Uniquely Baton Rouge: LSU professor swimming into the Golden Years

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Dr. Herman Kelly typically spends his days teaching in LSU’s history and education departments, but those days start early at the Recreation Center on campus.

“This is a place for me to relax after a long day, or before I start my day early in the morning” said Kelly. “I come to swim to release my anxiety, my oppressions of life and it’s always been a passion for me” he said.

That passion for swimming started decades ago when Kelly was a little boy. It followed him through high school and then to college where Kelly swam for the Morehouse Tigers.

But it wasn’t until five or so years ago that Kelly’s doctor delivered a wake up call to improve his life, that his passion took on a new life.

“I looked in the mirror… I wanted to be healthy for my children and my family and I said this is ridiculous” Kelly said. “I’ve been in good shape all my life I got to do better. I started swimming again at the Natatorium and the U-Rec Center and the competitive juices started flowing” he said.

Thanks to those competitive juices and the motivation of a support team at LSU, Kelly competed in the US National Senior Games, winning the state championship.

“I won the 50 butterfly, the 50 breaststroke and the 100 individual medley in my age group so I was the gold medalist in my age group” said Kelly.

Those wins earned him the chance to represent Louisiana in the National senior games where he placed in the top 20 in the country.

With his first round of competitions underway, he’s already setting a new goal to win a top 10 spot, if not the number one spot in next year’s National competition, but worth more than the medal, is the transformative life he now leads and wants to serve as an example to others, too.

“My spiritual life is in tact, my emotional life is good, and my phsyical life is good” Kelly said. “I’m in a good space now” he said.

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