Senior swimmers Larry Kaplan and Steve Matz continue to make strides in the pool by competing at national meets.
Larry Kaplan and Steve Matz swim regularly at the Jewish Community Center in West Bloomfield.
All that hard work in the water paid off this summer when Kaplan competed at the National Senior Games in June in Albuquerque, N.M., and Matz swam in the Michigan Senior Olympics in August at Oakland University.
Kaplan, 63, of Farmington Hills, swam personal-best times in every event he entered and earned a ribbon for being a part of a seventh-place 200-yard mixed medley relay team at the nationals.
Matz, 67, of Franklin, won two gold medals and a silver medal at the Michigan Senior Olympics and set a meet record for the second time.
Competing in the men’s 60-64 age group in Albuquerque, Kaplan was 21st of 31 swimmers in the 50 breaststroke (:42.57), 19th of 25 swimmers in the 100 breaststroke (1:36.02), 24th of 29 swimmers in the 50 freestyle (:35.42) and 15th of 20 swimmers in the 100 freestyle (1:20.74).
He joined forces with Sharon Renier of Jackson, Mich., Al Hodgeman of Iowa and Lynn Sandberg of Missouri on the seventh-place age 60-64 medley relay team, which was timed in 2:52.09.
Kaplan’s :41.93 relay leg in the 50 breaststroke was a personal-best time, topping the :42.57 he swam earlier at the nationals.
The chiropractor said he was surprised to learn in 2018 that he had qualified for the nationals through his performance at the Michigan Senior Olympics and he wasn’t going to go to Albuquerque but his wife, Lisa, “told me I had to go because I earned it,” he said.
“It was the right decision, although it took some time to get used to the altitude in Albuqueque,” he said. “I had a great time. I met athletes from all over the country and the residents were great. When they saw you wearing a National Senior Games name tag, they always asked how you were doing.”
Matz won gold medals in the 50 breaststroke (:35.78) and 100 breaststroke (1:19.81) and a silver medal in the 50 freestyle (:29.31) in the men’s 65-69 age group at the Michigan Senior Olympics.
The attorney’s :35.78 clocking in the 50 breaststroke was an age-group meet record. Only one competitor of any age swam the event faster at the meet.
Three years earlier, Kaplan set the meet record in the 100 breaststroke (1:21.00) for the men’s 60-64 age group. That record still stands.
The breaststroke is a tough, grueling event for a swimmer of any age.
Matz said he’s able to do well in the breaststroke because he began swimming it when he was a youngster and at Southfield High School.
He likes the competition at the Michigan Senior Olympics, but “it’s not all about winning,” he said. “The athletes are so supportive of each other.”