March 13, 2014
To the Editor:
Thanks for including me in the recent profiles of New Yorkers going to the Gay Games in Cleveland this August (“New York’s LGBT Athletes Rev Up for Gay Games 9,” by Paul Schindler, Mar. 5). Feedback from friends and teammates has been gratifying.
During my interview, I fired off a lot of statistics too quickly and in the article a few were mixed up. For historical accuracy, two swimmers and a diver from New York were among the 125 aquatics participants at the first Gay Games in 1982 (1,350 total athletes). Fewer than two-dozen New Yorkers were at Gay Games I, but 300 New Yorkers attended Gay Games II in 1986, with 18 of us among the 400 swimmers (3,500 total athletes).
At Gay Games II, several of the sports groups’ participants decided they were enjoying the competition and camaraderie too much to wait another four years. They organized local and international groups to hold more frequent tournaments. In 1987, the swimmers, divers, and water polo players formed International Gay & Lesbian Aquatics (IGLA) and ever since IGLA has been holding annual championships in the three years between Gay Games.
Throughout the 1980s, New York’s Gay Games swimmers were members of various local Masters teams. In 1989, we finally had a group large enough to begin our own workouts. We joined US Masters Swimming (USMS) as an official club in January 1990 under the name Team New York Aquatics.
Local swimmers took longer to form a team than the California clubs but, as you reported, we now have the largest team in all of USMS. And it’s a team predominantly of gay men and women –– just another example of how LGBT athletes are changing the world.
Here’s the commercial: Go to tnya.org for more information!
Editor’s note: Gay City News regrets the errors and appreciates Charlie Carson’s patience in walking us through the history of Team New York Aquatics and the Gay Games.
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