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The oldest competitve clubs in the state, the Los Alamos Aquatomics, celebrated 50 years of swimming at a reunion event at Fuller Lodge June 22.
Several dozen alumni attended the event, including out-of-state guests from New York, California, Colorado and Arizona.
Also present were previous Aquatomics’ coaches Bill Hudson and Steve Myers, who addressed the group at the reunion.
Hudson, who founded the team in 1963 partly to support his program at Los Alamos High School, reminisced about early days of Aquatomics swimming.
“For competition, we’d travel anywhere in the southwest that had a pool, even if it was an odd length, or if it was so murky you couldn’t see the bottom,” said Hudson, a former Los Alamos teacher who is still remarkably fit at 88 years of age.
Hudson also started the first New Mexico state high school swimming meet.
When Hudson’s team won the state high school title in 1956, it was the first state title for Los Alamos High School in any sport. In 1974, he helped organized the Los Alamos Triathlon, which is still run annually in Los Alamos County.
Hudson coached many prominent swimmers during his tenure, including Steve Craven, Los Alamos High School class of 1967, who went on to win several conference titles as a University of New Mexico Lobo. Craven also raced against Olympic legend Mark Spitz in a butterfly final at the 1971 NCAA championships.
Hudson was presented the Aquatomics Golden Anniversary Award for lifetime contributions to swimming and sports in Los Alamos.
Myers’ Aquatomics teams won many state team titles at the club level and Aquatomics’ members played key roles as well in the 11 boys and girls state high school team titles that LAHS won under Myers’ tutelage.
He won his first state team club title in his rookie year of 1981.
When Myers was hired that year, he was promised a new YMCA pool would soon replace the wavy, four-lane pool at LAHS, but he had to wait over six years for the Larry R. Walkup Aquatic Center to be built for a new competition pool.
Also at the reunion was former Aquatomic Bob McClenehan, who was a national-caliber breaststroker and won conference titles for New Mexico State University. He related stories from the Sam Jones-coached teams of the early 1970s.
Eileen Schelberg of Albuquerque brought along some early Aquatomics logos, including one swimsuit patch featuring a mushroom cloud.
The logo on the patch was changed in the late 1960s to a less-controversial “LAA” patch.