(October 5, 2011) – On Wednesday, September 28, a typical scene unfolded at one of the two lap pools at the Oakridge Fitness Center at The Landings on Savannah’s Skidaway Island – 80-year-old Joe Morgan was swimming, just as he has done three days a week since 1993. Only this morning was different. At approximately 11:00am Morgan completed his 5,000th mile, a feat eighteen years in the making.
“Joe’s wife, Theresa, contacted us about his upcoming milestone,” said Greg Sucher, aquatics manager for the Oakridge Fitness Center, “so we knew we wanted to do something special. We thought it would be nice to have a cake, a few of his closest friends and a few staff to celebrate this achievement. He has such tenacity and dedication. It is an amazing accomplishment.”
Though he was never a competitive swimmer, Morgan took up the sport upon his retirement at age 63, and 18 years later at age 80, he has reached his latest milestone. “People always ask me if I get bored swimming. I tell them I don’t get bored, but if I did then I would do long division in my head,” said Morgan with a laugh. “Swimming helps get, and keep, the weight off and it keeps me mentally alert.”
Swimming approximately one mile, three days a week, Morgan’s 5,000 mile feat is equivalent to swimming to Rome. Ironically enough, Morgan and his wife took a cruise to Rome several years ago with their friends and fellow Landings Club members, Ed and Liz Brigham, who came out Wednesday to celebrate his achievement.
As more staff and fellow swimmers came to congratulate him and enjoy a piece of cake, Morgan looked around and said, “This is just a great facility. I have really enjoyed swimming here because everyone is so nice. Did you know I used to swim two miles a day when I was younger? And a quarter mile now takes me 14 minutes to swim?”
“Did you also know he’s going to college? He’s the oldest student at Armstrong [Atlantic State University]!” said Theresa proudly. Joe laughed and modestly interjected, “I might not be the oldest, but there is a good chance that I am. I just finished my sophomore year; I’m majoring in History. In fact, I’ve got to go to the library after awhile to do some research. Then I guess I’ll start working toward 6,000 miles!”
On a mild Wednesday morning, Joe Morgan stood beside the lap pool that had become his second home for 18 years, eating cake and celebrating his accomplishment with friends, family and the staff of the Oakridge Fitness Center. But the lesson learned that day was not about the benefits of swimming, it was about perseverance, dedication and the well known saying ‘you’re only as old as you feel’.
About The Landings on Skidaway Island
The Landings is located on Skidaway Island, just 15 minutes from historic Savannah. The debt-free, Homeowner Association-owned community offers homes from $200,000 to $1 million+, and amenities including two marinas (with its own Rhodes 19 sailing vessels), six golf courses, a tennis center, fitness/wellness center, biking and walking trails, pools, clubhouses, playgrounds, dog park, and more. If you would like more information about The Landings on Skidaway Island, voted “Best Neighborhood to Live In” by readers of Savannah Magazine, call (912) 598-0500, or (800) 841-7011.
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