Lisa Ward of Martinez, a part-time physical education instructor at Diablo Valley College, has been named the Open Water Masters’ Swimmer of the Year, as well as the 2010 Pacific Masters female swimmer of the year for age group 45-49.
She has been teaching at DVC since 2003, and currently teaches aquatic fitness, water aerobics, fitness jogging and triathlon training.
Ward began swimming when she was eight and swam until her sophomore year of college. At Benicia High School, she competed in the 200 yard individual medley, th
e 100 yard backstroke, the 100 yard breaststroke, and the 200 yard freestyle.
At the University of Hawaii, she competed in the 200 and 400 yard individual medley, the 100 and 200 yard backstroke, the 100 and 200 yard breaststroke, and the 1650 yard freestyle.
“I’ve been Open Water swimming for the past two summers,” Ward said, “competing in lakes, rivers and reservoirs all over northern California. I practice with the Walnut Creek Masters at Heather Farms Park in Walnut Creek doing pool workouts.”
She participates in a number of Open Water events, including:
•United States Masters Swim open water championships (1.5 miles) at Lake Del Valle
•Lake Berryessa 2 mile/1 mile swims*
•Lake Sonoma 2 mile
•Whiskey Town 2 mile/1 mile swims*
•Donner Lake “Hot August Chill” 1.5 mile/1 mile /50-yard swim*
•Trans Tahoe Relay, where six swimmers swim 12 miles across Lake Tahoe in 30-minute shifts
•Russian River 1 mile
•Uvas Reservoir “Catfish Crawl” 2 mile /1 mile*
•Folson Lake 5k/1k Challenge*
(*These swims are done with a 30-minute break between swims)
“The Open Water Masters’ Swimmer of the Year award competition is based on points from first to 10th place in each age group,” Ward said. “You have to swim in at least two events to be eligible. The more events you swim and place in the top 10, the more points you score.”
Ward said she was in fourth place in the middle of the summer because she had missed four swims. “Not only did I have to swim the next six events,” she said, “but I also had to place in the top two. That was fun and challenging.
“It is nice to get away from the line on the bottom of the pool and enjoy the open water,” she continued. “You need to be able to ‘sight’ or navigate well, or you could end up way off course and not be able to see the buoys. And it’s nice to be able to ‘draft’ off somebody (get pulled by their current) and not have to work as hard. It’s a different type of racing that keeps me interested in competing and staying fit.”