IMSHOF inductee in 2004
Aldo Da Rosa had 28 number one swims in 1998 and closed out the year by breaking age group world records in the 100-meter (sc) back and 400 IM, 1:36.41 and 7:53.88, respectively. Since turning 80 in November, 1997, he has broken more than 80 world, national, and regional records.
All this from a man from Brazil who gave up swimming for 40 years after high school. In the interim he became a collegiate runner, a member of the Brazilian Air Force, took up gliding, crashed at gliding, broke his leg three times and earned a Ph.D. from Stanford.
Currently, he is in his 33rd year as a professor of electrical engineering at Stanford. He also keeps a class schedule that rivals his work ethic in the pool. DaRosa swims six or seven days a week, averaging 2,200 yards. His practice goal this year was to do repeats faster than the national record.
Recruited by the Rinconada Masters for a relay team that broke a national record in the mid 1970s, he treasures the practice environment with the team. "Swimming is a terribly lonely sport unless you do it in a group," he says. "I love the social aspect, and I have a nice lanemate."
Independently of swimming, DaRosa stretches approximately one hour a day. "For older people, the stretching component is really important. It definitely keeps me going," he says. "My back and shoulders hurt if I don't." As for weight training, "I like to claim I do it twice a week for strength and range of motion."
DaRosa programs rest periods into his competitive schedule. Before big meets or long distance endeavors like the Hour Swim, he takes two days off.
"My goal for 1999 is to survive," he says. "Right now, I'm taking a psychological break." Perhaps he's thinking about the 85 records he wants to break when he turns 85.
published in Swim magazine, March-April, 1999