Swimming, running prowess makes Columbia couple Senior Olympics stars Pair has won 11 national ribbons HOWARD COUNTY SENIORS

November 18, 1992|By Dolly Merritt | Dolly Merritt,Contributing Writer

It's been about 30 years since Dorothy and Clark Brill were fixtures at local athletic events, cheering the accomplishments of their eight offspring.

These days the Brills have a cheering section of their own: their eight children and now eight grandchildren who root for them as the Brills run and swim their way to victories.

The encouragement of a 6-year-old granddaughter shouting "Go Nana Dottie" once helped Dot Brill come in first across the victory line.

Between them the Brills (she runs, he swims) have won 48 gold medals in Maryland Senior Olympics competition since they signed up in 1982. Their other awards include 11 ribbons in national contests.

Both of the Brills, who live in the Wilde Lake village of Columbia, will compete next June in the National Senior Olympics in Baton Rouge, La.

Dot Brill, 67, a former school nurse who retired from Hammond Middle School in 1987, has no coach and doesn't even diet.

Besides circuit weight training at the Columbia Athletic Club, Mrs. Brill often prepares for races by running "three or four miles, three or four days a week."

She ran only occasionally in community races until 1982, when she became inspired by a newspaper article about the Maryland Senior Olympics.

"I thought, 'Well, I'll take a stab at it,' " she said.

With only four weeks of preparation, she won the 100-meter -- in 15.2 seconds, a record no one has broken.

She has run in the state olympics every year since.

During this year's Maryland Senior Olympics contest, she earned four gold medals -- in the 100-, 200-, 400- and 800-meter --es.

So far she has earned 30 gold medals in state contests. And during two prior appearances at the National Senior Olympics in 1987 and 1989, she won a first place in the 400 meter, plus a second place and four other ribbons.

Clark Brill, 70, has enjoyed similar success. A retired sales engineer, he joined Senior Olympics competition with his wife after already establishing himself in national swimming contests.

In the mid-1970s, he was active in state and national swim competitions. At age 53, Mr. Brill placed seventh nationally in the 50-meter butterfly.

Since competing in the Senior Olympics with his wife, he has participated in state and national races, winning medals in freestyle and butterfly events.

At last month's Maryland Senior Olympics, he earned gold medals in the 50-meter freestyle and the 100-meter freestyle, and a silver for the 50-meter butterfly.

In his second national Senior Olympics he won two fourth-place and two fifth-place ribbons.

"The competition was really, really tough with 54 competitors in the 65 to 69 age category," Mr. Brill said.

Typically he swims once a week and works out three times a week.

But before a competition, he buckles down and swims one hour, four times a week.

Mrs. Brill plans to beef up her training in January as she prepares for the national olympics.

Jack Manley, events coordinator for the Maryland Senior Olympics Commission, will coach Mrs. Brill, giving her pointers on how to breathe and pace herself during a race.

In addition, she will begin interval training -- a program in which she runs hard for 600 meters, then slows down to allow her pulse to drop to 120 beats per minute, then repeats the cycle several times.

But winning isn't the only thing that matters to the Brills. Dot Brill says that a true commitment to her athletic endeavor would require more sacrifices than she's willing to make. Out would go traveling, golf and bowling.

"Almost every weekend, there's a meet somewhere," said Mr. Brill.

"Some people travel all over the country to compete. We are not single-minded; life is too short to stick it all in one basket."

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