Taylor, Clemmons, Wells lead Senior Games swimming

 

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

Related coverage
* Official results – coming later today
Photo gallery – swimming – more than 1,000 images!
* April 14: Women’s bocce
* April 13: Opening ceremony
* April 13: Men’s bocce ball opens Games
* March 18: Last day to register
* March 9: No rhythm required
* Feb. 8: Senior Games set for April
* Oct. 18, 2014: 4 locals win gold at NC Senior Games

ROCKINGHAM — There are virtually no fans lining the sides of the pool inside the FirstHealth Center for Health and Fitness in Rockingham.

Shortly before 6 a.m. Wednesday, only half a dozen people are in the pool. That includes Savannah Gerald, who will pull double duty as official timer for all the swimming events on this, the third day of the 25th annual Senior Games of Richmond County, and Terry Mercer, volunteer coordinator.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Dr. Wendell Wells paced the men's 70 to 74 age group in swimming in the 25th annual Senior Games of Richmond County.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Dr. Wendell Wells paced the men’s 70 to 74 age group in swimming in the 25th annual Senior Games of Richmond County.

Dr. Wendell Wells is one of four participants to show up at the early start time. Wells dons his black Nike swim trunks, though the prestigious shoe company doesn’t sponsor Wells. There are no ostentatious banners from any company, in fact, and it’s highly improbable that Travis Tygart, chief executive of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, has ever heard of Richmond County, North Carolina.

Still, four dedicated athletes arrived Wednesday to compete in their respective events. The three men and one woman represented two genders and four different age groups, which meant that if one finished, a gold medal was earned.

But for those who weren’t there, don’t think for a moment the event wasn’t competitive. Each veteran swimmer knows there’s always a constant lurking on the sideline: the clock, which never stops until the swimmer’s hand touches the wall at the end of the final lap.

Wells, for one, looks to Mercer to compare this year’s performances to last year’s. He completed his first event of the morning, the 100-yard free stroke, in 2 minutes and 6 seconds — a full eight seconds faster than in 2014.

Wells thought he might have put on weight heading into this year’s Games. But if that’s the case, “I think I’m gonna put on another 10 pounds for next year,” he quipped.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Patricia "Pat" Clemmons, in the women's 55 to 59 bracket, completed six events including the 500-yard freestyle.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Patricia “Pat” Clemmons, in the women’s 55 to 59 bracket, completed six events including the 500-yard freestyle.

Bishop Marvin Taylor Jr., pastor at Outreach for Jesus in Hamlet, was first up in the men’s 60 to 64 age division. The 50-yard backstroke was over relatively quickly — in only 54.99 seconds — and Patricia “Pat” Clemmons was set for her first event in the women’s 55 to 59 bracket. She finished the 50-yard freestyle swim in 55.86 seconds.

Robert Singletary, the lone competitor in the men’s 65 to 69 division, competed his 50-yard backstroke in 1 minute, 45 seconds.

After Wells, Taylor was up against for the 100 backstroke. Taylor stopped the clock in 2 minutes, 26 seconds and then Clemmons finished her 50-yard backstroke in 1 minute 7 seconds. Taylor was next, and completed the 200-yard backstroke in 5 minutes and 20 seconds.

Clemmons readied for her third event, the 100-yard freestyle, and finished in 2 minutes, 2 seconds.

In event No. 2, Wells completed the 100-yard breast stroke in 2 minutes and 28 seconds.

Taylor took only 47 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle while Clemmons, in her fourth event, finished the 200-yard freestyle in 5 minutes, 3 seconds.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Bishop Marvin Taylor Jr. hands this event with relative ease.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Bishop Marvin Taylor Jr. hands this event with relative ease.

In the 50-yard freestyle, Wells finished in 54 seconds — shaving 6.5 seconds off his 2014 effort.

Even before hearing his official time, he knew it was good.

“That had to be my fastest time ever,” Wells said, pulling himself from the pool.

The successes continued for each athlete. Taylor finished the 100 freestyle in 1 minute, 56 seconds while Clemmons took on her fifth and next-to-last event, the 100 backstroke, in three minutes — noting that “I’m going to take my time” in that event.

After Wells completed his final event, the 50-yard breaststroke in 60 seconds, Clemmons lined up for her sixth and final event. It took an event 15 minutes for her to swim 500 yards — 20 lengths of the 25-yard pool.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Robert Singletary in the 50-yard backstroke.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Robert Singletary in the 50-yard backstroke.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Volunteer event coordinator Terry Mercer, right, and official timer and FirstHealth lifeguard Savannah Gerald.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Volunteer event coordinator Terry Mercer, right, and official timer and FirstHealth lifeguard Savannah Gerald.

 

 

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