KEUKA PARK, N.Y., Oct. 24. EMILY Marsh's return to competitive synchronized swimming after a two-year retirement began much how everyone at the U.S. Masters
To no one's surprise, the 27-year-old Marsh dominated the 20-29 Grandmaster solo semifinal competition on Thursday, earning the day's high score of 91.000. Her 91.000 is the highest score awarded at the U.S. Masters meet since 1997.
Marsh, a native of Spring Valley, Calif. swimming for the Dayton Synchronettes, was a nine-time U.S. National Team member and 1999 Pan American Games silver medalist who helped Ohio State to three collegiate national titles in the 1990s.
Teammate Marian Kretschmer is poised to win her record 26th consecutive solo crown in the 70-79 division after scoring a 66.833 to lead cross-country rival Lizzi Jakobsen of the Southern California Unsynchables at 66.000.
Redwood Empire Synchro's Carol Mellows, a nationally rated judge who also competes in the 50-59 Grandmaster, earned the meet's second highest solo
mark of 79.000 followed by the meet's lone male, John Ortiz of the Unsynchables, who scored a 74.833 in 20-29.
No Masters meet is complete without New England Synchro's Louise Wing of Lynn, Mass. who at 84-years of age is the meet's oldest competitor and has a
lengthy win-streak of her own. Wing scored a 62.000 to gain a narrow lead over the Unsynchables Miriam Larson at 61.833 heading into Friday's technical routines.
The Keuka Storm is represented by recent grad Cathy Joyce swimming for Capital District YMCA of Albany, N.Y. Two more competitors have strong Keuka ties: MAC Synchro's Christina Todd of Portland, Ore. is the mother of Keuka Storm senior Inga Todd, and Betsy McGeoch of the Troy (N.Y.) Sculpins is the mother of Storm senior Amy McGeoch. All three begin competition on Friday.
Free routine scores are weighted to 50 percent and added to 50 percent of the Friday's technical program scores to determine the medalists. Grandmaster denotes competitors who are previous national champions or
national finalists in collegiate, junior or senior national events.
Nearly 250 of the nation's top Masters synchronized swimmers are competing for solo, duet, trio and team national titles at the Weed Physical Arts Center on the campus of Keuka College. The Masters championships began in 1975, making the 2002 event the 28th annual competition. Top athletes will advance to the 2004 World Masters Championships at a date TBD in Italy.
Competition continues Friday with solo technical routines at 8:30 a.m. followed by figures. Duets and Trios begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday with Teams at 8 a.m. on Sunday.
Complete results can be found at www.usasynchro.org. Click on the meet logo.