensonmade the journey to Columbia, South Carolina to swim in the South Carolina State Championships. Placing 1 st in all his events, Chris swam the 200 (1:59.62) and 400 (4:16.19) free, 100 (58.71) and 200 (2:10.46) back and 100 fly (59.02).

Dec. 16, Duel in the Pool (SCY) The cross-town rivalry college-style 1 st annual Duel in the Pool was held at the GRAP pool in Chesterfield. This meet featured a good number of our own NOVA swimmers as well as members of Peluso Open Water Masters (POWM). POWM started the meet with a strong showing in the medley relays, but NOVA was able to gain back points in many of the non-freestyle events. Just goes to show that there is more to swimming than just freestyle! The meet featured some quality racing, good camaraderie and an all-around good time was had by all. When all was said and done, the meet was an exact tie: 490 points for each team. Hopefully this is the beginning of a new tradition!

A few highlights include:

* Maura Smith and Julie Patterson’s 200 and 500 free

* Robb Sultzer’s 100 fly (4x25 on :45)

* Bill Winters making an appearance and swimming 1 event, plus a relay

* Peggy Feldmann swimming in her first meet in a good number of years

* National Champion in the 1000, Danielle Myers, showing her inner sprinter and winning both the 50 and 100 free.

* The ladies placing 1-2-3 in the 100 breastroke and 1-2-3-4 in the 100 fly.

* Cheering, support and Sharpie writing from the Winters’ boys and Sushkoff kids

Postal Swims

Postal Pentathlon, sponsored by Minnesota Masters.The postal pentathlon consisted of swimming 5 different events within1-3 hours. Participants could choose between the Sprint: 50’s of each stroke and a 100 IM, Middle distance: 100’s of each stroke and a 200 IM, or the Ironman: 200’s of each stroke and a 400 IM. Results were mailed in and ranked according to the cumulative time for each individual. 5 NOVA members completed the Ironman distance: Danielle Myers, Claire Russo, Randy Raggio, George Sushkoff, and even Mark Kutz! Danielle and Claire placed 1 st and 2 nd in the 25-29 age group with total times of 15:00.40 and 15:21.49. Randy (40-44) also placed 1 st with a time of 15:38.18. George (45-49) placed 1 st with a time of 15:12.33. Coach Mark had a 2-minute lead over the rest of his age group (55-59) to place 1 st in a time of 16:58.20. This was a low-key “fun” way to swim some 200’s without the pressure of swimming in a meet.

400 Kick for Time, sponsored by Pacific Masters. Chris Stevenson (45-49) completed a 400 kick for time. Following specific rules about kicking, Chris did dolphin kick with a board and completed the distance in 4:52.16.

Top Ten LCM

Chris reports the Top Ten LCM for 2012 have been posted. Dave Holland and Liz Shaw made the list. Liz (18-24) is a former NOVA swimmer, UVA grad, current NOVA coach and occasional Masters swimmer. She ranked 1 st in the 200 fly (2:14.50) and 200 IM (2:20.00). Dave (45-49) ranked 8 th in the 800 (9:54.84), 5 th in the 1500 (18:37.38), 4 th in the 200 fly (2:22.01) and 7 th in the 400 IM (5:16.19).


Local meets:

David Gregg IIImeet (SCY), February 9-10 th . It’s a fun meet in our home pool, and a great way to put all those hard practices to use! Sign-up by Feb. 1 st . Paper entries only! The meet entry form can be found here:

LCM Colonies Zones (LCM), June 22-23 rd . This meet is being held at the GRAP pool in Chesterfield. The meet is being co-directed by the dynamic duo of Chris and Heather Stevenson. This will be the first Zones meet held at the GRAP pool, come out and enjoy some long-course swimming in this beautiful facility! See the latest issue of the “Wet Gazette” for more information about being involved in this meet.


Val is a consistent lane 9 swimmer who seems to be one of those individuals who enjoys swimming a lot of butterfly.

When did you join NOVA Masters and how often do you swim?

I joined NOVA Masters last February (2012). I generally swim MWF.

What is your background as a swimmer and athlete?

I first started competing for a summer league team (Nassau Swim Club) in Princeton, NJ when I was eight yrs old. That winter, I began swimming for Princeton Y. At eleven I stepped it up in the summer and trained with Jeff Lowe, the Peddie School coach, at a local 50m outdoor pool every day. It was at this time I developed a love for training as we swam from 7:30-10 AM every morning. I loved long course too! As a teenager, I swam with Princeton Aquatic Association, coached by Bill Farley, the Princeton University Men’s coach, for a couple years before realizing my sister was having all the fun at the Y. I returned to Princeton Y for high school where my focus was to qualify for Y nationals and earn a trip to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida – which happened twice.

When I left for college, St. Lawrence University (up, upstate NY), I took a break from swimming to pursue other sports, namely, field hockey, ice hockey and lacrosse. While in college, I captained each of these teams and received accolades of All-State, All-Star, MVP etc. but missed the way swimming left me feeling. My senior year, with my ice hockey coach’s approval, I returned to the pool for one collegiate season, while also fulfilling my obligation as captain of the ice hockey team. With back to back practices and often two-a-days (swimming) the first two weeks were exhausting but the benefits paid off in both sports as my fitness level rose and energy increased. I was a mediocre swimmer at best, but the team was happy to have me filling in the holes (i.e. events no one wanted to swim – 200s).

Out of college, I got a teaching/coaching job at Collegiate School in Richmond, VA. It was a few years before I found a Masters group, namely Briarwood(now ACAC), under coach Dr. Jim Miller. With that team we traveled for all kinds of meets including Nationals and even had a softball team. It was on that Masters team that I met the “now famous” Mark Kutz! Yes, he did play softball! With a family and the birth of my third child, swimming temporarily took a back seat. For fifteen years I swam at Tuckahoe Y. Open water swims (i.e. VA Beach & Chris Greene Lake) became more appealing as mini vacations for my husband, Don, the kids and me. Now with the kids moving on, I once again am finding time to concentrate on swimming again. Although I love the camaraderie at swim meets, I find a long open water swim in most any body of water unique and challenging. I’m always looking for a new swim… over the years I’ve swum- the Brooklyn Bridge (in the East River)1K, Dave Holland’s Chris Greene 2-mile cable swim, Potomac River 3K, Choptank River 3.1, Lake Lure, NC 1.0, VA Beach 1.0, Chesapeake Bay Bridge 4.4, Ft. Lauderdale Beach 3.5. Anyone have a favorite I don’t know about?

What motivates you to wake up and swim at 5:45am?

What better way to start the day? Nothing beats the feeling of finishing a challenging workout with a dedicated group as the sun is rising and if that doesn’t do it then Mark’s singing or energetic antics on deck! I’m also back home before the kids take off for school.

Outside of the pool, what occupies your time?

Mostly my family –enjoying time with my husband, Don and three kids, Elliott, 19 (though he’s a freshman at UR now), Kyle, 18, senior in high school and Kakie, 16, a sophomore. I love being a mom. I also coach a Masters swim group at Tuckahoe Y every other Friday morning, lacrosse with the Tuckahoe Middle School Club team and a travel team with New World Sports. I have been known to get caught up in a sewing, knitting and/or embroidery project when the urge hits me. (The picture with the VMST banner in the most recent “Wet Gazette” was one of them!)

Some people might be surprised to know that.

I have a twin sister, Barb, who’s the real swimmer in the family. She lives in Snowmass, CO now, but one summer long ago (1982) while vacationing at our family cottage in the Poconos (on Lake Wallenpaupack), she talked me into swimming the length of the lake. Seven hours and five minutes, a wee 15 miles later, we checked that off her “list of things to do”. Oh… what one does for a sister.

Favorite Kutzism:

“Lots of rest, boys and girls- means when you’re swimming, the pedal’s to the metal!”

NOVA Masters News November 2012


Oct. 13, 2012: 1 st annual Peluso Open Water Bridge and Back Swim.The inaugural event in the James River featured three NOVA affiliated swimmers: Abby Nunn, Maura Smith and Alice Phillips. Abby and Maura swam the 5-mile event, while Alice swam the 2.4-mile event. Both events started at the American Legion post #354 in Midlothian. The 5-mile event went to the WWII bridge (Rt. 288) and back, while the 2.4-mile event swimmers swam up-river 1.2 miles and then returned to the American Legion. Amid a beautiful sunrise and fog rising from the James, the swimmers took the plunge. All three women had strong finishes. Abby was the overall winner in the 5-mile event with a time of 1:46:03. Maura was the 3 rd female finisher and 1 st in her age group (18-30) with a time of 2:10:15. Alice finished her 2.4-mile swim in 58:11. She was 3 rd overall and the 1 st female finisher. Following their swim, swimmers were treated to a hot tub, a catered breakfast, a massage and a beer and wine garden.

Below is a recap of the swim provided by Maura Smith as well as a photo of the gorgeous, but chilly, morning!

