Choppy water does not deter hardy Hobbs Pond swimmersAbaldo, Moore prove fastest in longtime community event
Hope — While historically an informal event, the Hobbs Pond Swim, now in its 23rd year, is competitive by its nature — but in a friendly, neighborly way.
The 37 swimmers who showed up Sunday morning, July 27 to participate in this year's version of the event were greeted with windy, choppy conditions. But that did not lessen the fun, it simply enhanced it.
The event again attracted swimmers off all ages, most doing freestyle, but some the breaststroke, over the 800-yard course that rounds buoys close to the shore.
The event usually is held in early August but was moved up a few weeks because Alyssa McCluskey, a longtime participant and whose family is instrumental in keeping the event going, is getting married Aug. 9.
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The swim course was about 800 yards and mostly in shallow water so swimmers were able to stand and rest if they become tired. As usual, there was no advanced registration, no entry fee, no t-shirts and no prizes.
The post-swim potluck lunch was at the Hope Town Library immediately following the event. Karen Furlong coordinated the reception.
For more information on the Hobbs Pond Swim, go to Facebook at facebook.com/HobbsPondSwim or contact the McCluskeys (phone: 763-3090; email: email@example.com), the Joneses (phone: 763-3576; email: firstname.lastname@example.org), the Scotts (phone: 785-6625; email: email@example.com) or the Furlongs (phone: 542-2853; email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Bill Jones, one of the original organizers of the event and longtime participant (he has swum all 23 races), said, "As swimmers, helpers and spectators gathered Sunday morning at Hope Town Beach for the 23rd annual Hobbs Pond Swim, there was no sign of the threatened rain. The water temperature was 80 (degrees). There was a strong wind though in this zone of prevailing southerlies. It tossed the swimmers and the spotters around. Times were slow. No records were set."
Julian Abaldo of Rockland, last year’s runner-up and a national swim competitor, was the first local winner since 2009. Daughter and father, Madison and Mick Moore of Naples, Fla., were second and fourth. Three of Hope’s Sailfish Four, Mark, Lianne and Alyssa McCluskey, were third, fifth and 13th.
Mark returned from training at the 50-meter pool in St. John, New Brunswick to make the swim. Lianne was the last Hope winner of the event in 2009.
Abaldo, also a Sailfish swimmer, finished first in Sunday's swim after he returned to Maine in the wee hours of the same day from a swim competition in Canada where he had finished fourth in the 15-and-older division, including first in 200 butterfly, and qualified for the Long Course Nationals in the 100 freestyle.
Missing from this year's Hobbs Pond Swim in Texas was Rob Spencer from Bethesda, Md. who usually summers in Warren. He had won seven of the last 10 swims.
Linda Moran of Hope again beat Harry Schmitke of Spruce Head to win the Hans Wendel Breaststroke Challenge, named for the Dover-Foxcroft masters swimmer.
With all the chop, nine swimmers resorted to breaststroke or mostly breaststroke but, as with the crawl swimmers, their times were slower.
Of the 13 returning 2013 swimmers, only two bettered last year’s times: Alice Richards (by 3 minutes and 5 seconds) and Bill Jones (by 21 seconds).
"Youth increasingly dominates this swim, but the average age this year was 36," Jones said. "The blue-lobster Maine Masters’ presence — Hodding Carter, Drew Darling, Bill Jones, Linda Moran, Ellen O’Donnell, Susan Rardin, Harry Schmitke, Adam and Maureen Scott, John Slavin and Amy Wilton — keeps that average up a bit."
New this year, Jones said, "We were grateful for the Hobbs-Fish Pond Association’s contribution to the after-swim potluck at Hope Library. The old informal group of organizers (McCluskeys, Scotts, Furlong and Joneses) and, indeed, all participants welcome the collaboration of Nancy and Jeff Connon, David and Sydney Hall, Linda Lord and Barb Mason and all HFPA members."
Hamburgers and hot dogs added to the potluck entrées and desserts.
