Still seeking improvement at 97!
by Terry Laughlin

Posted on January 20th, 2010

My old friend Dick Rader of Washington DC emailed me today with this message:

“Ann Svenson and Ann Lyttle are helping to train Kelley Lemmon (age 97) for his upcoming assault on the 90+ age-group record for 50 yds. He had a hip replacement which dramatically altered his rotation and kick — so much that he said he was going backward on a kickboard. Kelley is the very model of TI  stroke/kick efficiency.  His life story and swimming accomplishments are the stuff of legends.”

Dick’s message reminded me that I swam in a lane directly adjacent to Kelley in my first-ever Masters race in Arlington VA 25 years ago when he was a stripling of 72 and already a legend and I was just returning to the pool at age 33, after a 13-year retirement following the end of college swimming at age 20.

The event was a 200 Free and I distinctly recall how nervous I was at theprospect of being beaten by someone nearly 40 years my senior . . . even considering that he held many national records in his age group.

Kelley pulled ahead on the first 50 and stayed there for much of the race. Wounded pride helped me manage to barely slip by him on the last 50.

I wondered recently if he was still alive and kicking (and pulling) and am delighted to hear it is so. His example of pursuing improvement for life will inspire me this year as I train for my effort to become the oldest person to complete marathon swimming’s Triple Crown (Manhattan Island Marathon, Catalina Channel, English Channel.)

One Response to “Still seeking improvement at 97!”

  1. bkjagadish says:

    ….” LIFE WILL NOT GET BETTER UNLESS YOU MAKE IT HAPPEN !. “…Thank you Terry for sharing about the legend Kelley…I look forward to your completing marathon swimming’s Triple Crown this year !…

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