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Democrat Photo by Frank Rizzo

HERB ALVARADO OF Roscoe swims in the pool at Hanofee Park in Liberty, where he is the supervisor of lifeguards.

Winning Form

By Frank Rizzo
LIBERTY — August 21, 2001 – “Look at this,” Herbert Alvarado of Roscoe pointed to a gentleman posing next to him in a photo. “This man is 94 and still swimming. I hope to be able to do that at that age.”
The photo was snapped at the 2001 National Senior Games, held July 19-25 at the Louisiana State University campus in Baton Rouge.
Alvarado, 65, won two silvers and one bronze in the 64-69 masters division at the biennial games, the sixth he has attended since resuming competitive swimming more than a decade ago.
It seems the nationals — once known as the Senior Olympics — provide the best competition for Alvarado, who routinely dominates the Empire State Senior Games (ESSG). This year he won five gold medals at the state competition, held in June at Syracuse.
But he considers winning medals at Nationals a greater achievement. All his three medal-winning times were personal bests in his current age division, Alvarado noted.
Alvarado placed second in the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:23.54. His qualifying time, at last year’s ESSG, was 1:34.19.
He also copped a silver in the 50 fly, with a 34.10. His ESSG qualifying clocking was 47.10.
“That time was extremely good. I wouldn’t have minded finishing 10th with a time like that,” Alvarado observed.
The butterfly remains Alvarado’s strongest event, so he was very happy to garner a bronze in the 100 freestyle, stopping the clock in 1:11.01, three seconds better than his qualifying mark.
He was also happy with his 50-meter freestyle mark of 30.39, good for fifth place.
Alvarado clocked 7:59 in the 500 freestyle, but does not know where he placed; he had to rush off right after the event in order to make his plane.
Participation remains as important as competition for the Chilean-born Alvarado, who spends his summers as lifeguard supervisor at the Town of Liberty pool at Hanofee Park.
“I enjoy traveling, meeting old friends, and making new ones,” he said. “It’s competitive, but at the same time there’s friendship.”
Between the ESSG and the Nationals Alvarado did not take to the water too often.
“My wife, Maria, tells me I do better when I don’t practice,” Alvarado laughed. “I didn’t expect the times I had — so maybe she’s right.”

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