Robert Beach is a member of the St. Pete's Masters swim team and the U.S. Masters Swimming who participates in the Go The Distance (GTD) annual fitness program. The 85-year-old from St. Petersburg, Florida is a California native and retired Florida circuit court judge who has won numerous master swimming events. On his 50th birthday, he attempted an English Channel crossing, only to succumb to shifting tides 11 hours into the event. He was on the Old Men and the Sea Relay is an octogenarian relay group of American open water swimmers who crossed the Catalina Channel on 20 August 2015 in 12 hours 15 minutes from Santa Catalina Island to the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Their relay is nominated for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year by the World Open Water Swimming Association.
Go The Distance
Thousands of members participate annually who have collectively logged a total of more than one billion yards for the year (over 577,000 miles). Members can track their pool or open water swimming distance swum as well as their own fitness activities including running and cycling.
GTD is a self-directed program intended to encourage Masters swimmers to regularly exercise and track their progress. There is no time limit for the distance milestones, except that they must be achieved in each calendar year. Speed does not count - just the effort to attain whatever goal you set for yourself.
GTD is on the honor system. Each athlete tracks the distance they swim daily, weekly, or monthly on their online Fitness Log (FLOG). When certain milestones are achieved, ranging from 50 miles through 1500 miles, the athlete is recognized on the U.S. Masters Swimming website and will receive special prizes from Nike Swim.
There is no cost to enter GTD. Registration is through the My USMS section of the USMS website. The FLOG allows athletes to track all their fitness activities, not just swimming as they simultaneously participate in GTD.
Old Men and the Sea Members
- 84-year-old Don Baker from La Jolla, California who also participated on the La Jolla's Swell Guys Too relay. He swam for Oregon State University before he resumed competition in his 60s, and has won 10 individual and eight relay gold medals at the U.S. Masters Swimming national championships
- 80-year-old Dr. Bill Spore from Carlsbad, California earned All-America honors before participating at University of California Berkeley on both the water polo and swim teams. The retired obstetrician-gynecologist, competes regularly in open water swims.
- 81-year-old Dave Radcliffe from San Diego, California who lives in Oregon and 1956 Melbourne Olympic 1500m freestyle swimmer. He was an All-American swimmer at San Diego High School and the University of California at Berkeley
- 84-year-old Graham Johnston of Houston, Texas is a South African native who won a swimming scholarship at the University of Oklahoma. He was a three-time All-American swimmer before representing South Africa at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics in the 400m- and 1,500m freestyle and swam the opening leg of the 800m freestyle relay that finished seventh.
- 82-year-old Bob Best of Grand Terrace, California, helped set a national medley-relay high school record at California’s Redlands High School before competing in three NCAA Championships at Iowa State University. He competes regularly in United States Masters Swimming events and open water events.
- 85-year-old Robert Beach of St. Petersburg, Florida is a California native and retired Florida circuit court judge; also has won numerous master swimming events. On his 50th birthday, he attempted an English Channel crossing, only to succumb to shifting tides 11 hours into the event.
- 82-year-old Norm Stupfel of Santa Rosa., California and former San Francisco State University swimmer and water polo team member, was the alternate swimmer.
Recollections of Old Men And The Sea
- Six Men In Their Eighties Break Record
- SCW swimmer leads historic bid to conquer Catalina Channel
- When The SUN Comes Up, They Keep Swimming
- Robert Beach U.S. Masters Swimming bio
- On Golden Pond, Adults Swimmers Go The Distance
- Don Tatzin Is 2009 USMS Go The Distance Champion
- U.S. Masters Swimming website
- Go The Distance Program
- Marathon Swimming
- Open Water Swimming
- Octogenarians Go The Distance
- Old Is Nothing New For Catalina Channel Swimmers
- Catalina Channel Swimming Federation
- Beach Talks About The Old Men And The Sea
- 2015 World Open Water Swimming Performance Of The Year Nominees
- Old Men and the Sea - 2015 Global Marathon Swimming Award
- Bob Beach Remembering About Catalina
- World Open Water Swimming Association
- Open Water Swimming
- Marathon Swimming