Avid swimmer and 71-year-old Tim Carter is the living definition of iron man.
“Two years ago I got a new knee because it gave out and then doing the physio for the knee I fell off my bicycle and broke my hip,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of metal on my portside which makes me noticeable at any airport.”
Heavy metal aside, his steely athleticism was put to use in order to help raise money and awareness for a family friend battling breast cancer: Mary Lou O’Reilly.
“My wife and I were talking about all the people, women primarily although we do know one man, who are suffering from breast cancer,” Carter said. “It was 10 of our friends. We thought that was just unacceptably high.”
So he entered Swim for the Cure, a lengthy soak along the Severn River July 24 that fundraises for breast cancer research. He teamed up with fellow York University’s Glendon campus pool denizens Fernando Camacho, Robin Boys and Shaun Chisholm. Collectively, they swam 58.6 km.
The first step for Carter, who was a competitive speed swimmer in his youth, was the training. Most tips came from his younger teammates, but he also went outside his comfort zone.
“I started increasing the amount of distance I was putting into each workout and then I spoke to a sports nutritionist who told me that I was eating incorrectly,” he said, adding with a laugh, “then I made sure my will was done.”
Carter also went back to his inspiration, O’Reilly, to recruit her son as a spotter during his time in the water.
“I spoke to her son who is a big, strong, athletic fellow to see if he could paddle for me,” Carter said. “You have to have a paddler in a kayak or canoe with you and he said he would.”
Carter’s 8-kilometre trek was torpedoed through in three hours and two minutes, an accomplishment that at first had the septuagenarian concerned.
“It was daunting because I didn’t know what I was getting into when I got into the water but it worked out just fine,” Carter said. “I think it was due to the advice of the other more experienced swimmers.”
The team of four exceeded their goal of $7,500, bringing in $7,915 total. After his dip for charity, Carter is more interested in getting his own age group to stick to a healthier lifestyle.
“There’s a real connection between staying fit and warding off breast cancer,” he said. “Research has shown that.”
Those interested in donating to the Swim for the Cure, or looking to get more information can visit www.convio.cancer.ca/goto/Glendon.
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