LARAMIE – Three Torrington residents took their talents to the Senior Games in Laramie and Kearney, Neb. this past weekend, combining to bring home nine medals.
Rusty Winget spent time in the pool during all three days of the Wyoming Senior Games in Laramie. He started by competing in the 1,500-yard freestyle Thursday, winning with a time just longer than 27 minutes, which drastically dropped from his 1,500-yard freestyle gold-medal time from last year’s Games (33:26).
“I knew I was doing good in the 1,500,” Winget said. “My wife was calling out my split times and I knew I was going to shatter my personal best.”
Winget moved into the shorter distances Thursday, taking first in his age group (55-59-year-olds) in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 3:01. On Saturday, he was in the pool for four different events.
His only loss of the weekend came in the 50-yard freestyle, where he finished in 32 seconds, snagging second. He finished out his weekend with three more gold medals, winning the 25-yard, 100-yard and 500-yard freestyle.
“The older you get, you need more motivation to stay in shape and I’ve always been competitive,” said Winget, who ended the weekend with five gold medals and a silver.
For the rest of the summer, Winget plans to continue swimming at the Dale Jones Municipal Pool. All summer long, he has swam a half mile in the morning and mile at night. He hopes to get more than 60 miles under his belt before the pool closes for the year on Aug. 20. He noted that the lifeguard staff at the local pool helped him all summer and he also worked with Erin Jespersen, the Torrington Sharks swimming coach.
“Those guys were just great,” Winget said. “They would go out of their way just to accommodate me.”
As for next summer, Winget still plans to hit the pool and compete in the Senior Games, but he is undecided on which state he wants to compete it.
At the archery range, Jerry Powers was vying for another gold medal. In the previous six Wyoming Senior Games, Powers racked up four gold medals, a silver and a bronze. This summer, he shot a 799 in archery, picking up another silver medal.
“I guess it was something I needed,” Powers said of finishing second. “I just didn’t put the time in and haven’t competed in a year. I forgot some of the things you need to do in competition.”
Although he finished second, Powers said he felt good physically after the competition. He worked out at North Platte Physical Therapy from late winter through early spring and he said that was a major factor in him feeling good after a full competition.
“My shoulders are better now than they have felt in four to five years,” he said.
Despite flying arrows all morning, Powers and the rest of the 12 archers competing were treated to a herd of antelope walking through. The winner of the 75-79-year-old division was from Colorado and shot an 870.
Powers plans to attend next year’s Senior Games as well. He said that his finish this year will inspire him to improve this offseason. He has moved passed Friday and onto 2018.
“It’ll make me work harder,” Powers said. “You leave it behind and move on. It’s done.”
Toby Lewis also competed this past weekend, but he took his talents to the Nebraska Senior Games in Kearney, Neb., where he competed in the 5- and 10-kilometer time trials.
In the 5K, he posted a time of 12:23, which was slower than times he set earlier this summer. There was a 16 MPH wind that Lewis faced, causing the slower time. In the 10K, Lewis clocked a time of 25:09. Both of his times were good enough for gold medals.
“It was just very difficult. That’s part of racing. You never know what the weather will do,” Lewis said. “Under the conditions, I was happy.”
Lewis returns to competitive action for the South Dakota Senior Games in Sioux Falls, S.D. on Sept. 7-10.