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by Greta Van Meeteren

May 28, 2010

Swimming is her new job

Elise Tatham is retired. "Swimming is my new job and the best one I've ever had! I wake up every day anxious to get to the pool," says Tatham. She tries to swim four to six times a week. She swims freestyle, at least a mile a day when she has time. After her workouts, she rewards herself by having a small piece of chocolate. "No reward for any distance shorter than a mile," she says.

She was trained as a chemist and worked in the field for almost 15 years. After her daughter was born she started a second career in computers and ended by teaching computer classes at an insurance company. Tatham enjoys projects that involve teaching a concept, like writing a manual to help someone learn a particular computer skill.

Tatham keeps busy by swimming, going to senior classes at the local community college, attending plays, visiting museums, going to the opera and ballet, and dog sitting. She has been married for 33 years. She has a 25-year-old daughter who lives in Jersey City and is a literature major with an emphasis on women's studies.

Swimming is a hobby for her and she says it is the only sport that she really will stick to. "It's been three years since the local club opened and that is when I started," says Tatham. She wanted to lose weight—and she did—100 pounds over the course of four years.

Tatham only likes pool swimming. To her the ocean is for splashing and fun. When asked why she participates in Go the Distance, Tatham says, "a friend of mine at the pool recommended that I record how much I swim and he told me about GTD and thought it would be good for me to meet people."

Tatham's goal for 2010 is swimming a little over 300 miles so that she can complete 1,000 miles in three years.

Tatham's friends at the pool call her the mayor of the pool, a title bestowed upon her by her husband. If the chlorine level or temperature is off she sends emails about it letting people know, along with the people in charge of the pool.

Tatham's favorite part of swimming is meeting so many nice people at the pool and forming great friendships.

When asked about her most amusing swim story, she says, "A man came one day with lots of gear—flippers, snorkel, wet suit. He watched me swim and told me I need flippers! I swam faster than he did with his flippers. And believe me, I am slow!"

What Tatham’s friends would say about her: "Elise is someone who knows what it is to live and appreciate life. She enjoys and appreciates things that enhance oneself culturally, educationally, mentally and physically. She is kind, thoughtful in many ways, considerate and most importantly, very appreciative of things. And of course, she is warm and super friendly. She genuinely cares about others and they can feel it! And, she always is positive and finds the silver lining in any cloud. And, besides that, Elise is an awesome baker! Those of us who are REALLY lucky get samples of her delectable treats on occasion. And best of all, she loves dogs!"


  • Human Interest


  • Goal Setting
  • GTD
  • Biography