ePostal Swimming, One Of Dale Petranech’s Visions
Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California. With the passing of Dale Petranech from pancreatic cancer, many remember the accomplishments and activities of the New Jersey native in the open water and marathon swimming world.  But Petranech got his start – and started his legacy – in the pool. “The 1-Hour Postal event was first organized by Dale in 1978, modeled after a track & field event,” recalls Ann Svenson formerly of the DC Masters and now with the Adirondack District Masters Swimming. “It helped make a reputation for DC Masters. After Dale moved to New Jersey in 1981, Art Smith and the late Dave McAfee took over running the event.” While it started on a small scale by Petranech, its growth has been phenomenal. Hosted by the DC Masters until 1993, the Speedo USMS 1-Hour Postal National Championship is now rotated around the country. It has grown to become the most popular and largest U.S. Masters Swimming championship event. One of the most interesting cross-country 1-Hour Postal rivalries is the competition between the top team from the East Coast -the New England Masters (NEM) – and the top team from the West Coast – the Davis Aquatic Masters.  “We have an NEM 1 Hour Swim coordinator who starts rallying the troops in December,” explains Tracy Grilli about the long-running rivalry between the two large East Coast and West Coast teams. “The New England Masters has consistently had great club participation, recruiting even those who are injured and have to kick to complete it.” NEM dominated the 2018 results with 224 of its swimmers participating in last year’s epostal event while the Davis Aquatic Masters won the ePostal Swim championship 5 times since 1998: 1998, 1999, 2009, 2010, 2011.

But swim or kick, fast or slow, the name of the game was participation – and meticulously organization by U.S. Masters Swimming volunteers.  But it was not always so.  “The first few events were conducted without a computer,” once explained Petranech who was instrumental in the behind-the-scenes administration of open water swimming at the USA Swimming and FINA level back in the 1980s. “I’d get 3 x 5 cards and separate them by gender, age group and then arrange by distance. Then I would ask someone to type the results. That worked fine as long as the total number of swimmers was fewer than 200.

But now with the entries in the thousands, the old fashion methods just could not work.” Joann Leilich of the DC Masters recalls the early years. “Like Art Smith, my living room and hall were covered with mailing envelopes when I was the meet director. Every swimmer received printed results, many ordered T-shirts, and age group winners received medals. When the DC Masters was the host, we included interesting facts in the printed results; someone swam butterfly for one hour, which was noted in the results.” But Petranech’s vision has melded quite well with the dawn of computers and the Internet. He recalls, “Art was the first person to start using a computer to tabulate results.” Susan Kirk also recalls the early years, “The 1-Hour Postal started as a club swim and was run locally for a number of years before it went national.” “I started the 1-Hour Postal while a member of the DC Masters,” explains Petranech. “The event was a spin-off of a track event that was conducted as a National Championship AAU event. The postal concept was used in both swimming and track and field, particularly during the war years to cut down on costs and save petrol.” Over the years, it smoothly transformed itself from a locally run masters event to a national championship event, built on the dedication of hundreds of volunteers and thousands of participants. “We originally tried to make it an AAU Championship event for the younger pool folks, but the AAU and U.S. Swimming felt that to be designated a championship event, the contestants must have direct contact with each other,” explained Petranech. Through social media, the U.S. Masters Swimming website and the Internet, the contestants now have plenty of virtual contact with one another. Record-holders for the Speedo USMS 1-Hour Postal National