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This is my great Aunt.... My grannies twin sister. She started swimming a couple of years before I was born. I can only hope to log as many miles as she has in her life time, both running and swimming!<br><br><a href="http://www.sheboygan-press.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080323/SHE04/803230365&located=FLASH" target="_blank">http://www.sheboygan-press.com/apps/...&located=FLASH</a><br><br><span style="font-size:x-large;"><span style="font-family:Arial;"><b>Neighbor Worth Knowing: Logging 8,000 miles in the pool not a big deal for 83-year-old swimmer</b></span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:medium;"><b><span style="font-size:small;">By <a href="mailto:[email protected]"><span style="color:#0000FF;">Doug Carroll</span></a></span></b></span></span> <span style="font-size:medium;"><br><i><span style="font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:small;">Sheboygan Press staff</span></span></i><br><br><span style="font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"><br><span style="font-size:small;"><span style="font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">Pity the good folks at the Sheboygan County YMCA, who may be running out of ways to honor Bernice Hameister.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:small;"><span style="font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">Most mornings at 7, Hameister shows up at the Y's pool to swim 64 laps – a mile – in little more than an hour. She has been doing this since 1973, water-logging an astounding 8,003 miles in the Y's "Swim for Your Life" program, far more than anyone else.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:small;"><span style="font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">At 2,000 miles, she got a gray T-shirt. At 5,000, almost 11 years ago, she received a blue monogrammed towel.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:small;"><span style="font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">For 8,000, well, being a Neighbor Worth Knowing might have to suffice.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:small;"><span style="font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">Swimming "takes care of the arthritis," Hameister said. "When I'm done, I'm ready for a whole day's work. If you feel good doing stuff, you might as well stick to it."</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:small;"><span style="font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">Hameister, 83, didn't learn to swim until she was 40, when she joined friend Lorraine Kittleson in a swimming class. Kittleson didn't last in the class, and she died a few years ago without ever having learned to swim.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:small;"><span style="font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">It hasn't been an uninterrupted odyssey for Hameister. She underwent open-heart surgery in 1977 and a hip replacement in 1989. But she has had fewer health concerns recently than two of her three grown children, and she does her own housekeeping and gardening and clears her driveway of snow by herself.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:small;"><span style="font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">In the 1970s, she was a runner, covering 3,700 miles on a track in the Y's basement.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:small;"><span style="font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">Is everyone feeling like a slacker now?</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:small;"><span style="font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">"I met her a number of years ago," said John Webb of Sheboygan, who also is a Y regular. "She's really an inspiration. I'll never make 8,000 miles. She goes through the water like it's nothing."</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:small;"><span style="font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">Hameister grew up on a farm in Kiel with four siblings, including a twin sister, Eunice Hoefler, who lives in New Holstein.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:small;"><span style="font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">"We didn't argue as much as kids do nowadays," said Hameister, who plans to travel the Southwest with Hoefler in May. "We didn't have time to argue. We've mentioned that the kids today seem so dissatisfied."</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:small;"><span style="font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">Hameister's husband of 49 years, Harvey, died in 1996 at age 72 after a lengthy career with Vollrath Co. One of their daughters, Marlene Fisher, struggles with multiple sclerosis and their son, Jim, has been through three surgeries on his back.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:small;"><span style="font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">The Y's long-distance champion has been out of the pool since undergoing surgery for carpal-tunnel syndrome earlier this month. It might be a month before she's back in the water.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:small;"><span style="font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">But make no mistake, she will be back.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:small;"><span style="font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">"That mile's been getting longer and longer," Hameister quipped, "so it takes me longer to finish. It used to take me 55 minutes. I just stay at it until I'm done."</span></span><br></span></span>
 
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