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Bill’s still the first in the pool at 93

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At 93 years-old you may think that Bill Mintram would have thrown out his alarm clock years ago, but you’d be mistaken. This veteran swimmer has been getting up at 5:15am for the past 30 years to make sure he is first in the pool.

An early morning swimmer, Bill prefers to get his lengths in before the crowds descend on his local swimming pool. He is so disciplined that most days he has completed his swim by 7am, allowing him to enjoy the rest of his day.

“I’ve always been an early bird and over the years it has become a bit of a habit. When the weather’s bad I sometimes don’t want to get up but I always make sure I get to the pool,” said Bill.

Bill is actually so well known at Hamble Sports Complex, Southampton, that on the odd day that he does press the snooze button, the staff call to make sure he is ok.

Bill has always been active, he first learnt to swim when he was a child at his local Lido and as a young man he would regularly take his twin daughters swimming, as he felt it was an important skill for them to learn. However, he started exercising more frequently when he suffered a suspected heart attack aged 59. Following his health scare, doctors explained the importance of maintaining regular exercise. As the buoyancy of the water relieves and virtually eliminates stress on the weight-bearing joints during exercise, swimming was an ideal option for Bill, who suffers from nerve damage in his leg.

Bill said, “I tend to swim between 10-20 lengths breaststroke every day. As swimming uses so many muscles in the body, I feel like I have had a really good work out.”

The nonagenarian also attributes his return to good health to his swimming regime, “I’ve had my gall bladder removed and I’ve had a triple heart-bypass.

“Obviously I’ve had to take a break from swimming straight after, but once I’ve been allowed back in the pool, swimming has definitely helped me to get back to health.”

Not only can a 30 minute swim burn fat, improve mental well-being and boost energy levels, it can also have a significant impact upon longevity, something that Bill certainly agrees with. He said, “It’s definitely extended my life. I’d very strongly recommend swimming to others my age because really, I feel that if I didn’t swim I wouldn’t be 93.”

Swimming has also improved Bill’s social life, he is friendly with all of the staff at the complex and he frequently meets up with a group of friends at the pool. “I meet a few chaps at the pool and we have met socially a few times. I’m also a member of the British Legion and I often see one of the other men at the leisure centre.”

Swimming hasn’t just had a positive impact upon Bill’s life either. A series of sponsored swims has enabled him to raise money for a charity that is very close to his heart.

Bill has raised around £1,500 for the Countess Mountbatten Hospice, which is where his wife and one of his twin daughters spent their last days.

Jamie Waterman, Centre Manager at Hamble Sports Complex said, “He is an inspiration for everyone who goes there and I think some of the members idolise him a bit. He’s a bit of a legend.”

For further information about the benefits of swimming for 30 minutes and to find out how you can join the UK as it gets back in the water as part of the Big Splash campaign, click here.

Image courtesy of Southern Daily Echo

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Go Swimming has everything you need to know about swimming. If you are a parent, a non swimmer or just want to improve your technique this is the section for you.

In British Swimming you will find information about the world of high performance sport, including the disciplines of Swimming, Diving, Synchronised Swimming, Water Polo and Para-Swimming.

The ASA is the governing body for the sport in England. In this section you will find all you need to know about joining a club or competing in England and becoming a swimming teacher or coach.

The IoS delivers the ASA’s courses and is a member organisation. Whether you are a teacher, coach, employer or club you will find everything you need to know about qualifications or educating your workforce.

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