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New Ross Yancher Brute Squad Lite Is Acclaimed

Ross YancherIt’s Brute Squad Time again and my thoughts are with an old friend, Ross Yancher, in whose honor the event is now named. This year the Brute Squad competition will include, for the first time, the Ross Yancher Brute Squad Lite. DAM’s head coach, Stu Kahn, has designed a stripped-down Brute that challenges without destroying. It consists of 100 yards butterfly, 200 individual medley, and 500 freestyle. This compares to the full Brute of 200 yard butterfly, 400 IM, and 1650 free.

Ross has been gone for more than two years but he accomplished much in his 63 years. He was head coach of Davis Aquatic Masters from 1981 to 1988, in which time he not only started Brute Squad, now a national event, but also the Lake Berryessa swim in June, one of the nation’s top open water competitions.

The swimming pool at West Sacramento Recreation Center was named for Ross in recognition of his many years as head swim coach there. He coached both the River City and Rosemont High School water polo teams. He also helped start the Masters water polo program, a howling success until it was undermined by bureaucratic machinations. In June, a plaque in his honor was dedicated as part of a celebration of Ross’ life.

oldest water polo playerOne of Ross’s lesser achievements was teaching me how to play water polo. As a former college water polo coach, Ross saw potential where few, including myself, did. He thought there was great potential for water polo among the elderly, and I helped him start a short-lived water polo clinic at the University Retirement Community in Davis. I was working on my application to Guinness World Records to be recognized as the world’s oldest water polo player, but without Ross’ encouragement I’ve given up.

I swam the Lite on Friday, October 25, at the Civic Center Pool in Davis, the home of Davis Aquatics Masters. My swim took 28 minutes and 34 seconds. I have swum the real Brute, but it took me 87 minutes and 51 seconds. My teammate of similar age, Susan Munn, swam it in 45 minutes and 2 seconds.

Full details on the Brute Squad and Brute Squad Lite can be found here. Sanctioned by Pacific Masters, the competition is available through November 30, and times must be entered on line by December10 with a $10 fee.

Written by Mark Braly, world's oldest active water polo player and member of Davis Aquatics Masters.

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