RECORDSETTERS-These schoolboys from Patton
Pool set two
national age group records at the American Turner's pool, hanging up
times in the 200 and 400-yard medley relays. From the left are Ron
Raymond Ferguson, Bob Blanchard and Rick Sarbo.
Laud Age Group Program
By HARVEY BARCUS
Give age group swimming an assist if Rick Skarbo, of
Western High, wins
the Public School League backstroke or Ron Boyd, of Mackenzie, is first
in the 100-yard freestyle in the PSL championships next winter.
The same is true if Peggi Wirth, of the American Turners,
in the national women's championships.
Age group swimming, American Turner Coach Roy Pouliot points
responsible for improving times among young swimmers.
"It's been wonderful," Pouliot declared. "It has expanded
the base of
swimming so that you discover a lot more of the children who have
to become a champion."
A former Northwestern High and Wayne State butterfly
34-year-old Pouliot has been a pioneer in the type of swimming that is
likely to make the United States preeminent in the water by the time
1964 Olympic Games are held in Tokyo.
"The age group competition started about 12 years ago in
and began to snowball in the last few years," he said. "What has made
type of swimming interesting is that all boys and girls swim against
own their age, making the competition equal.
"It maintains their interest and keeps them coming back for
workouts. They practice four days a week, taking part in meets on
The Turners have gone to meets in Chicago, Indianapolis,
Fla., Ann Arbor, Green Bay, Wis., and Toronto, winning first and second
in the relays in each.
Pouliot starts the girls with long workouts at the start of
making the distances shorter and increasing the speed as the season
The Turner girls were ready a week ago, setting two national
in the 15-16 age group. First, Peggi Wirth, Cynthia Osgood, Kathy Cross
and Leslie Beckenhauer set a record of 1:49.6 in the 200-yard freestyle
relay. Later Peggi, Cynthia Goyette, Kathy and Cynthia Osgood
a mark of 2:04.3 for the 200-yard medley relay.
Not to be outdone, four boys who work out at Patton Pool,
of 1:50.6 for the 200-yard medley relay and 4:04.1 for the 400-yard
Included on the teams were Rick Skarbo, 15, of Western; Bob Blanchard,
16, of Dearborn Edsel Ford High; Raymond Ferguson, 16, of Pershing; and
Ron Boyd, 15, of Mackenzie.
"The times were in the nature of a birthday present for
who was 17 the day after we broke the records," Pouliot said. "She'll
to swim in open competition in the future." Cynthia is a junior at
School. Kathy, 15, is a freshman at Our Lady Star of the Sea; Cynthia
14, attends Queen of Peace High; and Leslie, 14, is a student at
Miss Wirth, a 16-year-old red-headed, freckle-faced junior
Heart Academy, is the teen-ager of whom Pouliot expects "great things."
"Peggi is the first Michigan woman to break 59 seconds for
freestyle, making 58.6 seconds in the state championships at Ann Arbor
in March," the Turner coach said," She has a very nice, smooth stroke,
is quite powerful and hasn't reached her potential."