Local man swims his 3000th mile

Posted at: 02/21/2014 11:33 AM
Updated at: 02/21/2014 6:40 PM

There are some outstanding athletes at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. But that's not the only place gold medals are being handed out this week. News10NBC caught up with a 76-year-old man, who captured his own gold Friday morning at the Monroe Family YMCA.

The signs around the swimming pool let you know something was up. Messages like "Richard Rocks the Waves at 3,000 miles" and "Congrats Richard: 3,000 miles".  Then there were fans with cameras ready to record Richard Krist.

He is always in the pool at the Monroe Y. You can find him there five days a week. But this day is different. Today, he hit a milestone. Krist swam his 3,000th mile Friday morning. What makes this extraordinary is Krist is paralyzed on one side of his body. He suffered a stroke back in 1981.

Krist said, "That's all I have, one arm and one leg. Hey, that's all I swim with. It took about two to three years after the stroke, but I came down, I walked across the pool, I walked down to deep end and hey I just started swimming."

Vanessa Martell, Program Director at the Monroe Y says Krist is a staple there and an inspiration.

"He really shows that if you put your mind to it and you really want to do it you can overcome anything."

He acknowledges it's Olympic season and just like the athletes in Sochi, Krist says he is looking ahead to the next challenge in the water.

Krist said, "I plan to go for three thousand and a half. Hey, I don't know how far I'll make it."

When Krist is out of the water, he shares his story with other stroke survivors. He also likes to crack open a book or two and says he's read more than 200 of them since his stroke and keeps a list of them all.