“I competed in a meet for the first time at 76 years old.”

Introducing Trish Macvaugh. Trish is just one of the 25 competitors traveling to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to compete in the National Senior Games. The National Senior Games, a 25-sport biennial competition for men and women 50 and over, is the largest multi-sport event in the world for seniors. Trish will be swimming in the 50 and 100-yard breaststroke races, as well as in the team relays.

Though Trish grew up by the Jersey Shore and has always loved the water, she is new to the world of competitive swimming. She only recently decided to take a leap of faith and compete.

She enjoys having this new challenge at this phase of her life. Setting a new, albeit intimidating goal and just going for it.

At the beginning of her journey, she had doubts and questioned herself. “I’ve never been a competitive swimmer – how can I do this?”

But with the help of experienced and supportive fellow Willow Valley Communities swimmers, along with the amazing fitness team, she has learned many skillful tips like: how to do a seconds-saving turn, a clean dive off the racing block, and to always put her goggles on first, with the strap under her swimming cap so they don’t come off.

Trying out for the National Senior Games was very intimidating for this first-timer. And though Trish was concerned about embarrassing herself at the qualifying meet in Maryland last year, she said, “What would be the most embarrassing is if I didn’t try. If I didn’t give it all I’ve got.”

And that’s exactly what Trish is doing – giving it her all. She trains roughly four to five times a week, swimming about a mile each session. She alternates between breaststroke, freestyle, and backstroke.

Thinking about getting in the pool yourself? Trish says it is never too late, and her advice is to find people with experience, people who are willing to help you, give you pointers, and who truly want you to succeed.

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