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Remembering Austin Francis Newman

An inspiring Masters swimmer

Bob Hopkins | March 14, 2012

Austin Newman was grateful.  

Two weeks before he died, when I saw him at the Ocean County YMCA and congratulated him on making the United States Masters Swimming Short Course Meter National Top Ten list in the 50, 200 and 1000 freestyle and told him that he looked good, he told me that it was due to the good care that he was getting from his daughter Diane.  

Austin Newman was also inspirational.  

How could you not be inspired by a man who, when he was 89,  could not wait to age up to the 90-94 age group in Masters Swimming so he could kick Woody Bowersock's (the then reigning best in the age group) butt in the distance freestyle events.  

How could you not be inspired by a man who, at age 90,  had his bad knee replaced so that he could go back to running.  

How could you not be inspired by a man, who at the age of 90, in one 1500 meter swim race,  broke the world record at the 800 meter freestyle by a few seconds and the at the end of the race, had broken the world record for 1500 meter freestyle for 90-94 year olds by a couple of minutes.  In the picture, Bob Hopkins (right) is congratulating Austin on his World Record swim.

How could you not be inspired by a man who continued to strive for improvement.  When I last saw him at the Ocean County YMCA the week before he died, he commented that he had to work on his swimming technique (point toes when kicking) so that he could improve his time.

Austin Newman was grateful and inspirational and I, and all who knew him, will miss him a lot.

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