Ah, swimming, the one sport that every doctor, health magazine, and fitness web site (including RealJock) wants you to do. It strengthens the joints, builds the muscles, and improves the cardio vascular system. You can do it when you're four... and when you're 85. That's why it's no surprise that so many GLBT swimming masters teams exist, and that one exists in New York.
What is surprising, however, is the sheer size and organizational prowess of Team New York Aquatics
(TNYA). New York's GLBT swim team took its first stroke in 1988 in preparation for Gay Games III in Vancouver. Eighteen some-odd years later, the team has over 300 members, practices at three different pools, has an Olympic gold medal winner (Bruce Hayes
) on its team, and holds enough practices each week to keep an on-staff coach busy.
That's right, a paid on-staff coach. And an Olympic champion. How many masters teams, gay, straight or otherwise, can claim either of those? (Not many.)
Jack Mackenroth, a long-term member of the team and current TNYA board member, has swam with TNYA since almost the beginning. He joined the team almost 16 years ago to get back into swimming and to meet other people in a daunting new city.
"I had been a competitive swimmer since I was a kid," says Mackenroth. "I didn't swim in college because I went to Berkeley, which is one of the most competitive swimming schools, and I was sort of through with swimming at that time. Then I moved to New York, and I didn't really know anyone, and I found Team New York my first year here and I've been with them ever since."