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Legally Deaf and Blazingly Fast

Feels better and stronger than in college

Phillip Whitten | July 19, 2000

Beth Knight, 35, celebrated moving into a new age group in 1994 by stroking to long course freestyle records at every distance from 100 to 1,500 meters. In the mile, she became the oldest woman to break 18 minutes (17:59.12). But perhaps her greatest achievement was becoming the first woman over 35 to crack a minute in the 100-meter free, clocking an incredible 58.94. (Later, 1972 Olympic champ, Sandy Neilson-Bell, 38, went 59+ at a USS meet.) She also set an additional seven world (short course) records in freestyle and individual medley.

Beth, who is legally deaf due to a concussion from a bicycle accident she had at age eight, attributes her amazing achievements to the fact that she has kept up her swimming since age 13, to "learning more and more about what's best for me'" and to her nutritional program. "I feel that gives me a lot more energy and has helped reduce my body fat," she says. "I look and feel much stronger than I did in college."

A member of the San Diego Swim Masters, Beth usually works out on her own, swimming 3,500 to 4,000 yards, five days a week. "I always take Sunday off and either Wednesday or Thursday." And she makes sure that her first priority is spending lots of time with her 2-1/2 year-old son.

"I love swimming, though it's no longer the most important thing in my life" she says. "But I plan on staying in the sport as long as it remains fun—probably the rest of my life."

published in SWIM magazine, March-April, 1995

Beth L. Knight lives in Del Mar, Calif., and swims for San Diego Swim Masters.

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