Friday, October 19, 2007

Under his breath -- in class -- Grant gets in "t r o u b l e"

From Mark Rauterku...
Not a good afternoon for the 4th grader. Today he had some time out with the principal. Seems he was working in a small group with two girls. Well, under his breath, he did some thinking out loud.

Thought bubbles and talk bubbles need to be different!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Motivational clinic from 8 to 4:30 on Sunday

Cousin, Charlie B., in the middle, was with us last night for a sleep over and throughout the day at the clinic.

Yesterday was a big family picnic. Today was a one-day swim clinic.
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Monday, July 16, 2007

Houston Community Newspapers Online - Neighbors: Swim coach laps up life in The Woodlands

Houston Community Newspapers Online - Neighbors: Swim coach laps up life in The Woodlands: It took Hurricane Katrina and a third retirement to make him slow down. Now one of the United States' most recognized swimming coaches has made his home in The Woodlands.
Great article about Coach Bower and Barbara. Only one typo, Steve Lunquist was a breastroke swimmer, not backstroke.

There's still a good chance a person could run into Dick Bower, a member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, by a pool at the Woodlands Athletic Center. But the 76-year-old, who has had dozens of his swimmers win high school all-American honors over the years, has stepped back from the swimming scene a little.

Bower still offers private and semi-private lessons at the WAC, competes with his wife Barbara in swimming tournaments almost monthly and serves as an expert witness in legal cases that have elements that occurred under water. He just no longer manages his own swimming club and pool or coaches five college, high school and masters teams at the same time.

It was his height, more than anything, that got Bower into swimming.

While attending high school in the Buffalo, N.Y. area, the 5-foot 4-inch 10th-grader tried out for every sport but was cut because he was too short. The swimming team wasn't turned off by his lack of height, and before long he was performing well at meets and had earned a letter.

He went on to swim on his college team, even being awarded the title of captain during his freshmen year. He started coaching right out of college, and has been coaching and swimming competitively ever since.

His first coaching job was in 1952 with the Jamestown, N.Y. YMCA. Soon he began coaching the local high school team as well. The first year he had only one boy try out for the team. The boy became an all-American, and the next year 20 boys turned out.
After six years, and three state YMCA team championships, he left for Bethel Park High School in Pennsylvania. There, Bower organized a new team, taking them to a 92-8 record over the next six years.

From there, he moved on to manage the Greater Pittsburgh Swim Club. In 1966, he moved on to the Pittsburgh Club, which had never won a meet. During the next three years Bower led the club to 64-consecutive Class A and open meet wins.

Brandon, Fla. came calling next, along with the opportunity to manage a pool and run a competitive swimming school. He left the Brandon Swim and Tennis Club in 1970 to coach the Tulane University swimming teams.

Bower stayed in New Orleans for the next 25 years, coaching multiple high schools and masters' teams. His club team, the Bolts, won 38 Louisiana State Swimming championships and even traveled to Georgia to win its state championship one year.
Bower's coaching prowess resulted in a number of honors. Among his awards are a National High School Coach of the Year honor and multiple Coach of the Year awards in Louisiana.

His swimmers have achieved a number of honors as well. They have gone on to win medals in three different Olympics. One of those stars was Steve Lundquist, who set the world record in the 100-meter backstroke.

Among Bower's legacy in the swimming world is the origination of "cruise intervals." The technique is used to keep swimmers from swimming too fast and running out of energy at the end of a race or swimming too slowly and falling off their pace.
The concept, which has been adapted to other sports like running and biking, was popularized by Bower in 1971 after he discussed the technique in several swimming magazines. He developed the technique working with his friend James "Doc" Councilman in New York in the early 1950s.

Despite all his years coaching, and the thousands of hours spent at the pool, Bower still turns to swimming for relaxation and for his health.
"Health is my main thing. I don't need to be in meets, but I need to go to meets to practice," he said.

Amazingly, he continued to improve as a swimmer as he aged. While in his 40s he set his first national masters swimming records - beating his top college times at the same time.

"There's a secret," Bower said of his success at an age when many swimmers slow down. "Have slow times in college."

Ever humble, Bower downplays the success he's had in the national tournaments.
"There's a saying in masters swimming; if you live long enough you'll win.
"I'm not fast in any way," he said. "I'm just competitive with the old guys."

But he keeps swimming. Recently, Bower won four gold medals at the masters national meet; in the 50 meter, 100 meter, 200 meter and 500 meter freestyle.

