Super Senior: Ted Barnett

Published: Aug. 2, 2018 at 2:03 PM EDT
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When Ted Barnett arrives at the Swimming Hole fitness center in Stowe, he's got an extra strut in his stride. He's excited for his weekly swim lesson with instructor Charlotte Brynn.

Ted Barnett: Well, this place turns me on, you know that?

Charlotte Brynn: Oh, I feel the same way.

Barnett ditches the cane and for a while is a kid again. "When I do stuff like what I've been doing, I didn't feel my age at all. It was just fun," he said.

Barnett will be turning 98 this month.

"His question was, can I get faster at my swimming, and my first thought was -- absolutely, can do!" Brynn said.

Brynn is no stranger to the water. The New Zealand-native is a long distance swimmer who's taken on the English Channel.

"He's a guy that doesn't quit," Brynn said.

Barnett doesn't just swim in the pool. He enjoys the scenery of the Waterbury Reservoir, swimming across and back. "The thing that I've been lucky to have is that I am dogged. I just plug away, plug away, plug away," Barnett said.

The World War II vet has been physically active since he was a young man. "For me it's been kind of a haven -- get away from things at work that might be a bit of a drag," he said.

After the war, he went to work for his dad selling wool made in the Middle East. He traveled to places like Syria and Iraq three or four times a year. It was a peaceful time. "What you have to do is hang out with the people, because that's the way you learn," Barnett said.

He came to Vermont because he liked the people and the skiing. He eventually became the State's Attorney for Lamoille County.

Barnett is no stranger to walking down the aisle. He's been married four times. "I can only say that I've had the good fortunes to made the acquaintance of several lovely, remarkable ladies," he said.

Reporter Joe Carroll: Let's get back to swimming lesson. What is your goal here?

Ted Barnett: Oh, that's something that I'm much more comfortable talking about, thank you. ...It's a matter of keeping, trying and doing more what you can do comfortably.

"We've seen people up their game for what he's been doing," Brynn said.

A swimming lesson and a lesson learned -- you're never too old to improve.