PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla.- For one Port Charlotte man, approaching a 90th birthday is no reason not to be "in the swim of things." We caught up with an 89-year old Senior Olympic gold medalist on his secret to longevity, and why he doesn't sweat the small stuff.
Jim DeRienzo was born on January 9th, 1921...and has the memories to prove it. He's a World War II vet, a quadruple bypass survivor, and most recently, a three-time Senior Olympic gold medalist.
"If you want to keep young and beautiful, as they say, just exercise," DeRienzo said.
And that's exactly what he does.
Jim's an avid swimmer, and has been for years. He's competed in the Senior State Olympics four years in a row, training for the meet 365 days.
"He gets up in the morning, and he either goes for a bike ride or he goes swimming," girlfriend Mary Hayden said on Wednesday.
But this year, Jim won't be going for the gold. He says he wasn't notified about a mandatory Regional Qualifying Meet. But he took the bad news with a splash of good humor.
"I was told I could try out next year, but at my age, I don't know if I'm going to live next year!" DeRienzo laughed.
Still, the 89-year old isn't turning in his trunks just yet. Jim's still swimming, and in the meantime, taking up a new favorite pastime.
"We dance. I have a dancing partner. Not quite as well as "Dancing with the Stars", but we manage quite well," DeRienzo said.
Friends describe Jim as an inspiration, but he says his secret is quite simple.
"The important thing is get out of the rocking chair," DeRienzo said.
Jim broke a Senior State Championship record last year, swimming the 50-yard freestyle in just under one minute.