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Vietnam Navy vet helping to “bring back” Vets Pool

FPS staff report

Dave LangMalvern resident Dave Lange won four swimming gold medals and one silver medal June 22 in the 2014 Ohio Senior Olympics held at the Perry High School Natatorium in Stark County.

Competing in the men’s 65-to-69-year-old age group, Lange won state championships in the 50, 100 and 200-meter breaststroke events and the 100-meter individual medley and took second place in the 50-meter butterfly. His performances qualified him to swim in those five events in the National Senior Games, which will be held in July 2015 in Minneapolis.

Lange keeps in swimming shape at Lake Mohawk from May through September and travels to the C.T. Branin Natatorium at Canton McKinley High School during the colder months. Prior to his move to Carroll County in 2009, he was a varsity swimming coach at Kenston High School in Geauga County for seven years and an assistant USA Swimming coach for several years with the Lake Erie Silver Dolphins and Cleveland Lancers Swim Club.

In his youth, Lange swam competitively at Cuyahoga Falls High School, Archbishop Hoban High School in Akron and with Waterworks Swim Club and the YMCA in Cuyahoga Falls. He also competed for the U.S. Navy in the United States and Europe and swam in the Nha Be River while serving with the Brown Water Navy in Vietnam.

He serves as a board member and secretary of the Carroll County Veteran’s Club Memorial Fund and is working with other veterans and supporters in an effort to restore the “Vets Pool” on Brenner Road. “When I first saw that beautiful indoor swimming pool without any water in it a few years ago, I just wished we still had something like that in Carroll County,” he said. “The World War II veterans who built that for the community had great foresight.”

Unfortunately, the swimming facility that was constructed in 1972 fell into disrepair and had to be closed down about five years ago, he said.

The Carroll County Veteran’s Club Memorial Fund Inc., a nonprofit corporation that is a distinct entity with a separate board from the Carroll County Veteran’s Club, was formed at that time for the purpose of preserving the pool building in memory of the veterans who created it. “Plans are taking shape to install a lasting memorial inside that building to honor those who served their country and, hopefully, to reinvigorate it as a community gathering place,” Lange said.

He said the board also hopes to repair or replace the swimming pool so that it could be used for rehabilitation programs, water aerobics and other recreational purposes.

“My personal wish is that it will include some lap lanes for people like myself who know that swimming is one of the best forms of exercise for all ages. Who knows, we might even be able promote competition swimming for young athletes right here in Carroll County,” Lange said.

“I feel fortunate to be able to use one of the best competition pools in Ohio up in Canton, but it is a bit of a trek,” he said. “The Carroll County Vets Pool is just down the road from me, but it’s empty.”

The Ohio Senior Olympics began in 1979, according to its stated objectives, “to promote healthy lifestyles and physical activity for Ohioans age 50 and over and to provide top-quality athletic competition.” This year’s statewide championships held in the Canton area featured athletes in 11 sports competing for berths in the biennial National Senior Games.

The 2013 National Senior Games, which were hosted by Cleveland, drew nearly 11,000 senior athletes to Northeast Ohio.

Lange said he’s really looking forward to competing against some of the country’s best senior swimmers next summer in Minneapolis.

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