Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


May 8, 2014

Matriarch of the pool; At 75 years old, Boileau still a force in the water

At 75 years old, Boileau still a force in the water

Carol Dowd Boileau has done it all in the pool and continues to love the water.

The 75-year-old Andover resident swam with her daughters (Colleen Dowd Brandon, 54; and Tracy Dowd Phillips, 48) last month at the YMCA Masters National Swim Meet in Sarasota, Fla. She placed third in the 75-79 division in the 50-yard butterfly and teamed with her daughters for a seventh in the 200 medley relay.

Boileau started the now vaunted Andover High swim program. She helped groom now legendary coach Marilyn Fitzgerald, who was her assistant. She also started the swim program for handicapped children at the Lawrence Boys and Girls Club.

This week, Boileau shares some insights into her passion for the pool:

Where do you get all the energy? “I don’t know. My mom was like that and my kids are like that. I’m a Gemini — half is all sports and the other half is the art field. I used to do fine arts, so I could buy a scuba tank so I could go diving.”

Why do you love swimming so much? “I have a hard time answering it. I can’t stand not moving around. I’ve always been involved in the sport.”

How did you get into swimming? “I’m an only child. There weren’t too many things you did. Growing up in Lawrence, there were city pools. It was a great way to keep active in the summer.”

How long have you been a competitive swimmer? “Since 15. I was working for the city pools in Lawrence. I ended up being an instructor and a lifeguard. I started coaching at the Lawrence Y. I was probably 17 or 18. I’ve coached forever. Mostly Andover High. That was the most fun I ever had. Marilyn (Fitzgerald) took over for me when I went back to art school.”

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