Competitive swimming is fun and therapeutic for Jean Buchanan.

Ninety-one and stroking strong

Pool is where to find Jean Buchanan

The Senior Games competition is a yearly activity Jean looks forward to since being invited by an old friend and fellow swimming instructor to watch the games in Coquitlam in 1991.Jean missed the Games in 2009 as she recovered from a broken hip.

She contributes her good physical fitness gained through swimming for assisting her rapid and complete recovery. At 91, she walks without a cane for about three miles on the days when she doesn’t swim. Also, from June until October she conducts swim-exercise classes three mornings a week in the outdoor pool of her apartment complex in Langley.

“We had the class in the pouring rain today,” Jean adds with a hearty laugh. Jean spent her childhood swimming at Kits beach. Between the ages of 10 and 12 she trained with the famous Canadian coach, Percy Norman, with the Vancouver swimming club. She discovered training and competition were not for her. “I preferred to have fun in the water to training,” she admits.

Jean went through the Red Cross Water Safety program earning her instructor’s qualification. She taught with the Vancouver Parks Board and for the Vancouver School District. She was also responsible for the Girl Guide camp waterfront for many years.Jean did not return to competitive swimming until the fateful invitation to watch.

Jean began her thrice-weekly swim practices and the next year she became a competitor way up north in Dawson Creek. Now she is coming to the Kootenays.In the 90+ age group she will compete in the 50m and 100m backstroke, plus the freestyle events: 100m, 200m, 400m, and 800m.

Jean has fond memories of the Kootenays. “My husband was posted to the Royal Bank in Nelson before we were married and we were engaged in Gyro Park,” she confides. “He always accompanied me to the games.” Sadly, her husband passed away four years ago, shortly after they celebrated their 65th anniversary.

What do the games mean to Jean? She responds, “It is the joy of being active and the wonderful friends I have met which makes the games special for me.”

 

 

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