Larry, who turned 90 last week, has been swimming regularly for the past 25 years. He’s a familiar sight at Naenae Pool, where he has clocked up thousands of kilometres in lengths over the years.
A keen swimmer as a child, Larry remembers summers spent at the outdoor Riddiford Baths in Lower Hutt. Swimming took a back seat to family life until, at the age of 65, a mate asked Larry to join him for a swim.
“I went with him and I thought, ‘oh this is good’.”
That was the start of a passion that saw him swimming 60 25m-lengths every day. He now limits himself to 20 lengths, several days a week.
Still spry and trim, Larry was presented with a lifetime pass to Naenae Pool at his birthday dinner last week at the Wah Loong Restaurant. While he was thrilled that Matt Reid from Hutt City Council told Larry he would give him a life pass to all New Zealand pools when he turns 100, his sharp mind immediately asked his grandson to be witness to that promise!
“I like Naenae Pool because they treat me like royalty,” says Larry. He likens the interior to that of a cathedral, with its high ceiling, and he credits his many hours ‘worshipping’ at the pool for his long life and great health.
He says one of his great triumphs was swimming the 3km from Somes Island to Petone foreshore, which he did to celebrate his 70th birthday. Not one to stop there, he repeated the feat every year until he was 76.
Larry is an inspiration to his family and many friends he has met over the years at Naenae Pool. People often ask him his age, and he has received quite a few questions from other swimmers over the years on how to do tumble turns.
He is happy to pass on his recipe for great health: “Keeping active and spending plenty of time in the water”.’