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Teacher keeps in shape by swimming in senior games

Rosemary Clarke Middle School sixth grade teacher Susan Zink went to the Nevada Senior Games in Las Vegas on Oct. 3 and came away with eight medals.

Each year in the fall in Las Vegas, the Nevada Senior Games runs in early October through mid-October. The games are now in their 36th year. Nearly 1,000 seniors participate in 19 events annually. The games now span a three-week period.

The swimming competition was held in Las Vegas at the Desert Breeze Aquatic Center. All events at the games are divided by age groups.

Zink was in the 65-70 age group and went to the Nevada Senior Games to qualify for the nationals, which are held in a different city every other year.

She earned five gold, one silver and two bronze medals and this qualified her. She will be going to the nationals which will be held in Alabama in two years.

However, Zink doesn't swim for the medals.

"I feel blessed in my case that I can swim at 65," she said. "I didn't win any medals at the national competition in Minnesota, but I was just happy to participate. I want to inspire others to do what I do and it's exciting."

She said she knows she has inspired her grandkids and her daughter to do what she has done.

"My daughter lives in Peru and she flew all the way to Minnesota to watch me swim," Zink said. "It was a big deal to my daughter for me to be swimming. My daughter told me she wants to get back into archery when she turns 50. I know I inspired my granddaughter too who told me she wants to be active at my age. She said, 'Grandma, you give me something to look forward to when I am your age.'"

Zink said she is inspired to keep going by all the seniors she meets that swim. She said the oldest swimmer she met was 101 and she also met a man who did track at 103.

Zink has been a swimmer all her life but she had never done organized competitive swimming before. She started swimming late in life to stay in shape. She says she has lost 20 pounds.

Zink is also thankful for the opportunity just to participate in a sport.

"I also think it's wonderful that women get to do so many things," she said. "I remember when I was growing up that women couldn't do a lot of sports simply because we were female. Sometimes I wonder what life would have been like if I had the same opportunities that women have today."

Contact sports editor Vern Hee at vhee@pvtimes.com. Follow @vernheepvt on Twitter.

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