Imagine swimming 2,042 miles! That would be from Escanaba past the furthest western shore of California. That is exactly what Ruthie Vinette has accomplished at the Y.
Ruthie was born and raised and spent the first part of her adult life in Green Bay, WI. She and her brother and two sisters spent a great deal of time in and on the waters of Green Bay. Ruthie notes with a chuckle that she owned a small boat before she owned a car.
Ruthie moved to Escanaba with her husband, Dale, in 1971. Ruthie was dismayed to find there was no public indoor swimming pool in the area. So, when the community began working on establishing a YMCA in Delta County, Ruthie jumped right in and taught a walking class offered by the fledgling Y. And when the capital campaign to raise money to build a pool took place, Ruthie was a key worker.
When the Y pool opened in January of 1990, Ruthie began swimming laps. Two things occurred to spur Ruthie on to be more proficient in her lap swimming. First, Sue McDonnell, Aquatics Coordinator, put up charts so lap swimmers could record their distances each time they swam. Second, Sue helped Ruthie with proper breathing techniques. Ruthie took off, swimming three times a week and a mile each time. However, this dynamo of a woman also golfs twice a week in the summer and in the winter she adds cross country skiing and snowshoeing to her menu.
This past spring, Ruthie broke her ankle. However, she made a rapid recovery and was back in the pool after she finished her therapy. She had good reason to hurry back. During her absence Larry King and Michael Cousineau had a chance to try and gain laps on Ruthie. Both are regular lap swimmers and have logged over 1,500 miles. Larry started swimming seventeen years ago and it gave him the final motivation he needed to quit smoking once and for all. “Swimming literally saved my life” says Larry. Michael, ad admitted “exercise nut” discovered that his constant regime of basketball was becoming hard on his body so he took up swimming as an alternative.
While Ruthie was hospitalized with her ankle fracture, the doctors were impressed with her strong heartbeat, clear lungs and strong abs, all of which were attributed to her consistent swimming exercise. Ruthie is a definite inspiration to people of all ages. And her commitment to good health is a role model for all to follow.