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Yamba ocean swimmer, 80, learns to swim at 67, gets bronze medallion at 72

German native Helmut Klein proves it’s never too late to start ocean swimming and will be participating in his 11th Yamba Ocean Swim this week.

German native Helmut Klein was a late starter to the ocean swimming world only learning to swim freestyle at 67 years old and getting his bronze medallion at 72 years old but since then Mr Klein has made up for those lost swimming years.

Since learning to swim Mr Klein, 80, has swum both the 700m and 2km ocean swim at the Yamba Ocean Swim event for the past ten years and his favourite part is simply being able to finish it. 

“I know that I will never win but I have a lot of endurance and I love being a part of the community at the Yamba Ocean Swim and just enjoying the swim and of course being able to finish it,” said Mr Klein.

It wasn’t until Mr Klein had an exchange student who wanted to learn freestyle that he thought he might give it a crack and learn to swim freestyle as well.

“It was sort of a circumstantial situation. I could sort of swim but I couldn’t swim freestyle and when my exchange student from Germany wanted to learn freestyle, I thought why not, I could join too,” said Mr Klein.

“I went to our local surf club and they told me to go to the Masters Swimming squad so I did and when I was waiting for my student to finish her lesson and I asked the coach if they would teach an old man like me and they said yes. 

“And from there the rest is history.”

Mr Klein now swims every day as a member of the Lone Rockers ocean swimming group from Yamba Surf Lifesaving Club.

“It was the Master’s members that encouraged me to give ocean swimming ago after learning to swim freestyle,” said Mr Klein.

“Now I swim every day from Yamba Main Beach to Convent Beach and I just love it.”

When asked what Mr Klein’s favourite thing about ocean swimming was he gave us a good laugh.

“I love the freedom of being somewhere where nobody else is,” said Mr Klein while laughing.

“No, but really I just love the freedom that you get swimming in the big ocean and it makes me feel great and the fitness aspect of it helps me too.”

Events discussed in this article

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Yamba Ocean Swims

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  • Written by Ocean Swims on 27 December 2021
  • (Updated on 10 August 2023)

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