BY JENNIFER CABRERA
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Oak Hammock resident Bob Virnstein, 79, won a pair of silver medals at the Gainesville Senior Games, which continues this week.
Virnstein swam the opening event at the Dwight H. Hunter (Northeast) Pool and collected his first medal of the day after he clocked in at 4:44.53 in the men’s 200-yard freestyle for the 75-79 age group.
After the 200-yard backstroke was contested, Virnstein was back in the pool for the 100-yard IM and touched the wall in 2:13.57 for fourth place, just missing a medal. He also finished fourth in the 50-yard freestyle, 44.40.
Virnstein stepped up onto the block and raced in the final event of the day and captured the silver medal again with a 2:41.50 showing in the 100-yard breaststroke.
On Friday, Oak Hammock resident Ray Goldwire successfully defended his gold medal, as the 88-year-old shot a 91 and won his age group in qualifying for the State Senior Championships, held December 3-11 in Pasco County. Last year Ray won the gold medal in the 85-89 age division for men’s golf, posting a 107 in the 18-hole competition. Ray has been the oldest athlete competing in golf each of the last two years.
Virnstein and Goldwire were the only two Oak Hammock residents competing in the games this year.
The Gainesville Senior Games is one of 13 sites conducted this year around Florida that serve as a feeder into the State Senior Championships. The 2022 Florida Senior Games is a qualifier for the 2023 National Senior Games, to be held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Athletes must be 50 years old on or before Dec. 31, 2022, to be eligible to compete.