Meet Performance High Athlete – Blake Olson

How’d you get started in your current sport?

I learned how to swim when I was about 4 years old but I wasn’t very good.  About the only stroke I could master was the dog paddle.  Eventually, I learned a few other strokes but I was never great at swimming.  

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?

I learned from Michelle that my strokes, while adequate, were woefully out of date and not very effective.  My technique was sloppy and floundering.  

What has been the greatest benefit of having a coach?

Swimming is something one just can’t learn from a book or by watching a YouTube video.   It is unlike a purely academic endeavor.  It requires practice, tenacity plus a very patient and skilled coach like Michelle.  It is amazing how much I’ve learned in the few short lessons I’ve had from her.  However, I’ve got so much more to learn.  It is incredibly fun developing this new talent.  Even at age 57, it is a youthful and exhilarating experience for me.  What fun !!  It is a challenge that I relish.       

Lifeguarding is typically a job for high school & college kids.  Why do you want to be the “oldest lifeguard at the YMCA”? 

On June 30th I retired from a 31.5 year career as a U.S. Treasury Agent.  Although I wanted to retire from government service, I didn’t want to stop working.  I wanted a new career in something that would be social, physically active, challenging and would contribute back to society.  No more desk jobs for me!  While laying in bed on a Monday morning before work, I heard a story on NPR about a 80 year old man who was a life guard and swimming instructor.  I thought, “that’s the job for me”.   I interviewed with the YMCA and they said, “when can you start?” 

 I am working on my career. As a consequence, I am training with Michelle for my new breast stroke, freestyle and flip turns.  I have to swim those two strokes, 500 yards in 12 minutes.  I’m almost there!  Thanks so much Michelle.  I can’t wait for my next lesson!  

Thank You Blake! 

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