Jayne Lambke, 1939-2000

It is with great sadness and deep regret that we report the loss of one of our greatest Masters swimmers. Jayne Lambke of the St. Petersburg Masters (FLA) passed away last Saturday night after suffering from internal bleeding complications following spinal surgery. She was 61.

Lambke was not only an extraordinary athlete, but she was a delightful individual. SWIM Magazine readers may recall a beautiful, young looking Jayne Lambke on the cover of the May/June 1993 edition. She was a USMS All-American more than 50 times since 1993, and was a 2000 All-American in the women's 60-64 50 free (30.66), 100 free (1:11.09) and 50 fly (35.35).

The following story about Jayne appears on the USMS Website (www.usms.org):

Jayne Lambke's love for the water began with her mother, who believed that swimming was the cure for all ailments. She was introduced to the water at an early age, swimming and sailing with her family in local lakes and reservoirs throughout the state of Oklahoma. At the age of 12, her mother enrolled her in swimming classes at the Oklahoma City YWCA so she could become more confident in the water. It wasn't long before she began competing in meets under the
supervision of a Y lifeguard who was getting coaching tips from a group of South Africans who swam for the University of Oklahoma.

At 13, Jayne broke the 50 meter freestyle record for the 13-14 year age group with a time of 32.8 at the Southeastern U.S. Junior Olympic meet, held that year in Houston, Texas (the old record was 33 seconds). At this meet, Jayne was the only person to use the dolphin kick in the "new" butterfly stroke. One year later, at 14, she received recognition as "the most promising AAU swimmer" in the state of Oklahoma at the same time that Graham Johnston received recognition as the "Outstanding AAU Swimmer" in the state.

A year later she was invited by Matt Mann to train in Canada for the 1956 Olympics but was discouraged by her brother who believed the myth that swimming would make her too muscular and unfeminine. Shortly thereafter she "retired" from swimming to start her family.

While living in New Orleans where she had moved to start her own yacht brokerage business, she became an assistant to Dick Bower at the Tulane age group swim club and became head coach for the Covington Country Club team. Under her enthusiastic efforts the club team grew from 50 members to 160 swimmers and became the best club team in the state of Louisiana.

When she was 42 she took up swimming again to combat the mental stress of watching her yacht brokerage business go down with the collapsing New Orleans "oil economy". Swimming provided an outlet for the stress and she discovered that she could become a strong swimmer without losing her feminity as she began competing in Masters competition.

She really hit her stride after she moved to St. Petersburg, Florida and began swimming for George Bole and the St. Petersburg Masters team. Under George's tutelage Jayne set three World records at the 1990 Pan Pacific meet, has been an All American six out of the last seven years, an All Star in 1994 and 1995 and a long distance All Star in 1995.

Jayne thrived and truly enjoyed competition, at work and play. In addition to swimming, she raced sailboats and worked in the highly competitive market of employee out-sourcing. Swimming definitely helped the mother of three and grandmother of nine stay healthy, balanced, and "feminine."

A memorial service for family and friends will be held on Tuesday, November 28, at the arboretum near the St. Petersburg pool.

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Author: Archive Team

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