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How Do You Geezer Jock: Dr. Herman O. Kelly, Jr.

January 28, 2023 2 min read

How Do You Geezer Jock: Dr. Herman O. Kelly, Jr.

Dr. Herman O. Kelly, Jr., 68
Baton Rouge, La.
Preacher. Teacher. Swimmer.

Why does your self-talk help you when you’re in the pool?

“It helps me because I’m my greatest critic and I push myself hard. I just got re-married and that took away from training, but now I’m back in the pool grinding. I tell myself ‘let’s go, knock this out’ and I swim 3,200 to 5,000 meters four days a week. I’m hitting it hard now. I want to be a national champion when I retire.”

What are you most proud of with your masters swimming?

“I'm most proud of my ability to get back in the pool and swim competitively at an older age. I swam in high school and I swam in college (Morehouse) and I’m back and excited about it. At the (2022) Louisiana State games I won gold in the 50 backstroke, I won a gold in the 50 breaststroke, and won a silver in the 50 butterfly and a bronze in the 100 IM.

“My goal is to go to Pittsburgh in July and finish in the top 10 nationally in the National Senior Games. I’m still working at LSU so I can’t get in the pool two times a day like I want to, but when I do retire and train two times a day, I want to win a national championship.”

What motivates you?

“I look around the pool and I am the only African-American on the team. I’m trying to break the cycle for African-Americans in swimming. I'm representing people of color. People my age, when we were young, we were not allowed in the big community pools in the south, so we had to swim in segregated pools, if we could find them. Blacks didn’t swim. I’m sure there are some people who see me now and try to figure out how this Black guy can compete so well. I’m trying to break the cycle, set an example, and get more people of color in the pool.”



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