UNCG Magazine

Alumna Barbara Eisele making a splash at 91

Photo of Barbara Eisele

For Barbara Eisele ’52, competition is a joy. At age 91, she is competing in US Masters Swimming and has been since she first got seriously into the sport at 67.

And she doesn’t just compete with her own age or gender group, but often finds herself placed against a wide variety of competitors. “It is always fun to see if I can beat a man or someone younger than me,” she says.

She has loved to swim since she was a child, but she got into competing in the Masters at the persistent urging of a friend. Finding it personally satisfying, excellent for connecting to friends and family, and great fun, she’s continued ever since.

“Competition takes discipline and courage. It is not always easy to get up at 4 a.m. to go to the pool for practice.”

Barbara Eisele ’52

Barbara came to UNCG, then still the Woman’s College, as a sophomore. She majored in sociology but took advantage of the diverse education she had available at the university, taking classes in philosophy, astronomy, poetry, and more. Her education played a formative role in her life, both practically (she credits her experience in social work as being a big help raising kids) and more philosophically.

As she says, “Competition takes discipline and courage. It is not always easy to get up at 4 a.m. to go to the pool for practice. Since I seldom had a coach, I have had to teach myself many things. There is no question that my years at Woman’s College helped to form my character.”

Over the course of a life lived in multiple states and time spent as a Girl Scouts leader, student, bookstore owner, mother, wife, traveler, and much more, swimming has always been something Barbara can return to and feel passion for.

Her advice to others? “Never stop moving, concentrate on a clean diet, and always strive to capture the joy in life.”

By Avery Campbell ’20
Courtesy photography

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