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Athletes earn chance to compete at state Senior Games

Seven swimmers booked a ticket to participate in the North Carolina Senior Games, thanks to their performances at the Greenville-Pitt County Senior Games Swim Meet held at the Moore Aquatic and Fitness Center in Washington yesterday.

Placing among the top three in their respective age division earned Pamela Dorsey (60-64 age group), James Nolen (50-54), Jack Hansel (70-74), Thomas Richter (75-79), Gail Ratcliff (60-64), Rob Doherty (65-69) and Leonor Rossel (55-59) a spot in Cary, where the state Senior Games will be held in September. All seven will be competing in multiple swimming events, with Doherty participating in the most (50-yard breaststroke, 100 breaststroke, 100 individual medley, 200 individual medley and 200 freestyle).

Alice Stallings and Velislava Karaivanova also participated in the meet, but their events, the 25 backstroke and 25 freestyle, are only held at the county level of the Senior Games.

ALL SMILES: All the competing athletes from the Greenville-Pitt Senior Games Swim Meet pose with their medals. Bottom row from left to right: Alice Stallings, Pamela Dorsey, Leonor Rossel and Velislava Karaivanova. Top row: Jack Hansel, Rob Doherty, Gail Ratcliff, Thomas Richter and James Nolen. (Ashley Vansant|Daily News)

Doherty said participating in these games is not only a fun activity that helps him stay fit. It also helps stoke the competitive flame that burns within the former collegiate water polo player.

“I stay fit because I swim throughout the year,” Doherty said. “At the state meet there’s lot’s of competition. I like to represent Pitt and Beaufort counties because there’s some really good swimmers [at the state senior games].”

The Greenville-Pitt County Senior Games consists of athletes aged 50 or older, representing Pitt, Martin, Beaufort, Bertie and Hertford counties. The age divisions are broken down into five-year increments. Yesterday’s swim meet had athletes ranging from 50 to 86.

With the state Senior Games not taking place until September, it provides time for these athletes to prepare and train for their events. Doherty plans to put extra work in at the pool over the summer to be in the best condition possible. He will be going to Cary with a simple goal.

“I’m looking to win.”