Swim a daily rou­tine


His legs may not work how they used to but Bill Berry, 85, en­deav­ours to swim 50 lengths at South Waikato In­door Pools ev­ery morn­ing.

It would be strange not to see the Toko­roa re­tiree there at 7.20am.

Wear­ing his blue and yel­low flip­pers, black gog­gles and well- used swim­ming trunks, Berry starts with a deep dive. He then swims one full length of the 25m pool with­out com­ing up for breath. Just one though, he said. Af­ter that he al­ter­nates be­tween freestyle and back­stroke.

‘‘Ev­ery morn­ing for more years than I can re­mem­ber, about 20 I think.

‘‘I used to do 100 [lengths] but I had a stroke a cou­ple of months ago and had to stop.’’

Plenty would have given up, not Berry though. ‘‘It sort of gets me go­ing for the day.’’ But he never used to be a swim­mer, walk­ing was al­ways his pas­sion.

When he ar­rived in town in 1969 to work at Kin­leith, he joined the Alpine Club.

To this day he wished he could have kept up but his health got in the way.

One trip out ended badly when he led his group through a for­est in Ro­torua.

‘‘When I turned the group around, I sud­denly went blind.’’

Af­ter nu­mer­ous vis­its to the doc­tor, it was found he had an is­sue with blood flow to his brain, he said.

Swim­ming was the next best thing, he said. This way he could al­ways stop and get out if he felt un­well.

And so for now he takes it one length at a time, and he can’t see an end in sight.

Noth­ing stops Bill Berry, 85, from get­ting his daily ex­er­cise.

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