Sid Hall won five gold medals earlier this month at the National Senior Games in Minneapolis.

MANSFIELD, Ohio — The personalized license plate on Sid Hall’s maroon Nissan Quest says it all.


Hall outdid himself at the National Senior Games earlier this month, winning five swimming gold medals at the University of Minnesota aquatic center in Minneapolis.

The ageless Hall — for the record, he is 79 years young and as energetic as ever — struck gold in all five events in which he competed.

“I’ve never taken gold in everything and I’ll probably never do it again,” Hall said. “It is something I felt very fortunate to do.

“I never would have thought it was possible in my wildest dreams.”

Competing in the 80 to 84 age division — “I’m a month shy of my 80th birthday but we are grouped by year,” he said — Hall won the 50 yard backstroke, 50 yard freestyle, 100 yard freestyle, 200 yard freestyle and 500 yard freestyle.

A multi-sport athlete at Grandview Heights High School in Columbus, Hall was a three-time state swimming meet qualifier and two-time state champion. He won a state title in the 100 freestyle as a junior and the 50 freestyle as a senior, and was a two-time high school All-American before graduating in 1953.

“Then I took what I call a 37-year taper,” Hall joked. “I didn’t start back until 1991. I didn’t do much swimming at all.

“It was after I heard about the Senior Olympics that I decided I would see if I could train and qualify.”

He competed in the Senior Games for the first time in 1993 in Baton Rouge, La. He returned to the Senior Games in Tucson, Ariz., in 1997 and in Orlando, Fla., in 1999 before winning his first gold medal in 2001 back in Baton Rouge. With this year’s haul, Hall now has 17 gold medals.

“I didn’t start out winning. The first Senior Olympics I entered I got a a third, two fourths a sixth and an eighth,” Hall said. “But I have been able to progress some.”

So what drives Hall to keep competing?

“It gives me something to shoot for and it keeps me healthy,” he said. “I would swim some, but I wouldn’t really train if I didn’t have a goal in mind. 

“It’s the competition along with the fact that, as you get older, swimming is something you can do that doesn’t punish your body. It’s helped me with my health and allowed me to remain active at my age.”

Hall has no intention of slowing down. Next up is the national master’s long course championships in Geneva, Ohio. He also plans to try to qualify for the 2017 Senior Games.

“Life is an endurance contest,” he said, “not a sprint.”

Hall and his wife Nancy, a retired school teacher, have been married for 55 years. They have two children, five grandchildren and seven great grandchildren, yet still find time to work out regularly at the Mansfield YMCA.

“I’m fortunate to be married to the same lovely lady for 55 years,” Hall said. “She comes to the Y and works out five days a week.

“It also really helps if you have somebody to swim with. That really helped me a lot.”

Hall’s training partner, Paul Martin, also performed well in Minneapolis. Competing in the 75 to 79 age division, the Lexington man took silver in the 500 freestyle and was fifth in the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle events.

Galion’s Ann Guins, a retired teacher in the Mansfield school district, won silver in the 50 backstroke and bronze in the 50 freestyle in the 60 to 64 division. She was fourth in the 100 backstroke, fifth in the 100 individual medley and seventh in the 50 breaststroke.

Lisa Turner, a part-time lifeguard at the Mansfield YMCA, took silver in the 100 freestyle, bronze in the 50 and 200 freestyle, fourth in the 50 butterfly, sixth in the 100 butterfly and sixth in the 100 individual medley in the 55 to 59 division.

“It gives me something to shoot for and it keeps me healthy,” he said. “I would swim some, but I wouldn’t really train if I didn’t have a goal in mind,” Sid Hall said.

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