You know, it has been fifty years since Uncle Pete gave his last swimming lessons in Saltaire.
Fifty to sixty-one years ago he was coaching, inspiring, scaring and teaching little kids in a bay front full of seaweed, stinging jelly fish, big waves and a BIG STICK. Maybe the same way he used to coach, inspire, scare and condition American aviators to climb into airplanes to be shot at to win the Good War.
Anyone from those Uncle Pete swimming lessons fifty or sixty years ago remembers them like yesterday. Yesterday.
So I am sure Uncle Pete would be proud today. If one thing he ever wanted us to know in those lessons it was :
YOU CAN DO IT.
THREE UNCLE PETE SWIMMING CLASS ALUMNI FROM FIFTY OR MORE YEARS AGO DONE HIM PROUD AT THE MAGGIE FISCHER CROSSBAY SWIM THIS YEAR:
see the results here: http://greatsouthbayswim.com/2014/2014%20Maggie%20Fischer%20Swim%20Overall%20Results.htm
ALL REMARKABLE SWIMMERS AT THEIR AGE, OR ANY AGE.
At the Labor Day awards, 1962, (1963?)Danny was awarded the CUP as the best of the senior boys.
I remember Kuracheck saying when Danny came up to receive his award "We've all watched him grow up," as he handed the cup to Danny. I am sure Uncle Pete could have imagined Danny swimming across the Bay 50 years thereafter.
Diane McManus, now that is another story.
Diane McManus, In her own Write:
I think he'd be very surprised in my case, b/c I was one of those kids whom he had to practically drag into deep water. If you'd told me back then that I'd be swimming across the bay, I'd have wondered what you were smoking."
Note: Danny was the kid that was always picked first when you were choosing up sides for games.
Diane.....well...... not so much.
In fact, I can think of nothing in common between Danny and Diane except that:
1. They both swam all the way across the bay while well into their sixties and
2. More than fifty years ago Uncle Pete helped teach them to swim.
Kuracheck could coach 'em all.
And Vautier too.
|Tom Vautier 2009|
Somewhere, Coach Kuracheck is smiling.