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News of Otsego County

swimming

Mebust hopes to close swim career with NCAA run

Mebust hopes to close
swim career with NCAA run

By GREG KLEIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Mebust

One of the top swimmers in the region has been training for his college senior season with a goal in mind, the NCAA Division III championship.

Ted Mebust, a 2018 Cooperstown Central School graduate, missed almost a year of swimming at Bowdoin College because of the coronavirus pandemic, but he and his fellow 2021-22 captains have been planning to make up for it their senior year.

“We’re all living together. We’re all close as a team. So, we have been talking about how to establish or reestablish a team camaraderie, so to speak,” Mebust said in the phone interview with The Freeman’s Journal on Monday, Aug. 2.

When he was last in a competitive meet — Bowdoin, in Brunswick, Maine, had students on campus in the spring and the Polar Bears had a short training season, but no regulation competitions — Mebust had the best meet for his team at its conference tournament, the New England Small College Athletic Conference Championship, Feb. 20 to 23, 2020, in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Mebust placed second in the 50 backstroke, third in the 100 back and seventh in the 50 freestyle.

ERNA: Fear Of Swimming

BE AFRAID, BUT DO IT ANYWAY

Fear Of Swimming

By ERNA MORGAN McREYNOLDS • Special to www.AllOTEGO.com

Swimming. I was a kid who wanted to learn to swim.

It really started when I won a week at Bible camp by reciting enough verses. Just being there was scary enough. I was afraid to sleep in my bunk at night. Homesick.

Had all of the wrong clothes. All of the other kids had fancy clothes. My bathing suit was the only store bought thing I had and it didn’t fit. It was a hand-me-down from our neighbor.

Erna Morgan McReynolds, raised in Gilbertsville, is retired managing director/financial adviser at Morgan Stanley’s Oneonta Office, and an inductee in the Barron’s magazine National Adviser Hall of Fame.  She lives in Franklin.


My week at camp seemed to get worse, scarier every day. After our morning calisthenics, we put on our bathing suits, huddled in our towels for the frigid march to the lake.

Most everyone could swim to the dock. Not me. I came from a family of non-swimmers. Mom was too scared to put her face in water.

Watching me shiver, a cabin mate decided to push me in — way over my head.

I sputtered, swallowed water till the guard pulled me out.
I was afraid, but I wanted to swim.

Never again – no more being trapped in dark terror, I said to myself. But it did happen again at friends’ ponds.

More than one time I climbed onto rafts with my friends. They jumped off. I fell into murky, reedy water way over my head. Not sure why I didn’t drown.

So when I heard I could take swimming lessons at a summer school program, I put on another ugly swimsuit.

Worse still, since I was 11 and embarrassed. Chubby size 16 that year. Wearing a hand-me down. Budding breasts made that clingy suit even worse. But I walked a mile from my house every day.

Joined the others at the local swimming hole in the creek just outside the village. Finally, I thought.

But it wasn’t to be. A gangly man and a chubby woman were in charge. They got us in the creek. Had us put our faces in the water. Stretch out on our stomachs in the dead man’s float. But then, a few seconds later, they shouted “buddy up.” I became an expert at buddying up. Could lie on my stomach in water without touching. After a whole summer.

I still wanted to learn to swim, though.

In Wellington, they had a pool. I joined. The water smelled like Clorox and was hot. I tried to do it. Still, after a year all I could do was the dead man’s float. Had buddying up in my kit bag. Just in case.

Before I could learn to swim I moved. First to my new TV/radio job. Then six months across the Pacific, America and finally London.
In London, after a lot of “temping,” I got a permanent job. On my way to work I passed the Drury Lane baths (swimming pool) every day.

After my near-drownings, I was terrified of water over my head. But I knew I could do it. Day after day I practiced widths at the shallow end. First the dead man’s float; then I added kicking.

Next I tried the doggy paddle. Widths. But I got really good at widths and thought: I should move on to lengths.

The first time was a disaster. I doggy paddled and paddled but suddenly the bottom of pool fell away. No way I could touch it. Or doggy paddle over the terrifying water. Shaking inside, struggling to float, kick, somehow made it back.

Days, weeks, months passed until I could make it to the far end.

The saga continued. I beat my fear. Swam an hour every day for years.

At a dinner party years later, a friend asked about how I learned to swim. I got to the buddying up, dead man’s float part.

Suddenly, my husband asked if the teacher was really tall and wore glasses?

It was my husband. First time we met.

Years later I learned that without knowing it when we first met — he taught me what I needed to know to beat my fear. Taught me how to do it.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, AUG. 18
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, AUG. 18

Walk Through Art At CANO

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FABULOUS FRIDAY – 2-9 p.m. Take an Art Walk through the art galleries of Oneonta including the Community Arts Network of Oneonta, the Oneonta History Center, the Artisans Guild, and more. Call (607)432-2941 or visit www.facebook.com/oneontafabulousfridays/

CIVIL WAR REENACTMENT – 4 p.m.-9 p.m. Experience a civil war encampment with the 125th and 61st New York Regiments. Includes Civil War weaponry, tactics, drills, and firing demonstrations. Also a concert and a battle reenactment. Hyde Hall, 267 Glimmerglass State Park, Cooperstown. Call (607) 547-5098 or visit hydehall.org/event/civil-war-weekend/

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, JULY 28
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, JULY 28

‘On Golden Pond’ At Foothills

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MUSICAL – 8 p.m. Presenting “On Golden Pond” starring Carol Dean and Gary E. Stevens. Tickets, $10-15. The Foothills Performing Arts Center, Oneonta. Call 607-432-5047 or visit foothillspac.org

FISH FRY BENEFIT – 5-7 p.m. Order haddock, coleslaw, fries, dessert, and coffee or tea. $10 to benefit the Greater Oneonta Historical Society. VFW, 279 Chestnut St., Oneonta. Call (607)432-0494 or visit www.oneontany.com/VETSCLUB/

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, JUNE 24
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, JUNE 24

Wilber Pool Opens, Oneonta

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WILBER POOL OPENING – 1-5 p.m. The Wilber outdoor pool opens for the season. Featuring open swim, family swim from 5-7:30, and lap swimming. A great way to spend a hot day. Cost, free for Oneonta residents, $1 per child, $3 adult, $8 family. Wilber Pool, 1 Wilber Park Dr., Oneonta. Info, www.oneontaymca.org/upcoming-events.html

COMEDY – 8 p.m. Presenting the hysterical words of Kevin Johnson and his guests, local funk reggae ensemble, Hanzolo. Tickets, $15 adults, $12 youth, seniors, and veterans. The Church, at the decommissioned Baptist Church, 2381 St. Hwy. 205, Mount Vision. www.upsi-ny.com/upcoming-events-news/

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21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103