Back in March 2012,when I was actually in-shape and swimming quite a bit, I signed up for the first annual "To the Bridge & Back" 5 mile swim in the James River.

Why, you ask? For a number of reasons:

-I had previously completed two 5K swims in Florida, so this would be my furthest open water swim ever

-I wanted to be a part of Jay Peluso's first annual race

-if the race was in Richmond, I didn't have to travel or stay in a hotel.

It was the prefect trifecta of reasons, so I paid the entry fee and convinced Elizabeth Cohen to be my safety kayaker.

Fast forward to the day before the swim - air temperature dropping, water temperature dropping, and Facebook messages from Abby Nunn asking if it would be wimpy to wear a wetsuit. As I ran out the door to rent a full arm/full leg wetsuit for a race that I hadn't exactly trained for, I wrote Abby that it definitely wasn't wimpy to be warm . . .

The morning of the swim, I relied on Elizabeth Cohen to keep me calm. We arrived to the site on-time, and tried to stay warm despite the 38° temperature. As the sun came up, the race site seemed so beautiful . . . until you dunked under the 62° water. Once Elizabeth boarded the inflatable kayak we borrowed from Julie (Rechel) Patterson, I had Claire Russo to keep me company. I think I would have hid in the bathroom if it hadn't been for Claire's words of encouragement. Soon enough, the race started and I began the 2.5 mile trek to the 288 bridge.

Elizabeth and I bobbed and weaved our way to the bridge. She threw me water whenever I needed it, and I continued to give her inconsistent instructions about where I wanted the kayak. "Stay in front of me" "Get behind me" "Paddle next to me". She was a saint for putting up with my babble. Elizabeth will say it was all a part of her plan to keep me entertained and to make me talk so she could check for symptoms of hypothermia :-)

We made the turn at the bridge in an hour and 15 minutes or so, and swam and paddled back to the American Legion building through the crystal clear water for another hour. I finally exited the river after 2 hours and 10 minutes, relieved and proud of myself. Thanks to Claire, Elizabeth, and my husband Adam who stopped by for a surprise visit on his way to work, I was able to enjoy the post-race festivities where I was awarded third-place female overall. In the end, it was a great day, and I would highly recommend the race to everyone . . . who owns a wetsuit and trains long distance.


Sept. 29, 2012: 1 st annual VMST Pickin’ Up Steam (SCY) at Randolph-Macon College, Ashland. The first annual "Pickin' Up Steam" meet was held on the campus of Randolph-Macon College. Former RMC swim coach and NOVA member Dave Holland served as co-meet director with Brent Kintzer, the current RMC swim coach. They coined "Pickin' Up Steam" as the name for this new meet as it is one of the first meets of the 2012-13 SCY season in the area, and to promote the unique proximity of the venue to the Ashland railroad station. The pool itself, built in 1998, is less than 100 yards from the tracks, and the impact of those freight trains coming by is a sensation that is felt before it is heard, especially underwater.

In all, there were 56 people at the meet, including three from NOVA: David Frisch (60-64), John Bullard (50-54), and Dave Holland (45-49). Dave Frisch stuck to what he knows best: sprinting! He won both the 50 free (27.76) and the 50 breast (35.21). John tackled the 100 breast (1:20), 100 IM (1:13), and 200 IM (2:49), finishing first in each. Dave Holland took second in the 500 free (5:40), and won the 1650 free (18:58) and 100 fly (1:02).

Dave and Brent were pleased with the turnout for this inaugural meet and hope to see more NOVA folks next year!

Nov. 3, 2012: 32nd Annual VMST Fall Swim Meet in Virginia Beach (SCM). The NOVA contingent was small but forceful again this year. Claire Russo andChris Stevenson made the drive to Virginia Beach and made quite an impact, finishing 1 st in all their events in their respective age groups. Claire (25-29) swam the 50 (37.32) and 100 breastroke (1:20.36), 400 free (5:06.85) and 100 free (1:06.83). Chris (45-49) swam the 800 free (9:05.30), which is a new LMSC record, the 200 back (2:14.30), 400 free (4:24.46) and the 50 back (28.80). This is always a well-run meet and a good chance to swim some SCM times.


On October 27 th , Betsy Turner married Jonathan Bowman in Appomattox, VA. Several NOVA folks were in attendance to witness this historic event. Flying out of Richmond just prior to the arrival of Hurricane Sandy, Betsy and Jonathan enjoyed a honeymoon in Antiga.

Former NOVA Master’s stud and current Las Vegas Master’s swimmer, Billy Gaines made several guest appearances at practice during the month of October.


Our Master’s Spotlight this month is Brent Holsten, who started off in lane 9 in February, but quickly moved to lane 8. As Brent himself said, asking a sprinter to talk about himself is like asking a lawyer to say a few words for the camera. Brent is certain to provide a laugh in the pool and with his Master’s Spotlight. Enjoy!

Outside of the pool, what occupies your time?

I moved this question to number one because this is really who I am. Family definitely occupies my time out of the pool, whether it is spending time with my wife Aloma, my son Jackson, my daughter Addison, waiting for number three to arrive, or working in the family business. Family is the sun that my world revolves around (I think Robert Frost wrote that somewhere). Some outside my circle might say golf, but golf is more of a moon that causes the tides to change.

When did I join NOVA Masters and how often do you swim?

Although it feels like I’ve been coming for years and years and years, I recently jumped in with the NOVA crew in February of 2012. My goal as I go to bed each Sunday is to make three practices a week, as you all know sometimes it works for us and sometimes it does not.

What is your background as a swimmer and athlete?

This is a loaded question. I could spend a lot of time talking about my sporting pursuits, but I will keep it as short as I can. At times it feels like I have done nothing else except swim, but actually I got into swimming late compared to most competitive swimmers. I started innocently enough as a summer league swimmer at the age of 12, what delayed the process for a week was I did not want to wear the ‘suit’. I was a soccer player back then traveling all over the state on Saturdays. It was not until sophomore year in high school that I actually made the commitment to year round swimming with a new team called NOVA. I had to try out at Raintree where the coach, someone by the name of Geoff Brown, watched me swim a lap of each stroke and told my mom I could be a pretty good breastroker/distance swimmer (insert pushing off the bottom, wearing paddles jokes here). After a few years of NOVA tutelage I made the long trek to University of Richmond, where after a lot of 200 freestyles and 200 backstrokes, I was finally allowed to swim some sprint free. After college I joined the NOVA coaching staff for a few years and enjoyed being there as we built the new pool. The night before the official opening I was there with Don Farmer, Geoff Brown, and Jay Brinson and swam some laps before everyone else. I actually beat Jay into the water, so I was the third person to swim a lap in the pool. After coaching I did the quick triathlon circuit for two years. In 2000 I finally hung up my suit and I pursued volleyball for several years. Volleyball is where I found my wife or as I like to joke, she found me. Today sporting life is occupied with golf and swimming with you guys.

What motivates you to wake up and swim at 5:45am?

Can flab or having enough energy to keep up with my children be a motivating factor? Actually the atmosphere of the NOVA masters is all I really need. NOVA Masters Atmosphere as defined by Webster’s: 1. The slightly serious, with a hint of negativity, with the constant mix of Mark’s jocularity, throw in a splash of outdated music. What else could you ask for? And I was already up because of dad duties.

Bonus Answer: Who knew I could survive so many 1650 Fridays. It still beats the 2000’s for time we used to do at NOVA on Friday mornings, or my favorite: 4 x 400 IM for time.

Some people might be surprised to know that.

Mark actually coached me for one long weekend back in 1990. I will have to say Mark was quite patient with us, not sure he knew that it was our third shave and taper meet in four weeks. My roommates and I arrived in Maine ready to let loose, yes, Maine, Bangor, Maine to be exact. The first night we arrived none of us wanted to go to sleep, so around 12:30 on HBO, this came on: . Please continue reading if you actually watched the clip. So you can imagine for the next 2 days everything was Canyon Man! So much so that half the Virginia team was quoting the lines that we had been spewing for days. After the first night and getting maybe 2 hours of sleep I was up on the blocks for the 200 free. After exiting the water and seeing I was 6 seconds slower than I had been two weeks earlier, I walked up to Mark and he said something like, “That wasn’t really your best was it?” he didn’t grind it in that I swam awful, but I could tell he knew something was amiss. Mark only had to put up with two more days of us screaming out, “Grab onto my bumper and I will drag you to safety.” Not sure if Mark remembers how we behaved that weekend, but Mark, my room had a blast and I am sorry I cost the team about ten or twelve points.

Favorite Kutzism:

As a sprinter it has to be: “With great rest, great effort is expected.”

Mark earns National Coaching Honor from USMS

Congratulations to Coach Mark Kutz, for being honored with the Kerry O'Brien Coaching Award at the USMS Convention in Greensboro in September. Mark is one of a handful of coaches from around the country to earn this annual award. According to USMS, "the award honors USMS-registered coaches who are building our membership in communities throughout our country. Originally named the "Grass Roots Coaching Award", it was renamed in 2008 to honor Coach Kerry O'Brien of Walnut Creek Masters, who embodies the passion, dedication, and heart that these coaches bring to the pool deck."

