Et Tu, Brute!

16 "Brutes" completed 3 of the most grueling events in pool swimming yesterday at the umpteenth annual Brute Squad meet at the beautiful long course pool in Oro Valley north west of Tucson.

It was an apt beginning to the longest day of the year. The meet began on time at 8 a.m. with the 200 Fly. As we dragged our soggy carcasses out of the water after the last event just before Noon, meet director Judy Gillies presented each of us with the coveted towel award.

Notable among the Brutes this year was Edie Gruender, age 81, who continues to inspire us all, including her daughter, Mitzi, age 53, who is following in her mother's footsteps as a perennial Brute. Then there was Simon Goldstein, 72, who completed the 1500 M event all Fly...one full hour of butterfly! He told me for practice he does it once a week at the JCC pool in Tucson. Of course, distance King Patrick Brundage, 42, of Sun Devil Masters was the man to beat in all three events. The guy is unbeatable. (He also snuck in the 50 Back and 50 Breast, for good measure.)

I'm a first-time Brute, myself, and quite proud of it, too. I had never before competed in a 200 Fly or a 400 IM. I figured it would be great training. I was right. One thing I learned is that practicing butterfly really does pay off. This is where having a coach comes in handy. Who in their right mind would do large amounts of butterfly on their own? Well, besides Simon Goldstein, that is.

I guess "right mind" and Brute Squad really don't go hand in hand. Why would anyone do this? The only appropriate answer is Why not? If you're looking for a new way to challenge yourself, I recommend you do this event next year. If I can do it, so can you. So, go ahead, be a Brute! I dare you.

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