Fun, fitness and a bit of competition at the Masters
AT 90, Toowoomba's Ann Todd has added another six gold medals from the recent Pan Pacific Masters Games on the Gold Coast to her collection
The oldest member of the Toowoomba Tadpoles swimming club did not just take gold in the 50m and 400m backstroke, she also earned state and national records in both. Her other golds were awarded for the 50m freestyle, 50m breaststroke and the 100m and 200m backstroke.
Having swum at school, Ann had an almost 50-year hiatus from the sport when she lived 145km out of Longreach. It was only when she returned to Toowoomba and saw her grandson excelling in the pool that she decided to return to swimming.
That was about 15 years ago, and she admits that on her first attempt, she couldn't even get to the end of the 25m pool.
But the woman who went on to claim the record for the fastest 1500m backstroke at 80 was not going to give up.
"It's been wonderful for me," she said. She marvels at the fact that having grown up in an era when overseas travel for pleasure was almost unheard of, she has now swum in World Masters in Canada, England, Casablanca, Italy and Sweden. And her next stop is the 2017 Games in Budapest, Hungary.
"It's better than couch-sitting," she laughs. "It's good to be able to get out and do something. There's life in the old girl yet.
"I'm 90 now, so I intend to enjoy life and make the most of it."
Ann, who gave up tennis and golf only at the start of this year, swims three mornings a week and has taken up bridge to, "exercise my brain as well as my body".
A total of seven Tadpoles attended the Games, with Beres Hindman gaining a gold, silver and three bronze, Rosalie Lutvey two silver and a bronze, Vanessa O'Sullivan three bronze, Sue Walker a bronze, Mary Dolphin scoring a number of personal bests and Lionel Scotney swimming in eight events and two relays.
Club vice-president Lou Hill said the club, which has a membership of 68, was all about fun, fitness and friendship.
Members could train as hard as they wanted or felt comfortable with, and while many travel to competitions throughout the year, others just enjoy a social swim.
The only prerequisite is that you can swim the length of the 25m pool. Coaching and stroke improvement are available.
But do you have to be an expert? "Oh, definitely not, I swim," Lou laughs.
And that probably sums up the spirit of the Tadpoles, and what attracts members, the majority of whom are 50-70 years old.
To find out more about the club, call Lou on 0434633869.