Article image

by Suzi Green

November 5, 2013

Progressive goals lead to big results

Roberta Green, a 58-year-old attorney who grew up swimming on a local team in Colorado, now lives in Vienna, W.Va. She swims primarily at the YMCA in Parkersburg, with an occasional excursion to the Y in Marietta and the Aquatics Center at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. She is married to a retired chemical engineer. When she isn’t swimming and working, she’s busy driving to Charleston, W.Va., where her office is located, and working as a spin (cycling) instructor at the Y.

In 2005, the Parkersburg YMCA formed a Masters swim club, and Green and her husband joined. She tries to swim every day, even though the club practices in the very early morning three times per week. At least two of the practices each week are long swims (6,000 to 8,000 yards), but each day involves a trip to the pool for her. In the summer, she adds to her distance by swimming at a local outdoor pool as often as she can. When she travels for work or pleasure, she brings her swim gear, just in case.

While reading SWIMMER magazine, Green noticed an ad for Nike Go the Distance. For years she had been competing in marathons and half marathons—even a triathlon—and the idea of GTD appealed to her as a way to compete against herself and to test herself and her resolve. That was three years ago, and GTD has pulled her to the pool with more regularity.

The first year of GTD, she missed her goal and recalls swimming on New Year’s Eve at 1:45 in the afternoon (the Y closed at 2), with miles left to go. The next year, she just cleared the 500-mile milestone. In September and October, she almost gave up, but hung in there and just barely got her miles in late December. The next year she had a goal of 750 miles, and achieved that by early December. She attempted to push toward 1,000 miles, but ended 2012 at 856 miles. The allure of the 1,000-mile mark remains, but her law practice and her husband do not currently allow for a more extensive time investment.

All of Green’s swimming has been for fitness. She gets all the competition she needs from the practice of law. Some days it is hard to go to the pool; she says it feels like hauling a refrigerator. Some days, it is like being a mermaid. For her, though, following the black line on the bottom is a wonderful thing.


  • Human Interest


  • Goal Setting
  • GTD
  • Biography