Press release from Oak Hammock
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Oak Hammock resident Ray Goldwire successfully defended his gold medal at the 21st Annual Gainesville Senior Games at the Ironwood Golf Course on Friday.
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.
“I did it!” Goldwire shared shortly after his victory. “I’m drenched because it started to downpour when we were at the last hole but at least we got to finish. It feels pretty good to get the gold again.”
The Gainesville Senior Games is one of 13 sites conducted this year around Florida that serves 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.
Golf was the first event of the Gainesville Senior Games, which continues tomorrow with archery and pickleball doubles.
On Sunday, Oak Hammock resident Bob Virnstein, 79, dives into action as the swimming competition begins. Last year, Virnstein placed second in the 75-79 age division 100-Yard Breaststroke in a time of 2:31.58 and took fourth in the 75-79 age division 50-Yard Freestyle in a time of 43.55.
Virnstein will be swimming the first of four individual events – 200-yard freestyle – at the Dwight H. Hunter (Northeast) Pool (1100 NE 14th St., Gainesville) at 9 a.m. He also plans to swim the 100-yard individual medley, 50-yard freestyle, and 100-yard breaststroke.
“I started swimming 76 years ago when I was 3. My grandfather taught me so that I wouldn’t drown. Everyone else jumped off the dock, so I did too,” Virnstein shared. “I like to compete, and signing up gives me a goal to work harder to get in shape to compete.”