Mark certainly brings passion, dedication, and heart (as well as some unique

singing/Kutzisms) to our pool deck every day, so we can all agree that this award is well deserved.

New LMSC Records and USMS Top Ten for SCY 2011-12

Chris Stevensonreports that four of our ladies took down one or more LMSC records this past season in SCY. Congratulations to:

Maura Bolger, 30-34: 200 free, 100-200 fly, 200-400 IM (April 2012 at SC Nationals)

Danielle Myers, 30-34: 1000 free, 100-200 breast, 200 fly (April 2012 at SC Nationals)

Jocelyn Posthumus, 30-34: 200 back (February 2012 at VMST Winter Meet)

Liz Shaw, 18-24, 100 fly (59 split) and 200 fly (2:03, also a Colonies Zone Record), February 2012 at VMST Winter Meet

Maura, Danielle, Liz, and Kate Hibbard also recorded performances in the national Top Ten for SCY. Chris, competing for NC Masters this past year, recorded 9 performances in the Top Ten for men 45-49, including the top spot in the 50-100-200 back. The entire list from our LMSC can be found here:


George Sushkoff, Val Van Horn Pate, and Abby Nunn had especially good showings on the open water circuit this past summer. George trained like a beast in preparation for his first crossing of the famed 4.4 mile Great Chesapeake Bay Swim, putting in several 15,000 yard workouts in the weeks leading up to the June 10 event. His training paid off very well, as he finished 55 th overall (of 640) in 1:47:37 (avg pace of 24:28 per mile). Abby was phenomenal as well, crossing in 1:36:06 (avg pace of 21:51), good enough for 9 th overall, and 2 nd among women.

George and Val both competed in the annual Jack King One Mile Ocean swim in Virginia Beach on June 24. George won the 45-49 division in a very swift 18:15, and Val, who has been the overall female winner at this event a couple times in the past, rose to the occasion again, winning the 45-49 age group in 20:45.

Val, looking for calmer waters, also made the 6-hour trip to Lake Lure, NC (near Asheville) for the USMS 1-mile open water national championship on August 25, and proved that she is a force to be reckoned with in pristine lakes, too. Val finished in 23:57, which was good for the second spot on the podium for women 45-49. Dave Holland and Chris Stevenson each made the trip as well. Dave was fifth for men 45-49, finishing in 21:47. Chris, who had broken his foot in a mountain biking accident only a week before, relied on his upper body to get the job done in the lake where “Dirty Dancing” was filmed. Chris wasn’t exactly dancing as he limped the final 25 yards on the beach with two left feet, surviving the jeers of the announcer along the way, but he got the last laugh as he easily won the 45-49 division in 20:55.

Then there was Abby Nunn and her busy summer. “Busy” doesn’t even begin to describe it. Besides the great performance at the Bay, Abby also won the Jim McDonnell 2-mile lake swim in Reston (42:18) in May and the 2-mile cable swim at Chris Greene Lake in Charlottesville (41:48) in July. Between the two, she managed to squeeze in a little swim around Manhattan, but I’ll let her tell that story (see below). Abby is now recovering in Charlottesville, enjoying the ho-hum life of a first year medical student at UVA…we can only hope she doesn’t get any crazy ideas from that famed neurologist, Sir Roger Bannister…

30 th Annual 28.5 Mile Manhattan Island Marathon Swim-June 23, 2012

NOVA’s Abby Nunn is the winner in 7:30:26 (15:48 per mile average)

Chris Greene Lake Swim- July 14 in Charlottesville

Recap by Claire Russo:

The annual Chris Greene Lake Cable Swim took place on July 14th at the picturesque Chris Greene Lake outside of Charlottesville. With the winning combination of the water temperature at a comfortable 82, a yummy food table and great race directing by our own Dave Holland, four NOVA Masters swimmers made their mark in both the 2-mile and 1-mile swims. In the 2-mile, NOVA was represented by Abby Nunn and Val Van Horn Pate. Just a few weeks after completeing the 28.5 mile Manhattan Island Marathon swim, Abby was the 1st female finisher, 2nd overall and 1st in the 18-24 age group with a time of 41:48.27. Val had a strong swim as shown by her 1st place finish in the 45-49 age group with a time of 48:30.67. She was the 5th female finisher and 11th overall. In the 1-mile swim, Claire Russo and Maura Smith (Bolger) had strong showings. Swimming at the top of the 25-29 age group, Claire finished 1st with a time of 23:50.58. She was the 3rd female finisher and 7th overall. Swimming for the first time as Maura Smith, Maura was the 1st female finisher, 3rd overall and 1st in the 30-34 age group with a time of 21:59.03. Her time is a new Chris Greene Lake record in her age group, besting the old record by almost 4 minutes!

For more info about CGL, visit

FINA World Championships / USMS LC Nationals

NOVA had one representative at each of these championship meets. Chris Stevenson made the trip to Riccione, Italy for the World Championships in June. He reports that it was a huge meet with 8,300 people competing (that’s not a typo), which made for a challenging warm-up and some long days. In the 100 freestyle alone, there were 224 heats. Chris reports that he was “always the bridesmaid” in Italy, placing second in four different events, to four different winners (100-200 fly, and 100-200 back). He also got a 4 th in the 200 free. Sounds like someone should’ve signed up for the 50 back!! Regardless, Chris’ wife Heather and their sonIan joined him toward the end of the meet and they enjoyed a relaxing Mediterranean vacation. Full results are here:

There were 10 swimmers from our LMSC at the USMS LC Nationals in Omaha in July, and Dave Holland represented the NOVA folks well by placing in the top 10 in each of his four swims. Dave aged up to the 45-49 age group for this meet, and recorded new LMSC records in the 1500 free and the 400 IM. He also got credit for the 800 free LMSC record (as a split in his 1500). Dave enjoyed a few days of the Olympic Trials before the meet, and reports that the venue set-up was ideal for swimming, socializing, and snoozing. Dave roomed with former NOVA star Billy Gaines, who now lives and swims in Las Vegas. Full results are here:


When did you join NOVA Masters and how often do you swim?

I joined NOVA Maters way back when Mark first started it. Back in 2005 I think? My brother Taylor and I were actually the very first NOVA Maters swimmers! :) There was a small break in there though. haha. I left and went to college in South Carlolina in 2008 and finally came back last year. I usually swim every day. Unless I am dead tired or gone. >_<

What is your background as a swimmer and athlete?

I started swimming at NOVA when I was really little. 7 yr. old maybe?? I swam for Avalon every summer till I was 17 or so and NOVA year round. I also swam for Shady Grove YMCA for a couple years in there.

What motivates you to wake up and swim at 5:45am?

Knowing that it will help my back feel better and I will feel really good practicing the violin!! :) I also just plain LOVE TO SWIM. And I love swimming for Mark. I would get up and swim for him any day. :)

Outside of the pool, what occupies your time?

Practicing the VIOLIN. I am senior violin performance major at VCU and spend most of my time in a practice room ) In addition to school and practicing, I teach private piano and violin lessons. I also am very into health and nutrition and I enjoy researching nutrition and cooking healthy food whenever I get the chance.

Some people might be surprised to know that.

George (YES, OUR George!!) was my very first swim coach back in like 1996 at NOVA!! HAHA! (My brother didn't even know this!)

Favorite Kutzism:

"Alright boys and girls. " ) I also just like when Mark turns up his music and starts singing and dancing around the pool deck!! :D

Peluso Open Water Swim- April 29 on the James

The first race in a three-race series was held Sunday, April 29th at the American Legion Post at the Upper James River in Midlothian. Entries were capped at 100 swimmers (I don’t know how many were entered). The current was strong. Water temperature was approximately 62 degrees. The race course was originally set for 1500 m. Due to the strong current, the race was shortened to 600 meters, or 2 loops around a 150 meter course. Many people deferred their entry to the next race because of the strong current. Debris was frequent, but not too large. Only 18 people finished the race. Some were pulled upon warming up as they drifted downstream past a buoy that indicated the boundary of the race course. Others completed the first 150 m and simply floated back to the starting point of the race. Still others never made it to the first 150 m. mark. George Sushkoff finished second overall and first in the Masters (45-49) age group. Results are here:

USMS SC Nationals April 26-29 in Greensboro, NC

One week ago, a large handful of NOVA Masters and NOVA Masters affiliates (most representing VMST) made the 3.5 hour journey south to the new Greensboro Aquatic Center (GAC) in Greensboro, NC. High level swimming took place in this gorgeous new aquatics facility amongst some of the most elite Masters swimmers in the country. VMST placed 1 st in the Local Club division with a combined point total of 1,555.5. The VMST women lead the way with 949.5 points, dominating the rest of the field. The VMST men finished second with 442 points. The NOVA swimmers left quite an impression on the rest of the competition. Here’s the rather long recap:

Swimming in the 25-29 year old age group, Danielle Myers started the meet off in high style with a 1 st place finish in the 1000 free and a new LMSC record of 11:00.56, breaking a record set in 1985 by Deborah Cain. Danielle also set 3 more LMSC records: 100 breastroke: 1:09.68 (4 th ), 200 fly: 2:13.85 and hung on to finish 2 nd after a rather aggressive 3 rd 50, 200 breastroke: 2:32.49 (3 rd ). She also swam the 100 fly (1:01.25), despite going out a bit too fast, and 50 breastroke (32.72) to finish 7 th and 5 th , respectively.

