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Sports Center

Jul 10, 2018 10:04 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Dan and Joyce Flynn Qualify For 2019 National Senior Games

Dan Flynn, left, Joyce Flynn and Lucius Ware at the 2018 Empire State Senior Games hosted by SUNY Cortland in June.  DAN FLYNN DAN FLYNN
Jul 10, 2018 4:15 PM

Reaching the pinnacle of their athletic careers in the seventh decade of their lives, Quogue residents Dan and Joyce Flynn—who are 72 and 71 years old, respectively—have proved to be jacks-of-all-trades when it comes to their sport of choice, track and field and swimming.

On June 15, the Flynn’s traveled to SUNY Cortland for the 2018 Empire State Senior Games, competing in multiple events in the 70- to 74-year old age group. They’re far from the oldest competitors, however, as age groups can reach as high as 100 years old.

“We’re spring chickens compared to some of the people,” Mr. Flynn said.

The Empire State Senior Games are a preliminary qualifier for the National Senior Games, hosted in Albuquerque, New Mexico, each year. This year’s Empire State competitors are attempting to qualify for next year’s National Senior Games. Both Mr. and Ms. Flynn qualified in multiple events up at the Empire State Senior Games and plan to make their national debut next summer.

Mr. Flynn qualified in four different track and field events. He won the hammer throw with a distance of 19.1 meters, placed second in the discus with a throw of 27.16 meters and second in the high jump (1.1 meters). He placed fourth in the shot put with a distance of 8.36 meters.

Ms. Flynn qualified for Nationals in a total of nine events, seven of which were in track and field, the other two in swimming. She was the only competitor in the 50-yard backstroke and finished in 1:06.65. She took home a silver medal in the 50-yard freestyle in 56.95 seconds.

In her track and field events, Ms. Flynn won the long jump with a leap of 3.06 meters and took home silver in five different events; the discus (10.98 meters), hammer throw (12.81 meters), high jump (.90 meters), 50-meter dash (9.8 seconds) and 100-meter dash (19.9 seconds). She also took bronze in the shot put with a throw of 4.76 meters.

Mr. Flynn thinks that his wife has a great shot to win or place in the long jump at Nationals next summer. She reached 10 feet 3 inches at last year’s Empire State Senior Games, which would have surpassed last year’s National Champion by a foot.

This past March, Ms. Flynn took home gold medals in the long jump and 60-meter dash, and placed fourth in the high jump at the USA Track and Field 2018 Masters Indoor National Championships at the Wayne K. Curry Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex in Landover, Maryland.

“She’s one of the better jumpers in the country,” Mr. Flynn said.

Mr. and Ms. Flynn are year-round residents of Quogue. When they are not competing in Masters level Championships they go to nearby Westhampton Beach High School to train. Most of their training regimen comes from watching YouTube videos online.

“We go up to Westhampton High School and we do the long jump and high jump there,” said Mr. Flynn. He added that Ms. Flynn then works on her sprints.

“Both of those require a lot of explosion,” he said.

Mr. Flynn no longer participates in running events at the Masters level because of a hamstring injury that he tweaked this past winter learning to pole vault. Since then he’s been attending physical therapy. When they’re not training at Westhampton Beach, the Flynns work out to stay in shape and do yoga to keep their flexibility up.

This year, the Flynn’s were accompanied at the Empire State Senior Games by the president of Southampton’s chapter of the NAACP, Lucius Ware. Mr. Flynn said Mr. Ware, who is 84, made his way up to the discus throwing circle using a walker, but still threw a respectable distance of 14.04 meters.

The Flynns’ plan to travel to Malaga, Spain, in September for the World Masters Athletic Championships. Similar to the Empire State Senior Games and the National Senior Games, the World Masters offers track and field, swimming, cross country and road running events for qualifying masters athletes from all over the world. The National Senior Games open competition at 50 years old, though, while the World Masters open competition at 35, making for a wider range of age groups.

“It’s been very exciting, we’re having a great time with it,” Mr. Flynn said.

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