The Championship Lake Swimmers
The 1938 Season
For 1938 the Wyoming Valley Swimming Association and the WPA hosted a longer series of competitive events in area pools. In the Valley, Tom Hodorowski was an exceptional swimmer in both sprints, breast stroke and diving. On July 2, 1938, a Lake event at Sandy Beach saw team mates Jim Campbell and Elwood Davis tie in the 440 free-style, and Davis in a tie with Charles Stitzer in the 110 yard free-style. Campbell won the 110 back stroke event. Again, Elinor Abbott was star of the womens’ 110 yard free-style, but the overall womens’ champion in the early season was Dorothy Malinowski.
Other major swimmers in the Valley were also making headlines in the sports papers including Michael “Lefty” Cavanaugh and William “Rip” Reilly who, with Tom Hodorowsky travelled to Ocean City, MD, to represent Wyoming Valley in an AAU championship meet. The local swimmers along with other Pennsylvania men and women swept the event.
At another Sandy Beach event in mid-July Campbell retained his lead for season points when he beat Charles Stitzer in the 800 yard free-style and Elinor Abbott was now challenged by a Meyers High School swimmer Elda Jenkins who won the 100 yard free-style event. Abbott beat Jenkins in the 200 yard event. The men and women were competing for the Col. Ernest G. Smith trophy, offered by the publisher of the Times-Leader newspaper. Other swim meets were held at Sans Souci, Forty Fort and other pools during the season with Abbott battling Jenkins and Campbell often against his Lake partner Elwood Davis. In late august at the Irem Temple pool, Campbell lost the season lead by one point to Malcolm Kosek. The following week at Sans Souci Campbell again took first place in the WPA league by winning the backstroke and 200 yard free-style event.
On September 9, 1938, the tenth and final meet of the WPA season was scheduled for the Wilkes-Barre YMCA. With the Y balcony and poolside filled with 500 viewers, one of the most thrilling swim events ever to occur at the YMCA saw Malcolm Kosek win the 50 and 100 yard free-style events and first place for the Smith trophy. Tom Hodorowski broke the Y pool record in the 100 yard breast stroke with a 1:16 time. He also won the diving contest. Campbell won the 100 yard backstroke in 1:24 and the 400 yard free-style in 5:34 (beating Stitzer by one inch). Hodorowski and Campbell tied in points scored for second place for the 10 event season. Among the women Elinor Abbott won the womens’ Smith trophy and Dorothy Malinowski won the junior girls division. Robert Green won the junior boys division winning the 50 yard and 100 yard free-style events at the Y meet.
Copyright 2006-2008 F. Charles Petrillo