Beaufort's Painter ready to take on best swimmers at US Masters meet

sfastenau@beaufortgazette.comAugust 4, 2013 


Beaufort's David Painter stretches out into a freestyle stroke after diving into the lap pool Saturday afternoon at the YMCA of Beaufort County in Port Royal. Painter will be competing in the U.S. Masters and International Championship Long Course swim meet next week in Mission Viejo, Calif.

SARAH WELLIVER — Sarah Welliver Buy Photo

David Painter said he wanted to test out his new swimsuit, a black Speedo.

The truth is, the 75-year-old Beaufort resident probably couldn't resist a couple laps at the Wardle Family YMCA, even though he was there only to take photos for this article.

Painter is drawn to the pool, has been since he was in high school. Swimming keeps him healthy. Something about being horizontal in the water, he says.

And to maintain an adequate workout, he squeezes in competition. He leaves Tuesday for Mission Viejo, Calif., site of the U.S. Masters Swimming Long Course National Championship.

"It gives you a reason to train," Painter said.

Painter is ranked second in four events in his 75-79 age group -- the 200-meter and 400-meter individual medley, the 50-meter freestyle and the 100-meter backstroke. His top competition is California's Bill Van Horn, ranked ahead of Painter in three of the four events.

"His times are good," Painter said. "I'll be working to beat him."

The Pennsylvania native, who swam at Lehigh University, works out some with the Beaufort Masters team but competes at national events with a team from Florida, with an older group that better meshes with his events. He has competed on the national stage before, winning the 200 IM in Oregon in 2008 and again in Indiana in 2009. In 2010, he captured the 400 IM in Puerto Rico.

Painter is ranked second nationally in his four events. In 2008, his world ranking in the 50 free reached No. 4. He was also ranked top 10 in the world in the 100 backstroke and 200 medley.

Swimming has been a constant for Painter, along with Carol, his wife of 52 years, and the manufacturing businesses he still owns. The couple bought their Bay Street home in 1991 and moved to Beaufort when the renovation was finished in 1997 so that David could be closer to his business in Denmark, S.C.

But even before the move, Painter began swimming with the local Masters program, which then met on Parris Island.

"That was a factor (in moving)," Painter said. "Really, at the time, there was no other pool in Beaufort. It was pretty barren, as far as swimming goes."

The Florida team recruited Painter in 2008, after he had left the Beaufort club, to help boost their relays and win a national championship. The group finished third that year.

Painter swims three times a week, either at the YMCA or Beaufort Indoor Pool. He stretches and lifts light weights to keep up at home.

The combination has kept Painter injury-free, his blood pressure and cholesterol low.

"I enjoy swimming" he said. "If I wasn't going to nationals and wasn't competing, I'd still be doing the workout. It's good for you and makes me feel good."

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