This 72-Year-Old Man Is Diving Into A Competitive Water Sport Historically Dominated By Women

“It’s just a hard sport, and beautiful ..."

Harvey Burgett is a prime example of the phrase "Never say never."

The 72-year-old not only took up swimming for the first time in his 60s, but he also welcomed another water challenge.

"I taught him how to swim, then I sucked him into the synchro team and now he's hooked," Dale Mohammed, a continuing education teacher at Lehman College in The Bronx, told the New York Post.

With Mohammed's encouragement, Burgett joined the synchronized swimming team at the Gotham Synchro swim club in New York City. Two years later, he was a gold medalist.

Burgett is the only man on his all-female squad and together they dominated at a competition in Grand Rapids, Mich., where they won gold. The music teacher and composer is now one of the few male synchronized swimming competitors in the world.

"This past Olympics there was buzz in the air about synchronized swimming and also the fact that there were no men," Burgett told the New York Post.


It's a rare sport that only allowed women to join when it first debuted at the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles and that still holds true today.

Now, Burgett is working to slowly change history when he competes this August in the world championships, which will allow men in the mixed duets category for the first time ever.

"What I love about synchronized swimming is that there's not a care in the world when you're in the pool except being the best you can be," he said. "You can't worry about anything because you have to concentrate totally on holding your breath at the right time."

With his coach and partner, Mohammed, by his side in the duets competition, Burgett feels confident and knows he's a source of inspiration for men who may be interested in pursuing the female-dominated sport.

"It doesn't matter whether you're gay or straight. Synchronized swimming is not in itself a marker of a wink and a nod," he added. "It's just a hard sport, and beautiful, and I think people are willing to just look at individuals as individuals and not categorize them quite so much."

(H/T: New York Post)

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