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by Greta Van Meeteren

March 26, 2010

Swimming through life

Terry Varney Freerks is a counseling psychologist in private practice and the executive director of the Clayton Shaw Park (CSP) Swimming Team in St. Louis, Mo. Her husband of 30 years, Stan Freerks, and she met as age group swimmers when she was 11 and he was 13. They started dating each other when she was 21 and they have been swimming through life together ever since.

Both work a lot and are involved in their community. They make time to swim together because it gives them a healthy, challenging and lifelong activity to share. They really enjoy meeting and swimming with others. When they travel, they always seek out places to swim via USMS. Periodically they compete, but their primary motivation is fitness, friends and fun. GTD allows them to track their yardage and connect with like-minded swimmers.

"Swimming is in my DNA. I starting swimming competitively at age four, I am the fifth of five swimming siblings, I swam through college and I coached for over 20 years. I care about ensuring opportunities for people of all ages to swim and that is why I dedicate a lot of my time to making sure that CSP is a viable and enduring team. I love the experience of swimming through the generations," says Varney Freerks.

Currently, Varney Freerks swims somewhere between three and five times a week, with the yardage varying between 3,000 to 5,000 yards; most of the time she and her husband swim together. "One of our most fun swimming experiences was in 2005 while we were attending a convention in Maui. A local masters coach tipped us off to an annual ocean swim occurring not far from our hotel. We found it, we swam in it and we loved it. To date that was our first and last open water competition and we each have a gold medal to commemorate it," she says.

After swimming, Varney Freerks loves to travel anywhere and read and study anything. Her bachelors, masters and doctorate are all in different disciplines. She and her husband have a time-share houseboat on Lake Powell, Ariz. that combines their love of water with R&R and friends. "I suppose it is accurate to say that swimming takes me to my happy place," she adds.


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