Friendly family feud fosters healthy competition at the pool

THE SCHEDULE read "Dorsey's Search at Phelps Luck." But coaches and many swimmers on both teams knew this was more than your usual meet. The Columbia Neighborhood Swim League dual meet was a Schnaar family feud - the friendly sort, of course, mother's team facing daughter's team for the first time.

"It was kind of strange," said Cindy Schnaar, a River Hill High School social studies teacher who has coached Dorsey's Search for seven summers and remembers it wasn't all that long ago when daughter Melissa was one of her swimmers on a small Long Reach squad.


"I was looking forward to it," said Melissa, "but it was very odd, going with my swimmers to the gate to greet - try to intimidate, really - the visiting team and seeing my mother walk in with them."

Both women said they were hoping for a close meet between teams that include a number of swimmers who know one another through winter teams.


On the Wednesday before last weekend's meet, older kids on both teams, which had not met in at least seven years, practiced together.

"One reason I really liked this meet was the sportsmanship," said Melissa, a social worker who began coaching Phelps Luck at 19 and in seven years has seen the team grow from a mere 90 kids to this summer's 187, the league's largest.

The competition had an off-deck dimension, as well. The Schnaars maintain their respective team records on one computer - at Mom's house.

"But we're on the honor system," Cindy said quickly.

"I always knew my mother worked really hard on her lineups," said Melissa, "but a few days before the meet, when she called me at work to ask about my lineups from a year ago - that made me really nervous."

For the record, Mom's now 1-0 in head-to-head competition. Dorsey's Search won, 335-261.

Tennis titlist

A quarterfinal appearance by Columbia's Chris Chiu was the highest placement by a county resident in the fourth Columbia Men's Hard Court Tennis Championship at Owen Brown Tennis Club.


Greenbelt's Erik Nudo won the title an unusual way, by default, when Gaithersburg's Dexter MacBride, the top seed, couldn't play after injuring a foot in his semifinal win. Other semifinalists were from Bethesda and Arnold.

A new champ

Maryland's best croquet surfaces may still be at 1999 state champion Laurence Moore's Larriland Farm in Lisbon, but the new state croquet champion doesn't reside there anymore.

"They knocked me off," said Moore, 74, referring to last weekend's six-wicket state croquet championship at Larriland. "I didn't play well enough - won only two out of six games."" I took an extra scotch after that," he said.

The 2000 state title went to Easton's Joe Morris, the winner two years ago as well, when he knocked off then-two-time champ Moore.

Despair not. Howard County still has competitors who are, well, aging nicely.


Second place went to Ilchester's Bob Brotzman, 62, who with his 1.5-stroke handicap lost only the championship game. And the second-flight title (for players with 7-to-10 handicaps) was taken by his wife, Darlene, 60.

"I've never played a sport before in my life, but I love this," she said. She also was a third-flight titlist three years ago.

Is Chuck there yet?

Today's supposed to be the end of the line, so to speak, for Chuck Daniels, the 60-year-old Columbian who has been hiking the Appalachian Trail south-to-north since Feb. 7.

He and English-teacher wife, Andrea Almand, who joined him some days back in remote, wild Baxter State Park, were planning to hike together up 5,267-foot Mount Katahdin, the AT's scenic terminus in Maine.