Betsy Turner channeled her inner sprinter and inner breastroker for some great swims and dropped time in almost every event she swam. She also started off with the grueling 1000 free and dropped 13 seconds to finish 5 th with a time of 11:43.70 (with some very pretty splits). Her 400 IM time of 5:08.08 placed her 7 th . Some strong and powerful butterfly put her in 10 th in the 100 with a very nice 1:03.88 and 5 th in the 200 with an equally impressive 2:20.63. She had some more time improvements in the 100 (1:14.60, 4 second time improvement) and 200 breastroke (2:42.34, 5 second time improvement), finishing with 14 th and 10 th .

Claire Russoalso had time improvements in almost every event that she swam. Claire started off her meet schedule with a 400 IM (5:02.95) which placed 6 th , and Chris Stevenson pointed out, “Usually when I see you swim backstroke I think that you’re not a backstroker, but I didn’t think that today”. Swimming all 3 breastroke events she swam the 50 (32.82, 6 th ), 100 (1:11.25, 6 th ), and 200 (2:37.36, 5 th ). Rounding out Claire’s meet schedule were the 200 free (2:07.55, 9 th ) and 200 IM (2:20.16, 6 th which was over a 2 second time improvement).

In the 30-34 age group and swimming in her first Masters Nationals, Maura Bolger was magnificent in all of her events and improved on her seed time every time she entered the water and set 5 new LMSC records (200 and 400 IM, 100 and 200 fly, 200 free). Maura began her weekend by swimming the first 3 events starting with the 400 IM and placing 1 st with a 4:44.90. She then moved on to conquer the 100 fly (1:00.17, 1 st ) and 200 free (1:58.35, 2 nd ). The following morning, Maura started off with the 500 for breakfast (5:21.30, 2 nd ) and finished 1 st in the 200 fly in a time 2:12.37 with beautiful splits that Mark was still talking about 2 days later. Maura finished her Nationals debut with a very close and exciting 2 nd place finish in the 200 IM (2:14.62).

Previous NOVA Masters swimmer Katie Webb made the drive down for Saturday and as a true sprinter, made her mark in the 100 IM and 50 free. She easily won her heat in the 50 with a time of 28.67 (24 th ) and had a 5 second improvement in the 100 IM, despite hugging the lane line in backstroke (1:14.86, 9 th ). Katie’s great laugh is always fun to have on deck.

Representing NOVA in the 35-39 age group was newcomer Kristan Jacobson swimming for Quest Masters. Kristan had some nice seed time improvements and was always offering “Good luck, swim fast!” Swimming the 50 (30.13) and 100 (1:09.57) fly, Kristan placed 10 th and 7 th , respectively. She also channeled her inner sprinter in the 50 free (28.04, 13 th ). Kristan also swam the 50 breastroke (35.79, 9 th ), 100 IM (1:08.67, 8 th ), and stayed for the last event of the meet, the 200 IM (2:32.40) and placed 5 th with a 2 second time improvement.

In the 45-49 age group was Alice Phillips, who makes an appearance at NOVA every once in awhile, but is usually found at ACAC. Alice certainly made a mark for herself and placed well in all her events and set a new LMSC records in the 100 fly (1:05.45, 6 th ). In the 100 free (58.60), she placed 10 th , the 50 fly (29.06), placed 8 th and 100 IM (1:06.01) placed 7 th . Alice also swam the 200 free (2:08.26, 9 th ) and the 200 IM for her highest finish (2:26.10, 4 th )

Heather Stevensonrepresented the 50-54 age group and beat her seed time in both of her events, the 100 IM and 50 backstroke. She swam her 100 IM in a 1:15.53 to place 17 th and her 50 backstroke in 34.71 to place 10 th . Heather also braved the splashing while counting for husband Chris Stevenson.

Rounding out the individual swims by NOVA affiliated women was Nancy Betts in the 55-59 age group. Nancy had some time improvements as well while swimming the backstroke and freestyle events. She started off her meet with the 200 free (2:27.62, 8 th ) and finished with the 200 backstroke (2:53.12, 9 th ). In between she swam 100 back with a 4 second time improvement (1:18.60, 9 th ) and the 500 free (6:36.83, 10 th ).

On the men’s side, former NOVA Masters member, Billy Gaines flew in from Las Vegas and swam in the 30-34 age group. Billy was a shaved, bronzed bullet speeding through the water and posted some impressive times. He swam freestyle and butterfly and started with the 1000 free and finished 4 th with a time of 10:08.27. In the 500 free he swam a time of 4:45.92 (2 nd ), the 200 free in a time of 1:44.26 (a tie for 2 nd ), and 4 th in the 100 free with a time of 48.57. Butterfly Billy placed 4 th in both the 100 fly (53.06) and the 200 fly (1:57.33).

Dave Holland (40-44) brought Mark Kutz down early Saturday morning and as Mark said, “Dave was up against the Maura challenge”. Dave swam the 200 fly and 500 free, in both events trying to beat the times posted by Maura earlier in the meet. Dave did not beat Maura in the 200 fly, but did place 6 th with a time of 2:12.42. He did succeed in besting Maura’s time in the 500 free (5:20.42, 18 th ) with some impressive descending splits.

Chris Stevenson(45-49) swam for NCMS (North Carolina Masters Swimming), but was impressive as always in backstroke, butterfly and freestyle. Chris started with the 1000 free and finished just over 10:00, (10:03.66) to finish 2 nd . In a very tight 4-way race in the 500 free, he finished 3 rd with a time of 4:50.50. Swimming butterfly, Chris was 2 nd in the 100 (52.49) and 200 (1:58.46). In his backstroke events, Chris finished 1 st in both the 100 (52.52) and 200 (1:55.76). Teaming up with his former high school teammates in the 200 Medley Relay, Chris broke his own National record, posting a very impressive 23.96 50 backstroke leadoff split! Watch the relay on YouTube below:

From Mark’s 8:00 AM group, Dave Frisch (60-64) also made the trip to Greensboro. He swam several 50’s: breastroke (33.37, 9 th ), butterfly (29.93, 12 th ) and backstroke (31.67, 9 th ). He beat his seed time in several events. Dave also swam the 100 breastroke (1:14.33, 10 th ) and 100 IM (1:07.03, 10 th ).

Warner Brundage (65-69) also made an appearance and swam the 200 free (2:29.46) and 100 IM (1:17.33) and placed 9 th in both events.

The one and only Bill Winters also made an appearance on Friday in his brightly colored puzzle suit during warm-up and his running gear a bit later in the morning. In between running laps around the parking lot, Bill offered his good cheering and attempted to fill in for Mark.

Relays are a big draw at Nationals and are a lot of fun with so many different swimmers and combinations. Dave Holland, Elizabeth Cohen andBetsy Durrant put a lot of time into the VMST relays. These relays had a lot of success and quite a few relay records were broken. Below is a list of relays that included at least 1 NOVA affiliated member.

In the Mixed 18+ Free Relay A, Maura Bolger swam with Stephen Gomez, Amy Charley and Justin Stauder to finish 4 th with a time of 1:37.87. Mixed 18+ Free Relay B placed 11 th with a time of 1:42.43 and included Kate Hibbard and Danielle Myers swimming with Brian Hofmann and Kurt Sprenger. Mixed 18+ Medley Relay B: Kate Hibbard andBetsy Turner swam with Adam Barley and Justin Stauder to place 7 th with a time of 1:49.93. Mixed 18+ Medley Relay A placed 15 th with a time of 1:57.36 and included Maura Bolger and Danielle Myers teaming up with Brian Hofmann and Stephen Gomez.

In the Women 25+ Free Relay A, Kate Hibbard, Maura Bolger andDanielle Myers teamed up with Erin Tudor of Roanoke to place 4 th with a time of 1:44.60. Kate (26.13) rode the wave into the wall to lead off the relay, followed by Maura (26.36) and Danielle, who posted an impressive 25.99! Also swimming in the Women 25+ Free Relay B, Claire Russo andKatie Webb teamed up with Maggie Lamb and Amy Charley to finished 10 th with a time of 1:52.65. Claire swam a 27.04 and Katie posted a 29.03. Women 25+ Medley Relay: Kate Hibbard (bk, 29.14), Claire Russo (br, 32.58) andDanielle Myers (fly, 28.16) again teamed up with Erin Tudor (fr, 25.41) to finish 3 rd and set a new LMSC record of 1:55.29, breaking the previous record of 1:56.60 set in 1994.

