Second comeback (Guest Blogger: Mama Chris!)

This is a post sent to me by “Mama Chris” who is a super inspiring comeback athlete:

At the age of 58, this is my second comeback as a swimmer.  I started competitive swimming at 9 years old and at 12, qualified for regionals.  My mother thought it improper for a 12-year-old girl to travel to Minnesota for a swim meet, so I hung up  my nylon tank suit and picked up a tennis racket.

In my teen years, I spent less time swimming and more time choosing which 2-piece suit would look cutest lounging poolside.  At 18, I thought it would be fun to try competitive swimming again (not that the blond haired, blue eyed boy had anything to do with that decision!)  Work outs were horrible!  The coach expected us to swim laps, do sprints, and even run!  That is not what I signed up for.  I wanted to ride the bus, play cards, eat red gum drops, and swim about 150 yards.  At 18, I was the oldest on the team and nicknamed “Grandma.”  I spent a fun summer traveling through Iowa small towns swimming sprint distance freestyle.

Swimming then took a back seat to college and raising 2 kids who took to the pool like guppies and began their life as competitive swimmers.  I spent most of my adulthood sitting poolside in the chlorine-scented humid air.  Once in awhile, I’d hop in and swim a few laps, but never considered swimming for fitness.

Last year, my daughter told me she was going to do the swim leg of a triathlon.  After completing the open water swim, her description sounded so exciting and challenging that I thought “what if?”   What if I join the Y and start swimming again at 58?  So here I am on comeback #2, picking out new Speedos, googles, and funky swim caps.  The first month I just tried to do a 500 without stopping after each 50 to doing a 500 straight using flip turns.  Now after 9 months, I consistently swim 4-5 times a week averaging 3000 yards a workout.  I spend my free time looking up open water swims and wondering if I would ever have the nerve to actually enter one.  Cassie once mentioned the Alcatraz swim.  It wouldn’t be the swim that scares me, it would be the hungry sharks looking for the slowest swimmer.

I asked my daughter once what she thought about entering Iowa Games and she said nobody enters Iowa Games swimming.  I thought “That’s the point!” I could stand on the podium and get a great big medal to hang around my neck like a badge of honor.  But for now, I just enjoy getting into the pool, turning on  my underwater iPod and swimming laps to LMFAO Party Rock Anthem.

Chris (mom) with Cassie and Scottie

Chris and Cassie…on dry land.



  1. Love this story – wish I had the guts at 63!

    1. Thanks Pat! Maybe if mom and I ever end up in California doing the Alcatraz swim, we’ll have to make our way to you for massages after! 🙂

  2. Way to go, Chris! I’m hoping I won’t get sick of swimming and give it up, but it’s good to know it comes back to you.

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