By Curt Yeomans
Anne Dunivin can't remember what sparked her love of being in a pool of water, but she can tell you what keeps her coming back for more.
The 91-year-old Riverdale resident (who turns 92 on Friday) began swimming when she was 10. Growing up in the Grant Park area of Atlanta, Dunivin had access to the neighborhood pool where children under 12 could swim for free in the morning. She later learned the various swimming strokes in an aquatics class, when she spent the first two years of her college career at Shorter College.
She continued to swim, recreationally, after she transferred to Emory University, and she then taught her children how to swim when she got older. Teaching her children to swim did not allow Dunivin to do much recreational swimming, but her golden years have given her an opportunity to pursue it competitively.
"I like the exercise for one thing, but I just feel good when I'm in the water," said Dunivin. "I never get out of the water and say, 'I wish I had never gone in the water.' I always come out of the pool saying, 'I'm glad I got in there.'"
Dunivin had three reasons to be glad she got in a pool last month. She won gold medals in the 50-, 100-, and 200-meter freestyle swimming competitions -- for the 90 and up age group -- at the Georgia Golden Olympics, which took place Sept. 24-27 in Warner Robins. She will now compete for national gold medals at the National Senior Games in August 2009 in San Francisco.
Dunivin, who served on the Riverdale City Council for eight years, until 2003, trains for competitions by going to the Steve Lundquist Aquatic Center in Jonesboro twice a week for 30-minute swimming sessions. She doesn't do much swimming -- Just 24 laps in the 50-meter long, Olympic-sized pool on each visit.
"I do pretty good with endurance, but I don't do as well with the 50 [ meters swimming events] as I would with the 100," said Dunivin. "Someone might beat me in the 50, but then I'd beat them in the 100."
Michael Phelps, meet Aquawoman.
This year's state victories mean Dunivin has now won a total of eight Georgia Golden Olympics swimming gold medals since 2006. She also took home triple gold for swimming at the 2007 golden Olympics, and two more at the 2006 event.
Dunivin won a silver swimming medal at the 2007 National Senior Games, a bi-annual event, in Louisville. She thinks it was in the 50-meters freestyle, but she isn't sure anymore.
However, Dunivin is already looking forward to swimming at next year's National Senior Games. She has already begun to cover the walls in her kitchen with her medals to serve as reminders of how she's done so far in competitive swimming.
"There was a 91-year-old woman from Ohio who beat me in the last national games," said Dunivin. "If she's there [in San Francisco], and I hope she is, I want to beat her ... Over the years, I have not been competitive in anything, but in this senior swimming [arena], I've become very competitive."