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by Barbara Dunbar

February 8, 2009

Inspiring swimmer

At the age of 75, Raymond H. Edelhoff joined Maryland Masters in 1988, competed, and placed eighth on the USMS National Top Ten times list in the 50-yard breaststroke for men 75-79. From 1988 through 2008, Raymond posted one or more Top Ten times listings for 17 of the 21 years and achieved USMS All-American recognition four times. In order to be named All-American, a swimmer must place number one in an event on the USMS National Top Ten lists for short course yards, long course meters, or short course meters for a given year.

Raymond was named USMS All-American in 2000 as a result of his number one listing in the USMS National Top Ten times for men 85-89. 100-yard breaststroke (3:11.31). In 2003, at the age of 90, he swam the fastest times in the nation for men 90-94 in the 100-yard free (2:18.08), 50-yard back (58.87), 100-yard back (2:22.94), 50-yard breast (1:14.18), and 100-yard breast (3:25.47). Two years later, in 2005, Raymond (age 92) again swam the fastest time in the nation for men 90-94 in the 100-yard breast event (3:32.14). Finally in 2008, as a 95 year old in the men 95-99 age group, Raymond led the field by placing number one in five events, 50-yard free (1:27.35), 100-yard free (3:30.04), 50-yard back (1:22.02), 100-yard back (3:49.59), and 50-yard breast (2:03.31). Raymond holds the YMCA Masters record in the 100-yard back in the 90-94 age group; in the 95-99 age group, he holds YMCA Masters records in the 50-yard free, 100-yard free, 50-yard back, 100-yard back, and 50-yard breast. Additionally, he holds Maryland Senior Games (Senior Olympics) records in the 50-yard back and 50-yard breast for men 85-89 and in the 50-yard back, 50-yard breast, 50-yard free, 100-yard back, 100-yard breast, and 100-yard free in the men's 90-94 age group.

Raymond Edelhoff (95) died on February 8, 2009, just 16 days before his 96th birthday. He died due to complications after falling down his steps at home.

Not only was Ray a great swimmer, he was an excellent pianist and dancer. He always had a twinkle in his eye and was always ready to tell a joke or two. In spite of his rough upbringing in Germany, he appreciated his life and lived everyday to its fullest. Ray was an inspiration to all who knew him and always will be.


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