Long ago addicted to the Gay Games, the intrepid Lee (now known affectionately as “the Eel”) has once more transformed herself into an heroic sporting identity. To begin to comprehend this, we will quickly review the Eel’s games track record.

The first ever Gay Games in New York featured line dancing. To be part of the event, the Eel learned this fine American art form. Her participation, the new friends she made, and the amazing spectacle of the event convinced her to participate in future events.

But Amsterdam ended her line dancing career – it wasn’t on the program, so she took up table tennis and headed to Europe.

Returning to Sydney and not having a gay and lesbian club to call home, she set one up. Babes with Bats is still going strong, and a bronze medal at the Sydney Gay Games in 2002 encouraged the Eel to pursue her career.

But table tennis wasn’t on the 2006 Chicago program, so the Eel took up darts and continued her sporting adventures.

Then along came Melbourne’s Outgames in 2008 – but no line dancing, no table tennis and no darts on the program. So the line-dancing, bat-swinging, dart-throwing sensation took to the water and became a swimmer.

A Coogee regular, the Eel was curious to find out if her snorkel would be permitted at the pool. Of course it wasn’t so, undaunted, she took up training without the snorkel and went to work on her lap times six days a week, diligently powering up and down the Fanny Durack (33m) pool. Thankfully, visiting mum in Albury provided the ideal test in a 50m pool just days before the Melbourne Games.

The 50m event was first up on the Eel’s competition schedule. “I was so scared I was almost wetting myself,” she said.

The start was an amazing adventure. Never having dived or jumped into a pool before, the Eel was told to await the “take your marks” signal from the starter from behind her block in lane four. At the signal she proceeded with haste to the steps (“I am a little old lady,” she exclaimed afterwards) and progressively duckdived under lane ropes until arriving at lane four.

“The ordeal of getting into position left me exhausted,” she was heard to remark to an official.

A time of 1:11:00 saw the Eel steam home in sixth place in her age group, which included only six swimmers.

“The 200m event was going to kill me and, but for the fact that I rolled laterally and saw and heard the whole crowd screaming, I would have stopped there (at the 150m mark),” the Eel said.

“The official reminded me to touch the end so that my time would register. My opposition didn’t turn up, so I won the gold.”

The Eel only had an hour’s rest between the 200m and 400m races, so she took some advice on breathing on every second stroke, rather than every fourth, before taking the plunge again.

“This worked much better, and the race seemed to go well until the eighth lap when I was exhausted,” she said.

“I felt totally exhilarated as the crowd screamed for me to finish – but the surprise came when I was told that my opposition couldn’t make the distance and pulled out.”

The Eel was overwhelmed by the support she received from the Wett Ones, even though she did not know them and was not a club member.

“They looked after my kit, assisted in all sorts of ways, made me feel welcome, and could not have been more supportive at all times,” she said.

“I will be at the next Games. I am just not sure what my sport will be. If it is swimming I would like to learn to dive in.”

To get involved in a gay and lesbian sporting organisation contact Team Sydney via www.teamsydney.org.au.

WET FOR SUCCESS

Sydney’s Wett Ones swimming squad returned from the Melbourne Outgames with 84 medals.

The Wett Ones sent down the third largest swimming team of the meet – behind the large Aqualicious team from Brisbane and Melbourne’s highly-respected Glamourheads.

Of the 84-medal haul, 34 were gold, 29 silver and 21 bronze. In addition, the team set a string of personal bests and club records, returning to Sydney proud of the overall campaign.

Club spokeswoman Megan said although the success in the pool was sweet, the total Outgames experience was also a highlight.

“Between swims the Wett Ones managed to fit in sightseeing and took to heart the theme of ‘come play with your neighbours’,” she said.

“We had an excellent time and are now focusing our attention towards Copenhagen Outgames 2009.”

For more information on the Wett Ones and their training schedule, visit www.wettones.org.

ROAD RUNNERS

The Sydney Frontrunners came out racing for the 5km and 10km events at the Melbourne Outgames, held in beautiful Albert Park.

About 90 runners took part, with the 5km competitors heading off about five minutes before the 10km. The temperature was well up in the late 20s with not much shelter in sight. Only one runner managed to run off in the opposite direction to the other 89 so that’s not too bad.

“It was definitely one of the most fun ‘fun runs’ I have done due to the atmosphere and the welcome we all received,” Frontrunners spokesperson Chris D’Cotta said.

“The Sydney Frontrunners did very well and picked up several medals, but it was being part of the Outgames that was the most enjoyable part.”

Zoe King, who took out a silver medal in the men’s 40-50 years age group 5km run, said his memories of the race were very distinct.

“There was this one guy from Melbourne who overtook me shortly after the 1km mark and got about 100m or so in front of me. However, at about the 2km point he stopped and I passed him,” King said.

“He started running again and passed me, but he stopped at the water station and I passed him.

“He got back up to me and we ran together for a little while, but then he had to stop again and I surged ahead.

“I kept ahead of him all of the way but was only just ahead of him at the finish. I just wished I remembered his name.”

For more information on the Sydney Frontrunners visit www.sydneyfrontrunners.org.

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