Summit Medical Center surgeon Matt Mitchell, M.D., will be swimming in the FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation) World Masters Championships held in Kazan, Russia, Aug. 5-16.
The World Masters Championships is an aquatic sports competition held every two years and includes swimming, diving, synchronized swimming, water polo and open water swimming. Competitors are grouped in 5-year age groups ranging from ages 25-90.
Dr. Mitchell, who swam competitively as a child, only recently returned to the pool. “I’m actually a tennis player,” he said. “I competed in tennis at the Air Force Academy.”
But when his daughter Audrey began swimming with the Casper Swim Club, Mitchell saw it as an opportunity to get back in the pool.
Unlike other sports he’s competed in, including tennis and running, Mitchell explained that swimming offers a non-weight-bearing option to those who wish to remain active even as they get older. As an orthopedic surgeon, Mitchell is aware of the damage that weight-bearing sports can have on joints. However, he said even those who have had knee or hip replacements can still swim—for leisure or competitively.
“Some of the [swimming] strokes may be hard on the shoulder, but by far, swimming is just easier on the joints,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell said his best events are the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle, but he also competes in the 100m breaststroke and 50m butterfly. Mitchell qualified for the World Masters by posting qualifying times in each of these events at USA Swimming-sanctioned meets with the Casper Swim Club.
Dr. Mitchell said he’s not sure if his daughter—who will be swimming for Kelly Walsh High School next school year—thinks it’s very cool to have her dad swimming with her at meets but she’s been very supportive; Audrey is excited to make the trip to Russia with him, and several other family members, to take in the sights and the entire World Masters experience.
To learn more about the FINA World Masters Championships, visit their office website at http://masters.kazan2015.com/en/masters_history.