It is special to have served on a National Championship team at then ECC. I was on the second NAIA Championship team. Those were special days. We traveled in 1958 Chevy station wagons with all but the front seats taken out so we could pack all our travel gear and stretch around it.
There was no luxury in travel. But it brought the team closer. Many of us are still in touch today.
Imagine being put up in a dorm at U of Miami. Didn’t know it was co-ed until we were walking to the showers in birthday suits and encountered female students appearing in the hall.
There are tons of stories associated with that team.
I married the girl who held the string of flags across the pool for those of us who swam backstroke. Still married 59 years this year. Tomorrow I turn 80.
Coach Ray Martinez was a class act. He was creative, tough, excellent mentor and teacher.
There is a foundation in his honor to provide scholarships for swimmers.
Many of us contributed to it over the years. Not sure what happens to that.
With all those memories and special events and accomplishments of that ECU sport, I have to say, as much as it hurts, it had to be one of our teams. I couldn’t know whose team to wish it on. Hopefully, this sacrifice will yield the expected results.
For those currently on the swim team, thanks for making me proud. Thanks for distinguishing yourselves and bringing honor to our university. I wish you all the best that a future can hold. Work at your future as you have worked for the honor you have brought to our university. Your future can be bright again.
Best prayers and blessings to my fellow swimmers.