In the Mixed 35+ Medley Relay B, Dave Holland swam the breastroke leg with Lee Lewis, Donna Hodgert and Rebecca Franklin to finish 18 th in a time of 2:01.40.

Women 45+ Free Relay: Alice Phillips teamed up with Jenny Kellinger, Molly Dean Bittner and Annette Patterson to finish 3 rd with a time of 1:48.11. This is a new LMSC record and bests the old record of 1:51.48 set in 2003. Women 45+ Medley Relay: Alice Phillips swam the butterfly leg with Annette Patterson, Patricia Miller and Jenny Kellinger to finish 2 nd in a time of 2:01.16! This is another new LMSC record and bests the previous record of 2:13.74. Alice Phillips also swam in the 45+ Mixed Free Relay with David Malsbury, Annette Patterson and Gregory Harris to finish 4 th with a new LMSC record time of 1:39.35.

Women 55+ Free Relay: Nancy Betts swam with Marcia Berry, Kitten Braaten and Shirley Loftus-Charley to finish 4 th with a time of 2:08.09 in a new LMSC record beating the old record of 2:13.11. Women 55+ Medley Relay: Nancy Betts led off the backstroke leg with the same ladies to finish 4 th in a time of 2:23.43, which is another LMSC record, beating the old record of 2:30.86. Men 55+ Free Relay: Dave Frisch teamed up with Jim Miller, Tom Woods and Randolph Wise to finish 17 th with a time of 2:04.06. In the Mixed 55+ Free Relay, Dave Frisch swam with William Throne, Marcia Berry and Shirley Loftus-Charley to finish 7 th with a time of 1:54.27. Nancy Betts andDave Frisch swam with William Throne and Shirley Loftus-Charley in the Mixed 55+ Medley Relay to place 9 th with a time of 2:12.57.

All total, there were 15 NOVA affiliated swimmers in Greensboro. These 15 swimmers tallied an impressive 57 Top 10 individual finishes, 12 Top 10 Relay finishes, 10 new individual LMSC records, 7 new LMSC Relay records and 1 individual National record.

For more info, check out Chris’ recap on the website:


Todd pictured with is daughter Kate

When did you join NOVA Masters and how often do you swim?

I had been swimming with the Masters Group at ACAC (with Bill & George) but when my daughter Kate started swimming in Brent’s group in 2007, I began swimming the first hour of their 4:30 am practice a few days a week. In 2008, when she could drive herself to practice, Mark “recruited” me to start swimming with his masters group. I think Kate paid him to get me to leave Brent’s group. I try to swim three days a week, but most of the time it is difficult due to my travel schedule. I travel about 100-120 nights a year.

What is your background as a swimmer and athlete?

Growing up in Richmond in the 70’s and early 80’s I swam year round at Briarwood (now ACAC) with Mike Wren and his brothers. When I could drive, I swam my Junior and Senior years in high school at the CAC Rams at VCU and got to swim with Dave Holland! I swam my freshman year (1982-83 season) at the University of Tennessee for Coach Ray Bussard. I took a break from swimming after that and then got back into swimming again when I turned 40 (almost 8 years ago).

What motivates you to wake up and swim at 5:45am?

It’s later than 4:30 am…plus at my age I can’t sleep late anymore. No, seriously, I swim to keep in shape (can’t you tell!) and I the enjoy the camaraderie of the NOVA Masters group. What a way to start your day with Mark and his sage Kutzisms!

Outside of the pool, who are you?

Husband to Robin (married 23 years), Dad to Kate (freshman at UCLA), Henry (junior at The Steward School), and Jack (freshman at St. Christopher’s). I own and operate an international industrial distribution business (Fi-Tech, Inc.) with my brother Jeff.

Some people might be surprised to know that.

Coach Mark was one of my coaches at the CAC Rams (1980-1982). Don’t remember any Kutzisms from those days. I guess he has become wiser with age!

Favorite Kutzism:

“For those whom much rest is given, much is expected!” And the classic “Are you going to finish like a champ or a chump?”

On the dry side of life, a few of our folks put on their running shoes and did the Monument Ave. 10K in impressive fashion last weekend. Maura Bolger, Jocelyn Posthumus, and Kristan Jacobson were each in the 47-48 minute range. That’s fast! In addition, Elizabeth Cohen walked the race with her mother and raised $1,100 for Comfort Zone Camp! Elizabeth also reports that one of our former members, Julie Rechel, was 6 th overall on the female side (35:19).

Chris Stevenson reports that the final Top 10 lists have been published for the 2011 SCM and LCM season Grab some coffee and settle in, because the NOVA folks did well! We begin with the World Rankings and keep scrolling down for the USMS rankings…

FINA Top Ten (SCM and LCM)

Each year, the international governing body for swimming (FINA) compiles a list of the best times in the world, and we’re fortunate to have quite a few from NOVA! Congrats to Lisa Bennett (6 indiv. events), Nancy Betts (3 relays) Maura Bolger (3 indiv. events, including 2nd in the world in the 200 fly SCM), Billy Gaines (4 indiv. events, including top 3 in 3 events, plus 2 relays), Kate Hibbard (1 indiv, 1 relay), Dave Holland (2 indiv, 2 relays), and Chris Stevenson (9 indiv, 3 relays). Chris finished 2011 as tops in the world in the 50-100-200 back SCM, 100-200 back LCM, and 100 fly LCM !!

The complete list is here:

Congrats to the following “Senior Greys” who made the list for the 2011 SCM season, which officially concluded on Dec. 31:

Maura Bolger, Danielle Myers, Claire Russo, Suzanne Newell, Lisa Bennett, and Chris Stevenson . The complete list is here:

Congrats to Maura (200 fly) and Chris (50-100-200 back), who each finished with #1 rankings, thereby earning them the distinguished honor of…

USMS All-Americans and All-Stars

Each year USMS publishes a list and confers “All-American” status to the swimmer who finishes the year with the #1 ranked time in the country for each event, across SCY, SCM, and LCM courses. The award is given for several long distance categories as well, including the postal swims. In addition, “All-Star” status is given to one male and one female in each age group who recorded the highest number of top times.

At NOVA, for 2011, the following people had at least one #1 swim (individually or in a relay) and earned USMS All-American awards: Elizabeth Cohen (Long Distance), Kate Hibbard (pool indiv.), Maura (both LD and pool indiv!), Billy Gaines (pool indiv), Nancy Betts (pool relay), Chris Stevenson (pool indiv.), Lisa Bennett (pool indiv.), and Suzanne Newell (pool indiv.).

The complete lists are here:

We had one “All-Star” from our group: Congrats to Chris Stevenson, who finished the year as the top ranked stud in the 45-49 age group. Chris was one of only 3 All-Stars in our LMSC. Mark, it’s time to blast that song by Smash Mouth in Chris’ honor!!


With the warm weather, it’s time to start thinking about signing up for an open water event. We have several good ones in the area, so mark your calendars:

May 26-27: Jim McDonnell Lake Swims- Reston

June 24: Jack King 1-mile Ocean Swim- Va. Beach

July 14: Chris Greene Lake 1- and 2-mile Cable Swims- Charlottesville

NEW THIS YEAR: t-shirt contest- design the logo for this year’s tshirt and receive a $50.00 licensing fee and a free t-shirt (see Dave Holland for details).

For the full list of all upcoming meets and open water swims, check out the masters’ website:

with husband

When did you join NOVA Masters and how often do you swim?

I joined NOVA Masters in October of 2010. When I first started attending NOVA practices I generally came to practice twice a week. After having some mild success in Arizona at spring nationals last year, I got a bit more motivated and started coming to practice about 4 times per week.

What is your background as a swimmer and athlete?

I started swimming on a YMCA team when I was 4, along with taking gymnastics classes. When I was 7, I decided that I liked swimming better so I decided to focus on that. After that, I swam for the Retriever Aquatic Club at UMBC for two years. Then made the switch to NBAC where I stayed until I went on to swim at West Chester University for 4 years.

After swimming at WCU with a demonic Hungarian transplant of a distance coach, I really thought that I never wanted to swim competitively again. While teaching in Pennsylvania I also was fortunate enough to coach the high school swim team, which kept me involved with the sport and kept me from missing it too much. When I got married and moved to Richmond in 2010, I started to really miss being around the sport, so I decided on a whim to email Mark Kutz to ask about his masters practices, and the rest is history.

When I’m not swimming in the mornings I’m usually running. I ran cross-country in high school and actually got more recruiting interest from college coaches for running cross country than for swimming. Nowadays, I enjoy running for fitness more than running races.

What motivates you to wake up and swim at 5:45am?

