Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-06-19
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Smelts mark 25 years in the pool
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Paul Mittleman has been swimming for the predominantly gay Chicago Smelts for 24 of the team's 25 years—longer than some of his teammates have even been alive.

Mittleman, 57, who lives in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood, is the vice president for the Hispanic Housing Development Corporation and had a civil union in 2012 with his partner of 13 years, Michael Calcagno.

Mittleman joined the Smelts about a year after it was formed.

"I was on the swim team for a while in high school, so I was a decent swimmer," Mittleman said. "I was looking to stay in shape, [and] the location and the practice times were convenient. Plus, the people were great.

"I think that the intensity of the workouts were what has kept me there for all these years. It's difficult on your own to workout at the same intensity that you can with a coached practice. We have always have had great coaches that put in a huge amount of time in exchange for simple recognition once a year at our pre-Thanksgiving team party.

"Swimming is still fun and still a great workout. Plus, I have made lots of friends and gotten to know quite a number of people through the Smelts."

The Smelts this year feature 133 members on the co-ed club, with 64 percent male swimmers.

"There were always some really great swimmers on the team, but in recent years, the depth of swimming talent has really expanded. Now there are lots of really great swimmers on the team and we are one of the top Masters [Division] swim teams in the state," Mittleman said. "We've always had straight women and some straight men on the team—now there are more straight people who swim for the great workouts and nice people.

"The level of participation in swim meets and other athletic events have varied. In the early days, there was a lot of participation in triathlon-type events. The Big Shoulders swimming event in Lake Michigan has always been very popular, too. Now we have strong participation in swim meets."

Mittleman was 33 when he joined the Smelts and now admits, "I never would have thought that I would have spent 70 percent of my adult life swimming with the Smelts."

But it keeps him fit, "and I still think that I get some looks from handsome younger guys … or maybe I'm just dreaming," he said, laughing.

"When I started on the team, I just remember that a lot of the guys were younger than I was, and [they were] so handsome and such great athletes; it was a little intimidating."

But he persevered, and is smiling wide today.

"I remember, in the early 1990s, we used to have practice on Saturday afternoons," Mittleman said. "After practice, my friend John used to come over to my house; we'd eat any leftover food from the week and then we would go over to Sidetrack, where they would have, at that time, two-stepping [dancing] instruction. John got to be a pretty good dancer; I never quite got the hang of it. Then we'd play pool at Roscoe's and generally make a night of it."

In 1996, a Smelts member organized a biathlon (swimming and running) at Illinois Beach State Park. The race started early one morning, so many of the team members camped out. That memory is still strong for Mittleman.

"The Smelts is a great group of fun-loving, unpretentious athletes," he said.

Added team member Lemikas Levender, "The Smelts foster an atmosphere of camaraderie, with swimmers of all ability-levels and speeds. Through social events and community service, the team aims to promote personal growth and pride for all its members."

The team will be represented at the annual Illinois Masters Swimming Association state meet, which is April 25-28 at Glenbrook South High School in Glenview.

Smelts members also will be participating this September in the annual Big Shoulders Open Water Swim Classic, a 5K event that kicks off at Ohio Street Beach.

"I am one of the few Smelts who swim regularly that has been a member since the 1980s, and I reflect on it sometimes," he said. "It is a great workout, with fun people that is not expensive; I can't think of anything else that I would rather do to stay fit.

"The Smelts certainly have helped me stay in shape; plus, I have met lots of friends over the years through the team."

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Thirty-six sports confirmed for Gay Games 11 in Hong Kong 2022 2019-06-12 - HONG KONG/SAN FRANCISCO, 31 May 2019 - The Federation of Gay Games ( FGG ) together with the Gay Games 11 Hong Kong ...

Gay News

WORLD Hong Kong decision, Pride flags, out Indian athlete 2019-06-11 - In a victory for the LGBT community, Hong Kong's top court has ruled in favor of a gay civil servant applying for spousal ...

Gay News

Semenya now able to compete 2019-06-04 - Mid-distance runner Caster Semenya will be allowed to compete without having to take testosterone-reducing medication after the Swiss Federal Tribunal ordered the International ...

Gay News

Semenya appeals testosterone decision 2019-05-29 - South African mid-distance runner Caster Semenya filed an appeal May 29 against the Court of Arbitration for Sport's decision to uphold testosterone regulations ...

Gay News

Chicago's Boystown sports rainbow crosswalks 2019-05-19 - Chicago's Boystown neighborhood has added a little color, thanks to rainbow pride crosswalks. Initiated by the Northalsted Business Alliance, the rainbows will adorn ...

Gay News

Players named to third Women's World Cup Team 2019-05-02 - CHICAGO ( May 2, 2019 ) - With 40 days until the USA's opening match of the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, U.S. ...

Gay News

International Sports Court upholds proposed rule on testosterone suppressants 2019-05-01 - ( New York, N.Y. )— Today, in a divided 2-1 opinion, the international Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld a proposed rule by ...

Gay News

Proud to Run set for June 29 2019-04-25 - Proud to Run 2019—which includes a half-marathon, 10K run and 5k run/walk—will take place Saturday, June 29, at Montrose Harbor, 600 W. Montrose ...

Gay News

Lynn Sage Cancer sports event June 17 2019-04-16 - The Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation ( LSCRF ) will host the annual Play for the Cure Game Day, featuring a women's round-robin ...

Gay News

THE SPORTING LIFE Barrett A. Solorio 2019-04-07 - Barrett A. Solorio has been playing gay sports for almost five years, first starting in the Stonewall Kickball League, and has since also ...


Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.