Geist resident stays active in the pool


When asked where he typically finishes in his swimming races, Kevin O’Connell quickly responds, “Last.”

“My wife says I don’t finish last, but it feels like I finish last,” he said.

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However, the 67-year-old Geist-area resident loves the benefit of swimming.

“It’s neat because you get the exercise,” said O’Connell, a member of U.S. Masters Swimming organizaion. “Swimming is a cardiovascular sport. It’s good for your heart and lungs. Between laps, some do water aerobics.”

O’Connell competes in the 65-69 age group in competitions. He usually performs every stroke except the backstroke.

“That was my favorite stroke when I was in grade school, but I just don’t do it anymore,” he said.

O’Connell, who retired as an accountant in 2021, said competitors are divided into heats by ability.

“They take an estimated time you think you’ll do an event in, say, 25 yards in 20 seconds,” he said. “Then they lump everybody that can do that time together to swim in a heat.”

O’Connell said some of the competitors are fast in his age group.

“They might be paired with someone in their 50s or 40s because they are still that good,” he said. “It’s fun to watch from that standpoint what people were doing in college without losing too much of a step.”

O’Connell began swimming when at age 5 but didn’t swim in high school. He started competing in 2016.

Most of the meets are at the Indiana University Natatorium at IUPUI. Greater Indiana Masters Swimming will hold a state meet April 20-21 at the Natatorium.

“If you’re visiting someplace you can sign up for an event,” O’Connell said.

He said swimmers can practice with another masters team when traveling.

“So, you can stay in shape,” he said. “If you leave it for two weeks, you feel it when you get back in the pool.”

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