Ethel’s still making a splash at 97
At the age of 97, Ethel Metherell is hailed as one of Britain’s oldest swimmers, still making a splash every week at her local swimming pool.
Veteran swimmer, Ethel, from Bideford in Devon visits Torridge Pool every Monday to attend the over 50s swim session, ensuring that she gets her regular exercise.
However, exercise is not something new to Ethel, she has had a life-long love of sport and had her first taste of swimming whilst teaching herself in the sea off Falmouth. Ethel even met her late husband, Clarrie, on the tennis courts.
She said, “I’ve always been into sport, particularly walking and swimming. I’d walk anywhere and everywhere, and my husband and I used to take a tandem to Cornwall.”
Ethel worked at Bideford Post Office from the age of 18 until she was 65. She and Clarrie had two children who are both now retired, and she has four grandchildren.
Ethel said, “I’m one of the lucky ones. I used to smoke when I was a teenager but I never enjoyed it enough to keep going. I do also like the odd sherry or glass of sweet wine but I love swimming and can’t imagine life without it.”
“I go every Monday morning to the over 50’s group and I really look forward to it.”
Swimming for 30 minutes at least once a week offers a whole host of health benefits including, controlling cholesterol levels, reducing blood pressure, lowering the risk of cancer, preventing osteoporosis and maintaining mental well-being.
A gentle swim for half an hour can also burn up to 350 calories, helping swimmers to maintain their weight. In addition to the physical benefits, swimming is a key social activity, particularly for the elderly. Ethel’s friends and neighbours, Lynne Jackson and Sonja Balsdon take Ethel to the pool and swim with her each week.
Ethel said, “I do up to 30 minutes of breaststroke and have met lots of people through the group. It is a really nice, friendly pool and I wouldn’t dream of going anywhere else.”
For further information about the benefits of swimming from 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 North Devon Journal