The Post-Journal

Young Ready For Senior Games

Judy Young looks over the National Senior Games swim schedule.
Judy Young of Jamestown looks over the National Senior Games swim schedule earlier this week. P-J photo by Scott Kindberg.

Judy Young has accomplished plenty as a competitive swimmer, particularly her record-setting performances during multiple trips to the YMCA Masters Nationals in the last several years. Yet for all the medals she has earned, the 97-year-old Jamestown resident’s ultimate reward will come this weekend when she swims in the National Senior Games in Pittsburgh.

One of more than 11,000 athletes who will be competing in various sports — the NSG is the largest multi-sport event for seniors — Young has also been chosen as a Humana Game Changer. The award is national recognition for outstanding athletes who, according to Julie Mascari, the Medicare president at Humana in New York, “exemplify active aging and provide encouragement, motivation and inspiration for people of all ages to pursue lifelong health.”

To put that honor into further perspective, Young is one of only 28 to be selected for that special honor this year.

“I was stunned, absolutely stunned,” she said earlier this week, adding, “I just enjoy being active.”

Given her commitment to fitness, the Humana Game Changer recognition is hardly surprising.

Young qualified for the NSG last year in Cortland, winning gold medals in all six of her events, which included the 50-yard backstroke, the 100-yard backstroke, the 200-yard backstroke, the 50-yard freestyle, the 100-yard freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle.

“Judy’s passion for swimming is proof age isn’t an obstacle to engaging in activities that bring joy and promote well-being,” Mascari wrote in a guest commentary that appeared in The Post-Journal earlier this month. “While not everyone has a desire to compete, I think Judy can inspire us all to change the game for active aging and challenge society’s expectations of what it means to be a senior.”

Maria Roehmholdt, an assistant swim coach at the Jamestown YMCA, just finished reading “The Longevity Book,” which reminded her of Judy.

“(The book) goes through what you should be doing throughout your life to make it to your 90s or 100s,” Roehmholdt said. “Everything they brought up is the way (Judy) lives her life. It was fascinating. I kept rereading chapters, going, ‘This is the way Judy approaches everything.’

“It made me giggle, because I was reading it, thinking, ‘What do I have to change?’ If I follow (Judy’s) guidelines and the way that (she) has already set the pace, and the marks (she’s) made with other people and inspire them to do something as simple as swim for 10 minutes or take a 10-minute walk, it was all brought up in the book.”

Young isn’t the only area resident who will be swimming at the NSG this week. Karen Williams, Judy’s Jamestown YMCA Masters teammate, qualified in Cortland last year as well, claiming a gold medal, four silver medals and a bronze medal in her six events in the 60-64 age group.

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