Greensburg man going the extra distance in Greensburg YMCA pool
By Karen Kadilak
Published: Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, 8:58 p.m.
Something he began nine years ago as a way to stay physically fit has become an obsession for John Kuzmkowski of Greensburg.
Kuzmkowski, who will be 59 on Thursday, logged 1,700.28 miles in 2012 as a member of the U.S. Masters Swimming Go the Distance program at the Greensburg YMCA.
In the national program, swimmers 18 and older report, on an honor system, the distances they swim throughout the year. Results are listed online.
Swim caps, swim suits and other sports equipment are awarded to swimmers when they reach certain milestones.
Of 3,451 participants reported so far, Kuzmkowski was one of only four who swam at least 1,500 miles. He finished second to Timothy J. Martin, 47, of the Caltech Masters of Pasadena, Calif., who topped the list with 2,033.76.
Kuzmkowski far exceeded the goal he set in 2004, when, at age 50, he aimed to swim 2,000 miles in 10 years to mark his 60th birthday.
“I started at 200 miles a year, then I kicked it up to 365 to 400, and 700 to 800, and finally, 1,700,” he said. “You find yourself doing more and more.”
Kuzmkowski swims twice a day, seven days a week.
He is in the pool for 70 minutes early in the morning and 90 in the afternoon.
One day, he swam 7.5 miles.
Jennifer Prohaska, senior program director at the Greensburg YMCA, admires Kuzmkowski's intensity.
Kuzmkowski said Prohaska and others at the YMCA always have been helpful in finding a lane in which he can swim.
Skip Stewart of Greensburg Country Club has been kind, too, providing space when the YMCA closes in the summer, Kuzmkowski said.
A competitive swimmer in high school, Kuzmkowski finds Go the Distance a good fit.
“I'm used to all the work,” he said. “It helps that I have goggles.
“Back in high school, we didn't use them. I was always getting chlorine in my eyes.”
Kuzmkowski uses six to seven chlorine-resistant swim suits and 14 or 15 pairs of goggles a year.
In addition to Go the Distance, Kuzmkowski ranks third in the men's 55-59 age division as a competitor in the Allegheny Mountain YMCA Masters Swimming Association, which spans parts of Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, Ohio and West Virginia.
Mark Barnhart, a meet director with Allegheny Mountain YMCA Masters, considers Kuzmkowski's accomplishments extraordinary.
“It a huge time commitment,” said Barnhart, who also swims with Kuzmkowski at the Greensburg YMCA.
Kuzmkowski works for his family's business as a roofing contractor.
Married for 34 years, he and his wife, Stephanie, have two children and two grandchildren.
“I think my wife worries that I'm swimming too much, but I think she's also happy I found something I enjoy and it's keeping me healthy,” Kuzmkowski said.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Sbarro again files for bankruptcy reorganization
- Steelers to release LaMarr Woodley; Taylor restructures contract
- Campus clippings: Zalewski back to old self at Kent State
- Greyhounds again in underdog role
- Thomas Jefferson, Central Valley prepare for rematch
- 1,500 Bangladesh factories set to be inspected by August
- Health secretary sees benefits of SPHS Primary Care
- Monessen will analyze downtown parking
- Pit bull runs wild in Monessen
- Tax delinquency’s impact varies in Valley
- A-K Valley PIAA girls basketball playoff preview capsules