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SWIMMER Editorials

The Next Chapter (May-June 2018)

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by , April 18th, 2018 at 04:14 PM (3373 Views)
When I took the helm at SWIMMER in 2009, I was still high on the rush of diving into our local swim community in 2006 and finding a new family. The opportunity to work within the larger national subculture of Masters Swimming with smart and committed people was a dream come true.

Establishing the National Office in 2009 was an adventure; our ragtag band of staffers started from scratch. We rented a steam cleaner from the grocery store across the street so we could spiff up the dusty furniture that came with our vacant-for-years historic building. We recruited local swimmers and suited up in gardening gear to beautify the overgrown and decrepit property.

Slowly we built, broke, mended, and moldednot only our physical surroundings, but also our roles. We essentially threw spaghetti on the ceiling and picked it up off the floor if it didnt stick. And then tried again until we found a formula that worked to serve and support our members. Im honored to have worked alongside passionate and dedicated staffers and volunteers during that process, and Im grateful for their help and friendship along the way.

Since those earliest days, the National Office has grown and now occupies beautiful downtown offices. We have many more and much improved publications, programs, and services. Im so proud of what weve accomplished and excited to see whats next.

During this nine-year journey, Ive had the privilege of working with and learning from talented editors, writers, photographers, designers, artists, volunteers, and coaches. The list is too long for this page. Their expertise and contributions have made this magazine and our online content something we can all be proud of.

And then there are the readers.

Youre the reason Ive looked forward to every issue, despite snags, snafus, and the hectic pace of never-ending deadlines.

Your stories have inspired me. Your letters have made me laugh, cry, swim harder, and helped me navigate what were once unfamiliar waters, but now seem like home. You have my enduring gratitude for sharing your stories and your support over the years.

Through your inspiration, Ive realized that I still have time to see more of the world and thats my next chapter: travel.

My plan is to stay involved with Masters Swimming, but this will be my last issue as editor-in-chief of SWIMMER, and Im stepping down as publications and communications director for USMS.

Im confident that publications manager Daniel Paulling and the dynamic and growing staff at the National Office will continue to develop and improve all our membership offerings. Please give them your support and feedback, as youve given me.

If my travels lead me near your town, Id love to drop in for swim practice. If youd like to stay in touch, you can reach me at

My thanks and best always,

Laura Hamel

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