Swimming is quite a versatile sport that allows individuals of various ages to participate in. In fact, just over the weekends on Saturday, some 89 swimmers, aged from 52 to 96 years old, hit the pool at the West Center, Arizona for the 2013 Green Valley Senior Games swim meet. It was actually the largest single day competition at the games.
“Overall for a one day event, this is the busiest,” stated Karen Rans, the games coordinator. In all, the participants swam in seventy different heats run on that day. This included events ranging from 25 to 500 meters in the freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly. There were even seniors who came from as far away as Tucson and Phoenix just to participate. “We got a lot of competition from other swim clubs. Saddlebrooke Swim Club came down from North Tucson, they brought their whole team, and we also had some swimmers come down from Sun City and Phoenix,” said Karen.
The oldest competitor was Fred Klein at 96 years old. So far, he has competed every year in the swimming events. “He’s our oldest and it’s amazing. People say he’s a little wobbly on land, but put him in the water and he’s like a fish,” explained Karen. In order to make the event a success, quite a number of volunteers were involved in it. “There the ones that do the check in, the timing and counting the lanes. We also have a race official and also have a lifeguard here today to make sure we’re all safe,” mentioned Karen.
There were some swimmers who were present so that they could add to their triathlon times for the “Green Valley Triathlon”. There were two separate groups for this triathlon. Firstly, there was the 12-mile bike ride, the 5K run and the 500 meter freestyle. There was also the 6-mile ride, 2K walk and 25 meter freestyle. Judy Cowlishaw was one such individual who did the 5K run and 12-mile cycling race. At the same time, she also swam in the 50 and 500 meter freestyle to add to her triathlon times in the 500. She managed to win her age group (70-74) in both running and the cycling, making it pretty good for a medal after the swimming leg. However, she only came second in the 500 with a timing of 11 minutes and 31 seconds, which was also just five seconds behind the winner, Elizabeth Hindley. You can read the full story here.