SASKATOON – Saskatoon’s newest national record holder is a bit longer in the tooth than your average athlete. Carl Waterer is a member of the Goldfins Masters Swim Club. The 65-year-old recently broke the Canadian mark for his age group in the 100-metre freestyle.
“I felt very proud. I’m fortunate that I’m still able to do this and find it exciting and a thrill,” he said.
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Waterer also holds the national record in the 200-metre freestyle. It’s an impressive accomplishment at any age, even moreso given the fact Waterer only got back into the pool three years ago. But his love of competitive swimming began much earlier than that, after a chance encounter with the man whose name graces the very building in which he trains.
“I was 10 years old and lived in Montgomery Place at the time, as did Harry Bailey,” Waterer explained. “He saw I needed a ride home from the swimming pool one day. Riversdale Pool, my old stomping grounds where I learned how to swim. He gave me a ride home, asked me if I enjoyed swimming and I said yes. He asked me to come out the next day, which I did.”
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With Bailey’s encouragement, Waterer was soon competing at meets in Saskatoon and beyond. He continued racing through his university years but stopped soon after. Now retired, Waterer is back in the water, and reaping the rewards.
“I’m more fit than I was three years ago, I’m eating better. It’s good, all the way around,” he said.
Mike Smela, Waterer’s coach, agrees.
“Carl is an extraordinary person. He comes to the pool each day with a smile. He has the best attitude and he’s a very hard worker,” Smela said.
That hard work has had a ripple effect on Waterer’s fellow Goldfins.
“We have other swimmers that haven’t done a swim meet in a while. They got back in the pool and got pretty close to some personal bests,” Smela explained. “(Others) are setting personal best times, provincial records.”
As for the record-setter himself, he’s still proud to honour Harry Bailey’s legacy after all these years.
“I just had the greatest amount of respect for him and thank him very much for this opportunity.”