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Jul 11, 2017 11:56 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Quogue Resident Finds Success At Senior Games

Joyce Flynn recieving one of her two gold medals in the pool at the Empire State Senior Games. Dan Flynn
Jul 11, 2017 2:11 PM

Crouching down while gripping the diving block with both hands and curling her lead foot’s toes around the board, 70-year-old Quogue resident Joyce Flynn anticipated the starting whistle. She sank into her ready position, an Olympic-sized pool stretched out in front of her—and she was ready.

It was just a year ago that Ms. Flynn glared into the same pool at the Empire State Senior Games at SUNYCortland under much different circumstances, unsure how to grip the diving block in what was her first competitive swim meet. She struggled to finish and did not place in her freestyle event. Meanwhile her husband, Dan Flynn, 71, also competing in the Senior Games, took home gold, silver and bronze medals in track and field events.

This was Ms. Flynn’s year though.

She sprung out of her ready position and into the pool several times over the course of the competition, which ran from June 12-17, and when it was done, she had seized seven medals, including six golds.

“Because I knew what to expect, things went quite smoothly,” Ms. Flynn said. After placing first in both the 50-yard backstroke (1:01.56) and 50-yard freestyle (56.57 seconds) in the 70-74 age group, her goals of not embarrassing herself and improving in swimming were certainly accomplished.

But she didn’t stop there.

Breaking out of her comfort zone, Ms. Flynn took to training in track and field with her husband for this year’s Senior Games, and it led to even more success. She won gold medals in the shot put with a distance of 4.54 meters, discus (11.52 meters), long jump (2.86 meters) and 100-meter dash (22.7 seconds). Lastly, she took home a bronze medal in the 50-meter dash, finishing in 12.4 seconds.

Mr. Flynn started competing at the Senior Games four years ago and, for the first two years, Ms. Flynn would simply tag along, thinking she was too old to compete herself. Attending the games made her realize that she had a shot at being a competitor, she said, and she gave her husband credit for being her biggest influence.

“Now I’m hooked,” she said.

Mr. Flynn, who was a part of last year’s winning 4x100-meter relay in the 70-74 age group, did not run this year due to a pulled hamstring. Instead he stuck to the discus—where he repeated as a silver medalist, with a mark of 26.42 meters—and the javelin throw, where he placed fifth with a distance of 25.62 meters.

The couple, who have been married for 46 years, took to the Empire State Senior Games as a physical outlet, and said they enjoy the goal-setting concepts it provides as well. The duo are not the only married couple in the area finding athletic success later in life—East Quogue couple Judy and Alan Schreiber recently won a gold medal in mixed tennis doubles at the Senior Olympics, hosted by the National Senior Games Association. Mr. and Ms. Flynn appear poised to take the trip and compete in the Senior Olympics as well, which will take place in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 2019.

In order to qualify for the Senior Olympics, though, both couples need to place at the Empire State Senior Games next year. Ms. Flynn hopes to qualify in all of her events, while adding the high jump and another swimming event. Mr. Flynn hopes to qualify in the discus, which he has seen consistent success in, as well as adding a jumping event.

Ms. Flynn was excited to find out that had she attended the National Senior Olympics this past month in Burlington, Alabama, her winning distance in the long jump of 2.86 meters would have placed her third overall in her age group.

“The National Senior Games are a wonderful success,” she said. “New York, as one of the three largest states, needs to be more supportive. That is why my husband and I are encouraging our friends to be a part of this fun week of activities.”

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