I have always been a person who loves a challenge, so there is nothing better than starting the day with one of Mark’s practices. Also, I’ve found that starting the day off with a swim really helps me manage my stress throughout the day. I love coming in every morning and seeing my friends. At Nova, I really feel like I got a transplant family after moving to Virginia. I love my teammates, and I don’t know what I would do without them. They are my social group, support system, and some of the coolest people that I have ever met.

Outside of the pool, who are you?

Outside of the pool, I fight the war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, I teach good sportsmanship and fair play, how to balance a checkbook and how to apply for a job. In short, I teach math to students in grades 6 th – 9 th . I find my job to be very entertaining. Middle school kids, at times, say and do some very bizarre things. Teaching this age group really requires you to be able to roll with the punches. My other favorite Mark…..Mark Twain, once said that "the American male does not live beyond the emotional age of 14." Maybe that's why I like to compare teaching middle school to a beer commercial. it certainly keeps your attention.

I also enjoy spending time with my own “American Male” at home. I have an awesome husband (aka NOVA swim fan #1), who is a fixture at our swim meets.

Some people might be surprised to know that.

I was a rambunctious and intrepid child. One example that has been repeated countless times is worthy of sharing. On this particular occasion my poor mom took me and my 3 siblings (all 4 of us under the age of 9) to the mall for some shoe shopping. The story goes that I asked my mom if we could stop for ice cream, but my mom said that we were in the wrong mall for that. Well, apparently I wasn’t going to have any of that, so I went off on my own merry way in search of ice cream. I was and still am very quiet when I want to be, so slipping away was no problem.

Everyone's memory gets fuzzy after that but the next thing my mom knew she found her 5 year-old daughter being questioned by police, refusing to reveal her name and holding two batman action figures, one of them without a head. To this day, nobody has any idea where that head went. I think that pretty much sums me up.

Also, and I know Dave will kill me if I don’t mention this….I held the NAG record in the 100 Fly (LCM) when I was 10 years-old for about 2 minutes.

I don’t care WHO you are – this is FUN !” and “It’s fun to go Fast!”


August 3-6, 2011 USMS Long Course Nationalswere held in Auburn, Alabama. Chris Stevenson, Billy Gaines, Kate Hibbard, Dave Holland, Danielle Myers, Nancy Betts, and Mr. War Eagle alumni himself (Bill Winters) made the trip. Bill, Chris, and Dave flew down together on August 2 and were greeted at the airport by Billy, who had flown in from Las Vegas earlier in the day. The foursome shared a rental car to make the 100-mile trek from Atlanta to Auburn, dragging Kate along for at least 50 of those miles in a ruse that Billy was nowhere to be found. Oh, the beauty of texting. The entire group enjoyed a few days of southern hospitality and fast swimming, helping the Virginia Masters team to a third place finish in the team standings.

Nancywas impressive at her first Nationals, setting a new LMSC record in 50 back and also being a part of two national championship relays. Each of the NOVA folks was fortunate to bring home at least one national championship medal, with Chris and Billy leading the way with 5 each.

In the records department, the Kutzies accounted for 15 new LMSC records (Nancy in the 50 back, Billy in the 50-200-400-800 free, Kate in the 200 free, 200 IM, 100-200 back, Dave in the 800 free and 400 IM, Danielle in the 100 fly, and Chris in the 200 back (also a WORLD RECORD), 50 fly (also a Colonies Zone record), and 200 fly (another zone record). Read more about Chris in our Master’s Spotlight below.

Highlights from the meet are also available here:

Oct. 16, 2011 22 nd Annual Bermuda Round the Sound Open Water Swim. Elizabeth Cohen made the trip to beautiful Bermuda and swam the 10k event. Here is her recap:

What open water race is only a 2 hour plane ride from the east coast and offers multiple practice swims, two event socials, clear blue tropical

78 degree water, a race bag that includes everything from Garfield Band-Aids to airplane-size bottles of rum, lots of warm weather and sunshine, and a unique and picturesque palm tree-lined race course with 5 distances to choose from ranging from 0.8K to 10K.

Bermuda Round the Sound!

With almost 300 swimmers, approximately half from “overseas”, my first tropical/destination race (of hopefully many) was a great combination of well-run events, plus plenty of time for lying on the beach, sightseeing, scuba diving, cave exploring, and more. The race conditions were ideal: overcast, calm water for over half the race, a little current assist in the middle, and just a bit of chop towards the end for a little extra challenge and variety.

Staying at the host hotel (at approximately $200 off/night for being part of the race!) and being surrounded by other swimmers and their friends and families was a great way to meet other athletes from all over the place and have a great and unique swim vacation experience. Swimmers of all ages and abilities participated and even though I may have been one of the slower 10K swimmers, I could always see others swimmers and/or boat support around me. The race went just as I hoped. I took my time, didn’t swallow too much salt water, avoided the one large jellyfish I almost swam into, and finished (in 3 hours, 41 mins and 45 seconds) with a little energy to spare. 10K results included 67 swimmers (ages 17 to 61) with times ranging from 2 hours 17 minutes to 5 hours 16 minutes.

There was one master’s team at the event from NJ that had 12 swimmers competing in a variety of distances. So who wants to join me next year for the 22 nd annual Bermuda Round the Sound swim?! Or maybe the St. John Beach to Beach Power swim, St. Croix Coral Reef Swim, or Grand Cayman Pirate Week Swim? There are so many to choose from!! :)

Elizabeth C.

Nov. 5, 2011: 31st Annual VMST Fall Swim Meet in Virginia Beach (SCM). The NOVA contingent was small but forceful this year. As Mark described them, “not one of them over 5’2” but they’re a force to be reckoned with.” Maura Bolger, Danielle Myers, and Claire Russo went down there and took names! Elizabeth Cohen made the trip as well, providing support from the sidelines. Maura led the charge with 5 new LMSC records, subjecting herself to some kind of masochistic iron cross and nabbing 3 records within a single (albeit very long 1500 meter) swim. Maura’s records were set in the 400-800-1500 free, 400 IM, and 200 fly. Claire was dominant in the breaststroke as usual, and Danielle earned two records of her own (800 free and 400 IM for women 25-29). Maura provided the recap:

The meet started off with a bang: Danielle swam to a win in the 800m free in a new Virginia record for the 25-29 age group in 9:51.62. Danielle and Claire swam next to each other in the 4th event, the 50m breast with Claire edging Danielle 37.34 to 37.70 for the win. Danielle earned the win in the 50m free in 29.68. Event 9 was Claire's 100m breast, and you guessed it, she won the 25-29 age group in 1:20.54. In Danielle's last event, she and I swam the 400m IM next to each other. Each of us won our age group (I'm 30-34!) and broke the VA records. Danielle swam a 5:32.11 to break Betsy's record from last year! I swam a 5:18.55 to break Lisa Bennett's record.

Clairecarried the torch after Danielle left to work on her graduate school classes. She swam to a first place finish in the 200m breast with a 2:58.24 to sweep all three breaststroke events. I swam event 17 next, the 200m fly, and won in a VA record 2:29.28. Claire finished up her meet with the 100m IM and the 50m backstroke back-to-back. She finished first in the IM in 1:15.59 and first in the back with a 38.52. I competed in the VERY last event - the 1500m free and many thanks to Claire and Elizabeth Cohen for cheering and counting! I won in a new VA record of 18:38.38.

It was a good meet with lots of wins for the NOVA contingent!

Top Ten SCY

Chris Stevensonreports that the final Top 10 lists have been published for the 2011 SCY season the table below shows how the NOVA masters swimmers did in individual swims.

You Can Officially Attend a Taco Academy Taught by Taco Masters

Jose Garces, Enrique Olvera, Ray Garcia, and Rick Bayless are teaching courses, which run in three-day installments throughout the year.

Chef Enrique Olvera—sometimes DJ, all around noisemaker—is now sharing his taco-making skills with the universe. As part of an inaugural Taco Academy series at Rosewood Mayakoba resort near Mexico’s Playa del Carmen, the World’s 50 Best chef will be teaching participants the complexities of making masa, foraging for herbs, and even pit-roasting barbacoa. The the final installment of the four-part series will take place from November 16 to 18, and other chefs scheduled to participate earlier in the year include Ray Garcia of L.A.’s Broken Spanish, Rick Bayless and James Beard Award-winning Jose Garces.

While a full schedule or prices have yet to be released, the carnitas-laden curriculum will likely vary by chef. Garcia will be kicking off the series from April 19 to 21, and everyone everywhere is hoping he’ll reveal the secrets to his rabbit mixiotes. At his downtown L.A. restaurant Broken Spanish, the vermilion rabbit stew is presented to diners wrapped in cellphone pouch to evoke the gift that it is. Dishes like these have been turning heads. To stand out for Mexican cuisine in L.A. is no easy feat, but native son Garcia has managed to do it𠅊nd he may be the most well-known chef in the city parlaying modern Mexican flavors.

