Riverdale senior swims toward national achievement

By Justin Boron

Anne Dunivin's Australian crawl is one of the best in the state.

At 88 years old, her wake in the pool was strong enough to draw three gold medals at this year's Golden Olympics in Warner Robins.

The former Riverdale City Council member retired from politics recently but hasn't given up her vitality.

Swimming two to three times a week at local public schools, she said she values her fitness as much as anything else in life.

Her health could not be better.

"I feel good. I don't have any aches or pains," Dunivin said. "I can just go forever with an Australian crawl."

The stroke that won her three medals is a combination of a free style and sidestroke that she said is not hard to master.

"You pull like you're moving a piano," Dunivin said.

Swimming has been in her life from an early age.

A child of the Great Depression, she said she lived in Atlanta near Grant Park, where she could walk to the public pool.

Splashing into her late teens, Dunivin said she became a college lifeguard, teaching breathing techniques to those looking to learn how to swim.

Swimming lessons were one of the first gifts she gave to her children, she said.

But the benefit came back to her as the children soaked up days at the pool, giving her plenty of time to herself.

"When both could swim, I felt emancipated," Dunivin said.

Once her children grew up, she took a long break from swimming.

But she recently got back into the pool for exercise after her husband died about 15 years ago.

In September, she attended a qualifying event for the Golden Olympics.

Four to 500 seniors from all over the state showed up for the event geared toward elderly athletes, said Joanne Robinette, one of the event's coordinators said.

The Golden Olympics has been around for 20 years and is very competitive, she said.

Counties sometimes send whole teams. Some even come from out of the state, she said.

The games include a range of events all the way from checkers to track to swimming.

In the 50-meter, 100-meter, and 200-meter Australian crawl, Dunivin took the gold, qualifying her for a national event held every year.

The national senior Olympics will be held in Pittsburgh in June.

Until then, she said she would be hitting the pool twice a week training for the nationals.

"I'm just working on getting stronger," Dunivin said.

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