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Riverdale resident ready for senior games

By Curt Yeomans

As she prepared to jump into the pool at the Steve Lundquist Aquatic Center in Jonesboro recently, Riverdale resident Anne Dunivin said she is ready to prove to the nation that she truly is "Aquawoman."

Dunivin, 92, finished second in the 50-meter, 100-meter, and 200-meter freestyle events at the National Senior Games in Louisville, Ky., two years ago. The woman who beat her was Ohio resident, Beth Hanks, who is the same age as Dunivin.

In a tight race, Hanks beat Dunivin in the 50-meter freestyle in Louisville by 3.1 seconds. Dunivin is gunning for a rematch next week, when the biennial National Senior Games begins again in California.

"I don't know if she's going to be there, but this year, if she's there, I want to beat her," Dunivin said.

If Dunivin's name is familiar, it's because she keeps herself active in the community. She served on the Riverdale City Council for two terms in the 1990s, and she is actively involved in her church, Riverdale Presbyterian, and in the Southern Crescent Habitat for Humanity. Earlier this year, Southern Crescent Habitat for Humanity honored Dunivin for her more than 20 years of volunteerism by naming a street in the Avery subdivision "Dunivin Drive."

But swimming is Dunivin's focus, for the moment.

The senior games will begin on Aug. 1, in the San Francisco Bay area. The swimming competitions will be held at the Avery Aquatic Center on the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto, Calif.

Dunivin's first event at this year's games will be the 100-meter freestyle on Aug. 1. She will also compete in the 50-meter freestyle on Aug. 2, and the 200-meter on Aug. 4.

In preparation for the senior games, Dunivin has been swimming at the Steve Lundquist Aquatic Center twice a week, for 30 minutes at a time.

Speed, she said, will be the deciding factor in her quest for senior games gold this year. She said she only takes a breath every two strokes so she can move faster in the water. Lifting her head up while swimming a length in the pool disrupts her aerodynamics and slows her down, so she keeps her head in the water most of the time.

While sitting on the side of the pool at the aquatic center in Jonesboro, she let her legs hang over the side, with her feet in the water. She said this year, at the senior games, she's carrying more than her personal pride on her shoulders - she's carrying her state's pride as well.

"I think I'll win something for this because there aren't too many people in my age group who compete at the games," Dunivin said. "I'm the only person in my age group [in swimming] competing from Georgia. So, if I win anything, it will be for Georgia, and I want to win the gold medal."