Hollister’s Sandy Trimble returned to the pool after a 22-year
break, but he’s winning like he used to
The highlight for Sandy Trimble wasn’t necessarily competing against some of the best swimmers in the nation; nor was it the rather comforting fact that the 45-year-old father of six was in perhaps the best shape of his life.
Those details were certainly important, no doubt, but the one point of emphasis that seemed to put Trimble’s trip to the 2008 Short Course National Championships in perspective was when his daughter Lauren used the same dialect she most likely uses when gabbing on the phone.
“The highlight for me was when my 15-year-old daughter said, ‘That’s tight, dad,'” said Trimble, who admittedly had to double-check the teenage lingo to make sure it was a positive.
“That’s a good thing,” he added. “That was cool.”
Trimble, who recently returned to the pool after a 22-year break, was up against some of the best swimmers in the country, not to mention many former Olympians, at the national championships held earlier this month at the University of Texas in Austin.
And Trimble certainly held his own, especially in the 50 breast, where the Hollister resident finished fourth with a time of 28.69.
Trimble also clocked times in the 50 back (18th, 27.77), the 50 free (29th, 23.22) and the 100 IM (16th, 57.39).
With a nod toward his competition, Trimble noted the incredible speed of this year’s national event, where his times this year would have earned him top-10 finishes in each race at last year’s meet, including a third-place standing in the 100 IM.
But with only three swim meets under his belt since he was 23-years-old, Trimble is pleased with where he is right now.
“Basically, 22 years ago was the last time I competed before this year,” he said. “Taking 22 years off left me with a little bit of rust.”
After picking up the sport at the age of 7 when his parents started him and his sister out, Trimble “swam all the way through college.”
Growing up in the San Jose area, the Leigh High graduate recorded a third-place time in the 100 back and a first-place time in the 200 medley relay at the Central Coast Section meet in 1981.
Trimble carried that success to college as well, where he swam at West Valley College in Saratoga, and later at Cal State Chico where he earned All-American honors for Division II in the 100 back and the 100 breast.
But Trimble lost interest in swimming after he graduated from Chico, and it wasn’t until October of last year that the Hollister swimmer was back in the pool.
The comeback started when him and his friends decided to start up a relay team, but the plan didn’t pan out. Trimble, though, who was already training for the relay event, simply decided to continue with it because, as he said, “If I’m not active now, it gets harder and harder every year to stay in shape.”
“There’s something about getting up at 4:10 every morning,” added Trimble, who swims with a core group of 15 at the City of Morgan Hill Masters Swim Club from 5 to 6:30 a.m. five times a week. “Part of the reason I was excited to do this was to teach my kids that you can still set goals and achieve them. But goals come with hard work. If I’m tired, I still get up and swim and practice hard.
“Part of winning is putting forth your best effort. Even if you don’t reach your goal but you deliver your best effort, you can still hold your head high.”
Trimble returned to the pool with a sense of curiosity. He wanted to see where he stacked up still, and after just seven months of practice in Morgan Hill, Trimble’s bid to nationals should assure him that he hasn’t lost a step.
Having already accomplished his initial goal (of getting in shape and doing his best) as well as his reach goal (of finishing top 10 in the nation), the plan now is to stay with it for two more years.
At that time, the relay foursome of Mace Volzing, 43, Alan Spehar, 44, and Charlie Short will be all within the 45-year-old age group.
“The nice thing about this sport,” Trimble said, “is that you can go for as long as you want.”
The rust seemingly washed away with Trimble’s first meets back. After a “warm-up” meet in Berkeley, Trimble competed at the Pacific Masters Short Course Swim Championships in Pleasanton in April. Individually, he tied for sixth in the men’s 45- to 49-year-old category with a first in the 100 IM (58.38), first in the 50 back (28.08), second in the 50 breast (29.84) and third in the 50 free (23.37).
In the 200 free relay, Volzing, Spehar, Short and Trimble took first in 1:33.93, a relay time that ranks them fifth in the nation in the 35-45 age group.
Trimble’s family wasn’t able to attend the national meet in Austin, but they were there in Pleasanton, cheering him on. Surprisingly, the Trimble six are heavily involved with football and cheerleading, but perhaps swimming is on the to-do list in the near future.
“We’ll get them down to the pool to see if they like it,” Trimble said. “After seeing dad do it, they want to do everything. Now they’re interested.”