Best known in her role as director of parks and recreation for Durango, Cathy Metz has another side that many of us are not so familiar with, that of masters swimmer extraordinaire.
In March, Metz set seven age-group state records at the Colorado Masters State Swimming Championships in Denver, continuing a record-setting trend that began 10 years ago when she started swimming with the Durango Masters swim team.
Metzs swimming career began at age 12 and continued through high school where she swam in her then-hometown of Cambridge, England.
After high school, she went on to swim for Colorado State University.
After graduating and beginning her working career, she took a break from competitive swimming, mainly because of a lack of a program or a facility in the various towns where she lived and worked before moving to Durango.
In 2002 after the Durango Community Recreation Center opened, she started training with the Durango Masters and has been breaking state records ever since.
Backstroke is my strongest event followed by freestyle and the individual medley, Metz said.
At this years state meet, her first event was the 50-yard breaststroke, admittedly not her strongest stroke.
When she broke that record right off the blocks, it was a real confidence builder and set the tone for the rest of the meet.
When you get to the competition, its 90 percent in your head, Metz said. I do a lot of mental preparation and visualization starting at least a month out.
After the first event, I kind of settle into it. The encouragement from the team helps, but the nervousness is absolutely always there.
Training is a major piece of the competitive puzzle, and Metz trains four mornings a week with the masters team, lifts weights twice per week and uses her weekends for either long runs/hikes or bike rides.
I like to start my day working out; I come in at 5:30 a.m. to get my workout done before work, Metz said.
Its a lifestyle choice thats important to me. If you have a healthy body, you have a healthy mind.
In 2010, Metz briefly stepped away from strictly swimming competition and entered the Tri the Rim triathlon for the first time. Proving once again her athletic prowess, Metz finished second in the womens division.
As a self-proclaimed sprinter, the length of the triathlon was more challenging for her.
It was over an hour-long race, a little more endurance and a longer time of torture, Metz said.
I am used to the time it took, generally working out about one to one and a half hours but not to the intensity for that period of time.
I have a lot of respect for triathletes. That is probably the most demanding sport out there.
Metz said she would consider doing another triathlon in the future, but her focus is more on the benefits of regular exercise and long-term health.
Theres no question that I work harder when I have an event and push myself more than I would otherwise because that goal really makes a difference.
I think we will hear more about Metzs life outside of parks and recreation as she continues to swim her way into the record books and hopefully competes in more triathlons in the future.
Reach Marjorie Brinton at firstname.lastname@example.org