ame home with four gold and three silver medals from the Canadian Masters Swimming Championships in Kelowna on May 18-21.
The massive event saw 500 athletes from Canada, Britain and the United States, including Sooke’s 77-year-old Grant Hall.
The medals are an addition to a long list of accolades for Hall, who’s been swimming competitively for two decades.
Although it is an impressive feat, it comes with a hint of irony as Hall once denounced swimming as “boring” when compared to running, his former sport of choice.
In his previous life as a runner, Hall competed in three marathons and a variety of 10K distance races.
“I was used to running, you can run anywhere, it was the best thing I’ve ever done,” he said.
But due to a knee injury, Hall was forced to retire his runners and find another method of exercise.
Accustomed to exploring hillsides and new terrain when running, Hall balked at the idea of taking up swimming when it was suggested by a friend.
Despite his skepticism, Hall began his journey into the aquatic sport in 1992 and flourished. He went swimming five times a week and entered numerous competitions.
“I thought the repetitiveness of swimming would be boring, but it isn’t if you stay mindful of your technique,” he said, adding there’s always opportunities to improve skills and times.
Hall may have dived into the sport under unfortunate circumstances, but it has proven to be a blessing in disguise.
“In running, I was way back in the pack,” he said. “I’m a much stronger swimmer than runner.”
He stated the low impact sport is suitable for all ages, where water babies can swim right into their “golden years.”
“I hope I can swim until they cart me away,” Hall laughed.
When in a competition, Hall focuses on one thing — self-improvement.
“My goal is to achieve a certain time or to better that certain time and if I win that’s kind of the icing on the cake,” he said. “I don’t need to win to enjoy racing.”
Halls results for the Canadian Masters Swimming Championships in his age category (75-79) are:
Gold for 50 metre Butterfly (45:18), 50 metre Freestyle ( 37:67), 100 metre Freestyle (1:27:18), 200 metre Men’s Freestyle Relay.
Silver for 200 metre Freestyle (3:18:69), 400 metre Freestyle (7:13:08) and 200 metre Men’s Medley Relay.
In relay events, Hall swam with Victoria Crystal Silver Streak team mates Hugh McGregor, Brough Warren and Paul Convey.