SWIMMER OF THE YEARMeet our annual recipients
Andrea Beaver - 2010
Andrea was truly an inspiration this past year. She had near perfect attendance. The only few morning practices she missed were while she was on vacation with her family and even when she got back from the airport after midnight she still made it to 5:30am workout. Andrea is a coaches’ dream she completes dolphin kicks off her turns no matter how long or hard the set is, she always pays attention to technique instruction and she keeps tracks of every length! If you swim in the lane with Andrea she will keep track of your distance (don’t even try to argue). She gets to practice early to make sure she swims every yard. She even shows up for practice on our one week off. She enjoys swimming all the strokes, tries new events, and never complains. Andrea is an excellent endurance athlete and competes in many triathlons. She also stepped out of her comfort zone and competed in her first swim meet. She was a true team player by earning lots of points and swimming the maximum number of events plus relays. She is truly motivated, committed, and has great perseverance!
Janice Hebel - 2011
Janice exemplifies an extraordinary passion for the sport of swimming. She has shown true dedication, commitment and perseverance in Masters swimming. This year she accomplished many personal triumphs. She participated in many swim meets including the Charlotte meet, Y Nationals in Fort Lauderdale and open water events at Lake Hartwell and Biltmore Lake. She won first place in both her open water events and had personal best times in the pool. Her biggest accomplishment this year was overcoming her fear of cold water and sharks! She swam in the first annual Swim Around Charleston in 68 degree water and had the best time of her swimming career! Janice is also full of fun; she loves to dance and enjoy life. She comes to all the team socials and enjoys spending time with her teammates. Most impressive is Janice’s attendance record at workouts. She rarely misses a workout and is always there to motivate and lead her lane mates through the tough sets. She comes to workout with a smile and leaves with an even bigger one. She even postponed her family vacation a few hours and made everyone wait on her so she could get in one more workout. She also includes many Saturday swims in her routine with her swimming friends. She truly loves the water and enjoys the spiritual effects it brings her. Janice has many stresses in her personal life that could easily interfere with her exercise routine, but she always rises above and follows her heart to the pool. Janice’s persistence, tenacity and steadfastness is an inspiration for all of us on Greenville Splash.
Allan Byer - 2012
Congratulations to Allan Byer, the 2013 Swimmer of the Year! Allan has impressed all the coaches, Masters swimmers and even his old lap swimming buddies this year. Allan exemplifies the spirit of what Masters swimming is all about. I first met Allan a few years ago at the Golden Strip pool and he would always try to do a few laps with the Masters swimmers. Then when Greenville Splash started at the new GHS pool Allan was there on the first workout. He rarely misses a workout even though he doesn’t particularly enjoy the early morning start or the cold mornings. Last January Allan participated in his first swim meet ever at the young age of 58. He swam 2 events and even participated in a few relays. After that first meet he told me that this year he was going to train harder! Well he certainly did. He participated in every swim event the team went to including the Greenville Splash relay meet, Charleston 2.4 open water swim, Lake Hartwell open water, Greenville long course meet, Lake Lure open water swim and he even went to Nationals in Greensboro to cheer the team on. Allan asks questions at every workout to improve his technique. He is very enthusiastic about swimming and it has shown in his progress. Allen has severe arthritis that has lead to having his ankles fused together. This limits his flexibility and mobility in the pool, but not his spirit. He does not let his disability interfere with his passion for swimming. He has learned how to do all the strokes including butterfly and breaststroke and can even dive in for races. He has tremendous endurance. His old lap swimming friends marvel at how much faster he has gotten this year. Allan has always had a desire to swim. He grew up in Trinidad. When he was 14 years old he heard about a local race in the ocean and he asked his mother if he could sign up. Well she said, no because she thought it was too dangerous. That didn’t stop Allan, he signed up and swam the race while never telling his parents. This was the beginning of his love for swimming. Allan is an engineer by trade but in his spare time he has been teaching beginning swim lessons at the Adams Mill Program Center every week for the past 15 years. Allan enjoys giving back to the sport that has given him so much. Allan’s motto is: “If I can do it, anyone can do it. Speed does not matter, it’s the love of the sport that matters most!”
Carolyn Moore - 2013
Carolyn is an awesome example of someone that exemplifies the spirit of Masters swimming. Her dedication, commitment and perseverance to swimming has paid off this year. Carolyn was reluctant to start competing about 3 years ago due to time constraints. But once she went to one meet she was hooked! She continues to shave seconds from her times. This year she set 31 state records, 4 Dixie Zone records and has 17 top ten times for USMS. She won the 5 mile low country splash open water swim this year and swam the 12 mile Swim Around Charleston. She also takes time to coach and help others to achieve personal milestones. She is always enthusiastic and ready to lend a helping hand. She manages to take care of her family, work and find time for fitness and competition. She is such a trooper when she competes, she puts her game face on and goes for it! There is nothing that can stop her. She even competed when having a bout with kidney stones and nausea from severe rough salt water. Carolyn’s nickname is Mighty Mouse and for good reason!
