Swimmers Bring Home Hardware
|By Kurt Loeffler|
|On 22 July 2004, Valley Christian High School in San Jose hosted the aquatic portion of the California Firefighters Summer Olympics. Valley Christians Olympic-size outdoor pool was reconfigured to an eight lane, 25 yard, short course. Swimmers from the San Francisco Fire Department took home nine medals: Station 7: Steve Giacalone, one Silver, one Bronze. Competing in the 100 and 500 yard Freestyle and the 100 I.M.; Station 16: Manny Alvarenga (who was forced by his teammates to wear a Speedo), one Bronze. Competing in the 50 Free, 50 and 100 Breast and the 4 x 50 yard Freestyle relay; Sasha Grande, two Bronze. Competing in the 50 and 100 yard Freestyle Open and the 4 x 50 Freestyle relay; Doug Manguiat, one Silver, one Bronze. Competing in the 50 yard Freestyle, 50 and 100 Breast, 50 Back and the 4 x 50 Freestyle relay; Station 43: Donna Spirlin, two Silver. Competing in the 50 and 100 yard Freestyle open, and the 4 x 50 Freestyle relay.
After the Firefighters Olympics, on 14 August the aquatic portion of the 2004 International Police and Fire Games went off without a hitch. The event was held at the University of Nevada Las Vegas Olympic indoor pool. The twenty-five meter, eight-lane course hosted a rich cross section of U.S. Swimmers, some as far away as Florida. Representatives of Hungary, Brazil and Germany were on hand, as well as a group from New South Wales, Australia. The second largest contingent of swimmers, next to the United States, was a highly motivated Russian team. Representing from the Bay Area were Donna Spirlin, San Francisco Firefighter, and her brother, Kurt Loeffler, Honorably Retired State Peace Officer. The pair walked away with 10 medals between them; Donna with four Gold, and one Silver, competing in the 50, 100, 200 meter Freestyle, 50 meter Breast and the 4 x 25 Freestyle relay. Kurt with three Gold, and two silver, competing in the 50, 100, 200, 500 meter Freestyle and the 4 x 25 meter Freestyle relay.