Malinda Case swims for many reasons. Swimming started, as with most of us, as childhoodd fun. As an adult, she swam for her mental health. And as she’s aged, now in her mid 70’s, she swims for overall fitness, social interaction, and a bit of competitive enjoyment. She is ranked in the top 10 nationally and is one of the few people that has won five Gold medals at the Senior Olympics. On Her Mark asked her to share her experiences.
“With my parents help, I started swimming when I was five years old during family vacations on Minnesota lakes after seeing my parents swim. We didn’t have a pool in my small Iowa hometown, but I was able to ride the school bus twice a week during the summers for lessons in a lake. By 6th grade I finally received my Red Cross Beginners Certificate. When our family moved to a slightly larger town with a pool, I took lessons, swam a lot, and received my Senior Life Saving badge that qualified me to work as a lifeguard and swim instructor at our local pool. My dad maintained that my “built-in flippers” contributed to my good swimming!
I’ve swum year-round since the 1970’s when I returned to swimming as a young mom in Wisconsin. My kids were in grade school and I was struggling with circumstances in my life. To counteract the onset of depression, I started swimming laps at the local Y two mornings a week. The improvement in my emotional health saved me then and continues to be important for me. After a good swim, the endorphins do their magic!
Following retirement and becoming a snowbird, my first Arizona State Senior Olympics competition was in 2007 where I won two gold medals: the 1,650 yard Freestyle and the 200 yard Breaststroke in the 65-69 age group.
Since then, I’ve competed in AZ Senior Olympics almost every February. In 2009 I competed in the National Senior Games (Olympics) at Stanford with my daughter as my encourager and finished in the meet’s top ten in the three breaststroke events entered, including a bronze medal
in the 200 breaststroke. In the past six years I’ve competed in AZ Masters swim meets, including the 2011 National Masters in Mesa, AZ. Most years I’ve been ranked in the Top Ten nationally in one or more of my breaststroke & backstroke entries for my age group.
Several years ago a groin injury and a shoulder injury sidelined me temporarily. Recognizing that my aging body was talking to me, I’ve reduced the frequency of swimming and stop when I feel twinges of pain. However, the biggest sideliner for me has been removal of periodic skin cancers that take a month to heal each time. I’ve resorted to swimming before sunrise when possible or wearing a swim shirt, along with lots of sunscreen, in hopes of reducing the number of skin issues.
For me, swimming is a social sport when I work out with our Sun City Starrs Masters Team weekday mornings as well as when I’m part of a relay team. The mornings I work out early alone, I welcome exchanging greetings with other early birds as a social connect now that my husband has passed away. My normal workout occurs three mornings a week, usually before 6:00 AM, and totals 2,400 yards of warm up, drills for strength and technique, a mixture of non-stop laps and sprints in a variety of strokes, ending with cool down.
Maintaining emotional health has been my goal from the outset. As I’ve aged, staying strong physically has taken on new importance; I want to keep doing fun things with my kids and grandkids! Being competitive was not an original goal, however, now, I am thankful to be healthy enough to compete. Finishing well with Top Ten rankings is personal frosting on the cake as it’s not something most people know about, other than family.”
Accomplishments as of February 2018:
Won five gold medals in the Arizona State Senior Olympics Meet (Chandler, AZ)
Qualified for the 2019 National Senior Games in Albuquerque, NM in the 200 Breast, 200 Back, 100 Breast, 100 Back, and 100 IM (Individual Medley includes fly, back, breast, & free)
First place in the same five events, age group 75-79 (Grevers Masters Meet in Mesa, AZ)
Finishing times currently place her in the top 10 nationally; final standings will be available in July.
Since 2010, she's ranked in the Top Ten nationally in her age group in one or more strokes: 200 Breast, 100 Breast, 200 Back, 100 Back, and 100 IM.
Look for Malinda in the 2019 Nationals and at many meets in between. Between now and Nationals she will continue training and improving her technique. She also balances her swimming routine with other activities such as playing golf, walking, jogging, and working out with exercise videos.
Staying physically fit is a lifetime commitment that one can start any time. Exercise helps maintain mental and physical health and socially, it can bring people together. Swimming is an activity that’s known as a “lifetime sport”; something you can do throughout your life. We hope you have enjoyed her story and if it inspires you to take up something you’ve wanted to try please let us know! If you have a story you’d like to share, contact us at email@example.com.