Many swimmers say that they feel like fish out of water while on dry land; however, teachers Heather Silverstein and Judy Strauss have easily made the transition from the pool to the classroom, trading in their bathing suits for textbooks and swim caps for grading.
Math teacher Judy Strauss has been swimming ever since she was a kid, growing up in the hot, humid New York summers.
“I was the class couch potato,” Strauss said. “So eventually my parents gave me an ultimatum and I decided to swim.”
Ever since then she has been an active swimmer, swimming of a club team in high school and for Syracuse University. Currently, she swims with the Menlo Masters, a competitive team that meets five to six times a week and participates in the Pacific Masters Championship Meets three times a year.
Strauss has also swum in both national and international competitions such as the United States Masters Swimming Nationals and the FINA World Masters Championships in 2006.
Though she has yet to win any international competitions, Strauss has received national medals, her highest ranking being 7th place in 1995. She also held three Top 10 times in the mile swim event within her age group.
“I love swimming because my teammates are so inspiring,” Strauss said. “During the time when I had cancer two years ago, they kept me strong. It’s nice that there is such a communal support, even in really tough situations.”
French teacher Heather Silverstein has been diving competitively ever since her years at Smith College seven years ago.
Silverstein was originally a gymnast, but because there was no gymnastics program at Smith, she decided to try diving.
“It seemed like a lot of fun and easy on the body, which was perfect for me,” Silverstein said.
She dove her way through college and competed in some meets. Afterward, Silverstein made the transition to the Stanford University adult team, which holds practices once to twice a week in two-hour sessions and with whom she has been diving with for the past two years. She also participated in the Coupe de France International competition and the XI FINA World Masters Championships in 2006, placing 11th and 5th, respectively, in the one meter diving event.
Silverstein’s events are usually the one to three-meter dives, which she practices often at the Stanford pool with her team. But when she’s not polishing her technique on the diving board, she likes to relax and enjoy the social aspect of the sport.
“I enjoy flipping and all the crazy tricks a lot,” Silverstein said. “Plus, hanging out in the hot tub afterwards with your friends is always fun.