Doctor’s weight-loss order pushed her into the pool; now she’s a champ

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Her doctor’s words shook her like an earthquake: “If you don’t lose weight, you won’t get to your 60th birthday.”

Vivian Stancil, a retired Long Beach schoolteacher, was 50. She stood 5 feet tall and weighed 319 pounds.

“A bowling ball wouldn’t even describe what I was,” Stancil says. “I could barely walk. But I wanted to live, so I instantly knew what I had to do: change my diet and start exercising.”

That would not be easy. Stancil’s social life revolved around going out to eat every day with her friends. As for exercise, Stancil hadn’t done it in 40 years — ever, really. She not only didn’t know how to swim but was so afraid of water that she couldn’t dunk her head in past her eyes.

On top of that, she was legally blind.

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Production engineer and certified swim coach. Full-time IT consultant, spare-time swimming aficionado. 2 sons, 2 daughters and a wife. President of the Faroe Islands Swimming Association. Likes to run :-)

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