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Lynn's Holiday Letter 2011

Lynn Marshall
202-499 Sunnyside Ave
Ottawa ON
Canada K1S 0S8
ph: +1 613-730-4093
December 24th, 2011

Dear Friends and Family:

This is my eleventh year teaching part-time in Carleton University's Department of Systems and Computer Engineering. Early this year, I got my results for my P.Eng. (Limited License for teaching) Professional Practice Exam, now required for all instructors -- a pass! I taught five courses in 2010-2011, but this year due to a low number of sabbaticals in the software area, I am teaching just four. I almost had no courses at all this past term, but at the last minute an extra section of the second year Numerical Methods course was added, so I was given the opportunity to teach that for the first time. As it is offered in Fall, Winter, and Spring, it's a good course to have under my belt, as those who have taught a course previously have priority in the future. This is especially good news, as the course I've taught at least twice a year for the past 10 years has been replaced in the syllabus. Starting in January, I'll be teaching two sections of the first year programming course (with about 350 students across the two sections). In the summer, I'll teach my favourite third year Real-Time Concurrent Systems course which is usually a much smaller class (about 40 students).

I am still Head Coach of the Carleton Masters Swim Team. In addition to coaching the regular workouts for many of various different groups, with help from the assistant coaches, I also teach private swim lessons, and keep everyone up-to-date with regular newsletters. I also continue to manage the Varsity Swim Team, which involves the paper work and meet entries, and to train with ROC Swimming's Triathlete group, which fits in well with my coaching schedule.

The "big" news for 2011 was turning 50. With a move to a new age group as of January 1st, according to the Masters swimming rules, although the big day was actually February 3rd, I had set my sights on a lot of records. While there were a few disappointments, notably missing the World Record in the 1500m freestyle short course (25m pool), arguably my best event, by 1.9 seconds (less that 0.18%), it was really a great year (well, 6 months) in the pool. Things got off to a bang at a competition in Bracebridge, Ontario on January 9th, where I swam 6 events, and (including splits) set 3 World Records, 6 National Records, and 9 Provincial Records, as well as two lifetime best times. Things didn't continue at quite that rate, but between January and June, I swam in a total of 11 competitions (15 racing days, as two competitions were 3 days long). I swam a total of 45 races in 34 different events (excluding only the 50m breaststroke long course [50m], of the 35 possible events). I set 13 World Records (in 11 different events), although one stood for only a couple of weeks. I set 34 National Records (in 19 different events), and 59 Provincial Records (in 31 different events). I also did 7 lifetime best times in 6 different events. My new Speedo LZR Elite suits (at C$250, and lasting only a few competitions each), seemed to help, especially in backstroke (all but one of the best times was in that stroke). These suits are FINA legal (all textile, no polyurethane), complete with FINA barcode and I bought them to ensure no questions about the suit legality in case of records. Who knows what the Speedo Fastskin3 will bring next year, for those who can afford it!

I've discovered over the years that I much prefer smaller swim meets, and thus went to only one really big swim meet in 2011, which I enjoyed least. I did, however, use up my frequent flyer points and added lots of mileage to my rarely driven car travelling to various smaller swim meets in Bracebridge, Montreal (Quebec, three times), Brockville, Halifax (Nova Scotia), Toronto (twice), St. John (New Brunswick), and Middlebury (Vermont, USA), as well as competing in Ottawa (four times). This travel, especially driving a rental car from Halifax airport to the city in dark and rainy conditions, made me realize just how poor my eyesight was becoming; something one can ignore when driving familiar routes near home. A trip to the optometrists confirmed the problem and I was diagnosed with fast developing cataracts, especially in the left eye. In 2002, I had a partially detached retina in that eye, and I had laser surgery to both correct the detachment in the left eye, and to fix a similar weakness in the right eye. Previous eye "injuries" can lead to the development of cataracts at a "young" age.

Thus my serious competitive season was pretty much over at the end of June, after my trip to Middlebury, Vermont. I had cataract surgery on the left eye on July 5th and the right on July 13th. After the surgery I had about five different eye drops to put in my eyes about four times per day (as per a chart!), with numerous warnings about frequent hand washing. During this time, there was both a power failure and a plumbing issue needing the water turned off, making things more difficult! As you have to wait for the eyes to "settle" after surgery, I was without correction until nearly the end of August. I quickly realized, that although my eyesight was much better than before, it was not perfect. A drive home from a friend's after dark was truly terrifying, as my night vision was even worse than pre-surgery (albeit with glasses then)! In hindsight, the decision by the surgeon to correct only my myopia and not my astigmatism, was, in my opinion, the wrong one. Also, the other name for my new "blended" vision (left eye for near, right eye for far) is mono-vision! Previously, I could easily read without glasses (as long as I held the book very close). Now, it's more difficult. So, I'm back to wearing glasses pretty much full-time, but much less strong than before. If you, or anyone you know, needs cataract surgery, I'd be happy to offer advice.

After cataract surgery, you cannot get your eyes wet, bend over, wear any sort of goggles, or get your heart rate up for at least three weeks. Thus, I was out of the pool for the longest stretch since my broken neck in 1993. While I did try to keep fit with water running (wearing safety glasses to avoid accidental splashes), it took six additional weeks to feel "normal" in the water after being out for three weeks. I did do three small competitions this Fall, but they weren't up to the standard I set earlier in the year (plus I'd also broken all the "easier" records :-) and I set only two Provincial Records.

Ironically, in early July, the day before my cataract surgery I found out that I was to be inducted into the International Masters Swimming Hall of Fame in September. Even more ironic was that, after all my efforts of 2011, this honour was based on my Masters swimming career of 1986-2010. I was thrilled to be selected, just the second Canadian Masters swimmer chosen, after Bonnie Pronk in 2010. My parents also made the trip to Jacksonville, Florida where the September 16th ceremony was part of the United States Aquatic Sports Convention. The slide/video show put together by ISHOF and played at the induction, plus my speech, can be found on YouTube (search under my name), and a couple of photos are below.

My parents continue to keep very busy. After the ceremony in Jacksonville, they went on a Caribbean cruise. My sister, Karina, and her husband, Don, have a busy year ahead of them as Don has been elected President of the Association of Manitoba Land Surveyors, which means they will be attending all the Provincial meetings, including one in Ottawa, plus organizing the 2012 Manitoba AGM. My seven-year-old nephew, Carter, son of my brother, Ken, and his wife, Angela, was one of the children chosen to dance in the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's 2011 Nutcracker, as a Mountie!

The Masters swimming "girls" continue to get together regularly -- including celebrating my birthday (below). My school friend, Shelley, also had her 50th birthday this year, and had a wonderful party. We continue to go to dance performances at the National Arts Centre a few times a year. Her daughter, Madelyne, is growing up fast -- she'll be ten early next year.

With best wishes for 2012!