Ocean City Today
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Schneider to participate in Delaware Senior Olympics

By Kara Hallissey | Oct 09, 2017
Photo by: Kara Hallissey After only learning how to swim six months ago, Ocean Pines resident Joe Schneider, 91, will compete in the 50-meter backstroke event during the Delaware Senior Olympics, today, in Dover, Delaware.

(Oct. 6, 2017) After only learning how to swim six months ago, Ocean Pines resident Joe Schneider, 91, will compete in the 50-yard backstroke event during the Delaware Senior Olympics, today, in Dover.

“I want to do well in this one,” Schneider said. “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game. Giving it your all is what matters.”

A little over two years ago, Schneider had an accident and hit his head. It caused a mild concussion and he was covered in bruises. Because of the incident, he decided to start taking a “Creaky Joints” class at the Ocean Pines Sports Core Pool to improve his balance and flexibility.

Soon after, he was also participating in weekly “Aqua Jog” and “Wet Works” classes, which provides aerobic benefits and a full body workout.

Schneider, who is originally from Baltimore, became close with the instructors of the classes, Edith Vogl and Maria Love. Vogl recognized his relentless mindset and suggested the 90-year-old learn how to swim.

“When I see someone is able to do more than what they are doing and I know they will enjoy it, I push,” Vogl said. “We are looking at this as a trial year to get some baselines and see where he needs improvements. Every two years is a qualifying year for the National Senior Olympics, which is invitation only.”

Swimmers will begin warming up at 8 a.m. on Friday with the competition starting an hour later. Medals will be awarded to the participants with the three fastest backstroke times in a number of age categories. At least 20 friends and family members will be on hand to see Schneider compete.

“He has been swimming the backstroke for a month and I think he will do really good,” Love said. “When he started he could barely swim 20 [yards.] Now, we have him conditioning at 100 to swim in a 50. We had to teach him the turns and starts.”

Schneider decided to participate in Delaware because it gave him a couple of extra weeks to prepare for the competition. In addition, Delaware is an open state with athletes of different abilities taking part from all over the country.

“Edith pushed me,” Schneider said. “She got me swimming, then doing the backstroke and here I am about to compete.”

To train for the competition, Schneider walked in a number of 5-mile races in the area and even took on the Easter Bunny last April.

Next year, Schneider plans to compete in the Maryland Senior Olympics, which will take place in September, where he hopes to qualify for the National Senior Olympics.

“I have been coming to Ocean City in the summertime since I was 4 years old, but we never swam in the ocean,” Schneider said.

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