Championship include: *Men 18-24 Robert J Margalis, St Pete Masters Inc: 2007, 6135 yards *Men 25-29 Dan Veatch: 1994, 6115 yards *Men 30-34 Blake Porch: 2003, 5750 yards *Men 35-39 Mike G Shaffer, Ventura County Masters: 2003, 5905 yards *Men 40-44 Mike G Shaffer, Ventura County Masters: 2009, 5910 yards *Men 45-49 Jeff T Erwin, Sawtooth Masters: 2010, 5755 yards *Men 50-54 Jim McConica, Ventura County Masters: 2002, 5620 yards *Men 55-59 Jim McConica, Ventura County Masters: 2010, 5445 yards *Men 60-64 Jim McConica, Ventura County Masters: 2011, 5285 yards *Men 65-69 Tom Landis, Oregon Masters: 2008, 4680 yards *Men 70-74 Graham M Johnston, Masters of South Texas: 2002, 4515 yards *Men 75-79 David A Radcliff, Oregon Masters: 2010, 4520 yards *Men 80-84 Aldo Da Rosa, Rinconada Masters: 1998, 3650 yards *Men 85-89 Clarence Ross: 1985, 3240 yards *Men 90-94 E Ole Larson, North Carolina Masters Swimming: 2013, 2330 yards *Men 95-99 Gus Langner (shown above): 1999, 2175 yards *Women 18-24 Sarabeth Schweitzer, Sierra Nevada Masters: 2000, 5550 yards *Women 25-29 Lisa Hazen, Los Altos Mountain View Masters: 1994, 5560 yards *Women 30-34 Lisa Hazen, Los Altos Mountain View Masters: 1995, 5625 yards* *Women 35-39 Heidi George: 2012, 5645 yards *Women 40-44 Susan Preston, Stanford Masters Swimming: 2006, 5550 yards *Women 45-49 Susan Preston, Stanford Masters Swimming: 2008, 5550 yards *Women 50-54 Suzanne Heim-Bowen, Walnut Creek Masters: 2010, 5180 yards *Women 55-59 Laura Val, Tamalpais Aquatic Masters: 2010, 5090 yards *Women 60-64 Laura Val, Tamalpais Aquatic Masters: 2012, 4920 yards *Women 65-69 Lavelle Stoinoff, Oregon Masters: 1999, 4135 yards *Women 70-74 Lavelle Stoinoff, Oregon Masters: 2003, 3960 yards *Women 75-79 Ronnie Kamphausen, Maine Masters Swim Club: 2010, 3525 yards *Women 80-84 Betty Lorenzi, Florida Aquatic Combined Team: 2010, 3250 yards *Women 85-89 Rita Simonton, Golden West Swim Club: 2004, 3005 yards *Women 90-94 Rita Simonton, Golden West Swim Club: 2009, 2720 yards *Women 95-99 Mary Lathram, DC Masters: 2011, 1360 yards 2018 1-Hour ePostal Top 10 Male Results:
  1. Bruce Deakyne (29) 5745
  2. Adam Ritter (33) 5490
  3. Stephen Rouch (38) 5480
  4. John Sarikas (25) 5470
  5. Andrew Wrist (26) 5465
  6. Jeff Erwin (54) 5460
  7. Kurt Dickson (51) 5370
  8. Zebron Lemke (38) 5280
  9. Kyle Hendricks (22) 5250
  10. John Batchelder (37) 5240
2019 1-Hour ePostal Top 10 Male Results:
  1. Eric Nilsson (32) 5,615
  2. Ricardo Valdivia (55) 5,570
  3. Jeff Erwin (55) 5,465
  4. Eilhard Lussier (54) 5,370
  5. Mike Shaffer (54) 5,315
  6. Kurt Dickson (52) 5,300
  7. Andrew Brower (25) 5,300
  8. Nico Ghilardi (49) 5,300
  9. Kurt Dickson (52) 5,270
  10. Jeffrey Nason (44) 5,260
2018 1-Hour ePostal Top 10 Female Results:
  1. Ashley Whitney (39) 5,215
  2. Laurie Hug (53) 5,040
  3. Lauren Matevish (27) 5,040
  4. Dana Gianniny (49) 5,010
  5. Sandra Frimerman-Bergquist (35) 4,945
  6. Madeline Bruce (24) 4,925
  7. Tesla Profumo (41) 4,890
  8. Kate Stephensen (29) 4,860
  9. Heather Frees (35), Joni Williamson (37), Kysa Crusco (42), Heather Iwasaki (28) 4,800
2019 1-Hour ePostal Top 10 Female Results:
  1. Susan Preston (57) 5,250
  2. Ashley Whitney (40) 5,210
  3. Laurie Hug (54) 5,050
  4. Emily Parker (34) 5,040
  5. Kristina Miller (29) 5,025
  6. Kate Dwelley (30) 5,005
  7. Tesla Profumo (42) 4,975
  8. Stacey Bruce (45) 4,975
  9. Heather Mohorn (32) 4,950
  10. Deborah Dawson (51), Dana Gianniny (50) 4,910
Professional marathon swimmer Lisa Hazen swam 5625 yards in 60 minutes, averaging 1:04 per 100 yards in a training swim in 1995.  During that one-hour hard swim she swam further than all the other men and women racing in the ePostal Swim as she prepared for her open water races on the 1995 FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix circuit. For more information on U.S. Masters Swimming epostal events (USMS 1-Hour ePostal National Championship: 25-yard pool or longer + USMS 5K/10K ePostal National Championships: 50-meter pool + USMS 3000/6000-Yard ePostal National Championships: 25-yard or 25-meter pool), visit here. Copyright © 2008-2019 by World Open Water Swimming Association