Edgewater Athlete, 81, Took Up Swimming at 55: "It's Never Too Late"

posted on Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Flo Deitz, champion swimmer

When you think about WesleyLife's Communities for Healthy Living, we hope you'll think about Flo Deitz ... and the many other residents who know age is nothing but a state of mind.

Flo, a resident of Edgewater in West Des Moines, began swimming competitively at age 55 when friends needed a fourth for a relay team. As a child in the Panama Canal zone, she had loved the water -- but it took her 50 years to fully realize her athletic abilities.

"I think I was a natural at swimming when I was young, but I just really didn't do anything with it," Flo says. "When my friends needed a breaststroker for their U.S. Masters Swimming team, I said, 'Well, I'll try, but no promises.' After that, I was hooked."

Flo, 81 now, has collected countless U.S. Masters and Senior Games medals; she was also the recipient last week of the Healthy Impact Award, an annual WesleyLife Week honor bestowed upon a resident who is helping to transform aging. And she isn't yet ready to hang up her swim cap. She works 20 hours a week teaching swimming to children in Urbandale and Waukee.

"I love hanging around with all those young people," Flo says. "It keeps me young and makes me feel good."

Flo encourages other older adults with unrealized athletic dreams to take a chance.

"It's never too late -- especially with swimming, because you won't hurt yourself," she says. "My doctor just smiles and tells me to keep doing what I'm doing. And I will! As long as I have the strength to climb in the water, that's where you'll find me."

(You can look forward to reading about additional WesleyLife residents who are transforming aging as we prepare to celebrate the International Council on Aging's Active Aging Week in September!)

For more information, please contact Lisa Ryan, director of network marketing and communications, at (515) 414-0517 or

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