Jim Walker | HILLS #789493 |(REVIEWED 31/7/2019) NOW

The early years
I was born in Warwick Queensland in 1950. My father had a partnership with my uncle making farm machinery and my mother was a school teacher. Our phone number was 716 … wind the handle and talk to the operator to make a call.

When I was very young I was afraid of the water and screamed when I was dragged into the surf – it was the WAVES. Somehow my mother taught me to swim and by the time I was 5 or 6 I had joined the swimming club and trained every day when the pool was open and had races on Friday night. I used to ride a bike to the races in the dark 2 or 3 miles on my own. The pool was unheated, 50 yards long, and was closed in Winter. When I went training early in the season there was frost on the ground at 6am when I was picked up.

In those days there was no butterfly, and no tumble turns – at least in amateur swimming. It cost 3d to get in the pool and 1 pound for a season ticket = 80 visits to break even.

I swam in school competitions and club competitions in Warwick till I was 13, and then in Gladstone until I finished high school. I recall swimming in Mt Morgan pool for a regional championship and my [blonde] hair turning bright green from the salts in the water.

From age 16 to age 52 I did not swim in any organised way. From age 52 – 64 I trained in the Galston pool and gym, on my own, to maintain fitness and develop strength.

At age 64, I joined the Aussie Masters. This has been a great experience with new friends and some friendly competition. I compete in 3 or 4 meets a year and will increase this when I stop working full time. [I currently am Marketing Director of an industrial instrumentation company]

It is quite certain that I could fit into my wedding suit – from 46 years ago, and this is one very good reason the remain active. A group like the Masters give the structure and motivation to keep going, and provides role models to demonstrate what you could achieve in the next 10 years – whatever your age. If you are interested in swimming, as I am, the coaching is also a plus.

Why is it that there is someone in my age group who is 20% faster in his times?? That doesn’t seem right???