In August 1976 the first Kentucky Masters meet was held at Lakeside Swim Club in Louisville. This long course meters meet, celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2001, was sponsored by Jack Thompson and Gary Weisenthal and had an attendance of 25 or so swimmers. In 1981 Jack Thompson called a meeting of interested adults from swim clubs in the Louisville area to form the Kentucky Local Masters Swimming Committee (KY-LMSC). Representatives were Joanne Tingley, Gary Weisenthal, Don Eckard, and John Crider from Lakeside Swim Club; William Tingley (Bill to his friends!) from Lexington Masters; George Dodge from Plantation Country Club; and Mary Graves nee Tingley from E.P."Tom" Sawyer State Park. Bill accepted the chairmanship and Joanne the positions of secretary, registrar, and treasurer; the Board of Directors consisted of the rest of the representatives. Bylaws were drawn up to form the KY-LMSC. The first clubs were Lakeside Masters, Plantation Masters, and Lexington Masters, each club being autonomous and sending two delegates to the KY-LMSC.
The KY-LMSC registers an average of over 500 swimmers each year. The public pool at Crescent Hill formed a Masters club in 1991. In 1998 this pool was rebuilt with a permanent structure and named the Mary T. Meagher Aquatic Center. The Crescent Hill Masters host a 50 meter invitational meet in June. Lakeside Masters continues to hold the long course invitational meet in August; it's one of the oldest Masters meets held in the United States at the same pool. Lexington Masters, founded by Bill Tingley in 1978, moved to Lancaster Aquatic Center at the University of Kentucky in 1989 and were renamed Wildcat Masters. They host the state championship short course yards meet in March or April. In Bowling Green, Ky., the Western Kentucky Green Gators were formed in 1983 and hold a short course yards meet in January. The new pool built at the Mercy Health Center in Owensboro, Ky., in 1999 is home to Owensboro Marlin Masters, which has hosted short course meters meets.
In 1997 the KY-LMSC introduced sanctioned mini-meets -- one held during each season, October, February, and July. These meets are for KY-LMSC registered swimmers only, and present an opportunity for all registered teams in Kentucky to hold a meet in their own pool, using the same format; the results are then merged by computer. Swimmers can compete, establish times, and follow their progress. Coaches find this helpful in developing their swimmers' efficiency and encouraging competition. In 1991 Kentucky Masters hosted the Long Course National Championships at the Elizabethtown Swim Center, Elizabethtown, Ky., in August, and in September the USAS convention was held at the Galt House in Louisville, Ky. Both of these events were under the direction of Bill Tingley and Kentucky Masters Swimming.
In 2003, the LMSC reorganized itself into one club (Swim Kentucky Masters), subdivided into teams for local competition. Current teams affiliated with Swim Kentucky are
Kentucky sends two delegates to the USAS convention each year: Tom Mester and Susan Ehringer, both of Crescent Hill Masters. In addition, Meg Smath of Wildcat Masters serves as chair of the Publications Committee, Mike Lemke of Crescent Hill Masters serves on the Zone Committee (representing the Great Lakes Zone), Bill Tingley of Lakeside Masters sits on the Rules Committee, and Joanne Tingley of Lakeside Masters and Mark Gill of Crescent Hill Masters is a delegate-at-large.
Awards earned by Kentucky Masters include Bill Tingley (Coach of the Year and the Ransom Arthur Award). Service Awards have been presented to Joanne Tingley and Meg Smath. The KY-LMSC boasts many Top Ten swimmers and relays each year.
The Kentucky LMSC has had many All-Americans, including Lance Asti, Kay Blackwood, Susan Bradley-Cox, Jennifer Clifford Cox, Chris Curl, Jeff Feltzer, Stacy Fingalson, Jerri Freimuth, Gina Gatti, Al Gilsdorf, John Graham, Paul Graves, Walter Grell, Donna Johnson, Jerrod Kappler, Wendy Knox, Rachel Komisarz, Margo Lynch, Pam Martin, Dale Mercker, Mary Jane Mullins, Manuel Nieto, John Nolan, Craig Pickering, Amy Pope, Dorothy Riordan, Richard Scheu, Melinda Schmitt, Christina Sheets, David Sheets, Tony Siebel, Donald Smith, Tito Solano, Sue Stankavage, Rhona Swain, Bob Tesch, Bill Tingley, Chris Tingley, Stewart Weaver, Gary Weisenthal, Bill Woosley, Alice Wright-Belknap, and Mariela Yepez.
This history has been compiled by Joanne Tingley with the assistance of Kentucky Masters friends and officers. On a personal note, my family includes me and three active Masters: Bill and Mary with Kentucky Masters and Jack (former American record holder, NCAA and USS champion at 1650 yards, and founder of BeachSports Youth Camps of Redondo Beach, Calif.), who lives in California but is loyally registered with Kentucky Masters. The next generation includes Bill's sons (Michael, a former NCAA swimmer at Michigan State and Chris, a current NCAA swimmer at the University of Louisville), Mary's son, Paul (an NCAA swimmer at Western Kentucky University), and Mary's daughter, Laura (who will begin her collegiate career at Western Kentucky in the fall of 2003)). Lakeside Swim Club is where my family learned to swim, compete, and develop the love of aquatic sports. Bill has been the Masters coach at Lakeside since 1982 and is a Kentucky high school referee, USA Swimming national championship official, and Masters swimming referee/starter at local and national levels. Mary is the assistant general manager of Lakeside Swim Club, a high school swim coach, and a referee/starter for Kentucky high school, USA, and Masters swimming meets. I am a stroke and turn judge for Masters, USA, and high school. Not to forget my daughter, Linda, who teaches adult private lessons at Lakeside and has an aquatic teaching background with the Girl Scouts of America. Yes, we are a swimming family and know that this sport is for a lifetime of health and great friendships!