71-year-old swimmer inspires teammates as she sets two state records

DENISON, Texas (KXII) -- A Denison swim club is gaining national attention with six local swimmers placing at the State Games of America, all from a team with athletes ages five to 71 years old.

One of those swimmers also set two new state records, but that's not the only thing that makes her a standout.

Barbara Riedl recently took home first place, broke the 100 and 200 freestyle Texas records, and on top of that, she's 71 years old.

The Denison Dolphins swim team began 30 years ago and now has more than 100 swimmers from all over Texoma who come to swim at Waterloo Pool.

"It doesn't matter what school you go to or where you're from, everybody cheers you on," Coach Dori Smith said.

It also doesn't matter how old you are.

"Many doctors will tell older people who have trouble with weight or heart or whatever, that they need to swim," Riedl said.

"She works hard, she comes to practice every day, she dives in, she does anything these kids do," Smith said.

71-year-old Barbara Riedl is the oldest on the team.

She was one of 14 swimmers from the club who competed in the Summer Games of Texas swim meet in July.

Another club swimmer, 15-year-old Hannah Johnston, just placed second in the country in freestyle relay in her age at the national meet in Michigan last week.

"You think you can't break those limit points, and when you actually can you're like, wow," Johnston said.

Barbara Riedl has qualified for the national competition three times, but her most recent claim to fame is setting two new state records for her age group.

"It's a fun, healthy competition, it keeps you working hard in the pool each time to get better," Riedl said.

Riedl swam competitively as a kid and all the way into college.

She started with the dolphins in 2000 and then became the head coach, but now she's just a member of the team.

"When they see me in the pool working out just like they are, they know I've put in the work to earn the medals," Riedl said.

Now she's inspiring other swimmers, of all ages, one stroke at a time.

"She is a role model, she's been swimming a long time, she's wow, she's so great," Johnston said.

"You are never to old to do anything," Smith said.

Riedl also set a new state record for the 50 freestyle at the winter state meet in January, proving that age really is just a number