Name: Bill Ireland
City and State: Venice, California
Age Group: Young Adult (50-54)
Team Affiliation: SCAQ, in West Los Angeles, Culver City and Santa Monica, CA. .
How long have you been swimming in Masters & why did you decide to join?
I started swimming Masters when I was in law school in about 1982, with SCAQ—and nearly 30 years later, I am still swimming with the same group, some of the same coaches and swimmers over all those years, but mostly not. Its hard to remember why I started—I think I was just in the habit of swimming for exercise when I was in law school and I followed some friends to SCAQ. Clay Evans and Bonnie Adair were great coaches and I stuck with them—and it. I’m sure both have wished I had wandered off sometime but I haven’t.
What kind of swimming background do you have?
I was a mediocre high school swimmer and water polo player in San Diego, after being an age group swimmer for La Mesa Swimming Association. I chose to go to a DIII school(Pomona College), where I swam and played water polo. I was better at persevering than performing. I guarded and coached water polo during the school year, and was a beach lifeguard for San Diego City for about 5 summers. I started to compete in open water competitions during my years of guarding, along with swimming the La Jolla Roughwater as an age grouper.
Where do you swim and how often? Do you compete? If you do compete what are your favorite events to swim?
I probably workout 4 to 6 times a week year round, mostly in the pool but I get in the ocean with friends regularly. This last year we managed to swim year round in the local ocean. I compete pretty extensively (but not very successfully) in open water swims, starting in my age group and guarding days. I’ve done a lot of open water races over the last 40 years–I counted and I’ve swum 100 races outside easy driving distance of Southern California—Hawaii, Bermuda, Fiji, Oregon, Ohio, Florida, New York, Maryland, Boston Lighthouse, etc. I’ve done more in Southern California, of course. I do some pool competitions as well, and have swum in about 5 or 6 USMS nationals, and the Stanford worlds. I’m not very good but I’ve had some successes in different places. I do have a lot of swim t-shirts filling my closets.
How does Swimming help you with your lifestyle (health, relationships, etc.)?
It helps me to stay more focused, energetic and relaxed. If I don’t get a chance to swim or get some form of exercise, I’m pretty miserable company. I also have a lot of friends from swimming, which is hard to explain to people who don’t swim. It’s not hard to explain that I have friends—it’s hard to explain why it’s fun to swim with others—and hard to swim by myself.
What do you do for a living out of the pool?
I’m a lawyer—which is pretty common on our masters team for some reason. Sometimes it seems like everyone in our lane is a lawyer.
What do people (coworkers, friends) say when you tell them that you are a masters swimmer?
Huh is the usual answer. The subject usually comes up when I mention that I have done some open water swim race or I am trying to explain how funny it was when our lane leader misunderstood what the coach wanted us to do or when I’m trying to explain why I seek out Masters teams when I’m on the road to swim with(I’ve swum with a lot of different masters teams. I sometimes count things when I’m stuck with nothing to do—and I think I figured out that I had swum with at least 60 different teams—and I thank all of them for letting me join in). Or they ask what was the coldest water I have swum in (53)—and they look at me as if I’m nuts.
How about swimming advocacy? Have you helped run or start a team? Are you involved with your LMSC? Do you have a blog or swimming website you’d like to share?
I’ve done some fill-in coaching and I think I was a non-attending Board member for my masters team in the past, but nothing significant.
Anything else that you want to share? Have a great swimming story? Are you a record holder in your age group? Swimming tips?
I’m the last person to ask for tips—I have pretty terrible technique and habits. I’ve never held a record in any age group and don’t see that changing anytime soon.
One of my favorite swim stories is the first time I did the Waikiki Roughwater Swim—I’d reached the second and final turn buoy. I was being hit in both sides of the head by two swimmers—and I realized that I recognized both of them. I had Pat Dixon, a long-time swimming friend hitting me on one side, and Parks Wesson, another long time swimming friend hitting me on the other side. Both are guys I train with regularly. I realized that we probably could have stayed home, had the same experience and saved some money. But I was still glad we had gone. Both beat me to the finish by the way—something that happens with some regularity.
A big thank you to Bill for submitting a swimmer profile for the site! If you want to read more about other Masters Swimmers check out the Swimmer Profile section of the site. – Rob D.