Name: Linda Shoenberger
City and State: Reno, NV
Age Group: 60-64
Team Affiliation: Tamalpais Aquatic Masters (TAM)
Linda at the Trans Tahoe relay (she is on the right)
How long have you been a swimming in Masters & why did you decide to join?
I have been swimming since 1996. I joined when I found out a Masters swim program was being started at my gym. At the time I was recovering from a broken leg and I happened to be at the pool on a Saturday morning when the coach showed up to start practice. He asked if I would like to join and I got right in the water.
What kind of swimming background do you have?
I grew up in a small town, Winnemucca, Nevada. They had a 4th of July swim race at the public pool when I was 12 years old. I competed and it turned out I was a pretty good swimmer. After that we moved to Reno, Nevada where I became a member of a very small swim team. I swam competitively until I was 16 years old.
Where do you swim and how often?
I swim mainly at Sports West Athletic Club about 7 blocks from my home in Reno. I am the Masters coach there along with Scott Young who is my personal coach. I swim 5 days per week. In the summer I swim twice a week at Idlewild Pool, a 50-meter outdoor pool in Idlewild Park. On Sundays a group of triathletes from my gym and the Reno Area Triathletes meet at Donner Lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains for a 2-3 mile open water swim.
I’ve read that you have set some masters records, what events are you a record holder in? What are your favorite events to swim?
This past year I set a record in the USMS National 3,000 Postal swim. I swam it in 43:32. I swam it again a couple of weeks ago and improved my time to 42:10. I believe that will be the new national record when the results are posted in a few weeks. I also won the USMS National 1 Hour Swim this year swimming 4,200 yards. I set national records at the YMCA Nationals held in Fort Lauderdale, FL this year in the 1,000 freestyle, 500 freestyle and 200 freestyle. The women’s 55+ relay that I swam on also set a YMCA national record. Lastly, my TAM Relay set a national record at the Pacific Masters Championships in Walnut Creek, CA, breaking the old record by 14 seconds in the 800 mixed free relay.
While I love to swim any freestyle event, my favorite races this year were the Trans Tahoe Relay and the Maui Channel Swim.
How does Swimming help you with your lifestyle (health, relationships, etc.)?
Through swimming I have met many wonderful people. I coach triathletes and I love it when someone asks me to be on a relay for a triathlon. I am the treasurer for Pacific Masters Swimming and the leaders for the 10,000+ member group have become good friends. On the national level I am co-chairman of the USMS Fitness Committee and I have grown so much by participating on the committee. My main job is to write monthly fitness swimming articles for the USMS website. I enjoy writing the articles and particularly I love the feedback I get from swimmers all over the United States.
As for my health, I couldn’t be healthier than I am now at 61 years old. I had high blood pressure but it is gone. I had aches and pains that have disappeared. I never have to struggle to button my pants now that I swim. I just stay in shape!
As for relationships, I have met so many wonderful people through swimming. It is as though once I became a swimmer I discovered my true personality and I have become an open and happy person. My family members are my biggest fans and my favorite moment so far in swimming was when I finished the 1,000 freestyle at Short Course Yards Pacific Masters Championships this year and I heard my 1-1/2 year old granddaughter clapping and yelling, “Go Grandma!”
What do you do for a living out of the pool?
I am a property manager. I have a wonderful boss who owns all of the property I manage. His son is my assistant. We manage a mini-storage complex, several houses, apartment buildings and vacant land. Some of the properties are located in northern Nevada so I travel frequently to Elko, Wendover and Ely, Nevada. I love Nevada and the desert/mountain landscapes so I have ample opportunity to enjoy that part of my life too. My boss is supportive of my swimming endeavors and never complains when I’m off swimming a race. I really have the best of both worlds by having a job I love and a sport I love.
What do people (coworkers, friends) say when you tell them that you are a masters swimmer?
Some people don’t even have a clue what that means. Others are extremely impressed. Co-workers and friends have always been great fans and a wonderful source of inspiration to me.
Tell us more about the “Go the Distance” program you are involved with and how others can get signed up.
Go the Distance is a fitness event run by the USMS Fitness Committee. It is going into its 3rd season in 2009 and it has become quite popular with USMS swimmers, both competitors and non-competitors. Its attraction is that it rewards everyone at every level no matter what age, shape or amount of swimming they do. To get involved, visit the www.usms.org website. In the top bar click on Health and Fitness, then on Fitness Events. (direct link to Go the Distance) Entries are free and you can track your yards each time you swim. The chart then converts your yardage into miles. Each time you reach a certain level (50 miles, 100 miles, on up to 1,000 miles) you get a certificate and you can purchase awards such as swim caps, t-shirts, mugs, etc. that are printed with your achievement. People love it and it’s great to go to a workout and see someone wearing a Go the Distance cap saying, “I swam 100 miles.” It opens doors of friendship for swimmers everywhere.
Anything else that you want to share? Have a great swimming story? Any swimming tips for us?
My swimming has progressed through the years because I am dedicated to trying new things and listening to coaches and fellow swimmers who have tips for me. I am never afraid to ask a question of a coach or a swimmer I may have just noticed doing something better or differently. I have also attended several swim clinics that always seem to give me some tip that improves my performance. Each little step eventually adds up to a great swim in the future.
I always suggest that people try to swim in a Masters group or have a personal swim coach like I have. The fun and motivation always pushes me to go farther than I ever would have on my own.
**I actually found Linda via an article in the Reno Gazette Journal. The article was great so I e-mailed the author and he put me in touch with her. A big thank you to Linda for being nice enough to share with us!
If you would like to be profiled on the site or know an exceptional masters swimmer that would make for some good reading let me know! Check out more details on the program here.