March 2019
Dear Friend ,

The year before the Olympic Games is intense. This is the window of time when new stars break out, and often we get our first glimpse of this emerging talent at the NCAA DI Championships.

The 2019 Men’s and Women’s NCAA DI Championships will be in Austin, Texas, and the USA Swimming Foundation will be there hosting two alumni socials, Saturday, March 23, and Saturday, March 24. If you plan to attend these competitions, please see the alumni social details below. We are hosting three very special guests at our socials, with 16 Olympic medals won between them: Katie Ledecky, Nathan Adrian, and Ryan Murphy !

Moreover, USA Swimming leadership will join us with insights and insider information on the year ahead as we prepare for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Swimming in Omaha. Join us and learn how you can engage more with your swimming family. 


Mel Stewart
USA Swimming Foundation Ambassador

P.S. In the past we’ve always had great discussions in an intimate environment, and we greatly value your experience and feedback at these gatherings. 
Events & Happenings
ALUMNI SOCIAL, WOMEN’S NCAA DI CHAMPIONSHIPS:   The first alumni social of the year is less than a week away at the Women’s NCAA DI Championships in Austin, Texas, Saturday, March 23, 11:30 a.m.

Look for the USA Swimming Foundation banners on the lawn outside the front entrance to the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center. This is where we'll meet up for fun and fellowship at 11:30 a.m, or directly after the prelims session. Our special guest is five-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky . Lunch and drinks are courtesy of the USA Swimming Foundation.

Alumni attending so far include, Julie Sommer, Lydia Morrow Chase, Mel Stewart, Mike Unger, BJ Bedford, Tiffany Cohen, Rowdy Gaines, Greg Eggert, Keith Bell, Sandy Neilson, Colleen Cox, Courtney Hart, Hans Dersch , and foundation exec. Debbie Hesse . To join us, please contact me via email or my cellphone 512-656-8806.

What: Alumni Social
Where: Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center (lawn outside the front entrance; look for the Foundation banners)
When: 11:30 a.m. (or right after prelims), Saturday, March 23
Attire: Casual
ALUMNI SOCIAL, MEN’S NCAA DI CHAMPIONSHIPS:  Saturday, March 30, we host our second alumni social at the Men’s DI Championships in Austin, Texas.

We gather at 12 noon, or right after the prelims session, at the USA Swimming Foundation banners on the lawn outside the front entrance to the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center. This social has two Olympic stars as our special guests, five-time Olympic gold medalist Nathan Adrian and three-time Olympic gold medalist Ryan Murphy . Lunch and drinks are courtesy of the USA Swimming Foundation.

The list of alumni attending is growing fast. So far we have Bryan Jones, Josh Davis, Crissy Perham, Mel Stewart, Scott Usher, Adam Shaw, Sandy Neilson, Rowdy Gaines, Keith Bell, Kristen Linehan Omli, Scott Spann, Hans Dersch, Ricky Berens, Kirk Stackle, Dan Watters, Charles Bauman, Shaun Jordan, Colleen Cox, David Fox, Rick Bodor, Greg Eggert and Jim Montgomery . Please contact me via email or my cellphone 512-656-8806 to join us.

What: Alumni Social
Where: Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center (lawn outside the front entrance; look for the Foundation banners)
When: 12 noon (or right after prelims), Saturday, March 30
Attire: Casual
Phillips 66 National Championships
If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area or plan to attend the 2019 Phillips 66 National Championships in Palo Alto, California, we hope you'll join us for the third and final National Team Alumni Social of the year!

Save the date for Saturday, August 3!

Details are TBA, but we do expect a big turnout. Food and drinks will be hosted courtesy of the USA Swimming Foundation, and we will have a special guest. If you plan to attend this competition,  contact me via email or call my cellphone 512-656-8806.
Check out the next Alumni Newsletter for more details!
Featured Alumnae
Distance swim stars have everyone’s respect, especially those from the formidable Mission Viejo program. Tiffany Cohen was among the Nadadores' brightest stars in the early 1980s. By 1984 she etched her mark on history at the Los Angeles Olympic Games, earning gold in the 400 and 800 meter freestyle. “I have countless swim memories I cherish,” she said, “but foremost is winning my first gold medal in the 400 freestyle, breaking the American record at the ’84 Olympics. After the medal ceremony, when we paraded around the pool, I got to pause and greet my mom at the bottom of the stands. I gave her my flowers in thanks for her never ending support.”