Bayless, who will be teaching the course from May 25 to 27, needs little introduction. While the chef has detractors who question his Mexican-American cuisine, or more significantly, the systems of privilege and race behind it, the fact remains that Bayless was able to portray Mexican cuisine in an elevated context when few other chefs in America were able to do so. In part, writers like Francis Lam have said, because of aspects of privilege. Bayless, a bilingual chef who has traveled extensively through Mexico, has spent decades studying the cuisine and remains one of the most well-known chefs cooking Mexican-American cuisine today.

The third course in the four part Taco Academy series will be led by Jose Garces over Labor Day weekend: from August 31 to September 2. The Ecuadorian-American chef and restaurateur is probably best known for his Philadelphia-based collection of restaurants, which have solidified a representation of the Latin diaspora in a city not normally known for it.

And finally, rounding out the year-long series in November will be Olvera. Known for many things, one of the chef’s biggest accomplishments is perhaps venerating the taco to the limits of conscientiousness. Painstakingly sourcing once obscure varieties of corn𠅌ónico, Chalqueño, and Bolita𠅏rom the far reaches of Mexico, his enduring study of nixtamalization is belied by the few seconds in which it takes to polish off one of his tacos. Thus, a class in learning how to make them is sure to be more than the sum of its parts.


Colicchio was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, the son of Beverly (née Corvelli) and Thomas Colicchio. [3] [4] His father was a union organizer. [5] He is of Italian descent on both sides. [6] He graduated in 1980 from Elizabeth High School. [7]

In the mid-1980s, Colicchio served as a sous-chef to Thomas Keller at Rakel. [8]

In July 1994, Colicchio and his partner Danny Meyer opened the Gramercy Tavern in the Gramercy Park neighborhood of Manhattan. It was voted Most Popular Restaurant in New York City by the Zagat Survey in 2003 and 2005. He sold his interest in 2006 and is no longer affiliated with the restaurant. [9] In spring 2001, he opened the first Craft restaurant one block south of Gramercy Tavern. A year later, he opened the first Craftsteak at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. In 2003, he began the first 'wichcraft, his sandwich shop. In 2010, he opened Colicchio & Sons, and also Riverpark. Shortly after the September 11 attacks, Colicchio joined volunteers serving food to rescue workers at Ground Zero. [10]

Colicchio won the 2010 Outstanding Chef award from the James Beard Foundation. [11]

Colicchio has written three cookbooks. He, Jeff Bridges, and Raj Patel appeared in the documentary film A Place at the Table released in the U.S. on March 1, 2013. The movie was directed by his wife Lori Silverbush. [5] He is also Executive Producer of A Place At The Table. [12]

Colicchio serves on the Food Council at City Harvest and the Culinary Council at Food Bank for New York City, two hunger-relief organizations. [13] [14]

Television Edit

Colicchio has been involved with Top Chef since its beginning in 2006, where he has served as head judge. He is also the main consulting producer on Bravo's Top Chef spin-off series entitled Top Chef Masters. [15] He also won an Emmy Award in 2010 for Outstanding Reality-Competition Programming as an executive producer of Top Chef, on which he appears. [16]

Colicchio was the host of the reality series Best New Restaurant (an adaptation of the British reality show Ramsay's Best Restaurant) in 2015.

Colicchio appeared in the fifth episode of the first season of HBO's Treme as himself along with fellow chefs Eric Ripert, David Chang and Wylie Dufresne. He made another cameo in Season 2 alongside Ripert. In 2011, he made cameos in the Season 23 premiere episode of The Simpsons, "The Falcon and the D'ohman," and The Smurfs. [17]

Podcasting Edit

In June 2020, Colicchio launched his podcast, "Citizen Chef" via the iHeartRadio Podcast Network. The seasonal series deals with issues of food, politics, policy and citizenship. [18]

Restaurants Edit

    , NY [22]
  • New York City
  • Las Vegas, The Mirage [24]
  • New York City [25]
  • New York City [26]

Former restaurants Edit

  • Beachcraft, Miami Beach, closed [27]
  • Craft, Dallas, closed June 30, 2012 [28]
  • Craft and Craftbar, Atlanta, closed [29]
  • Craftbar, New York City, closed [30]
  • Craftsteak, MGM Grand at Foxwoods, closed [31]
  • Colicchio & Sons, New York City, closed [32] , New York City, no longer affiliated [33]
  • Topping Rose House, Bridgehampton, NY, no longer affiliated [34]
  • 'wichcraft, Las Vegas, closed [35]
  • 'wichcraft, San Francisco, closed [36]

He has been married to filmmaker Lori Silverbush since 2001. [10] He has three sons: Dante (born 1993), his child with an ex-girlfriend, [37] and his two children with Silverbush, Luka Bodhi (born 2009) [38] and Mateo Lev (born 2011). [39]

Full Schedule of Events at Disney World in 2021


Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend — Virtual Event: Jan. 6 to 10, 2021

The Walt Disney World Marathon 2021 Weekend featured Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge, Dopey Challenge, runDisney Kids Races, Walt Disney World 5K & 10K, Walt Disney World Half Marathon and the headlining race, the Walt Disney World Marathon. Normally, the courses of the longer races take runners through all four Walt Disney World Resort theme parks. In 2021, the event moved to a virtual race for the health and safety of participants.

If you're planning a trip that overlaps with a race outside of 2021, you should know that Disney races are some of the Disney World events that will bring in heavy crowds. Crowd levels are usually affected by the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend since the event brings in thousands and thousands of runners and spectators each year. Traffic around the resort is also affected by the Walt Disney World Marathon. When visiting during this special event, expect travel time between the Disney parks to take longer. We have a separate post on what to expect at the Disney World Marathon if you want to start planning!

EPCOT International Festival of the Arts — Jan. 8 to Feb. 22, 2021

Grab a paintbrush, and let your imagination flow! This EPCOT festival celebrates visual, performing and culinary arts. There are usually gallery exhibits, living statues, artist appearances and much more that take place during the festival. This year, a modified version debuted Jan. 8, 2021. Normally, the Disney on Broadway Concert Series offers nightly performances at the America Gardens Theatre, but instead the Voices of Liberty serenaded with the new "Disney Songbook".

EPCOT International Festival of the Arts is typically included with admission to the park, but there are separately ticketed events within the festival itself if you are looking for additional experiences such as culinary classes or art workshops. Here is our full guide to EPCOT International Festival of the Arts if you're planning a trip during this time next year.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend — Virtual Event: Feb. 18 to 21, 2021

Inspired by the Disney Princesses, this event is designed with women in mind. Weekend events will include the Disney Princess 5K, Disney Princess Enchanted 10K, Disney Fairy Tale Challenge and the headlining event, the Disney Princess Half Marathon. Normally, the half marathon takes runners through Magic Kingdom and EPCOT, but the race was converted to a virtual event for 2021. Traffic around the parks is typically affected by this race every year.


EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival — March 3 to July 5, 2021

As the second event in the lineup of the EPCOT festivals, EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival blossoms each spring. This festival features more than 100 topiaries spread throughout the park. There are an abundance of food offerings at the outdoor kitchens scattered around World Showcase and Future World to enjoy while admiring the character topiaries. Popular kitchens include the locally-grown Florida Fresh, Citrus Blossom and Honey Bee-stro.

Guests can also delight in the hundreds of butterfly species residing at the festival's screened butterfly house. The festival concerts take place at America Gardens Theatre every night during the event. EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival is included with regular admission to EPCOT. This is one of the most colorful and popular Disney World events!

Check out the sights and sounds of EPCOT's 2020 Flower & Garden Festival below!

Star Wars Rival Run Half Marathon Weekend — Virtual Event: April 15 to 18, 2021

Star Wars Rival Run Half Marathon 2021 Weekend features iconic rivalries from "Star Wars." Weekend events include the Star Wars 5K, Star Wars 10K, Star Wars Rival Run Challenge and the runDisney Kids Races, as well as the headlining half marathon. Registration opened July 14, 2020, and the majority of the races have sold out already. Start perfecting using the Force (maybe it can help you punch it to beat your best race time?). This event was modified into a virtual event for 2021, and the theming will be imagined for 2022.


Disney After Hours BOO BASH (Magic Kingdom) — Aug. 10 to Oct. 31, 2021

Get ready for Halloween at Magic Kingdom with the new Disney After Hours BOO BASH! The separately ticked event will take place on select nights from Aug. 10 to Oct. 31, from 9 p.m. to midnight. Festivities will include Halloween character cavalcades, character sightings throughout the park, performances from the Cadaver Dans, spooktacular decor, lighting and music, treat stops and more. Guests can dress up in their best costumes, and enter the park as early as 7 p.m. without a day ticket or a Disney Park Pass reservation. Tickets will go on sale next month so check back for more details!

There is no announcement yet on Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party for 2021. While the party did not take place in 2020, there was still plenty of Halloween fun hoppening at Magic Kingdom, including special character cavalcades, spooky-good treats and more!

EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival — July 15 to Nov. 20, 2021

The popular EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival returns July 15 and runs through Nov. 22. If you're looking for Disney World events with plenty of food and drink, this is one of them! The festival features more than 25 international marketplace kiosks, which offer tapas-sized portions of regional specialties, as well as recommended wine and beer pairings. Most years, guests can spend time sharpening their culinary and beverage skills in seminars too. There are also usually opportunities to partake in special dining experiences with celebrity chefs for an additional charge. This a major event, and we recommend using our EPCOT Food & Wine Festival guide to help you make the most of it!

The Eat to the Beat! Concert Series was not held in 2020 due to being unable to accommodate physical distancing, but other musical acts and entertainment, such as Mariachi Cobre, JAMMitors and Voices of Liberty, will continue to entertain guests. EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival is included with regular theme park admission.

Get a taste of the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival with our sights and sounds video below.

Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend — TBD

The Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend combines the magic of a runDisney race with the festivities of the Food & Wine Festival. Races include the Disney Fall Feast 5K, Kids Races and the Half Marathon. Half-marathoners and Disney Two-Course Challenge participants can celebrate at an exclusive post-race party at the Food and Wine Festival. You can find more event and registration details on the runDisney site. In 2020, this event took place virtually from Nov. 5 to 8, 2020.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (Magic Kingdom) — TBD

One of our favorite Disney World events, Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, is a special event held on select nights each winter at Magic Kingdom. The party runs from 7 p.m. until midnight. The big highlights from this event are Mickey's Once Upon A Christmastime Parade, Mickey's Most Merriest Celebration castle stage show, Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime fireworks and magical snowfall over Main Street, U.S.A.

There are also plenty of opportunities to meet your favorite Disney characters, some of whom are decked out in their holiday finest. Cookies and hot cocoa are included with admission to this separately ticketed event. It is recommended you purchase tickets in advance because it is common for nights to sell out. Get your party ticket, and check out our guide to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party so that you can get in on all of the holly jolly fun too!

While Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is a separate event, there are still many festive holiday Disney World events. Each one brings merriment with the right touch of Disney. Let our complete guide to Disney World holiday events be your holiday planner! (Consider it our gift to you.)

While the party was canceled in 2020, Magic Kingdom still decked its halls! Cinderella Castle was wrapped in special rotating overlays, and characters wore their holiday best to give season's greetings to guests in special seasonal cavalcades.

EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays (EPCOT) — TBD

EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays takes place each winter in 2020, the festival ran from Nov. 27 to Dec. 30. Storytellers from many of the countries, such as La Bafena at the Italy pavilion, recount holiday customs from their respective countries. Santa Claus even made special pop-up appearances in 2020. There's also seasonal food from each country available for purchase. Buon appetito!

The Candlelight Processional is typically performed three times nightly. The show tells the story of Christmas with a celebrity narrator, accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and mass choir. Much like other EPCOT festivals, EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays is included with regular admission to EPCOT. We have tips on all of these festivities (and yes, the food too) in our full guide!

Holiday Celebrations at Disney's Animal Kingdom — TBD

In 2020, Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park put on a modified celebration for the holidays from Nov. 6 to Dec. 30. Guests could wave at favorite characters in their holiday best, as well as Santa, in Festive Flotillas along Discovery River. There were also special seasonal decorations and food to enjoy around the park! We expect that a similar event will return in 2021.

Holiday Celebrations at Disney's Hollywood Studios — TBD

Share a meal with Santa Goofy, Minnie Mouse and friends at Hollywood & Vine for a Christmas feast. Sunset Season's Greetings typically lights up Tinseltown as snow falls and dazzling projections light up the Hollywood Tower Hotel to tell special holiday tales from your favorite characters. This show takes place intermittently throughout the night. It was modified in 2020 — while projections still appeared, the storytelling and snowfall were on hold. Plus guests could catch Santa driving by in a special seasonal motorcade! In 2020, this took place from Nov. 6 to Dec. 30, and we expect similar festivities will return in 2021.

Holiday Celebrations at Disney Springs — TBD

Holidays at Disney Springs is a special event that replaced Festival of the Seasons at Downtown Disney (the previous name for the entertainment area). Holiday decorations include the Disney Springs' Christmas Trail, a trail of trees decorated and themed as Disney characters. In 2020, the trees were spread out throughout Disney Springs instead of one central location. In the evening, guests visiting areas within Town Center, West Side and The Landing encountered a magical snowfall. Jock Lindsay's Holiday Bar returned once again with holiday decor and a limited-time menu. Holidays at Disney Springs is a free Disney World event, and we can't wait to see what's in store for 2021!

We hope you found this list of Disney World events hopful as you plan your visit. By now you've realized that the parties, festivals and events are some of the best reasons to visit! If you are looking for more tips, check out the When to Visit Orlando page on our Orlando Planning Timeline!

Theater Review: 'Dutch Masters' by Northern Stage

The theater for this moment is either a comforting diversion or a reflection of the changes we're confronting. Northern Stage is trying both with a three-part series called Tiny Necessary Theater. Starting with the tough stuff, the first of their pieces looks at racism in a compelling two-character show. Convenient to stream, and with a low ticket price, Northern Stage is making theater accessible. And necessary.

Greg Keller's Dutch Masters premiered in 2018 but is set in New York City when David Dinkins, the city's first and only Black mayor, was in office in the early '90s. It won't seem so long ago — systemic racism was masked then with the claim "we're all equal now."

On a summer day in 1992, two young men meet on a nearly empty Bronx-bound D train. Eric is Black, Steve is white, and their interactions are rooted in racial differences that they strain to avoid addressing overtly. After Eric tosses a "whassup?" to the lanky guy buried in a book on the train, the two will spend 70 taut minutes in a physical and mental dance of trust and suspicion.

They will discover a surprising connection, but not before Keller lets them struggle to see each other through the tangle of respect, fear and anger that forms their racial perspective. The dialogue is natural, but it's all icebergs — what's beneath the surface pitches the characters forward and asks the audience to witness the unspoken essence of racial distrust.

Director Rachel H. Dickson keeps the characters in a delicate balance, pushing and pulling each other as they shift the audience's sympathies. In riveting performances, the actors carve out the little hesitation before revealing the truth, or suppressing it.

Eric's motives are impossible to guess. Only minutes after meeting Steve, he confides, "Me and my friends are robbing this train." Is it a tip, a boast, a lie, a confidence or a threat? As Eric, Nuri Hazzard lets every interpretation glisten in his silent stare at the white kid too frozen to clutch his backpack off the seat.

Hazzard smiles broadly one moment then glowers the next, daring Steve to accept his friendship. Is Eric propelled by anger or a yearning to connect? Hazzard captures both menace and sincerity, driving viewers to experience their own prejudices. Should Steve trust him? Would I?

As Steve, John Kroft is a jangle of long limbs and pure nerves. He churns through sloppy lies about why he can't join Eric to smoke dope while striving to agree with Eric's suggestion that "We be boys, right?" Kroft plays Steve as boyish and impulsive, and when Eric calls out his evasions, Steve shows more curiosity than courage when he leaves the train with Eric.

A two-character play is a partnership, and Hazzard and Kroft maintain a stunning connection from start to finish. Two things this reviewer has missed most during the loss of live theater were in welcome abundance here: the give-and-take of performers working face-to-face and the gorgeous danger of a confrontation. Streaming lacks the immediacy of live performance, but this production crackles with energy nonetheless.

Physical distance or proximity underlines every point of tension in the play. The actors are together, performing for the camera on sets at Northern Stage. Anyone who's ridden a subway knows about guarding personal space, and the play begins with Eric pushing himself into Steve's. The characters approach and recoil as they test trust, and the camera often exaggerates distance by limiting depth of field to leave one actor out of focus.

Film designer and editor Alek Deva uses camera techniques to flatten or expand space. The performing restraints of COVID-19 kept the actors six feet apart except for brief moments, but Dickson converts the limitation into strength, emphasizing the characters' constant impulse to pull apart. Watching them flinch from each other converts pandemic distance into the gulf of racism itself.

The production is simple but technically masterful. Helen Rooker consulted on the effective lighting, and James Roeder advised on sets that merge abstraction with gritty touches of realism. Sound designer Kate Marvin built a sonic city background to convey the world beyond the frame.

The play is staged theatrically, but streaming adds the intimacy of close-ups. The camera is unobtrusive and the tone is neutral, as if we're seeing the characters more truthfully than they see themselves.

There's suspense in wondering what comes next, and this production is as gripping as it gets. But here the wondering extends a little deeper, as prejudice simmers and viewers can project their own responses to a situation that distills race and class differences. The fierce, hidden beliefs that the characters have to face are there for the viewer to confront, too.

Watch the video: The RITZ CARLTON Vlog. #SANTABARBARA #LexANDJohn #theritz #carlton #Cali (January 2022).