His family has been a big part of Bower's life in swimming as well.

His wife Barbara joined him in the pool for the first time at age 37. For the next 17 years she improved her times, slowly getting faster and faster. She still swims, and still wins medals in masters' meets.

The couple's seven children have spent their share of time in the pool as well. Five of them committed to swimming enough to garner all-American status.
The Bowers evacuated their apartment in New Orleans in 2005, leaving ahead of Hurricane Katrina.

Loading up their suitcases, they headed to The Woodlands, where one of their daughters lives, with seven of their friends in tow. As luck would have it, their daughter had a townhouse for sale the refugees could pile into - with their three dogs and two cats.

It took the Bowers' seven trips to transport their property from their New Orleans apartment to a different townhouse in The Woodlands they leased and then purchased.
"New Orleans is no place to live right now," Bower said. "There are still
neighborhoods that don't have (basic amenities)."

To top that off, The Woodlands has everything Bower would want in a community. He's already gotten involved with the WAC, teaching clinics. These days he doesn't usually commit to a regular schedule because of the moments-notice demands expert witness testimony duties place on him.

"It's a Mecca for swimming," he said. "It has the best diving program in the country, maybe in the world."

Camp AK-O-Mak swimmer to cross the lake again -- a great lake

Camp AK-O-Mak: Sam logged 82 miles in the next 10 days and the following summer (August 2006) she swam Lake Ontario in the second fastest time ever recorded by a woman! Having missed the World Record by a mere 71 seconds, Samantha Whiteside will once again swim Lake Ontario this July, 2007…her second lake swim in less than a year! Coach Joni will be by her side for the 32 mile endeavour as before, but this “A” team will involve another Ak-O-Mak sister this year. Colleen Shields will act as Swim Master for the 2007 Lake Ontario Swim. Who could be more qualified than this gutsy Ak-O-Mak Alum who ALSO conquered Lake Ontario last summer and made the record books as the oldest female to achieve a successful crossing?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

At the helm


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No Child Left Behind

Grant placed a call to his classroom back in the third grade at Phillips Elementary School, PPS, on the South Side. He misses his friends, teachers and classes.

From family - travels

He told them that on Thursday afternoon, the day before his call, he had been walking around the crater of a volcano. That day he was up early to travel from Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand and up north to Christchurch, on the main land, by plane. Then we were to get onto a bus at 12:30 pm to ride with the team down the east coast of the south island to another city, Dunedin, for a swim meet for the next two days.

There seems to be a "Grant box" in the home classroom. Students could write their questions to there and they'd get passed along in nearly daily emails.

Grant did well in the swim meet. But most of all, he did very well with the trip with the team making lots of new friends over the three day journey on bus, hotel and swim pool. Grant can be very social, even with older kids. Grant was one of the younger, if not the youngest, from our team on the trip. But, Grant, the "wee one" had his big brother and parents with him as well.

In the swimming, Grant set some personal records and made it to finals in the 100 fly and the 100 back.

We're now working on the final presentations for the classroom. And, of course, we have some treats for all the classmates.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Lord of the Rings tour guide -- and sound engineer for all three movies

Grant talked with a kiwi, a sound guy for the movies -- and this day -- the tour guide. Many photos are in the album.
From lord of the r...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


A few days ago I went to a rugby game, I was cheering for the team called The Crusaders. Though they lost, but it was exciting to even know what was going on.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Dear Ms. Riggle and Class

Yesterday I had my first major tour. It was swimming with Hector's Dolphins. We went out on a boat from the port of Akaroa early in the morning (it is a lot like Rockport, MA but with beautiful mountains all around). We went out suited in layers of wet suits, waterproof hoods, gloves, and shoes. It is really cold in the water because this is a South facing port which means it is facing right to the Antarctic so it gets the winds and the water from there. The water was 13 degrees celcius. Any easy way to go from C to F is to multiply the celcius by 2 and add 30. So email back if you can figure out what 13 C is in F.

The Hector's Dolphins are about 4 feet long. They are the smallest oceanic dolphin in the world. As we went out looking for a pod of dolphins to swim with, we saw penguins (the white penguin) floating in the water. To actually swim with the Dolphins you have to find a pod that does not have a baby (calf) and they pod has to show interest in the boat. It takes a while to find a pod to swim with. It was very exciting to be 12 inches from a wild dolphin.

We are going to an intense rugby game tonight.

