Grant Hall

Local Sooke swimmer breaks records

Grant Hall, a competitive swimmer of some 20 odd years, took home four competitive swimming records

You know the saying, you’re as old as you feel? It’s true.

But don’t take our word for it. Take Grant Hall’s word for it; the Sooke-based swimmer and breaker of two Canadian records and two BC records during his four races at the Commonwealth Pool Long Course Meet in Victoria this past January.

Oh, and this is certainly worth noting. He’s 80 years old.

Hall, who turned 80 just last year, took part in the age 80 to 84 men’s competitive swimming races on Jan. 31; just as he began undergoing radiation treatment for a cancer that developed in his neck.

Despite the health challenges however, Hall kept himself fixed towards his goal.

“I have to say, I was surprised with my results,” he said. “When I underwent 20 radiation treatments, I was getting a lot of fatigue afterwards, so I didn’t really expect to set the world on fire,” he said.

No doubt, something must’ve sparked in there. Four days before his competition Grant didn’t even swim, just trying to maintain his energy levels through the radiation treatment.

“I just wanted to rest up, but funny enough, the night before the meet I slept 12 hours… so I caught up,” he said. “Mind you the BC records were fairly soft compared to what I’d been swimming; the Canadian records were a real push.”

First of the races was the 50 Fly, with a Canadian record to beat of 52 seconds on the dot.

Grant got 51.

“When I found I got 51, that really buzzed me,” he said, noting that during practice in the Sooke pool, he was initially swimming 58 second Flys. In the end, he says, it all came down to having a good night’s sleep.

“It’s the difference between being rested and being tired,” Grant said.

Some of the records were held for 10 years — another was held for as long as 15 years. Even now he’s trying to believe it.

“I was really surprised to see what could come out of this old body,” he said.

Despite swimming competitively for 22 years, Grant wasn’t always a water athlete – in fact, he was more of a running shoes and pavement sort of breed.

“I used to run in marathons, but then my knee went and had to keep looking for good exercises – so I took up swimming and that was the best thing I ever did,” he said. “Running was still fun, but it was always hurting, or sore.”

The Commonwealth Pool Long Course Meet competition – which was comprised of 188 swimmers -started out with the first age group, 20-24, then goes up by a five year age period after that.

“It’s set up in such a way that you’re swimming against people close to your own age,” Grant said. “You’re really going like hell when you’re in the pool in master swimming, but once you’re out of the pool, there’s a lot of joking and teasing so it’s good fun.”

The next swimming meet isn’t until April – a short course (25 meter pool) as opposed to the long course Grant swam (50 meter pool). Ironically, it’s the short course that’s the hardest.

“Short course, they’re a little tougher, because you have more flip turns in that,” he said. “They give you quicker speed off the wall, but it’s much faster and a lot more intense.”

 

Just Posted

Sooke residents remember

Hundreds turn out for Remembrance Day ceremony

Team Canada athlete pens open letter to City of Victoria about Crystal Pool

Karmen McNamara says an extended closure of the recreation facility would be ‘devastating’

Bluegrass Christmas concert sparks season of giving

Tenth annual show and fundraiser held on Dec. 1 at Cordova Bay United Church

Victoria’s Wild ARC facility welcomes new roof thanks to a rush of donations

The animal rehabilitation centre was in desperate need of repairs after 21 years

VIDEO: Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee dies

Marvel co-creator was well-known for making cameo appearances in superhero movies

Vancouver Island remembers

Important stories shared as Islanders salute those who made the greatest sacrifice

Surging Rangers beat visiting Canucks 2-1

Goalie Lundqvist ties Plante on all-time wins list

VIDEO: Newcomer kids see first Canadian snowfall

Children arrived in Canada with their mother and two siblings last week from Eritrea

Calgary 2026 leader expects close vote in Winter Games plebiscite

Residents to choose in a non-binding vote on Tuesday whether they want city to bid on 2026 Olympics

Feds dropped ball with WWI anniversary tributes: historians

Wrote one historian: ‘Other than the Vimy Ridge celebration … I think they have done a very bad job’

Sides ‘far apart’ in Canada Post talks despite mediation, says union

The lack of a breakthrough means rotating strikes will resume Tuesday

Feds’ appeal of solitary confinement decision in B.C. to be heard

Judge ruled in January that indefinite such confinement is unconstitutional, causes permanent harm

B.C. health care payroll tax approved, takes effect Jan. 1

Employers calculating cost, including property taxes increases

Most Read