United States Masters Swimming, for adults 18 years and older, is all about the numbers.
So when Jupiter-based Palm Beach Masters head coach and founder Linda Bostic realized she had 48 swimmers to compete at the U.S. Masters Spring National Championships in Greensboro, N.C., from April 28 to May 1, she liked her team’s numerical chances against 180 teams.
“I was pleasantly shocked when we finished third in the country,” said Bostic, “but knew we finally had the numbers to finish in the Top 10. It took a total team effort. Last year in San Antonio, Texas, we were 91st in the country with only four swimmers. The year before in Santa Clara, Calif., we were 47th in the country with eight.”
A Jupiter resident, Bostic started her growing club as the North County Masters of Jupiter in 2009, when it trained exclusively nearby at the North County Aquatic Complex.
The named changed to Palm Beach Masters in 2014 when she expanded operations to the Aqua Crest Pool in Delray Beach. The organization now has an offshoot Wahoo triathlon team that draws additional athletes, and Bostic and her staff also now instruct some of PBM’s 292 students at Lake Lytal Family Aquatic Center in West Palm Beach.
“We only expanded there in the beginning of May,” Bostic said, “and we have about 20 swimmers there now. Some train just for fitness; some to compete as swimmers or triathletes, and our age range is 18 to 87.”
A native of Shreveport, La., Bostic initially moved south to attend the University of Florida. After graduating, she moved to Jupiter in 1986 to work for 20 years for Florida Power & Light.
Still competing at age 52, she had a stellar college career with the Gators, and came close to making the 1980 United States Olympic Team that boycotted the games in Moscow.
“They canceled the U.S. Olympic Trials,” Bostic said, “but picked an honorary team to compete in Hawaii in what’s since become the Goodwill Games. I had a first and two second-place finishes there, and then went to college in Gainesville, where the women’s team won an NCAA Championship in 1981, my freshman year.”
All U.S. Masters races occur within age brackets, and the PBM 65+ mixed 400-yard freestyle relay team took first place in Greensboro — plus set an American age group relay record.
“That was Dave Quiggin, Roger Parsons, Fran Hare and Suzie Mitchell,” Bostic said. “And what they accomplished was amazing.”
Bostic competed in five races in Greensboro, notching five fifth places. Which the champion swimmer sounds slightly sheepish about, until she puts it in perspective.
“If you finish in the Top 10 in a race, you earn points for your team,” she said, “which 46 of our 48 swimmers did. We finished well behind the first-place Olympic Club from California, and slightly behind the second-place Palmetto Masters from South Carolina. But we only beat the fourth-place New Albany Masters from Ohio by four points. So I keep in mind that my finishes had an impact!”
Originally in: Palm Beach Post