If the Sam Ketcham Memorial Pool is open it’s a safe bet Stuart Westie will be there at some point during the course of a day.
Last month the 68-year-old Williams Lake resident achieved a daunting goal he set at the beginning of 2015 to swim 1,000 kilometres — 40,000 lengths of the 25-metre pool — over the course of the year.
“I got this crazy idea 1,000 was a big number — a million metres,” Westie said after completing the milestone. “I actually started swimming three kilometres a day last August a year ago. I’ve done almost 17 months of this nonsense but I’m cutting back now. I’m going to go back to two kilometres [a day].”
In total, Westie swam 1,037 in 2015 and swam for 351 days, only missing 14 days of the year — 12 of those accounting for pool maintenance closures.
Westie, a retired school teacher who has always been passionate about playing sports, said as he got older he started running out of reliable options to participate in.
“I started to do things like bike, swim, pole walk and boring stuff like that,” he joked. “People think I like swimming because I swim all the time but it’s really not the case.”
Westie started regularly swimming laps in 1985, not long after the Sam Ketcham Memorial Pool was constructed. He said he’d encourage anyone looking to stay fit to utilize the facility.
“Any swimming is good,” he said. “There’s a lot of people in there doing 10 lengths a day. It’s a good facility people should use, I figure. It’s anti-gravity. You’re not hurting any of your joints or any of that sort of stuff. I’ve never injured myself swimming and it’s a year-round sport.”
During pool closures Westie continued his fitness regiment by travelling to Kelowna for his three kilometres a day while visiting family.
“I hope I can keep doing this until I’m 90 or 100,” he said.
“I’ve never been trained in any swim lessons. I’m not any master swimmer. The way I see it the more inefficient I am the better workout I get.”