THANKS to the FORTY-TWO athletes who participated in the 2017 Postal Swimtathlon League! It was a very fun season with several new records and plenty of motivation!

This year, Kathleen Pelczynski (32) of North Carolina Masters in Raleigh took the TOP HONORS for women and set a new Cumulative Record of 26:34.05. For the men, it came down to the wire with Mark Rubacky, also of North Carolina Masters, swimming some very fast times during the fourth quarter.

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In addition to Kathleen’s record, AGE-GROUP CUMULATIVE RECORDS were set by Merrie Walts (57), Bethany Lee (47), Sandi York (41), Rebecca Friedlander (51), Pamela Ogden (60), Suzette Harkin (71), Charlotte Sanddal (95), Eric Hatch (43), Tim Waud (51), and Peter Branson (61).

Our League consisted of 28 women and 14 men, representing 9 states (MT, OR, NC, CA, MI, HI, AK, WA, and MN) and two countries (United States and Germany).

We all “aged up” this year with an average age of 52. Charlotte Sanddal of Montana Masters was the oldest woman (and competitor) at 95 with William Grohe of San Francisco Masters taking senior honors for men at 84. Check out the AGE GRADED results on the last page of the results file.

Everyone continues to amaze me, as I received several comments of success in “OFF” events. I was even inspired to throw down a 400IM and 200Fly during STAGE FOUR.

Each quarter (STAGE), swimmers were expected to complete a “Pentathlon” of events. The First Quarter consisted of the stroke 50s and the 100IM. The Second Quarter was made up of the stroke 100s and the 200IM. The Third Quarter focused on the stroke 200s and the 400IM. Finally, in the Fourth Quarter, participants could challenge their previous times from ANY stage.

In the end, the goal was to have results in all fifteen “Swimtathlon” events and a cumulative 15-event time.

Of our 42 League Members, 27 successfully accomplished the entire Postal Swimtathlon League Challenge (19 women and 8 men). That’s a 5% improvement over our inaugural year in 2016.

Times were converted to Short Course Yards regardless of the course (LCM, SCM, or SCY), and it didn’t matter if they were achieved in practice OR in a meet, from the blocks OR from an in-water start. The Postal Swimtathlon League runs according to the honor system.

League Standings were published monthly with STAGE AWARDS and CERTIFICATES presented quarterly. I hope everyone enjoyed the token…and used the Columbia Online coupon!

In addition to a new, fun event, a portion of each entry went toward Flow Swimmers’ clean water initiative on Flathead Lake (Swim Guide) in northwest Montana. The league donated over $200 to the cause, and FLOW donated nearly $1,000 during the year. THANK YOU ALL!

The 2017 Postal Swimtathlon League is IN THE BOOKS and the FINAL STANDINGS are now posted.
REGISTRATION IS OPEN for the 2018 Virtual Swimtathlon League (click the link). We already have 20+ new and returning swimmers signed up!


  • Challenge – Eighteen pool events over the course of the year (*)
  • Competition – See how you stack up against others around the world
  • Camaraderie – Learn about fellow swimmers from around the globe
  • Cause – $10 from each entry is split between The Swim Guide project and the USMS Swimming Saves Lives Foundation

* NEW FOR 2018: Distance Free Triathlon to include the 500, 1000, and 1650 yard free events. Meter times will be adjusted per the Swim Swam time converter.

ALSO NEW FOR 2018: Disability Accommodation to allow for those unable to swim a particular stroke. Using statistics from our last two years, I have developed a basic formula to adjust times from one stroke to another and even modify an Individual Medley time. So, if you’re injured or know someone who can’t swim one of the strokes…WE CAN WORK WITH THAT!

It’s all about getting in the water, having fun, and challenging YOURSELF!

THANKS AGAIN TO EVERYONE and hope to see you all again in 2018.

Coach Mark Johnston
Flathead Lake Open Water Swimmers