Backstroking brothers make a splash at Senior Games

Local News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – In one household, this year’s Senior Games is a family matter. Two brothers say their friendly competition is making a splash in their family.

John Blair lives in Albuquerque and his brother Greg lives in Tennessee. They knew they were both participating in this year’s games, but didn’t realize just how close it would bring them together.

Thousands of athletes are in Albuquerque for the games, competing in everywhere from the track to the court to the pool, where the Blair brothers are taking their competition. The two credit a love for swimming early on.

“We both started swimming when we were young and then both of us stopped swimming for about 40 years,” said Greg Blair.

Back problems led Greg back into the pool and he convinced his brother to start training with him. John says he joined the masters program to train for a few years ahead of the games.

“I joined with the masters program, which is probably the hardest thing I could have possibly done,” said John. “Those guys are all swimmers for their whole life. I swam with them the better part of two years and developed into a good enough swimmer to qualify.”

John is an Albuquerque local, putting this year’s games right in his own backyard. Both are competing in multiple heats this year, but they were paired next to each other for the men’s 50-meter backstroke.

“It was kind of funny because we knew we’re in the same age group,” said Greg. “We figured we’d be competing with each other, but somebody got us next to each other.”

It’s the first time the two have been able to compete with one another. Win or lose, they hope to make it a tradition.

“We’re hoping this is the first of many reunions to come. This is basically what it’s all about ⁠— for us to get together every couple of years, tell jokes and have fun,” said John. “Staying healthy is the key to all of this.”

Greg came in second place in the heat, while John took fourth and set a new personal record. The National Senior Games wrap up with a Farewell Fiesta Saturday evening and the final competitions on Tuesday.

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