Proud American

74-year-old aquatic trailblazer teaching veterans how to swim

Dr. Jane Katz is a trailblazer in the aquatics world. And, at 74 years old, she is showing no signs of stopping.

Katz helped pioneer the acceptance of synchronized swimming as an Olympic event when she was a member of the 1964 U.S. Synchronized Swimming Performance Team in Tokyo. And her competitive streak continues today. She will defend multiple gold medals at the 2017 National Senior Games this year in Birmingham, Alabama.

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Katz’s said her proudest moments, however, are when she shares her joy of swimming with others.

“Learning to swim for the first time is life-changing,” she told Fox News “It’s a survival skill, and it’s fun!”

She brings that very exuberance and perseverance to U.S. veterans, and launched W.E.T.s 4 VETS at John Jay College in New York in 2015.

She uses her experience in holistic water exercise techniques to rehabilitate our nation’s bravest as they reintegrate into civilian life. At the end of each term, a veteran is given an award in honor of her late husband, former Air Force Capt. Herbert Erlanger, a former anesthesiologist in New York City.

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This year, the award will go to Jonathan Martinez, a veteran who was injured in Afghanistan.

“Water activities completely changed my life,” Martinez told Fox News, “and I couldn’t have done it without Jane, and without her program.”