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Swimming is the best form of exercise especially for older adults. I have swum in National, European and World championships winning medals in Sweden, Russia, Hungary, Italy and the UK.

Janet Masters

Shenley Wood Village

Meet Janet!

Janet swims competitively around the world earning championship medals. Retirement hasn’t slowed her down in fact it has only spurred her on. Here she discusses her extra ordinary life at Shenley Wood Village.

Originally from Leighton Buzzard and Great Brickhill I live at ExtraCare’s Shenley Wood Retirement Village in Milton Keyes. I belong to South Beds Masters Swimming Club and train three to four times a week. Masters swimming is for adults aged 25 – 95+ in five year age bands, I am in the 80-84 category.

I have swum in National, European and World championships winning medals in Sweden, Russia, Hungary, Italy and the UK, missing gold by 300th of a second in Russia’s World Masters.

I had swimming lessons aged 10 in an unheated freezing swimming pool at Exmouth seafront and I hated it. A couple of years later after moving to Watford my school took me for lessons at Watford swimming baths and I learnt to swim. The school put me in a school swimming gala, from there I was spotted by a coach who asked me to join Watford Swimming Club. After a few years I was entered into The National Swimming Championships at Blackpool swimming the 100-metre butterfly and made the final.

After starting a family, I paused my swimming career but when my children started school, I saw an advert in a local paper for a swimming teacher and taught school swimming lessons for many years.

I was 65 before I decided to go back to swim training mainly to keep fit. I’m a great believer in exercise. Swimming is the best form of exercise, especially for older adults as it is a low impact sport that doesn’t put pressure on the spine, knees, or hips as its non-weight bearing. Swimming also works most major muscle groups, keeps joints supple and improves flexibility. It is a great sport for everyone whatever age or ability.

Three generations of my family swim competitively, my daughter Julie, son Peter, granddaughter Beth, and grandson Matthew and his partner Lizzy.

I have lived at Shenley Wood Retirement Village for just over four years. I decided to move to Shenley after some friends invited me for coffee. When I first arrived, I was amazed how happy everyone looked, it was certainly buzzing, when my friends showed me around I couldn’t believe all the activities and exercises classes going on. I realised this was where I needed to be. Soon after I sold my house and moved in.

I joined the gardening club and volunteered to be treasurer of the sensory garden. I really enjoy curling, I’m in a team and we compete in league matches. I love having coffee mornings with friends and eating in the restaurant. I really wanted to learn painting and bowling but with swimming three or four times a week I realised you can’t do it all. The beauty of a retirement village is you can do any activities or exercise classes you like or if you prefer you can do nothing at all.

I love living at Shenley Wood and my family love me being here too. They know I am safe and happy.

Other Stories

When my parents got older, I reduced work hours to part time to support them. I didn’t want to put my children in the same position, being here we don’t have to. Here we have everything we need, it’s the banter and the wonderful sense of community that I love, it really is amazing.

Brenda & George

Lark Hill Village

The best thing is having the support. We see each other most days. You can argue with a friend and you could never speak to them again but if you argue with a sibling they are still your sibling in the morning. I’m very protective of my brothers.”

Betty, Jim and Liam

Hagley Road Village