If there were an Olympic gold medal available for anyone who swims 400 miles a year, we have a winner! Our very own Y member, Bruce Canafax is that guy! In 2015 Bruce accomplished the unthinkable… he swam an incredible 403 miles; nearly all of it in the Downtown Y pool! This man with a calm, captivating demeanor claims his peace is found in the pool. “I started swimming for exercise when I was 50. I started with half a mile a week and just kept increasing my mileage. I first reached 100 miles in a year. Then my youngest son suggested I try for 200 miles.” Bruce hit that goal and proceeded to reach 330 miles in 2014. He then thought a mile a day would be a good goal for 2015 so he set a yearly goal of 365 miles. When he hit that goal on November 21, 2015, he upped his yearly goal to 400 miles. No surprise, this over-achiever surpassed it!
Incredibly, it takes 44 laps in the Downtown Y pool to make one mile. So why on earth would one spend that much time in the pool? Bruce says it’s his time of personal renewal, a time of true spirit, mind, and body. “It’s my time of meditation. Beyond helping me keep my weight and blood pressure down, it helps keep me on an even keel, which is important when you’re a high school teacher.”
Bruce …or “Mr. Canafax” as he is known to students at Rider High School… is an accomplished classical guitar instructor. (If you’d like a taste of his exceptional musical ability treat yourself and listen to him play at the link below.) Like swimming, Bruce does nothing half way. His musical talent is lifting to the soul.
Bruce shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. He says with a smile, “At age 62, I’m in the best shape of my life.” His journey to the peak of health has included a long-term relationship with the YMCA. “I joined the Y in the 90’s. My two sons played t-ball, baseball, and basketball.” His sons are now grown but he has continued his fondness of the Y. “I love the Y. It’s comfortable. The staff is wonderful. They always greet me and they know everyone by name.”
Bruce says that he has personally adopted the Rider swim team’s motto, “Never Quit.” Predictably, Bruce shows up to get his daily swim in no matter how cold or disagreeable the weather might be. He has become a very special part of the YMCA family. He truly inspires all and has become a genuine friend to many. To Bruce Canafax, only the sky is the limit to what he will accomplish in the water or in making music. Who knows… we might spot him in the pools in Rio De Janeiro this August.
exerpt from Wichita Falls YMCA Facebook page