Tiffany’s spent nearly 20 years in marketing and sales. The last 10 years she has worked in hospice as a marketer and educator. “While hospice was very rewarding and fulfilling,” she explained, “I needed a change.” Tiffany, the famously tough distance swimming star, faced one of the biggest challenges of her life. In January 2016, she was diagnosed with late stage 2 breast cancer. It was a routine screening. “Cancer doesn’t discriminate,” she said. “I underwent a bilateral mastectomy which completely removed the cancer and cured me. Acting fast and knowing how to dig deep through my fears enabled me to thrive through the cancer diagnosis and recovery.” 

Back to full health, Tiffany returned to her roots. She’s now back in swimming, providing adult swim lessons and personal coaching to beginners. Tiffany’s giving speeches and making appearances as an Olympic icon. “I’m loving this,” she said. “And I have more time to spend with my husband, adult children, and mother who has advanced Dementia.” Tiffany lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Connect with Tiffany on Facebook.
Catching Up With Alumni
BRYAN JONES: Before Ian Crocker and Michael Phelps, Bryan was Team USA’s butterfly specialist. Bryan captained the Texas Longhorns to the 2000 NCAA Championship team title, then got his JD and MBA, launching a successful entrepreneurial career. I’ve been working in and around startups for the past decade, having co-founded four businesses across a variety of industries, and working/advising/investing in others,” he explained. Bryan’s a former USA Swimming board member, and he lives in and loves Austin, Texas. “My wife and I have two incredible daughters and a ton of animals that make every day interesting. We love hiking in Austin’s greenbelt when we aren't at the pool, pitch, or gym.” Connect with Bryan on Linkedin.
JULIE SOMMER:  World University Games freestyler, Julie Sommer, is an attorney in Seattle, not far from the Federal Way pool where she made the national team. “I have great memories from swimming. One of my favorites was 1991 NCAAs in Indianapolis as a Texas freshman. I pointed out to my teammates that my childhood idol, Mary T., aka Madame Butterfly, was doing media. Team captains, Dorsey Tierney and Katy Arris, hatched a plan to have T walk up behind me and wish me luck before the 200 butterfly. As I approached the blocks, T said good luck, Julie. My head just about exploded.” Julie balances her career with volunteering and great friends in Seattle, and she shared that swimming runs in her family. “I’m so happy my nephew Calvin is swimming at Emory University, and my niece Carrie with the Ohio State Swim Club.” Connect with Julie on Facebook.
JIM MONTGOMERY: The first man under 50 seconds in the 100m free is still coaching Dallas Aquatic Masters after 37 years. While being a part of the 1976 Olympic Team and Indiana University’s storied program remain fond memories, this famous sprinter still enjoys open water swims, and loved crossing the Maui Channel solo back in 1995. He opened the Jim Montgomery Swim School –  a Make a Splash local partner –  in North Dallas three years ago and just opened a second location in Flower Mound, Texas. “It is a family business,” he said. “My daughter Ellis is running the show as general manager.” Jim’s been married to Diane for 27 years with five children and four grandchildren. “I have lived and thrived in Texas since 1979, but still consider myself a Cheesehead from Wisconsin eating plenty of brats and cheese kurds.”  Connect with Jim on Facebook.
SANDY NEILSON: Three-time 1972 Olympic gold medalist, Sandy Neilson (Bell), is enjoying her 45th year of coaching and teaching, and she’s heading into her third decade of hosting pool and open water events. “Since the 1980s,” she said, “I’ve worked alongside my husband, Keith Bell, both of us happily immersed in the sport.” While most peers would expect the ’72 Olympics as Sandy’s most memorable moment, it’s not. It was the 1988 U.S. Olympic Trials in Austin, Texas, her comeback. In the 100m free, Sandy was leading the field by a wide margin when her body locked up with 10m to go. “Out of the water I told my husband, ‘ I didn’t think I was going to make the wall!‘  With a comforting hug and chuckle he replied, ‘If it makes you feel any better, I didn’t think you were going to make it either!’”   Connect with Sandy on Facebook.
If you have not joined the USA National Team Alumni Group on Facebook, do so here.
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