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Chlorine Chronicle (Archive)

NMSC Nov/97 Newsletter


(contributed by Cathy Merritt)

"Swimbits" is back! (probably irregularly). Swimbits consists of excerpts or abstracts (bits) from articles related to swimming which I have found and think you may find interesting. The main sources I am using are SWIM Magazine and Fitness Swimmer, two American magazines directed at adult swimmers. If you are interested in reading the full articles (with pictures) they will be in the equipment box at the pool. As in the past, anything which is directly quoted, will be typed in italics.

Feeling like you might be past your prime? ... Need some inspiration?

At the USMS Short Course Nationals in May, American swimmer Jeff Farrell swam his best 50 free since starting masters swimming. So what, you say? Lots of masters swimmers do personal bests, especially at a championship meet.... But Jeff is 60 years old.

So what again? Lots of 60 year olds and older do personal bests; after all, they're bound to improve if they only started swimming a few years before.... But Jeff started swimming Masters in 1980 (when he was about 43).

What's more - not only is he an experienced Masters swimmer, but he had a lot of experience before that - he was on a gold medal relay in the 1960 Olympic Games. His best ever 50 yards free was 40 years ago (he would have been 20) in a time of 22.5 seconds. What does he do now at age 60?... 23.28 seconds!

[From "Raining Records in Seattle" by Scott Rabalais, SWIM Magazine, July/Aug '97, Vol. XIII No.4, p.22.]

Want to hear another one?

In his first triathlon - at the age of 81 - Ralph Hoyle separated his shoulder. His bicycle brakes locked up, and he was thrown over the handlebars. Instead of retiring, Hoyle dove head first back into the race. In fact, there doesn't seem to be any race or competition Hoyle won't try. He's one of America's oldest - if not the oldest - triathlete. He completed two on back-to-back weekends earlier this summer - one in his hometown of Clifton Park, N.Y., the other in Tucson.

He swims Masters in and around the New York capital district of Albany. Hoyle owns nearly a dozen Adirondack district records and has at least four Top Ten national finishes. Hoyle has won more than 200 medals and first-place ribbons in various events since resuming his athletic career nearly a decade ago. He competes regularly at the U.S. Senior Games. At the most recent competition in Tucson, Hoyle sounded mildly disappointed with his hardware cache. "I only got six medals," he says. "Five gold and a bronze."

Taking third in racquetball wasn't so bad, considering Hoyle had a 40K bike race the following morning. Hoyle said he's qualified to participate in 11 different events. He'll compete in every one of them at some point. He swims, cycles, runs, plays badminton, racquetball, table tennis and handball. He bowls at home.

He also enjoys dancing. One night earlier this summer, Hoyle said he and a date planned to hit two different spots. One place stayed open from 8 to 11. Then they hit the Holiday Inn, which didn't close until 1:30 a.m.

"I have a theory," said Hoyle. "You're never too old to start. You're never too old to set a record. If you can't beat them, outlive them. And attitude is everything."

[In "Master the Possibilities" By Donnie Webb, SWIM Magazine, Sept/Oct '97, Volume XIII Number 5, pp. 26-27.]

And one more... Check out the picture of the 85 year old pole vaulter in the November 1997 National Geographic!

How's NMSC doing? I don't know if we have any members aged 60 or older but Bob W. is in the age group before that. Bob has been with us for quite a few years, making him an experienced Masters swimmer. Although, as far as I know, he wasn't a competitive swimmer earlier, but he did have a high level athletic career. If his recent swims are any indication, I won't be surprised if he's doing personal bests when he's 60 or more! Another Jeff Farrell! I hope so, so he can lead the way for the rest of us!

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