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Monrovia YMCA to Honor 92-Year-Old Swim Coach

After 25 years of teaching the swimnastics class at the Santa Anita Family YMCA, Colonel Don Carver is hanging up his trunks.

Carver, who just turned 92 in March, will be honored for his weekly water workouts at a retirement celebration at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 7 at the Santa Anita Family YMCA, 501 S. Mountain Avenue. All are welcomed to attend the event, where he will receive a plaque and other certificates of recognition for his service.

"This class has helped keep me going for well over 25 years," Colonel Carver said. "I am thankful for the opportunity, and I’ve enjoyed the wonderful camaraderie with all the people I’ve encountered over the years."

Hundreds of people are expected to attend his retirement celebration on Sept. 7 to honor a man that has kept them healthy by leading the water exercises and keeping his "mermaids" – as he refers to those in his mostly senior group – kicking. Colonel Carver was born in Indiana on March 30, 1920. He served in the military for 23 years, during which time he was piloting cargo jets for the military and later flying government-contracted planes all over the world, including flying dangerous transport missions into Vietnam during the war. Carver has lived all over the world until he settled 1965 in Monrovia.

In 1984, Colonel Carver became a member of the YMCA, where played basketball and swam. His transition to teaching the swimastics class started in 1992 on a substituting basis to help a friend in need. But it wasn’t too long before he took the helm as the leading coach every Monday, Wednesday and Friday of the water aerobics class.

In 2000, Colonel Carver told the San Gabriel Valley Weekly – who wrote a story about his 80th birthday and his dedication to teaching at the YMCA – that he is fond of the class because it keeps him connected to people and keeps him healthy.

"I see a lot of people my age," the Colonel told the Weekly in 2000. "They get back to a certain age and let the old rockin’ chair get them and that’s it."

But the Colonel has not let age stop him from doing the things he enjoys. Aside from his time at the YMCA, he likes to play golf, swim at the Y, participate in the American Legion, plays basketball and baseball, has a USS Iowa membership, is an avid gin rummy player and is a fierce crossword puzzler.

"Col. Carver exemplifies what it means to serve others. During his decades of volunteering at the Y, he has helped countless people improve their health and enhance the quality of their lives," said Damon Colaluca, executive director of the Santa Anita YMCA. "At the Y, we believe that neighbors helping neighbors makes a community strong. Thank you Col. Carver for serving as a shining example of that belief." For more information about the event, contact Cheryl Reynolds at (626) 359-9244 or by e-mail at

Source: YMCA press release

- Brad Haugaard

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