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Walter C. Jennings

 Walter’s involvement with swimming in Little Rock dates back to his teens in the 1930’s, when he was a member of both the YMCA and Boy’s Club teams, which traveled and won meets all over the South.  A backstroker, he was a member of the 1937 Arkansas AAU champion YMCA team and a first-place medal winner in the 1940 state AAU championships in the 100 yard backstroke. 

After years of swimming only recreationally, in 1972 at age 50 he entered a masters meet, the Arkansas Invitational Swimming Championships at the Little Rock Racquet Club.  Swimming unattached, he set a national record in the 100 yard backstroke for ages 50-54 (1:17.5).  The next day, he set another national record in the 200 yard back, covering the distance in 2:55.5.  His times placed him 4th in the year end national rankings in both events.  Swimming competitively the next year, he retained his national ranking, ending the year with the 7th best time in the country in his age group in the 100 yard back and the 6th best in the 200 yard back.

  As a lifetime swimmer in the pool, lake and ocean, his long-life is a testament to the health benefits of the sport, and the confraternity of the pool gave him greater pleasure than any of his medals.