What can I say of the story on Dick Groat (Head Man in a Hurry, Aug. 8)?

As president of the Roanoke chapter of the Pittsburgh Chowder and Marching Society, I am currently living and dying with the Pirates and Dick Groat.

The Dick Groats of the sports world are so few and far between that they are worthy of special mention, as your Roy Terrell has proved so beautifully.

Back in the days when Dick was the star of and I was the statistician for the Duke basketball team, there never was any question who stayed late after practice to perfect his jump shot, which was to become the best in the college field.

Dick Groat is the finest team man I know; not the greatest athlete, mind you, or the man with the most physical ability, but the man more than any other who could beat you.
Roanoke, Va.

Just one more of a long list of masterfully written articles.
Columbia, S.C.

"Sixty years ago [Mann says] the breaststroke was the swimming stroke many instructors taught to beginners" (Teach Your Child to Swim, July 25).

I think we should go back 60 years and start teaching breaststroke again. The present-day practice of teaching the crawl as a basic stroke to anybody, regardless of ability, brings startlingly poor results. Kids who "graduate" from such classes can thrash around wildly in a poor imitation of the crawl for one or two pool lengths, then they quit exhausted. A few talented individuals will go on to make teams and win prizes, but the majority will not even learn to enjoy swimming or be safe in the water.

Listen to Mann: "The breaststroke is an easy action, very conducive to relaxation...it is a downright restful way to move through water."

I thought so, too. My two boys who are "summer swimmers" (like the great majority of us) can easily swim half a mile using the breaststroke without exhausting themselves.

Let's go back to the breaststroke as the basic, and make the crawl an advanced course.
Evanston, Ill.

•Coach Mann sees no reason to turn back the clock: "After 55 years of teaching swimming, from beginners to Olympic champions, I say that the crawl stroke which I teach beginners is much easier to learn than any other stroke." At Mann's camp this summer, 105 out of 120 boys learned to swim a mile with the crawl.—ED.

Penny Baker is a man. You set water skiing back 10 years showing a picture of a girl (FACES IN THE CROWD, Aug. 8). Now everybody thinks a man who jumps 100 feet is a piker. Best a woman ever jumped in competition is 89 feet, by Nancie Rideout.
Fall River Mills, Calif.

•Although no picture of a girl ever hurt water skiing, Penny Baker, the 18-year-old from Austin, Texas who set the new world mark of 150 feet, is very much a man.—ED.

I would like to second Olympic trial winner Bob Tetzlaff's distaste for the ridiculous number of cyclists entered in the trials in New York (Tour de Pare Central, Aug. 1). This problem of overcrowding starting chutes has been plaguing important racing events for years.

Surely the best man cannot be expected to win when victory rests so heavily on escaping accident or injury.
Manchester, N.H.

Congratulations on all the cycling news you have been printing lately. With interest such as this we may someday be able to hold all bike races out in the open instead of in secret at shift-changing time.
Redondo Beach, Calif.

The only community-owned hydroplane in the world, with over 14,000 racing fans all over the U.S. holding a financial interest, and you left her name out of the field that battled each other so valiantly in Seattle's Seafair (I Will Drive Like I Drive, Aug. 8)!

The successful unlimiteds are either owned by large corporations or wealthy individuals who can spend many thousands on their big boats. But isn't there some consideration for Miss Spokane, a hydro whose shares are even held by children?

The Seattle Seafair trophy race could be the last race for the Lilac Lady, better known as Miss Spokane. Sink or swim, this boat has held the hearts of Inland Empire fans for several years. No trophies or cash awards have been won by her. But in recognition of a crew which has labored only for the love of this boat and of the thousands who gave to support her, you could have mentioned Miss Spokane.

•There's life in the old lady yet; see page 48.—ED.

I have just finished reading Alice Higgins' article on Trish Galvin (The Delicate Miss Trish, July 25), and find myself wishing I hadn't. Frankly, I found it disgusting. To destroy an animal for high spirits or lack of discipline is to me the low point of sportsmanship. A few weeks ago you printed a wonderful article on the old veteran Andante (Exit Jumping, June 20). I seem to recall that she put several people in the hospital and even in her later years was not what one could call an "easy ride." How fortunate it is that her early owners had the humility to realize that a different approach or personality might be all that would be needed. But then a good horseman doesn't mind a horse being pointed out as one he couldn't handle.

I saw not one word mentioning Miss Galvin's ability to break and train her own horse. This is really the only criterion for great horsemanship.
Fernandina Beach, Fla.

•Trish Galvin has been training her own horses since she was 15.—ED.