92-year-old makes big splash at Lakeside Swim Club

Lakeside Swim Club has a new champion after holding its annual Masters Invitational a few weeks ago.

LOUISVILLE (WHAS11) -- Stasia Kowalski now holds two records at Lakeside Swim Club, she’s a backstroke champion and the oldest member on the swim team.

“I've become a star in my old age,” said Kowalski.

At 92-years-old, Kowalski competed in her first swim meet a few Saturdays ago.

“I had a hard time eating breakfast and I didn't know how I was going to get through this,” said Kowalski.

She not only got through it, she crushed it, breaking two backstroke records for her age bracket.

“I was overwhelmed, I couldn't believe it I mean I was just swimming to swim,” said Kowalski.

But this champion hasn't always been a swimmer.  In fact, Kowalski says she was terrified of the water until she was about 40-years-old.

“Right from the very basics, I had to learn how to breathe,” says Kowalski.

Now, she swims laps at Lakeside Swim Club at least twice a week.

“To see her embrace that at this stage in life is really amazing,” said Lakeside Swim Team Head Coach Jamie Doctor.

Kowalski is described as an inspiration by Doctor and by her daughter, Amy Peterson, who typically drives her to swim practice.

“She's never let anything get her down and she just keeps plugging along,” says Peterson.

Peterson is the one who pushed Kowalski to take that first jump into the water, a mother/daughter role reversal that all came full circle.

“I encouraged her to swim when she was a teenager and now she encourages me to do things,” said Kowalski.

Lap by lap, stroke by stroke, Kowalski is not only breaking records, she's breaking the stereotype that age can slow you down.

“It doesn't matter if you're 90, or 70, or 40 or 12, if you have something you want to try, dare yourself and get out there and do it,” said Peterson.

Kowalski says she never dreamed of swimming competitively, she simply loves being in the pool.

“I think I'm a canoe, just gliding through the water, it just feels wonderful,” said Kowalski.

But as a reigning champ, she's starting to take her hobby a little more seriously.

“Now, when I see pictures of myself I'm so critical of my backstroke, I think I have a lot to correct here,” says Kowalski.

With more to learn and more people to inspire, Kowalski says she plans to just keep swimming, all the way to her next meet and her next decade.

“I'd like to be enjoying my life and my swimming as long as I can, I've always said I'd like to live until I'm 120 but that may be pushing it a little too much.”

 

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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