—-The following text was extracted from an article in the Reno gazette Journal
By teaching others, Linda Shoenberger is helping herself. And the 61-year-old Reno resident is getting faster and faster in the water.
Shoenberger set several national records this year in competitive swimming.
She was part of a team that set a national record in a 4×200 relay at a short-course meet last month in Walnut Creek, Calif.
She also set a record for swimming 4,200 yards in one hour in February. And, last December, she swam 3,000 yards in 43 minutes, 32 seconds, also a national record. Earlier this week, she bettered that time by almost a minute and half, posting a 42:10, which should again be a national record.
Shoenberger swam competitively as a young girl, then gave up the sport. She resumed swimming at age 50 after knee surgery. Her doctor recommended she get back in the pool as a means of physical therapy.
She recently began coaching swimming for triathletes at Sports West.
“I’ve learned a whole lot from coaching,” she said. “You learn a lot when you watch what’s going on. It’s been a great influence on me having to teach others.”
Shoenberger has been trained by local triathlete Scott Young for the past eight years. Young is impressed with the strides his student has made, calling her his “best student.”
“She makes me look good,” he said.
He said one reason Shoenberger has gotten better and faster as she’s aged is because she is always trying to improve her technique.
“She works really hard,” Young said. “She does seem to have gotten faster as she gets older. I think it has to do with consistency and her work ethic. She’s trying to master the stroke and improve her technique. Swimming is a very technical sport. You get faster by improving your mechanics.”
Advances in swimsuit technology, nutrition and training methods have also helped, as has a change in others’ perceptions.
“People assumed you would get slower as you aged, so a lot of people stopped trying as hard,” Young said.
Another factor is that she has added another training partner, Martine Milton.
“She’s younger and faster,” Shoenberger said. “I call her my rabbit. I’ve got to work really hard to keep up with her.”
Shoenberger, who was honored by the USTA with a fitness award this year, plans to continue swimming and competing for as long as possible.
“Until I drop dead,” she said, laughing. “It’s been so wonderful for my health. I’ve met so many fun, nice people. I enjoy being in the swimming community. People motivate me and hopefully I motivate them. I love it. I have a lot of passion for it. It’s brought me a lot joy in life.”
That passion is evident in her e-mail address, “Lindaloves2swim.”
Shoenberger is promoting a program called “Go The Distance,” to inspire other swimmers. Swimmers can sign up at the United States Masters Swimming Web site (usms.org) and set a goal of how many miles they hope to swim in a year. Swimmers can also sign up for the program at Sports West.
The milestones are 50, 100, 150, 200, 250, 300, 365.25 (average one mile a day), 400, 750, 1000, 1250 and 1,500 miles.
“It’s good for fitness and health and fun,” Shoenberger said. “It’s not a competition.”