At a youthful 81, Mira Grypink took her swimming show to Langley, Edmonton and Montreal this summer and medalled everywhere.
Grypink pocketed six individual gold medals and one silver and two bronze in relay races at the 27th B.C. Senior Games which ended Sunday in Langley.
A mother of three with two grandchildren and two great grandchildren, the bubbly Grypink struck gold in the 25-, 50- and 100-metre breaststroke events and gold in the 50, 100 and 200 free.
“The host city did a great job as there were over 3,500 athletes and their supporters going around in those four days,” said Grypink, who trains three times a week indoors.
Born in Holland, Grypink emigrated to the Prairies in 1958 and moved to Vernon in 1964. She used to play water polo and swim the breastroke before taking time off to raise a family.
“When I was 50, my doctor told me to go back in the pool again to help with my arthritis. I love swimming and I’m going to swim as long as I can.”
While excited about her medals, she was even happier for buddy Loreen Merriman, 57.
“It was her first-time competing and she won the 100 breast, was second in the 400 and free and third in the 50 back.”
The Okanagan Similkameen finished sixth in a field of 13 zones with 90 gold and 193 total medals.
In late August, Grypink uncovered four gold (50- and 100-free, 50- and 100-breast) and one bronze in the 200-relay at the Canada 55+ Games in Edmonton.
“I went with three swimmers from Kelowna to these Games and we had a great time. They were well organized and this was our first time. We (the swimmers) brought back 13 gold, three silver and two bronze medals.”
She also competed in Montreal in the Fina World Masters and won a silver in the 100 breast and helped the mixed 200 freestyle relay take silver.
Grypink, who is headed to Utah for the World Senior Games in October, realizes being active leads to health and joy.
“I think it’s important that as you get older, to stay involved in sports. I love meeting and seeing the people at all these Games; everybody’s smiling and happy.”
In tennis at the Seniors Games, Carol Jenkins (Vernon) and Derek Turvey (Kelowna) produced gold in mixed doubles 65-69, while Marsha White and Jenkins garnered silver in women’s doubles 65-69.
In men’s 60+ soccer, the Okanagan bowed 2-0 to Columbus of Vancouver in the gold-medal match.
Al Bensmiller, Denis Chabot, Dave Hampton, Erv Schuur and Tim Penaluna represented Vernon on the silver-medalist team which gave up just one goal in four preliminary wins.
The 2015 event will be re-branded as the 55+ B.C. Games and held in North Vancouver.