4 October 2013
Max Lewis is at his fourth Australian Masters Games and like each of the three before, the 2013 edition in Geelong is providing him with a new challenge in accordance with his own life philosophy.
“There are a lot of challenges in life and a lot of things detracting, particularly as you get older. In my case I continue to convince myself that I’m a work in progress, and certainly not yesterday’s man,” the 73-year-old said after completing the 800 metres freestyle - the first event on the program at this year’s Games.
"There is an avalanche of factors telling you that there are things you can’t or shouldn’t be doing as you get older. You’ve got to take that on,” says Lewis, who lives at Mount Riverview in New South Wales’ Lower Blue Mountains and who remains actively involved with his son in the family financial advisory business.
Lewis competed in his first Australian Masters Games in 2005 and was back in 2007 and 2011, fitting in two Pan Pac Swimming Masters, a FINA World Championships and the 2009 World Masters Games in Sydney in between.
“Once you put your entry in, it creates an imperative – which for me then becomes non-negotiable. It provides me with the reason to get up each day and train,” Lewis said.
“You have to convince yourself that you can still achieve things. I work within my comfort levels but with the knowledge and intention that they will expand. A lot of people say as they get older that they don’t have that much of a particular heath problem compared to others. That sort of philosophy just sends them down.
“I’ve looked after myself and I’ve earned my health, but it is still a privilege to be able to do something like this.
Lewis has no intention of overstating his achievements – which he says are nothing great.
“I’m actually a poor swimmer – I’ve got short arms, I’m height challenged, so for me it is more the satisfaction. I get default medals – my main event is the 200m fly because not many people do it, especially in 70 to 74,” Lewis quipped.
Like many of his Games colleagues, Lewis did not take up swimming until later in life – in his case at around 50 when his children were involved. He did not want them to be able to say he did not know how hard their training could be so he developed a practice of being in the water before them and not getting out until they had finished.
That perhaps explains why he has taken on one of the most demanding schedules available at this year’s Games, including the 400m individual medley as well the 200m butterfly and the 800 freestyle on his five event program.
“I’d be doing more except I won’t be here on Sunday as I made a commitment to my son to go to the (NRL) grand final with him.
“It’s the reason why I did the 800 here - otherwise I would have been deprived of events. It’s the first time I’ve done one in competition but I had to do it to have a full program in my eyes.
“Nothing can match the feeling at the end of a Games when you have completed what you set out to do, Lewis said.
For the record, as per his expectations, Lewis finished just outside the men’s 70-74 medals with a fourth placing in a time of 20.56.01 - the event taken out by John Richards in a classy Victorian short course record time of 11.49.76.
The Australian Masters Games will be staged from Saturday 5 to Saturday 12 October and is one of Australia’s largest multi sporting events.
For further Australian Masters Games information and to register, visit - www.AustralianMastersGames.com
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