Charlestown is now home to an Olympic gold medalist. Barbara Garner, a resident at Charlestown, won four medals, including two golds, at the Maryland Senior Olympics in September.
Garner, who moved to Charlestown two years ago, placed first for gold in the 50- and 100-yard breaststroke events, and won silver in both the 100- and 200-yard freestyle races for her age group at the swimming competition.
Having grown up in rural Connecticut, Garner says that she's always been active and sees no reason to slow down. A naturalist, much of her career was spent working with nature centers and the Maryland Park Service.
As a child, she lived on a farm and the first sport she pursued was horseback riding, which she did both for fun and competition throughout her teenage years. In high school, she also played intramural basketball and softball, two of the few sports available for girls to play at the time.
She first learned to swim around age five, when the local Red Cross offered free swimming lessons at the community lake. Garner went on to earn her lifesaving certificate and qualifications to teach swimming.
In addition to swimming, Garner runs, bikes and puts all three sports together when she participates in triathlons. This year, she competed in a 5K and 10K cycling time trial, the Kentlands/Lakelands 5K Run in Montgomery County, the Fort Ritchie Sprint Triathlon and the Hagerstown Sprint Triathlon. Not to mention, she also teaches ski lessons twice a week at Ski Liberty during the winter months.
Garner says that living at Charlestown helps her continue to stay active during retirement. Before she and her husband moved to their apartment home in Maple Terrace, an independent living building at Charlestown, they lived nearby in Catonsville and Garner swam regularly at the YMCA. Now, she has the convenience of simply walking down the hall to the pool in Charlestown's Fitness Center. The campus also provides great paths and trails for running, and Garner continues to participate in the Baltimore Bike Club, frequently joining the group for rides in the area.
"Barbara is a great example of a growing number of retirees who are making fitness and staying active a top priority," said Teresa Reymann-Curran, Fitness Manager at Charlestown. "We are so proud to see her compete in the Senior Olympics—and of course, to bring home four medals is an incredible achievement. It is a testament to her commitment to maintaining an active lifestyle and passion for sport. She is an inspiration!"