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True colors:Immersed in exercise before first splash of dawn

Staff writer

A pool may open in the summer at 11 a.m. so patrons can beat the heat.

Marion Sports and Aquatics Center’s pool opens at 5:15 a.m. Monday through Friday. Up to six people are using it for lap swimming before 7 a.m.

One of them is Ed Wheeler, 69, from Marion.

“I like to be by myself,” Wheeler said. “I’m not that fast of a swimmer.”

He swims three times a week for exercise and usually is the first one through the doors.

“Sometimes, I’m not that early,” he said while walking into the pool at 5:30 a.m. Monday after a lifeguard was late unlocking the doors.

An early couple is Judy and Jim Christensen. They took up swimming together after Judy had a double knee replacement 15 years ago.

“The doctor told me that getting into the water and exercising would be the best thing to do,” Judy said.

Jim already walked at the sports center’s track at 5:30 a.m. Judy persuaded him to swim instead of walk, and they started going to the pool together as soon as her stitches were out.

“You can do things with your body in the water that you just can’t on land,” Judy said.

Laughing, she added, “You can fall down and it won’t hurt.”

Judy, who will be 80 in a few weeks, was part of a synchronized swim team in high school. She also was a synchronized swim team leader at Newton’s and Florence’s pools.

“I’ve always loved swimming,” she said. “That’s been a part of our lives.”

She encourages people to participate in swim exercise sessions, referencing a 95-year-old fellow swimmer who found exercising on land hard.

“I told her if she got in the water, it wouldn’t be as hard,” Judy said. “I hope when I’m 95, I keep swimming.”

Last modified July 21, 2021

 

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