The District of Columbia Aquatics Club (DCAC) recently returned home to DC after competing in the International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics Championships (IGLA) in Seattle. Since winning their first IGLA world title in 1995, DCAC has been hard to beat, racking up a total of 10 IGLA titles. The championships are held each year with every fourth year off during the year of the Gay Games. The only teams that have managed to defeat DCAC since 1995 are New York Aquatics, Paris Aquatique and Team Florida.
“We were happy to see New York Aquatics step up and take the title in 2012,” said swimmer Neill Williams after DCAC came in second in Iceland. “But we will do what we can to win it back in 2013.”
The DCAC team showed up in Seattle with 69 swimmers in tow on Aug. 12 for five days of racing in 51 events. There were 38 teams from around the world competing at this year’s championships.
Over the past two decades, DC Aquatics has had a large core of strong swimmers who have continued to swim fast into their 40s, 50s and 60s. This year’s meet in Seattle saw the emergence of a new crew of 20 and 30-year-olds, to compliment the older swimmers, including some strong female swimmers. Points are scored by age groups in five-year increments. Each age group competes in all 51 events and each person is limited to five individual events and four relays.
After two days of racing, DCAC held a small lead over New York Aquatics. On day three, the records started to fall and the strength of DCAC’s relays proved too much for the New York team. The DC swimmers pulled away in commanding fashion to win their 11th IGLA championship in the large team category. The Long Beach Grunions won the medium team category and the Philadelphia Fins won the small team category.
Also on hand from DC for the championships were 12 players from the Washington Wetskins water polo team. After several matches during the week, the Wetskins captured 5th place in the water polo competition. The championship match was won by San Francisco Tsumadre.
Other sports contested during the week were synchronized swimming, open water swimming and diving. The diving events included a judging appearance by Olympic diver, Kent Ferguson.
After all the pool events are concluded, IGLA always wraps up with the ever popular Pink Flamingo Follies. The event is a judged pool deck and water performance set to music and is generally filled with camp and drama. The DC Aquatics performance was set in the Emerald City Starbucks and told the story of Dorothy and Glinda falling in love despite the attempt by the evil dominatrix Wicked Witch of the West to take Dorothy for herself. After getting married, the happy couple rode off into the sunset on blow up Orcas accompanied by their Speedo-clad entourage. DCAC was awarded second place for the performance.
Next year there will be no IGLA, but DCAC will be in Cleveland for the Gay Games.
My DCAC teammates showed determination, endurance and camaraderie during the week of IGLA. Each race was a fight for the wall especially seen during the relays when most everyone posts times faster than their individual swims. Also, a big thank you goes out to the Washington Wetskins for joining us in the swimming events to make our presence even more formidable.
I would also like to share a couple things about my teammates who are among the people that are breaking down stereotypes about the LGBT community. I am referring to the stereotypes that still exist about our athletic abilities and the things that define us as human beings. Jeff Dutton and his partner, Kei Koizumi came to compete in Seattle directly from competing at the Out Games in Antwerp, Belgium in swimming and track & field. Brady Phillips and his partner Matthew Hoffman came to compete in Seattle after five days of hiking in the Cascades Mountains. And Dana Connors wrapped up his week of swimming by heading off to compete in a full Ironman Triathlon.
And finally, Michael Parisi, who brought hundreds of people to their feet during his swim in the grueling 200-meter butterfly. There is a special bond that happens between people when the human spirit triumphs over the limits of the human body. The moment Parisi hit the touch pads at the end of his swim; he was a hero to everyone in the natatorium.
Congratulations DC Aquatics. See you in Cleveland.
Results of IGLA are at www.igla2013.org. Videos can be found under the CCE Sports Network tab.
DCAC can be found at www.swimdcac.org.
The full list of medal winners can be found at the online version of this story.
DCAC Medal Winners:
Missi Duprey 1 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze
Garret Garborcauskas 5 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze
Noura Hemady 6 Gold, 3 Silver
Sara Hewitt 4 Gold, 3 Silver
Alison LaBonte 2 Gold, 2 Silver
Katie Lancos 1 Gold, 4 Silver, 3 Bronze
Elizabeth Lester 3 Gold, 3 Silver
Molly Lincoln 9 Gold
Erin Maehr 7 Gold, 2 Silver
Janna McDougall 3 Gold, 3 Silver
Sarah Quincy 6 Gold, 2 Silver
Charlotte Schou 3 Gold, 2 Silver, 1 Bronze
Meridith Stakem 7 Gold, 2 Silver
Ellyn Vail 3 Gold, 3 Silver
Lindsey Warren-Shriner 9 Gold
Lucas Amodio 9 Gold
Peter Beard 1 Silver
Ted Bockius 3 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze
Jason Bricker 2 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze
Justin Burkhardt 6 Gold, 2 Silver, 1 Bronze
Dana Connors 1 Gold, 1 Bronze
David Crane 4 Silver, 1 Bronze
John Crowe 1 Gold, 3 Silver, 1 Bronze
Jose Cunningham 6 Gold, 3 Silver
Nicholas Davidson 3 Gold, 1 Bronze
Fred Dever 2 Gold, 6 Silver, 1 Bronze
Steven Dickens 1 Silver
Andrew Frampton 3 Gold, 4 Silver, 1 Bronze
Craig Franz 2 Gold, 5 Silver, 1 Bronze
Brendan Garvin 3 Gold, 1 Silver, 2 Bronze
Greg Gentry 1 Silver, 1 Bronze
Eric Grasha 4 Gold, 2 Silver, 3 Bronze
Todd Harvey 4 Gold, 1 Silver, 4 Bronze
Geoff Heuchling 7 Gold, 2 Bronze
Jonathon Horsford 2 Gold, 1 Bronze
Robert Jeter 2 Gold, 2 Bronze
Matthew Kinney 2 Gold, 2 Silver, 4 Bronze
Erich Klothen 1 Gold, 2 Silver
Kei Koizumi 1 Bronze
Joseph LaBriola 6 Gold, 3 Silver
Ross Linderman 1 Gold, 1 Silver, 3 Bronze
Kevin Majoros 1 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze
Jeff Mead 5 Gold, 4 Silver
WonKee Moon 6 Gold, 1 Silver
Dawson Nash 1 Gold, 4 Silver, 1 Bronze
Sedric Nesbitt 4 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze
Michael Parisi 3 Bronze
Kris Pritchard 2 Gold
Paul Quincy 5 Gold, 2 Silver, 1 Bronze
Matthew Quinn 1 Gold, 3 Bronze
Brendan Roddy 1 Gold, 2 Silver, 4 Bronze
Michael Saxvik 1 Gold, 2 Bronze
Evan Schlank 2 Gold, 3 Silver, 2 Bronze
Dustin Sigward 6 Gold
Sam Smedinghoff 1 Gold, 1 Silver, 2 Bronze
Fraser Smith 1 Silver
John Tustin 1 Gold, 2 Bronze
John Vail 1 Gold, 6 Silver 2 Bronze
Peter Volosin 7 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze
Neill Williams 9 Gold
Stanford Young 4 Gold, 2 Silver, 1 Bronze