A snowy winter day in Clermont County in 1998 transformed Dr. Brian Mouch from an automobile accident victim into a nine-time Senior Olympic gold medalist.
The doctor’s road to recovery took him from his practice in Williamsburg, to the pool at the Clermont Family YMCA down the road in Batavia, all the way up to Canton, Ohio on June 23 where he competed in and won all nine events at the Senior Olympic Regional Meet.
“Last year, I swam up at the state championships, which were also qualifying for nationals, and I got a first and four second places,” Mouch explained. “This year, I went up and defended that title, won those four and then won four new ones.”
A former high school state runner up in the 100-meter butterfly for Columbus Whetstone High School, Mouch went on to compete in three sports at Bowling Green State University, swimming, water polo and rugby.
Following his graduation from BGSU in 1979, Mouch was injured in a car accident in Texas that sent him to a chiropractor for treatment. The treatment was so good that Mouch decided to pursue a career in chiropractic care, becoming a licensed practitioner in 1989.
Always a competitor, Mouch got into Masters Swimming, an organized program of swimming for adults, when he was around 37 years old. Mouch parlayed his lifetime of swimming experience to place in the top-10 nationally in a number events before that fateful day on State Route 32 near the Jeff Wyler Eastgate Auto Mall.
“When I was 42, I was in a really bad auto accident out on 32,” Mouch explained. “A guy rear ended me at 70 miles per hour in the snow and really damaged me.”
Mouch said the injuries forced him to gain weight, topping out at over 300 pounds and kept him out of the pool for more than five years.
“After the accident, I had to do something,” Mouch said. “I had to change my situation and having some long-term disability due to the injuries due to the accident. I’d love to play basketball, but I’m 57 years old now and my knees hurt. I’d love to play racquetball, but there’s no racquetball in Clermont County.
“I’ve always enjoyed swimming. I always worked out with my flippers on because I’m a scuba diver. Scuba diving makes my back feel fantastic.”
To say Dr. Mouch is into scuba diving would be an understatement. He’s been on over 1,100 dives and been down with sharks more than 500 times. His love for scuba diving originally got him back into the pool and after he won a few races, his natural competitiveness kicked in and helped him to rehab more to win more races.
“Winning a few races…gives you some drive,” he said. “I’ve been excited about it and now I swim about two miles six days a week.”
With his competitive nature in full force, Mouch headed up to Canton planning to compete in a handful of events, signing up for all nine that he would eventually win, but originally thought he would drop out of a few. Not knowing the schedule of events or when he would be swimming, he wanted to give himself a chance to compete in whatever he could.
“I just kept swimming and kept winning,” Mouch said. “It was pretty cool.”
Dr. Mouch won the 200-meter individual medley, 50-meter breaststroke, 200-meter breaststroke, 400-meter freestyle, 100-meter individual medley, 50-meter butterfly, 200-meter freestyle, 100-meter backstroke and 50-meter backstroke.
Next up for Mouch are the National Senior Games in Cleveland from July 19-25. Dr. Mouch is planning on competing in six events: 50-, 100- and 200-backstroke, the 100-meter individual medley, the 50-meter butterfly and 200-freestyle.
Mouch said he’s not expecting to win anything this year, but would like to contend and place near the top. He said his best shot to win would be the 100 IM, an event he is undefeated in up to this point.
As for long-term goals, Mouch is not underestimating himself.
“If I really wanted to make a mark — and I don’t know if I could ever get back up to that level — but I would love to swim the English Channel,” he said. “I might be one of the oldest guys to do it, but I don’t know if that’s going to happen, but it’s something I’d like to do. I know I’m mentally strong enough, I’m just not sure if my body can.
“My goal right now? I’ve never been a national champion and somewhere along the line, I’d like to win a national title before I’m gone from this earth so that I can say that I did it.”
Dr. Mouch’s next shot at that goal is just over two weeks away.