The local engineer who swam 1,000 miles last year

  • Friday, February 23, 2018 11:09am
  • Life
Kim McCoy, Assistant Aquatics Manager, Tukwila Pool.

Kim McCoy, Assistant Aquatics Manager, Tukwila Pool.

On Dec. 28, 2017, Boeing engineer Chet Blum of Kent completed 1,000 miles of swimming over the course of one year.

Tukwila Pool lifeguards and swimming instructors cheered him on as he swam the last few of his 35,200 annual laps with his swimming buddy at his side — self-employed engineer Doug Sharkey.

That is no typo: One thousand miles. Almost three miles a day on average — and some days as much as eight and a half miles.

I spoke with Chet back in November about his distance swimming. He was a bit reluctant when asked if we could let readers know what he was accomplishing.

“I’ll share why I like to swim, but I’m not interested in stating per se how much I swim or stating how far I swim, or how fast I swim. Because if you look at the numbers, well, it’s ridiculous the numbers I do. But I’m not that fast, and it’s just my passion — I like to swim,” Blum said.

Blum went onto say he realizes it might be tough for others to relate to just how much time he spends in the water.

“I can actually understand what Chet’s saying,” Doug Sharkey picked up. “You would scare them. That would be really intimidating. If you’re trying to entice people to come, you start reading about lunatics like this guy (Chet), and people are going to go, ‘What? They’re going to do that?’”

Chet laughed, and said, “We’re kind of like the regular crew.” Doug interjected, “Well, at least at night.”

The two, along with other friends, have been swimming at Tukwila Pool about five years. Doug also worked out there a few decades earlier as a member of the Husky Swim Club.

Q. Why do you swim?

A. Chet said, “The number one thing is general conditioning, and stress reduction. I work as an engineer all day. Coming here, it gives me a chance to cool down and relax. And along with that, I get a workout.”

Doug responded, “General stamina, lung capacity, stress relief.”

“Doug and the others were either high school and/or college swimmers, so they’re used to workout sets,” added Chet. “But I never truly race like they do. I came on as a jogger. My focus is endurance, and theirs is sprinting.”

Q. What health benefits do you see from your swimming?

A. Doug: “Weight, blood pressure, cholesterol; helping keep all that stuff low-low-low.”

Chet: “My resting pulse is down to 50. That’s a benefit of consistent exercise. And I’m having fun. If you’re really pushing yourself, you can’t maintain your focus on anything else. You’re challenging yourself. I’ll try to beat him this lap, he’ll try to beat me that lap.”

Q: Is there anything special about Tukwila Pool?

Chet said the pricing is among the best in the area, said that it is a very pleasant pool with a great atmosphere. “Also, you see families coming in with kids. It’s a chance to support the community.”

Doug listed three things.

1. Water temperature is excellent and consistent —perfect for working out (84.5 degrees).

2. Not overly crowded for lap swimming.

3. The pool is consistently open. “That’s why I switched from other pools in the past. Mechanical breakdowns (elsewhere) were like once every two weeks.”

And Chet agreed with Doug’s closing statement, “Overall, the place is awesome.”

Tukwila Pool offers many hours of lap swimming, water walking, vertical exercise, some water aerobics classes, family open swims, and swimming lessons. Regardless of your swimming level, there’s a time and a place for you at your local Tukwila Pool.

If you come in the evenings, maybe you can say hello to Chet and Doug.

Kim McCoy is the assistant aquatics manager for the Tukwila Pool.


More in Life

Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon and Page Carson Foster. Photo credit Washington State Legislative Support Services
Carson Foster serves as page in Washington State House

The following was submitted to the Reporter: Carson Foster, a student at… Continue reading

Matt Kidd. Submitted photo
True strength has no limits

Covington resident Matt Kidd shares his story about kidney disease to help others during National Kidney Month.

Submitted photos from Kela Hall
Inspiring young women

The KD Hall Foundation honored Women’s History Month by having empowering and… Continue reading

Two commissioner positions available this year

For The Reporter The Tukwila Pool Metropolitan Park District (TPMPD) is a… Continue reading

Photo courtesy Tukwila Police Department’s
                                Facebook page
Tukwila Fire raises more than $8,000 for the LLS Stairclimb

The crew climbed up 69 flights of stairs at the Columbia Tower in Seattle.

Troop 398 newest Eagle Scout presentation

The Tukwila Historical Society is pleased to announce our volunteer and Tukwila… Continue reading

Submitted photo from the Seattle Seahawks
Seahawks Tre Flowers visits Tyee

He went there to present a $10,000 grant to the school

Measles outbreak: Officials urge vaccinations

Editor’s note: Measles is highly contagious. If you think you or your… Continue reading

The Tukwila Historical Society has been the location for the Japanese Sister City Gift Exchange Exhibit for the past several years. The city of Tukwila had many of the artifacts in storage and by joint effort it was decided to place the items in the museum for all to enjoy. For a viewing of the exhibit, please feel free to contact the Tukwila Historical Society to arrange a visit. Photo by Louise Jones-Brown
Japanese influence in the Duwamish Valley

In 1907, prior to Tukwila’s incorporation, the T.S. Unos family arrived from… Continue reading

For whodunit lovers, this short story is a gleefully-dark delight

Growing older is a very good thing. First of all, there’s a… Continue reading

Winter safety tips

The Washington State Fire Marshal’s Office give safety tips about the winter weather.

Search no more, you’ll want to read ‘Hero Dogs’

You felt like such a loser. It was a feeling that didn’t… Continue reading