87-year-old Madison swimmer heads to nationals

MARILYN_87 year old swimmer.jpg

MADISON, Wis. - 87-year-old swimmer Marilyn Buechner isn't messing around.

"I'm not paying all this money to go to Albuquerque and come in last," she said.

The Green Bay native has lived in Madison for more than 60 years, and she has always had a love of swimming.

Marilyn started swimming competitively more than 10 years ago, at state meets in Wisconsin. Her passion for the sport began when she spent some recovery time in the pool at UW Health East Clinic, where she works with Katie Heiser, the fitness coordinator of aquatics at UW Health at The American Center.

"I have medals and medals and medals," she said, "I'm a little competitive."

Marilyn has overcome a lot to get to this point. She said she has chronic bronchitis so she wears a special mask. She also had leukemia for 10 years.

"When they took my tumor out, it was benign," she said with a smile. "So, back to swimming."

If you think that's a lot on her body, she had another serious obstacle last year.

"Last August, I fell and fractured my pelvis," she said. "The doctor said there's no way I would compete at the state games. That was on Aug. 9, and I did compete at the state games on Sept. 15, and I won five firsts."

It seems no injury or illness can stop this woman from competing in the pool.

Marilyn said she doesn't feel old.

"I just go around saying, 'Thank you God, thank you God,' because I feel so good," she said.

Marilyn will compete at the National Senior Games in Albuquerque, New Mexico, from June 14-25. She will swim in three events, but she says her best one is the backstroke.