With many sports like race walking and cycling, Phyllis Goodlad has always been very active. About 40 years ago, she suffered from a frozen shoulder, and her doctor told her to go swimming to help with it. She taught herself how to swim on the military base, where she was swimming in open water with the soldiers. Her husband being very active himself, he encouraged her to try a mini triathlon, since she was already running and walking, so she did. The following year, she tried a full triathlon, and she loved it. Cycling has always been her first love, and she has been doing time trials all her life until about two years ago.
Phyllis started competing with Masters swimming many years ago, but last winter, after she swam in the state games in Florida and didn’t get a gold medal in the 500 yards for the first time, she decided she would not be beaten again. After all those years, she never had a chance to learn the proper freestyle technique, and she thought to herself that you’re never too old to learn, so she took swimming lessons. She knew it would improve her times in competition, and how right was she! Her mile went from 41 minutes to 35.
This year, she decided to enter the MSC Nationals that were held in Quebec City in April. She describes herself as “not very computer-savvy” and had a hard time entering the meet, but thanks to the wonderful MSC staff, she eventually was able to. She entered in 7 events (50, 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1500 freestyle, and 50 back) and was ready to go and make a statement for herself. Sadly, an injured prevented her from swimming her best, and she had to drop out the 50 back. She still swam all her freestyle events.
“This was my first time swimming Nationals, and will not be my last. I was set to swim my heart out. Unfortunately a week before, I came down with a frozen shoulder. I called on many to help me get registered, made hotel reservations, fired up to swim. For these and other reasons, due to my commitment to participate, I just had to come and check it out. First person I met was Johanne. She was so encouraging, along with two other swimmers, I felt compelled to at least try and swim. Two ibuprofen, lots of prayers, tears, grunts and groans, and ‘Oh God, what am I doing here’ moments later, I jumped in for the first of my six events which was the 1500 freestyle. When that was over I said to myself, ‘as bad as that was, how much worse can the other swims be’.
Today I am recovering and am so happy I was challenged and completed my goals, regardless of the difficulty. For making it all possible I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I felt the meet was so welcoming and well run, I look forward to Calgary next year. When we feel challenged and push on, we find out what we are made of, something that is within us, hidden away in the recesses of our hearts and minds.”
Phyllis is now resting at home, taking care of her shoulder. Her doctor said it would be another month before she can get back in the home, but that doesn’t mean she’s sitting at home doing nothing! She recently took line dancing classes at her local YMCA and loved it, although she can’t wait to go swimming again.
Congratulations for all your efforts and your incredible tenacity. We wish you a speedy recovery!
Do you or anyone you know have a swimming story you want to share with us? New swimmers, veterans, competitive or recreational swimmers, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, and maybe you’ll see it on this blog in the next few weeks!