- Posted January 3, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Your 'Aha' weight-loss moments
Mike Oakley swims for life
Mike is now involved in a Swimming competition at the community pool in Rockport, Texas. The following story recently appeared in the Rockport Pilot Newspaper.
‘Tortuga’, ‘Tuna’ swim for Friends of the Pool
Michael “Tortuga” Oakley and Bruce “Tuna” Baird are seeking sponsors to support their competition as part of the Friends of the Pool’s year-long Stay Healthy Challenge II event.
By: CHARLES STEWARD, Staff Writer
Friday, November 2, 2012 12:03 PM CDT
A fierce competition between the “Tortuga” and the “Tuna” has arisen from the depths of the Rockport Community Pool. Last month the Stay Healthy Challenge II to benefit Friends of the Pool was announced where participants will swim, walk, or run 50 miles. Thus inspired, Michael Oakley and Bruce Baird are logging their miles and seeking supporters who will pledge money for their favorite competitor.
“Tortuga” (turtle), or Oakley, has been a regular at the pool for a few years and is a member of Friends of the Pool. “I swim a one-armed stroke to move through the water,” he said.
Oakley has suffered from heart problems in the past and was once told by doctors he might lose one of his legs because of a blood clot. “Swimming has helped me,” he said. “I’ve lost 145 pounds due to diet and swimming. I don’t swim fast, but I keep going.”
“Tuna,” or Baird, is tall and lean. He is a lifeguard at the pool and an emergency management service certified paramedic. “I’ve been a swimmer since I was 10 years old,” he said. “I was a military brat, so I have swam in a lot of places.” Baird swam competitively for the U.S. Air Force Academy and the University of Houston in the backstroke, the individual medley, and relay. “I’ve probably swam more than 1,000 miles so far,” Baird said.
Since the start of the Stay Healthy Challenge II last month, Oakley said he has traversed 42 miles. Baird is creeping up on him and has logged 35 miles. Thursday afternoon at the community pool Oakley was moving through the water with his methodical one-armed stroke. Baird, watching from in his lifeguard chair, said, “Relentless.”
Asked about his ultimate goal for the duration of the Stay Healthy Challenge II when it ends Sept. 2013, Oakley said, “I hope to swim 400 miles when it is all done.” Baird countered, “If he swims 400 miles, I’m swimming 401.”
Pledges can be sent to Friends of the Pool, P.O. Box 73, Rockport Texas 78381. Friends of the Pool is a 501(c)3 organization and all contributions are tax deductible. Receipts will be made if requested.
For more information about supporting the “Tortuga-Tuna” competition, participate in the Stay Healthy Challenge II, or to contribute to the Friends of the Pool, call Marthanne Mitchell at 361-729-6697.