• Wave riders

    open-water swimming has a Zen-like quality that turns pool swimmers into converts
  • From 50-yard sprints in every stroke to the mile-long freestyle, Todd Lantry has tested himself against the gamut of competitive events in 25 years of swimming.
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    • Rogue Valley Masters is an organization of abou...
      The club works out at 5:45 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday at Southern Oregon University's pool. Sunday workouts are held 8:30 to 10 a.m. at SOU. In summer through mid-August, some members practi...
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      Rogue Valley Masters is an organization of about 20 swimmers focused on fitness.
      The club works out at 5:45 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday at Southern Oregon University's pool. Sunday workouts are held 8:30 to 10 a.m. at SOU. In summer through mid-August, some members practice at Emigrant Lake's Songer Wayside near the lake's southern end. As the days shorten in late summer, start time usually is moved to 6 a.m. Weekend practices are announced throughout the season.

      Dues are $30 per month. An additional $40 yearly fee is required to join Oregon/U.S. Masters Swimming, which insures members and allows them to enter competitions. Newcomers are granted a two-week, free trial period. Swimmers also can pay a drop-in fee of $5.

      For more information, e-mail roguevalleymasters@yahoo.com or call Todd Lantry at 541-482-1047.

      A separate group of about a half-dozen swimmers, called Southern Oregon Masters, meets from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the Rogue Valley Family YMCA in Medford. For more information, call Doug Stewart at 541-899-9089.

      Masters swimming is open to anyone 18 or older. See the website www.swimoregon.org
  • From 50-yard sprints in every stroke to the mile-long freestyle, Todd Lantry has tested himself against the gamut of competitive events in 25 years of swimming.
    "I was kind of a utility swimmer," says Lantry, 34, of his childhood days in age-group swimming. "They just make you do everything."
    Lantry jumped into Rogue Valley Masters after collegiate swimming but was loathe to leave the pool for untested waters at Emigrant Lake. Once he warmed to plying the cold depths at sunrise, Lantry set a new course in his otherwise steadfast sport.
    "It's a very different animal from being in the pool," says Lantry, now RVM president. "The people who do open-water swimming are always jonesing for it."
    Open-water withdrawal has been more painful this year, with cool early-summer weather that kept most local lake temperatures below 70 degrees throughout June. Donning wet suits, RVM members finally took to Emigrant in mid-June, some in preparation for the summer swim season's main event, Open-Water Weekend at Applegate Lake.
    "It's one of the premier kind of open-water venues in Oregon," says Nate Sanford, RVM's race director. "People come from Bend and Portland and all over."
    This year's 24th annual event packed the state-championship one-mile swim, a five-kilometer race and a new 10-kilometer race into two days — July 17 and 18. It's been about a decade since any Oregon Masters group hosted a 10K, initiated at the suggestion of the Central Oregon club whose Cascade Lakes Swim Series, scheduled for the last weekend of July at Elk Lake, isn't as hospitable to such long distances, says Lantry.
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