Write back soon-

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

posting from New Zealand to class

Hi Ms. Riggle:

I am writing you at 6:30am on Wednesday and it is 2:30pm on Tuesday your time (in New Zealand they would call this 14:30).

It took two days to fly from Pittsburgh to New Zealand and we never stopped. We took off the 28th and landed the 30th. First we took a plane to Dallas, Texas. After that we got on a plane and flew to LA California. Once we were there we got ready to be on the overseas flight to Auckland New Zealand. We had one more destination to fly to and that was Christchurch, our final destination.

We've already gotten bikes and joined a swim team in forty-eight hours. We also have a violin teacher (we're pretty tired). Our house is huge and we all have our own rooms (a like jumping on the two beds in my room). We have a big backyard where I can get as dirty as I want to. It is fall here and yet it is may. The leaves are changing color and it is really nice outside. We've taken jogs multiple times and biked and swam multiple times.

So my Mom found the grocery store and asked for a pound of turkey. The man behind the counter just looked at her like she was nuts. They use the metric system. A pound would be 1/2 kilo. The turkey is good anyway.

Friday, April 27, 2007

We're mostly packed. Headed to New Zealand in the AM

We depart Pittsburgh on Saturday, April 28 at noon. We arrive in Christchurch on the 30th. Stops in Dallas, LA, Auckland.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Crafton Crocodiles 2007 Swim Meets and Important Dates

June 2 – Registration at Crafton Park 9 a.m. – Noon

June 6 - Registration at Crafton Park 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

June 9 – Car Wash Fundraiser at Busy Beaver 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

June 12 – Practice starts 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

June 15 – Last day to join Crocodiles – Registration at pool 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

June 16 – Car Wash Fundraiser at Busy Beaver 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

June 22 – Picture Day: Individual pictures 9 a.m., Team picture 9:30, practice will start following the team picture, more individual pictures can also be taken at that time

June 28 – Flick n Float (Movie and swimming fundraiser at Crafton Pool) 8 – 10 p.m.

June 30 – Relay Carnival Meet at Scott Pool, Arrive 8 a.m., Warm-ups 8:15 a.m.

July 4 – No practice

July 5 – Dual Meet at Green Tree Pool, Arrive 5:45 p.m., Warm-ups 6:00 p.m.

July 10 – Dual Meet at home versus Scott, Arrive 4:45 p.m., Warm-ups 5:00 p.m.

July 14 – Dual Meet at Mt. Lebanon Outdoor Pool, Arrive 7:15 a.m., Warm-ups 7:30 a.m.

July 18 – Dual Meet at home versus South Fayette, Arrive 4:45 p.m., Warm-ups 5:00 p.m.

July 24 – Championships Meet at Crafton Pool, Arrive 4:45 p.m., Warm-ups 5:00 p.m.

July 25 – Froggy Frolic (Private swim team party for swimmers and their families) 8 – 10 p.m.

July 26 – All Stars Meet at South Fayette, Arrive 5:15 p.m., Warm-ups 5:30 p.m.

July 27 – Last day of practice

July 29 – Banquet and Slide Show, Crafton Park 6:00 – 10:00 p.m.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Stanford Records Allegations a Hoax Records Allegations a Hoax The most bizarre story in collegiate swimming just got a little wierder. Two weeks ago, former Stanford swimmer Michael McLean made allegations that Cardinal men's swimming coach Skip Kenney had erased his and other swimmers' records from the team media guide. In a press conference today, Kenney admited that the whole ordeal was just a put-on in an effort to motivate the team prior to the men's Division I Swimming and Diving Championships.'

'We were talking about ways to fire the guys up,' said the longtime coach. 'It's pretty tough sometimes when you consider how good it is for these guys. For one, they're smarter than everyone else-it takes a 1400 SAT to even get a look. Second, they get free school (or they've got parents who can spring for $46K in tuition, room and board. They get great jobs, have hot girlfriends and get tons of free stuff from Nike.'

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Opera, opera

Grant gets to go to the Opera today. They got on the bus at 9 am from school.

Then again tomorrow. Grant, Erik and Catherine are going to the opera in the evening, Friday night. They leave at 6:45 pm from Brashier.

Magic Flute, I think.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Quiz: Where is the hammer head shark?

From Grant

Frick Middle School's swim mascot is the blue dolphin.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

We'll miss you.

Photo from Jan. 29, 2006. Erik, Grandpa and Grant. We always provided a concert to our grandfather. May he rest in peace. We'll miss you.