Peter Lofts is my swimspiration

Caught! And caught again! Where is he? Coach Leon checks the pool’s bottom. Not there! All eyes turn to Crystal Pool’s hot tub and sighs of relief are heard….there he is, basking in the glorious heat of the hot tub. Coach laughs and says, “Thank goodness practice is almost over.”

The tall, silver-haired, and silver-tongued gentleman that inspires me to come to swim practice every day, and shake on the blocks during a race, is 90 year-old Peter Lofts.

Peter lived in Kelowna in the 80’s and only played at swimming by entering several once-a-year Senior Games where he loved winning medals. Especially gold. Bit by bit, those games gave him the bug!

In 2001, after the loss of his beloved wife, Betty, Peter moved to Victoria to live closer to his children. At the young age of 78, he decided to swim seriously and joined the Victoria Crystal Silver Streaks with the hopes of staying in top physical condition…but, secretly he needed more medals for his trophy wall.

Over the years Peter has cheerfully come to practice, attended swim meets with enthusiasm and set various new records. In addition to life’s ups and downs, Peter accomplished these feats in spite of his prolonged and scary cancer battle and the loss of the lovely Mary, his cruise partner who he met at a Victoria ball room dance club. Thankfully, Peter’s doctor has declared him cancer free and that soars him to higher heights.

Peter, with lots of hard work, managed to achieve and maintain Canadian records at each age level. His last age groups were no exception; between the ages of 85-89, he held the Canadian record for the 50 and 400 freestyle and as a 90 year old, he holds the Canadian record for both the 50 and 100 freestyle. Peter is persistent and dedicated.

A few years ago, thinking outside the box, the slim Englishman found our pool too cold, but rather than stop swimming, he purchased a short sexy warm-up suit…so now the team swims with a sleek and racy dolphin.

Peter has been through major health issues, the loss of loved ones and the hard knocks of plain life but still comes to sit around our pre-practice round table discussions with a twinkle in his bright brown eyes, ready to offer his opinion as we solve our world’s problems. Or, with his proper English accent, correct our grammar when needed. With a smile, of course, as we head to the waiting aqua waters of Crystal.

Peter Lofts is a delightful man with a mission and a drive that inspires me and our team to continue to grow in this sport and know that it can only be good…all good!

submitted by Carolyn Henderson

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