This story starts in the year 1930. I was nine years old and joined the Lancaster YMCA. I wanted to learn to swim and the “Y” was the place to get started. It was a slow start and soon I learned to swim the entire length of the pool—all twenty yards!
The Y had what they called the English Channel Swim. The English Channel is the body of water between southern England and northern France—a distance of 26 miles. The contestants swam 30 minute sessions and a record was kept of the distance swam in each session until the contestant completed 26 miles. The person who swam the distance in the shortest time won. After numerous tries for several years, I finally won the channel swim.
That was the last time I kept track of my swimming distance—that is until 1982. At the age of 60, I decided to keep tract of my swimming distance. Most of my session were in one half mile intervals and took place in many venues—the old YMCA at Duke and Orange streets, the “new” YMCA at Queen and Frederick streets; many places during my 5-years with the U. S. Navy. Then back home to Lancaster where I swam at many outdoor pools during the summer months. While working at Armstrong I was transferred to New Jersey where I swam in various pools as time would allow. Then on to Western Pennsylvania where the “Y” beckoned once again together with several outdoor pools.
Back in Lancaster once again I joined the Y and also Skyline Pool (outdoor). After starting a job with Woodstream Corporation in Lititz I swam at the Ephrata Rec Center and later the Lititz Rec Center when it first opened. This continued until we moved to Landis Homes in 2003 which is where I spent the last eight years swimming in the Landis Homes pool—again mostly in ½ mile segments. On July 31, 2011, I completed the two thousandth mile (29 years of recorded swimming). I have no idea how many miles I swam during the unrecorded 60 years of my life. It’s been a great run and I am delighted that I was able to reach this 2000 milestone at the Landis Homes swimming pool.
Note: Hank recently won several medals in swimming at the 23rd annual Senior Games which were held at Franklin and Marshall College. Hank followed up his success in previous years by winning 2 gold medals and 2 silver medals in one day, all for swimming, while also winning a gold medal in tennis and a bronze in ping-pong.