Masters to swim in annual Pueblo Open

by | Feb 12, 2007 | News Articles

Masters to swim in annual Pueblo Open

Fifty-year-olds battling neck and neck with 13-year-olds?

It could happen next month when the Pueblo Open swim meet will take on a distinctly new flavor by including masters swimmers, possibly from throughout the state. Thanks to the efforts of Dennis Gimlin and the Pueblo Poolhardies masters swim team, the Pueblo Open has received approval from the Colorado Masters Swim Association to have a state masters meet incorporated into the age-division meet.

The masters will swim in the open division, which is for competitors 13 years of age and over. To compete, masters must have a COMSA or USA Swimming card, and there will be a charge per-event or per-meet.
The Pueblo Open will be held June 15-17 at the 50-meter, six-lane Mineral Palace Park pool. Event details are still being hammered out, but all or most of the longer events are expected to be held late afternoon or early evening Friday.

While on the topic of swimming, a few details are noteworthy about the state masters short course meet championship results that were published in the Chieftain’s Sport section in small (agate) type a few weeks back. In that meet, held April 13-15 at the University of Denver, Dennis Gimlin and Cecil Townsend powered the Pueblo Poolhardies to 16th place in the team standings, and Michael Orendorff pitched in by taking second in the 1,650-yard freestyle (23:03) the first day before his schedule took him elsewhere.

Townsend, 59, competed in eight events in the 55-59 age division over the three days of the meet and captured state championships in the 1,000 (13:37) and 1,650 (22:23) freestyles, totaling 74 points. He did that despite cracking his heel on a flip turn on the first of three days, suffering a big gash that necessitated him taping it each day. That made Townsend even prouder for having set personal bests in the 500 (6:18) and 1,650 freestyles.

Gimlin, 51, swam an exhausting 12 events and amassed 68 points in the 50-54 division. He didn’t shy away from the longer swims either, tackling the 1,650 (25:53) and the 400 individual medley (6:44).


Cycle racing will return to Pueblo on July 1 when the Riverwalk Criterium will be held in the Union Avenue Historic District on what is considered a fast, flat course that will start and finish at the corner of Union Ave. and D Street and will include C Street, Lambkin, Victoria and Grand Ave. There will be kids and junior divisions, four senior men’s age brackets, a senior women’s open race, men’s category 3 and 4 races, and men’s pro 1 and 2 divisions.

Registration opens May 13, and there is no entry fee for the kids and junior divisions. Sponsors of the inaugural event are the CSU-Pueblo Dept. of Nursing, Schwab Cycles Race Team and Torelli/Velo Project.


Those wondering why they haven’t seen any race flyers for the Survival Run that had been on the racing calendar for May 20 should note that it is being moved to a fall date, probably in October. A bike ride may be held in conjunction with the 5K run/walk

For a unique experience at 6.900 feet, the annual Run for Rio 5K run and walk is scheduled for June 2 in Rye. This is a beautiful and rolling course through the neighborhood streets of Rye, mostly south of the Highway 165, although the race actually starts and ends at Rye High School on the north side of the highway.

The race pays tribute to the memory of Rio Martinez, a multi-sport athlete whose accidental death just prior to his senior year at Rye High 10 years ago devastated a big chunk of the Greenhorn Valley community. For that reason, many current and former students and coaches from the school participate in Rio’s honor, and the race is organized by Rio’s mother, Nancy Martinez.
Proceeds from the race go to a good cause – to help fund a college scholarship to a graduating Rye High student who best meets the qualifications of athletics, academics and leadership. The area’s Lions Club always makes a delicious breakfast available after the race for a nominal fee.

Another high-country opportunity is the Chaffee County Running Club’s sixth annual Spiral Drive Run scheduled for May 19 in Salida at an altitude above 7,000 fee. This is a 4-mile run that climbs Tenderfoot Mountain for the first half of the race before turning around and heading back to the finish near Riverside Park.


While the Pueblo YMCA’s Ordinary Mortals Triathlon is now history, it will be conducting the inaugural Splash & Dash aquathon on July 14. The swim/run event will take place at the Rock Canyon swim beach, with distances still be determined. But, no, this isn’t the first aquathon held in this area. Long-time fitness followers may remember the Wet and Dry Duathlon that was held one time at Lovell Park in Pueblo West 19 years ago. It consisted of a 500-yard swim and 5K run.

Race Calendar

• Sunday – Yappy Dog Run (Prediction Series race), 8.6M, 8 a.m., South Mesa Elementary School, 23701 Preston Road, (543-6982).
• June 2 – Run for Rio, 5K run/walk, 8 a.m., Rye High School (947-3682).
• June 9 – Little Run on the Prairie, 5K run & 2K walk, 7:45 a.m., Lovell Park in Pueblo West (289-1411).
• June 16 – Spirit Fest on the Riverwalk, 5K 8 a.m., Union Avenue Historic District (564-7685).
• June 23 – Belmont Butt Buster (Prediction Series race), 5M, 8 a.m., 1318 Horseshoe Drive in Belmont (544-1029).
• June 30 – Women’s Distance Festival, 5K run & walk, 7:30 a.m., City Park (676-7343).


• Pueblo Poolhardies:
• Riverwalk Criterium:
• Southern Colorado Runners:
• Spiral Drive Run:

Send comments and fitness information to Gary Franchi via e-mail at