This is what makes Pat, 89, say ‘it’s great to be alive’

Pat Galvin is almost 90 years old, but that hasn’t slowed him down.

Next week, the keen swimmer will compete in the Portsea Swim Classic after having finished the Lorne Pier to Pub held on Saturday.

Pat Galvin, 89, is competing in the Portsea Swim Classic.Credit:Justin McManus

Galvin will be the oldest competitor to take part in the Portsea event when he hits the bay for the open-water swim at the Quarantine Station at Point Nepean National Park on January 21.

“I’m a breaststroker and, unusually, I swim breaststroke in open-water swims, so it certainly provides endurance training, it’s very good for that,” the 89-year-old said.

“It provides just the building up of my confidence and my physical endurance.”

The 2000 people competing in the 1.5-kilometre classic have the benefit of swimming with the tide, which makes things a bit easier for Galvin.

“It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “You’re swimming with the tide, you’ve got the current going with you, so it pushes you along, and it means that you come out looking at your time and you’ve broken the world record just about.”

Pat Galvin training at the Harold Holt Swim Centre. Credit:Justin McManus

Galvin has been training for the swim at the Prahran Aquatic Centre and Harold Holt Swim Centre with his training partner and friend, John Stanton.

“My aim as an almost 90-year-old man is simply to complete the course and feel happy about it afterwards,” Galvin said.

“You stand together with people of all ages and you think it’s great to be alive.”

He learnt to swim when he was seven years old and competed until he was 20 before giving it away.

“I took up masters swimming when I was 64, and I’ve been swimming ever since,” he said.

Galvin said he had swum the Portsea Swim Classic three times and had enjoyed the experience each time.

“It’s always a happy vibe down there. You have the enjoyment of meeting people. We all go down on the bus and then walk through to the start line,” he said.

While Galvin will compete in the over-70 category, swimmers as young as 12 also take part in the event.

“You stand together with people of all ages and you think it’s great to be alive,” he said.

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