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Why Not Now

Blind and afraid of water, Vivian Stancil learned to swim at 48.

“I heard that blind people can’t swim,” Stancil says, followed by: “Oh, yes they can!” Two hundred and twentyone medals later, at half her former body weight, Stencil is still at it.

When Vivian Stancil was 49 years old, her doctor told her that she needed to immediately improve her health. Despite being afraid of the water— she’s legally blind and had never been in a pool before—she was determined to learn how to swim for exercise.

Now at 70 years old, she’s an award winning senior olympic swimmer who has started a foundation that provides free swim lessons to kids and adults.

From the Los Angeles Times : she learned to navigate by sound. At every meet, she gets to a pool early to scope out lane width and length. Then she does an exact stroke count.

“Being blind helps keep your brain sharp, because everything is done by memory,” she says.

“I typically do 35 freestyle strokes in a 25-meter pool, and you can bet I count every one. Because nothing will ruin your day like bumping your head on the wall.”

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