Encouraging More Adults to Swim
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Reflections from Bob Hopkins Jul 19, 2000

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Henry Strothman is in the medley relay in the sky with his good buddy Clarence Ross , both from the Montclair YMCA in Montclair, NJ. Henry died several years ago but I remember him from my noontime swims at the Montclair Y in the late 70's when he would race me (and beat me, despite being 40 years older than me) in the breast stroke. He was a rotund man who played water polo for Germany (Olympics??) and was a regular at the Y and also at Masters meets where his wife would sit in the stands and cheer for him. I remember him holding a medal high over his head after picking it up to show his wife (I think it was a meet at Rutgers) the rewards of his efforts. It was memorable (obviously) to see the childlike excitment of an 80 year old (or so) in winning a medal and sharing the excitment with his loved one.

I also remember his friend Clarence Ross ( decked out in his white warmups with all his patches on it) who was a little older than Henry as I recall. In one of my first (or maybe my first) Masters meets in 1978 or so, I took my 9 year old son to the meet at Westfield Y with me and as we walked in the pool area, an old guy was doing backstroke in the outside lane and a number of people with cameras were walking along side him as he swam taking his picture. It turned out to be Clarence who was in the process of breaking the National (or World ?) record for the 50 or 100 yard backstroke. Later in the meet as I prepared to swim an event, I looked over and saw my son ( a 9/10 age group swimmer) talking to Clarence and it was then that I realized that there were no generation gaps amongst competitive swimmers, the 9 year old and the 90 year old were doing the same thing and could share the experience.

Now as a 57 year old Masters swimmer, I share the same experience with my 30 year old (30-34 year old Masters swimmer) son.

Bob Hopkins , 11/25/99

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