Woman teaches thousands of kids to swim - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

83-year old woman teaches thousands of kids to swim

Miss Ruth at the Westlake Rec Center. Miss Ruth at the Westlake Rec Center.

83-year-old Ruth Eleanor Obrochta, known affectionately around the Westlake Rec Center as "Miss Ruth", has a passion for teaching kids and adults how to swim.

"83 years old. Do you feel like your eighty three," asked Tiffani Tucker. "No I haven't changed since I was six. I've gotten a little older and a little wider," said Miss Ruth.

Miss Ruth's been at the center for 15 years, teaching thousands of students how to swim, from infants up to adults. She teaches as many as 10 classes a week.

"You feel that in your heart. You know that you're building character in the children and I love them all," said Obrochta.

But she never set out to be a swim instructor. Her late husband's stroke led her here.

"I put him in the water and said walk. And he could walk in the water," said Obrochta.

The staff noticed her gift to inspire and asked her to teach a class for a few months. That turned into years.

But you would never know Miss Ruth stayed away from kids because of personal tragedies. Four of her children died including two miscarriages.

"I turned away from children for a while because I was bitter, then all of the sudden God blessed me with a daughter," Obrochta said.

Miss Ruth's blessing is contagious.

"She's phenomenal and she has a passion not only for swimming but the kids," said Cathy Grimes, grandparent of a swimmer.

"She's like a grandma figure to everyone around here,"said Sydney Hughes, a lifeguard.

At 83 years old and two knee replacements -- she is full of life.

"I'm going to do it as long as my body will allow me to. I wouldn't know what to do if I didn't have the kids," said Obrochta.

Miss Ruth also teaches summer classes at the Peterson Pool and volunteers at St.Bernadette's where she also works as a lunchroom hall monitor.

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