John McCluskey, who has directed the event in recent years, gave the instructions and handled the start of the race. He and Adam Scott set up the course. Other officials were Mary McCluskey, Judith Jones, Allison Davis and Karen Furlong, all of Hope, Mario Abaldo of Rockland and Susan Schmitke of Spruce Head, who replaced Carol Shaw’s mother, Jean, as registrar.
The swimmers were safe enough on the shallow, warm course, but, just in case, it was nice to have the following spotters, said Jones: Karen Furlong of Hope, Eliza Massey and Kate Richards of Concord, N.H., Adam Scott of Hope and Emma Wilton of Hope.
PenBay Masters Swim Club provided the marker buoys.
The individual results, with place, swimmer, age, residence, time and stroke listed, were: 1, Julian Abaldo, 15, Rockland, 8:22 (freestyle); 2, Madison Moore, 12, Naples, Fla., 8:47 (freestyle); 3, Mark McCluskey, 17, Hope, 9:05 (freestyle); 4, Mick Moore, 44, Naples, Fla., 9:11 (freestyle); 5, Lianne McCluskey, 22, Hope, 9:36 (freestyle); 6, Ella Scott, 17, Hope, 10:20 (freestyle); 7, Hodding Carter, 51, Camden, 10:30 (freestyle); 8, Anna Bierley, 13, Singapore, 10:54 (freestyle); 9, Gavin Felch, 17 Union, 11:20 (freestyle); 10, Amy Wilton, 46, Hope, 12:05 (freestyle); 11, Audrey Scott, 11, Hope, 13:09 (freestyle); 12, Maureen Scott, 44, Hope, 13:10 (freestyle); 13, Alyssa McCluskey, 24, Hope, 13:21 (freestyle); 14, Mike Pierce, 45, Hope, 13:35 (freestyle); 15, Drew Darling, 61, Camden, 13:38 (freestyle); 16, Emma Bierley, 10, Singapore, 13:45 (freestyle); 17, Linda Moran, 45, Hope, 13:53 (breast); 18, Bill Jones, 77, Hope, 13:54 (freestyle); 19, Susan Rardin, 64, Lincolnville, 14:10 (freestyle); 20, Sara Gagan 64, Hope, 14:49 (freestyle); 21, Ellen O’Donnell, 60, Warren, 15:04 (freestyle); 22, Maureen Gordon, 59, Camden, 15:55 (freestyle); 23, Harry Schmitke, 76, Spruce Head, 16:44 (breast); 24, Kate Pierce, 42, Hope, 17:22 (freestyle); 25, Lincoln Pierce, 10, Hope, 17:46 (freestyle); 26, Langley Willauer, 51, Hope, 18:16 (freestyle); 27, Maddie Goodman, 11, Hope, 18:17 (freestyle); 28, Molly Barter, 15, Falmouth, 18:25 (freestyle); 29, Dan Dalrymple, 43, Hope, 18:29 (breast); 30, Eddie Laudano, 10, Wallingford, Conn., 18:44 (freestyle); 31, Calvin Mako, 24, Deerfield, Mass., 18:48 (breast); 32, Kate Kooperman, 38, Hope, 21:50 (freestyle); 33, John Slavin, 76, Freeport, 22:30 (freestyle); 34, Alice Richards, 11, Concord, N.H., 24:00 (freestyle); 35, Jennifer Goodman, 50, Concord, N.H., 24:00 (freestyle); 36, Derek Goodman, 8, Delaware, Ohio, 29:46 (freestyle); and 37, Lisa Goodman, 42, Delaware, Ohio, 29:47 (freestyle).
Bill Jones of Hope contributed to this story.
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Ken Waltz has been member of the media 30 years and has received hundreds of Maine Press Association and New England Press Association awards for his writing, photography and page design. He studied journalism at the University of Maine in Orono. He lives in South Thomaston with his wife, Sarah. The couple has an adult son, Brandon.
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