Troy McAlister - 2014
Troy McAlister was an easy choice for Greenville Splash Swimmer of the Year. Troy’s dedication, perseverance and commitment to Masters swimming is exhibited daily. Troy has been swimming with us for about 2 years and this past year he made swimming an integral part of his life. He comes to practice regularly, attending 5 workouts per week at both Caine Halter and GHS. On days he travels for work and even vacations, he finds another Masters team to workout with and then communicates with our coaches to let us know his training. When Troy talks about swimming, you can see complete joy transform his expression. When asked why he swims, he says, “it is the one place where I can truly escape the pressures and stress of work.” When he is in the water, he concentrates on swimming only. Troy loves to go to swim meets and this year he competed at YMCA Nationals where he won many medals and team points. Troy is always a team player by helping the coaches pick up relay cards, round up swimmers, organize and cheer his teammates at swim meets. He also helped to rebuild the pace clock at GHS. He has improved his swimming speed tremendously this past year and in the process lost 30 pounds by swimming alone! No matter how hard the workout is, Troy will challenge anyone to a 25 yard fly after practice. Just ask him, he loves fly! Troy is a business owner of McAlister Design Inc. and has a wife, Charlene and 2 grown children. His son Taylor also swims with Greenville Splash. Troy has an unbelievable enthusiasm for swimming which is highly recognized Greenville Splash Masters!
Klaus Pless - 2015
Klaus Pless is a well deserved 2015 recipient of the coveted Greenville Splash Swimmer of the Year award. Klaus started swimming with Greenville Splash four years ago. He paid attention to constructive criticism from his coaches to change his methodical catch up style freestyle into “real freestyle” with an improved kick. Klaus has entered many swim meets, open water swims and triathlons without any fear. He is a true team player and swims every event at swim meets to contribute to team points. He never says no. When told that our swimmer dropped out of the 400 IM and we needed him to take their place his reply was, “What lane?” Klaus always comes to practice with an exuberant smile and willingness to swim without even stopping for intervals! Klaus attempted the Swim Around Charleston in 2013 and made a few rookie mistakes as he exceeded the time limit and was pulled out of the water. Many swimmers would give up on such a huge undertaking, but this only spurred Klaus on. He was determined to reach the finish line in 2015 and not repeat previous mistakes. So he trained even harder with 12-13 hours per week which included some killer distance workouts up to 8,000 yards at a time. Klaus spent months preparing for the 12 mile swim. He set a goal of finishing the swim in 5:59. At the start of the swim Klaus says the first miles flew by like nothing thanks to a strong current. He then followed a period of swimming without current; he pushed through wind, waves and mental toughness. He happened to see a coast guard boat and got a little nervous that he would get pulled out again. But he saw the finish line and gave a big smile and sprinted to the end with his strong little kicks. His finish time was 5:59:31, exactly 29 seconds ahead of his prediction. It was the sweet smell of victory! He felt so strong he could have turned around to swim back for another 12 miles. Klaus is an inspiration of what can be possible even though there may be set backs along the way. Klaus looks forward to learning more from his swim coaches, fellow swimmers and to the next endurance challenge. Klaus especially wanted to thank all of his coaches, his kayaker and sidekick, Allan Byer and many others.
Casey Oliver - 2016
Casey was an easy choice for this year’s swimmer of the year. She exemplified the spirit of Masters swimming by her example of dedication, commitment and athleticism. She cared deeply about Greenville Splash and as true leader she went above and beyond to volunteer and help our team continue to grow.
At the beginning of the year she wanted to help Greenville Splash start a new program at the Kroc Center so she flew to Florida to get earn her Level 1 and 2 USMS Coaches Certification. She volunteered to coach one day per week at the Kroc and coach at Westside when needed for the entire year. She then went to Charleston to get her adult learn to swim certification. She volunteered to teach adults in our adult learn to swim program. She was recovering from foot surgery for the first part of the year, unable to swim, she stepped up to help coach at the Charlotte Meet and YMCA Nationals. She also volunteered for our summer meet and for Upstate Splash.
As a swimmer she had to battle a long recovery from foot surgery with many setbacks. She never got discouraged and she persevered through getting back to prime swimming form. She competed in difficult conditions in the 5 mile Low Country Splash. She trained many long distance swims during the summer months at Lake Jocassee in preparation for a 10 mile swim. She woke up extra early during the weekends all summer long to get in her endurance swims. She competed in the Growler meet in August and swam many personal bests and also won the coveted high point award. She swam in the Upstate Splash in blazing fashion. Then she culminated the year in a crescendo of all swims: Swim the Suck in the Tennessee River Gorge. It was also another open water swim with difficult cross winds, slack current and large waves. She felt strong the entire way and finished with the heart of a true endurance open water swimmer. Now she is hooked on endurance swims and ready for new challenges in her future.
Thank you for your always giving back to our swimmers, teammates and our team with your beautiful smile and warm words of encouragement.
Brenda Stephens - 2017
We are super excited to announce Brenda Stephens as our swimmer of the year. Brenda embodies a passion for everything she does in life. She first started swimming with us years ago in our First Splash program. But this year she was on fire! She got out of her comfort zone and decided to try her first swim meet at the Charlotte meet. She had such a great time she set the bar even higher. She wanted to try swimming the mile at our home long course meet. So she made sure to come over to Westside and fit in more workouts so she could practice swimming the mile. She then blasted that goal at our meet this past summer. Then she said, “Why not try open water swimming?” She had never done it before, but heck she jumped right in there and came to our group practice swims at Lake Jocassee. And then her hardest goal was to enter the Upstate Splash which she swam with confidence and ease through the rough water! She is such a team player and also volunteers for all of our events. Brenda is a remarkable person outside of the water too, where she is passionate about helping others by volunteering in Guatamela to teach English and academic skills to those in needy communities. She gives fully from her heart in her family and church life. We are so proud to have Brenda on our team!