- Human Interest
Meet GTD Swimmer Susan George
Retirement is good for swimming
Susan George was born in Cleveland, Ohio. She learned to swim when she was about five years old, while on vacation at Muskoka Lakes, Ontario. Growing up in Cleveland Heights, she spent much of her summer days biking, often riding to the big public pool. George spent the first years in the kids' pool and later graduated to the big public pool. She also spent time each summer at a Girl Scout camp, where she learned more about swimming and became a Junior Life Saver and Advanced Swimmer.
She attended elementary through high school in Cleveland Heights. During her high school years, she was a member of girls Swim Cadets. The cadets taught non-swimmers to swim the length of the pool (20 yards) and they competed with the surrounding schools girls GAA meets. George competed in freestyle and butterfly. Her team also competed in synchronized swimming and they played water polo. As a graduating senior Sue's name was placed on the school cup for her ability to do "double ballet legs."
George attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio beginning in September 1951. She continued to participate in synchronized swimming in her sophomore and junior years. She majored in home economics, education and dietetics. George graduated from Miami in 1955 along with her fiancé Bruce R. George. They were married August 27, 1955 and will celebrate their 55th anniversary in August of this year.
Shortly after their wedding they moved to Pittsburgh, where Bruce entered Pittsburgh Theological Seminary for a three-year training program for pastoral work in the Presbyterian Church. Sue enrolled in an internship for dietetics for one year at Shadyside Hospital and then taught home economics at junior and senior high level for two years.
The Georges' first pastorate was in Bellaire, Ohio. There she became involved in teaching swimming. She took the training for WSI and then became a trainer for WSI students.
The Georges moved to Michigan in 1964. During her years in Ohio and Michigan, George continued to swim the mile whenever she could find the time and an available pool. It was not until they retired and moved to Plano, Texas in 1998 to be latchkey for their granddaughter, Kristyn, that George really got back into swimming with a team. At first she swam with the Plano Wet Cats Masters Group. About three years ago she joined the North Texas Masters.
"Swimming has always been something I love to do. I find it relaxing and good for one's health," says George. One of her favorite swim stories happened in 2001 when she broke the USMS National Record for the cable swim, which was held in Austin. George held this record for another year and then lost that title to a faster swimmer.
Last year George's goal for Go the Distance was 150 miles, which she completed during the last week of the year. "That goal was a bit much for me, so this year my goal is 100 miles, and then maybe a little bit more," she says.
George's hobbies include several crafts, including scrapbooking, cross-stitching, knitting, and water and oil painting. She also volunteers one day a week in the library at her grandson's elementary school.