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He Stays for the Swimming Community

As Larry puts it, “I lead a pretty simple life.”

Retirement has been good to Larry Bowen.

His activity levels are high. His need to stay on top of emails and deadlines are low. As a retired special education teacher who enjoys yoga and swimming, Larry found a place he can lap swim, stretch, and recover his muscles and joints. That perfect place for Larry is Peninsula Family YMCA.

“I try to swim almost every day,” Larry says.

When Larry first came to the Bay Area in 1984, he was a passionate runner who swam during his recovery days. Then running turned into walking, and swimming became his full time sport. He liked swimming outdoors. A lot. A few years ago Larry was diagnosed with skin cancer. He is okay now, but the doctor’s orders were to greatly reduce his exposure to the sun. Now he swims at Peninsula Family YMCA’s six-lane indoor pool. A lot. The Y is so close to his house, he can walk to and from the Y and swim almost every day.


The First Group Swim Lesson

The Y introduced the country to the concept of group swim lessons over 100 years ago, and each year, the Y teaches more than one million children water safety and swimming skills. Larry recalls that he learned to swim right after he learned how to walk. He’s been swimming ever since.


The Swimming Community

Larry often sees the same people at the pool on a regular basis.

They take the time to greet each other and check in, do their laps, and then they strike up conversation again in the hot tub.

“Swimming can be a somewhat isolated past time. I balance that with connection.”

Larry finds the swimming community at the YMCA of San Francisco the most welcoming.


Larry's Dedication

Over the years, many of the Y staff have recognized Larry as one of their most dedicated regulars. What started as a place to recover turned into the gym he chooses to stay at year after year.

“Think of your best friend. The Y has been that for me. I can go here and through yoga and swimming, it’s made a big impact on my life.” – Larry Bowen, YMCA Member since 1994