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Focused on Fitness: 88-year-old swimmer makes a splash

Local News

Dr. Richard Baltz is nearly 90-years-old, and swimming is his secret to healthy living.

Outside of the pool, Dr. Baltz takes his time, using a walker to be sure not to fall. But in the pool he needs no assistance.

You could even say he’s a late bloomer. The 88-year-old hasn’t even been swimming half his life. “Because I didn’t like golf. It took too long. And I did some running, and that hurt,” Baltz said.

The retired professor learned at age 55. When he did master the skill, he says he was easily doing 36 laps at a time.

He doesn’t like to make a splash about it, but Dr. Baltz is a decorated Senior Olympics medalist.

“Medals? Oh I don’t know. I quit counting,” he said casually. “I threw them away when I moved…It wasn’t the medals and awards that were important. It was just doing it, and exercising and meeting other swimmers and people your age.”

Years later, you can still catch him underwater three times a week, despite a health issue.

“I did have a very serious auto immune disease about 5 years ago called bullous pemphigoid. And it really knocked me out. So I had to go on steroids. I’m fine now. I just keep going. I feel healthy. I do,” Baltz said.

He has cut back on his laps. He now completes 18 at the most. But he has encouragement for seniors struggling to stay active. He says, “Just stay with it and keep climbing the ladder.”

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