DC’s Water Wizards Competed at National Senior Games

533
L to R: top row: Alice Bellis, Margaret Melody, Kathleen Grant, Larry Thurston. Lower row: L to R: Sally Stoecker, Audrey Hipkins, Gail Amall, Hudie Fleming, David Ball, Lauretta Jenkins, Ernestine Brown, Jim Sale, Marvin Blount, Mary Kaniewski.

DC Water Wizards, who have been participating in the Senior Games since 2005, sent a record number of competitors to the National Senior Games held in Albuquerque, New Mexico from June 14-25. Fifteen team members competed, and our “senior” seniors really raked in the awards! New Mexico was my first competition. I was both excited and nervous in the two races in which I competed – the 50 butterfly and the 50 freestyle.

Coach Rodger McCoy filmed all of our races so we can improve on our strokes and turns. I will be working on becoming more relaxed in the water and improving my times. It was an awe-inspiring experience in many ways. Those of us in our 60s truly felt “young” and hope we can still be swimming into our 90s.

In 1985, the first national competition for seniors was formed and called NSOO (National Senior Olympics Organization). NSOO organized the first National Games held in St. Louis in 1987. Some 2500 competitors attended in 15 sports and Bob Hope provided entertainment.

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) objected to the use of the term “Olympic” so the organization was renamed the National Senior Games Association (NSGA). The Headquarters are located in Clearwater, Florida. Since 2007, Humana has been the key corporate supporter of the Games.

The NSGA plans and conducts the Games, a 20-sport, biennial competition for men and women 50 years of age and older and it is the largest multi-sport event in the world for seniors. Since 1987, the Games have been held in 18 cities. In 2021 the Games will be held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Our team achieved a phenomenal number of awards —- 2 medals and 25 ribbons (4th– 8th place).

 

Jim Sale (age 81)

  • 500 freestyle—4th
  • 50 butterfly—6th
  • 50 freestyle—8th

Lauretta Jenkins (age 80)

  • 400 IM—silver
  • 200 IM—bronze
  • 100 breaststroke—5th
  • 200 breaststroke—6th
  • 500 freestyle—8th

Margaret Melady (age 80)

  • 50 butterfly—4th
  • 200 IM —5th
  • 100 IM — 6th
  • 50 breaststroke —7th
  • 500 freestyle—7th
  • 100 breaststroke —8th

Hudie Fleming (age 79) 

  • 100 IM – 5th
  • 200 freestyle – 5th
  • 200 IM – 6th
  • 100 backstroke – 6th
  • 200 backstroke – 8th

David Kaetzel (age 76)

  • 100 freestyle—5th
  • 50 freestyle — 6th

Kathleen Grant (age 75)

  • 100 butterfly—4th
  • 50 butterfly—4th
  • 200 breaststroke—4th
  • 200 IM—5th
  • 50 breaststroke —6th
  • 100 breaststroke—7th