After 90th birthday surprise, Cronin takes his daily dip

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By Brenda Sexton

The Courier-Herald

Enumclaw pool staff, along with friends and family, threw John Cronin a surprise 90th birthday party May 17 before he settled into his daily routine in the water.

"Surprised?" Cronin said. "I'm totally flabbergasted."

Cronin has been a longtime participant in the pool's mid-day lap swim and an active member of the Friends of the Pool group that was instrumental in saving the pool.

He is a retired New York City firefighter, who began his career at midnight Jan. 1, 1938. He retired from the department in 1958 and moved to upstate New York to an 160-acre farm. Later he began another career at the Stanford Research Institute in California, working until 1977. Eventually, he moved to Enumclaw.

Two of his four daughters, Betty Cruise of Kent and Pat Sommers of Enumclaw, were at the celebration.

He said about 14 years ago he was having shoulder problems and started swimming with neighbor Gene Manus. With a modified side stroke, he started swimming three times a week. He later stepped it up to five days a week and this past year, at age 89, increased his workouts to six days per week.

Brenda Sexton can be reached at

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