Monthly Archives: March 2012

Why We Swim: Team Larissa’s Crew

Team “Larissa’s Crew” is swimming in honor of Larissa Jean Dhanani. Larissa is currently battling Acute Lymphomcytic Leukemia and on April 19, 2011, she received an extremely successful bone marrow transplant, thanks to an experimental protocol done with research funded by the Swim Across America. Larissa’s exceptional care and treatment provided by the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance has inspired us to give back to our community. Larissa is a truly inspiring woman and a very close friend and relative to all of us swimming in last year’s Swim Across America in Seattle, WA. Larissa is living proof that the funds raised through the Swim Across America directly affect the outcomes of those battling cancer.

Categories: Cancer research, Survivor stories, Why we swim | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Seattle Swim tip: Freestyle kick

Not as easy as it looks

Hey folks – Here is a little gem on incorporating a 6-beat kick into your stroke. I have some work to do this week!  See you in the water.

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Welcome Group Health – a Seattle Swim sponsor!

We want to than Group Health for being a Seattle Swim corporate sponsor!

Marking its 65th year, Group Health Cooperative is an innovative, consumer-governed, nonprofit health care system that integrates care and coverage. Along with its subsidiary carriers, Group Health Options, Inc. and KPS Health Plans, Group Health works to improve the health of over 665,000 plan members in Washington and Idaho.

More than 9,000 staff employed by Group Health and Group Health Physicians, its contracted, multispecialty group practice, provide patient-centered, evidence-based care to members and the broader community through medical centers, a charitable foundation, and a nationally recognized research center.

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Seattle Swim tip: Your flip turn is rockin’ 5 of 5

Now you know what this feels like!

If you have been following to this point or want to go back through the sequence, I hope you have noticed as much of an improvement as I have in the pool.

Yes, I felt a bit funny out there doing summersaults through the noodle a few weeks ago, but what a result!

This last freestyle flip turn installment ties all 5 steps together. I hope you can spend more time enjoying your workout, less time gasping for breath between turns.

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Why BJ Phillips swims – Team Dudes for Kass

BJ Phillips' Aunt Kathy holding his baby

Why do I swim?  For Kass!

My Aunt Kathy was this amazing woman who played the role of “the cool aunt” for me.  It could have been because she was my youngest Aunt, but I think it was much more than that… She watched MTV and liked hip hop, loved the Mariners and the Sonics, and let my cousin Wes and I turn her living room into a real life WWF wrestling arena.

I called her Kass because she was my friend.  She and my Dad referred to each other simply as Dude and Dudette.  Most of all, she was “cool”  because of the great relationship she had with her kids.  She poured herself into them, and they in turn into her.  She was their friend when they needed a friend, and a mom when they needed a mom.  I became a father myself recently, and it makes me happy to know that she is an ingredient in the tossed salad of parenthood that comes from mixing in my wife and both our families.

Kathy passed away in November after a 7 year battle with ovarian cancer.  It wasn’t the first time cancer struck our family, but that didn’t make it any easier.  Through it all, she kept her amazing spirit and managed to smile at every opportunity, even if she had to create one.  When I hopped in the pool two years ago to begin training to swim in her honor, it had been years since I tallied up any yardage.

Most life-long swimmers will agree:  years of laps as an age group swimmer, then into high school and beyond, have a way of slowly wearing down the edges.  But Kass kept putting one foot in front of the other, kept smiling, kept fighting… so why not keep putting one hand in front of the other each day for a few months?  Slowly, the rhythms of the morning became ritual again, and I learned to love something all over.  Just another thing Kass gave to Dad (Dude) and me:  the rediscovery of something lost.  This year, team Dudes for Kass transitions to swimming in Kass’ memory, which will undoubtedly take on new meaning and bring new revelations during the 6 o’clock hour.  She may not be on shore holding a box of donuts, but she will be with our every stroke, as she always was.

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Seattle Swim tip: flip turn step 4 of 5

You may not think so, but your flip turn is starting to look like this!

Hey there Seattle Swim participants. If you are in the pool here in March, hopefully this series is of some use.

Here is part 4 of the 5 part series on learning a flip turn.  See you in the water.

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First melanoma drug in 13 years: SAA lab at Sloan Kettering

Our lab gets it done in the fight against melanoma.

For those of you who may have missed the NBC Nightly News last night, there was excellent coverage of Jedd Wolchok, who heads up our Swim Across America Laboratory at Memorial Sloan Kettering.  As most of you know, last year, the SAA Lab was responsible for developing ipilumumab, the first melanoma drug, to be approved by the FDA in over 13 years.

Jedd and his team are now taking that drug and in combination with radiation seeing even more promising results and hopes that the same approach they are doing for melanoma could work with kidney, lung and other cancers.
Jedd, we are so proud to continue to support all the incredible research that you and your team are doing at MSK. Please pass along our congratulations to your team and keep us in the loop on your further discoveries!  You are doing incredible work!
Everyone, please take time to watch and read the attached link below…..and feel free to forward it along to your local committees.
Best, Janel
Swim Across America Executive Director
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Why Susanne Quistgaard swims – Team Tachywaves

Susanne Quistgaard is a multi-year Seattle Swim veteran and team captain

Swimming helped shape my life into what it is today. Remember that book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten? I could write the book All I Really Need to Know I Learned from Swimming.

I took my first swim lesson at age 4, joined a team at age 8, and swam competitively through high school. Swimming taught me to set goals and work hard. It taught me good sportsmanship and how to get along with others. It taught me to be interested in my health, which ultimately sparked my interest in medicine and led to my career in family medicine.

Swim Across America is the perfect combination of two of my life passions – health and swimming. I swim for the many patients that touch my life with their struggles against cancer. I swim for my former work partner, Dr. Jeff Schlameus, who died 4 years ago from chemotherapy complications. I swim for my fellow book group member, Donna Walsh, who lost her battle with lymphoma a little over a year ago. I swim for my lifelong friend, Christi Hanks, who was diagnosed with breast cancer and melanoma last year. I swim for my son’s friend, Evan Dubicki, who was diagnosed with leukemia at age 2. I swim for my high school friend’s mom, Cindy Karst, who is currently battling breast cancer.

Swimming makes me a better person. I swim for myself and for others. How perfect is that?

Categories: Teams, Why we swim | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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