Four-year-old Janet Rushmere’s first swimming lesson was conquering the ocean at Rehoboth Beach, DE, with her father, Ed Bardo as her teacher. Janet’s extremely athletic father worked at University of Delaware as head of the Physical Education Department and Head Coach of the swimming team. “I still love swimming in salt water,” Janet notes.
A certified Red Cross Water Safety Instructor and Fitness Specialist, Janet poured into her hometown community by introducing preschool gym and swim classes at the Newark, DE, YWCA. She also taught a variety of adult fitness programs, including water exercise. In 1974, she launched a business enterprise with another instructor called Pike Creek Gym and Swim for babies and pre-school children. Janet says, “My all-time favorite age for swim lessons is preschoolers. There is joy in everything they do!”
Soon after moving to Willow Valley, Janet was persuaded to compete in the 2014 Lancaster County Senior Games, where she won four gold medals in freestyle and backstroke. She also won three gold medals at the PA Keystone State Games later that year! Her volunteer coach, fellow resident Bob Locke, supervises her pool workouts. The fitness staff augments her training with challenging workouts in the gym.
Janet shares, “I like to keep moving, and swimming tops the list of sports I enjoy.”
Willow Valley Communities, through its Life Lived Forward philosophy, seeks to encourage residents as they engage together in pursuit of their passions. Staying active, being healthy, travelling, competing, and succeeding in living a vibrant life—whatever that looks like for them and even winning medals sometimes.
Within the heart of a true athlete, the passion for sport only grows over time.
Perhaps nothing proves this better than the National Senior Games which was held in Minneapolis last year. The Games, a 19-sport, biannual competition for men and women 50 and over, is the largest multi-sport event in the world for seniors. Willow Valley Communities is an excellent choice for the serious athlete, with world-class fitness and aquatics centers and exceptional fitness team members on hand to support whatever an individual’s personal goals may be. Willow Valley’s team of 15 athletes joined over 12,000 others from all over the country to compete. Escorted by members of our Wellness Team, Pam Schorr and Karen Nye, Willow Valley resident athletes were awarded a total of 7 medals and 12 ribbons. Congratulations to all!