Name: Chuck La Tourrett
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.