Swimmer Spotlight – Chuck La Tourrette 1

Name: Chuck La Tourrett
Age: 78
Local Team: Grants Pass Masters
Occupation: Retired Juvenile Court Counselor/Motivational

Approximately 3 years ago at age 75, I decided to enroll in the Adult Learn to Swim (ALTS) class at the Grants Pass Family YMCA.  The instructor and coach was Michael Grant.

I considered myself a beginner because:

  • I never learned how to properly swim in my youth even though it was always fun to be in the water
  • Poor health and a bout with prostate cancer, a hernia operation, gall bladder removal and a severe medicine allergic reaction made exercise difficult
  • Obesity (I hate that designation) at 290 lbs. made some exercises difficult
  • I needed a low impact exercise which was easy on my joints due to a knee difficulty and a hip possibly in need of repair

Enough about why I took lessons, it was necessary for my health to do something to improve my dreary situation.  Tai Chi and Swimming were my core strengthening exercises which I took seriously.

Conditioning in the pool was difficult at first, being lucky to swim 20 feet with my head out of the water.  I never learned how to lateral and bi-lateral breathe.  I did well treading water (very buoyant) and blowing bubbles.

Swimming 5 days a week, which included 2 lessons a week, soon improved my conditioning and I learned:

  • Lateral and bi-lateral breathing
  • Flip turns
  • Freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and dolphin kick
  • Continually striving for time and endurance improvement

Progressing through intermediate class and advanced swim, the habit of swimming produced results in other areas of my life.

  • My knee and hip issues improved; surgery was no longer a necessity.
  • Now at age 78, I weigh under 200 lbs. with a goal of 175.
  • Tai Chi now has a new instructor, since my improved conditioning and flexibility promoted me to Instructor for the advanced 54 posture class.
  • Both my wife and I have improved our diet and no longer are pre-diabetic, or at risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
  • Life is good! I’m getting a new wardrobe and love the change.
  • People who haven’t seen me for a few months have to do a double-take since they don’t recognize me.

Swimming has been severely hampered by the events with Covid 19, and I was only able to do a few lake swims with other swimmers at Applegate Lake.  When the YMCA pool opens in mid-June 2021, swimming will again become a regular part of my exercise.

Swimming for an hour is easy.  Lake swims are a pleasure, and the future of my aquatic endeavors includes some swim meets and whatever else I can accomplish.

I would be remiss to forget the many new friends I have made.  They are all so supportive and a pleasure to know and be around.

Editor’s Note: Chuck is currently on the Grants Pass YMCA board of directors, President of the Rogue Communicators Toastmasters Club, Emeritus honorary board member of the Rogue Valley Boys & Girls Club and past District Governor and Chairman of the Council of Governors for Lions.

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