Friday, June 6, 2008

An Olympic Dream

Like most athletes, former Kenyon swimmer Hodding Carter IV dreams of competing against the best of the best at the Olympics.

A couple things set him apart from most athletes, however. First of all, he's seriously training to make his dream a reality.

Secondly ... he's 45.

Carter has his sights set on the 2012 games and details his quest in his new book, Off the Deep End. A national champion at Kenyon, he initially wanted to try for the Olympics in 1984, however he honored his commitment to the Peace Corps, instead. And then, as so often happens, life took over, filling his time with family and job responsibilities.

He jokes that this dive back into the sport could be equated to the stereotypical midlife crisis that other men might take care of with a motorcycle or a flashy sportscar.

Carter competes in Masters swimming events. Just a week before the release of his book, an antibiotic-resistant staph infection thwarted his chance at joining the field of the New England Masters swimming championship June 23 -- his last chance to qualify for the Beijing Olympics. So he has set his sights on 2012.

He takes comfort in the fact that athletes are routinely competing longer than ever before. He cites 46-year-old swimmer Dennis Baker, who is "only 0.6 seconds away from qualifying for the Olympic trials in the 200 meter fly" as an example - and inspiration (See also Chris Chelios, 46, a member of the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings in the NHL). As Carter says,
"The face of athletes in the near future is going to be a whole lot wrinklier."
* Read an article by the Times-Picayune Health and Fitness writer, Chris Bynum
* USA Today article and excerpt from Off the Deep End
* Bangor Daily News

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