Riding the wave of her parents’ exploits at previous events, Joan Lightfoot is accumulating a serious medal collection from the 55+ B.C. Games.
Like her mother Ruth, Lightfoot competes in all strokes in swimming, though she specializes in the breaststroke. She and other swimmers from the Vancouver Island North zone will gather for their first practice next month to start preparing for the September event in Kelowna.
“This year I’m hoping to improve my time at the IM (individual medley),” said Lightfoot, 73, a Comox resident who started competing at the Games in 2011. She is part of the executive for Zone 2.
“My mother was in the first Seniors Games (Vernon, 1988), swimming, and she won a lot of medals and (set) records. She was really a good swimmer. And my dad (Bert Davies) was a cyclist. So they both went to the Seniors Games in different sports.
“It’s a family thing,” she added. “I do family history. I was looking at pictures of my mom and dad, and thinking how proud I was of them, and it was about the time that I retired. So I decided that was my goal, was to have my kids as proud of me as I was of them.”
Lightfoot will be part of a three-generation family team at the Shoreline Orthodontics Tri K Triathlon, May 26 in Courtenay. After swimming 30 lengths, she will haul herself out of the Sports Centre pool and hoof it to the Vanier track, where she will hand off to her 52-year-old son, Dennis, who will bike the course and tag her 18-year-old grandson, Douglas, who will run the last leg of the event.
The Tri K will be a good warmup for the 55+ Games, where Lightfoot expects some “stiff competition” in the 70- to 74-year age bracket.
“I’m at the top of my age group. (But) I’m there for a good time. I’m no Brian Staton,” she said, referring to the Black Creek resident who swam with the Simon Fraser University team in the 1960s, and who continues to compete for Zone 2 at the 55+ Games.
Numbers were down at the 2018 Games in Kimberley and Cranbrook, but about 4,000 people are expected this year in Kelowna.
“It’s like a family reunion every year,” Lightfoot said. “I stand on the podium with these other two girls, usually, in the breaststroke. We’re exactly the same age. One’s from the Okanagan, the other’s from the Kootenays, and we’ve become good friends.”
For information about the 55+ B.C. Games, visit 55plusbcgames.org