Hope swimmer Ken Campbell paces through the 800-metre freestyle event at last week’s 55+ BC Games, in Vernon. Campbell earned a bronze medal in this event and gold in two others. (Barry Stewart photo)

Rookies reap riches at 55+ BC Games

Hope residents harvest hardware at BC 55+ Games

Nine Hope residents participated in the 55+ BC Games in Vernon last week — and brought back ten medals, thanks in large part to results from the swimming pool.

The events ran the gamut from track and field, bike racing and soccer to gentler sports, such as darts, lawn bowling and horseshoes. There were even games where you didn’t have to get out of your chair — such as cribbage, whist and bridge.

Hope has a long history of success in whist and cribbage and Carol Pringle has been a medallist many times over. This year, she teamed up with Inga Everly, to win gold in whist, with Laurie French and Art Young claiming bronze.

Three golfers made it through qualifications earlier in the season and two of them came home with medals. First-timer, Peter Scherle had the second-best low gross, of 180 strokes on 36 holes, in the age 65-69 B division for 17.1 to 36.4 handicap. Rick Whidden was in the same division but didn’t make the podium.

Scherle’s silver was eclipsed by veteran Jimmy Toy’s gold in the men’s age 80+ A division for 0 to 17 handicap. Toy’s low net was an impressive 142 for 36 holes; the first round at the Spallumcheen Golf and Country Club and the last 18 at the Vernon links.

“Somebody beat me on the low gross,” said Toy, laughing. “He was 11 handicap and mine was 16. He shot a 169 and I had a 174.”

Doing the math, 174-(16×2)=142 net for Toy, while it was 169-(2×11)=147 net for Kamloops golfer, Ludwig Faisthuber.

“I had two good rounds,” said Toy.” I made a few mistakes but played pretty good. And I had the same score as last year — the same score on four different courses: 87, 87, 87 and 87. I’ve never done that so consistent before.

“The courses were in really good shape,” added Toy. “The greens were really fast and hard to read, though. The locals would certainly have an advantage.”

Over at aquatics, six more medals were won by a duo that should have been a trio. Ken Campbell, Jim Delnea and Don Bourquin have been training religiously, three mornings a week at the Dan Sharrers Aquatic Centre. All three were registered and ready to go — then Bourquin’s wife had to go in for surgery and he stayed home to be with her.

“Ken talked us into going to the games,” said Delnea, while waiting for his race last Friday.

Campbell chimed in, fighting back the butterflies before his 800-metre (32 lengths) event, ”Two years ago, I suggested we go in the 55+ games. Jim looked at the times and grumbled but I brought it up again this year — and here we are!

“My wife calls us the Senior Mafia — and Jim’s the Godfather,” added Campbell, laughing while Delnea, a former RCMP staff sergeant, grinned.

“I started six or seven years ago,” said Delnea. “I was a total non-swimmer and Josh Hon, who was a lifeguard at the pool at the time, gave me a lesson.

“Ken and I met and began swimming and keeping each other honest about turning up. First, it was one lap, then it was ten.”

Along the way, Bourquin joined them and now the three amigos train from 6:30 to 8 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, followed by a coffee break.

“The lifeguard staff, once they heard we were coming here, became our ad hoc coaches,” said Delnea. “We had no idea what to expect, so the staff really helped. They set up starting blocks so we could practice our starts.”

Staff also gave them tips on how to avoid getting disqualified. It was a lot to take in, though.

Tuesday, Delnea said he earned a DQ in the 25-metre breaststroke. “I screwed up my stroke when I took off from the wall,” he said. I knew it as soon as I did it. No one else got DQ’d. Just me.

“In the 25-metre team medley, one of our swimmers DQ’d on the butterfly,” added Delnea. “He was supposed to touch the wall with two hands but he only one-touched it. We could have done well, too.”

Delnea dialed it in on the 100-metre breaststroke in the age 65-69 division, taking gold in a time of 2:02.71. He also earned a bronze in the 50 breaststroke, with a 52.65, then added a team gold in the 4×25 freestyle relay.

Ken (The Whip) Campbell captured bronze in the age 70-74 800-metre free, with a time of 19:55.86. He swam the freestyle leg in the 4×25 medley, where his team posted a 1:44.77, for gold — and the team backed this up with another gold in the 4×25 freestyle, with a time of 1:19.68.

It sounds like they’ll be back in future years. “When you see 87-year-olds doing 32 laps, it really changes your whole attitude,” said Campbell.

Boston Bar bowlers added two bronze medals, for individual and team scores. More on that story next week.

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