Holly Kyle: Swimming and living gracefully

Holly Kyle, who has that almost never-found flair of being humble and self-assured at the same time, says, “I won a bunch of medals,” as if it means nothing at all, even though it’s amazing. So impressive, in fact, that she was just inducted into the International Masters Swimming Hall of Fame for her stellar accomplishments as a synchronized swimmer.

Kyle took up the sport 30 years ago, looking for a tennis alternative, and has never stopped loving it. Now 73, she says she recently realized that every time she heads to the pool she’s thinking, “I get to go swimming,” and never “I have to go swimming,” and that, apparently, that attitude is what gets you the gold. Since 1983, Holly has earned 65 gold medals in U.S. Masters National Championships and 11 gold medals in FINA World Championships, competing in Germany, Italy, New Zealand and at Stanford.

She trains at Oak Park in Santa Rosa with the acclaimed coach Marion Kane Elston, and was “hooked immediately” from the day she arrived. “I love the water and I love music and it’s swimming to music,” Holly said, with a what’s-not-to-like shrug. “It’s a difficult sport. We do all this athletic stuff and then we have to look nice and smile.” Holly, a natural athlete with sparkling beauty, flashes a glistening-white-teeth grin and again – gold.

The Hall of Fame is in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Holly will have a permanent display there,

including photos, some of her medals and highlights from her career. She didn’t send them any of her bathing suits because “I like them too much,” she said.She is the first synchronized swimmer in the last six years to earn a spot in the hall of fame, where other honorees include swimming luminaries Mark Spitz and Johnny Weissmuller.

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